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2011年8月16日 (火)

戦後66年 政治の「脱貧困」をめざせ

History shows danger of politics left adrift
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 16, 2011)
戦後66年 政治の「脱貧困」をめざせ(8月14日付・読売社説)

How strongly do you feel Japan's peace and affluence have been achieved at the expense of the many lives lost in the series of wars this nation fought during the Showa era?
 「日本の平和と豊かさは、昭和の戦争での多くの犠牲の上に築かれている、という気持ちが、どの程度ありますか」

This question was asked in an opinion survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun by mail in January and February.
 読売新聞が今年1~2月に実施した世論調査(郵送)で、

An overwhelming 84 percent of those polled said they felt so "very much" or "to a certain extent."
この設問に「非常にある」「ある程度ある」と回答した人は合わせて84%に上った。

The figure can be perceived as an indication that many Japanese still feel grateful to their forebears.
日本人の多くが先人への感謝の気持ちを忘れていないということだろう。

Monday marks the 66th anniversary of the end of World War II.
 明日、66回目の「終戦の日」を迎える。

Our nation's postwar peace and affluence have been profoundly shaken since the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake.
3・11の東日本大震災を境に、戦後の「平和と豊かさ」は大きく揺らいでいる。

However, we believe this national crisis is exactly the time to learn many lessons from the history of the tumultuous Showa era (1926-1989).
だが、このような危機の局面においてこそ、激動の昭和史から学ぶべきことも多いはずである。

"Fukko" (recovery)--a word spoken in relation to the ongoing post-disaster reconstruction efforts--clearly brings to mind our country's success in accomplishing what can be described as a miraculous postwar recovery.
 現在使われている「復興」という言葉には、成功した「奇跡の戦後復興」のイメージが重なる。

The sentiment held by the Japanese now is in stark contrast to the sense of relief and release that prevailed immediately after the war.
 もっとも、今の日本に終戦時のような安堵(あんど)感や解放感はない。

Five months have already passed since the March calamity, but only slow progress has been made in post-disaster recovery efforts.
震災から既に5か月を経たが、復興への歩みは遅れている。

The task of overcoming the ongoing crisis for the nation requires strong leadership from politicians.
 この国難を乗り越えていくためには、強力な政治のリーダーシップが求められる。

However, we are now witnessing serious deterioration in political leadership--or what can be termed "political poverty."
しかし、今日の政治の劣化は深刻だ。

Common ground can be found in many respects between the current pitiful state of affairs and the political landscape in prewar times.
 「政治の貧困」という点では、むしろ戦前との共通点も少なくない。

The early days of Showa, or the late 1920s, was marked by bitter strife between two major political parties--the Constitutional Party of Political Friends (Seiyu-kai) and the Constitutional Democratic Party (Minseito).
昭和初期の1920年代後半、政友会と民政党の2大政党は激しい政争を繰り返した。

This resulted in a loss of public trust in government, dealing a fatal blow to the nation's party politics.
政治に対する国民の信頼が失われ、政党政治は崩壊した。

The premiership changed hands among 10 political figures during the 1930s.
 30年代には10人が入れ替わりで首相を務めた。

The political parties in that time lost ground to the military and were unable to prevent the country from drifting toward war.
軍に押され、戦争への流れを止められなかった。

===

An immature ruling party

Two years ago, the people gave the Democratic Party of Japan a mandate to run the country.
The shift in power came at a time when the Liberal Democratic Party had reached the end of the line after long years in power during the postwar period.
 戦後、長く続いた自民党政権は行き詰まり、国民は2年前、民主党に政権を託した。

However, the DPJ's rise to power was followed by the collapse of many policies formed by the party just to play to the gallery.
This is symbolized by the failure of the child-rearing allowance program and other dole-out policies contrived without securing financial resources for them.
 しかし、子ども手当などに象徴される財源を欠いた民主党の人気取り政策は、次々と破綻した。

The DPJ's immaturity at the nation's helm has disappointed the public, further contributing to a mistrust of government.
政権運営の未熟さへの失望感が広がり、政治不信は深まっている。

Particularly disturbing about the DPJ-led administration is its conspicuous lack of consistency in fundamental policies that shape the foundation of the country.
 民主党政権でとりわけ懸念されるのは、国家の基本となる政策の軸が大きく揺れることだ。

For instance, Prime Minister Naoto Kan created confusion in many quarters when he abruptly called for an end to the nation's reliance on nuclear power as a major source of energy.
菅首相は、唐突に「脱原発依存」を提唱し、混乱を招いた。

It should not be forgotten that our country's prosperity and adversity have been greatly affected by the kinds of strategies it has adopted for securing resources and energy sources, both before and after the war.
 戦前・戦後を通じて、資源エネルギー戦略が、国家の浮沈に大きく関わっていたことを忘れてはならない。

 ◆エネルギー戦略の失敗◆

In July 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army advanced into the southern part of French Indochina with an eye to obtaining oil and other resources in the Dutch East Indies (currently Indonesia).
 41年7月、旧日本軍は蘭印(オランダ領東インド、今のインドネシア)の石油資源などを狙って南部仏印(フランス領インドシナ)に進駐した。

The United States angrily reacted to this action by imposing a punitive oil embargo against Japan.
反発した米国は対日石油禁輸の制裁措置をとった。

In those times, Japan relied on the United States for about 90 percent of its oil imports.
 日本は当時、石油輸入の90%を米国に依存していた。

The embargo was a great surprise to our country, foreshadowing the outbreak of war between the two nations.
禁輸措置は日本にとって大きな誤算で、日米開戦の伏線ともなった。

Postwar investment was concentrated on the coal industry to secure a domestic energy source, which laid the foundation for reconstruction.
 戦後は、石炭産業に資金を集中的に投入してエネルギー不足を補い、復興の足がかりとした。

Due to a shift thereafter to oil and the introduction of nuclear power generation as energy sources, the national economy developed by leaps and bounds.
その後の石油への転換と原子力発電の導入で経済は大きく発展した。

===

Politics lack direction

In September 2009, then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama pledged to the international community that "Japan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from the 1990 level by the end of 2020."
 2年前には、鳩山首相が温室効果ガスの排出量を「2020年までに1990年比で25%削減する」と国際社会に公約した。

That he made the international promise without much prior discussion on the matter was problematic in itself, but if greenhouse gas emissions were to be decreased drastically it should have been premised on reducing thermal power generation and increasing reliance on nuclear power generation.
 十分な議論もなく国際公約したこと自体に問題があったが、温室効果ガスを大胆に削減するなら、火力発電を減らし原発依存を深めることが大前提だったはずだ。

But it seems that the issue of greenhouse gas emissions has faded into oblivion.
 しかし、今や温室効果ガスの問題は、忘れ去られてしまったようだ。

This important energy issue should not be affected by the trends of time.
大切なエネルギー問題が、その時々の「空気」で決められるようなことがあってはならない。

 ◆軍は「責任回避の楽園」◆

The cool and composed reaction shown by residents of the areas that bore the brunt of the the March 11 earthquake and tsunami was commended globally.
 震災後の被災地の人々の冷静沈着な行動は世界の称賛を集めた。

Foreign countries sent rescue and medical teams to the damaged areas to extend warm assistance.
各国は、救助隊や医療チームなどを被災地に派遣して、温かい支援の手を差し伸べてくれた。

The Japanese government's response to and its clumsy public disclosure of the nuclear crisis at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, on the other hand, spawned mistrust and drew fire from the international community.
 一方、原発事故への対応と情報開示をめぐる政府の混乱は、国際社会の不信と批判を招くことにもなった。

The world was left with an impression of Japan politically adrift.
日本の「政治の漂流」ばかりが際立っている。

The Kan administration has established a welter of task forces and teams, including Cabinet members, to work out assistance measures for disaster victims and measures to deal with the nuclear crisis.
 菅政権は当初、閣僚らをメンバーとする、被災者支援や原発対応などの対策本部やチームを次々と設置した。

However, the responsibility and authority of each task force and team were not clearly defined, and instruction and information were not provided in an integrated manner within the government, thereby throwing government offices into confusion.
 だが、各本部の責任や権限は明確でなく、政府内でいくつもの指示や情報が錯綜(さくそう)して、各府省を混乱させた。

Kan's lack of leadership, as well as his opportunistic and awkward political methods, hampered opposition parties' cooperative momentum.
 さらに、首相の指導力不足と、場当たり的で稚拙な政治手法が野党側の協調機運を阻害した。

The ruling and opposition parties failed to cooperate, and the political wrangling that followed hindered efforts to establish a political framework for promoting reconstruction.
与野党連携は失敗し、政争が復興に向けた体制づくりの足を引っ張ることになった。

===

Paradise of irresponsibility

In The Yomiuri Shimbun's weekly "Showa Era" series, Prof. Masayuki Yamauchi of the University of Tokyo points out: "Military men were in a paradise of very vague responsibility, in which they could evade responsibility."
 読売新聞の「昭和時代」の連載で、山内昌之・東大教授は「軍人たちは非常に曖昧な責任回避の楽園にいた」と指摘している。

For instance, in the Battle of Midway in June 1942, which marked a turning point in the Pacific War, Japan suffered a crushing defeat as the Imperial Japanese Navy lost four aircraft carriers due to the failure of its commander-in-chief and chief of staff to have a long-term perspective.
 例えば、日米戦争の転換点となった42年6月のミッドウェー海戦は、日本海軍の司令長官や参謀長が大局を見誤ったために空母4隻を失って大敗した。

But the cause of defeat was not analyzed and the responsibility of the commander-in-chief was not questioned.
しかし、敗因は分析されず、司令長官らの責任も問われなかった。

The folly of "falling into a paradise for evading responsibility" should not be repeated.
 この「責任回避の楽園」の愚を繰り返してはなるまい。

It is urgent to eliminate "political poverty" now, at a time when politicians' responsibility has been called into serious question.
 政治の責任が厳しく問われている今、「政治の貧困」から脱することこそ急務だ。

After Kan steps down, the ruling and opposition parties must first and foremost join hands to establish a strong framework for promoting reconstruction from the disaster.
首相退陣後は、まず与野党が結束し、震災復興を強力に進めていくべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 14, 2011)
(2011年8月14日01時21分  読売新聞)

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