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2012年5月 7日 (月)

「原発ゼロ」社会:上 不信の根を見つめ直せ

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 5
EDITORIAL: Policymakers must make serious responses to people's deep distrust of nuclear power
「原発ゼロ」社会:上 不信の根を見つめ直せ

The No. 3 reactor at Hokkaido Electric Power Co.'s Tomari nuclear power plant went offline May 5 for routine maintenance, leaving Japan without a single running reactor.
 北海道電力・泊原発3号機が5日、定期検査のため運転を止める。これで、国内すべての原発が停止する。

Japan, which had the third largest number of reactors in the world, becomes the first country to stop nuclear power generation altogether.
 世界で3番目に原発の多かった日本が、世界最速で「原発ゼロ」状態に入る。

This would be a welcome development if it were a result of a sincere and effective policy response to the popular will to make Japan nuclear-free.
 脱原発への民意を政治がしっかり受けとめた結果であれば、歓迎すべきことだ。

But the fact is that Japan has stopped production of electricity with atomic energy because the government's plan to restart idled reactors as early as possible has provoked angry reactions from the public, especially local governments around nuclear power plants. The outlook for the resumption of reactor operations remains murky.
 しかし実態は、政府の再稼働ありきの姿勢が原発周辺の自治体をはじめとする世論の強い反発を受け、先が見えない中での原発ゼロである。

The situation has been created by growing public distrust of the government and other players involved.
 不信の連鎖がそこにある。

INCREASING TARGETS OF CRITICISM
■広がる懸念の矛先

Japanese society's confidence in the safety of nuclear power generation was shaken to the core by the catastrophic accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant last year.
 福島第一原発の事故は、私たちの社会が前提とする「信頼性」を根底から揺さぶった。

It was further eroded by the disastrous way the government and the operator of the plant responded to the accident, which included: confusion over the hydrogen explosions that took place after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the plant's cooling system and also over the failure of emergency vents to prevent such explosions; vague explanations about reactor meltdowns; and delays in disclosure of data provided by the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information, a system to forecast the spread of radioactive materials after a nuclear accident, and also in evacuation orders.
 水蒸気爆発やベントをめぐる混乱、炉心溶融(メルトダウン)に関するあいまいな説明、放射性物質の拡散を予測するSPEEDIの情報開示や避難指示の遅れ――。

The series of errors and missteps committed during the days and weeks following the crisis revealed the disturbing fact that organizations that had been promoting nuclear power generation, as well as the people responsible, seriously lacked the basic abilities to prepare for and deal with nuclear accidents.
 事故直後からの迷走は、原発を推進してきた組織と人々が、事故への備えという基本的な能力に著しく欠けていた事実をあらわにした。

Most damaging to the public confidence in nuclear power was the spread of the perception that these people and organizations were trying to hide facts and information inconvenient to them.
 なにより大きかったのは、自分たちに都合の悪い情報は隠そうとしている、という疑念を広げたことだ。

Public criticism went into overdrive amid concerns about the health hazards posed by possible exposure to radiation. It was not only the utility and politicians that came under suspicion, but also other elements of the "establishment," such as bureaucrats, scientists, experts, the business community and the mass media.
 その矛先は、被曝(ひばく)によって身体的な安全が脅かされるというリアルな危機感のなか、電力会社や政治のみならず、行政、科学者・専門家、財界、マスメディアと、既存の体制そのものへと増幅していった。

The nuclear accident has transformed society, which needs to be built on confidence, into a caldron of distrust.
 原発事故は、信頼を基盤とすべき社会を「不信の巣」へと変えたのだ。

The establishment, however, has failed to recognize the depth of public distrust.
 ところが、既存の体制はその根深さをくみとれていない。

This is evident by the government's attempt to bring idled reactors back online.
 象徴が再稼働問題だ。

THINKING FROM SCRATCH
■ゼロベースで考える

Many Japanese are not necessarily sympathetic to the radical movement toward a nuclear-free society in the immediate future.
 国民の多くは、必ずしも急進的な脱原発を志向しているわけではないだろう。

Surveys by The Asahi Shimbun have indicated that people are concerned that a power shortage may adversely affect their lives and the nation's economy.
電気が足りなくなることで「生活や経済に悪い影響が出るのでは」と心配している様子は、朝日新聞の世論調査からも浮かびあがる。

Still, they appear to think it is necessary to take a fresh, hard look at nuclear power generation and all related assumptions in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. That's hardly surprising.
 それでも、福島事故を目の当たりにした以上、原発はいったんゼロベースから考え直さなければならない。そう思うのは自然なことだ。

It is clear what kind of steps the nation's policymakers should have taken.
 であれば、政治が取り組むべきことは明らかだった。

For one, they should have articulated their will to reduce nuclear power facilities, especially old reactors that have been in service for 40 years or longer. These include the Mihama and Tsuruga plants in Fukui Prefecture, and the Hamaoka plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, which is located in an area that scientists say will be hit by a huge earthquake.
 例えば、稼働から40年以上たつ美浜や敦賀といった老朽炉、巨大地震のリスクが高い浜岡をはじめとして、原発を減らしていく意思を明確に打ち出す。

Secondly, they should have demonstrated their commitment to making serious efforts to figure out how to safely dispose of radioactive waste, such as spent nuclear fuel and decommissioned reactors.
 使用済み核燃料や閉鎖した炉などの放射性廃棄物をどう処理していくか、本腰を入れて取り組む姿勢を示す。

In anticipation of power shortages due to the shutdown of reactors, policymakers should have started taking steps last year to establish a secondary power market incorporating plans based on cuts in electricity consumption.
 原発の停止で電力が足りなくなるのを見越して、節電を組み込んだ電力調達市場を昨年のうちから整備することも、柱の一つだったはずだ。

The Noda administration, however, has failed to make any meaningful change in the reality of nuclear power generation in Japan, not even a reform of the deeply flawed nuclear safety regulation. That's all the more maddening because it pledged to reduce the nation's dependence on nuclear power.
 しかし、野田政権は「脱原発依存」を掲げながら、規制当局の見直しをはじめ、何ひとつ現実を変えられていない。

As for the issue of restarting idled reactors, the administration made the mistake of believing that a decision to restart the reactors would eventually win public support because of concerns about a power crunch, as long as it took formal procedures based on stress tests on reactors.
 再稼働についても、ストレステストをもとに形式的な手順さえ踏めば、最後は電力不足を理由に政治判断で納得を得られると踏んだ。

Unless it changes its basic attitude toward the formidable challenge, the administration cannot hope to remove public distrust of nuclear power generation and the government's nuclear power policy.
 これで不信がぬぐい去れるわけがない。

There is an enormous gap between the public sentiment toward nuclear power generation created by the Fukushima meltdowns and the government's attempt to ride out the crisis without changing the old ideas and assumptions concerning atomic energy.
福島事故で覚醒した世論と、事故前と同じ発想で乗り切ろうとする政治との溝は極めて大きい。

Japanese people's distrust of politics, of course, is nothing new.
 むろん、政治への不信はいまに始まった話ではない。

That was clear from an international survey concerning public trust in politics that covered people in some 140 countries. Among 37 major countries, mainly members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Japan was ranked 36th in terms of public trust in the government and 31st in terms of people's evaluation of the abilities of their nation's leaders. Japan's positions in these rankings were on the same level as those of Greece.
 政治への信頼度をテーマに、約140カ国を対象に実施された世論調査がある。経済協力開発機構(OECD)加盟国を中心にした37カ国では、日本は政府への信頼度が36位、国のリーダー層の能力評価は31位。ギリシャと同水準だ。

The survey in Japan was conducted in 2008, when the nation was governed by the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito.
 日本での調査は自公政権下の08年だった。

But has anything really changed in Japanese politics since the Democratic Party of Japan came to power in 2009?
だが、民主党に政権が代わって、何か変化があっただろうか。

If it has, it has been for the worse. It seems as if the DPJ-led government's deeply confused response to the nuclear accident has even further damaged public confidence in politics, probably to an almost irreparable extent.
むしろ、原発をめぐる混迷は不信を決定的なものにしたのではないか。

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR NATION'S ENERGY FUTURE
■おまかせからの脱却

In a commentary published in The Asahi Shimbun on Aug. 25 last year, writer Genichiro Takahashi pointed out the poverty of politics underscored by the fact that political leaders could only discuss key policy issues from the viewpoint of the current systems.
"I wonder whether they have learned nothing from what happened in this country?" he asked.
 作家の高橋源一郎さんは、昨年8月25日付朝日新聞の「論壇時評」で、いまある制度の延長線上でしか語れない政治の貧困を指摘し、「この国で起こったことから、なにも学ばなかったのだろうか」と問うている。

One politician who is astutely tapping into the public frustration about politics is Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, who has been harshly criticizing the government over the issue of restarting idled reactors.
 いま、政治への国民のいら立ちをうまくすくいとっているのは、再稼働問題で政府を批判する橋下徹大阪市長なのだろう。

But there can be no real progress in politics if voters pin their hopes solely on the leadership of an individual politician.
 ただ、有権者が政治家個人の突破力に期待するばかりでは、行き詰まる。

We need to think on our own about how we can reduce nuclear power plants and carve out a new energy future for our society, and then try to build a broad consensus on these issues.
 原子力をどのように減らし、新たなエネルギー社会をどう構築するか。私たち自らが考え、合意形成をはからなければならない。

That's the lesson we should learn from the consequences of many decades of leaving the development and execution of nuclear power policy entirely to the government.
それは、原発政策を国に「おまかせ」してきたことからの教訓でもある。

The same can be said about the problem of low-dose exposure to radiation. Scientists are bitterly divided on the effects of radiation as they are discussing issues related to decontamination and food safety standards.
 低線量被曝の問題も同様だ。除染や食品安全の基準では、放射線の影響をめぐって科学者のあいだでも意見が割れている。

These are actually issues to which there is no right answer.
正しい答えのない問題だ。

All we can do is to learn as much as possible about the issues and choose what we regard as reasonable ideas and proposals.
自分自身で学び、合理的だと思う考えを選びとるしかない。

* * *

Our next editorial will discuss how to create a forum for constructive debate on such issues.
 とことん考え合うことのできる空間をどうつくり出すか。明日の社説では、それを論じる。

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