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2013年3月31日 (日)

「0増5減」案 民主の一転反対は解せない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 31, 2013)
DPJ's reversal of stance on electoral reform unreasonable
「0増5減」案 民主の一転反対は解せない(3月30日付・読売社説)

The largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan seems far too indifferent to a series of court rulings rebuking existing vote-value disparities.
 度重なる司法の厳しい警告に対して、鈍感すぎるのではないか。

Secretaries general of the major three political parties--the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, its junior coalition partner New Komeito and the DPJ--held a meeting Friday to discuss electoral reform. During the meeting, the ruling parties called for prompt passage of a bill to rezone electoral districts in the House of Representatives by slashing five seats without increasing any others in other single-seat constituencies. However, as the DPJ opposed the coalition's proposal, the three parties failed to agree.
 自民、公明、民主3党幹事長会談が開かれた。自公両党は、衆院小選挙区定数の「0増5減」を実現する区割り法案を早期に成立させるよう求めたが、民主党は反対し、会談は平行線に終わった。

In 14 of 16 lawsuits filed against the government over the issue of lower house vote-value disparities, high courts have ruled the disparities unconstitutional.
 衆院選の「1票の格差」を巡る16件の行政訴訟で、各高裁は14件の「違憲」判決を出している。

Some of the rulings went too far in deeming the results of the Dec. 16 lower house election invalid. Still, both the ruling and opposition parties must take the courts' decisions declaring the disparities "unconstitutional" seriously. They should first pass the rezoning bill based on a proposal from the Council on the House of Representatives Electoral Districts before undertaking other electoral reform measures.
 中には「選挙無効」という行き過ぎた判断もあったが、与野党は「違憲」を重く受け止めねばならない。衆院選挙区画定審議会の勧告に基づいて格差を是正する区割り法案を先行処理すべきだ。

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DPJ's proposal unrealistic

Arguing that the proposed elimination of five single-seat constituencies is not good enough, the DPJ has compiled its own drastic reform plan that calls for reducing the number of single-seat constituencies by 30 to 270 and lowering proportional representation seats by 50 to 130. The DPJ apparently wants to show the public that lawmakers will put themselves on the line for electoral reform by reducing the number of seats in the lower house. However, we think this stance misses the point.
 民主党は、「0増5減では不十分」として、小選挙区定数を30減の270、比例定数を50減の130とする抜本改革案をまとめた。定数削減で「国会議員の身を切る」姿勢をアピールしたいようだが、ピントがずれていないか。

Furthermore, the leading parties have been widely split over drastic measures for electoral reform, so they are unlikely to reach an agreement in the near future.
 しかも、抜本改革案に関する各党の主張の隔たりは大きく、早期の合意は困難な状況にある。

It is true the LDP-Komeito plan is complicated and has been criticized for possibly violating the Constitution, drawing objections from opposition parties. The ruling camp's plan seeks a decrease in proportional representation seats by 30 to 150, of which 60 seats will be preferentially allocated to smaller parties.
 比例定数を30減の150とし、うち60を中小政党の優遇枠とする自公両党案は、分かりづらいうえ、憲法違反の疑いもあり、野党が反対している。

But still, the DPJ's plan calling for a drastic reduction in the number of single-seat constituencies is unrealistic as it would require major rezoning of electoral districts.
 小選挙区定数も減らす民主党案も、区割り作業をやり直す必要があり、現実的とは言えない。

The DPJ is chiefly to blame for having failed to correct the vote-value disparities before last year's lower house election when it held the reins of government. The party's failure can be attributed to its adherence to the idea of fixing the disparities and conducting drastic electoral reform simultaneously, with the apparent aim of postponing dissolution of the lower house for its own interests.
 そもそも昨年の衆院選前に1票の格差を是正できなかった主たる責任は、当時の与党・民主党にある。衆院解散を先送りする「党略」の思惑から、格差是正と抜本改革の同時決着に固執したためだ。

Last autumn, the DPJ finally agreed to a measure proposing the elimination of five single-seat constituencies before the enactment of drastic electoral reform, but it now opposes the plan. It is unreasonable that the party has returned to its previous stance of insisting both issues be handled at the same time. Such a stance could stall a solution to the pressing matter of correcting the vote disparities, potentially leaving it unaddressed even as the next lower house election comes around.
 民主党は昨年秋、ようやく「0増5減」の先行処理に同意したのに、今になって反対に転じ、抜本改革との同時決着に回帰するのは筋が通らない。緊急性を要する格差是正が次期衆院選に間に合わない恐れさえ生じよう。

===

Long-term measures essential

The DPJ seems to have carved out a strategy of pursuing unrealistic ideals, which has failed to produce any achievements. This sophomoric style was evinced in its lofty election pledges for the 2009 lower house election. The DPJ has apparently learned nothing from its time in power.
 非現実的な「理想」を掲げ、結局、何も実現できない――。2009年衆院選政権公約(マニフェスト)に象徴される民主党の未熟な政治文化の特徴だ。その失敗の反省がうかがえない。

Of course, eliminating five single-seat constituencies is merely a stopgap reform measure. If it is implemented, the vote-value disparity ratio will be reduced to 1.998-to-1 or less. But the ratio is likely to exceed 2-1, an acceptable maximum according to the Supreme Court, at some stage.
 無論、「0増5減」は暫定的な改革にすぎない。1票の格差は最大1・998倍で、いずれ2倍を超すのは避けられまい。

Various problems have been highlighted with the current lower house electoral system, which combines single-seat constituencies with the proportional representation formula. For one, the system enables candidates who lose in single-seat constituencies to still be elected through proportional representation. Drastic electoral reform is essential, including a measure to clarify the roles of both chambers of the Diet.
 現行の小選挙区比例代表並立制は、小選挙区で敗れた候補の復活当選制度など、様々な問題が指摘されている。衆参両院の役割分担も含めた抜本改革は不可欠だ。

If major parties are not able to make significant progress in their electoral reform discussions, they should give serious thought to consulting expert panels on the issue.
 政党間の協議が進展しないようなら、有識者会議の活用を真剣に考える必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 30, 2013)
(2013年3月30日01時44分  読売新聞)

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再生エネ発電 太陽光の購入価格はまだ高い

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 31, 2013)
Solar power purchase price remains too high
再生エネ発電 太陽光の購入価格はまだ高い(3月30日付・読売社説)

The government will lower prices for power companies to purchase electricity generated by solar power by about 10 percent under the feed-in tariff system starting in April. Currently, power companies are obliged under the system to buy electricity generated by renewable energy sources.
 再生可能エネルギーでつくった電気を電力会社が購入する制度で、政府は太陽光発電の買い取り価格を4月から約1割下げることを決めた。

The system, however, is designed to have utilities add costs of purchasing renewable energy to electricity charges paid by users. We think it is reasonable to lower the purchasing prices, considering recent price declines of solar panels.
 買い取り費用は電気料金に上乗せされ、利用者が負担する。太陽光パネルの価格下落などを踏まえて、買い取り価格を下げるのは当然の措置といえる。

But the latest price reduction is still not enough. The purchasing price of electricity generated by solar power will be lowered from the initial 42 yen to 38 yen per kilowatt-hour. But it is still too expensive compared with purchasing prices for electricity generated by wind and geothermal power, which are respectively 23 yen and 27 yen per kWh.
 だが、今回の下げ幅では不十分だ。太陽光の買い取り価格は当初の1キロ・ワット時あたり42円から38円になるが、風力の23円や地熱の27円に比べてまだ高すぎる。

Purchasing prices are revised once a year in principle but can be revised every six months if considered necessary. The government should revise purchasing prices flexibly based on price trends of power generation equipment for renewable energy.
 原則年1回の価格見直しも、必要なら半年で行える。政府は発電資材の価格動向などをにらみ、機動的に改定すべきである。

===

Burden on electricity users

The feed-in tariff system aims to encourage the use of renewable energy. To this end, the government is understandably trying to make it possible for renewable energy businesses to stably generate profits with electricity generated by solar and wind power and other renewable energy purchased at fixed prices for 10 to 20 years.
 買い取り制度は再生エネ普及が目的だ。太陽光や風力などの電気を10~20年間にわたり一定価格で買い取ることで発電事業の収益安定を図る。その狙いはわかる。

However, it should never be forgotten that electricity users shoulder those purchasing costs. Setting purchasing prices high without careful consideration would excessively promote the entry of new companies and cause purchasing costs to skyrocket.
 ただし、買い取り費用が利用者の負担でまかなわれることを忘れてはならない。価格を安易に高く設定すると、新規参入が過剰に促進され、買い取りコストが急上昇する恐れがある。

In fact, a rush of new companies into the business, which has been dubbed a solar power boom, has caused electricity charges to soar in Germany, which introduced the feed-in tariff system ahead of Japan, creating a social problem.
 実際に、買い取り制度で先行したドイツでは「太陽光バブル」といわれる参入ラッシュで電気料金が急騰し、問題になっている。

Nearly 2,000 yen was added to monthly electricity charges for an ordinary household in Germany under its renewable energy program. Though the German government lowered purchasing prices by 60 percent in four years, the entry of new companies continues unabated because the break-even point for solar power generation has declined thanks to bargain prices for Chinese made solar panels and other factors.
 ドイツの一般家庭で電気料金に上乗せされる金額は毎月2000円近い。買い取り単価を4年で6割も下げたのに、中国製パネルの廉売などで太陽光発電の採算ラインが下がったため、参入に歯止めがかからないという。

Purchasing prices in Japan are two to three times those in Germany. Since the amount of electricity purchased under the system is still very small, the extra charge to each household is only 100 yen per month. But the government must stay on alert.
 日本の買い取り価格は、ドイツより2~3倍も高い。制度全体の買い取り規模が小さいため、家庭の負担はまだ月100円ほどだが、油断は禁物である。

===

Don't follow German path

Applications for construction of mega solar power plants are being made in quick succession as companies seek government approval before purchasing prices are reduced.
 買い取り単価が下がらないうちに政府の認定を受けようと、駆け込み的な太陽光発電所(メガソーラー)の申請も相次いでいる。

This country could follow the same path as Germany unless the government lowers purchasing prices to an appropriate level before solar power plants under the feed-in tariff system increase sharply.
 買い取り対象となる発電所が急増する前に、価格を妥当な水準に下げておかないと、日本もドイツの二の舞いとなりかねない。

The current system, which determines purchasing prices by only studying documents, is also questionable. It is a matter of concern that some companies might obtain government approval when purchasing prices are still high and build power plants only after solar panel prices go down. The government should consider applying purchasing prices to those plants when they actually start operations.
 書類の認定だけで価格を確定する仕組みも疑問だ。価格が高い間に認定を受け、太陽光パネルが値下がりしてから設備を作る動きが懸念される。運転開始時の価格を適用するよう改めてはどうか。

Some Chinese solar panel makers have gone bankrupt because price competition is too fierce, but companies in Japan are slow to reduce costs of solar power generation.
 中国のパネルメーカーが倒産するほど価格競争は激しいのに、日本の太陽光発電コスト低減への動きは鈍い。

We think solar power companies would be ill-advised to try to exploit high purchasing prices under the system and neglect making efforts to reduce costs such as procurement of equipment at economical prices.
業者が高値での買い取り制度に甘え、安価な資材調達などのコスト削減努力をおろそかにしているのなら本末転倒だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 30, 2013)
(2013年3月30日01時44分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月30日 (土)

プロ野球開幕 今季も劇的な戦いを見たい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 30, 2013)
Looking forward to dramatic games as pro baseball season opens
プロ野球開幕 今季も劇的な戦いを見たい(3月29日付・読売社説)

The professional baseball leagues officially start their respective pennant races Friday. Which of the nation's 12 teams will come out on top this season? Our interest will remain high until the end of the Japan Series in autumn.
 プロ野球がきょう、開幕する。今季はどのチームが頂点に立つのか。秋まで興味は尽きない。

In the Central League the Yomiuri Giants will seek to achieve the difficult task of repeating their Japan Series victory last year. The team has not won the Japan Series in successive years since it achieved the great feat of being Series champions for the ninth year in a row in 1973, dubbed V9. The focal point of the CL pennant race is how other teams will try to improve their strength, such as the Hanshin Tigers, who reinforced their team lineup with a new catcher and other players.
 セ・リーグでは、巨人が、V9を達成した1973年以来となる連続日本一に挑む。補強で戦力アップを図った阪神など、他のチームがどう巻き返すかがポイントとなる。

In the Pacific League, the Nippon Ham Fighters will try to clinch the pennant again this year. Which team may be able to prevent them from doing so? One point of interest will be how new skippers--Tsutomu Ito of the Chiba Lotte Marines and Hiroshi Moriwaki of the Orix Buffaloes--direct their teams.
 パ・リーグでは、日本ハムが連覇を目指す。それに立ちはだかるのは、どのチームか。新たに就任したロッテの伊東勤監督、オリックスの森脇浩司監督の采配も見所の一つだろう。

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Promising rookies

Members of Samurai Japan, the Japan national team that participated in the World Baseball Classic, will be core members of the 12 teams and engage in fierce competition. We hope they act as the driving force of the baseball world, fully utilizing their experience in competing on the global stage.
 ワールド・ベースボール・クラシック(WBC)に出場した「侍ジャパン」のメンバーが、各チームの核となり、しのぎを削る。大舞台で戦った経験を生かし、野球界を牽引(けんいん)してもらいたい。

Many hopeful newcomers have joined each team this season.
 今季も各チームには、有望な新人が多数、入団した。

Among them, Shohei Otani of the Nippon Ham Fighters is especially drawing the interest of baseball fans. He aims to contribute as both a pitcher and an outfielder, a feat rarely achieved. In exhibition games Otani has proved his extraordinary talent at both pitching and hitting.
 中でも、注目されるのが、日本ハムの大谷翔平選手だ。投手と野手の“二刀流”を目指すという。大成すれば、極めて珍しいケースだ。オープン戦では、投球、打撃とも非凡な才能を見せた。

We have to keep a watchful eye on two rookie pitchers to be immediate threats--Tomoyuki Sugano of the Giants and Shintaro Fujinami of the Hanshin Tigers.
 即戦力として期待される巨人の菅野智之投手、阪神の藤浪晋太郎投手らからも目が離せない。

However, the professional baseball world is still in difficult circumstances.
 プロ野球を取り巻く状況は、依然として厳しい。

Last season, the Central League drew an average attendance of 27,293 fans per game, a marginal decrease of 0.02 percent from a year before. Pacific League games saw an average of 22,175 fans per game, down 2 percent. Among the 12 teams, seven saw attendance drop.
 セ・リーグの昨季の入場者数は1試合平均2万7293人で、前年より0・02%の微減、パ・リーグは2万2175人で2・0%減少した。12球団のうち7球団で実績が前年より落ち込んだ。

We hope each team will liven up the pennant races by making their games very exciting so many fans will want to watch a game at a stadium.
 各チームは、多くの人が「球場で観戦したい」と思うような白熱した試合を展開し、ペナントレースを盛り上げてほしい。

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Special rule lifted

Both leagues abolished the so-called 3-1/2 hours rule, which stipulates that games will not go further innings if the time played has exceeded 3-1/2 hours. The special rule was introduced as a power-saving measure in 2011 due to the electricity shortage resulting from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
 両リーグとも、今季は「3時間半ルール」を撤廃する。
 「試合時間が3時間半を超えた場合、新しい延長回に入らない」とする特別ルールは、2011年の東日本大震災で電力事情が悪化したことに伴い、節電対策として実施されてきた。

This rule led the number of tied games to soar from 16 in 2010 to 56 in 2011 and 74 in 2012.
 これにより、10年には16試合だった引き分けが、11年に56試合、12年には74試合に急増した。

Pitchers often repeatedly make pick-off throws in an apparent attempt to consume time and thereby have a game end in a tie. Such games disappointed fans. Abolishing the special rule was an appropriate decision.
 引き分けに持ち込むため、投手が再三、走者にけん制球を投げるなど、露骨な時間稼ぎが目立ち、ファンをがっかりさせた。撤廃は妥当な判断と言える。

Although the 12 extended inning system without a time limit has been revived for this season, it is still necessary to consider power saving. Sluggishly prolonging games will bore spectators. We hope each team will continue to make efforts to shorten the length of games by, for instance, reducing the time for changing pitchers.
 今季は時間無制限の延長十二回制に戻るとは言え、節電への配慮は必要だ。だらだらと長引く試合では、観客も飽きてしまう。投手交代の時間を短縮するなど、各チームは引き続き、試合のスピードアップに努めてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 29, 2013)
(2013年3月29日01時38分  読売新聞)

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65歳まで雇用 若者の仕事を奪わぬように

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 30, 2013)
Older Japanese must work longer without crowding out the young
65歳まで雇用 若者の仕事を奪わぬように(3月29日付・読売社説)

The revised Law for the Stabilization of Employment of Elderly People, which requires companies to allow all employees to stay on the payroll until they are 65 if they wish to do so, takes effect on April 1.
 65歳までの希望者全員を雇用するよう企業に義務付けた改正高年齢者雇用安定法が4月1日に施行される。

The revised law comes in conjunction with a gradual increase in the eligibility age for benefits under the government-run kosei nenkin corporate pension insurance scheme to 65 from the current 60, beginning from April. The revision was enacted in August last year.
 改正法は、厚生年金の支給開始年齢が4月以降、現在の60歳から段階的に65歳に引き上げられることに伴うもので、昨年8月に成立した。

The purpose of the legislation is understandable: the need to help people deal with a period in which they might receive no pension. It can be said the times we live in require companies to continue employing all of their elderly workers as long as they desire to stay on at their jobs.
 定年後に年金を受け取れない期間が生じるのを防ぐという狙いは理解できる。企業に対し、希望者全員の雇用継続を義務付けるのは、時代の要請と言えよう。

The current law calls for companies to make efforts to enable employees to work until the age of 65 after the retirement age of 60, either by abolishing the mandatory age limit, raising the age limit or implementing reemployment measures for retired workers.
 現行法も、60歳で定年を迎えた社員が、定年の廃止か引き上げ、または継続雇用により、65歳まで働けるよう企業に求めている。継続雇用を選択した場合、健康状態や働く意欲など、一定の基準を設けて選別できる仕組みだ。

When companies choose one of these reemployment systems, the current law is designed to enable the firm to set certain criteria in selecting employees eligible to continue working, such as health conditions and motivation for working.

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Elderly can boost economy

The latest revision to the system is mainly aimed at doing away with the stipulation of criteria, to ban companies from retaining only certain selected workers.
Under the revised law, the government will issue a warning to companies that fail to comply with the new system. If they then refuse to comply, the companies' names will be made public.
 今回の制度改正は、この基準規定を廃止し、選別を認められなくするのが眼目だ。政府は、違反した企業に勧告を行い、従わない場合は企業名を公表するという。

To be sure, the nation's average life expectancy has risen markedly and the health of people in their 60s has improved a great deal.
 確かに、平均寿命が伸び、60歳代の健康状態は格段に向上している。

It is significant that people aged 60 to 64, who have so far been supported by the pension system, will instead be able to support the social security system by working and paying premiums for the pension program.
年金に支えられてきた60~64歳の人たちが、働いて税や保険料を納め、社会保障の支え手となる意義は大きい。

It is hoped that people in this age bracket will receive higher income and also engage in higher spending, thus boosting the country's economic growth.
 この年代の所得や消費が向上し、経済成長を後押しする効果も期待できるだろう。

However, a wide divergence tends to appear among people in their 60s in terms of their willingness and ability to work.
 だが、60歳代では、能力と意欲の個人差が広がる。

It is reasonable that the business world at one time opposed mandatory continuation of employment up to the age of 65 on the grounds that the system would increase personnel costs, weighing on corporate management.
経済界が65歳までの継続雇用の義務化に「人件費が増え、経営を圧迫する」と反対していたのも、無理はない。

It is of the highest importance to ensure companies under the new system never deprive young people of employment opportunities for the sake of continued employment of the elderly. They also must never use the system as an excuse to increase the number of nonregular workers.
 重要なのは、高年齢者の雇用維持を理由に若者の仕事を奪ったり、非正規雇用を増やしたりしてはならないということだ。

However, about 40 percent of employers responding to a poll said they will "curb employment of young recruits" following the implementation of the revised law.
 改正法施行で、「若年層の雇用を抑える」とした企業は約4割に上る、との調査もある。

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'Age of lifelong work'

To prevent the dynamism of society as a whole from dwindling, all companies are urged to use ingenuity to provide jobs for both young and old.
 社会全体の活力を低下させないようにするためにも、若者から高齢者まで、働く場の確保に各企業は知恵を絞ってもらいたい。

Many firms will have to make important judgments regarding allocation of personnel expenses, such as curbing pay raises for employees in their 40s and 50s.
40~50歳代の賃金上昇を抑えるなど、人件費の配分を工夫していくことになるだろう。

Meanwhile, the United States, Britain and Germany have already decided to raise their pension eligibility age to 67 or 68.
 年金の支給開始年齢について、米国やイギリス、ドイツは既に67~68歳に引き上げることを決めている。

Given that Japan has been graying more rapidly than these countries, it will be hard for this nation to avoid further raising the pension eligibility age beyond 65.
これらの国より早く高齢化が進む日本で、さらなる引き上げを避けるのは難しい。

Since the graying of society coupled with low birthrates will certainly be accelerated, people's working lives will most likely become longer. Under the circumstances, companies and workers alike must think hard about what should be done to prepare for the advent of an "age of lifelong work."
 一段と少子高齢化が進み、働く期間も一層長くなる。企業も労働者も「生涯現役社会」の到来を見据えねばならない。

We urge the government to work out and implement policies conducive to expanding employment by giving more teeth to measures for encouraging the development of industries with high growth potential.
 政府にも、成長産業にテコ入れし、雇用を拡充していくような戦略的な政策が求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 29, 2013)
(2013年3月29日01時38分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月29日 (金)

法曹養成提言 行き詰まりの打開策を示せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 29, 2013)
Govt needs concrete measures to nurture legal professionals
法曹養成提言 行き詰まりの打開策を示せ(3月28日付・読売社説)

Many law school graduates cannot pass the national bar examination, or even if they do, they struggle to find jobs. To address the situation, the government must review the current system for nurturing would-be legal professionals.
 法科大学院を修了しても、司法試験に受からない。弁護士になっても就職先が見つからない。
 こうした現状を変えるには、法曹養成の在り方を再検討する必要がある。

A government panel charged with such a review has released draft interim proposals on the matter.
 政府の法曹養成制度検討会議が中間提言案を公表した。

In them, the panel asks the government to withdraw its target of about 3,000 people passing the bar exam each year, arguing this level is not practical.
司法試験の年間合格者数を3000人程度とした政府目標について、「現実性を欠く」として撤回を求めた。

The proposals are premised on the belief that the current system for nurturing people who would like to work in the legal field has hit a wall.
法曹養成計画が行き詰まっていることを踏まえたものだ。

The number of applicants who pass the bar exam each year has hovered around 2,000 to 2,100 in recent years.
 司法試験の合格者数は、ここ数年、2000~2100人で推移している。

To maintain a consistent quality of skills possessed by legal workers, it is unreasonable to increase the number of successful candidates simply by lowering the standards for passing the exam.
法曹の質を維持する観点から、合格レベルを下げてまで人数を増やすことはできまい。

===

Excess of schools

The main reason the number of successful applicants has not increased is the fact that many graduate schools of law are not fulfilling their role of developing future legal professionals.
 合格者数が伸びない最大の要因は、法科大学院の多くが法曹養成の機能を果たしていないことにある。

Initially, the government projected the pass rate among law school graduates in the national bar exam would be 70 to 80 percent, but the rate has been much lower. Last year it was only about 25 percent. This can be explained by the superfluous number of law schools in the nation at present: 74.
合格率も、当初の想定は7~8割を見込んでいたが、昨年は約25%に低迷している。74もの大学院が乱立した結果だ。

The number of applicants for law schools has also been decreasing. If this situation is left unattended, capable human resources will stop enrolling in law schools.
 入学志願者も減少している。このままでは有能な人材が法科大学院に集まらなくなるだろう。

The proposals call for cuts in subsidies to law schools with low passing rates for their students and graduates in the national bar exam.
They also stipulate the withdrawal of judges and public prosecutors who have been dispatched from the government to law schools as instructors.
 提言案は、合格率の低い法科大学院に対する措置として、補助金のカットや、教員として国から派遣される裁判官や検察官の引き揚げを盛り込んだ。

Such measures are intended to encourage law schools to consolidate and reorganize.
 こうした対策により、統廃合を進めることが求められる。

The scarcity of jobs for those who pass the bar exam is also problematic.
 司法試験合格者の受け皿が不足している現状にも問題がある。

The judicial system reform that began in 2001 is based on the philosophy of shifting the entire society from the current "advance administrative control and regulation" system to one of "post review and remedy" through the judicial system. A major pillar of the reform is a drastic increase in the number of lawyers needed.
 2001年にスタートした司法制度改革は、社会全体を、行政による事前規制型から司法による事後救済型に変えるという理念に基づく。担い手となる弁護士の大幅増が改革の柱とされてきた。

===

Society unaware of legal needs

However, changes in society have not been progressing as initially planned. The number of cases filed at courts nationwide has not been radically increasing. Positions for lawyers at corporations and local governments are numbered. The stagnant economy has also aggravated the problem.
 だが、社会の変革は必ずしも当時の構想通りには進んでいない。訴訟件数はそれほど増えておらず、企業や自治体による弁護士の採用も多くはない。経済状況の悪化も影響している。

A leading explanation for the situation must be that society is not aware of the potential for utilizing lawyers to address issues that surface in corporate activities and daily life.
 日常生活や企業活動などのトラブルに弁護士を活用していくという意識が、社会全体にまだ浸透していないからだろう。

Many cases dealing with labor problems and bullying in schools require legal advice. There are also cases in which companies expanding abroad face legal issues in other countries.
 労働紛争や学校でのいじめ問題などで、法律的な助言が必要とされるケースは少なくない。海外に進出した企業が、現地で法的問題に直面する事例もある。

Except for urban areas, there is a serious shortage of lawyers in many regions.
 都市部以外では、弁護士不足が深刻な地域が多い。

The draft proposals say it is important to illuminate potential causes for hiring lawyers to expand the sphere of lawyers' activities.
 提言案は、潜在的なニーズを掘り起こし、弁護士の活動領域を広げることが重要だと指摘した。

However, the proposals are still insufficient as they lack concrete measures to achieve this goal.
だが、具体的な手立てを示していないのは物足りない。

The government panel will compile a final report by this summer. We strongly hope the panel will come up with more detailed, improved proposals.
検討会議は今夏までに最終報告をまとめる。より充実した提言を求めたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 28, 2013)
(2013年3月28日01時13分  読売新聞)

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経済連携交渉 日本主導で自由貿易圏加速を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 29, 2013)
Japan should take upper hand in FTA negotiations
経済連携交渉 日本主導で自由貿易圏加速を(3月28日付・読売社説)

Prompted by Japan's recent announcement it would join the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, various large-scale, free trade agreement initiatives have begun materializing one after another.
 日本が環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉への参加を正式表明したことを契機に、広大な自由貿易圏の構想が次々と具体的に動き出した。

On Tuesday, the inaugural round of negotiations on a trilateral FTA between Japan, China and South Korea kicked off in Seoul.
 日本、中国、韓国3か国の自由貿易協定(FTA)の第1回交渉がソウルで始まった。

Tokyo has also agreed with the European Union to begin talks in April on an economic partnership agreement. In May, negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will begin, with countries including Japan, China, South Korea and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations expected to join the talks.
 日本は、欧州連合(EU)との経済連携協定(EPA)交渉を4月に開始する方針でも合意した。日中韓と東南アジア諸国連合(ASEAN)などが参加する東アジア包括的経済連携(RCEP)の交渉も5月にスタートする。

We can say the trend of nations and regions vying to create FTA frameworks beneficial to themselves has accelerated.
 各国・地域が自らに有利な自由貿易圏を競う潮流が、さらに鮮明になってきたと言えよう。

As Japan is scheduled to participate in multiple FTA negotiations, there is an opportunity for the nation to proactively engage in establishing regional trade rules. The government must devote itself to realizing these FTAs at the earliest opportunity, paving the way for boosting Japan's economic growth.
 複数の交渉に加わる日本にとって、貿易ルール作りに積極的に関与できるチャンスである。各交渉の早期合意を実現し、成長に弾みをつけなければならない。

Regarding FTA talks, it is clear that Japan is lagging behind South Korea, which has already concluded FTAs with the United States and the EU. It has been a considerable time since Japan presented FTA proposals to its Asian neighbors and the EU, but talks on these have been slow to materialize.
 韓国が米国やEUとのFTAを発効させたのに比べて、日本は出遅れが目立つ。打診していた中韓両国や欧州との交渉を開始することすらできずにいた。

===

Japan rallying from behind

However, the EU, China and South Korea have recently begun making favorable comments regarding negotiations with Japan, following Tokyo's move to join TPP talks.
 ところが、日本のTPP交渉参加の動きを受けて、EUと中韓が対日交渉開始へ軟化に転じた。

It appears the EU intends to counter the influence of the TPP with an EU-Japan FTA. The EU has also agreed with the United States to begin FTA negotiations, with talks expected to start soon. It is obvious that the EU is concerned about the possibility of being left behind in the global trend.
 EUには、日本との協定をTPPへの対抗軸にする思惑がうかがえる。米国ともFTA交渉開始で合意し、近く交渉を始める。世界の動きからEUが取り残される事態を警戒したのは明らかだ。

We assume Beijing has a similar goal. The problem of the Senkaku Islands persists between Japan and China, but it seems China is trying to counter the United States' deepening influence in Asia by engaging in talks with Japan and South Korea.
 日中間では尖閣諸島の問題がくすぶるが、中国も日中韓交渉の開始により、アジアへ関与を深める米国を牽制(けんせい)する狙いがあろう。

Japan's challenge is clear--whether it can take the initiative in setting up trade rules.
 日本の課題は、貿易ルール作りを主導できるかどうかだ。

Points of contention in Japan-EU talks will be eliminating the EU's high tariffs on automobiles and other products, as well as Japan's market deregulation in fields such as cars and medical equipment. Reaching an agreement quickly presents Japan and the EU with many hurdles to overcome.
 EUとの交渉では、EUによる自動車などの高関税の撤廃とともに、日本の自動車、医療機器市場などの規制緩和が焦点になる。早期合意へのハードルは高い。

The outlook of negotiations between Japan, China and South Korea is also unclear, as issues such as intellectual property rights and competition policies are expected to be discussed at the talks.
 日中韓交渉も、知的財産権や競争政策などが交渉分野になるだけに、先行きは不透明だ。

===

Need to be a tough negotiator

Regarding TPP talks, countries are expected to employ various tactics on whether to exempt agricultural products, such as rice, from tariff elimination.
 TPPでは、コメなど農産品を関税撤廃の例外扱いにするかを巡って駆け引きが予想される。

A major premise for Japan in joining the TPP talks is to seek to create a new free trade framework that will enhance the level of the market openness of the region.
 日本にとって、市場開放度を高める自由貿易の新たな枠組みを目指すことが大前提である。

Meanwhile, by simultaneously undertaking other FTA negotiations, Japan will be able to put pressure on the United States, the EU and China. The government must use its bargaining power to pursue the interests of the nation in the negotiations. It is also important to keep in mind the necessity of inducing China to comply with international trade rules.
 一方、交渉を同時並行で行うことで米欧や中国を揺さぶる道も開けよう。国益を反映させる交渉力を発揮すべきだ。中国を国際ルールに取り込む必要もある。

As Japan--one of the world's major exporters--has recorded trade deficits in recent years, it is urgent to get the nation back on its feet. Japan's announcement to join the TPP talks had a far-reaching impact on the world. To exploit this opportunity, Japan must prepare a sharp strategy for the negotiations.
 貿易赤字に転落した「輸出大国」の立て直しは急務と言える。TPP参加表明が世界に及ぼした相乗効果を生かし、政府にはしたたかな戦略が求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 28, 2013)
(2013年3月28日01時13分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月28日 (木)

衆院選違憲判決 国会は司法の警告に即応せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 28, 2013)
Diet should respond quickly to warnings from judiciary
衆院選違憲判決 国会は司法の警告に即応せよ(3月27日付・読売社説)

 ◆「無効」判断は無責任ではないか◆

Never before has the legislature been so harshly criticized for its negligence by the judiciary.
 立法府が、司法からこれほどまで怠慢を指摘されたのは、かつてなかったことだ。

Rulings have been handed down in 15 of 16 lawsuits heard at high courts and high court branches across Japan over vote-value disparities in the December House of Representatives election.
 昨年12月の衆院選を巡り、全国の高裁・支部で審理された16件の「1票の格差」訴訟のうち、15件で判決が言い渡された。

In 13 of the cases, the courts found results in related single-seat constituencies in the Dec. 16 lower house election to be unconstitutional. In the two remaining cases, the election results were found to be in an "unconstitutional state."
There was not a single case in which the election results were ruled constitutional.
 13件は「違憲」と断じた。残る2件も「違憲状態」と指摘し、合憲判断は一つもなかった。

The rulings were handed down as a result of examinations by about 50 high court judges. The Diet must seriously take the rulings to heart and quickly take concrete measures to correct vote-value disparities.
 約50人もの高裁判事が審理した結果である。国会は判決を重く受け止め、早期に具体的な是正措置を講じなければならない。

===

Rectification taking too long
 ◆進まない格差の是正◆

Do vote-value disparities in last year's lower house election--with votes in one constituency worth up to 2.43 times as much as those in another--violate the Constitution, which guarantees people's equality under the law?
 最大2・43倍だった1票の格差が、法の下での平等を保障した憲法に違反するか。

If so, is the time period in which the Diet left the disparities unaddressed permissible? These were points of contention in the lawsuits.
違反であれば、国会が格差を放置した期間は許容できる範囲内か。いずれの訴訟もこの2点が主な争点だ。

The rulings that found the election results to be unconstitutional judged that vote-value disparities violate the Constitution and that a reasonable time period to correct the disparities had elapsed.
 「違憲」判決は、格差が憲法違反である上、格差是正の合理的期間も過ぎたと判断した。

The rulings that found the election results to be in an unconstitutional state consider the vote-value disparities to violate the Constitution but view the time period in which the disparities were left unaddressed as permissible.
「違憲状態」判決は、憲法違反だが、格差の放置は許される期間内だとの見解である。

In March 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that the 2009 lower house election, in which the maximum vote-value disparity was 2.30-to-1, was in an unconstitutional state. The disparity widened further in the lower house election last year.
 最大格差が2・30倍だった2009年の衆院選について、最高裁は11年3月、「違憲状態」とする判決を出した。昨年末の衆院選時には、それよりも格差が拡大していた。

Therefore, it was only to be expected that a series of tough judgments would be handed down by the high courts.
 高裁の一連の厳しい判断は、予想できたと言えよう。

But how large can a vote-value disparity grow and still be considered constitutional? The rulings handed down so far are not necessarily clear on this point.
 ただ、1票の格差は、何倍までならば合憲なのか、各高裁の判決からは必ずしも判然としない。

Another problem is that the Hiroshima High Court and the high court's Okayama branch declared results in certain single-seat constituencies in the December lower house election were invalid.
 さらに、問題なのは、広島高裁と広島高裁岡山支部が、選挙の無効まで宣告したことである。

Other courts have applied the legal principle of "circumstantial ruling" and found election results themselves to be valid in consideration of the confusion that might be created if they were ruled invalid.
 裁判所はこれまで「事情判決」の法理を適用し、選挙そのものは有効としてきた。無効とした場合の混乱を考慮してのことだ。

But the Hiroshima High Court did not apply this circumstantial ruling principle, saying, "The Supreme Court's right to determine the constitutionality of laws has been disregarded."
 これに対し、広島高裁は「最高裁の違憲審査権が軽視されている」として、事情判決を適用しなかった。

The high court also expressed a view that September of last year, 1-1/2 years after the top court's ruling, should have been the deadline for rectifying vote-value disparities.
「最高裁判決から1年半が経過した昨年9月」を、格差是正の期限とする見解も示した。

However, no concrete basis for this standard was given.
 だが、この線引きの具体的根拠は示されていない。

===

Undue judicial interference
 ◆「将来効」判決は疑問◆

The Hiroshima High Court also ruled that the election results in the Hiroshima constituencies will be rendered invalid after Nov. 26 this year.
 無効の効力は、今年11月26日を経過して発生するとも判示した。

The decision took into account the fact that the Council on House of Representatives Electoral Districts has been working on revamping these districts since Nov. 26 last year.
衆院の「選挙区画定審議会」が、昨年11月26日から改定作業を始めたことを重視したのだという。

It is not clear if a one-year grace period is necessary before the ruling takes effect.
 一定期間を経た後に効力が生じるという「将来効」の考え方だが、1年という区切りの必然性は明確でない。

Staying the effect of the ruling can be taken as an intrusion by the judiciary into territory where discretionary power is granted to the legislature.
立法府の裁量権に司法が踏み込んだとも言える。

The Okayama branch of the Hiroshima High Court immediately invalidated the result for an Okayama Prefecture constituency as the principle of equality in the value of each vote, it said, took precedence over concerns for political confusion. We find such a ruling unacceptably reckless.
 岡山支部は、選挙を「即時無効」と判断した。「政治的混乱より投票価値の平等」を重視したというが、あまりに乱暴過ぎる。

The existing Public Offices Election Law has no detailed stipulations about revoting, should an election be deemed invalid.
 現行の公職選挙法には、選挙無効が確定した場合の詳細なやり直し規定がない。

For example, no clear legal procedures for revoting are mentioned, including whether new elections should be held only in constituencies where lawmakers lost their seats, or if instead the lower house should be dissolved for a general election.
例えば、失職した議員の選挙区のみ再選挙をするのか、解散・総選挙になるのか、法的手続きは整理されていない。

Should the rulings nullifying the election results stick, Japan's politics would be thrown into utter confusion.
 無効判決が確定すれば、政治は混乱するばかりだ。

All rulings related to vote disparities are expected to be taken to the Supreme Court. It is hoped that the top court will make a realistic decision.
 すべての訴訟は上告される見通しだ。最高裁には現実的な判断を示してもらいたい。

===

Parties must cooperate on solution
 ◆与野党合意できぬなら◆

Meanwhile, the government and ruling parties should ensure that a draft bill be enacted swiftly to reduce five seats in less populated constituencies in an effort to narrow vote disparities among the least and most represented constituencies to within a 1-to-2 ratio. Then, they must take on the task of revamping the electoral districts.
 一方、政府・与党は、1票の格差を2倍未満に収める「0増5減」の区割りを決める公選法改正案を早期に成立させた上で抜本改革に取り組まねばならない。

Reducing five seats without increasing any seats in densely populated districts, as stipulated in the draft bill, is based on the current zoning method, which the top court deemed a major cause for producing vote disparities and urged to be abolished.
The current zoning method first allocates one seat each to Tokyo and 46 prefectures out of the 300 district seats and then distributes the rest of the seats to each prefecture based on population.
 ただ、0増5減は、最高裁が1票の格差を生む主因として廃止を求めた「1人別枠方式」による定数配分を基礎としている。

As the ruling by the Okayama branch indicated, the reduction of a mere five seats does not amount to an appropriate legislative step to rectify the gap in the value of each vote.
 岡山支部判決が指摘するように「投票価値の格差是正への立法措置とは言い難い」だろう。

There is, however, no prospect in sight for a sweeping electoral rezoning, hampered by conflicting interests of parties in both the ruling and opposition camps.
 抜本改革となると、与野党それぞれの思惑が絡んで、進展の見通しは全く立っていない。

The Liberal Democratic Party's reform plan calls for reducing seats under the proportional representation section from 180 to 150. Sixty of the seats would be preferentially allotted to the political parties ranked second or lower.
Such a preferential seat allotment, many say, would violate the Constitution's guarantee of equality in the value of each vote.
 自民党がまとめた案は、比例選の定数を30減の150議席とし、そのうち60は得票数が2位以下の政党に配分する優遇枠とした。優遇枠については、「1票の価値の平等」という観点から憲法違反の恐れが指摘されている。

The electoral zoning deemed unconstitutional by the judiciary should not be replaced, as part of electoral reforms, by a different system feared to also be unconstitutional.
 司法が「違憲」と判断した制度を見直すのに、またもや違憲の恐れがある制度をもって代えてよいはずがあるまい。

Upper house electoral zoning, like that of the lower house, has been ruled to be in an unconstitutional state.
Last November, the Diet revised the Public Offices Election Law to add four seats in populated prefectures and eliminate four seats from less populated prefectures.
The law revision, however, was only a stop-gap measure.
 衆院選と同様に参院選も「違憲状態」と判断されている。国会は参院選の1票の格差を是正するために昨年11月、公選法を改正し、選挙区定数を「4増4減」したが、応急的な措置に過ぎない。

The electoral system not only expresses the will of the public but also serves as the foundation of a smooth political process. The Diet must carry out drastic electoral reforms after studying on how parliamentary duties should be divided between the upper and lower chambers.
 選挙制度は、ただ民意を反映するだけのものではなく、政治が物事を円滑に決めるための基盤でもある。国会は衆院、参院の役割分担を検討したうえで、抜本的な制度改革を進めるべきだ。

If conflicting interests of political parties stand in the way of electoral reform, the only way left is to set up an expert council to get electoral reform under way.
 各党の党利党略によって、選挙制度改革が困難というのなら、有識者による選挙制度審議会を設けてでも改革を図るしかない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 27, 2013)
(2013年3月27日01時12分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月27日 (水)

円滑化法終了へ 中小企業支援に万全を期せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 27, 2013)
Financial institutions must continue to aid smaller firms
円滑化法終了へ 中小企業支援に万全を期せ(3月26日付・読売社説)

A law allowing a grace period for financially ailing small and midsize companies to repay their debts will expire at the end of March.
 経営の悪化した中小企業に借金の返済猶予を認めている中小企業金融円滑化法が、3月末で期切れとなる。

The government must make an all-out effort to implement measures to avoid a sharp rise in the number of companies going bankrupt after the law expires.
 これを引き金に、中小企業の倒産が急増することのないよう、政府は支援策に万全を期さねばならない。

The law was enforced in 2009 as a temporary step to cope with the economic downturn following the so-called Lehman shock.
 円滑化法は、リーマン・ショック後の不況への時限対策として、2009年に施行された。

It was extended twice, and is believed to have helped 300,000 to 400,000 small and midsize companies through such measures as rescheduling debt repayments. Under the severe economic circumstances, the legislation was somewhat effective in preventing smaller companies from going bankrupt.
 期限は2回にわたり延長され、返済の繰り延べなどで支援された中小企業は、30万~40万社にのぼると見られている。厳しい景気情勢の下、中小企業の倒産防止に一定の効果を上げたのは確かだ。

On the other hand, however, it has had the negative effect of keeping alive companies with no prospect for reconstruction.
 一方、再建の見込みのない会社を、いたずらに延命させた弊害があるのも事実である。

With the expiration of the law, it is believed 50,000 to 60,000 companies will be forced to drastically overhaul their businesses, discontinue operations or switch to other businesses. The nation must be ready for a certain amount of pain in regenerating industries to lay the groundwork for a strong Japanese economy.
 円滑化法の終了に伴い抜本的な事業再生や廃業・転業を余儀なくされる企業は、5万~6万社にのぼると推計される。産業の新陳代謝を促し、「強い日本経済」の基礎を作るためにも、ある程度の痛みは覚悟する必要があろう。

===

Don't withdraw credit

But smaller companies that have shown a willingness and ability to reconstruct themselves should not be driven to the wall because of a strong reluctance to lend or an abrupt withdrawal of credit by financial institutions.
 ただし、金融機関による強引な「貸し渋り」や「貸しはがし」によって、再建の意欲と能力のある中小企業まで倒産に追い込むような事態は避けるべきだ。

The Financial Services Agency has asked financial institutions to comply as much as possible with requests for a debt repayment moratorium, eased interest rate payments, and other steps. These suggestions are reasonable. The Cabinet Office and ministries concerned should strengthen their surveillance systems to avoid a credit crunch and other problematic situations.
 金融庁は金融機関に対し、期限切れ後もできるだけ返済猶予や利払い軽減などに応じるよう要請した。妥当な措置である。関係府省は、貸し渋りなどへの監視体制を強化してもらいたい。

It also deserves attention that the system to support the business revitalization of smaller companies has been expanded just before the law expires.
 円滑化法の終了をにらみ、中小企業の事業再生を支援する制度が拡充されたことも注目される。

The Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation of Japan, which helped reconstruct Japan Airlines and other companies, was transformed by the government into the Regional Economy Vitalization Corporation of Japan, which focuses on assistance to smaller companies. Public funds for the organization have been increased from 300 billion yen to 1 trillion yen.
 政府は、日本航空の再建などにあたった企業再生支援機構を、中小企業に注力する地域経済活性化支援機構に改組した。機構が活用できる公的資金枠は、3000億円から1兆円に拡大された。

===

Self-help vital

In addition, the government hammered out a variety of steps, such as increasing lawyers and tax accountants at local turnaround support organizations to help microenterprises speed up their rehabilitation plans. It is reassuring that such a comprehensive system has been set up by the central government and local entities.
 このほか、各地方の再生支援組織で今後、弁護士や税理士のスタッフを増員し、零細企業の再建策作りを加速させるなど、多様な施策を打ち出した。国と地方で総合的な体制をとったのは心強い。

A major point is the role of financial institutions, which have detailed information on the financial conditions of their clients and are familiar with their management abilities. Financial institutions should closely cooperate with public organs and extend effective assistance.
 重要なのは、取引先の財務内容や経営能力をよく知る金融機関の役割だ。公的機関と緊密に連携して、効果的な支援を実現することが求められる。

However, everything depends on the self-help efforts by small and midsize companies. Given the shrinking domestic market because of the declining population and the rise of newly emerging economies, the business environment has become increasingly uncertain.
 むろん中小企業の自助努力が大前提である。人口減による国内市場の縮小や新興国の台頭で、経営環境は不透明感を増している。

To extricate themselves from a deteriorating situation, some companies probably will have to advance into foreign countries to cultivate markets there or drastically change the way they do business. We hope companies find a way out of the difficult situation by effectively using supportive measures.
 じり貧の現状を打開するため、市場開拓を目指した海外進出や、思い切った業態の転換などを迫られる会社もあろう。支援策を生かし、活路を開いてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 26, 2013)
(2013年3月26日01時35分  読売新聞)

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国連人権調査委 北朝鮮に拉致解決迫るテコだ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 27, 2013)
Pile intl pressure on North Korea over human rights violations
国連人権調査委 北朝鮮に拉致解決迫るテコだ(3月26日付・読売社説)

The U.N. Human Rights Council recently unanimously adopted a resolution on establishing a panel to investigate human rights abuse in North Korea.
 国連人権理事会で、北朝鮮の人権侵害に関する調査委員会の設立をうたう決議が、全会一致で採択された。

It is important for the international community to seize this momentum and step up pressure on the reclusive country to improve its human rights conditions, which would pave the way for the swift resolution of North Korea's abduction of Japanese.
 これをテコに、北朝鮮の人権状況の改善を求める国際社会の連携を強化し、日本人拉致問題の早期解決につなげることが重要である。

The resolution was jointly submitted by Japan and the European Union, and denounced North Korea's "systematic, widespread and grave violation of human rights." It stipulated the establishment of an inquiry panel of three experts to investigate human rights abuse including the use of torture and labor camps, as well as "enforced disappearances, including in the form of abductions of nationals of other states."
 決議案は日本と欧州連合(EU)が共同提出した。北朝鮮の「組織的で広範かつ重大な人権侵害」を非難し、強制収容所や拷問、「外国国籍者の拉致を含む強制失踪」などを調べるため、3人の専門家による調査委設立を明記した。

The United Nations has appointed a special rapporteur tasked with investigating North Korea's human rights conditions every year, but establishing the panel will enable a more exhaustive investigation.
 国連は毎年、北朝鮮の人権状況を調査する特別報告者を任命してきたが、調査委発足によって、より充実した調査が可能となる。

The Japanese government should unreservedly support the panel. It must unveil the full picture of the abductions--a crime committed by a state--and bring all the Japanese victims home.
 日本政府は、総力を挙げて協力し、拉致という北朝鮮の国家犯罪の全容解明と、被害者全員の帰国実現を図っていくべきだ。

===

High expectations for panel

The United Nations has adopted resolutions condemning North Korea's human rights situation annually in recent years. Votes cast against the resolutions in support of North Korea have decreased over the years, while votes in favor have increased. Since last year, these resolutions have been adopted unanimously.
 北朝鮮の人権状況を非難する国連決議案の採決では、北朝鮮擁護派の反対票が年々減少する一方、賛成票は増え続け、昨年から全会一致での採択が通例となった。

The U.N. Security Council adopted a unanimous resolution on tougher sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear and missile development programs. Pyongyang has continuously thumbed its nose at international condemnation of the programs. Even China has become more willing to implement sanctions on North Korea.
 核・ミサイル問題でも、国際社会の非難を無視する北朝鮮に、国連安全保障理事会は全会一致で制裁を強化した。中国も、制裁実施に積極的な姿勢を見せている。

The North Korean regime of Kim Jong Un must take this mounting international pressure to heart.
 北朝鮮の金正恩政権は、こうした国際的な圧力の高まりを重く受け止めなければならない。

North Korea likely will keep refusing to cooperate with U.N. investigations, and will not open its doors to inquiry panel members.
 北朝鮮は、これまでと同様、国連への協力を拒み、調査委関係者の入国を一切認めないだろう。

However, the panel can collect detailed evidence from victims, defectors, their relatives, governments and agencies outside North Korea. The panel is expected to compile a report on the state of Pyongyang's human rights violations and specific countermeasures. The report will be issued as an official U.N. document a year from now.
 それでも調査委は、北朝鮮以外の国で、被害者や脱北者、家族、政府、諸機関から詳細な証言を集めることができる。それを基に組織的な人権侵害の実態や具体的な対策をまとめ、1年後に国連報告書として公表する予定だ。

The panel report could firmly pursue the North Korean leadership's responsibility for crimes against humanity. The international community must keep squeezing North Korea until it improves its human rights record.
 北朝鮮指導部に「人道に対する罪」の責任を厳しく問うこともできよう。人権状況の改善を迫るために、国際社会は北朝鮮に圧力をかけ続ける必要がある。

===

Little time left for families

The Human Rights Council resolution reflects the Japanese government's strenuous efforts on the abduction issue. We praise the government for its work.
 今回の決議は、日本政府の拉致問題に関する積極的な取り組みの一つの成果と、評価できる。

In his policy speech earlier this year, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his mission will not end until all abducted Japanese stand again on their native soil. Family members of the abductees have grown old, so there is no time to waste. We ask the prime minister to produce tangible results.
 安倍首相は施政方針演説で、拉致被害者の帰国まで「私の使命は終わらない」と述べた。被害者家族の高齢化を考えれば時間は貴重だ。ぜひ結果を出してほしい。

The government should develop a strategic and aggressive diplomatic policy toward North Korea, including the option of resuming intergovernmental talks.
 北朝鮮との政府間協議の再開も含めて、戦略的で積極的な外交の展開が求められる。

Without a comprehensive solution to the abduction, nuclear and missile problems, it will be impossible to normalize relations with North Korea. It is essential for the government to maintain this stance when dealing with Pyongyang.
 拉致、核、ミサイル問題の包括的な解決なくして、日朝国交正常化はあり得ない。政府はこの立場を堅持することが肝要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 26, 2013)
(2013年3月26日01時35分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月26日 (火)

公示地価 不動産デフレ脱却へもう一息

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 26, 2013)
Revitalization of business crucial to escaping real estate deflation
公示地価 不動産デフレ脱却へもう一息(3月25日付・読売社説)

Land prices have been showing stronger signs of bottoming out. To make it possible to restore real estate prices to normal levels and lead the nation out of deflation, the government must accelerate economic revitalization.
 地価の底入れの兆しが一段と強まってきた。不動産価格を正常化させ、デフレから脱却できるよう、政府は経済活性化を急がねばならない。

Posted land prices as of Jan. 1 this year, which were announced last week by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, dropped 1.6 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, in residential and commercial areas from a year before. This marked year-on-year negative growth for the fifth straight year since the Lehman shock in the autumn of 2008.
 国土交通省が発表した2013年1月1日時点の公示地価は、全国の住宅地で前年比1・6%、商業地で2・1%下落した。08年秋のリーマン・ショック以降、ともに5年連続のマイナスだった。

However, the bright side is that the margin of decline shrank for three consecutive years. Above all, it may be said that the bottom is in sight in three major metropolitan areas where the margin of decline remained below 1 percent.
 下落幅が3年連続で縮小したのは明るい材料だ。中でも3大都市圏の下落幅は0%台で、下げ止まりが視野に入ったと言える。

The year-on-year fall in the average land price contracted in almost all prefectures. This indicates that the situation is improving in both urban and regional areas.
 都道府県別の平均値も、ほぼすべてで下落幅が縮まった。都市圏から地方圏へ、改善傾向が広がっていることをうかがわせる。

Funds have been flowing into the real estate market on hopes for the economic revitalization policies put forth by Shinzo Abe before he became prime minister. If this trend continues, it will spur a rebound in land prices.
 安倍首相が就任前から掲げた経済再生に対する期待が先行し、不動産市場に資金が流入している。こうした動きが続けば、地価の回復に弾みがつくだろう。

===

Signs of recovery

Improvement is conspicuous in residential zones as a result of such policies as low interest rates and tax deductions for people who take out housing loans.
 住宅地で改善が目立つのは、低金利や住宅ローン減税などの政策効果が下支えしたのが要因だ。

In Tokyo, some areas showed positive growth compared to no change the year before, thanks to brisk sales of condominiums.
 東京では前年ゼロだった上昇地点が現れた。マンション販売が堅調なことが背景にある。

It is noteworthy that land prices are coming out of a slump in commercial areas, particularly in metropolitan areas, which tended to lag residential areas in the pace of their recovery.
 住宅地に比べて遅れ気味だった商業地が、都市部を手始めに持ち直してきたのも注目できる。

The number of spots with higher land prices increased in redevelopment areas centering on large-scale commercial facilities such as Tokyo Skytree and areas where there is strong demand for moving to newly built houses and condominiums with advanced earthquake resistance.
 東京スカイツリーなど大規模な商業施設を中核とした再開発地域や、耐震性に優れた新築物件への移転需要が根強い地域などで上昇地点が増えている。

Vacancy rates are falling, and the drop in rents is coming to an end.
 空室率の低下、賃料の下げ止まりといった傾向が見え始めた。

Investments, mainly from after parts of Asia, seem to be expanding. This is possible because real estate in Japan is considered relatively inexpensive, as the yen has weakened due to monetary easing policies.
 アジアを中心とする海外からの投資マネーも増大しているようだ。金融緩和に伴う円安の進行などで日本の不動産に割安感が出ているのだろう。

===

A matter of concern

Improvement is slow in regional commercial areas facing structural problems such as shrinking populations and battered economies.
 一方、人口減や地域経済の疲弊など構造的な要因を抱える地方の商業地は改善テンポが鈍い。

In the areas devastated by the tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake, the polarization has weakened between land prices in tsunami-affected coastal areas and in higher areas that escaped being inundated.
 東日本大震災の被災地では、津波被害に見舞われた沿岸部と浸水を免れた高台で地価が二極化する現象は薄まっている。

But it is worrying that a growing number of areas are showing a sharp rise in land prices as the demand to move expands due to the progress of reconstruction projects.
 しかし、復興事業が進展し、住宅移転への需要が拡大するのに伴い、地価の急上昇する地点が増えている点は気がかりだ。

The residential area in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, marked the biggest rate of increase in land prices for two years in a row. Land prices turned upward across the board in municipalities in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures along the Pacific coast.
Miyagi topped the national list of prefectures in terms of the growth rate in land prices.
 地価上昇率トップの住宅地は2年連続で宮城県石巻市だった。宮城、岩手両県の沿岸市町村は軒並み上昇に転じ、県別でも宮城県が全国一の上昇率を記録した。

The central and local governments concerned should beef up their surveillance to prevent sharp jumps in land prices that will have an adverse effect on housing reconstruction.
 急激な地価上昇が住宅再建に悪影響を及ぼさないように政府と自治体は監視を強めるべきだ。

Authorities must be cautious regarding the effect on land prices of increased demand ahead of a hike in the consumption tax planned for April.
来年4月の消費税増税をにらんだ駆け込み需要が地価に与える影響にも注意する必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 25, 2013)
(2013年3月25日01時12分  読売新聞)

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都市の鉄道網 相互乗り入れで沿線活気づく

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 26, 2013)
Train links could vitalize areas along connected lines
都市の鉄道網 相互乗り入れで沿線活気づく(3月25日付・読売社説)

A new train network has been created in the Tokyo metropolitan area. If it can create new passenger flows, it may lead to economic revitalization, such as tourism promotion and expanded commercial opportunities.
 首都圏に新たな鉄道ネットワークが誕生した。従来にない人の流れを取り込めば、観光振興や商機拡大など経済の活性化につながろう。

Tokyu Toyoko Line and Tokyo Metro's Fukutoshin Line were recently connected.
 東急東横線と東京メトロ副都心線の相互直通運転が始まった。

The connection means that lines operated by five railway companies--Tobu, Seibu, Tokyo Metro, Tokyu and Yokohama Minatomirai--were linked, enabling passengers to travel a maximum distance of 88.6 kilometers from western Saitama Prefecture to Yokohama without changing trains, an extraordinary development.
 東武、西武、メトロ、東急、横浜高速の鉄道5社が接続し、埼玉県西部から横浜市まで最長88・6キロを乗り換えなしで結ぶ異例の取り組みである。

In Saitama Prefecture and Yokohama, local authorities and businesses are stepping up campaigns to lure visitors from remote locations through such efforts as extending business hours of shopping areas and collaborating with sightseeing facilities.
 埼玉県内と横浜市内では、商店街の営業時間延長や観光施設との連携など、遠方からの客を呼び込むPR合戦が熱を帯びている。

Department stores and other commercial facilities in Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro, which are located along the connected lines, are competing with each other to attract customers. The intensified competition apparently resulted from the latest linking of the railway lines.
 途中の渋谷、新宿、池袋各駅の百貨店なども集客を競う。沿線が活気づく直通効果と言えよう。

===

Annual ridership in billions

In major cities in the country, railway networks cover wide areas, transporting a huge number of commuters to their workplaces and schools. Thirteen billion people a year use trains in the Tokyo metropolitan area, 4.5 billion in the Osaka area and 1 billion in the Nagoya area.
 日本の大都市は広範囲に鉄道網が整備され、膨大な通勤、通学輸送を担っている。年間の利用客数は東京圏130億人、大阪圏45億人、名古屋圏10億人に上る。

More than 70 percent of commuters in Tokyo use railways, a figure far above the 40 percent to 50 percent in New York and London.
 東京では通勤する人の鉄道利用率は7割超で、約4~5割のニューヨークやロンドンを上回る。

The connections of urban subways and railway lines stretching to suburban areas have been driving the development of these urban railway networks.
 都市鉄道の発展に貢献してきたのが、都心の地下鉄と郊外電車が乗り入れる直通運転である。

The total length of connected railway lines in the Tokyo metropolitan area was 155 kilometers in 1970. The figure now tops 900 kilometers, including the length of the latest connected lines, accounting for 40 percent of the total length of lines in the area.
 1970年に155キロだった東京圏の直通運転区間は、今回を含めると900キロを超え、総延長の4割に達する。

Railway companies are reluctant to invest in new lines as they cannot expect an increase in ridership due to the declining birthrate and the aging population. These factors apparently prompted railway companies to link their lines with other operators to cope with the changing demographics.
 少子高齢化で乗客数の拡大が見込めず、新規路線への投資は難しい鉄道各社が、直通運転に活路を求めたという事情があろう。

Connecting lines by making use of existing lines allows railway companies to shorten traveling time by eliminating the inconvenience of changing trains. Railway operators may also be able to attract new passengers.
 既存路線を活用する直通運転なら、乗り換えの不便を解消した時間短縮が可能なうえ、新規乗客の流入が見込めるからだ。

They can expect even more advantages, such as relieving overcrowding at terminal stations, making transportation services more efficient and improving property values of areas along their service lines.
 ターミナル駅の混雑緩和や鉄道運行の効率化、沿線価値の向上というメリットも期待できる。

===

Advantages can be exemplars

These advantages will serve as good examples for railway operators in other regions beyond the Tokyo Metropolitan area, including the Osaka metropolitan area.
 首都圏だけでなく、大阪圏など他地域にも参考となるだろう。

But some concerns remain.
 ただし、懸念材料もある。

In recent railway line connections, multiple railway companies with different car specifications are involved, and their trains run quite long distances. If an accident or trouble involving a train car occurs on one line, it may trigger a chain of delays in other connected lines.
 最近の直通運転は、車両の異なる複数の鉄道会社が乗り入れ、走行距離が長い。いったん事故や車両故障が起きれば、乗り入れ他社の路線まで電車の遅延が玉突きで広がりかねない。

About 40 percent of train delays of up to 30 minutes in the Tokyo metropolitan area are caused by trouble that originally occurred on connected lines, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry.
 国土交通省によると、首都圏の鉄道で発生した30分未満の遅れのうち、約4割が乗り入れ先でのトラブルが原因だった。

Railway operators must make more efforts to minimize delays in train services in case of accidents and other problems.
 事故や故障の際、ダイヤの乱れは最小限に抑えてもらいたい。

They also are urged to expand sections on which they can offer shuttle train services in case of accidents or other problems. It will also be necessary to promptly provide information to passengers.
 折り返し運転が可能な区間の拡大が求められよう。利用客への迅速な情報提供も必要だ。

Setting up platform barriers to prevent passengers from falling onto the tracks is another issue that has to be addressed. Railway companies must expedite efforts to develop technologies to enable them to set up barriers that can cope with cars with different numbers of doors or those with a different width.
 乗客の転落を防止するホームドア設置も検討課題だ。鉄道各社は扉の数や幅が違う車両に対応できる技術開発を急いでほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 25, 2013)
(2013年3月25日01時12分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月25日 (月)

全柔連改革 人心一新しか再生の道はない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 25, 2013)
Scandal-tainted judo federation must revamp leadership
全柔連改革 人心一新しか再生の道はない(3月24日付・読売社説)

A rash of scandals, including cases of physical violence and verbal abuse of female judoka, has left the reputation of the All Japan Judo Federation in tatters.
 女子選手への暴力問題などで、全日本柔道連盟に対する信頼は地に落ちた。

To rebuild the disgraced judo body, the AJJF has no option other than pushing through drastic organizational reform by overhauling its leadership.
組織を立て直すには人心を一新し、改革を断行するしかあるまい。

But last week, the AJJF decided to allow all of its executives, including Chairman Haruki Uemura, to retain their positions and made no change to the lineup.
 全柔連は、上村春樹会長ら執行部の体制を見直さず、全員の留任を決めた。

Doesn't the federation have a culture of taking responsibility for these scandals? We feel disgusted by the AJJF decision that flies in the face of commonly accepted norms.
 責任を取る文化はないのか。社会通念に反する全柔連の決定に、呆(あき)れるばかりである。

Before the federation's decision, an independent panel tasked with looking into the abuse submitted on March 12 a set of reform proposals to the AJJF. The proposals pointed sternly to problems with the federation as an organization. The panel noted the federation has a dearth of human resources that "can stand for socially accepted common sense, not the common sense that works only in the judo world."
 これに先立ち、暴力問題を検証した第三者委員会が、全柔連に答申を提出した。「柔道界の常識ではなく、世間一般の常識を体現できる人材が不足している」などと、全柔連の組織としての問題点を厳しく指摘する内容だった。

===

Unable to manage crisis

One committee member, psychiatrist Rika Kayama, quite rightly had a brickbat for the AJJF decision, saying her panel had worked out its recommendations after concluding the federation "wasn't functioning as an organization."
Kayama added, "Disciplinary measures should be taken against AJJF executives, including Chairman Uemura."
 執行部の留任に、第三者委のメンバーだった精神科医の香山リカさんが「(答申では)組織として機能していない、とまとめた。会長も含めて処分を検討すべきだ」と批判したのも当然だ。

The federation, which was aware of the physical and verbal abuse dished out by the coach of the national women's judo team, who eventually resigned, decided at one time to keep him in his position. Driven by a sense of distrust, 15 female national team judoka filed a complaint with the Japanese Olympic Committee against the AJJF.
 全柔連は、辞任した全日本女子前監督の暴力行為を把握しながら、いったんは前監督の続投を決めた。不信感を強めた15人の女子選手は、日本オリンピック委員会(JOC)への告発に至った。

The federation remains oblivious to the gravity of its problems, and has been unable to take proper steps to deal with the situation. It is obvious the federation badly lacks crisis management capability.
 問題の重大性を認識できず、適切な対策も講じられない。全柔連に危機管理能力が欠如しているのは明らかである。

Noriko Mizoguchi, a silver medalist in the women's 52-kilogram judo division at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, said the federation "has a strong tendency to concentrate power in a handful of executives, making it hard for others to oppose [their decisions]."
 バルセロナ五輪の52キロ級銀メダリスト溝口紀子さんは、全柔連について「一握りの幹部に権力が集中しがちで、『違う』ともの申すことができにくい」と語る。

As long as the "handful of executives" remains unchanged, there is virtually no hope for an organizational transformation of the AJJF.
 この「一握りの幹部」が交代しない限り、組織の変革は望めないだろう。

Uemura said the federation "will address the challenges by working as one." However, a revamp of its leadership must be the first step toward reforming the federation.
上村会長は「一丸となって取り組む」と語るが、執行部の一新こそ改革への第一歩だ。

===

Irregular use of subsidies

The independent panel also called for the AJJF to appoint executives from outside and introduce a system to adopt female executives and coaches. The federation should ensure these proposals are translated into action to get rid of its closed nature and be transformed into an organization in which everyone can candidly exchange their views.
 第三者委は、執行部に外部のメンバーを入れることや、女性理事、女性監督の起用も求めた。閉鎖体質から脱却し、風通しのよい組織に変わるには、ぜひとも実現する必要があるだろう。

Another scandal also surfaced in the AJJF: A portion of subsidies the government-backed Japan Sports Council paid to members of a federation committee for supporting promising athletes was allegedly funneled to federation executives for winning and dining for themselves and others.
 全柔連では新たな問題も明るみに出た。日本スポーツ振興センターから強化委員に支払われた助成金の一部を強化委員会に上納させ、飲食や接待に使っていた。

The disbursements were not recorded, and no receipts were kept. About 20 million yen was reportedly pooled for such usage.
 帳簿や領収書は残されておらず、プール金の残高は約2000万円にも上るという。

Furthermore, an AJJF executive in charge of the committee for supporting promising judoka has acknowledged that he wrongly received subsidies from the council despite having no involvement in training the athletes, with part of the cash diverted to the AJJF leadership.
 さらに、強化委員を務める理事は、指導実態が全くないのに助成金を不正受給し、その一部を上納していたことを認めている。

The judo federation is an incorporated foundation for the public interest that receives preferential tax treatment. Such opaque financial management at the federation is unforgivable.
 全柔連は税制上の優遇措置を受ける公益財団法人だ。不透明な金銭管理は許されない。

It is also crucial that the AJJF get to the bottom of these problems so it can regain the public's trust.
 信頼回復には、これらの問題の徹底解明も重要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 24, 2013)
(2013年3月24日01時20分  読売新聞)

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福島原発停電 管理体制を強化して再発防げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 25, 2013)
Better management crucial at Fukushima nuclear power plant
福島原発停電 管理体制を強化して再発防げ(3月24日付・読売社説)

It took Tokyo Electric Power Co. about 30 hours to fully recover from a large-scale power outage at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
 東京電力福島第一原子力発電所で大規模な停電が起き、全面復旧に約30時間もかかった。

The utility left a lot to be desired in the way it responded to the largest power cut since the onset of the nuclear crisis at the plant following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
 原発事故後、最大規模の停電を招いた東電の対応には、見過ごせない問題があったと言える。

TEPCO required more than a day to determine what had happened after the outage occurred last Monday, which was why the utility failed to restore power faster. This is an issue the company must check into.
 停電発生から丸1日以上、状況把握に難航し、復旧作業の遅れにつながった。今後の課題だ。

Initially, the utility examined affected switchboards one by one, but was unable to identify the cause of the power cut. The utility then switched to emergency power sources.
 東電は当初、関係する配電盤を個別に調べた。だが、故障箇所は特定できず、非常用電源などに配線し直すしかなかった。

The cooling systems for the plant's nuclear reactors were unaffected thanks to the installation of backup power sources, because even a brief outage would seriously affect the reactors.
 原子炉の冷却系は、短時間の停電でも事態が悪化する恐れがあることから、バックアップ電源を備えており、停電は免れた。

Such backup measures, however, have not been fully implemented for other systems.
 だが、それ以外の系統は、こうした対策が十分ではなかった。

A subsequent examination revealed that a small animal, possibly a rat, might have triggered the power cut by causing a short circuit after entering a power panel terminal, which had been set up outside sometime after the onset of the crisis two years ago.
 その後の調査で、2年前の事故直後から屋外に設置されていた配電盤が、内部に入り込んだネズミのような小動物の接触でショートした可能性が浮上した。

===

Spotlight on fuel rods

TEPCO, aware of the disadvantages of setting up a temporary power panel terminal outside, had planned to replace it with an indoor power distribution system. The latest problem shows the company has a long way to go in overcoming the weak points of its management system.
 東電は、屋外の臨時配電盤の弱点を認識し、屋内の配電系統に切り替えることを予定していたというが、管理体制に甘さがあったことは否定できまい。

The power outage has once again turned the spotlight on the importance of cooling spent nuclear fuel rods.
 停電の発生により、使用済み核燃料の冷却が大切であることも改めて注目された。

More than 10,000 spent fuel rods remain in the storage pools of the Fukushima plant. The power cut suspended cooling functions for nearly 9,000 rods.
 福島第一原発では、水を張ったプールに1万体以上が貯蔵されている。このうち9000体近くの冷却機能が一時停止した。

If the water inside the pools had not been circulating, the spent nuclear fuel rods would have been damaged as the water evaporated, as they still are generating heat. This was a major concern at the start of the nuclear crisis.
 使用済み核燃料は発熱を続けている。プールの冷却水を循環させないと、水が蒸発し、燃料が損傷しかねない。事故の際にも危惧されたことだ。

===

Spike in water temperatures

The water temperatures of the plant's pools rose to 32 C at the highest during the latest power cut, far below the alert level of 65 C set by TEPCO.
 今回は、複数あるプールの水温は最高で32度だった。東電が定めている警戒温度の65度までには、十分に余裕があった。

"[The power cut] was not that dangerous," Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said.
原子力規制委員会の田中俊一委員長も、「そんなに切羽詰まったものではない」と指摘した。

However, many people have voiced concern over the prolonged power outage. Detailed explanations should be provided to tell us what happened.
 ただ、停電が長時間続いたことに不安の声は少なくなかった。丁寧な状況説明が求められる。

The power cut was made public about three hours after the incident occurred. It was natural for the NRA's secretariat to say the commission will improve the way information is conveyed to the public.
 停電の公表までに約3時間を要したことも含め、規制委の事務局が「情報提供のあり方を再検討する」と改善の意向を示したのは、当然のことだ。

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was seriously damaged in the disaster. About 3,000 people are working at the site every day to stabilize the nuclear reactors with the ultuimate aim of decommissioning them. It must be extremely difficult for people to work under such severe conditions, as radiation levels remain high at the plant.
 福島第一原発は事故で大きく損傷している。毎日3000人の作業員が、原子炉の安定化や廃炉を目指し、働いている。現場の放射線量は依然高い。厳しい環境での作業は容易でないだろう。

Decommissioning the Fukushima plant may take 40 years. TEPCO should not repeat such blunders as the mishandling of the power outage to avoid undermining public confidence in work at the site.
 廃炉は最長で40年かかる長丁場の事業だ。作業への信頼を損なわないためにも、今回のような不手際を繰り返してはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 24, 2013)
(2013年3月24日01時20分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月24日 (日)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:明るい話題の陰で /東京

March 17, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Hiding sorrow beneath bright news
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:明るい話題の陰で /東京

Whenever the media reports some good news such as "Stock prices exceed pre-Lehman Shock level," I can't help but wonder, "How many people actually are happy about that news?"
 「株価がリーマン・ショック前を超えた」といった明るい話題が報じられるたびに、「これを見て喜べる人とそうでない人との割合は、どれくらいなのだろうか」と考えてしまう。

If a person is facing serious difficulties in their life, such as an illness or family problems, that person can't be happy about good news the world has to offer. I see many people like that coming to my clinic.
 自分の体調が悪いとか家庭に悩みごとがあるなど、個人的に深刻な問題を抱えていれば、いくら社会で明るい話題が出たとしても、とても喜ぶことはできないだろう。診察室にはそういう人たちが大勢、やって来る。

Someone undergoing a cancer examination is unlikely to become all joyful when they hear a report that Tokyo has become the front-runner among candidate cities for the Olympics. For that person, just watching TV is difficult.
 たとえば「がんの疑いがあります」と言われて検査を進めているときに、「オリンピック候補地、東京が有力か」などというニュースを見たとしても、「いいぞ!」と心をときめかせたりはできないと思う。そういう人はテレビを見るのもつらい。

Such being the case, I wonder how those who have been devastated by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami are feeling about such news. Having lost their families, homes and jobs, these people have to carry on their lives with a great sense of loss. Many must feel as if time had been at a standstill since the disasters.
 そうだとしたら東日本大震災の被災地の人たちはどうなのだろう、と気になる。家族や住まい、職場を失って大きな喪失感を抱えたままの人が大勢、生活を営んでいる。「時間が止まったまま」という人も少なくないはずだ。

Despite this, good news, such as the "economy is recovering" and "a new shopping place is opening in Tokyo," is circulated also in disaster-stricken areas. Some people in disaster areas might feel isolated from the rest of Japan when they hear such news, thinking the world is moving forward while leaving them behind.
 しかし、当然のことながら、被災地でもテレビをつければ「景気が回復してます」「東京で新しい施設がオープン」といった明るい話題も流れてくる。それを見ながら「世の中は私とは関係ないところで、前へ前へと進んでいるんだ」と孤立感を強めている人はいないだろうか。

Of course, people in those areas are not saying that they want all of Japan to feel sorrow and remain depressed forever. In fact, many of them get a boost from hearing other people's success stories and news that companies are doing well.
 もちろん、被災地の人たちも日本中の人がいつまでも悲しみ、暗い顔をしていてほしい、と思っているわけではないだろう。たとえ自分とは関係ない話ではあっても、がんばっている人の姿や業績をあげた企業の姿を見て励まされ、自分を奮い立たせている被災者も大勢いる。

However, we should never forget that even when somebody is happy about something or having fun with their friends, there are also people who feel deep sorrow or are suffering. I'm not saying that a person shouldn't have fun, but that a person must be always prepared to comfort others who are troubled. Needless to say, nobody should tell anyone to "smile and move on because everyone else has."
 ただ、私たちはどんなときも忘れてはいけない。自分やまわりが楽しかったりハッピーだったりするときにも、どこかで悲しみに暮れたり重い悩みで苦しんだりしている人がいる、ということを。

Whether a person can be thoughtful about others when they are happy shows the true value of that person. The same thing can be said to today's Japan.
 楽しむな、というわけではないが、悲しんでいる人に寄り添う準備はいつもしておくべきだ。「社会は前に進んでいるんだから、あなたも早く笑顔になって追いついて」などと強制してはいけないことは、言うまでもない。

While the economy is showing some positive signs, it is time for the country as a whole to have compassion for people who are still suffering from the disaster.
 自分がうれしいとき、楽しいときこそ、そうでない人たちにも心配りができるか、その人の真価が問われる。経済に明るい兆しが見えてきた日本も同じ、今こそ被災地の人たちの深い悲しみに心を寄せたい。

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年03月12日 地方版

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「普天間」申請 移設実現へ最大の努力尽くせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 24, 2013)
Govt must make utmost effort to realize Futenma relocation
「普天間」申請 移設実現へ最大の努力尽くせ(3月23日付・読売社説)

The government should make its utmost effort to persuade Okinawa Prefecture to agree to the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in the prefecture to settle the longstanding issue between Japan and the United States.
 長年の日米間の懸案を解決するため、政府は沖縄県の説得に最大限の努力を尽くすべきだ。

The Defense Ministry on Friday applied to the Okinawa prefectural government for permission to undertake land reclamation work needed for the planned relocation of the U.S. military base from Ginowan to the Henoko district of Nago in the prefecture.
 防衛省が、米軍普天間飛行場の沖縄県名護市辺野古移設に伴う公有水面埋め立てを沖縄県に申請した。

The Okinawa prefectural government will carefully judge whether to give permission for the landfill work. As Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima has been insisting the Futenma base be transferred outside the prefecture, it appears unlikely for now that permission will be given.
 沖縄県は今後、埋め立ての許可の是非を慎重に判断する。仲井真弘多知事は「県外移設」を主張しており、許可が得られる見通しは現時点で立っていない。

However, the Nago fishery cooperative decided on March 11 to agree to the relocation of the Futenma base to the Henoko district. Local residents around the planned relocation site also show some understanding of the transfer.
 しかし、辺野古移設に、地元の名護漁協は今月11日に同意する方針を決定した。移設先の周辺住民も一定の理解を示している。

There is no doubt that the relocation of the Futenma base to the Henoko district is the best way to achieve the dual goals of mitigating Okinawa Prefecture's burden of hosting U.S. military bases and maintaining the U.S. military's deterrent capability.
 辺野古移設が、沖縄全体の基地負担の軽減と米軍の抑止力の維持を両立させるための「最善策」であるのは間違いない。

===

Much riding on relocation

The government timed its request in the hope of obtaining permission for the landfill work from the Okinawa governor by the end of this year. This is because the government wants to prevent the outcome of the January 2014 Nago mayoral election, the main issue of which will likely be the relocation of the base, from influencing this important issue related to Japan's security. The government's judgment is appropriate.
 政府は、年内に知事の許可を得ることを目指している。辺野古移設が争点となる来年1月の名護市長選の結果が日本の安全保障にかかわる重要問題を左右する事態を避けるためで、妥当な判断だ。

During summit talks with U.S. President Barack Obama last month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he will promote the Henoko relocation plan. Realizing the relocation will be a critical touchstone to further solidifying the Japan-U.S. alliance.
 安倍首相は2月のオバマ米大統領との首脳会談で、辺野古移設を推進する方針を表明した。日米同盟をより強固なものにするうえでも、辺野古移設の実現が重大な試金石となる。

The government and the ruling parties must make all-out efforts to create an environment that will make it easier for Nakaima to decide to give permission for the reclamation work.
 政府・与党は総力を挙げて、仲井真知事が埋め立てを許可する決断をしやすい環境を整備しなければなるまい。

Most people in Okinawa Prefecture oppose the Henoko relocation plan because of misgovernment by the Democratic Party of Japan under former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who carelessly advocated the unrealistic idea of transferring the Futenma base outside the prefecture or even outside the country. Nakaima, however, originally approved the idea.
 非現実的な「県外・国外移設」を安易に唱えた鳩山民主党政権の失政で、今の県内世論の大勢は辺野古移設に反対だが、もともと仲井真知事は容認していた。

If the reclamation work is not approved, the current dangerous situation of the Futenma base will almost surely become fixed for the long term. Is that really a desirable option for Okinawa Prefecture?
 仮に埋め立てを不許可にすれば、普天間飛行場の危険な現状を長期間固定化することにつながる可能性が高い。それが沖縄にとって本当に望ましい選択なのか。

===

Win over local leaders

The government's efforts in the future must provide Nakaima sufficient room to finally give permission.
 政府の今後の努力次第では、仲井真知事が許可を最終決断する余地は十分あるはずだ。

First and foremost, the government needs to widely seek understanding of the Henoko relocation plan among local organizations of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, and the two parties' Diet members elected in the prefecture.
 まず自民、公明両党の地方組織や県選出国会議員に辺野古移設への理解を広げる必要がある。

It is also indispensable to persuade officials of the city government of Nago to accept the relocation plan. The current Nago mayor opposes the plan, but the number of city assembly members who are against the plan is only slightly larger than the number who support it. The governor's judgment will be greatly affected if these forces in the city assembly are reversed.
 移設先の名護市関係者の説得も欠かせない。市長は移設に反対だが、市議会は反対派が容認派をわずかに上回っているだけだ。市議会の賛否の勢力を逆転させることができれば、知事の判断にも大きな影響を与えよう。

The government should have a series of full-scale discussions with the Okinawa prefectural government on the prefecture's future, including how to use sites after the Futenma base is transferred and land occupied by U.S. military installations is returned, as well as regional development programs.
 普天間飛行場や他の米軍施設の返還後の跡地利用策を含め、沖縄の将来像や地域振興策について、政府は、沖縄県と本格的な協議を重ねていくことが求められる。

The government also must work more seriously than ever before on measures to lessen the prefecture's burden of hosting U.S. military bases, such as noise reduction.
 騒音対策など米軍基地負担の軽減策についても、従来以上に真剣に取り組まねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 23, 2013)
(2013年3月23日01時45分  読売新聞)

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キプロス混迷 欧州危機の再燃回避が急務だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 24, 2013)
Prevent disarray in Cyprus from reigniting European crisis
キプロス混迷 欧州危機の再燃回避が急務だ(3月23日付・読売社説)

The financial crisis in Cyprus, a small island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, has begun to rattle the global economy.
 地中海の小国キプロスの金融危機が、世界を揺るがし始めた。

The European Union should play a leading role in resolving the disarray and preventing it from affecting the economies of the rest of Europe and Japan.
 欧州連合(EU)の主導で混乱を収拾させ、欧州全体や日本経済などへの波及を食い止めるべきだ。

The Cypriot government decided on a plan to restructure the nation's second-largest bank, which has fallen into financial difficulty. This is apparently a last-ditch measure to prevent the chaotic breakdown of the country's banking sector for the time being and secure financial assistance from the European Union.
 キプロス政府は、経営危機に陥った国内第2位の大手銀行を整理・再編する方針を決めた。無秩序な破綻をひとまず回避し、EUからの金融支援を取り付けるための窮余の策と言えよう。

The financial crisis in Cyprus, a member of the EU and the eurozone, was triggered by Greece's financial collapse.
 EU加盟国で通貨ユーロを導入しているキプロスの危機の発端はギリシャ財政破綻だった。

Nonperforming loans have damaged the financial condition of Cypriot banks that owned a huge amount of Greek government bonds, but the Cypriot government lacks the fiscal strength to extend public support to them. This has led to stagnation in the Cypriot model of prosperity, in which the banking sector attracted enormous funds from Russia and other investors around the world.
 ギリシャ国債を大量保有するキプロスの銀行が不良債権を抱えて経営が悪化したが、政府には公的支援を行う財政力がない。ロシアなど国外の預金者から巨額資金を集めていた「金融立国」モデルが行き詰まったことを示す。

===

Tax-on-deposits plan rejected

At Cyprus' request, the EU decided with the International Monetary Bank to extend 10 billion euros (1.2 trillion yen) in assistance. As a condition for the bailout, they demanded Nicosia levy a tax on bank deposits, but that led directly to the current disarray.
 キプロスからの要請を受け、EUは国際通貨基金(IMF)とともに最大100億ユーロ(約1兆2000億円)の支援を決めた。
 その条件としてEUが求めた銀行預金への課税案が、事態を混乱させる直接の要因になった。

Outraged with the envisioned taxation Cypriots rushed to banks to withdraw money, further fueling the chaos. A government bill aimed at gaining public support by excluding smaller accounts from the taxation was rejected by parliament, which was thinking of public opinion.
 課税を嫌がる国民がEUの提案に反発し、預金引き出しに走るなど、騒ぎが拡大した。
 少額預金については課税対象外とし、国民の理解を得ようとした政府の法案も、世論を意識した議会で否決された。

If this situation continues, Cyprus will not be able to meet the conditions demanded by the EU and the bailout will not be implemented. Some observers have expressed concern that Cyprus may default on its debts.
 このままではEUの条件をクリアできず、支援策は宙に浮く。債務不履行(デフォルト)を警戒する見方すらくすぶる。

The Cypriot government presented its plan to restructure the second-largest bank because it was forced to present an alternative to the tax on bank deposits. Nicosia must have realized the merits of restructuring the troubled bank, since it would cost less pubic money than keeping the bank open and bailing it out.
 キプロス政府が大手銀行を整理する方針を示したのは、預金課税の代替案を迫られた結果だ。問題銀行を存続させて救済するよりも公的資金が少なくて済むメリットに着目したのだろう。

===

German position key

However, it is still too early to tell whether assistance will be extended quickly. One key to determining that lies with Germany, which demands that Cyprus achieve strict fiscal discipline. Nicosia must work out more details of its measures to stabilize its banking sector, in order to convince Germany and other EU members.
 だが、支援が速やかに実現するかどうか、先行きは不透明だ。最大のカギは、厳しい財政規律を求めるドイツが握る。キプロスはドイツなどを納得させる銀行安定策をさらに詰めねばなるまい。

The role of Russia, which has close ties with Cyprus, is also important. We hope Moscow will work with the EU.
 キプロスとの関係が深いロシアの役割も重要だ。EUと連携を図ってもらいたい。

The biggest fear is that the Cypriot crisis will spill over to other countries such as Spain and Italy, reigniting the European crisis that is currently calming down.
 最も懸念されるのは、キプロス危機がスペインやイタリアなどに飛び火し、沈静化しつつあった欧州危機を再燃させる事態だ。

In the foreign exchange market, the euro continues to be weak while the yen tends to be bought. Wild fluctuations in stock prices have also been seen in markets around the world.
 外国為替市場では、ユーロが弱含みで推移し、円が買われやすい展開が続く。世界各地で株価の乱高下も目立っている。

There should be careful monitoring of whether the disarray in Cyprus indirectly hinders Abenomics, the economic policy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to revitalize Japan's economy.
 キプロス混迷が回り回って、経済再生を目指す安倍政権の経済政策「アベノミクス」に冷や水を浴びせないか。要警戒である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 23, 2013)
(2013年3月23日01時45分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月23日 (土)

イスラエル政権 イラン核問題で米と連携を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 23, 2013)
Israel must closely cooperate with U.S. over Iranian N-issue
イスラエル政権 イラン核問題で米と連携を(3月22日付・読売社説)

At their latest summit meeting, top U.S. and Israeli leaders stressed cooperation--demonstrating a recovery in bilateral relations, which have recently been stressed by differences over issues such as Iran's nuclear development and the Palestinian peace process.
 米国とイスラエルが首脳会談で協調態勢をアピールした。イラン核問題や対パレスチナ和平を巡ってぎくしゃくしていた関係の修復を、印象づけたと言える。

It is important that the two countries utilize their renewed relations to stabilize the Middle East.
 これを中東地域の安定につなげていくことが重要だ。

After Israel's general election in January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally launched a coalition administration. U.S. President Barack Obama was the first foreign leader to be welcomed by the administration.
 1月の総選挙を受け、ようやく連立政権発足にこぎつけたネタニヤフ首相は、オバマ米大統領を最初の外国首脳として迎えた。

Regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, a major focus of the summit talks, Netanyahu acknowledged during a joint press conference with Obama that it would take one year for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon, even if it decided to go nuclear. Meanwhile, Obama emphasized, "We prefer to resolve this diplomatically, and there's still time to do so."
 焦点のイラン核問題では、首脳会談後の共同記者会見で、首相は、イランが核兵器製造を決断しても完成まで約1年かかるという認識を示し、大統領も「外交的解決の時間はまだある」と強調した。

===

Diplomatic solution first

We can conclude that both countries have agreed to fully engage diplomatically to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons.
 両国は、イランの核保有阻止を目指し、外交的手段を尽くすことで一致したと言える。

Last September, Netanyahu warned global leaders that it was within the realm of possibility that Iran had enough highly enriched uranium to produce its first nuclear weapon by as early as this spring. He has also indicated that Israel may unilaterally attack Iran if the international community cannot stop the nation from possessing a nuclear weapon.
 首相は昨年9月、イランが今年春にも、核兵器を作るのに十分な量の高濃縮ウランを保有する恐れがあると警告した。国際社会が阻止できねば、単独でのイラン攻撃も辞さない構えを見せていた。

But as Netanyahu has reached a compromise with Obama at the latest summit talks, a situation in which Israel takes military action against Iran is unlikely for the time being.
 今回、米国に歩み寄ったことで、イスラエルが軍事行動に出る事態は当面、遠のいた。

Should Israel attack Iran, the effects of the war would undoubtedly spill over into other areas. For instance, crude oil prices would skyrocket, adversely affecting the global economy. It is for this and other reasons that Israel must refrain from using force.
 イスラエルがイランを攻撃すれば、戦火は拡大し、原油価格の高騰で世界経済も揺らぎかねない。武力行使は自制すべきだ。

Obama pledged that the United States would support Israel in matters of security. In a show of his country's intent to keep its promise, Obama inspected Israel's "Iron Dome," a mobile all-weather air defense system that the United States helped to develop.
 大統領は、米国が安全保障面でイスラエルを支えると確約した。米国が支援した対空防衛システム「アイアン・ドーム」を視察したのも、示威効果が狙いだろう。

The security situation around Israel has been increasing in severity. Its neighbor Syria has descended into civil war, and in Egypt, where Islamists have taken the reins of government, the economy and politics have been thrown into chaos. The circumstances surrounding the region are increasingly unclear. In such an environment, Israel needed to restore a cooperative relationship with the United States.
 イスラエルの安保環境は厳しさを増している。隣国シリア内戦の泥沼化や、イスラム主義勢力が権力を握ったエジプトの政治・経済の混迷など、地域情勢は不透明感を強めている。イスラエルには、対米関係修復が必要だった。

During the joint press conference, Netanyahu also confirmed Israel remains fully committed to the "two states for two peoples" solution to the Palestinian issue, an initiative promoting the coexistence of two states.
 首相は、共同記者会見でイスラエルとパレスチナの「2国家共存」構想への支持も確認した。

===

Weak administrative foundation

However, the growing number of Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and a split in the Palestinian leadership have made reopening peace negotiations difficult. As a result, the process for establishing a Palestinian state is still nowhere in sight.
 しかし、イスラエルの占領地ヨルダン川西岸での入植拡大や、パレスチナ指導部の分裂によって、パレスチナとの和平交渉が再開するめどは立たず、パレスチナ国家樹立への道筋は見えない。

Netanyahu's administrative foundation is now weaker than it was before the election. His attempts to garner support with a hard-line stance against Iran have ended in failure.
 ネタニヤフ首相の政権基盤は、総選挙前より弱まった。対イラン強硬姿勢で支持を広げようという試みは失敗に終わった。

After the election, the prime minister tried to establish a broad coalition administration. However, a religious party that once had been a former coalition partner decided to become part of the opposition, and Netanyahu's Likud party only succeeded in winning over middle-of-the-road and rightist parties. The stability of the new administration remains questionable.
 選挙後、首相は幅広い連立を試みたが、従来の連立相手だった宗教政党は離反し、中道勢力と強硬右派を取り込むにとどまり、政権の安定度には不安が残る。

Close cooperation with the United States is indispensable to maintain the Netanyahu government, and preserving its cooperation with the United States over the Iranian nuclear issue is an important pillar of that policy.
 米国との緊密な協力は、政権維持に不可欠だ。イラン核問題での連携維持は、重要な柱である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 22, 2013)
(2013年3月22日01時11分  読売新聞)

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臨時企業税違法 「公平な徴収」重視した最高裁

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 23, 2013)
Top court ruling reasonable on illegal taxation
臨時企業税違法 「公平な徴収」重視した最高裁(3月22日付・読売社説)

Should a special corporate tax introduced by the Kanagawa prefectural government have been deemed legal?
 神奈川県が導入した臨時特例企業税は合法かどうか――。

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled the special corporate tax was "illegal and invalid." The top court decision finalized the decision against the prefecture in the tax lawsuit, a reversal of a high court ruling.
最高裁は「違法で無効」との判決を言い渡した。県の逆転敗訴が確定した。

The top court's judgment should be considered reasonable since it emphasized the principle of impartiality in the collection of taxes.
 徴収の公平性という課税の原則を重視した妥当な判断と言えるだろう。

Isuzu Motors Ltd., which has factories in Kanagawa Prefecture, filed the litigation, seeking the return of about 1.9 billion yen in taxes it paid to the prefectural government.
 神奈川県内に工場を持つ、いすゞ自動車が、徴収された約19億円の返還を県に求めていた。

The Local Tax Law allows a company to be exempt from the local enterprise tax, either entirely or partially, by carrying forward past losses and deducting them from taxable income even if the firm is in the black for a single business year.
 地方税法は、企業が単年度決算で黒字になっても、過去の赤字分を繰り越して利益から控除することで、地方税の一つである法人事業税の減免を認めている。

In contrast to this, the special corporate tax imposed by the Kanagawa prefectural government did not take such losses into account, and was meant to tax single-year corporate profits.
 これに対し、神奈川県の臨時特例企業税は、繰り越し控除を考慮せず、単年度の黒字額に課税するものだ。

In court, Isuzu Motors argued the way the prefecture levied the tax was contrary to the carryover rule.
いすゞ側は、地方税法が規定したルールに反した課税だと主張していた。

===

Well-matched to reality

In handing down its decision, the Supreme Court said the Local Tax Law provisions concerned are for the purpose of "ensuring impartiality in levying taxes by making equitable, as much as possible, the tax burdens of corporations, irrespective of fluctuations in corporate profits for different business years."
 最高裁は、地方税法の規定について、「事業年度ごとの所得金額の変動にかかわらず、法人の税負担をできるだけ均等化して、公平な課税を行うためにある」との見解を示した。

This is definitely a sound judgment well-matched to the realities of businesses, the performance of which can vary each year.
 業績が各年で変化する企業の実態に沿った適切な判断である。

Based on this reasoning, the top court said the taxation method employed by the Kanagawa prefectural government ran counter to the spirit of the Local Tax Law.
 その上で、判決は、神奈川県の課税手法は「地方税法の趣旨を阻害するものだ」と結論付けた。

The ruling can be said to clearly show the Supreme Court's view that taxation in disregard of conventionally recognized tax rules must not be allowed.
従前のルールを度外視した課税は認められない、という最高裁の姿勢を明確に示したと言えよう。

At the time of the imposition of the tax, Isuzu Motors was consistently in the red, having just narrowly managed to log a profit for a single business year thanks to support from banks and foreign companies. The top court seems to have also taken this into consideration.
 いすゞ自動車は当時、債務超過に陥り、外国企業や銀行などの支援で単年度黒字を確保したばかりだった。判決は、そうした事情も勘案したのだろう。

What led Kanagawa Prefecture to adopt the new tax was the Omnibus Decentralization Law that was put into force in 2000. The legislation was designed to enable local governments to levy local discretionary taxes on their own, if approved by the internal affairs and communications minister. Expectations subsequently surged among local governments for expansion of local tax autonomy.
 新税導入のきっかけは、2000年施行の地方分権一括法だった。自治体が独自の法定外税を考案し、総務相が同意して施行する制度だ。自治体の間では課税自主権拡大への期待が高まった。

===

Review discretionary levies

Kanagawa Prefecture, which was struggling at that time with a fiscal crunch, introduced the ordinance for the new tax in 2001. The tax targeted about 1,700 companies, including Isuzu, and was in place until it expired in 2009.
 財政難だった神奈川県は、新税に関する条例を01年に制定し、いすゞを含む約1700社を課税対象とした。09年まで施行した。

It is understandable that local governments try to secure revenue by asking companies to bear tax burdens in exchange for administrative services provided by the local governments.
 自治体が、行政サービスを提供する対価として、企業に負担を求め、財源を確保しようという狙いは理解できる。

Commenting on the top court's ruling, Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa criticized the decision for "going against what our prefectural government has been striving for amid a major trend of the decentralization of power" from the central government to local governments.
 判決を受け、神奈川県の黒岩祐治知事は「地方分権という大きな流れの中で県がやってきたことに逆行する」と批判した。

The prefecture says it plans to return to the companies a total of about 63.5 billion yen in cash that was levied under the taxation scheme.
 県は徴収した各企業に計約635億円を返還する方針という。

The central government's Committee for the Promotion of Decentralization came out with a proposal in 2009, calling for local governments to "make efforts to effectively make use of local tax autonomy."
 政府の地方分権改革推進委員会は09年、「自治体は課税自主権の積極的な活用に努めるべきだ」と提言している。

In line with the latest decision by the Supreme Court, both the central government and local entities must study anew what is desirable about taxation at the discretion of local governments.
今回の判決を機に、国と自治体は地方独自の課税のあり方を改めて検討すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 22, 2013)
(2013年3月22日01時11分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月22日 (金)

WBC閉幕 世界一決定戦として育てたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 22, 2013)
WBC should become tourney to decide world's No. 1 team
WBC閉幕 世界一決定戦として育てたい(3月21日付・読売社説)

The World Baseball Classic has just ended, with the Dominican Republic winning the title.
 野球の第3回ワールド・ベースボール・クラシック(WBC)は、ドミニカ共和国の優勝で幕を閉じた。

The victorious team--along with Puerto Rico, which was beaten in the championship game--impressed us with the strong physical abilities of Caribbean players.
 決勝の相手となったプエルトリコとともに、高い身体能力を生かした「カリブ勢」の強さを印象付けた大会だった。

Japan aimed to pull off a three-peat, but disappointingly left the tournament in the semifinals. The team failed to make a double steal during a great opportunity, but we cannot fault its aggressive attempt. We applaud the players' strenuous efforts to advance to the championship round.
 3連覇を目指した日本代表は、残念ながら準決勝で敗退した。好機での重盗失敗が痛かったが、積極策を責めることはできまい。決勝ラウンドまで進出した選手たちの奮闘をねぎらいたい。

The Samurai Japan team for the latest WBC comprised only players from the domestic leagues, as Japanese major leaguers declined to appear. However, the team was able to show Japan's strong aspects to some extent, stringing hits together with pitchers holding on for wins.
 今回の「侍ジャパン」は、米大リーグ所属の選手が出場を辞退し、国内でプレーする選手だけの布陣で臨んだ。打線をつなぎ、投手力でしのぐという持ち味は、ある程度、発揮できたと言える。

Japan's breathtaking seesaw game against Taiwan in the second round was filled with the best aspects of baseball. The Chunichi Dragons' Hirokazu Ibata miraculously proved himself as a clutch hitter, tying the score with a ninth-inning RBI single on a two-out pitch.
 2次ラウンドの台湾戦での息詰まる攻防には、野球の醍醐(だいご)味が凝縮されていた。九回二死から同点打を放った井端弘和選手(中日)の勝負強さは見事だった。

===

Strong ratings

The game attracted an average viewer rating of 30.3 percent in the Kanto region. The following match between Japan and the Netherlands reached a pinnacle of 34.4 percent.
 この試合のテレビの平均視聴率は、関東地区で30・3%を記録した。次の日本―オランダ戦では34・4%に達した。

The public's support must have been a great encouragement for the players.
 国民の声援は選手たちの大きな励みとなったに違いない。

Some of the younger members of Japan's latest squad will surely play central roles in the 2017 WBC--such as pitchers Kenta Maeda of the Hiroshima Carp and Masahiro Tanaka of the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles, and fielders Sho Nakata of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and Hayato Sakamoto of the Yomiuri Giants.
 日本代表メンバーのうち、若手の前田健太(広島)、田中将大(楽天)両投手、中田翔(日本ハム)、坂本勇人(巨人)両選手らは、4年後に予定される次回WBCでも日本の中核となるだろう。

We hope these players will further improve their performances.
 一層の飛躍を期待したい。

The gaps in ability among participating countries are much smaller than before, causing even leading nations to fail to perform as expected.
 今大会では、これまで以上に各国のチーム力が拮抗(きっこう)し、強豪国も思うような結果を残せなかった。

The United States, for example, failed to advance to the championship round, while South Korea, the runner-up in the previous WBC, was ousted in the first round. In contrast, European teams performed outstandingly, the Netherlands making it to the semifinals.
米国は決勝ラウンドに進出できず、前回、準優勝の韓国は1次ラウンドで姿を消した。
 一方で、欧州勢の活躍が目を引いた。中でも、オランダは準決勝まで進んだ。

Most of the Netherlands' players came from Curacao, an autonomous state in the kingdom of the Netherlands that it occupied in the 17th century, but the team's performance has probably helped the Dutch become more interested in baseball.
17世紀に入植した中米キュラソー島出身の選手が多かったが、チームの活躍は、オランダ本土での野球への関心を高めたのではないだろうか。

===

Participation benefits Japan

Run by a company set up by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, the WBC is now a valuable international event to show the exciting aspects of baseball, as the sport has been dropped from the Olympics.
 五輪競技から野球が外れている現在、大リーグ機構と大リーグ選手会の共同出資会社が運営するWBCは、野球の魅力を世界に伝える貴重な国際大会だ。

The Nippon Professional Baseball Players Association initially expressed its intention to sit out the WBC, mainly because it found fault with the way the tournament is organized.
 日本のプロ野球選手会は当初、運営方法への不満などから大会への不参加を表明した。

However, it can be said it was good for Japan to participate in the event, considering how excited fans were to support the national team.
だが、国民の盛り上がりをみれば、やはり出場してよかったと言える。

The Samurai Japan players will also certainly benefit from the experience of competing with their national flag on their uniforms.
日の丸を背負って戦った経験は、選手にとっても大きな財産となろう。

It is necessary to further develop the WBC as a tournament to decide the world's top team and improve Japanese baseball to recapture the title.
 WBCを世界一決定戦として発展させ、それを目標に日本の野球も一層、レベルアップしていくことが必要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 21, 2013)
(2013年3月21日01時28分  読売新聞)

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クール・ジャパン 官民が連携して魅力の発信を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 22, 2013)
Abe aims to boost the power of 'Cool Japan' cultural exports
クール・ジャパン 官民が連携して魅力の発信を(3月21日付・読売社説)

Japanese music, anime, fashion and food are in the global spotlight, a trend called the "Cool Japan" boom.
 クール・ジャパン(かっこいい日本)として、日本の音楽、アニメ、ファッション、食文化などは海外で人気が高い。

We believe this trend should be boosted to stimulate the nation's economic growth.
 日本経済の成長に弾みをつけるため、さらにテコ入れすべきだ。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered Tomomi Inada, state minister for administrative reforms, to also serve as the nation's first Cool Japan strategy minister. Abe has also launched an expert panel aimed at promoting the government's Cool Japan campaign. These moves reflect the prime minister's intention to make the Cool Japan initiative part of the government's growth strategy.
 安倍首相は、稲田行政改革相に初のクール・ジャパン戦略相を兼務させ、有識者による推進会議も発足させた。成長戦略の一つに位置付けようとしている。

We believe the government's policy of promoting businesses related to Cool Japan culture to a level Japan can be proud of is worth pursuing.
 政府の「クール・ジャパンを世界に誇るビジネスに」という方針は妥当と言える。

The cornerstone of the Cool Japan initiative is the content industry, which produces movies, anime and video games. The size of the industry's domestic market is about 12 trillion yen.
 核となる映画やアニメ、ゲームなどコンテンツ産業の国内市場規模は12兆円に上る。

===

Future depends on global market

However, as the nation's population has begun to shrink, the future of Japan's content industry will taper off if it depends only on the domestic market. If the industry seeks further growth, it needs to aggressively advance overseas, and find new business opportunities there.
 だが、人口減社会の到来で、国内だけでは先細りとなるだろう。さらなる成長を図るなら、海外へ積極的に展開し、ビジネスチャンスを獲得していく必要がある。

The size of the content industry's global market is about 130 trillion yen. It is expected to grow at an annual average rate of 6 percent.
 コンテンツ産業の世界全体の市場規模は約130兆円だ。今後も年平均6%程度の成長を続けていくという。

One idea is to increase exports of domestic movies. Last year's export sales of domestic movies came to about 5 billion yen, less than 5 percent of domestic box-office revenues that year.
 例えば、日本映画をもっと輸出できないか。昨年の邦画の輸出実績は約50億円で、国内興行収入の5%にも満たなかった。

Export sales of domestic TV programs were 6.3 billion yen in 2010, lagging far behind the figure for South Korea, where the government strongly backs TV program exports.
 テレビ番組の輸出額も63億円(2010年)で、政府が後押しする韓国よりも大幅に少ない。

Japan's manga and anime are highly appreciated in the world. The government needs to draw up a strategy to exploit their full potential.
 日本の漫画やアニメは世界的にも高い評価を受けている。その潜在力を生かす戦略が必要だ。

A noteworthy effort that began in India last year is a TV remake of the popular Japanese anime "Kyojin no Hoshi" (Star of the Giants).
 その点で、インドで昨年末に始まったアニメ「巨人の星」のリメーク版のテレビ放送は、新たな試みとして注目に値する。

The anime TV series was jointly produced by Japanese and Indian firms. Instead of playing baseball, the hero of the TV series devotes himself to cricket, India's national sport.
 日印共同制作で、ヒーローが打ち込むスポーツを野球からインドの国民的球技クリケットに置き換えて描いている。

Japanese companies sponsoring the series have enjoyed product placement for goods such as cars and stationery in the show. We believe the remade anime will also help viewers deepen their understanding of Japan's high-growth period.
 作品の随所で、自動車や文房具など協賛の日本企業の製品もアピールしている。原作の背景となった高度成長期の日本への理解も深まることだろう。

===

Successful examples important

Yasushi Akimoto, general producer of girl group AKB48, has made thought-provoking remarks on the subject. "To prevent the Cool Japan campaign from ending up as a hollow image, it is important to produce successful examples," he said.
Akimoto serves as a member of the government's expert panel on promoting the Cool Japan Initiative.
 政府の推進会議のメンバーの一人、AKB48のプロデューサーの秋元康氏が「クール・ジャパンを“絵に描いた餅”としないためにも、成功例を作ることが大切だ」と語るのはもっともだ。

The government should utilize various ideas generated by the private sector and proactively disseminate parts of Japanese culture that could win the hearts of the world.
 民間の様々なアイデアを生かし、魅力ある日本文化を積極的に発信していくべきだ。

The government has earmarked 50 billion yen in the fiscal 2013 budget to establish a fund aimed at promoting the Cool Japan campaign. We urge the government to do its utmost to provide effective financial support and publicity.
 政府は来年度予算案に、クール・ジャパン推進のための基金創設として500億円を計上した。効率的な資金支援、情報発信に知恵を絞る必要がある。

It is important for the government and the private sector to join hands to devise a strategy on promoting the Cool Japan campaign. We hope such a strategy will be smoothly put on track.
 クール・ジャパンの振興に、官民連携して取り組む戦略をうまく軌道に乗せたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 21, 2013)
(2013年3月21日01時28分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月21日 (木)

体罰の基準 指導との混同をなくす一助に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 21, 2013)
Eliminate corporal punishment in line with ministry guidelines
体罰の基準 指導との混同をなくす一助に(3月20日付・読売社説)

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry has issued a notice to boards of education across the country, providing guidelines on corporal punishment. The notice lists examples of physical punishment banned under the School Education Law and also specifies permissible disciplinary actions for students.
 文部科学省が体罰の基準を示した通知を全国の教育委員会に出した。学校教育法で禁じられた体罰と、生徒指導として認められる行為の具体例をそれぞれ挙げたものだ。

Where should the line be drawn between corporal punishment and rigorous guidance? Lack of understanding among teachers breeds chaos. Keeping every teacher informed about the difference between the two could help eliminate physical punishment at school.
 体罰と厳しい指導の一線をどこで引けばいいのか。教師の間では理解が不十分で、混乱が生じている。両者の区別を周知徹底することは、教育現場で体罰根絶に取り組むための一助になるだろう。

The notice cites the following acts as examples of corporal punishment: slapping rebellious students in the face, throwing ballpoint pens at those who act up and refusing requests for permission to go to the restroom while students are being kept in the classroom after regular school hours.
 通知は、次のような行為が体罰にあたると例示している。
 反抗的な態度を見せた子の頬を平手打ちする。ふざけていた子にボールペンを投げつける。教室に居残りさせた上、子供がトイレに行きたいと訴えても室外に出ることを許さない――などだ。

On the other hand, forcing students to remain standing in the classroom, giving extra homework and obliging them to help with cleaning have been confirmed as permissible reprimands under the guidelines. The guidelines also say that when one student is physically attacking another, it is acceptable for a teacher to grab the attacker by the shoulders to pull the attacker away.
 一方、教室内で立たせたり、宿題や清掃活動を課したりするのは、指導の範囲内で認められることを確認した。他の子供を殴った子の両肩をつかんで引き離すような行為も問題ないとしている。

===

A reasonable approach

This reflects the idea that the use of force by teachers can be permitted only for the purpose of preventing one student from inflicting violence on another. This is a commonsense way to draw the line.
 教師による力の行使が許されるのは、他の生徒に対する暴力行為をやめさせるような場合に限られる、との考え方だ。常識的な線引きと言えよう。

The fact remains, however, that teachers encounter a wide variety of situations as they face students in everyday school life. It would be counterproductive if the notice were taken as a rigid manual that restricts teachers from taking flexible responses. There may be cases in which teachers must act firmly.
 ただ、教師は日々、生徒と接する中で様々な場面に遭遇する。通知がマニュアル化し、臨機応変な対応まで縛るようになっては本末転倒だ。毅然(きぜん)とした態度を示さねばならないケースもある。

Many young teachers say they "don't know how to scold pupils." It is essential for them to cultivate their capacity for judgment so that they can provide adequate advice wherever necessary.
 「子供の叱り方がわからない」という若い教師は少なくない。いかなる暴力も許されないという原則を押さえた上で、状況ごとに適切な指導を行う判断力を養うことが欠かせない。

The notice also refers to proper instruction for sports club activities. Club activities are part of school education, but there are no unified guidelines on them. As a result, discipline is left entirely to the discretion of teachers who serve as advisers of such clubs.
 通知は、運動部活動の指導の在り方にも言及した。部活動は教育の一環でありながら、統一的なガイドラインがなく、顧問教諭の裁量に委ねられてきたためだ。

===

Lessons from Osaka incident

The notice takes into account lessons learned from an incident at Osaka municipal Sakuranomiya High School in which a male student in the basketball club killed himself after being physically punished by the club's advisory teacher serving as coach.
 大阪市立桜宮高校で、バスケットボール部の男子生徒が顧問教諭から暴力を受け、自殺した問題の教訓を踏まえている。

Criticizing the winning-at-all-costs attitude, the guidelines state that actions that impose persistent physical and mental strain on specific students are "not acts of coaching."
 勝利至上主義を戒めるとともに、特定の生徒に対し、執拗(しつよう)に肉体的・精神的な負担を強いる行為は「指導ではない」と断じた。

In the case of school sports clubs, other teachers find it difficult to take issue with those seen as successful coaches and are liable to give tacit approval to physical punishments. It is natural that the education ministry notice asks principals and other administrators to supervise club advisory teachers closely.
 運動部の場合、実績を上げた指導者に対しては、他の教師が異論を挟みにくく、暴力が黙認されがちだ。通知が校長ら管理職に、顧問教諭をしっかりと監督するよう求めたのは当然である。

Even if teachers apply physical punishment under the pretext of "a whip wielded with love" for students, it will only arouse a spirit of rebellion and fear among them. It will mold students who are obedient to teachers without fostering their ability to think and act for themselves.
 教師が「愛のムチ」などとして暴力をふるっても、生徒は反抗心や恐怖心を抱くだけだ。教師に服従するばかりで、生徒の自主性も育まれないだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 20, 2013)
(2013年3月20日01時03分  読売新聞)

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原子力防災計画 政府の積極支援で整備を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 21, 2013)
Local govts need support in compiling antidisaster plans
原子力防災計画 政府の積極支援で整備を急げ(3月20日付・読売社説)

Local governments near nuclear power plants are facing difficulties in drawing up antidisaster plans that stipulate how and where residents should evacuate after the outbreak of a nuclear crisis.
 原子力発電所の重大事故に備え、住民の避難方法や避難所を決めておく地域防災計画作りが、原発周辺の自治体で難航している。

We are seriously concerned about this problem.
 極めて問題である。

Without such plans, it would be difficult for local governments to properly evacuate residents during a nuclear emergency, putting residents at risk of radiation exposure.
 原発が非常事態に陥った時、計画が整備されていないと適切な避難誘導ができず、住民の被曝(ひばく)を防げない恐れがあるためだ。

While 21 prefectural governments and 136 municipal governments have been asked to draw up antidisaster plans, only 70, or less than half, have completed them, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.
 対象自治体は21道府県と136市町村に及ぶが、原子力規制委員会によると、策定済みなのは、半数以下の70自治体にとどまる。

Under the NRA guidelines on nuclear disaster countermeasures, local governments were required to prepare nuclear emergency response plans within six months after the law to establish the NRA went into effect. This period ended Monday.
 計画は、規制委が示した原子力災害対策指針に基づき、規制委設置法施行から半年の18日までに定めることになっていた。

===

New guidelines

Although preparation of the antidisaster plans are not legal preconditions for restarting idle reactors, having feasible plans is necessary to obtain the understanding of local residents in bringing nuclear plants back online.
 原発再稼働の法的な条件とはされていないが、立地地域に再稼働の理解を得るためには、現実的な計画が求められる。

NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka has urged local governments to proactively compile antidisaster plans before the restart of halted nuclear plants.
 規制委の田中俊一委員長は「再稼働までに計画を設けてほしい」と取り組みを促している。

He also said plans already formulated by local governments will need to be reviewed. "We'll need to assess whether the plans really ensure safety," he said, indicating that the NRA will not leave the plans to the discretion of local governments.
策定済みの計画についても、「本当に安全に資するかどうか規制委として点検したい」と述べ、自治体任せにしない考えを示した。

Considering the importance of antidisaster plans in nuclear emergencies, we believe the NRA's stance is appropriate.
 計画の重要性を考えれば、もっともな見解である。

The NRA needs to avidly support the local governments' efforts in drawing up the plans, including securing the cooperation of government ministries and agencies related to disaster prevention if necessary.
 規制委は、防災関係省庁とも連携して、対象自治体の計画策定を積極的に支援する必要がある。

Local governments near nuclear plants are drawing up the plans based on NRA guidelines that incorporated lessons learned from the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
 関係自治体が計画作りで依拠すべき規制委の指針は、東京電力福島第一原発事故の手痛い教訓を踏まえて改定されたものだ。

The old guidelines, which were formulated before the disaster, did not anticipate a serious disaster at nuclear power facilities, and in retrospect did not reflect reality.
 事故前の古い指針は重大事故が起きることを前提としておらず、現実的なものではなかった。

As a result, confusion arose during the evacuation of residents around the Fukushima plant, with some remaining in areas with high radiation levels.
実際、避難で混乱が生じ、放射能の汚染地域に住民がとどまった。

The new guidelines, revised last month, expanded the areas required to take precautions against nuclear disasters, from an 8-kilometer to 10-kilometer radius around nuclear plants to a 30-kilometer radius.
 先月改定された新指針は、事前の対策を求める地域を従来の半径8~10キロ圏から約30キロ圏に拡大した。

The guidelines also state when evacuations should start, as well as requiring the distribution to residents of iodine tablets, which can help prevent radioactive substances from accumulating in the thyroid.
避難を開始する基準や、甲状腺被曝を防ぐ安定ヨウ素剤を事前配布することなども定めた。

===

Preparation not easy

However, as the NRA guidelines were revised less than a month ago, local governments only had a limited amount of time to draw up their antidisaster plans before the Monday deadline.
 ただし、指針が改定されてから、まだ1か月足らずだ。計画の策定期限までに、自治体に許された作業時間はわずかだった。

As the guidelines have been significantly revised, it has not been easy for some local governments to comply with them. Many are struggling to decide on evacuation sites that residents can move to quickly after the outbreak of a nuclear crisis.
 大幅改定だけに対応は容易でない。速やかに避難できる場所をどこに確保すべきか。

As the radius around nuclear plants in which precautions need to be taken was expanded to 30 kilometers, an increasing number of areas subject to the guidelines now stretch beyond prefectural borders. In one area, there are nearly 1 million residents.
30キロ圏に範囲が拡大したため、県境をまたぐ例も増えた。対象住民が100万人近くに達する地域もある。

Municipal governments have asked the central government to establish a framework that would enable them to negotiate among themselves in compiling their respective antidisaster plans.
 市町村側は「自治体間の調整の場が必要」と求めている。

Some parties concerned also have called for the central government to take responsibility for measuring radiation levels during a nuclear crisis instead of local governments.
「緊急時の放射線測定は自治体でなく国が担うべきだ」との声もある。

There was a lack of coordination between the central and local governments in dealing with the Fukushima nuclear crisis after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The distribution of roles during nuclear emergencies is an important matter that needs to be dealt with.
 福島第一原発の事故で、政府と自治体は連携を欠いた。両者の役割分担について再検討することも今後の重要な課題である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 20, 2013)
(2013年3月20日01時03分 読売新聞)

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2013年3月20日 (水)

南海トラフ地震 最大級の危機にどう備えるか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 20, 2013)
Preparing for disasters of the largest scale
南海トラフ地震 最大級の危機にどう備えるか(3月19日付・読売社説)

A working group of the government's Central Disaster Management Council has compiled a report on the expected damage that would be caused by a magnitude-9 Nankai Trough triple earthquake, in which the so-called Tokai, Tonankai and Nankai quakes happen simultaneously.
 東海、東南海、南海地震などが同時に起きるマグニチュード(M)9級の南海トラフ巨大地震について、政府の中央防災会議作業部会が被害予測の全体像をまとめた。

The huge quake is forecast to cause about 220 trillion yen in economic damage, in the worst-case scenario.
 経済的被害は最悪の場合、約220兆円に上る。

The quake and subsequent tsunami is forecast to cause about 170 trillion yen of damage to homes and office buildings, about 10 times the damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
このうち、地震や津波で建物などが壊れる直接の被害だけで、最大約170兆円に達する。東日本大震災の約10倍に相当する額だ。

The public and private sectors will need to cooperate and boost the nation's preparedness for such a massive disaster.
官民が連携し、備えを強化せねばならない。

The prediction was made on the assumption that densely populated areas and key industrial bases from the Tokyo metropolitan area along to the Chubu, Kansai, Shikoku and Kyushu regions would be rocked violently by the quake, followed by tsunami higher than 30 meters in some areas.
 首都圏から中部、関西圏と四国、九州までの人口密集地や産業拠点を激しい揺れと最大30メートル超の津波が襲う、との想定である。

===

Once in 1,000 years

Last summer, the working group released a prediction that up to about 320,000 people would die in Tokyo, Osaka and 28 other prefectures following the Nankai Trough triple earthquake. The latest report focused on likely economic damage.
 作業部会は昨年夏、30都府県で最大約32万人が死亡するとの予測を公表した。それに今回は経済被害などを加えた。

The group forecast the total value of corporate production of goods and services--the core of Japan's economic activity--would decline by as much as about 45 trillion yen, nearly 10 percent of gross domestic product, in the year following the disaster, due to suspended production at destroyed factories and other factors.
 経済活動の核である生産・サービスの総額は、工場倒壊による生産休止などにより、被災後1年間で約45兆円も落ち込む。国内総生産(GDP)の1割近い。

The group said such a quake occurs "at a frequency of less than once every 1,000 years," emphasizing that such a disaster would be extremely rare.
 作業部会は「1000年に1度以下の頻度でしか起きない」と説明し、極めてまれな災害であることを強調している。

Although there is no need to worry excessively about such a megaquake, the devastating quake that struck off the Tohoku coast on March 11, 2011, also was an event expected to occur once every 1,000 years. Complacency is not an option.
過度に不安を抱く必要はないが、東日本大震災も1000年に1度の地震だった。油断は禁物である。

The important thing is to put in place as many "disaster mitigation" preparations as possible. The central government and local municipalities likely to be affected by the disaster should review their disaster-management processes based on the latest estimate.
 大切なのは、「減災」へ向け可能な限り対策を講じることだ。今回の被害予測を踏まえ、政府や関係自治体は、防災対策を総点検する必要がある。

According to the group's calculation, making buildings more quake-resistant could halve the economic damage wrought by the disaster. The group also said quick evacuations could reduce tsunami deaths by 90 percent.
 作業部会の試算によると、建物の耐震化などで経済被害は半減できるという。津波による犠牲者も、早期避難で9割減る。

The central and local governments have already been making such efforts.
 いずれも、政府、自治体が、すでに取り組んできた対策だ。

===

Take basic steps first

The important thing is to, first of all, take basic steps such as accelerating the repair of buildings that lack quake-resistance and securing evacuation facilities and tsunami escape routes.
 耐震性を欠く建物の改修を加速させる。津波に備えた避難ルートや避難ビルを整備する。まずは、こうした基本的対策が重要だ。

It is also essential to reinforce networks of trunk roads, harbors and airports to enable immediate rescue and relief operations and reduce damage to the economy.
 迅速な救助・救援を可能にし、経済への影響を軽減するためには、幹線道路や港湾、空港など交通網の強化も欠かせない。

When the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito were in the opposition camp last year, they submitted to the Diet a bill concerning special measures to deal with the potential Nankai Trough triple quake. The bill would provide more government subsidies for making disaster management facilities more quake-resistant. However, the bill was abandoned with the dissolution of the House of Representatives.
 自民、公明両党は野党時代の昨年、補助金で防災施設の耐震化を促進する南海トラフ巨大地震対策特別措置法案を国会に提出したが、衆院解散で廃案となった。

The bill would reinforce the present special measures law that promotes steps to deal with the Tonankai and Nankai quakes. The LDP and Komeito are considering resubmitting the bill. We hope the bill will be thoroughly discussed in the Diet.
 現行の東南海・南海地震対策推進特措法を強化する内容で、両党は再提出を検討している。国会でしっかり議論してもらいたい。

Aside from the Nankai Trough quake, the government has predicted a separate Tokai quake has an 88 percent chance of occurring in the next 30 years, while a Tonankai quake has a 70 percent chance and the Nankai quake a 60 percent chance.
 南海トラフ巨大地震とは別に、政府は、東海、東南海、南海の各地震が今後30年以内にそれぞれ、88%、70%、60%の高い確率で起きると予測している。

There is no time to waste in getting prepared to handle these disasters.
 対策は待ったなしである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 19, 2013)
(2013年3月19日01時19分  読売新聞)

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イラク戦争10年 「北」の脅威対処に教訓生かせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 20, 2013)
Iraq War anniversary a chance to reflect on North Korea's threat
イラク戦争10年 「北」の脅威対処に教訓生かせ(3月19日付・読売社説)

Wednesday marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the controversial Iraq War. There are problems still left unsolved, and Japan today has a particular reason to calmly reassess the lessons of the war.
 論議を呼んだイラク戦争の開戦から、20日で10年を迎える。今、改めてこの戦争が残した課題を冷静に分析することが、日本にとってはとりわけ重要である。

The Iraq War began under the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush, and it ended in December 2011 with the full withdrawal of U.S. troops.
 米国のブッシュ前政権が始めたイラク戦争は、2011年12月、米軍の全面撤収で終結した。

The war taught the United States a bitter lesson. U.S. rule of the occupied land was blundering, the lives of nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers were lost, and huge expenditures on the war ballooned the nation's fiscal deficit. The United States launched the war based on a claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, but such weapons were never found, undermining the U.S. authority.
 戦争は、苦い教訓を米国に残した。占領統治は混乱し、4500人近い米兵の命が失われ、巨額の戦費で財政赤字は膨れあがった。開戦の理由とした大量破壊兵器が見つからず、威信は揺らいだ。

There is ceaseless criticism that the costs of the war were out of all proportion to its gains.
 「コストに見合わない戦争だった」との批判は絶えない。

In addition, the international community was unable to reach an agreement on the issue, as countries such as France, Germany and Russia opposed the use of force by the United States and Britain. The final verdict on the Iraq War will not be rendered anytime soon.
 国際社会の足並みも乱れた。米英の武力行使に、仏独露などが反対した。イラク戦争への評価は、今なお定まらない。

===

A question remains unanswered

However, we must keep in mind that one fundamental problem that drove the United States to launch the war remains unsolved.
 留意すべきは、米国が開戦に至った本質的な問題が今も未解決だということである。

The problem is this: What actions should the international community take, if a country that develops weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear weapons, ignores U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding that it scrap such weapons?
 核兵器など大量破壊兵器を開発する国が、国連安全保障理事会から廃棄を求める決議を突きつけられても無視する。そんな事態にどう対処すべきかという問題だ。

A case in point now is North Korea, a nation hell-bent on building a nuclear arsenal. The nation has conducted three nuclear tests, ignoring the Security Council's resolutions.
 安保理決議に従わず、核実験を3回も強行し、核武装化にひた走る北朝鮮がまさに実例だ。

In addition to the direct threat posed by North Korea, Japan also has to cope with the unabated military and economic expansion of China.
 日本は、北朝鮮の増大する脅威に直面するだけでなく、軍事・経済の両面で膨張著しい中国とも向き合わなければならない。

Japan was divided over the U.S. decision to launch the Iraq War. Then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi supported the use of force from the standpoint of prioritizing the Japan-U.S. alliance, but the Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties opposed the war, saying it had no justification.
 対イラク開戦を巡り、小泉首相が日米同盟重視の観点から、米国の武力行使を支持する一方で、民主党など野党は「大義なき戦争だ」と反対に回り、国論は割れた。

However, the necessity for Japan to firmly maintain its alliance with the United States remains unchanged over the past 10 years, or has even become stronger.
 だが、日本が、米国との同盟を堅持する必要性は10年前から少しも変わっていない。むしろ強まったと言える。

===

What Japan needs to do

The United States and Britain overestimated the danger of Iraq's programs on weapons of mass destruction. But it will be dangerous if the aftereffects of that overestimate led the international community to underestimate the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea. If the United States becomes overly reluctant to use force against North Korea, there will be fewer options for responding to Pyongyang's threat.
 イラクの大量破壊兵器計画を米英が過大に評価した反動で、国際社会が北朝鮮やイランの核開発能力を過小に見積もるようでは危険だ。米国が武力行使に慎重になり過ぎれば、北朝鮮の脅威に対処する選択肢を狭める恐れがある。

Our nation must not be complacent regarding its current relationship with the United States. Japan must take concrete measures to reinforce the Japan-U.S. alliance, such as enabling itself to exercise the right to collective self-defense.
 日本に必要なのは、米国との関係に安住せず、集団的自衛権の行使を可能にするなど同盟強化へ具体的な手立てを講じることだ。

Iraq's democratization is making progress, as can be seen from events such as its conducting elections. Oil production is recovering, bringing prosperity to the nation's oil-producing northern and southern areas. Such results would have been difficult to achieve under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.
 イラクでは、選挙実施など民主化が進み、原油生産も回復して産油地の北部や南部は繁栄に沸いている。フセイン独裁政権の崩壊なしには難しかったろう。

However, Iraq's political situation remains unstable. Sectarian strife and terrorist attacks show no signs of abating in Baghdad and other key cities. Despite myriad problems, the administration of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is slowly heading toward reconstruction of the country. We hope Iraq will succeed in restoring security, which will help it set a steady course toward reconstruction.
 ただし、政情は不安で、首都バグダッドなどでは宗派間の抗争や過激派のテロがやまない。マリキ政権は曲がりなりに再建への歩みを続けているが、治安回復で復興への道筋を確かにしてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 19, 2013)
(2013年3月19日01時19分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月19日 (火)

自民党大会 慢心せず「決められる」政治を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 19, 2013)
LDP must humbly proceed with decisive politics
自民党大会 慢心せず「決められる」政治を(3月18日付・読売社説)

The Liberal Democratic Party's regular party convention Sunday was suffused with good feeling over the LDP's return to power and strong public support. But the party's real strength will be put to the test in the House of Councillors election this summer.
 政権復帰と高支持率による高揚感に包まれていた。だが、真価が問われるのは夏の参院選だ。

At the convention, which was held in a Tokyo hotel, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed firm determination to win the election. "We'll fight it out successfully to regain a Japan we can be proud of," Abe said.
 自民党が都内で定期党大会を開いた。
 安倍首相は参院選について「勝ち抜いて、誇りある国、日本を取り戻す」と決意を示した。

We unreservedly applaud the Abe administration for the steady achievements it has made since its inauguration in December. The excessively high yen has been corrected and stock prices have been rising.
 安倍政権が着実に実績を上げていることは、率直に評価したい。超円高が是正され、株価も上昇している。

Other accomplishments include the Diet's passage of a supplementary budget totaling 20 trillion yen to finance public works and other projects, and Diet approval of the government's nominations for the governor and two vice governors of the Bank of Japan.
事業規模20兆円もの補正予算を成立させ、日銀の正副総裁の国会同意をとりつけた。

Abe decided Japan would participate in the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework. He sought public understanding of his decision, saying: "We'll protect Japan's agriculture and food without fail. Please trust me."
 首相は、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉への参加も決断した。党大会では、「必ず日本の農業を、食を守っていく。私を信じてほしい」と理解を求めた。

Fierce debate was conducted within the LDP between those in favor of joining the negotiations and those opposed. The latter group ultimately made the sensible choice of compromising. The LDP thereby demonstrated that its decision-making process is different from that of the Democratic Party of Japan, which acted inconsistently on policy matters due to a continued feud within the party while it was in power and ended up losing public support.
 党内では、党を二分する激しい議論が戦わされたが、最後は慎重派が“大人の対応”で矛を収めた。内紛続きで政策が迷走し、国民から見放された民主党との意思決定過程の違いを見せつけた。

The LDP must remember as a ruling party to give top priority to national interests, instead of the interests of the industrial sector.
 自民党は政権党として、業界の利害ではなく、国益を最優先する姿勢を忘れないでもらいたい。

===

Off to a favorable start

So far, the Abe government has had smooth sailing. According to The Yomiuri Shimbun's latest public opinion survey, the approval rating for the Abe Cabinet was 72 percent, marking the third straight increase since its inauguration. The support rate for the LDP stood at 45 percent, far exceeding the 5 percent recorded by the second-place DPJ.
 目下のところ、安倍政権は順風満帆だ。読売新聞の世論調査によると内閣支持率は72%で発足時から3回続けて上昇した。自民党の支持率も45%で、2位の民主党5%に大きく水をあけている。

But as Abe put it, the LDP "should never be allowed to be conceited."
 だが、首相の言う通り「決して慢心してはならない」だろう。

This is because the party's overwhelming victory in the House of Representatives election in December stemmed from voters' desire to punish the DPJ-led administration.
 先の衆院選での圧勝は、民主党政権への懲罰感情が有権者に働いたからだった。

To regain public confidence, the LDP has no alternative but to make steady achievements by carrying out the Abenomics economic policy and making efforts to build a consensus with opposition parties.
 自民党が国民の信頼を取り戻すには経済政策「アベノミクス」で着実に成果を出し、野党との合意形成に努力して行くしかない。

===

Relationship with New Komeito

If the LDP and its coalition partner New Komeito win the upper house election to capture a majority in the chamber, it will end the divided Diet, in which the upper house is controlled by the opposition camp. This will help stabilize the management of the Abe administration for up to three years until the next national election.
 仮に、自民、公明両党が参院選で勝利し、参院の過半数の議席を獲得すれば国会のねじれは解消する。次の国政選挙まで最大3年あるため、政権運営も安定する。

At the same time, the government must pay attention to its relationship with Komeito.
 その一方で、留意しなければならないのは公明党との関係だ。

The LDP, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party are showing keen interest in constitutional revision, but Komeito remains cautious about it.
 たとえば、憲法改正について自民党と、日本維新の会、みんなの党は積極的だが、公明党は慎重姿勢を崩していない。

"It shouldn't be done hastily. The proper way to win the public's trust is to try to humbly build a broad consensus," warned Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi, who attended the LDP convention as a guest.
 党大会に来賓として出席した公明党の山口代表は「ことを焦ってはいけない。謙虚に、丁寧に幅広い合意形成に努めていく姿勢こそが国民の信頼を得る正攻法だ」と語り、自民党にクギを刺した。

This indicates there is strong resistance within Komeito to Abe's tendency toward the right.
 公明党内に、右寄りの「安倍カラー」に対する抵抗感が根強いことをうかがわせる。

How will the LDP deal with Komeito and the lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai, its major support base, which it has increasingly relied on in elections? The LDP will face a severe test in this regard.
 自民党は、選挙で依存を深める公明党・創価学会とどう向き合っていくのか。厳しく問われる局面も出てこよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 18, 2013)
(2013年3月18日01時29分  読売新聞)

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国家公務員給与 55歳超の昇給抑制が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 19, 2013)
Pay hikes for govt employees 55 or older must be curbed
国家公務員給与 55歳超の昇給抑制が必要だ(3月18日付・読売社説)

Another step forward has been made in resolving issues put off by the previous Democratic Party of Japan-led administration.
 民主党政権が先送りしてきた課題の解決へ、また一歩進んだ。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet has submitted a bill to the Diet to revise a law to drastically curb the pay hikes of central government employees aged 55 or older.
 安倍内閣が55歳を超える国家公務員の昇給を大幅に抑制する給与法改正案を国会に提出した。

If the revised law is enacted, the new salary system will be put into force next January. About 33,000 people will be affected and the government's personnel expenses trimmed by an estimated 600 million yen a year.
 成立すれば、来年1月から施行され、3万3000人が対象となる。年間約6億円の人件費を削減する効果があるという。

The bill takes into account recommendations made by the National Personnel Authority in August.
 給与法改正案は昨年8月の人事院勧告を尊重したものである。

Under the current system, salaries of central government employees rise every year until they reach the mandatory retirement age of 60.
 国家公務員は、定年の60歳まで毎年昇給が続く仕組みだ。

The recommendation calls for annual pay hikes to be discontinued for those aged 55 or older and whose job performances are deemed average, while pay hikes would be permitted for those in the same age group with excellent job performances, although the margin of increase would be held down.
この勧告は、55歳を超える職員に対し、標準の勤務成績であれば昇給を停止し、成績良好であっても昇給幅の抑制を求めた。

The salaries of many workers in the private sector decline when they reach the mid-50s.
 民間のサラリーマンは、50歳代後半になると、賃金が減るケースさえ少なくない。

This is because companies transfer workers in that age group to affiliated companies or have a mandatory age for managers to step down from their posts. It is therefore appropriate to have the salaries of government employees fall more in line with those at private companies.
関連会社への転籍や役職定年などを実施しているからだ。公務員給与を民間の動向に近づけるのは、妥当である。

===

Rehiring workers

Continued employment of workers who reach the manadatory retirement age of 60 should also be considered as they will not receive benefits from the state-run pension plan until they reach the age of 65.
 65歳の年金支給開始年齢までの雇用継続も考える必要がある。

The government plans to make it obligatory to rehire employees who reach the mandatory retirement age and are willing to continue working. However, the fiscal situation remains dismal.
政府は、希望する定年退職者の「再任用」を義務化する方針だが、財政は厳しい。

To reduce personnel expenses as much as possible, it is essential to hold down the salaries for those in their 50s.
総人件費を極力抑えるためにも、50歳代の給与水準を下げておかねばならない。

Both the ruling and opposition parties must pass the revised bill as quickly as possible.
 与野党は、改正案を速やかに成立させるべきだ。

The DPJ is to blame for wasting so much time before the bill could be submitted.
 法案提出まで時間を浪費した責任は民主党にある。

The Cabinet under then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda failed to act on the authority's recommendation for three months, deciding only to postpone the recommended restrictions on the annual pay hike on Nov. 16, the day he dissolved the House of Representatives.
野田内閣は人事院勧告を3か月も放置し、11月16日の衆院解散当日になって昇給抑制の先送りを閣議決定した。

In announcing the decision, Noda said the government had already taken "a harsh pay-cutting measure" by lowering government employees' salaries by 7.8 percent on average, so it could use the saved funds for post-disaster reconstruction.
 その際、復興財源を捻出する目的で給与を平均7・8%引き下げる「厳しい減額措置」を講じているため、と説明していた。

However, the real reason is that the government submitted to the Diet a bill related to reforming the national public employees system, which we think stopped the administration from dealing with the recommended curbs.
だが、実際は国家公務員制度改革関連法案を国会に提出していたことが、足かせとなったのではないか。

===

Working with unions

The main feature of the new bill gives central government employees the right to conclude an agreement with the government, a basic legal labor right.
 この法案は、労働基本権の一部である「協約締結権」を国家公務員に付与することが柱だった。

The bill includes the idea that issues such as pay levels can be decided through labor-management talks, and the National Personnel Authority can be abolished. Because of this, the Noda administration probably decided to ignore the authority's recommendations.
人事院を廃止し、労使交渉で賃金などを決定できるようにする内容であるだけに、勧告には従えないと考えたのだろう。

How will the DPJ deal with the bill to revise the salaries of central government employees in the days ahead?
 今後、民主党は給与法改正案にどう対応するのか。

The bill is in line with the DPJ's manifesto when it comes to cutting the central government's personnel expenses. As it will also affect the wages of local government employees, however, it will be difficult for DPJ legislators supported by the All Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers' Union and other labor groups to support the bill.
国家公務員の総人件費削減という点では民主党の政権公約とも一致するが、地方公務員にも波及するため、自治労など労働組合の支援を受ける議員は容易に受け入れまい。

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), a key support organization for the DPJ, has opposed the Abe Cabinet's request for the salaries of local government employees to be lowered, in line with those of central government employees, in fiscal 2013.
 民主党の支持団体である連合は、安倍内閣が2013年度の地方公務員給与を国家公務員と同様に引き下げるよう地方自治体に要請したことにも反発している。

The DPJ's dependency on labor unions will be tested once again over how the party responds to the bill to revise the salaries of central government employees.
 給与法改正案への賛否によって、民主党の“労組依存度”が改めて試されることになろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 18, 2013)
(2013年3月18日01時29分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月18日 (月)

黒田日銀発足へ 野党分断が奏功した同意人事

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 18, 2013)
Abe's clever approach pays off with BOJ appointments
黒田日銀発足へ 野党分断が奏功した同意人事(3月17日付・読売社説)

The new leadership of the Bank of Japan bears the heavy responsibility of crafting bold monetary easing measures that help the nation drag itself out of deflation.
 大胆な金融緩和策を打ち出し、デフレ脱却に前進できるか。日銀の新体制の責務は重大だ。

Both Diet chambers have approved Haruhiko Kuroda, former vice finance minister for international affairs and currently president of the Asian Development Bank, as the replacement of outgoing Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa. Gakushuin University Prof. Kikuo Iwata and Hiroshi Nakaso, executive director of the central bank, were given the thumbs-up to be deputy governors. The three will assume their posts Wednesday.
 衆参両院は日銀の白川方明総裁の後任に元財務官の黒田東彦・アジア開発銀行総裁を、副総裁に岩田規久男・学習院大教授と中曽宏・日銀理事を充てる人事に同意した。20日付で就任する。

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has cleared its biggest challenge so far during the current ordinary Diet session. It is significant that the administration has gained Diet approval for its appointments as it planned, considering the fact that the Diet remains divided.
 安倍内閣は、今国会で最大の課題をクリアした。衆参ねじれ国会の下、政府案通りに日銀の同意人事を実現させた意義は大きい。

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which holds the most seats in the House of Councillors, opposed Iwata's appointment. However, he was eventually approved because other opposition parties voted for him.
 参院で最大勢力の民主党は、岩田氏の副総裁起用に反対したが、他の野党の賛成で同意を得た。

Diet approval of the appointments was the result of Abe's strategic personnel selections that took into account not only the DPJ's opinion, but also those of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), Your Party and other opposition parties. Abe will surely apply this strategy--effectively splitting the opposition block--to other issues as he manages his government.
 安倍首相が民主党だけでなく、日本維新の会やみんなの党などの主張にも配慮し、戦略的に人選を進めたことが奏功した。こうした野党の「分断」策は、今後の政権運営にも応用できるだろう。

===

Flexibility needed

The lineup for promoting the "Abenomics" economic policy has now been completed. The government and the central bank should work together even more closely to galvanize efforts to revive the economy.
 アベノミクス遂行の体制は整った。政府・日銀は連携を強め、経済再生を急がねばならない。

Kuroda is known as a proponent of a bold monetary easing policy. During hearings in both Diet chambers, Kuroda expressed his determination, saying, "I'll take whatever steps are possible to pull the nation out of deflation."
 黒田氏は、積極的な金融緩和論者として知られる。衆参両院で行われた所信聴取では、「デフレ脱却に向けてやれることは何でもやる」と、強い決意を表明した。

Kuroda also discussed details of his own views. He said the central bank should purchase large amounts of long-term government bonds and implement an open-ended monetary easing plan earlier than 2014 as scheduled, under which the bank buys a huge amount of financial assets without setting a specific termination date.
 長期国債の大量購入や日銀が2014年から実施する「無期限緩和」の前倒しなど、具体的な政策に踏み込んだ持論も展開した。

Kuroda said he will present new monetary easing measures as soon as he assumes the governor's post. We hope he responds flexibly to the challenges ahead.
 就任後、早急に新たな緩和策を打ち出す構えも見せた。機動的な対応に期待したい。

The most important thing is that the central bank promptly implements its policies.
 最も重要なのは、迅速に政策を実現させることである。

The Bank of Japan's monetary policy is decided by a majority vote by its governor, deputy governors and six other members of the Policy Board. Even a new policy proposed by the governor cannot be implemented if a majority of board members votes against it.
 金融政策は総裁と副総裁、審議委員6人の多数決で決まる。総裁が新政策を提案しても、採決で反対多数になれば実現しない。

===

Not always on same page

Kuroda said the bank should aim to meet its annual inflation target of 2 percent within two years, but Nakaso said it is "difficult to guarantee the target will be achieved in two years." Kuroda and Iwata have different opinions when it comes to revising the Bank of Japan Law, with the former taking a cautious stance and the latter advocating it.
 黒田氏は物価上昇率2%のインフレ目標達成は2年をメドとしたが、中曽氏は「必ず2年とは言いがたい」と述べた。日銀法改正問題では、慎重な黒田氏と、積極論の岩田氏のズレは大きい。

It would cause problems if the central bank becomes indecisive because the Policy Board lacks unity. It is crucial that Kuroda exercise strong leadership as the bank's governor.
 まとまりを欠いた“決められない日銀”になっては困る。黒田氏が総裁として、強力なリーダーシップを発揮することが大切だ。

Equally important is ensuring the bank's independence. The central bank will find confidence in its monetary policy evaporates if it is perceived as merely following government instructions to underwrite its bonds and clear up its fiscal deficits.
 日銀の独立性も重要である。政府の言いなりになって国債を引き受け、財政赤字の尻ぬぐいをしていると見られれば、金融政策の信認は失墜しよう。

The Bank of Japan should not get overly cozy with the government, and should demand that fiscal discipline be maintained.
 日銀は徹底した財政規律を求めるなど、政府と適度な緊張関係を維持すべきである。

Some foreign countries have criticized Japan for intentionally weakening the yen by implementing a monetary easing policy, which is designed to usher the nation out of deflation. We hope Kuroda tries hard to gain understanding from other nations by taking advantage of his extensive personal connections overseas.
 デフレ脱却のための金融緩和について、海外の一部から円安誘導だとの批判が出ている。黒田氏は豊富な海外人脈を生かし、各国の理解を得るよう努めてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 17, 2013)
(2013年3月17日01時25分  読売新聞)

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後見と選挙権 違憲判決が制度の甘さ突いた

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 18, 2013)
Guardian system must not interfere with right to vote
後見と選挙権 違憲判決が制度の甘さ突いた(3月17日付・読売社説)

The Tokyo District Court has ruled unconstitutional a provision in the Public Offices Election Law that denies the right to vote to adults who live under the statutory adult guardianship system.
 成年後見人が付いた人から選挙権を奪う公職選挙法の規定について、東京地裁が「違憲」とする判決を言い渡した。

The court ruling highly evaluates the rights of people with mental disorders or intellectual disabilities.
 障害者の権利を尊重した司法判断である。

The plaintiff in the suit was an intellectually challenged woman.
 原告は知的障害のある女性だ。

Immediately after a family court chose the father of the adult woman as her guardian in 2007, she was deprived of the right to vote.
2007年、家庭裁判所が女性の成年後見人として父親を選任した途端、選挙権を失った。

The adult guardianship system is designed to allow those who are considered incapable of making judgments to have someone act on their behalf to manage property, make contracts and carry out other procedures.
 判断能力が欠如した人の財産管理や契約などを代行するのが、成年後見制度だ。

The Public Offices Election Law does not allow people to whom this system applies the right to vote in national and local elections.
公選法は、この制度が適用された人については、選挙権を認めていない。

===

Unjustifiable denial

The court decision on Thursday acknowledged that the woman had the right to vote on the grounds that depriving her of this right as guaranteed by the Constitution "must be limited to extremely exceptional circumstances."
 判決は、憲法が保障する選挙権を奪うのは「極めて例外的な場合に限られる」として、女性に選挙権があることを認めた。

The ruling also noted: "What the family court decided concerned her ability to administer her property by herself, and not her competency in exercising her right to vote.
 さらに、「家裁が判断したのは財産を管理する能力であって、選挙権を行使する能力ではない。

"A large number of people probably are capable of exercising their right to vote even if they are unable to manage their assets."
財産管理はできなくとも、選挙権を行使できる人は少なからずいるはずだ」とも指摘した。

It is not surprising that the court ruled the law's provision null and void, as it uniformly restricts voting rights by using two systems intended to serve different purposes.
 判決が、趣旨の異なる制度を使って、一律に選挙権を制限している公選法の規定を無効としたことは妥当である。

Denying disabled people the right to vote merely because they have been placed under the adult guardianship system should also be deemed problematic from the viewpoint of ensuring public equity.
同じ障害者でも、後見人が付いた人だけが選挙権を失うのは、公平性の観点からも問題があるだろう。

Before being deprived of her right to vote, the plaintiff voted in almost all elections. In addition, she is able to read and write simple kanji characters. The district court probably gave a great deal of thought to these facts in handing down the ruling.
 選挙権を失うまで、女性はほぼ毎回、投票所に足を運んでいた。簡単な漢字の読み書きもできる。東京地裁は、そうした事情も重視したのではないか。

The court ruling, however, should not be taken as a blanket denial of restrictions on voting rights in all circumstances.
 判決は選挙権制限の必要性を全面的に否定したわけではない。

The ruling said the restrictions on voting rights for people who lack the competence to exercise the right to vote is not unreasonable.
権利を行使する能力がない人への制限について、「合理性を欠くとは言えない」との見解も示した。

While this country uniformly deprives the vote to right to people under the adult guardianship system, the United States and Europe are heading in the opposite direction.
 だが、後見人が付くと一律に選挙権を失う日本のような制度は、欧米ではなくなりつつある。

Japan's adult guardianship system, which was introduced in 2000, is aimed at protecting the rights of the disabled and the elderly with insufficient capacities to make judgments.
 そもそも、2000年に導入された成年後見制度は、判断能力に欠ける障害者や高齢者の権利保護が目的だ。

The system of incompetency that was abolished in 2000 under the civil law also covered those with reckless spending habits, who were excluded from the list of people covered by the adult guardianship system.
従前の禁治産制度は浪費を繰り返す人も対象だったが、成年後見制度では除外した。

In light of this, the Public Offices Election Law's provision to remove the right to vote from people with guardians does not fit in with the spirit of the system.
 選挙権を奪う公選法の規定は、制度の趣旨にそぐわない。

There are more than 130,000 adult wards with court-designated guardians across the country.
 後見制度の利用者は全国で13万人以上に上る。

===

Applications rising

Because of the rapid graying of society, applications to use the guardianship system number more than 20,000 annually. The court ruling is expected to have various repercussions on how the guardianship system is conducted from now on.
高齢化が進む中、申し立ては年間2万件以上に達している。判決は今後の制度運用に様々な影響を及ぼすだろう。

When the system was introduced, the then Home Affairs Ministry asserted that depriving people with guardians of their right to vote was intended to prevent voting irregularities.
 制度導入の際、旧自治省は「不正投票の防止」を理由に、選挙権を奪う規定の存続を強く主張した経緯がある。

Didn't the ministry overestimate the possibility of voting irregularities concerning the exercise, under the guardianship system, of the right to vote, which is the essence of parliamentary democracy?
民主主義の根幹に位置付けられる選挙権の行使に関し、不正投票の可能性を過大に見積もってはいないか。

The court's ruling should be thought of as a warning from the judiciary regarding the slipshod design of the adult guardianship system.
 判決は、制度設計の甘さに対する警告である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 17, 2013)
(2013年3月17日01時25分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月17日 (日)

TPP参加表明 自由貿易推進で成長に弾みを

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 17, 2013)
Govt should push for free trade to boost economy
TPP参加表明 自由貿易推進で成長に弾みを(3月16日付・読売社説)

 ◆国家百年の計へ交渉力発揮せよ◆

It is essential for Japan's growth to tap into Asia's economic vigor by expanding the nation's free trade and investment. To that end, Japan's move to join talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact would be a major step forward.
 自由貿易と投資を拡大し、アジアの活力を取り込むことが、日本の経済成長に欠かせない。そのための大きな一歩となるだろう。

On Friday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe formally announced Japan's intention to participate in negotiations on the U.S.-led multilateral free trade framework.
 安倍首相は、米国主導の環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉への参加を正式表明した。

Reaching a national consensus on the matter has been difficult over the past three years, ever since the administration of former Prime Minister Naoto Kan began considering participation. We applaud Abe's political decision on the TPP issue.
 菅政権で検討を開始して以来、約3年間、意見集約が難航した。首相の政治決断を評価したい。

"Joining the TPP talks is a farsighted national policy," the prime minister said at a press conference Friday. "If we miss this chance, we will be left behind in global rule-making efforts."
 首相は記者会見で、「TPP交渉参加は国家百年の計だ。今を逃すと日本は世界のルール作りから取り残される」と指摘した。

===

TPP could boost Japan-U.S. ties
 ◆日米同盟の強化に寄与◆

Currently, 11 countries, including the United States, Australia and Canada, are conducting TPP negotiations, and 29 areas, including tariffs, services and intellectual property, are under discussion.
 TPPは米国、豪州、カナダなど11か国が関税、サービス、知的財産など29分野で交渉中だ。

Abe stressed: "We'll make full use of our negotiating power to protect what needs protecting and push for what we want. We'll seek the best way to serve national interests."
 首相が「交渉力を駆使し、守るべきものは守り、攻められるものは攻める。国益にかなう最善の道を追求する」と強調したのはもっともである。

We approve this stance. Japan, if approved, will be a latecomer to the TPP negotiations and will be in a disadvantageous position, but we hope the government will exert its negotiating power.
遅れて参加する日本は不利な立場だが、「交渉力」を発揮してもらいたい。

Meanwhile, the government has released its estimate on the economic impact of the TPP if the country joins the trade pact. According to the estimate, annual production in the nation's agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors could fall by 3 trillion yen. However, with consumption and exports growing, Japan's real gross domestic product is expected to increase by 3.2 trillion yen overall.
 政府は、TPP参加による経済効果の試算を公表した。
 農林水産業の生産額は3兆円減るものの、消費拡大や輸出増加により、全体で国内総生産(GDP)を実質で3・2兆円押し上げるという。

The Abe administration faces a test over whether it can devise a mid- and long-term growth strategy in its "Abenomics" economic policy. It is reasonable to use the TPP to boost the strategy.
 安倍政権の経済政策「アベノミクス」では中長期の成長戦略が問われる。そのエンジンとしてTPPを位置づけるのは妥当だ。

Abe also said TPP participation would contribute to ensuring security and stability in the Asia Pacific region. Expectations are high that the creation of a free trade zone centering on Japan and the United States could also strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance.
 首相は、TPP参加が「安全保障やアジア太平洋地域の安定に寄与する」と語った。日米を軸にした自由貿易圏作りは、日米同盟を強化する効果も期待される。

Japan-U.S. security ties were shaken by poor diplomacy by the government led by the Democratic Party of Japan. Taking advantage of the situation, China, which is pursuing a policy of increasing wealth and military power, has opposed Japan's nationalization of the Senkaku Islands and has repeatedly sent Chinese patrol ships into Japanese waters. Such provocations by Beijing have increased instability in East Asia.
 民主党政権の稚拙な外交により日米安保体制は揺らいだ。その間隙を突くように、富国強兵路線を鮮明にする中国が日本の尖閣諸島国有化に反発し、監視船による領海侵犯を繰り返すなど、東アジア情勢を不安定化させている。

To call for a growing China to abide by international rules, it is vital for Japan and the United States to work closely together.
 台頭する中国に国際ルールの順守を求めるには、緊密な日米連携が不可欠である。

Abe was able to announce Japan's intention to join TPP talks mainly because he obtained confirmation from U.S. President Barack Obama at their February summit meeting that eliminating all tariffs would not be a precondition for joining the talks.
 そもそも、首相がTPP交渉参加を決断できたのは、2月のオバマ米大統領との首脳会談で「聖域なき関税撤廃が前提ではない」と確認したことが大きかった。

In principle, the TPP is premised on tariff elimination, but the summit meeting has made it clear that exceptions could be made for certain items under negotiation.
 TPPは関税撤廃が原則だが、交渉次第で例外品目を獲得できることが明確になったからだ。

===

What must be protected?
 ◆国益として何を守るか◆

Abe took an ingenious strategy in coordinating views within the Liberal Democratic Party to make the decision to participate in the TPP talks consistent with the party's campaign pledge in the House of Representatives election last year. The LDP had pledged to oppose joining the TPP talks as long as abolishing tariffs without exception was a precondition.
 「聖域なき関税撤廃を前提にする限り、交渉参加に反対」としていた自民党の昨年の衆院選政権公約と矛盾しないように調整を進めた首相の戦略は巧みだった。

While there were arguments for and against the matter, the LDP adopted a resolution accepting Japan's participation in the TPP negotiations, which created an environment for Abe to make a final decision.
 賛否両論が出る中、自民党がTPP交渉参加を容認する決議をまとめたことで、首相が最終的に決断を下す環境が整った。

Among other conditions, the LDP resolution calls on the government to place priority on ensuring five agricultural items--rice, wheat, beef and pork, dairy products and plants for making sweeteners--will be exempt from tariff elimination. The resolution also seeks to maintain Japan's universal health insurance system.
 自民党の決議は、コメ、麦、牛肉・豚肉、乳製品、甘味資源作物の農産品の5項目の例外扱いと、国民皆保険制度の維持を最優先で求めたのがポイントだ。

Abe is apparently thinking about joining the TPP talks after confirming the party's solidarity on the matter at the LDP's convention scheduled to be held on Sunday.
 首相は、17日の自民党大会で党内の結束を確認し、交渉に臨む考えだろう。

Obama has announced a goal of completing the TPP negotiations by the end of this year. That leaves very little time as Japan is expected to join the talks around July.
 オバマ大統領は「交渉の年内妥結」を表明している。日本が実際に交渉に加わるのは7月ごろと見られ、残された時間は少ない。

Abe appointed Akira Amari, minister in charge of economic revitalization, as minister in charge of TPP issues. Serving as the government's point man, Amari must do his utmost to work on formulating trade and investment rules that reflect Japan's national interests.
 首相は甘利経済再生相をTPP相に任命した。甘利氏が政府の司令塔となり、国益を反映した貿易・投資ルール作りに全力で取り組まなければならない。

A hard-fought battle is expected over the process of narrowing down items to be exempt from tariff elimination.
 攻防が予想されるのが、関税撤廃の例外品目の絞り込みだ。

In past trade negotiations, Japan has refused to abolish tariffs for about 940 items, which account for about 10 percent of the total, mainly agricultural products such as rice and wheat.
 日本はこれまでの通商交渉で、関税分類上、コメ、麦など農産品を中心に、全体の約1割に相当する約940品目の関税を一度も撤廃していない。

It remains unclear how many items Japan will be able to keep as exceptions. Each country has items they want treated as exempt, with Canada seeking exceptions for dairy products and Mexico for textiles and shoes.
 日本がどれだけ関税撤廃の例外を獲得できるかは不透明だ。カナダは乳製品、メキシコは繊維や靴など、各国とも例外扱いを望む品目がある。

Japan has compromised in prior consultations with the United States and largely agreed, for the time being, to allow the United States to delay eliminating import tariffs it imposes on passenger vehicles and trucks. In return, Japan should win concessions from the United States on agricultural products.
 日本は米国との事前協議で譲歩し、米国が乗用車とトラックにかけている輸入関税の撤廃を当面猶予する方向で大筋合意した。日本はその見返りに、米国から農産品で譲歩を引き出すべきだ。

===

Strengthening agriculture
 ◆農業強化策が急務だ◆

It is an urgent task for Japan to strengthen agriculture's competitiveness in preparation for further market liberalization. Apart from participation in the TPP talks, the current situation of Japan's agriculture, where farmers are aging, is already severe.
 一層の市場開放に備えた農業の競争力強化が急務である。TPP交渉参加とは関係なく、高齢化が進む日本農業の現状は厳しい。

As Abe pointed out that the TPP is a "big opportunity, not an adversity," the government should put efforts into such policies as fostering farmers, and promote "aggressive agriculture."
 首相が「ピンチではなく、むしろ大きなチャンス」と指摘したように、政府は担い手農家育成などの政策に注力し「攻めの農業」を推進することが求められる。

Japan will soon agree to begin negotiations for an economic partnership agreement with the European Union and also is scheduled to begin talks for a trilateral free trade agreement with China and South Korea.
 日本は近く、欧州連合(EU)との経済連携協定(EPA)交渉開始に合意し、日中韓の交渉もスタートさせる予定だ。

Japan should switch to the offensive on the TPP and regain lost ground in its trade policies by accelerating negotiations for other trade pacts.
TPPで反転攻勢をかけるとともに、他の交渉も加速し、通商政策を巻き返さなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 16, 2013)
(2013年3月16日01時34分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月16日 (土)

衆院選改革案 中小政党の優遇枠は疑問だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 16, 2013)
Lower house allocation plan for smaller parties questionable
衆院選改革案 中小政党の優遇枠は疑問だ(3月15日付・読売社説)

The basic posture of the Liberal Democratic Party to give consideration to small and midsize political parties, with a view to reaching an early agreement on electoral reform of the House of Representatives, deserves appreciation.
 中小政党に配慮し、衆院選挙制度改革の早期合意を目指す姿勢は評価できる。

Since the issue bears upon the fundamental makeup of the nation's democracy, however, care must be taken to avoid a slap-dash resolution.
だが、民主主義の基本にかかわる問題だけに、拙速は避けたい。

The LDP has come out with a draft plan for crafting a new lower house election system.
 自民党が、新しい衆院選挙制度の原案をまとめた。

It calls for reducing by 30 the number of seats to be elected through proportional representation to 150.
 比例選定数を30減らし、150とする。

Ninety seats would be dispensed through the conventional seat allocation method called the d'Hondt formula, while the remaining 60 would be given to parties other than the top vote-getter.
このうち90は、従来通りドント式で各党に議席を配分し、残り60は、得票数が2位以下の党にだけ配分する。

In addition, the existing 11 proportional representation blocs across the country would be consolidated into eight blocs. These are the major pillars of the LDP-proposed electoral changes.
全国11ブロックは8ブロックに再編する。これが自民党案の柱である。

The LDP initially considered making 30 seats subject to the preferential allocation for smaller parties in the proportional segments of the lower house election. In response to requests from its junior ruling coalition partner, New Komeito, the LDP eventually agreed to double the number to 60.
 自民党は当初、中小政党の優遇枠を30とする方針だったが、公明党が拡大を求めたため、60に増やした。

===

Vote value equality essential

The proposed reduction of proportional representation blocs is also intended primarily to help smaller parties increase their lower house seats by curtailing the number of so-called wasted votes that go to losing parties in the proportional representation contests.
比例ブロックの数を減らすのも、中小政党の死票を減らし、議席を増やす狙いがある。

It seems the LDP may have thought it inevitable to give consideration to smaller parties to ensure an accord between the LDP, Komeito and the Democratic Party of Japan last November to reach an agreement on lower house electoral reform, including curtailment of seats in the House of Representatives, during the current ordinary Diet session.
 中小政党への配慮は、昨年の民主、自民、公明3党合意に基づき、今国会中に定数削減を含めた衆院選改革を実現するためには、やむを得ないと考えたのだろう。

The idea of preferential allotment of seats to smaller parties, however, has been criticized by some as possibly a violation of the constitutional principle of equality in vote values.
 だが、優遇枠の新設は制度上、「1票の価値の平等」という観点から憲法違反の恐れが指摘されている。

This is because adoption of the system would mean the value of the votes cast for the party getting the most ballots would be diluted according to the extent of the preferential seat allotment given to smaller parties.
得票数が1位の党に投票した比例票が、2位以下に投票した票に比べて、優遇枠の分だけ軽く扱われることになるからだ。

Another problem that cannot be overlooked is that the proposed system would be more complex than the current combination of single-seat constituencies and proportional representation, and would likely be unintelligible to voters. Too much consideration of the benefits to smaller parties would call the very reasonableness of the system into question.
 現行の小選挙区比例代表並立制よりも制度が複雑で、有権者に分かりにくいという弊害も看過できない。中小政党に配慮するあまり、制度の合理性にも疑問がある。

The LDP has said it will make efforts to prevent a situation under which the planned preferential seat allotments could result in the top vote-getting party taking fewer seats than the party with the second-most ballots. Doing so, however, would make the system all the more complicated.
 自民党は、優遇枠によって、得票数が1位の党の獲得議席が2位の党と逆転しない仕組みにするというが、そうしようとすれば、制度がさらに複雑になろう。

===

Seek feasible alternative

Noteworthy in this connection is the fact that the LDP opposed last year a DPJ proposal for partially introducing a new multiseat constituency system blending elements of single-seat and proportional representation processes in a way advantageous to smaller parties. At that time, the LDP criticized the plan for possibly being "unconstitutional and unintelligible to the public."
 そもそも自民党は昨年、中小政党に有利になる「連用制」を一部導入する民主党の改革案について「違憲の恐れがあり、制度が分かりづらい」などと批判し、反対していた経緯がある。

Komeito supports the LDP's latest draft, but Speaker Bunmei Ibuki of the lower chamber, who hails from the LDP, has pointed out "constitutional problems" that could arise due to the preferential seat allocation for smaller parties.
 自民党案について、公明党は前向きな姿勢を示す一方、自民党出身の伊吹衆院議長は優遇枠の「憲法上の問題」を指摘した。

The DPJ has opposed the planned system on the grounds it would be constitutionally questionable and also because not enough seats would be cut under the plan.
 民主党は、憲法上の疑義に加えて、比例定数の削減幅が不十分だとして、反対している。

Such opposition parties as Your Party and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) are also wary of the LDP draft, saying they refuse to accept any electoral system that may be unintelligible to the public.
日本維新の会やみんなの党も、「国民に分かりにくい制度は駄目だ」と、否定的な立場だ。

Given that reform of the electoral system directly affects the different parties' chances of getting their seats in the legislature, it is naturally difficult to work out a plan both ruling and opposition parties can agree on.
 選挙制度改革は各党の獲得議席に直結する問題だけに、与野党がそろって賛成する案をまとめることが難しいのは理解できる。

However, regarding the planned preferential allocation of seats for parties getting the second-largest shares of votes or less in proportional representation contests, all parties must discuss the matter in a more scrupulous way.
 だが、2位以下の党の優遇枠については、より慎重に議論することが必要だ。

If an accord is reached to give strong consideration to smaller parties, serious studies should be conducted on the wisdom of adopting a system other than the LDP-envisioned preferential seat allocation.
中小政党に配慮するのであれば、優遇枠以外の方法を真剣に検討すべきだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 15, 2013)
(2013年3月15日01時38分  読売新聞)

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習・李体制へ 威圧外交で高まる中国異質論

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 16, 2013)
China's overbearing diplomacy only boosts its 'alien' image
習・李体制へ 威圧外交で高まる中国異質論(3月15日付・読売社説)

Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping has been named president at the National People's Congress, succeeding the retiring Hu Jintao. Xi now holds the country's top three titles, including the top party and military posts.
 中国共産党の習近平総書記が全国人民代表大会(全人代=国会)で、引退する胡錦濤氏の後任の国家主席に選出された。これで、党、軍のトップと合わせて3権を掌握した。

On Friday, Li Keqiang is set to succeed Wen Jiabao in the premiership. Then the transition of power that began in autumn last year will be complete and the Xi-Li regime can begin to move.
 15日には、党内序列2位の李克強氏が温家宝氏から首相を引き継ぎ、「習・李体制」が始動する。昨秋以来の権力移行の完成だ。

China, now the world's second-largest economy, is being urged to play a much larger role in the international community than it did when the Hu-Wen regime began 10 years ago. We hope China will respond to the demands of the global community and fulfill its responsibility in stabilizing the world situation.
 世界第2位の経済大国となった中国には、10年前の「胡・温体制」発足時より格段に大きな役割が国際社会で求められている。中国はそのことを自覚し、世界の安定に責任を果たしてもらいたい。

===

Aiming to be a maritime giant

President Xi, who has said achieving the "great revival of the Chinese nation" is the goal of his administration, is expected to pursue wealth- and military-building policies over his two five-year terms, aiming to transform China into a superpower on par with the United States.
 「中華民族の偉大な復興」を政権目標に掲げる習主席は、2期10年間の任期中、米国と並ぶ超大国の座に迫ろうと、富国強兵路線を突き進む考えだ。

Backed by a strong military, China has been striving to become a "great maritime power." It is quite clear that the country will continue its hard-line stance against Japan, Vietnam, and other neighbors in the East and South China seas.
 強大な軍事力を背景に「海洋強国化」を推し進めている。東シナ海や南シナ海で、日本やベトナムなど周辺国に対し、強硬姿勢をとり続けるのは間違いない。

China's lawmaking body, the National People's Congress, passed government organizational reforms to achieve this aim.
 全人代では、そのための政府の機構改革も決めた。

The reforms consolidate maritime patrols under the State Oceanic Administration (SOA)--activities that had been previously administered independently by law enforcement bodies such as the SOA, Agriculture Ministry and Public Security Ministry. This therefore represents a massive increase of the SOA's authority. Above the SOA, a state oceanic commission will be created to direct the country's maritime strategy.
 国家海洋局の下に、これまで海洋局や農業省、公安省などが個別に所管してきた海上取り締まり活動を一本化した。海洋局の権限を大幅に強化するものだ。その上位機関に、海洋戦略を主導する「国家海洋委員会」を新設する。

The Xi administration is expected to step up cooperation between the navy and the SOA to maintain and strengthen its demonstrative activities around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. The administration has reportedly been studying the possibility of sending a survey team to the islands to set survey markers and create an accurate map of the islands.
 習政権は、尖閣諸島周辺の示威行動を継続・強化する目的で海軍と海洋局の協力を本格化させる見通しだ。尖閣諸島の正確な地図作製のため、測量隊の派遣や標識の設置も検討しているとされる。

This situation is very worrying for Japan. We cannot accept such a violation of Japan's sovereignty.
 憂慮すべき事態である。日本の主権を侵害する行為を受け入れるわけにはいかない。

Japan needs to increase alertness over China in cooperation with the United States, and prepare for China's ever-escalating provocative actions.
 日本は米国と連携して警戒を強め、エスカレートする挑発への備えを固めねばならない。

As part of the organizational reform, China has decided to dissolve the Railway Ministry. Dubbed an "independent kingdom" with its own police force and court system, the ministry has been criticized as a hotbed of corruption in the wake of seemingly endless bribery cases. The Xi administration's leadership will be tested over its ability to direct a new railway organization to put customers first and place top priority on safety.
 機構改革では鉄道省の解体も決まった。独自の警察や裁判所も抱えた「独立王国」には、汚職が絶えない「腐敗の温床」との批判があった。利用者側に立ち、安全を最優先する組織に再生できるか。政権の指導力が問われよう。

===

No visible achievements

During the last decade, the Hu-Wen administration sought sustainable economic growth that took the environment into consideration and worked to correct income disparities. However, it failed to produce visible results. Furthermore, the new administration must appropriately deal with the suppression of the human rights of minority groups, such as those in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
 胡・温体制はこの10年、環境に配慮した持続的な経済成長や格差是正などを訴えてきたが、目に見える成果を出せなかった。さらに、チベットなど少数民族の人権抑圧への対応も迫られている。

Xi will need to squarely face difficult problems that could shake the foundation of the country. If the government continues to inflame nationalist sentiments with its forcible, overbearing diplomacy only to distract people from their hardships, it will only give more credence to ideas in the international community such as that China is an alien nation or is a major threat to other countries.
 習主席は、中国を足元から揺さぶる難題に正面から取り組むべきだ。国民の不満をそらそうと、力ずくの威圧外交によって国内の民族主義を煽(あお)り続けるのなら、中国への「異質論」や「脅威論」が国際社会で高まるだけである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 15, 2013)
(2013年3月15日01時38分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月15日 (金)

小沢氏元秘書 再度有罪が問う政治家の責任

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 15, 2013)
Guilty ruling for ex-aides highlights Ozawa's responsibility
小沢氏元秘書 再度有罪が問う政治家の責任(3月14日付・読売社説)

Wednesday's judicial decision, which again deemed a politician's former secretaries to be guilty, is quite grave.
 元秘書を再び有罪とした司法判断は重い。

The Tokyo High Court upheld a lower court conviction of three former secretaries of Ichiro Ozawa, head of the People's Life Party, for falsifying political fund reports.
 東京高裁は、小沢一郎生活の党代表の元秘書3人について、有罪とした1審の判断を支持する判決を言い渡した。

The three former aides were tried on suspicion of violating the Political Funds Control Law over a Tokyo land purchase by Rikuzan-kai, Ozawa's political funds management body.
 3人は小沢氏の資金管理団体・陸山会の土地取引を巡り、政治資金規正法違反に問われていた。

The high court ruling said the secretaries repeatedly made false record entries and omitted information in an attempt to conceal 400 million yen that Ozawa lent to Rikuzan-kai to finance the purchase.
 判決は、小沢氏から借りた土地購入原資4億円を隠蔽するため、政治資金収支報告書に虚偽記入や不記載を重ねたと認定した。

Pointing out that the false entries and omissions were made for over three years, involving a total amount of 1.8 billion yen, the court also said the actions were "particularly heinous." The ruling criticized the secretaries' actions not as mere entry mistakes but as intentional criminal acts.
 虚偽記入や不記載は3か年分に及び、総額も18億円を超える点を挙げ、「かなり悪質だ」とも指摘した。形式的なミスなどではなく、意図的な犯罪行為だったと批判する判決である。

===

Source to check political activities

Political fund reports, which detail the income and expenditures of such funds, are disclosed to the public every year. They are an important way for the general public to check whether political activities of lawmakers are aboveboard. False entries or omissions are serious crimes. It was natural for the high court to hand down such a ruling.
 毎年公開される政治資金収支報告書は、政治活動が公正に行われているかどうかを国民がチェックする拠(よ)り所になる。虚偽記入や不記載自体が重大な犯罪だ。判決の指摘は当然と言えよう。

House of Representatives member Tomohiro Ishikawa, one of the three defendants, ran in the lower house election in December on a New Party Daichi ticket.
He failed in the constituency vote, but was elected from a proportional representation bloc. Ishikawa has appealed the high court ruling to the Supreme Court. If his guilt is finalized at the top court, he will lose his lower house seat.
 被告の一人である石川知裕衆院議員は昨年末の衆院選で、新党大地から立候補し、比例で復活当選した。
判決を不服として上告したが、最高裁で有罪が確定すれば、議員の職を失うことになる。

Regarding the concealment of 400 million yen, which was the focus of the trial, the high court made a similar judgment to the lower court ruling. It said two of the three secretaries received secret donations from a midsize general contractor regarding a dam construction project in Ozawa's election base of Iwate Prefecture. One motive for the concealment was to prevent the secret donations from coming to light, the court concluded.
 焦点だった4億円の隠蔽について、判決は1審と同様の判断を示した。「小沢氏の選挙地盤で行われる工事の受注に絡み、中堅ゼネコンから裏金を受け取っていた」と認め、発覚を免れようとしたことが動機の一つと結論づけた。

In his own trial, Ozawa was found not guilty. Ozawa has consistently denied that his secretaries received the secret funds. Ozawa issued a statement calling the high court ruling "quite regrettable." How does he explain his corrupt relation with the general contractor, which the two courts recognized?
 小沢氏自身は無罪となり、元秘書による裏金の受領を一貫して否定してきた。今回の判決に対し、小沢氏は「極めて遺憾」とのコメントを出したが、裁判所が認定したゼネコンとの癒着をどう説明するつもりなのだろうか。

What the trial has revealed afresh is a defect in the Political Funds Control Law.
 裁判を通じて改めて浮き彫りになったのは、政治資金規正法の“不備”である。

===

Law lets Ozawa dodge blame

Under the current law, the person in charge of accounting at a political organization is responsible for false entries in a political funds report.
 現行法では、収支報告書の虚偽記入の責任を負うのは、政治団体の会計責任者だ。

As a result, Ozawa could get away with claims such as "I entrusted everything to my secretaries" or "I've never seen funds reports."
このため、小沢氏のように、「秘書にすべて任せていた」「収支報告書は見たこともない」といった言い分もまかり通ってしまう。

Ozawa created Nippon Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan) before the December election, but it did very poorly. Currently he leads People's Life Party, but he does not have much of a presence in the political world now. At the same time, people's interest in the Rikuzan-kai case has been diminishing.
 先の衆院選で、小沢氏は、日本未来の党を創設して戦ったが、惨敗した。現在は生活の党を率いているものの、政界での存在感は乏しい。同時に陸山会事件への世間の関心も薄れている。

Even so, the case should not be left behind as a thing of the past.
 だからといって、事件を過去のものと片付けるべきではない。

The ruling and opposition parties should not neglect to improve the political funds disclosure system, including toughening regulations on the supervisory responsibilities of politicians over people in charge of accounting at political organizations.
 会計責任者に対する政治家の監督責任を強めるなど、政治資金の公開制度の改善について、与野党は検討を怠ってはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 14, 2013)
(2013年3月14日01時34分  読売新聞)

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春闘回答 賃上げを景気回復の糸口に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 15, 2013)
Wage hikes must be linked to economic recovery
春闘回答 賃上げを景気回復の糸口に(3月14日付・読売社説)

It seems the public's expectations for Abenomics--the Abe Cabinet's economic policy aimed at escaping from deflation--have had a positive impact on this year's shunto spring wage negotiations.
 デフレ脱却を目指す安倍内閣の経済政策「アベノミクス」への期待が、今年の春闘に好影響を与えたのだろう。

Workers' wages had been sliding in Japan for years, helping to prolong deflation. It is essential that these wage increases be linked to growth in consumption and economic recovery.
 日本では長年にわたり、賃金の下落傾向が続き、デフレが長期化する一因となってきた。賃上げを消費拡大と景気回復につなげることが重要である。

On Wednesday, major automakers and electronics makers responded to labor unions' demands regarding yearly bonuses and regular pay raises based on seniority. Their decisions influence trends in the annual spring labor offensives.
 春闘相場に影響を与える大手の自動車や電機各社は、定期昇給や年間一時金(ボーナス)を労働組合に一斉回答した。

Most major automakers, such as Toyota Motor Corp., said they will accept their unions' bonus demands in full. The average yearly bonus at such automakers has recovered to the level recorded in 2008, before the so-called Lehman shock. The automakers also acceded to the unions' demands on regular pay raises.
 トヨタ自動車など大半の自動車大手は一時金で満額回答し、リーマン・ショック前の2008年以来の水準となった。定昇や、これに相当する「賃金制度維持分」でも組合の要求をのんだ。

Compared to automakers, business performance has varied recently among major electronics makers. As a result, there were differences in the electronics makers' responses to their unions' demands, but they all accepted the demands on regular pay raises.
 業績にばらつきがある電機では回答に差がついたが、定昇維持では足並みがそろった。

The outlook of labor-management negotiations has totally changed from last year, when some companies decided to forgo the regular pay raise and cut their employees' wages.
一部企業が定昇凍結や賃下げした昨年春闘からは様変わりだ。

===

Management's policy shift

Initially, management took a hard-line stance before this year's shunto negotiations, stressing that certain companies may choose to postpone or forgo regular pay raises. Their policy shift is remarkable.
 経営側が当初、「企業によっては定昇の延期・凍結もありうる」と厳しい姿勢を見せていたのと比べると大きな転換と言えよう。

The underlying reason why the companies chose to accept the unions' demands is the rapid business recovery of export-oriented companies, such as automakers and electronics makers, boosted by the depreciation of the yen that took place after the launch of the Abe administration.
 その背景には、安倍政権誕生後に進んだ円安を追い風に、自動車や電機など輸出企業の採算が急速に改善している事情がある。

Requests by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and some Cabinet ministers during negotiations that companies increase workers' wages were also effective.
 加えて、安倍首相や閣僚が、春闘中、経営側に賃上げを要請したことも効果的だった。

Some company executives have acknowledged they took the government's requests into account. It is understandable for the labor unions to boast that they had a certain level of success in the negotiations.
 一部の経営側は首相らの要請を考慮したことを認めている。労働側が「一定の成果を確保した」と分析しているのはもっともだ。

Ahead the manufacturing industry, a number of convenience store chains, such as Lawson Inc., also raised their employees' wages. We want to praise the convenience store industry's decision to take the initiative in working to boost consumer spending.
 製造業に先立ち、ローソンなどコンビニエンスストア業界でも賃上げが相次いだ。個人消費のテコ入れに先鞭(せんべん)をつけようとしたコンビニ業界の決断も評価できる。

However, although the public's hopes for Abenomics are running high, Japan has yet to witness substantial recovery in the real economy.
 ただし、アベノミクスは期待感が先行しており、必ずしも実体経済は本格的に回復していない。

Few companies have promised to raise base pay, called "base-up" in Japanese, a uniform pay-scale increase that comes in addition to the regular pay raise. It is also unclear whether moves to raise wages will spread to small and midsize companies.
賃金を底上げするベースアップを行った企業はまだ少なく、中堅・中小企業に賃上げの動きが波及するかどうかは不透明だ。

===

Recovery is yet to come

Depreciation of the yen will drive up the prices of fuel and imported raw materials. We have to be aware that certain industries, such as food services, will be buffeted by the headwind caused by such cost increases.
 円安進行は、燃料や輸入原材料価格の値上がりによるコスト高を招き、外食産業などの企業に逆風となることにも要警戒である。

Will the government be able to connect companies' moves to increase their employees' wages, which the nation has been longing for, to steady economic recovery and make it the beginning of a virtuous economic cycle? What matters is the government's effort to reinforce cooperation with the Bank of Japan to achieve this goal.
 大事なのは、ようやく出てきた賃上げの動きを着実な景気回復という好循環につなげていく政府・日銀の連携の強化だ。

The government plans to draw up by June its growth strategy, with policies such as practical implementation of regenerative medicine as its pillars. We hope the strategy will produce tangible results, such as strengthening the competitiveness of domestic companies and nurturing growing industries.
 政府は6月、再生医療の実用化などを柱とする成長戦略をまとめる方針だ。企業の競争力強化や、成長産業の育成など具体的な成果を期待したい。

Such moves should be taken in tandem with bold monetary easing and flexible fiscal policy to accelerate the rejuvenation of the Japanese economy.
 大胆な金融緩和と機動的な財政出動と併せ、日本経済の活性化を加速しなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 14, 2013)
(2013年3月14日01時34分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月14日 (木)

エネルギー計画 現実的な原発政策に練り直せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 14, 2013)
Government should draw up realistic nuclear power policy
エネルギー計画 現実的な原発政策に練り直せ(3月13日付・読売社説)

The basic energy plan, which is a guideline for the government's electric power policy, must be changed to make it more realistic. We hope the government will restart discussions from scratch, as the previous administration led by the Democratic Party of Japan strayed off course on this matter.
 政府の電力政策の指針となるエネルギー基本計画を現実的な内容に改める必要がある。民主党政権で迷走した議論の仕切り直しに期待したい。

New members of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry's Advisory Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will start discussions on the government's basic energy plan this week. The committee plans to compile revisions to the plan by the end of this year.
 経済産業省の総合資源エネルギー調査会は今週、新たなメンバーで論議を再開する。年内をめどに計画の見直し案を取りまとめる方針という。

The number of committee members was reduced from 25 to 15 by removing people advocating the abandonment of nuclear power, and others. This apparently is aimed at creating an environment to consolidate opinions in a constructive manner. The new members include Issei Nishikawa, governor of Fukui Prefecture, where nuclear power plants are located. It is appropriate to have a voice of the people from an area hosting nuclear power plants reflected in discussions.
 今回の調査会は、脱原発派を外すなどして、委員を25人から15人に減らした。建設的に意見集約する環境作りのためだろう。原発の立地する福井県の西川一誠知事らを加え、当事者の声を反映させる狙いも妥当だ。

How will nuclear power plants be utilized provided that their safety is ensured? It is vital to have practical discussions.
 安全の確保を前提に、原発をどのように活用するか。地に足の着いた議論が肝要である。

The existing basic energy plan was drawn up in 2010. It called for increasing the number of nuclear reactors by as many as 14 with the aim of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.
 現行のエネルギー基本計画は2010年に策定された。温室効果ガスの「25%削減」を視野に、原発を14基も増やす内容だ。

===

Impractical plans

Following the outbreak of the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011, the Cabinet of then Prime Minister Naoto Kan began reviewing the plan. The committee held as many as 33 meetings over a yearlong period, but discussions wound up with opinions widely divided over the nation's ratio of nuclear power generation to total electricity output in the future.
 翌11年の東京電力福島第一原発事故を受け、菅内閣が計画の見直しに着手した。約1年間に33回も開いた会議は、将来の原発比率を巡る委員の意見が大きく分かれたまま、議論が打ち切られた。

A plan to abolish all nuclear power plants in the 2030s, which was suddenly compiled by the Cabinet of former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, was not reflected in the previous review of the basic energy plan, thanks to the change of government last year.
 野田内閣が唐突にまとめた「30年代に原発稼働ゼロ」の方針が基本計画に反映されなかったのは、政権交代の効用と言えよう。

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to reactivate idled nuclear reactors once their safety has been confirmed. The Abe administration needs to clarify how it defines the roles of nuclear power plants in the mid- and long term.
 安倍内閣は安全性の確認できた原発を再稼働する方針だ。原発の中長期的な役割を、どう位置づけるかが問われる。

Safety technology for nuclear power plants has made considerable headway. Replacing existing nuclear reactors with the latest models must be conducive to improvement in safety. It is indispensable to discuss revisions to the basic energy plan without eliminating options to renew current reactors or build new reactors.
 原発の安全技術は、かつてより大きく進歩している。最新型への切り替えは安全向上に資するはずだ。原発の更新・新設を排除せずに議論することが欠かせない。

===

National wealth being drained

We also call on the government to resolve such problems as a nuclear fuel cycle policy and final disposal of nuclear waste.
 核燃料サイクル政策や放射性廃棄物の最終処分についても、真剣に打開策を探ってもらいたい。

Most nuclear reactors are currently idle, so the country has to rely on thermal power plants using coal and liquefied natural gas for the time being.
 大半の原発が稼働しておらず、当面は石炭や液化天然ガス(LNG)などの火力発電が頼りだ。

The national wealth is being drained as the cost to import such fuels as LNG has increased by as much as 3 trillion yen a year, adding to the massive trade deficit.
 LNGなど燃料輸入のコストが年3兆円も増え、巨額の貿易赤字で国富の流出が続いている。

Power companies should make an effort to procure cheaper fuel, but some resource-rich countries have taken advantage of them in price negotiations because of Japan's unclear nuclear power policy. It is extremely important for the government to clearly declare that it will operate nuclear power plants over the long term.
 電力会社は安い燃料の調達に努めるべきだが、原発政策が不透明なため、価格交渉で資源国に足もとを見られている面もある。長期的な原発活用を、政府方針として明確に示す意義は大きい。

The expansion of the use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power will probably be a major issue in revising the basic energy plan.
 太陽光や風力など再生可能エネルギーの拡大策も、エネルギー基本計画の大きな論点となろう。

However, renewable energy sources have shortcomings such as sharp fluctuations in electric power output because of weather changes. This is a high hurdle to clear.
 ただし、天候によって発電量が急変動するなど、短所も多い。乗り越えるべきハードルは高い。

We should avoid overestimating the spread of renewable energy sources, unless it is supported by evidence on the technology and cost involved.
 技術やコスト面での裏付けもなしに、期待先行で飛躍的な拡大を見積もることは避けるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 13, 2013)
(2013年3月13日01時24分  読売新聞)

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震災遺構の保存 記憶の伝承に生かせるのなら

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 14, 2013)
Keeping memories of the March 11 disaster alive
震災遺構の保存 記憶の伝承に生かせるのなら(3月13日付・読売社説)

Scars of the massive tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake remain all-too-vivid in some affected areas. A large fishing vessel remains stranded ashore, and buildings reduced to their bare frames dot the landscape.
 骨組みだけとなったビル、陸に乗り上げた大型漁船――。東日本大震災の被災地には今なお津波の痕跡が生々しい。

Local governments in these areas face an extremely difficult quandary: Should structures that remain grim reminders of the devastation wrought by the disaster be left where they are, or should they be dismantled and removed?
 震災の惨状を伝える遺構を保存するか、解体撤去するか、自治体にとっては極めて難しい問題である。

In Minami-Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, a consensus over whether to preserve the town government's office building for antidisaster measures remains elusive. Many officials in the building died when it was engulfed by the tsunami. In Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, opinion is split over whether to conserve the former town government building where the mayor and other officials were swept away by the dark tsunami waters.
 宮城県南三陸町では、多くの町職員らが亡くなった防災対策庁舎の保存の賛否を巡り、調整がついていない。岩手県大槌町でも、町長らが濁流にのみ込まれて犠牲となった町役場旧庁舎の保存で住民の意見が割れている。

Some bereaved families who lost relatives at such sites have demanded the structures be removed, saying, "It's painful just to see them because they remind us of the disaster." Their deep sadness must be taken seriously.
 現場で肉親を奪われた遺族からは「震災を思い出すので見るのもつらい」と強く撤去を求める声が上がっている。その痛切な思いは重く受け止めるべきだろう。

Some observers suggest leaving these wrecked structures as they are will impede the progress of reconstruction.
 無残な姿の建物が街の中に残っていたのでは、復興の妨げとなるとの声もある。

On the other hand, there are strong views that the structures must be preserved so memories of the disaster will not fade. Some bereaved families initially wanted these structures demolished, but as time passed, they changed their view and now favor preservation. "They must be kept to prevent a recurrence of this tragedy," is the reasoning for this change of heart.
 一方で、被災の記憶を風化させないために、遺構を保存すべきだという意見も根強い。遺族の中には当初、解体を求めながら、時間が経過する中で「悲劇を繰り返さないためにも保存することが必要だ」と考え直した人もいる。

===

Full community debate vital

Whether to preserve the ruins should be discussed on a community basis from various perspectives, including the pros and cons of keeping the memories alive, promoting antidisaster measures, memorial purposes and future town building. Consideration also must be given fully to the fact that maintenance and administration of the structures will be costly for the local governments concerned.
 遺構の保存の是非について、記憶の伝承、防災、慰霊、将来の街づくりなど、様々な角度から地域で議論を尽くすべきである。維持管理には、自治体に多大の財政負担がかかる点も、十分に考慮しなければならない。

The Miyagi prefectural government has formulated a basic vision on how to deal with disaster remains, and submitted it to municipal governments concerned. The vision calls for studying preservation steps commensurate with their fiscal wherewithal.
 宮城県は震災遺構に対する県の基本的な考え方を取りまとめ、関係市町に通知した。自治体の財政規模に見合った保存のあり方を検討するよう求めている。

The prefectural government also set guidelines for preservation, including such requirements as giving approval for using the structures as centers for antidisaster education, conducting repairs to make them safe to use, and making sure they do not impede reconstruction. We think these requirements are reasonable.
 さらに、防災教育の拠点とするなど活用方針が決まっていて、安全性確保のための補修が可能、しかも復興の妨げとならない、といった保存の目安を挙げている。妥当な内容と言えよう。

Transferring part of the structures to museums or other facilities could be one way to preserve them. Other possible options include taking pictures and preserving other data before they are dismantled.
 遺構の一部を博物館などに移設する方法もある。解体する前に写真やデータに残し、保存する方策も考えていい。

===

A symbol of reconstruction

In Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate Prefecture, restoration of the "miracle pine tree" that died after initially surviving the tsunami will be completed shortly. The tree has been reassembled as a symbol of reconstruction after its trunk was hollowed out and filled with a carbon spine.
 岩手県陸前高田市では、津波に耐えながらも枯死した「奇跡の一本松」の復元作業が近く完了する。幹の中をくりぬいてカーボン製の芯を入れるなど工夫し、復興のシンボルとしてよみがえった。

The area surrounding the tree will be developed as a reconstruction memorial park to be used for future development of the city. If the number of visitors to the park increases, it will help revitalize the city.
 「奇跡の一本松」の周辺は復興祈念公園として整備を進め、将来の街づくりに生かす計画だ。公園への来訪者が増えれば、町の活性化にもつながるだろう。

We hope various ideas for keeping records of tsunami damage will be used. It is also essential to work out how lessons learned by academic research on the disaster can be passed to future generations.
 様々なアイデアを生かし、津波被害の記録を残してほしい。学術研究を経て得られた教訓を後世に伝えていく方法も考えたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 13, 2013)
(2013年3月13日01時24分  読売新聞)

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3・11追悼式 被災の教訓を次世代につなげ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 13, 2013)
Relay lessons from disaster to next generation
3・11追悼式 被災の教訓を次世代につなげ(3月12日付・読売社説)

Along with expediting reconstruction in the Tohoku region, it is vitally important to pass the lessons learned from the March 11, 2011, disaster on to the next generation.
 東北地方の再生を急ぐとともに、被災の教訓を次世代に引き継いでいくことが大切だ。

The nation has marked the second anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. In Tokyo, a government-sponsored memorial ceremony was held, with the Emperor and Empress attending. About 1,000 people also took part in the ceremony, including the heads of the nation's legislative, administrative and judicial branches of government and representatives of bereaved family members. They prayed for the repose of the souls of the deceased.
 東日本大震災から2年を迎えた。
 東京では政府主催の追悼式が開かれ、天皇陛下ご臨席のもと、三権の長、遺族代表ら約1000人が、亡くなられた人たちの冥福を祈った。

In a speech at the ceremony, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his resolve to "move forward to create a nation with a high degree of resilience to disasters throughout the country, in keeping with the lessons learned through this disaster."
 安倍首相は式辞で、「今般の教訓を踏まえ、我が国全土にわたって災害に強い強靱(きょうじん)な国づくりを進めていく」と決意を示した。

House of Representatives Speaker Bunmei Ibuki said: "It is worrisome that [people's recollections of the disaster] are fading as seen in the reduced number of volunteers. Taking the lessons learned to heart, we're obliged to pass them on to the next generation."
 伊吹衆院議長は、「ボランティアの減少など震災の風化が懸念されている。教訓を心に刻み、次の世代に引き継いでいくことこそが、我々の役割だ」と述べた。

The government and the Diet must use the lessons drawn from the disaster to improve disaster management measures for the entire nation.
 政府と国会は、震災からくみ取った教訓を日本全体の防災対策の向上に生かさねばならない。

The ceremony also was attended by about 150 people from diplomatic circles, including ambassadors from a number of countries.
 追悼式には、各国大使など外交関係者も約150人出席した。

===

Action by younger generation

Rin Yamane, a high school student representing Iwate Prefecture, pledged: "The younger generation will aim to better serve as human resources in aiding countries affected by natural disasters using the experience from our own disaster. We'll treat the massive earthquake not as a painful memory but a memory that will lead to the future."
 岩手県代表の高校生、山根りんさんは、「自然災害が発生した国々で、被災体験を生かした支援活動ができる人材となり、大震災がつらい記憶ではなく、未来につながる記憶となるよう私たち若い世代が行動する」と誓った。

The nation also must expedite reconstruction efforts in a show of respect for the assistance offered by other nations.
 各国からの支援に応える意味でも、復興を急ぐべきだ。

Responding to a nationwide opinion survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun in late February, 69 percent of respondents said reconstruction of disaster-hit areas did not seem to have made much progress. The figure was almost unchanged from the 72 percent who responded this way in a survey a year ago.
 読売新聞が2月末に行った全国世論調査では、復興が進んでいないと思う人は69%に上り、昨年の72%と変わらない水準だった。

While it was in opposition, the Liberal Democratic Party harshly criticized the Democratic Party of Japan-led government for its slow and inefficient reconstruction efforts.
 自民党は野党時代、民主党政権が取り組む復興策の遅れや効率の悪さを厳しく批判してきた。

Now that he is back in power, Abe should make an all-out effort to produce tangible results in response to public discontent, which remains strong.
 安倍首相は、政権復帰を果たした以上、依然として強い国民の不満に対し、目に見える形で応えてもらいたい。

===

Delays in Fukushima Prefecture

Delays in reconstruction are particularly obvious in Fukushima Prefecture, where a number of steps have yet to be taken in the wake of the crisis at a nuclear power plant, when compared to Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, which also were hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami.
 特に、いまだ原発事故の処理が続く福島県は、宮城、岩手両県と比べても復興の遅れが目立つ。

The Abe administration has set up a general bureau for reconstruction and revitalization in the city of Fukushima to establish a hands-on approach in tackling such issues as decontamination of radioactive materials and rebuilding communities.
 安倍政権は、福島市に福島復興再生総局を設置し、放射能の除染や町づくりに「現場主義」で取り組む体制を整えた。

Regarding the return of evacuees to areas near the nuclear plant, Abe said at a press conference, "With a target of around summer, I'll come up with a concrete road map on the restoration of roads, water systems, medical and welfare services, as well as for the return of residents."
 首相は記者会見で、原発事故で避難した周辺住民の帰還について、「夏頃をめどに、道路、水道、医療、福祉の復旧、いつ頃住めるようになるか、具体的な道筋を明らかにしていく」と語った。

We approve of Abe's stance when he said, "Action is everything."
「すべては実行あるのみ」との姿勢は評価できる。

As for the three hardest hit prefectures, the government has for the first time presented a timetable for the construction of public housing units for disaster victims to expedite housing reconstruction. This is the right move.
 被災3県については、住宅再建を急ぐため、政府が被災者向けの公営住宅である「復興住宅」建設の工程表を初めて提示した。適切な対応だろう。

People affected by the disaster are anxious about their uncertain futures. It is crucial for measures to be taken as soon as possible to give them hope.
 被災者は「先の見えない不安」を抱えている。一刻も早く将来に希望を持てるよう、手立てを講じることが肝要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 12, 2013)
(2013年3月12日01時26分  読売新聞)

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新「津波警報」 犠牲を減らす一歩にしたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 13, 2013)
Improved tsunami warning system only a 1st step
新「津波警報」 犠牲を減らす一歩にしたい(3月12日付・読売社説)

The Japan Meteorological Agency has launched a new tsunami warning system, which reflects lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
 気象庁が、新たな津波警報の運用を始めた。
 東日本大震災の反省を踏まえたものだ。

We hope this system will be a step toward reducing the number of victims in any future tsunami.
 津波による犠牲を減らす一歩にしたい。

The new system will classify tsunami after a huge earthquake in two categories when issuing alerts: high and gigantic. Three minutes after an earthquake stronger than magnitude 8 occurs, the agency will issue an initial warning that a "gigantic" tsunami will arrive.
 新たな警報では、津波の規模を大まかに、「巨大」「高い」に分けた。マグニチュード(M)8を超える巨大地震が起きた時は、発生3分後の第1報で、「巨大」と警告を発する。

If the agency issues such a warning, the expected height of the wave could reach at least 10 meters. What is most important is that people evacuate immediately after the warning is issued. The agency must exhaustively publicize the new warning system so it will ensure prompt evacuation after a major earthquake.
 「巨大」警報が出た場合、津波は最低で10メートル前後に達する恐れがあるという。その際、大切なのは即座に逃げることだ。新たな警報が迅速な避難につながるよう気象庁は周知に努めねばならない。

Previously, the agency's initial warnings included specific numerical estimates of tsunami size, calculated from earthquake observation data.
 従来の津波警報では、第1報の段階でも、地震の観測データから津波の高さを算出し、具体的な数値を発表していた。

===

Harm of numerical figures

After the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred, the agency announced three-meter tsunami were expected in coastal areas of Iwate and Fukushima prefectures. However, the tsunami that devastated many areas were actually more than 10 meters high.
 東日本大震災では、発生直後に岩手、福島両県で「3メートル」の津波を予測し発表した。ところが、実際は10メートル超の場所が多かった。

Some experts have pointed out that the underestimated figure was part of the reason why many people were slow to evacuate.
 津波の規模の過小予測で避難が遅れた、との指摘がある。

In time-sensitive situations, the top priority should be conveying information accurately in an easy-to-understand manner. There is no need to issue specific numerical figures immediately after an earthquake, when observation data is limited.
 一刻を争う場面では、的確な情報を分かりやすく伝えることを最優先にすべきだ。地震直後の観測データが乏しい段階で、無理に数値予測を出す必要はない。

Estimates of tsunami heights will be issued in later reports based on observation data. We urge the agency to be careful when it issues this information because after the first tsunami, coastal areas could be hit by second and third waves. On March 11, 2011, tsunami that surged ashore after the initial tsunami also caused extensive damage in some areas.
 具体的な津波の高さの予測については、観測データに基づき、順次、発表される。その情報の発し方も工夫が求められる。
 津波は2波3波と襲来し、大震災では、後続の津波で甚大な被害が出た地域もあったからだ。

NHK has started using new warnings to urge viewers to evacuate after a tsunami alert has been issued. When a strong earthquake struck off the Sanriku coast in December, an announcer used direct language and repeated the phrase, "Please remember the Great East Japan Earthquake."
 津波警報が発令された際、NHKは、すでに避難を促す新たな呼びかけを始めている。三陸沖を震源とする昨年12月の地震の際に、「大震災を思い出してください」などと繰り返した。

The public broadcaster later received complaints from victims of the March 11 disaster, who said the message brought back painful memories of the quake and tsunami. NHK should carefully choose the wording it uses when urging viewers to evacuate.
 被災者からは、恐怖の記憶がよみがえり、「つらい」などの声が寄せられた。呼びかけ方には今後、配慮が必要だろう。

===

Don't overly rely on alerts

In coastal areas, it is also important that people decide for themselves whether to evacuate, regardless of whether a tsunami alert is in place. It is possible some people would be unable to receive information on tsunami due to blackouts or malfunctioning disaster radios.
 沿岸地域では、警報の有無にかかわらず、大地震の時は自ら判断して逃げることも大切だ。停電や防災無線の故障などで情報が行き届かない場合もある。

We are concerned that many municipal governments have yet to establish or upgrade evacuation systems. Hasn't the Great East Japan Earthquake raised their awareness of the need to prepare for tsunami? According to a survey by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency last autumn, only about 10 percent of coastal cities, towns and villages had revised their tsunami evacuation plans after the March 2011 disaster.
 心配なのは、大震災で大津波に備える必要性を痛感したはずなのに、市町村の避難体制の整備が遅れていることだ。総務省消防庁の昨秋の調査では、大震災後に津波避難計画を見直した全国の沿岸部の市町村は、まだ1割前後だ。

During that disaster, many shelter facilities were engulfed by tsunami. Roads were jammed with cars, hindering evacuation.
 大震災では、避難先の施設が次々と波にのまれた。道路は車で渋滞し、避難が滞った。

Even if the meteorological agency makes wholehearted efforts to improve its tsunami warning system, this alone will not be enough to save lives during tsunami. The central and local governments must speed up their efforts to improve evacuation systems.
 いかに警報を工夫しても、それだけでは命を守れない。政府や自治体は対応を急ぐべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 12, 2013)
(2013年3月12日01時26分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月12日 (火)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:広がる「嗜癖」の範囲 /東京

February 10, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: New forms of 'addiction'
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:広がる「嗜癖」の範囲 /東京

People often say to me, "You can't diagnose depression through blood tests or X-rays, can you? That means a person can be diagnosed differently depending on the doctor or even the country, right?"
 よく一般の人から、「うつ病って言っても、血液検査やレントゲンで診断がつくわけじゃないんでしょう? 医者や国によって診断にバラつきが出ることもあるよね」と言われる。

If no standard existed, that might be the case. However, it would be wrong to have different diagnoses depending on the doctor or the country. Psychiatrists around the world try to use the same standard for diagnosing patients. That is the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)" created by the American Psychiatric Association.
放っておくとそうなるかもしれないがそれでは困るので、世界の精神科医たちはなるべくみな同じ診断基準を使うことにしている。そこで使われているのが、アメリカ精神医学会が作成したDSMという指針だ。

This "DSM" has been revised for the first time in 20 years and "DSM-5" will come into effect around May this year.
 それがこのほど約20年ぶりに改訂され、「DSM−5」として今年の5月ごろから使われることになった。

People may think that it's just revisions to a psychiatrists' manual, but the revisions reflect "psychological problems" people face in today's society. At the same time, the revisions can gradually influence society.
 なんだ、精神医療の業界でマニュアルがかわっただけじゃない、と言われそうだが、これはいまの社会の“心の問題”を反映するものであり、また逆に社会にじわじわと影響を与えるものでもあるのだ。

For example, in the revised version, the word "dependence," such as in "dependence on drugs or alcohol," is classified under "substance use disorders." Furthermore, the term "addiction," a broader concept once deleted from the diagnosis standard, has made a comeback in the revised version.
 たとえば、改訂版からはアルコールや薬物などへの「依存」という用語が消えて、「使用障害」という分類でまとめられている。そして、一度、診断基準から消えた「嗜癖(しへき)(アディクション)」という大きな概念が復活している。

According to psychiatrist Toshihiko Matsumoto, the word "addiction" has come back "not as an insulting expression that fosters prejudice but rather as a word that has an incorporated new meaning." Matsumoto adds that whatever the issue may be, alcohol or drugs, the main cause lies in the "loss of control." It's not so much about physical dependence but rather the loss of control, in which the human is being controlled by the substance. Matsumoto believes that it "can be referred to as 'psychological dependence' in today's terms."
 この問題にくわしい精神科医・松本俊彦氏は、学会のシンポジウムで「この『嗜癖』という用語は、偏見を助長する侮蔑的表現としてではなく、より新しい意味をまとって復活した」と述べている。その上で、この背景にあるのは、お酒にせよ薬物にせよ、何かに病的にハマってやめられないという問題の中心は、「身体依存の有無ではなく、人が物質にとらわれ支配される事態、『コントロール喪失』であり、今日ふうにいえば『精神依存』」だと考える。

This doesn't mean that a person can jump to a conclusion that alcohol dependence is not a physical problem but a mental health issue. Behind the revival of such a broad concept as "addiction" is a sharp increase in the number of people who have lost control and "crossed the line," ultimately resulting in failures in relationships with people around them and in their own lives. Furthermore, addiction is not limited to classical substances such as alcohol and drugs but has extended to gambling, shopping, and even smart phones and social networking services -- things that can't be easily noticed.
 そうか、アルコール依存はやっぱりからだの病気じゃなくて、こころの持ちようなんだな、という意味にとらないでほしい。「嗜癖」というより広い概念を提示しなければならないほど、いま「コントロール喪失」が原因で自分を抑えられず、さまざまな“やってはいけないこと”に手を出し、ついには生活や人間関係の破綻にまで進んでしまう人が増えているということだ。また、そのハマる対象も古典的な酒や覚醒剤に限らず、ギャンブルや買い物、さらにはスマホやSNSなどより目に見えにくい方向へと広がりつつある。

Under the latest revisions to the DSM, the categories of "addiction" are still limited, but if more people start to lose control, the subjects may be revised again. I really hope that I won't see a society where numerous people are being medically treated because they all have an addiction.
今回の改訂では「嗜癖(アディクション)」はまだその範囲が限られているが、今後、「コントロール喪失」に陥る人がさらに増えれば、また変わるかもしれない。「あの人もこの人もアディクションで治療中」という社会が来ないことを望みたい。

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年02月05日 地方版
〔都内版〕

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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:子どもの心に向き合って /東京

February 24, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Caring about children's feelings
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:子どもの心に向き合って /東京

A very sad event occurred when a fifth-grade elementary school student in Osaka Prefecture killed himself.
 本当に悲しい事件が起きてしまった。大阪府で小学校5年の男子児童が自ら命を絶ったのだ。

The student's school was to be merged with two others from this April, and the student is reported to have been protesting this for some time, writing in a composition, "Don't destroy our school."
この男児が通う小学校は、市内の学校の統廃合により、この4月に二つの学校に統合されることが決まっていたという。男児は以前から閉校に抵抗を示し、作文に「学校をつぶさないで」などと書いていたと報じられた。

Children up until around that boy's age are able to "merge" themselves with buildings, clouds, the sky, plants, animals and other things, sharing their hearts with these things. Of course, that is in the imagination of a child, but there are probably many people who have had experiences such as when they see a tree being cut down they feel, "That tree is in pain and crying!" and, sensing that pain, they cry themselves.
 ちょうどこの年齢くらいまでの子どもは、建物や雲、空、植物、動物などと自分とをすぐに“合体”させたり、心を通わせ合ったりすることができる。もちろんそれは子ども自身の空想なのだが、木が伐採されている場面を見て「あの木が痛がって泣いている!」とリアルに感じ、自分も泣いてしまった、などという経験を持つ人は少なくないのではないだろうか。

Of course, I do not know if the boy who committed suicide was opposed to the closing of the school because he felt the sadness and pain of the school building and the classrooms. It's said that he surveyed other students about the school closure, so it is highly likely he was more mentally mature than other children his age. It may be that, while opposing the school closure in an adult-like manner, he also "merged and felt the pain" of the school in that unique child way. If so, the ending of the school must have been particularly hard on him.
 もちろん、この男児がそんな感覚を持っていて、校舎や教室の悲しみや痛みを感じて閉校に反対していたのかどうかはわからない。ほかの児童に統廃合に関しての聞き取り調査を行っていたともいわれるから、精神的には同じ年齢の子どもよりも成熟していた可能性も高い。もしかすると、一方でおとなに近い感覚で閉校に反対しつつ、同時に「学校と一体化して、その痛みを感じる」という子どもならではの感覚もあわせて持っていたのではないだろうか。だとしたら、よけいに「学校がなくなる」というのはこの男児にとって耐えがたいことだったはずだ。

I have experienced the closing of my elementary and junior-high schools. In both cases I was already an adult, but when I heard about the closing ceremonies and how people had bid the schools farewell, it was as if I felt a sharp pain in my heart. I felt like my own precious memories or even my childhood had disappeared.
 実は、私も出身の小学校、中学の閉校を経験している。いずれも十分、おとなになってからのことだったが、それでもなつかしい学校に「ありがとう、さようなら」と伝えたという閉校式の様子を聴いて、心がキリキリと痛むようであった。自分自身の大切な思い出や子ども時代までが、どこかに消えていく思いがしたのだ。

For a child currently attending a school, even if they heard an objective reason for it, they probably could not immediately accept the closure of their school. The sensitive boy in Osaka Prefecture loved his school so much that he felt a merging with it. Why did his kindness have to lead to this tragedy? Are the adults at his school successfully dealing with students' feelings?
 ましていまそこに通っていた子どもにとっては、閉校は「児童数が減少したから」と客観的に説明されても、すぐには受け入れられることではないだろう。自分の通っていた小学校を、それと一体化するほどに愛していた感受性の強い男の子。彼のやさしさが、どうしてこんな悲劇につながらなければならなかったのか。教育の現場で、おとなたちはしっかり「子どもの心」に向き合えているのか。

Lately bullying and physical punishment at schools are under the public spotlight, but in addition to that, perhaps it is time that we seriously think again about what really is a "child," who is neither an adult nor a baby.
いじめや体罰の問題に注目が集まっているが、おとなでもない、赤ちゃんでもない、「子ども」とは何かということについて、もう一度、私たちは真剣に考えてみなければならない時を迎えているのではないか。

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年02月19日 地方版

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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:トラウマに効く言葉 /東京

March 03, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Effective words for trauma victims
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:トラウマに効く言葉 /東京

When looking at a site on psychological treatment, I saw some shocking words: "No clues on how to combat children's trauma." According to research by an American academic society, there have been almost no clearly effective ways for treating children who have been traumatized by life-threatening disasters or accidents. Even a method thought to be effective -- counseling-style treatment -- has hardly had any after-studies done on it.
"Effective long-term treatment for traumatized children is not known," the site said.
 精神医療関係のサイトを見ていたら、「子どものトラウマ対策に糸口なし」という衝撃的なフレーズに出合った。アメリカの学会の研究によれば、災害や事故などで命の危険にさらされるような経験をして、“心の傷”つまりトラウマを負った子どもに対して行われた治療のうち、「これぞ効果的」と考えられるものはほとんどなかったのだという。また、有効と思われた一部のカウンセリング的な治療にしても、その後の追跡調査はほとんど行われていない。結局のところ、「長い目で見たときに、トラウマを受けた子どもの治療として何が有効なのかはよくわからない」ということだ。

It is, however, known from the latest research that when people have shocking, life-threatening experiences, some of them have clearly visible brain changes that lead to flashbacks and other symptoms. Trauma is more an emotional than neurological problem, but research shows that it leads to an actual "brain malfunction."
 精神医療関係のサイトを見ていたら、「子どものトラウマ対策に糸口なし」という衝撃的なフレーズに出合った。アメリカの学会の研究によれば、災害や事故などで命の危険にさらされるような経験をして、“心の傷”つまりトラウマを負った子どもに対して行われた治療のうち、「これぞ効果的」と考えられるものはほとんどなかったのだという。また、有効と思われた一部のカウンセリング的な治療にしても、その後の追跡調査はほとんど行われていない。結局のところ、「長い目で見たときに、トラウマを受けた子どもの治療として何が有効なのかはよくわからない」ということだ。

Frightening or surprising experiences, or hearing strong threatening words can change the brain in ways for the worse. Therefore, it seems like there should also be experiences or words that could improve the brain's functionality, or stop the bad changes caused by trauma. It is generally thought that positive thinking is good for the brain, although this has not been confirmed through brain imagery or other hard evidence.
 最近の研究では、命にかかわるようなショッキングなできごとを経験すると、一部の人の脳にははっきりと目に見えるような変化が起きて、フラッシュバックなどの症状が表れることがわかっている。トラウマじたいは脳というより心の問題だが、それが実際に「脳の故障」を引き起こすということだ。
 「恐ろしかった」「本当に驚いた」という経験や、誰かからの強い脅しの言葉などが、脳を悪い方向に変化させることがある。ということは、脳の機能をアップさせたり、トラウマによるマイナスの変化を食い止めたりするのに役立つ経験や言葉もありそうだ。一般的には何でも前向きに考えるポジティブシンキングが脳によい、とされているが、はっきりと画像などで確認されたわけではない。

Lately, physical discipline in schools and sports has become a big problem. The children or athletes who are subject to such discipline are not only physically hurt, but they also suffer great emotional damage, sometimes even losing the will to live. In this way it is as bad as a trauma. Even if the teachers or coaches who inflicted the discipline are removed or punished, the emotional damage of those who were hit does not disappear.
 いま、学校やスポーツ指導の場における体罰が大きな問題になっている。それを受けた子どもや選手は単にからだが傷つくだけではなくて、心にも大きなダメージを負って、生きる意欲をなくす場合さえある。ある意味で、トラウマにも匹敵する経験だ。加害者である教師やコーチを交代させたり罰したりしても、本人が受けた心のダメージじたいが回復するものではない。

A shower of reassuring words, like "You were not in the wrong," or "You have many good qualities" may be necessary to restore these victims' confidence. I think this support is needed not just from a particular person, but from family, teachers, friends, counselors and others. It is also necessary for researchers to continue to study to find an effective treatment for trauma as soon as possible. I myself want to know what it is that has saved people who have managed to recover from childhood trauma.
 「あなたは悪くない」「あなたにはよいところがたくさんある」と失われかけている自信をチャージするような言葉のシャワーが必要かもしれない。それも特定の誰かではなくて、家族、教師、友だち、カウンセラーらいろいろな立場の人が励まし、支える必要があるのではないだろうか。そして、専門家は一日も早く有効なトラウマ対策を示せるよう、研究を進めることが必要だ。子ども時代にトラウマを受け、立ち直ることができた人に、私もききたい。あなたを地獄から救ったものは何ですか?

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年02月26日 地方版

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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:ピュアすぎる引きこもり /東京

March 10, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: The innocence of shut-ins
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:ピュアすぎる引きこもり /東京

In 2011, an Osaka man in his 40s who had been a shut-in for 30 years killed his sister, who had been helping him out with his daily life, but whom he had grown to resent. Citing a lack of support in Japanese society for the man, who has Asperger's syndrome, the Osaka District Court initially handed down a 20-year prison sentence, exceeding the 16 years sought by prosecutors.
 大阪市で30年間、引きこもりを続けた40代の男性が、生活を支えてくれた姉を逆恨みして刺殺するという事件があった。地裁は、男性が発達障害であることを理由に「社会に受け皿がない」として、求刑の懲役16年を上回る懲役20年の判決を宣告した。

The high court recently overruled the decision, however, sentencing the man to 14 years imprisonment. In a complete turnaround, the court explained that public institutions were prepared to support the man after his release and that the lower court's sentence had been too heavy.
しかし控訴審では一転、「出所後は公的機関の支援があり受け皿はある。量刑は重すぎて不当」と求刑を下回る懲役14年が言い渡された。

Let's put aside for now the issue of whether a sentence should be reduced or increased depending on whether an offender has a developmental disability or not. One woman who came to me for a consultation about her teenage son, a shut-in, looked forlorn. "A shut-in for 30 years...is that going to happen to us, too?" she asked.
 発達障害があることで刑を重くしたり減刑したりしてよいのかという問題もあるが、10代の息子が引きこもりぎみと相談に来た女性は、「30年間の引きこもりですか。ウチもそうなるのでしょうか」と暗い顔をした。

Parents with children who have been shut-ins for 35 or 40 years come to me for advice. In some cases, these "children" are in their 50s and the parents are in their 80s. Quite a few among them are parents who, growing older, have finally come for their first consult after years of hoping that their children would be reintegrated into society on their own.
 実際、診察室には、引きこもり歴35年とか40年の子どもを持つ親も来ている。“子ども”とはいってもすでに50代、両親は80代というケースもある。しかも、「いつか立ち直るはず」と見守り続け、つい最近になってからいよいよ自分たちも高齢になったので、とはじめて相談に来るという例もしばしばだ。

I also have the opportunity to meet and exchange e-mails with the "veteran" shut-ins themselves. What I find in those interactions is that they aren't as socially inept as their parents might think. Many have gained a range of information from books, television, radio and the Internet. Some write novels, while others have an exquisite sense of humor. It makes me realize their 30 years in withdrawal haven't been for naught.
 そんな“引きこもりのベテラン”たちと実際に会ったり、メールのやり取りをしたりする機会もある。そこで感じるのは、「親が心配しているほど社会性がないわけではない」ということだ。多くの人はたくさんの本を読み、テレビやラジオ、インターネットからいろいろな情報や知識を得ている。小説を書いている人もいれば、抜群のユーモア感覚を持っている人もいる。無責任な意見かもしれないが、「この人の30年はムダじゃなかったんだ」と思うことも多い。

The thing is, though, that their skills and knowledge do not necessarily lead directly to a profession or an income. Many jobs require the physical strength to go to the same place every day at the same time, and the savvy to get along with colleagues with whom one may have nothing in common. For those who have for years been doing only what they want in their own worlds, rush-hour train commutes and forced smiles in the workplace are meaningless and appear corrupt. In other words, these people are too pure and innocent for society.
 ただ、この人たちの能力や知識は、すぐに職業や収入に結びつくものではない。仕事となると毎日、同じ時間に同じ場所に通う体力や、気の合わない同僚ともうまくつき合う要領の良さなども必要となるからだ。自分の世界で好きなことをやり続けてきた人にとって、満員電車での通勤や職場での作り笑顔は意味がなく、不純なことのように見えてしまう。つまり、彼らはピュアすぎるのだ。

These are people who have maintained the pure hearts of teenagers through to their 40s and 50s. Should society create opportunities for them to utilize their skills and abilities, or should we be teaching them to become more worldly? It's a question that stumps me.
 10代のピュアな心のまま、40代、50代になった引きこもりの人たち。社会は彼らがそのまま自分の能力を生かせる場を用意すべきなのか、それとも彼ら自身に「もっと世俗的になれ」と指導すべきなのか。

Hoping that my words do not sound like hollow consolation, to the aging parents who come to me, I say, "Your son, too, has his strengths. But he's come this far without being able to make the most of them."
診察室でいつも頭を抱えてしまうが、高齢の両親には「これがただの気休めに終わりませんように」と祈りながら、こう伝える。「息子さんには見どころはあるのです。それをうまく生かしきれないまま、ここに至ったのです」

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年03月05日 地方版

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震災2年・再建を誓う日 政府主導で復興を加速させよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 12, 2013)
Govt must lead efforts to speed up reconstruction
震災2年・再建を誓う日 政府主導で復興を加速させよ(3月11日付・読売社説)

 ◆安心して生活できる地域再生を◆

Today marks the second anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that killed 15,881 people and left 2,668 others missing.
 東日本大震災から2年を迎えた。
 亡くなった人は1万5881人、行方不明は2668人に上る。

No fewer than 315,000 people have been forced to live as evacuees, and about 160,000 of them are from Fukushima Prefecture, where the nuclear crisis broke out at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
 避難生活を送る被災者は31万5000人を下らない。うち約16万人が、東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の事故が起きた福島県の避難者である。

Let us together pray anew for the repose of the victims' souls. Reconstruction from the disaster has been delayed, and the government must take the initiative in accelerating rebuilding efforts.
 国民みんなで改めて犠牲者の冥福を祈りたい。再起に向けた歩みは遅れている。政府が主導し、復興を加速しなければならない。

===

110,000 in temporary homes
 ◆今も仮設住宅に11万人

Behind the slow progress of rebuilding municipalities is the difficulty of forming a consensus among the residents concerned. Whether to locate a commercial and industrial zone on higher ground or in a coastal area is one example. Another problem is whether to build high seawalls that could effectively separate the land and the sea.
 市町村の復興計画が進んでいない背景には、住民の合意形成が難しい事情がある。例えば、商工業を営む場所を高台にするか、沿岸部にするかという問題だ。壁のような防潮堤で海と陸を遮断していいのかという問題もある。

Residents of Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, which was heavily damaged by the tsunami, wanted to rebuild where they lived rather than collectively relocate to an inland area. The municipal government plans to boost its reconstruction efforts by building a seawall and promoting changes in land use. But some residents oppose the plan.
 津波で市街の一部が壊滅した宮城県名取市の住民たちは、内陸への集団移転ではなく、現地での再建を望んだ。市は防潮堤建設や区画整理を行って支援する方針だが、反対の声も残るという。

The only way to push the plan ahead is to launch it without obtaining the full approval of some residents.
 計画を前に進めるには、住民の十分な合意がないまま、始動せざるを得ないのが実情だ。

A redevelopment plan in coastal zones was decided at an early stage of reconstruction by such fishery cities as Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, and Kesennuma and Ishinomaki, both in Miyagi Prefecture.
 早期に沿岸部再開発を決めたのは、岩手県釜石市や宮城県気仙沼市、石巻市などの漁業都市だ。

As a senior Ishinomaki municipal government official put it, "As long as we cannot expect reconstruction without fishery business, we cannot desert the coastal areas."
「漁業でしか再建できない以上、海辺の土地は捨てられない」(石巻市幹部)との理由からだ。

Disaster victims commute from temporary housing to fishery processing factories and other workplaces, many of them no doubt worried about the reoccurrence of tsunami.
 被災者たちは津波の再来に不安を覚えながら、仮設住宅から水産加工場などに通う。

Residents in Ishinomaki often say, "How can we strike a balance between earning income and being assured of our safety and security?" These words are compelling.
 「収入と安全安心をどう両立させればいいか」。石巻でよく聞かれる言葉は切実だ。

The mayor of one city resigned in the face of opposition to reconstruction programs from residents and the municipal assembly. The past two years saw each local government and its residents explore ways to realize revival while facing their own predicaments.
 復興策が議会や住民の反発を招き、辞職した町長もいる。それぞれの自治体と住民がジレンマに苦しみながら、「街の再生」を模索した2年だったと言えよう。

About 110,000 people still live in prefabricated temporary housing units. A matter of concern is the increase in the number of residents who complain about stress and unease caused by their inconvenient daily life. Local governments must expedite construction of housing so that the affected residents can lead a stable life as early as possible.
 被災地のプレハブの仮設住宅には、今も約11万人が暮らす。不自由な生活にストレスや不安を訴える住民が増えていることが懸念される。安定した生活が送れる新住居に早く移れるよう、自治体は復興住宅の建設を急ぐべきだ。

===

Agency bears heavy burden
 ◆復興庁の責任は重大だ

The low spending rate for a tremendous amount of rehabilitation expenditures cannot be ignored. About 1.4 trillion yen earmarked for the current fiscal year by Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures and 34 municipalities cannot be implemented before March 31 and will be carried over to the new fiscal year starting in April.
 巨額の復興費の消化率が低い実態は看過できない。岩手、宮城、福島の3県と34市町村で、約1・4兆円が今年度中に予算執行できず、新年度に繰り越される。

This delay was partly caused by difficulty in purchasing plots of land needed for such projects as building houses for disaster victims. Another problem was that bidding for related public works has failed to attract businesses because they see little profitability in such projects.
 復興住宅などの事業用地買収が難航したり、利益の薄い工事を業者が敬遠して入札が不調だったりしているためだという。

In coastal areas of Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, removal of debris has progressed. But in many areas, work to elevate plots of land sunken by the tsunami or to construct seawalls has not even started.
 岩手、宮城両県の沿岸部では、がれきの撤去は進んだものの、津波で地盤沈下した土地のかさ上げや防潮堤建設などの工事に着手できていない地域が多い。

Wasting more time will only further delay reconstruction of the disaster-stricken areas.
 この上、時間を浪費すれば、被災地の再生は遅れるばかりだ。

The Reconstruction Agency, which is tasked with functioning as a control tower for reconstruction projects, has a heavy responsibility. It must reinforce its cooperation with local governments and take the leadership in implementing measures for the affected areas.
 司令塔機能を発揮すべき復興庁の責任は重い。各自治体との連携を一層強化し、被災地対策を主導する必要がある。

The agency has recently expanded the scope of how the reconstruction grants should be spent, making it possible to use them for such works as elevating the site where a fishery community once stood. Such a step is reasonable.
 復興庁が最近、復興交付金の使途を広げ、漁業集落の跡地のかさ上げなどにも使えるようにしたのは妥当だ。

The agency must clear away the bottleneck in work and speed up the pace of spending reconstruction budgets.
工事の停滞を解消し、復興予算執行のスピードを上げなければならない。

As there are many sparsely populated communities in the affected areas, it is not easy to revitalize these communities anytime soon.
 被災地には、過疎の市町村が多く、その場所にすぐに活気を取り戻すのは容易ではない。

On Okushiri Island in Hokkaido, which was hit in July 1993 by a major earthquake and tsunami, a large sum of reconstruction funds was spent on relocating communities to higher ground. But the population of the communities has been steadily declining.
 かつて大地震と津波で被災した北海道奥尻島では、住民の高台移転などで多額の復興費が投じられた。しかし、その後は人口の減少に直面している。

The disaster-hit areas in the Tohoku region may need to learn lessons from this experience.
 東北の被災地も、奥尻の教訓を生かす必要があろう。

Some local municipal governments, including Aomori and Toyama, have been carrying out projects designed to concentrate residential houses in certain districts, which are provided with such infrastructure as hospitals, schools and post offices, thus improving convenience. These projects are being implemented under a "compact city" concept.
 青森市、富山市などでは、住民を一つの地域に集め、病院や学校、郵便局も整備して利便性を高める事業を進めている。「コンパクトシティー」と呼ばれる。

Applying such a concept to measures dealing with the depopulation of the disaster-affected areas could be worth discussing.
 被災地の過疎対策への応用も検討に値するのではないか。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said: "Reconstruction [from the earthquake disaster] is the top priority, together with the revitalization of the Japanese economy. I want to win the people's trust in my administration by bringing about [tangible] results as soon as possible."
 安倍首相は、「復興は日本経済再生と並ぶ最重要課題だ。一日も早く結果を出すことで信頼を得たい」と強調している。

As Abe has put it, without reconstruction, a "robust economy" cannot be realized.
復興なくして、首相が掲げる「強い経済」は実現できないだろう。

===

Solid results essential
 ◆問われる具体的成果

On Wednesday, the government made major changes in the membership of a panel of experts tasked with scrutinizing the reconstruction measures and recommending remedial steps to Abe. The panel is expected to compile an interim report by June.
 政府は今月6日、復興策を点検し、首相に改善を提言する有識者会議「復興推進委員会」のメンバーを大幅に入れ替えた。6月をめどに中間報告をまとめる。

In the central government's present reconstruction programs, which were worked out under the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration, many things may require review when the reality of disaster-stricken areas is taken into consideration.
 民主党政権が策定した現行の国の復興計画には、被災地の実情に照らすと、見直すべき点が多々あるだろう。

Why have the reconstruction projects been delayed? What kinds of new measures are needed? We hope the panel comes up with proposals that will lead to the rejuvenation of the affected area in Tohoku.
復興の遅れは何が原因か。新たにどのような施策が必要か。東北の再生につながる提言をまとめてもらいたい。

Now that two years have passed since the disaster, concrete actions with tangible results in the coming year are essential.
 大震災から3年目に入り、求められているのは、具体的な行動と成果である。

Just as Abe has expressed his determination to realize reconstruction, it is the government's mission to accelerate the pace of reconstruction.
 首相の決意通り、復興を加速させることが政府の使命だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 11, 2013)
(2013年3月11日01時18分  読売新聞)

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自衛隊震災派遣 平時から自治体と連携深めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 11, 2013)
SDF must boost cooperation with others to fight disasters
自衛隊震災派遣 平時から自治体と連携深めよ(3月10日付・読売社説)

It is obviously important for the Self-Defense Forces to prepare for emergencies by learning from the lessons of two years ago and reflecting them in future antidiaster plans. And these plans must be repeatedly practiced in the form of exercises in cooperation with local municipalities and other entities.
 2年前の様々な教訓を震災対処計画に反映し、自治体などと訓練を繰り返して、緊急時に備えることが肝要である。

The Great East Japan Earthquake posed five unprecedented challenges for the SDF:
 自衛隊にとって、東日本大震災は初めての体験が五つも重なった。

-- Conducting rescue and support activities for disaster victims by mobilizing 100,000 of its members, the largest mobilization in its history.
 過去最大の10万人体制による被災者救出・支援活動、

-- Implementing a full-scale operational integration of the ground, maritime and air forces.
陸海空3自衛隊の本格的な統合部隊の編成、

-- Participating in Operation Tomodachi, a joint rescue operation conducted by Japanese and U.S. forces.
日米共同のトモダチ作戦、

-- Calling up SDF reserve personnel.
予備自衛官の招集、

-- Dealing with the disaster on two fronts--the earthquake and tsunami on the one hand and the nuclear crisis on the other.
地震・津波と原発事故対処の2正面作戦である。

Before the March 11, 2011, disaster, the Defense Ministry had plans to deal with three kinds of devastating earthquakes, including an epicentral temblor with its focus just beneath the Tokyo metropolitan area. The ministry's plans for how to fight disasters caused by powerful earthquakes generated in the Japan Trench and the Kuril Trench were still in the making.
 防衛省には当時、首都直下地震など3種類の巨大地震の対処計画があったが、日本海溝・千島海溝の地震の計画は作成中だった。

===

Cooperation in ordinary times

Through application of the plans for dealing with an earthquake directly beneath the capital to the March 11 catastrophe, however, the SDF was relatively swift in deploying troops from across the country and coordinating its activities with various organizations concerned.
 それでも、首都直下地震の計画を準用することで、全国からの応援部隊の派遣や関係機関との調整が比較的迅速に実施できた。

The contingency plan for an epicentral earthquake just below Tokyo that was revised toward the end of last year was based on such premises as establishing integrated troop units and joint Japanese-U.S. operations on the basis of the experiences of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The ministry is to work on plans in the near future for a potentially gigantic Nankai Trough earthquake.
 昨年末に改定された首都直下地震の計画は、大震災の経験を踏まえ、統合部隊編成や日米共同対処を前提とした。今後、南海トラフ巨大地震の計画も策定する。

It is especially important to ensure close cooperation between the SDF and such organizations as local governments in ordinary times, to beef up antiquake arrangements by stockpiling food and other things needed for disaster relief operations.
 重要なのは、自衛隊と自治体などが平時から緊密に連携し、必要な資機材や食料などをそろえ、震災対処体制を強化することだ。

The Ground Self-Defense Force's North Eastern Army Headquarters in Sendai, which served as the forward command in the earthquake and tsunami disaster, held a meeting in September 2011 to study the disaster's lessons with affected local governments, police, fire departments and regional offices of the Japan Coast Guard. In January this year, they implemented a map exercise with the aim of sharing information and collaborating to provide disaster victims with medical services.
 大震災時に前線本部となった陸上自衛隊東北方面総監部(仙台市)は、2011年9月に自治体や警察・消防・海上保安部と教訓検討会、今年1月には情報共有や医療連携の図上演習を実施した。

Another map exercise on a larger scale is scheduled in fiscal 2013, while field exercises involving 20,000 to 30,000 personnel from the Self-Defense Forces and other organizations will take place in fiscal 2014.
 13年度は、より大規模な図上演習、14年度は2万~3万人規模の実動訓練へと発展させる。

To maximize the number of lives saved in the initial phase of rescue activities, the period called "golden 72 hours" is crucial.
 災害時の人命救助は、「黄金の72時間」と呼ばれる初動がカギとなる。

What should be done to secure emergency communications to ensure the efficient mobilization of SDF troops and a solid grasp of what is going on in disaster-hit areas if wire and wireless communications go down because of power outages?
停電などで有線・無線通信が途絶した時、いかに緊急通信手段を確保し、被災状況を把握して部隊を効率的に動かすか。

===

Training feedback desirable

First of all, training must be carried out after antidisaster plans are drawn up. To solve problems, if any, that come to light through the training, the plans must be reviewed and thoroughly revamped if necessary.
 まず対処計画を練り、訓練を実施する。そこで明らかになった問題点を改善するため、体制を見直し、計画も練り直す――。

This cycle of training and improvement must be constantly iterated so it will lead to steps that can save a larger number of disaster victims.
 このサイクルを重ねる地道な作業こそが、より多くの被災者を救えることにつながろう。

One high-ranking GSDF officer said: "We can only put into practice what we learn through training. Based on this fact, we've been studying the specifics of our day-to-day training."
 ある陸自幹部は「我々は訓練したことしか、実施できない。その覚悟で訓練内容を考え、訓練に臨んでいる」と語る。

Such a high sense of awareness is certainly conducive to enhancing the quality of SDF training.
こうした強い問題意識が訓練を充実させる。

In the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the SDF has significantly increased the number of agreements it has concluded with various organs to obtain their cooperation in emergencies.
 自衛隊は大震災後、災害時に様々な関係機関との協力を可能にする協定を大幅に増やした。

One of them, an accord with expressway operators, will allow SDF vehicles to preferentially pass through expressways and use rest stops for emergency purposes.
 高速道路会社との協定は、自衛隊車両の緊急通行やサービスエリアの優先使用を可能にする。

Private major supermarket chains, for their part, have promised to provide the SDF with emergency goods, including food, in times of crisis.
民間の大手スーパーは、食料など緊急物資の提供を約束している。

It is definitely important to steadily expand the network for such cooperation.
 これらの協力のネットワークを着実に拡大することが大切だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 10, 2013)
(2013年3月10日01時12分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月11日 (月)

被災地の教育 復興の担い手を育成したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 11, 2013)
Tohoku children also need 'restoration' after disaster
被災地の教育 復興の担い手を育成したい(3月10日付・読売社説)

Children are the future of the Tohoku region, which was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake. We hope their educational needs will be restored as quickly as possible in disaster-hit areas.
 子供たちは東北の将来の担い手になる。東日本大震災の被災地の教育再生を加速させたい。

After the March 11, 2011, disaster, the government has dispatched a relatively generous number of teachers to support children at schools in the three disaster-hit prefectures in the Tohoku region.
 東北3県の被災地の学校には震災後、教師が比較的手厚く配置され、子供たちの指導に当たってきた。

In the classrooms, special programs have been launched to have children learn traditional crafts of the areas and think about the future of their hometowns. Educating them on the places they hail from is expected to deepen the children's love for their communities and have a long-term effect in helping restore devastated areas.
 学校現場では、地域の伝統工芸を学んだり、町の未来の姿を子供たちに考えさせたりする取り組みが始まっている。こうした郷土教育は、ふるさとへの愛着を深めさせ、復興を長期的に支える効果が期待できる。

The government should continue offering support through the dispatch of teachers and other school staff. It also should improve educational content and further develop the education system.
 今後も、教職員の人的支援を継続し、教育の内容や体制をさらに充実させることが大切である。

===

Decrease in students

However, many schools have seen a decrease in students. This is most serious in municipalities around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
 問題は、子供の減少に直面している学校が多いことだ。特に深刻なのは、東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の周辺自治体である。

For instance, the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, has moved its administrative functions to the city of Nihonmatsu in another part of the prefecture. Namie Primary School has continued classes in a building of a defunct school in Nihonmatsu.
 役場機能を福島県二本松市に移転した浪江町では、町立浪江小学校が市内の廃校校舎を使い、授業を続ける。

However, many of the school's children have transferred to other schools. Namie Primary School had more than 500 students before the earthquake and tsunami, but the number has dropped to only 30. No new students will enroll in the school in April.
だが、児童の多くは別の学校に移った。
震災前に500人を超えた児童数は、現在30人。4月からの新入生はいない。

Even if residents who evacuated to other areas returned to their hometowns, the situation would remain difficult. Hirono Primary School, run by the town of Hirono, Fukushima Prefecture, resumed classes at its old school building in August. But only 20 percent of its previous student body has returned to the school.
 避難先から帰還しても、状況は厳しい。昨年8月から元の校舎で授業を再開した広野町立広野小学校では、戻った児童は震災前の2割程度にとどまっている。

Municipal governments apparently want to maintain the foundation of their communities and retain bonds with their residents by keeping local schools operating.
 自治体には、学校を維持することで、地域の核や住民の絆を保ちたいとの思いがあるのだろう。

However, parents tend to be anxious about having their children return with them to their own homes in areas where radiation is still too high for them to do so in the foreseeable future or where the foundations for their livelihood have not yet been fully restored.
 しかし、放射線量が高くて帰還の見通しが立たない地域、生活基盤の整っていない地域では、保護者は子供と一緒に元の家へ戻ることに不安を抱きがちだ。

Municipal governments have to present them with a picture of restoration in the near future along with detailed explanations. We also hope the central government and other organizations concerned will help create jobs in the disaster-hit areas, leading to the stabilization of the livelihood of children's guardians.
 自治体は復興の近未来像を丁寧に説明する必要がある。国なども保護者の生活安定につながる雇用創出を支援してもらいたい。

===

Negative effects

It is also concerned that a prolonged life as an evacuee might have a negative effect on children.
 長期化する避難生活が、子供に及ぼす影響も懸念される。

Children of evacuees are said to spend insufficient time on study at home because they have no space to concentrate on their studies in tiny temporary housing units.
 狭い仮設住宅では落ち着いて勉強する場がなく、家庭学習がおろそかになると言われる。

The project of a nonprofit organization to have former schoolteachers and former cram school instructors help such children study after school is very significant.
元教師や元塾講師らが放課後に子供の学習の手助けをするNPO法人の試みは、大いに意義があろう。

Meanwhile, according to a school health survey by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, the percentage of overweight children has increased sharply in Fukushima Prefecture, probably because they play less outdoors due to radiation fears.
 文部科学省の学校保健統計調査によると、原発事故後、肥満傾向の子供の割合が福島県で急増している。放射線への不安から外遊びが減少したためと見られる。

The central and local governments should develop indoor sports facilities in addition to those at the schools so children can be more physically active.
 学校以外でも屋内運動施設の設置を進め、子供が体を動かせる場所を確保したい。

Equally important is their psychological care. In case of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, the number of children who suffered from mental stress and needed psychological care peaked three years after the disaster.
 心のケアも重要だ。阪神大震災では、精神的なストレスを抱え、ケアを必要とする子が震災3年後に最も多かった。

We hope the education ministry continues to send counselors to schools in the disaster-hit areas and develops consultation services further.
文科省はスクールカウンセラーの派遣を続け、相談体制の拡充を図ってほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 10, 2013)
(2013年3月10日01時12分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月10日 (日)

北朝鮮制裁決議 中国が履行せねば効果はない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 10, 2013)
China's implementation is key for N. Korea sanctions
北朝鮮制裁決議 中国が履行せねば効果はない(3月9日付・読売社説)

New U.N. sanctions against North Korea are intended to increase international pressure on Pyongyang to shut down its nuclear weapons programs.
 北朝鮮の核武装化に歯止めをかけようとする国際社会の圧力強化だ。

In a unanimous vote, the U.N. Security Council on Thursday passed a resolution to impose additional, tougher economic sanctions on North Korea in response to its nuclear test last month, the third it has conducted.
 国連の安全保障理事会が、3回目の核実験を強行した北朝鮮に対し、経済制裁を追加、強化する決議を全会一致で採択した。

The resolution called for substantially stricter restrictions and surveillance on movements of money, goods and people related to North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs. While past resolutions merely asked member states to implement major sanction measures, the latest resolution obliges them to do so.
 決議は、北朝鮮の核兵器・弾道ミサイル開発計画に関係するカネ、モノ、ヒトの移動の制限・監視を大幅に強化し、主要な制裁措置の実施を各国に義務づける内容だ。「要請」にとどまっていた従来の決議より踏み込んだ。

The past three resolutions against North Korea adopted by the U.N. Security Council have proved ineffective and failed to stop the country's nuclear and missile buildup. Apparently drawing a lesson from its failure, the United Nations has sent a more powerful message from the international community to North Korea this time. We approve.
 過去3度の安保理の制裁決議は実効性を欠き、北朝鮮の核やミサイルの開発を阻止できなかった。その教訓を踏まえ、国際社会の強い決意を示したと評価できる。

===

New steps expand ban

To stop flows of money, U.N. member states are required to freeze financial transactions and services with North Korea as well as transfers of bulk cash to the country.
 カネの移動を止めるため、各国は北朝鮮との金融取引や金融サービスを停止し、大量の現金持ち運びを制止しなければならない。

The latest resolution also calls on member states to inspect North Korea-related cargo suspected of containing banned items and deny entry to vessels that refuse to be inspected.
 決議は、禁制品積載が疑われる貨物船への検査実施や、検査を拒否した船の入港禁止も定めた。

The countries are also obliged to deport North Korean nationals with suspected links to their country's nuclear and missile development.
 核・ミサイル開発との関係が疑われる北朝鮮人を国外強制退去させることも義務づけている。

To make the sanctions effective, it is essential that China--North Korea's biggest trade partner and main benefactor--implement the resolution fully.
 制裁の実効性を高めるには、北朝鮮の最大の貿易相手国かつ援助国である中国が、決議を確実に履行することが欠かせない。

China was initially reluctant to agree to sanctions such as one requiring inspections of North Korean cargo. However, Beijing gave a green light to such measures after finding it difficult to continue to stand up for a defiant Pyongyang. We hope the new measures will prove effective by being implemented thoroughly.
 貨物検査などの義務化に消極的だった中国も、北朝鮮をかばいきれず、制裁強化に同意した。厳格な実施で効果を上げてほしい。

Meanwhile, North Korea reacted sharply against the new sanctions, vowing to take "powerful second and third countermeasures."
 北朝鮮は、制裁強化に強く反発し、「より強力な2次、3次の対応措置」を予告している。

The U.N. resolution warns of even harsher action against North Korea if the country continues with nuclear tests and missile launches. In such an event, China may need to consider suspending its provision of energy to North Korea while South Korea might be well advised to consider closing down the Kaesong industrial complex, which it operates in cooperation with the North.
 決議は、さらなる核実験やミサイル発射には、「さらなる重大な措置をとる」と警告した。中国はエネルギー供給の中止を、韓国は北朝鮮・開城工業団地の閉鎖を検討してもよいのではないか。

===

Pyongyang remains defiant

Meanwhile, North Korea has caused further concern by escalating its bellicose rhetoric.
 懸念されるのは、北朝鮮が恫喝(どうかつ)の度合いを強めていることだ。

The supreme command of the Korean People's Army threatened the United States, saying Pyongyang is ready to counter with advanced nuclear arms so that Washington will be "engulfed in a sea of fire." The North Korean Foreign Ministry also said Pyongyang will exercise its right to "a preemptive nuclear attack" on the United States.
 朝鮮人民軍最高司令部は、「精密核攻撃手段で立ち向かう」「押せば発射、放てば火の海になる」と米国をあからさまに威嚇し、外務省も「核先制攻撃の権利を行使することになる」と宣言した。

North Korea reportedly plans to hold a military parade in July to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the armistice in the Korean War. The parade is apparently aimed at enhancing the authority of Kim Jong Un, the first secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, amid increased tensions with the United States.
 朝鮮戦争の休戦協定署名から60周年の7月に北朝鮮は「閲兵式」を計画している。米国との対決を背景に、金正恩第1書記の権威を高める狙いがあるのだろう。

Concerns over the regime of Kim Jong Un cannot be dismissed, as it has put priority on military-first politics and nuclear weapons, instead of rebuilding the country's economy, and deepened its isolation from the international community. Other countries must not lower their guard against Pyongyang's military and other provocative acts.
 経済再建よりも核武装化の「先軍政治」を優先し、世界で孤立を深める金正恩政権の行方には危うさがつきまとう。関係国は、武力挑発などへの警戒を怠れない。

Japan needs to keep its eye on North Korea's moves and increase cooperation with the United States and South Korea to prepare for every possible contingency.
 日本は、北朝鮮の動向を注視し、あらゆる事態に備え、米国や韓国と連携を強化する必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 9, 2013)
(2013年3月9日01時55分  読売新聞)

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福島の除染 「1ミリ・シーベルト」が阻む住民の帰還

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 10, 2013)
1-millisievert problem prevents return of Fukushima residents
福島の除染 「1ミリ・シーベルト」が阻む住民の帰還(3月9日付・読売社説)

Efficient decontamination work is the most important element in promoting the recovery of Fukushima Prefecture, struck by the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
 福島県内の復興を進めるために、まず必要なのは効率的な除染だ。

Central and local governments must cooperate to speedily advance the work so 160,000 local residents who have evacuated to other areas can return to their hometowns as soon as possible.
 約16万人に及ぶ避難住民が、一日でも早く地元に帰還できるよう、政府と自治体が連携し、迅速に作業を進めることが重要である。

It is notable that decontamination work has fallen behind schedule in 11 municipalities around the crippled nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. They have been designated as special areas and included in the decontamination project directly led by the Environment Ministry.
 遅れが目立つのは、事故を起こした東京電力福島第一原子力発電所周辺にある11市町村の除染だ。特別地域として、環境省が直轄で除染作業を実施している。

Full-fledged decontamination work has begun in only four of those municipalities. The project is lagging because the ministry has had such problems as difficulty securing land for temporary facilities to store removed surface soil and obtaining the agreement of the owners of land subject to decontamination.
 このうち本格除染に着手したのは、4市町村にとどまる。はぎ取った表土などの仮置き場の確保、除染対象地の地権者の同意取り付けに難航していることなどが、想定より遅れている要因だ。

===

Speed up decontamination

It is important to hold negotiations with residents who have evacuated to other areas from municipalities where decontamination work has not yet started. However, we think priority should be given to speeding up the full-fledged work already started in the four municipalities.
 未着手の自治体で避難住民との交渉にあたることも無論、大切だが、最優先すべきは、本格除染が始まった自治体での作業のスピードアップだろう。

In September, full-fledged decontamination work started in Naraha of the prefecture. The town is designated as a "zone being prepared for residents' return" where the annual dose of radiation exposure is 20 millisieverts or less. Decontamination workers have been wiping the roof tiles, gutters and windows of houses as well as removing surface soil from gardens.
 年間被曝(ひばく)線量が20ミリ・シーベルト以下の「避難指示解除準備区域」となっている楢葉町では、昨年9月に本格除染が始まった。家の屋根瓦や雨どい、窓を拭いたり、庭の表土を除去したりする作業が続く。

The ministry plans to finish decontamination work by the end of next fiscal year in zones being prepared for residents' return and in "zones with restricted residency" where the annual radiation dose is higher than 20 millisieverts.
 環境省は、「避難指示解除準備区域」と、これより年間被曝線量が高い「居住制限区域」の除染を来年度中に終える計画だ。

To realize this target, however, the so-called "one-millisievert" problem is posing the biggest impediment.
 それを実現するうえで、最大の障害となっているのが「1ミリ・シーベルト問題」である。

Based on the standards of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, the Democratic Party of Japan-led government, which created the framework for decontamination work, initially thought people could live in areas where the annual dose of radiation exposure is less than 20 millisieverts. It considered one millisievert only as a long-term target.
 除染の枠組みを作った民主党政権は元々、国際放射線防護委員会(ICRP)の基準に沿って、年間積算線量が20ミリ・シーベルト未満なら居住が可能との見解だった。1ミリ・シーベルトは、あくまで長期的な目標と位置付けていた。

In response to residents demanding complete decontamination, however, one millisievert has become an immediate numerical target.
 ところが、徹底除染を求める地元の要望を受け、達成困難な1ミリ・シーベルトが当座の目標値となった。

===

Review radiation safety limit

A ministry official admitted that the one-millisievert problem is a major impediment and is delaying decontamination work. Even Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato has asked the government to set an achievable radiation exposure target.
 除染の遅れについて、環境省の幹部は「1ミリ・シーベルト問題が大きなネックになっている」と認める。福島県の佐藤雄平知事も、今では「達成できる数値を示してほしい」と政府に求めている。

More and more people can calmly consider the risks of radiation today compared to two years ago when the nuclear crisis broke out.
 2年前の原発事故当時に比べ、放射能のリスクを冷静に受け止める人が増えてきている。

Hospital patients can receive a dose of seven millisieverts from one examination involving radiation. The cancer risk from obesity is equivalent to that from a radiation dose of 200 to 500 millisieverts, according to some estimates.
 病院の放射線診断では、1回の被曝量が約7ミリ・シーベルトになることがある。肥満の発がんリスクは200~500ミリ・シーベルトに相当するという試算もある。

The government should review the current target for decontamination work and change the public mindset that one millisievert is a boundary separating danger and safety.
 政府は除染目標を見直し、1ミリ・シーベルトが危険と安全の境界ととらえられている現状を変えていくべきだ。

The government is also responsible for providing accurate information and detailed explanations on radiation so residents who live in other areas can return to their original homes with their minds at ease.
避難住民が安心して元の家に戻れるよう、放射能に関する正しい情報を丁寧に説明するのも、政府の役割である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 9, 2013)
(2013年3月9日01時55分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月 9日 (土)

被災地の鉄道 街づくりと一体で復旧したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 9, 2013)
Disaster areas' railway repairs must be integrated with city planning
被災地の鉄道 街づくりと一体で復旧したい(3月8日付・読売社説)

What measures should be taken to rebuild railways in regions struck by the Great East Japan Earthquake, including lines that represent a mainstay of livelihood and tourism in the areas?
 生活や観光を支える被災地の鉄道をどう再建するのか。

This remains a weighty challenge even now as the second anniversary of the March 11, 2011, disaster draws near.
東日本大震災からまもなく2年を迎える今も重い課題だ。

Rail lines on the Pacific coast in the Tohoku region were devastated by the earthquake and tsunami.
 東北沿岸部の鉄道は地震や津波で甚大な被害を受けた。

A total of about 300 kilometers of tracks on eight lines of East Japan Railway Co. and Sanriku Railway Co., a joint venture of private firms and local municipalities in Iwate Prefecture, remain out of service to this day.
JR東日本と岩手県の第3セクターである三陸鉄道の8路線、約300キロが運休したままだ。

Operations on some sections of JR East's Ishinomaki Line and Joban Line will return to normal by the end of the month at long last, while the Sanriku Railway is scheduled to resume full operations in April next year.
 JR石巻線や常磐線の一部がようやく今月中に復旧し、三陸鉄道も来年4月に全線開通する。

There are no indications, however, that the other lines rendered inoperable will fully resume service in the foreseeable future.
 だが、その他の多くの路線で完全復旧の見通しが立たない。

The greatest problem has been the difficulty securing funding for repairing the crippled rail lines.
 最大の問題は、再建費用だ。

According to estimates by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, the total cost of fixing JR East's railways with damage over long sections--the Yamada Line in Iwate Prefecture, the Ofunato Line in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures and the Kesennuma Line in Miyagi Prefecture--will surpass 150 billion yen.
 国土交通省の試算では、被災区間が長いJR山田線(岩手県)、大船渡線(岩手・宮城県)、気仙沼線(宮城県)は、合わせて1500億円超にのぼる。

===

Bus system has its advantages

The huge repair expense is due to the necessity of specialized recovery work such as elevating ground levels and relocating routes to inland areas, according to the ministry.
 土地のかさあげや内陸部へのルート変更など従来の復旧にはない工事が必要だからだ。

As a temporary fix for the stalled train services, in August 2012 JR East incorporated a BRT (bus rapid transit) system into the Kesennuma Line. The buses run on the firm's exclusive lanes in areas where tracks have been removed on the line. BRT services were also launched this month to take the place of the Ofunato Line.
 JRは暫定措置として、線路跡の専用道にバスを走らせるバス高速輸送システム(BRT)を昨年8月、気仙沼線に導入した。大船渡線も今月から運行開始した。

BRT systems are less costly in terms of both construction and maintenance compared to railways.
 BRTは鉄道に比べて建設費や維持費が安い。

Buses on the Kesennuma Line are also three times as frequent as predisaster trains. Users of the route include high school students commuting to school and elderly people going to hospitals.
気仙沼線は、鉄道時代より運行本数が3倍に増え、高校生の通学や高齢者の通院などに利用されている。

However, the number of passengers on BRT buses is less than 300 a day, about one-third of the amount seen when the railway was in operation. This is because many disaster-hit residents have evacuated from areas along the lines and very few sightseers use the BRT.
 しかし、乗客数は1日300人弱で、鉄道の3分の1ほどだ。被災した住民が沿線外へ避難し、観光客もほとんど使わない。

The roadway sections dedicated to use by BRT systems are few, with most services run on ordinary highways, and the buses are often entangled in bumper-to-bumper traffic. This means more time is required to use the bus than the train and bus passengers often have to transfer before reaching their final destination. These inconveniences may have contributed to the waning number of BRT users.
 専用道は短く、大半は一般道を走るため、朝夕は渋滞に巻き込まれる。鉄道より時間がかかり、乗り継ぎの不便さも利用客離れにつながっているのだろう。

Municipalities along the Yamada Line have refused to accept plans to replace the line with a BRT system. Those municipal governments that have already introduced BRT systems agreed to do so on the condition that railway services are fully resumed in the future. They argue that resumption of railway services is a "prerequisite for revitalization" of the disaster-hit areas.
 山田線は、沿線自治体がBRT計画を拒否した。すでに導入した地域も将来の鉄道復旧を条件とした。「街の活性化にはあくまで鉄道が必要」と主張する。

===

Weigh options before acting

Even before the calamity, some railway services in the region were unprofitable because of a declining number of users due to the shrinking population.
 各線とも沿線人口の減少で、もともと利用客の少ない不採算路線だった。

Given that commuting by car or expressway bus has become the norm in the region, many observers are skeptical about whether restoring railway services would lead to a higher number of users than before the disaster.
マイカーや高速バス利用が定着し、鉄路が復活しても従来以上の乗客数を確保できるか疑問視する声は少なくない。

JR East and the municipal governments concerned should study ways to potentially restore railways in tandem with the requirements of city planning, by weighing the merits of railway recovery and the introduction of BRTs against their respective problems.
 JRと自治体は、鉄道復旧とBRT導入の長所と課題を比較し、街づくりをどのように進めるのか一体で検討すべきだ。

We hope officials will make the best possible choice in pursuit of an optimum means of public transportation through implementing reconstruction projects in the areas.
 被災地の復興計画に最適な公共交通を選択してほしい。

Under the government's current railway-related subsidy system, the cost of repairing lines of the Sanriku Railway, which has been in the red, will be almost fully covered by state funding. However, JR East, which has been earning a profit, is not entitled to any public assistance.
 現行制度では、赤字の三陸鉄道は、復旧費のほぼ全額が国費で手当てされるが、黒字会社であるJRは補助を受けられない。

Considering the extraordinary circumstances in the wake of the disaster, we believe the government should provide JR East with public assistance for rebuilding its rail lines. This should include a provision, for instance, for the government to subsidize part of JR East's repair expenses under the recovery budget earmarked for the disaster.
 大震災からの復旧という特殊性を考慮すれば、工事費の一部に復興予算を充てるなど、鉄道再建の公的支援も検討課題となろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 8, 2013)
(2013年3月8日01時30分  読売新聞)

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シャープ再建 サムスンの出資に頼る苦渋策

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 9, 2013)
Sharp must accelerate rehab efforts with capital tie-up with Samsung
シャープ再建 サムスンの出資に頼る苦渋策(3月8日付・読売社説)

Sharp Corp., which has been in corporate rehabilitation, now aims to ensure its survival through a capital tie-up with longtime rival Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea.
 経営再建中のシャープが、長年のライバル、韓国サムスン電子との資本提携で生き残りを目指すことになった。

Sharp took a step toward strengthening its financial base with the tie-up, but uncertainty still looms over the company's future. Sharp is urged to swiftly advance its management reform with the tie-up as leverage.
 財務基盤の強化へ、一歩前進だが、先行きは不透明である。提携をテコにした経営改革のスピードが問われよう。

According to the terms of their agreement, Samsung will invest 10.3 billion yen in capital and is expected to own a 3 percent stake in Sharp.
 合意によると、サムスンがシャープに103億円を出資し、出資比率は3%になる見通しだ。

Sharp plans to provide Samsung with liquid crystal display (LCD) panels for smartphones and television sets, regaining sales in an effort to improve earnings. Samsung, for its part, focused on the advantage of stable procurement of LCD panels.
 シャープは、サムスンにスマートフォン(高機能携帯電話)やテレビ向けの液晶パネルを供給して販売を回復し、収益力の向上を狙う。サムスンはパネルを安定調達できる利点に着目した。

===

Deadlock in renegotiations

Hit by such factors as failed major investments and a sales slump in LCD panels, Sharp is expected to post a deficit for fiscal 2012, for the second business year in a row.
 過剰投資の失敗と液晶パネルの販売不振などが響き、シャープは2013年3月期に2期連続で巨額赤字を計上する見込みだ。

A year ago, Sharp agreed to accept capital investment from major Taiwan manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. However, renegotiations with Hon Hai, which demanded a review of the terms of the agreement, hit a deadlock, raising concern over Sharp's ability to raise operational funds.
 シャープは1年前、台湾の製造大手、鴻海(ホンハイ)精密工業から出資を受けることで合意した。しかし、条件見直しを求める鴻海との再交渉が暗礁に乗り上げ、資金繰りが不安視されていた。

With no bright prospects in its negotiations with Hon Hai, Sharp must have made the painful choice to ask Samsung for capital investment.
 交渉の展望が見えない中で、サムスンに出資を求めるという苦渋の決断を下したのだろう。

Japanese and South Korean electronics manufacturers have battled fiercely since the 1990s in such fields as semiconductors, flat-screen TVs, LCD panels and lithium-ion batteries.
 日韓の電機メーカーは1990年代から、半導体、薄型テレビ、液晶パネル、リチウムイオン電池などで激しく競争してきた。

At first, technologically superior Japanese firms were dominant, but in recent years Samsung and other South Korean firms have grown rapidly. Currently, the positions are reversed.
 当初は技術力に勝る日本勢が優勢だったが、近年はサムスンなどが急成長して立場が逆転した。

The rare situation of a Japanese company accepting a major investment of capital from a South Korean one symbolizes the difference in vigor between companies in the two countries.
日本企業が韓国側から出資を受け入れるという異例の事態は、勢いの差を象徴している。

The focus from now on is whether Sharp can fully utilize the benefits of the tie-up with Samsung in accelerating its corporate rehabilitation efforts.
 今後の焦点は、シャープがサムスンとの提携効果を生かし、再建を加速できるかどうかだ。

First, the company will be required to increase operation rates of factories by expanding sales routes of LCD panels and get its business into the black.
 まず、液晶パネルの販路拡大で工場の稼働率を上げ、事業を黒字化することが求められよう。

Sharp has been making small and medium-size LCD panels for smartphones and tablet computers of Apple Inc. of the United States, which entrusts Hon Hai with the production of its products.
 シャープは従来、米アップルのスマートフォン向けの中小型パネルを生産し、鴻海がアップル製品を受託製造する関係にある。

Sharp will provide small and medium-size LCDs to Samsung, which has been at loggerheads with Apple. The success or failure of this strategy, a departure from its dependence on Apple, will bear watching.
 シャープは、アップルと争うサムスンにも中小型パネルを供給することになるが、「脱アップル依存」戦略の成否が注目される。

===

Prevent tech outflow

Sharp, which is obliged to redeem a huge amount of corporate bonds this autumn, still has a weak capital base. Further improvement of its financial capacity is an urgent task.
 巨額の社債償還を今秋に控えたシャープの資金基盤はまだ弱い。一層の財務改善も急務だ。

Another concern is the possibility of an overseas outflow of Sharp's state-of-art technologies. Because of the capital tie-up, we wonder if Samsung may ask Sharp to provide its technologies to the South Korean firm. Countermeasures are needed to protect the technical base of Japan's creative manufacturing.
 懸念されるのは、シャープの最先端技術の流出である。サムスンとの提携により、技術提供を要求されないか。日本のもの作りの基盤を守る対策も必要である。

Management rehabilitation is still under way at Japanese home appliance companies, including Panasonic Corp. We hope each of those companies will redouble its efforts to rise again, in line with the policy of the government, which attaches importance to strengthening industrial competitiveness.
 パナソニックなど日本の家電各社は経営立て直しの途上にある。産業競争力強化を重視する政府と歩調を合わせ、各社が巻き返し策を急いでもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 8, 2013)
(2013年3月8日01時30分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月 8日 (金)

新公取委員長 「市場の番人」が担う重い責任

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 8, 2013)
New FTC chairman bears heavy responsibility as market guardian
新公取委員長 「市場の番人」が担う重い責任(3月7日付・読売社説)

The chairmanship of the Fair Trade Commission--which ensures fair competition as a guardian of the market--was empty for about six months. We welcome the recent resolution of this irregular situation.
 公正な競争を実現する「市場の番人」のトップが約半年不在という異常事態が解消されたことを歓迎したい。

Kazuyuki Sugimoto, a former administrative vice finance minister, assumed the post earlier this week after being approved by both chambers of the Diet.
 衆参両院の同意を経て公正取引委員会の新委員長に杉本和行元財務次官が就任した。

The seat had been empty since September, following the retirement of Sugimoto's predecessor, Kazuhiko Takeshima, because the Cabinet of then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda did not even submit an appointment proposal to the Diet.
 竹島一彦前委員長が昨年9月に退任後、野田内閣は後任人事を示せず、空席が続いていた。

It was irresponsible for Noda's administration to leave the FTC unable to function without a leader. It was appropriate that the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors approved the proposal by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to appoint Sugimoto as the commission's new chairman.
 公取委の機能不全を放置したのは無責任と言うしかない。安倍内閣が示した人事案に衆参両院が同意したのは妥当である。

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan caused confusion when it rejected a government offer to discuss Sugimoto's appointment on the grounds that it was leaked by the media before officially being made public. The ruling and opposition camps should use this case as a chance to normalize Diet procedures for approving personnel nominations proposed by the government.
 民主党は事前報道を理由に一度は人事案の提示を拒否し、混乱を招いた。与野党は公取委員長人事を契機に、国会同意人事の正常化を定着させなければならない。

===

Vows to promote competition

The FTC will play an important role in Abenomics, the economic policy of Abe's administration through which it aims to help companies become more competitive.
 公取委は、企業の競争力強化を目指す安倍政権の「アベノミクス」で重要な役割を担う。

"We will ensure fair, free competition," Sugimoto said during a press conference upon assuming the post. "We will strictly deal with violations of the Antimonopoly Law."
 杉本氏は就任記者会見で、「公正な自由競争を確保する。独占禁止法違反には厳正に対処する」と述べた。

We hope Sugimoto will exercise his leadership as the commanding officer for the competition policy.
競争政策の司令塔として指導力を発揮してもらいたい。

The FTC strengthened its functions during Takeshima's 10-year tenure.
 公取委は、竹島前委員長時代の10年間に機能を強化した。

In addition to raising financial penalties for companies violating the law, the commission adopted a system to reduce or waive surcharges on companies that voluntarily report their violations. This has helped the FTC uncover a number of serious cases.
 違反企業の課徴金額を引き上げたほか、違反行為を自己申告した企業の課徴金を減免する制度を導入し、相次いで大型事件を摘発する成果を上げた。

The FTC also speeded up screenings of corporate mergers, with an eye on the fact that companies have been facing fiercer competition with foreign rivals.
 激化する国際競争を踏まえ、企業の統合審査も迅速化した。

How can the FTC help companies become more competitive and ultimately revive the nation's economy? The Sugimoto-led commission bears a heavy responsibility.
 企業競争力をいかに強化し、経済活性化につなげるか。「杉本公取委」の責任は重い。

The commission's immediate task is to enable small and midsize companies to increase their prices by the amount of the consumption tax when its rate is increased in 2014 and 2015. It should prevent major companies from abusing their dominant positions to force weaker contractors to shoulder the tax increases.
 当面の課題は、2014年と15年の消費税率引き上げ時に、中小企業が増税分を円滑に価格転嫁できる環境をつくることだ。大企業が優越的地位を乱用し、立場の弱い下請け企業に増税分を負担させる動きを防がねばならない。

===

Protect smaller firms

The government will submit a bill during the current ordinary Diet session to allow the FTC to warn companies if they prevent contractors from reflecting the tax increases in their prices, or to make the names of such firms public. The FTC should fulfill its supervisory functions.
 政府は今国会に、価格転嫁を拒んだ業者に公取委が勧告し、公表する仕組みを盛り込んだ特別措置法案を提出する。公取委は監視機能を十分に発揮すべきである。

When Sugimoto attended a hearing at the Diet before receiving its approval, he was asked about the resale price maintenance system, under which newspapers and book publishers, along with makers of other items, are authorized to set retail prices on their products. Sugimoto said he does not think the system should be revised.
 新聞や書籍などの小売価格を発行会社が指定できる再販売価格維持制度について、杉本氏は国会での所信聴取で「見直しは考えていない」と明言した。

Sugimoto also said it is unnecessary to abolish the designation of newspapers as an exception to the Antimonopoly Law, which enables anyone to buy the same newspaper at the same price anywhere in the nation.
 同一の新聞なら全国どこでも同じ価格で購読できる「特殊指定」も撤廃不要との考えを示した。

The resale price maintenance system and the exception play important roles in maintaining the newspaper industry's home delivery system and promoting print culture. We applaud Sugimoto's remarks.
 再販制度や特殊指定は、新聞の戸別配達システムを支え、活字文化振興に重要な役割を果たす。杉本氏の発言は評価できる。

There are some issues on which decisions should not be made just on the principle of competition. The FTC is encouraged to show a sense of balance by taking into account real situations when examining issues.
 競争原理の観点だけで判断すべきでない問題もある。公取委は、事案の実態に十分配慮するバランス感覚も求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 7, 2013)
(2013年3月7日01時21分  読売新聞)

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1票の格差違憲 立法府は司法の警告に応えよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 8, 2013)
Diet must correct disparities in value of votes
1票の格差違憲 立法府は司法の警告に応えよ(3月7日付・読売社説)

Once again, a severe judgment has been handed down against the Diet, which keeps on failing to correct disparities in the value of votes.
 「1票の格差」を一向に是正しない国会に対する厳しい司法判断が、再び示された。

The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday said the December House of Representatives election, in which votes in some constituencies carried up to 2.43 times the weight of votes in other constituencies, was unconstitutional, as it violated the Constitution's stipulation of people's equality under the law.
 格差が最大で2・43倍だった昨年12月の衆院選について、東京高裁は、法の下の平等を定めた憲法に違反していたと断じる「違憲判決」を言い渡した。

The Diet has had ample time to correct the disparities, but it took no effective measures before carrying out the election. The high court criticized the Diet's inaction, calling it a lapse that cannot be overlooked.
 格差是正の時間的余裕はあったのに、有効な措置を講じず、選挙を実施した国会の不作為を「看過できない」と批判した。

Lawmakers must take the court ruling seriously and correct the disparities without further delay.
 国会は判決を重く受け止め、格差是正を急がねばならない。

The latest ruling was handed down in light of a decision made by the Grand Bench of the Supreme Court in March 2011.
 今回の判決は、最高裁大法廷が2011年3月に出した判決を踏まえたものだ。

In that ruling, the top court said that the 2009 lower house election, when the maximum disparity was 2.30, was held under a considerably unequal situation. However, it stopped short of declaring it unconstitutional, instead judging it to be in a "state of unconstitutionality." The court explained this by saying, "A reasonable time period to correct the disparities has not yet elapsed."
 最高裁は格差が最大2・30倍だった09年衆院選について、著しい不平等は認めたが、「違憲状態」との判断にとどめていた。「是正する合理的期間は過ぎていない」という理由からだった。

===

No measures taken

During the extraordinary Diet session, the ruling and opposition parties made a legal revision to cut five lower house seats by scrapping five single-seat constituencies. However, a review of electoral districts based on the law was not made in time for the December election, which was thus held in the unconstitutional state.
 与野党は先の臨時国会で、緊急避難的に小選挙区を「0増5減」とする法改正を行った。だが、区割り作業は間に合わず、衆院選は違憲状態のままで行われた。

Despite the warning from the Supreme Court, correction of the disparities in vote values did not progress. The Tokyo High Court did not declare the election invalid, but its decision surely goes farther than the 2011 Supreme Court ruling.
 最高裁が警鐘を鳴らしたにもかかわらず、格差是正は進まない。東京高裁は、選挙無効こそ認めなかったものの、一歩踏み込んだ判断を示したと言える。

Similar cases are currently being tried at 14 high courts and branches throughout the country. All of the rulings are scheduled to be handed down within this month.
 同様の訴訟は、全国14の高裁・支部で審理され、いずれも今月中に判決が言い渡される。

The Public Offices Election Law requires a court to try to hand down a ruling within 100 days after a suit is filed. Although there have been past cases in which it took more than half a year for courts to hand down decisions, courts are now following the rule, thus urging the Diet to take swift corrective action.
 公職選挙法には、裁判所は提訴から100日以内に判決を出すよう努めるとの規定がある。これまでは半年以上かかるケースがあったが、今回、規定通りに判断を示す裁判所の姿勢は、国会に速やかな格差是正を迫るものだ。

===

Division of ultimate power

The group of lawyers who filed the latest suit argued, based in part on the Constitution's preamble that "sovereign power resides with the people," that the vote of one person holding such power should be strictly equal to the votes of others.
 訴訟を起こした弁護士グループは、憲法前文にある「国民主権」の見地などから、主権者である国民の1票は厳格に平等でなければならない、と主張した。

The Tokyo High Court rejected this claim, but it will be a focal point in subsequent rulings to come.
 東京高裁は、この主張については退けたが、今後の判決でも注目点の一つとなるだろう。

Members of the ruling and opposition parties said, "We will take the ruling seriously," or "The ruling includes condemnation of the legislative branch of the government." These are natural responses. Lawmakers must take concrete action to improve the situation.
 判決に対して与野党は「厳粛に受け止める」「立法府への糾弾の意味も含まれている」としている。当然の反応である。ただちに具体的な行動をとるべきだ。

The Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the Democratic Party of Japan have agreed to carry out a drastic review of the lower house election system, including reduction of lower house seats, during the current Diet session. However, work to realize the agreement has been slow. Since the election system affects the rise and fall of political parties, it must face twists and turns for the parties to reach an agreement on concrete measures.
 自民、公明、民主3党は、今国会中に定数是正を含む衆院選挙制度の抜本的な見直しを行うことで合意したものの、作業は遅々として進展していない。選挙制度は、各党の消長にかかわる問題だけに、合意形成は難航しよう。

However, they have little time. Further negligence is simply unacceptable, as it erodes the very authority of the Diet as the legislative branch.
 だが、時間は限られている。立法府の権威を自らおとしめる、これ以上の怠慢は許されない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 7, 2013)
(2013年3月7日01時21分  読売新聞)

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for my daughter, kaichan

questions and answers
mathematics and science
for elementary school grade 3

mathematics
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science
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2013年3月 7日 (木)

共通番号法案 今国会こそ確実に成立させよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 7, 2013)
Adopt numbering system to manage welfare, tax systems
共通番号法案 今国会こそ確実に成立させよ(3月6日付・読売社説)

The government has resubmitted to the Diet a bill calling for the adoption of identification numbers for individuals to be used for the administration of social security programs and tax payments.
 政府は、国民一人ひとりに番号を割り振る「共通番号制度関連法案(マイナンバー法案)」を再度、国会に提出した。

The ruling and some opposition parties recognize the need to introduce the numbering system. Deliberations on the bill should begin as soon as possible so it can be approved by the current Diet session.
 与野党の多くは、制度の必要性を認めている。早期に審議入りし、今度こそ確実に成立させるべきだ。

Under the system, cards carrying numbers, individuals' photos and IC chips would be issued to all citizens to allow administrative offices to better manage the social security system and tax payments. The government aims to introduce the system in 2016.
 この制度は、顔写真やIC(集積回路)チップの入った「個人番号カード」を交付し、行政機関が社会保障制度と納税を個人番号で管理する仕組みだ。2016年からの利用開始を目指している。

The administration of former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda submitted a similar bill to the Diet last year together with bills on integrated reform of social security and tax systems. However, the bill was killed when the House of Representatives was dissolved for a general election in December.
 野田内閣が昨年、法案を社会保障と税の一体改革関連法案とともに国会に提出したが、年末の衆院解散で廃案になった。

The bill has been revised by the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the Democratic Party of Japan before it was submitted by the government to the current Diet session.
自民、公明、民主3党が法案を修正し、政府が出し直した。

Introduction of the numbering system would be tremendously beneficial for the public because it would drastically simplify the complex application procedures for receiving social security benefits.
 制度導入に伴う国民生活上のメリットは大きい。複雑な社会保障給付の申請手続きが大幅に簡素化されるからだ。

===

Time, money can be saved

Application for pension payments, for example, currently requires submission of such documents as certificates of residence and income. Time and money could be saved under the new system.
 例えば、年金の給付を申請する際、現在、住民票と所得証明書などを提出しなければならないが、その手間や費用が不要になる。

People would be able to check their personal information regarding social security benefits and tax payments at home by visiting a specific website. It also would be possible to check online whether there is any omission in their pension records.
 国民は、個人用ウェブサイトを使って、自宅のパソコンから社会保障や税に関する自分の情報を見ることができる。年金の記録漏れを自ら監視することも可能だ。

Administrative costs would be reduced in applying for and receiving approval for social security benefits and other services.
 手続きに時間や費用がかかっている社会保障給付など、行政のコスト削減効果も期待されよう。

The envisaged numbering system could lay the foundation for the central and municipal governments to more easily obtain information on individuals' incomes and tax payments, making tax collection fairer. This could prevent income underreporting and illegal tax refunds.
 国や市町村が個人の納税記録や所得情報を把握し、税を公平に徴収する環境が整う。所得の過少申告や税の不正還付を防ぐ有力な手段にもなる。

The government should take extra precautions in providing social security benefits for low-income earners and other underprivileged people when they utilize the planned numbering system.
 共通番号を活用し、低所得者らに対するきめ細かな社会保障給付を行うべきだ。

The system will be indispensable when a tax deduction system together with cash handouts is introduced to ease regressive tax burdens, an issue to be tackled when the consumption tax is increased.
消費増税の際、逆進性を緩和するための「給付付き税額控除」を導入する場合にも、共通番号が欠かせない。

===

Independent body eyed

Diet deliberations will focus on how personal information can be protected. It is crucial to establish a credible system.
 国会審議の焦点は、個人情報をいかに保護するかである。信頼できるシステム構築が肝要だ。

It is reasonable for the bill to contain a provision calling for the establishment of a strictly independent commission to watch out for information leaks.
 情報漏えいを監視するため、法案が独立性の高い委員会の設置を盛り込んだのは妥当と言える。

The commission would be given strong investigative powers and be empowered to issue recommendations and orders when irregularities are found. Violators would face criminal punishment. The numbering system must be strictly controlled to prevent it from being abused.
 委員会には強力な調査権限が付与され、不正があった場合に勧告や命令ができる。違反者には刑事罰も科す。番号の管理を徹底し、不正利用を防がねばならない。

Expansion of the application range of numbering system is a task to be dealt with in the future. As the bill does not include a provision to apply a numbering system to medical care information, this matter should be taken up at some stage.
 番号を利用する適用範囲の拡大も将来的な課題になる。法案は診療情報を利用対象としていないが、いずれ検討すべきだ。

The numbering system would prove beneficial if it eliminated waste in the medical care field by deterring patients from duplicating examinations and obtaining medication at two or more medical institutions.
 患者が複数の医療機関で重複検査・投薬を受ける無駄を省く仕組みに生かすことも有益だろう。

The ruling and opposition parties must hold thorough deliberations on the bill to win public support for the system.
 国民が納得できるよう、与野党は審議を尽くしてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 6, 2013)
(2013年3月6日02時05分  読売新聞)

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中国国防費膨張 「海洋強国化」は危険な軍拡だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 7, 2013)
China's dangerous maritime expansion
中国国防費膨張 「海洋強国化」は危険な軍拡だ(3月6日付・読売社説)

China, which has trumpeted its desire to become a maritime power, has been rapidly expanding its military might.
 「海洋強国化」を掲げる中国が、軍事力を急激に膨張させている。

If Xi Jinping's administration wants to dispel the "China threat theory" being increasingly espoused by neighboring countries, it should commit itself to making its military power more transparent and actively engage in confidence-building steps.
 周辺国で高まる「中国脅威論」を、習近平政権が否定するのなら、軍事力の透明性向上や信頼醸成に積極的に取り組むべきだ。

At the National People's Congress, or parliament, that convened Tuesday, China unveiled a 10.7 percent year-on-year increase in defense spending in the 2013 national budget to about 740.6 billion yuan (about 11.11 trillion yen). This is about 2.4 times the size of Japan's defense budget.
 中国の全国人民代表大会(全人代=国会)が開幕し、公表された2013年の国家予算案で、国防費は前年実績比10・7%増の約7406億元(約11兆1100億円)に上った。日本の防衛予算の約2・4倍の規模である。

China's defense budget has logged double-digit increases for more than 20 consecutive years, excluding 2010, when the global recession buffeted that country. Its actual military expenditure remains unclear because the disclosed figure does not include money earmarked for weapon research and development, for example.
 世界同時不況が影響した10年を除き、国防費の2ケタ増は20年以上続いている。公表分に兵器の研究開発費などは含まれないとされ、不透明さは変わらない。

China should fully disclose the breakdown of its defense budget and plans to introduce military equipment.
 国防費の内訳や装備導入計画を公開することが求められる。

China's military expansion policy, which is behind the substantial rise in defense spending, also is a destabilizing factor that could trigger military expansion in neighboring nations, including India.
 国防費大幅増の背景にある軍拡路線は、インドなど周辺国の軍拡を招く不安定要因でもある。

===

Senkakus need vigilance

The Xi administration probably will appropriate this budget predominantly to projects reinforcing China's navy and air force so it can encircle the East China Sea and the South China Sea as "China's Sea," to counter the U.S. strategy that places greater emphasis on Asia.
 習政権は、「アジア重視」戦略を進める米国に対抗し、東シナ海と南シナ海を「中国の海」として囲い込むため海空軍力増強に予算を重点的に投入するのだろう。

China's military has been accelerating development of its own stealth fighter jet and construction of domestic aircraft carriers and new frigates. It reportedly has conducted about 40 exercises this year.
 中国軍は、ステルス機の開発のほか、国産空母や新型フリゲート艦などの建造を急いでいる。今年の演習は約40回に上るという。

This year's government work report delivered at the National People's Congress stressed that China will protect its maritime interests. The Chinese Navy and State Oceanic Administration have confirmed they will strengthen their cooperation.
 全人代の今年の政府活動報告は、「国家の海洋権益を守っていく」と強調した。海軍と国家海洋局は連携強化を確認している。

There is the possibility that Chinese surveillance ships, with assistance from the navy, could take a more hard-line stance around the Senkaku Islands. Chinese vessels might seize Japanese fishing boats or apprehend their crew members. Japanese authorities must step up their vigilance.
 尖閣諸島周辺で、中国の監視船が海軍の支援を受け、さらなる強硬姿勢をとる可能性も出てきた。日本漁船の拿捕(だほ)や船員の拘束も起きかねない。日本は警戒を強める必要がある。

===

More provocations possible

Automatic spending cuts that have started in the United States could restrict U.S. military operations in the western Pacific. Given the circumstances, there are concerns the Chinese Navy may instigate a provocation similar to the incident this year in which a Chinese frigate locked its fire-control radar on a Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel.
 米国の歳出強制削減で西太平洋での米軍活動が抑制されかねない中、懸念されるのは、海上自衛隊艦艇へのレーダー照射事件のような中国海軍の挑発行動である。

China should try to build trust with Japan by resuming talks on establishing a bilateral system for emergency communications at sea. Tokyo must enhance the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. alliance and do everything in its power to defend the Senkaku Islands.
 中国は、海上での緊急連絡体制の構築を目的とする日本との協議を再開させ、信頼醸成を図るべきだ。日本は、日米同盟の抑止力を高め、尖閣諸島の防衛態勢に万全を期さなければならない。

Dealing with environmental problems is an urgent task for the Xi administration. Serious air pollution in China has exposed the limits of Beijing's policy of focusing on economic growth above all else. We think China should also appropriate more of its budget to expanding the social security system in preparation for the costs that will come with its rapidly graying population.
 習政権にとって喫緊の課題は環境問題への対応だ。深刻な大気汚染は成長至上主義の限界を露呈している。急速な高齢化に備えた社会保障の拡充にも、さらに予算を投入すべきではないか。

Meanwhile, China's domestic security budget exceeds the defense budget. This indicates that the Chinese government believes it has no choice but to flex strong state power to deal with disturbances that frequently erupt across that country.
 その一方で、国内治安対策費は国防予算を上回っている。全土で多発する暴動に、強権で対処せざるを得ないのだろう。

Stimulating a sense of national greatness among Chinese people by military expansion, thereby diverting domestic frustrations to external elements, is a dangerous game.
 軍拡によって国民の大国意識を刺激し、不満を外にそらすのは、危険な手法である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 6, 2013)
(2013年3月6日02時05分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月 6日 (水)

6年ぶりにHPを改定 2013-03-06

使用制限の極めて厳格なyahoo HPより、fc2 HP と ninja HP に引越しです。
FTP転送ソフトでHPを構築していたので、転送時間は僅か1時間ほど。
楽ちんですね^^。

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代表質問 安倍政権を攻めあぐねる野党

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 6, 2013)
Opposition parties toothless when grilling Abe administration
代表質問 安倍政権を攻めあぐねる野党(3月5日付・読売社説)

The approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe remains high, and opposition parties have yet to clarify their stances on key policy issues. Under the circumstances, the opposition bloc has struggled to launch an effective offensive against the Abe government.
 安倍内閣の支持率が高く、重要政策に対する野党の方針も定まらない。野党が政府を攻めあぐねているのは、そんな事情があるからだろう。

Interpellations by party representatives on the prime minister's recent policy speech have begun in the Diet.
 安倍首相の施政方針演説に対する各党の代表質問が始まった。

Democratic Party of Japan Acting President Akihiro Ohata questioned the consistency between the government's position on the nation's possible participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks and the Liberal Democratic Party's pledges for the last House of Representatives election. The LDP pledged it would oppose TPP participation as long as it was premised on the elimination of all tariffs without exception.
 民主党の大畠章宏代表代行は、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉の参加問題に関連し、「聖域なき関税撤廃を前提にする限り反対」とした自民党の衆院選公約との整合性を取り上げた。

Ohata upbraided these "Abe tricks" as a deception of the public because the condition set in the LDP pledges has yet to be met, as whether some trade items are exempt from tariff elimination will be decided in the negotiations.
 関税撤廃の例外品目が認められるかどうかは交渉で決まる以上、公約の条件は満たされておらず、国民を欺く「安倍トリック」だと厳しく批判した。

===

Clearer explanations needed

It is true that Japan has not been assured there will be exceptions. But it is unproductive to debate whether entering the TPP talks goes against the policy pledge at this stage. The DPJ question missed the point, and was raised apparently because the party has not clarified its stance on the issue.
 確かに例外品目が、日本に約束されたわけではない。だが、現段階で公約違反か否かは生産的な議論ではない。民主党自身、TPPへの方針が定まらぬから、本質から外れた質問になるのだろう。

The prime minister responded rather tersely. He briefly explained about his recent meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, and merely said, "I've come to believe that the TPP won't be premised on the elimination of all tariffs without exception."
 首相もそっけなかった。オバマ米大統領との会談を説明し、「TPPでは聖域なき関税撤廃が前提にされるものではないとの認識に至った」と答えただけだ。

Abe needs to explain to the public in a simpler-to-understand way that, for Japan as a trading nation, participation in the TPP would be a pillar in its growth strategy. After doing so, he should aim to soon join the process of crafting rules on free trade and make sure rice and certain other items are excluded from tariff elimination.
 首相はTPP参加が貿易立国・日本の成長戦略の柱になることをもっと国民に分かりやすく訴える必要がある。その上で早期に自由貿易のルール作りに参加し、コメなどを関税撤廃の例外品目にすることを目指すべきだ。

Referring to the government's appointment of the next Bank of Japan governor, Takao Fujii, chairman of the general council of Diet members of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), said it is desirable to have someone who supports revising the Bank of Japan Law to strengthen government involvement in monetary policy.
 日本維新の会の藤井孝男国会議員団総務会長は、日銀総裁人事について、金融政策への政府の関与を強める日銀法改正に賛成である候補が望ましいと主張した。

Abe said he also has revision of the law in mind, but expressed high hopes for now that Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda, the government's pick to be the central bank chief, will take bold monetary easing measures.
 首相は、日銀法改正も視野にあるとした上で、まずは候補の黒田東彦アジア開発銀行総裁の大胆な金融緩和策に期待感を示した。

===

Get electoral reform moving

Internal rifts have surfaced within Ishin no Kai. Party coleader Toru Hashimoto is negative toward Kuroda's appointment, but some party lawmakers are leaning toward accepting his nomination. Ishin no Kai officials have said they will decide after hearing opinions given by Kuroda in the Diet. But Fujii's questioning lacked force mainly because his party has yet to settle on a position on the issue.
 維新内部では、黒田氏に否定的な橋下共同代表と、前向きな国会議員団との亀裂が表面化した。結局、所信聴取を踏まえて判断するというが、藤井氏の質問が迫力を欠くのは、党の立場が明確ではないためだろう。

During a hearing at the House of Representatives Rules and Administration Committee on Monday, Kuroda expressed determination to do whatever he could for the nation to overcome deflation. We consider this a reasonable stance toward revitalization of the Japanese economy.
 黒田氏は4日、衆院議院運営委員会での所信聴取で「デフレ脱却に向けやれることは何でもやる」と決意を表明した。日本経済再生に向けて妥当な見解である。

The prime minister said he had told his party to "actively work on compiling plans" for lower house election system reform, including a change in the number of seats in the chamber. The LDP, New Komeito and the DPJ have already agreed to proceed with this change.
 一方、首相は、自民、公明、民主3党で合意した定数是正を含む衆院選挙制度改革について、「党に対し、積極的に取りまとめるよう指示している」と強調した。

Former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Abe's predecessor, made realization of electoral system reform a precondition for dissolving the lower house last year. Abe agreed that a conclusion should be reached during the current Diet session. Talks between ruling and opposition parties on this issue must be accelerated.
 野田前首相が衆院解散の条件として改革実現を提案し、今国会中に結論を出すことを安倍氏も了承した経緯がある。与野党協議を加速させねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 5, 2013)
(2013年3月5日01時29分  読売新聞)

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米国歳出削減 大統領と議会は混乱収拾急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 6, 2013)
Obama, Congress must unsnarl chaos over budget
米国歳出削減 大統領と議会は混乱収拾急げ(3月5日付・読売社説)

The automatic spending cuts aimed at slashing U.S. federal spending have been implemented. President Barack Obama and Republican and Democratic lawmakers must find points of compromise and unsnarl the confusion soon.
 米国政府の歳出を強制的に削減する制度が発動された。オバマ米大統領と民主、共和両党は妥協点を探り、混乱の早期収拾を図るべきである。

The spending cuts amount to 1.2 trillion dollars (about 110 trillion yen) over a 10-year period, with 85 billion dollars, or about 10 percent of government spending for fiscal 2013 (which started on Oct. 1 and ends on Sept. 30), to be cut.
 歳出削減額は10年間で1・2兆ドル(約110兆円)に上り、2013会計年度(12年10月~13年9月)では、歳出の約1割に相当する850億ドルがカットされる。

The automatic budget cuts were mandated in legislation passed in the summer of 2011 when Democrats and Republicans failed to agree on a fiscal reconstruction plan. Without an agreement on a middle- or long-term fiscal deficit-cutting deal, the budget cuts were to be invoked in January.
 強制削減制度は、財政再建を巡る11年夏の与野党攻防の際に設けられた。中長期的な財政赤字削減策をまとめられない場合、今年1月に発動する予定だった。

To avert the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic spending cuts and middle-class tax increases, at least as a temporary fix, the deadline for implementing the budget cuts was put off by two months.
But negotiations between Obama and both parties collapsed, leading to the automatic budget cuts. This is an extremely serious situation.
 「財政の崖」をひとまず回避するため、発動期限は2か月先送りされたが、それでも大統領と与野党の協議が決裂し、発動を防げなかったのは深刻な事態だ。

While Obama and the Democrats have been calling for cutting the federal deficit by additional tax increases on the rich and spending cuts, Republicans adamantly oppose the tax increases.
 大統領と与党・民主党は、富裕層への追加増税と歳出カットによる赤字削減を主張しているのに対し、共和党はあくまで、増税に反対する強硬姿勢を崩さない。

===

Deep-rooted confrontation

This resulted in a deep-rooted confrontation that started even before last year's presidential election.
 昨年の大統領選挙前からの根深い対立を浮き彫りにしている。

The automatic spending cuts will not immediately damage the U.S. economy or affect the people's lives, but if they are kept in place for a protracted period of time, ill effects will be felt both at home and abroad. The situation must be watched.
 歳出の強制削減によって、ただちに米国経済や国民生活に不都合が生じるものではないが、発動が長期化すれば、影響は内外に広がる。要警戒である。

For instance, with the cuts in spending on national defense, about 800,000 civilian personnel of the U.S. Defense Department face furloughs, which could hinder U.S. security operations in the western Pacific and Japan.
 例えば、国防費削減で米軍の職員約80万人が一時帰休を強いられて、西太平洋や日本などの安全保障に支障が生じかねない。

With the cuts in air traffic controllers, some airport control towers might be closed. A large number of teachers may also be fired. With the budget cuts, these scenarios will come closer to reality.
 航空管制官の削減で管制塔が閉鎖したり、教員が大量解雇されたりする事態も現実味を帯びる。

In the long term, the cuts are likely to slow down the U.S. economy, which has at last shown signs of recovery, and also damage the world economy.
 ようやく景気回復の傾向が出てきた米国経済の足を引っ張り、世界経済にも打撃を与えそうだ。

While the main budget for the current fiscal year has yet to be passed into law, the provisional six-month budget will expire on March 27.
 今年度予算はまだ成立せず、暫定予算の失効が27日に迫っている。

Unless the main budget or a new provisional budget is decided on, further disarray will follow and may even cause a government shutdown.
それまでに本予算も新たな暫定予算も決まらないと、政府窓口の一部閉鎖という、さらなる混乱に拡大するだろう。

The focal issue at least for the time being is whether the confrontation between Obama and congressional Republicans will end before such adverse effects spread.
 当面の焦点は、そうした悪影響が広がる前に、対立に終止符を打てるかどうかである。

===

Radical solution required

The responsibilities of the president and the Congress are grave. It is important for them to compromise soon and produce a radical solution to realize both fiscal reconstruction and economic growth, instead of continuing an unproductive exchange of denunciations.
 大統領と議会の責任は重大だ。不毛な非難合戦を続けるのではなく、財政再建と経済成長を両立させる抜本策について、速やかに歩み寄ることが肝要だ。

There are many pending problems over fiscal management. Unless the limit on federal borrowing is raised by the middle of May, the U.S. government may even default on its obligations.
 財政を巡る懸案は多い。5月半ばまでに連邦債務上限を引き上げられない場合、債務不履行(デフォルト)に陥る恐れすらある。

The president and Democratic and Republican lawmakers have repeatedly put off solving problems every time their negotiations have deadlocked. But makeshift measures will not lead to a fundamental solution.
 大統領と与野党はこれまで、協議が行き詰まるごとに、問題先送りを繰り返してきた。だが、その場しのぎの策では、根本的な解決にならない。

The big question is whether the United States can rid itself of "politics characterized by indecision."
 「決められない政治」から脱することが厳しく問われよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 5, 2013)
(2013年3月5日01時29分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月 5日 (火)

PM2.5対策 監視強めて正確な情報提供を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 5, 2013)
More precise data needed in fight against PM2.5 pollution
PM2.5対策 監視強めて正確な情報提供を(3月4日付・読売社説)

In the coming season, when the prevailing westerly winds will gain strength, there is a danger the volume of PM2.5 fine pollutants being blown over to Japan from China will sharply increase.
 偏西風が強まるこれからの季節に、中国から飛来する大気汚染物質PM2・5の量が急増する恐れがある。

We hope the Environment Ministry and other offices concerned make meticulous arrangements to monitor the levels of these airborne contaminants and prevent them from harming the health of people here.
環境省などは監視と被害防止に万全を期してもらいたい。

PM2.5 is a general term for substances 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter. One micrometer is one-thousandth of a millimeter. These microparticles are about one-tenth the size of cedar pollen, and are tiny enough to pass through an ordinary face mask.
 PM2・5は直径2・5マイクロ・メートル以下の物質の総称だ。1マイクロ・メートルは1000分の1ミリにあたる。スギ花粉の約10分の1の微小粒子で、普通のマスクでは防げない。

Some experts have pointed out that inhaled PM2.5 particles tend to go deep into the lungs, and can cause asthma, bronchitis or lung cancer. The particulate matter is believed to come from sooty smoke produced by incinerators, vehicle emissions and other sources.
 肺の奥まで入り込みやすく、ぜんそくや気管支炎、肺がんの原因になるという指摘もある。焼却炉からのばい煙や自動車の排ガスなどが発生源とされる。

The amount of these particles generated in Japan has been declining, thanks to emission controls and other measures. But air pollution from China that transcends national boundaries has become a problem this year, causing concern about possible health risks to residents mainly in Kyushu and other parts of western Japan.
 国内での発生量は排ガス規制などにより減少してきた。だが、今年に入り中国からの越境汚染が問題となり、九州など西日本を中心に住民の健康不安が高まった。

===

New guidelines

The Environment Ministry plans to increase the number of monitoring spots to 1,300 from the current 550. This is an essential step for providing detailed information to residents.
 環境省は、PM2・5の観測地点を現在の約550か所から1300か所に増やす方針だ。住民へのきめ細かい情報提供のためには必要な措置と言える。

It is also necessary to precisely analyze just how much of these substances is actually being blown over from China.
 中国から実際にどの程度の量のPM2・5が飛来しているのか、詳しい分析も必要である。

The ministry last week set provisional guidelines under which warnings will be issued to the public if the daily average amount of PM2.5 particles exceeds 70 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
 さらに環境省は、注意喚起が必要なPM2・5の1日平均値を「1立方メートル当たり70マイクロ・グラム超」(1マイクロ・グラムは1グラムの100万分の1)とする暫定指針を設けた。

If particulate levels in the air are likely to exceed that figure, Tokyo and other prefectural governments will urge residents to stay indoors and refrain from ventilating their rooms.
 これに達しそうな日には、都道府県が住民に外出や室内の換気を自粛するよう呼びかける。

The guidelines have been established based on barometers adopted in the United States and the results of epidemiological studies. An expert panel at the Environment Ministry said that even if the concentration of these pollutants reaches this level, it will not necessarily harm every person's health.
 暫定指針は、米国の指標や、疫学調査結果を参考に設定した。環境省の専門家会合は、指針値に達したとしても、「すべての人に必ず健康影響が生じるものではない」との見解を示している。

The Tokyo metropolitan government and prefectural governments should urge residents to respond calmly to PM2.5 warnings, rather than whipping up unease.
 都道府県は、注意喚起の際、ことさら不安をあおらず、冷静な対応を呼びかけるべきだ。

That being said, people with respiratory or heart diseases, children susceptible to the effects of the particles and elderly people need to pay extra attention to changes in their physical condition.
 ただ、呼吸器や心臓に疾患のある人や、影響を受けやすい子供、高齢者は、体調の変化に、より留意する必要があるだろう。

Many aspects of the health hazards of PM2.5 particles remain unknown. We hope researchers make further efforts to provide clear answers to this question.
PM2・5の健康被害については、未解明の部分も多い。研究に力を入れてもらいたい。

===

Japan can help

The most important way to counter the PM2.5 problem is to quell the generation of these substances in China. In Beijing, the level of PM2.5 particles briefly topped 500 micrograms per cubic meter of air on Feb. 28, reaching the most serious level on that country's six-step scale of air pollution.
 PM2・5対策で最も重要なのは、中国での発生抑制である。北京では2月28日、濃度が一時的に1立方メートル当たり500マイクロ・グラムに達し、6段階の汚染指標で最悪の「深刻な汚染」となった。

The daily lives of Japanese living in China also have been affected by the pollution, with Japanese schools restricting children's outdoor activities.
 日本人学校が生徒の屋外活動を制限するなど、邦人の生活にも影響が出ている。

In February, Japan and China agreed Tokyo would extend technical cooperation to help Beijing fight air pollution. The Chinese government must proactively tackle pollution control by drawing on the experiences Japan went through as it overcame its own air pollution problems.
 日中両国は2月、日本が技術協力を進めることで合意した。中国政府は大気汚染を克服した日本の経験を参考に、汚染防止に積極的に取り組まねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 4, 2013)
(2013年3月4日01時50分  読売新聞)

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憲法96条 改正要件緩和が政治を変える

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 5, 2013)
Relax requirements for constitutional revision
憲法96条 改正要件緩和が政治を変える(3月4日付・読売社説)

Revision of Article 96 of the Constitution, which stipulates procedures to amend the national charter, has emerged as a major item on the political agenda.
 憲法改正の手続きを定めた憲法96条の改正問題が、大きな政治テーマに浮上している。

This is apparent after the Liberal Democratic Party, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party, which all called for revision of the article in their campaign platforms for the House of Representatives election in December, together have acquired more than two-thirds of the chamber's 480 seats.
 背景には、昨年末の衆院選で自民党や日本維新の会、みんなの党が96条改正を公約とし、3党で衆院の3分の2超の議席を獲得したことがある。

Depending on the outcome of the House of Councillors election in July, legislative arrangements for revising the Constitution will get under way for the first time.
 7月の参院選の結果次第では、憲法改正の環境が初めて整う。

Therefore, constitutional revision is now on the political agenda and has a chance of being realized.
 憲法改正は今や、現実味を帯び始めた政治課題だ。

Article 96 calls for revision to be initiated by the Diet through an affirmative vote of two-thirds or more of all members of each house, followed by a national referendum in which support from a majority of the public must be secured.
 96条は、憲法改正について、衆参各議院の総議員の3分の2以上の賛成で国会が発議し、国民投票で過半数の賛成を得なければならないと規定している。

===

Hard to clear dual hurdle

It will not be easy to clear the high dual hurdle of winning affirmative votes of two-thirds or more in each chamber and securing majority support from the public in a referendum.
 衆参とも3分の2以上を確保したうえで、国民投票も行うという二重の高いハードルを乗り越えるのは容易なことではない。

If the threshold of two-thirds is revised to a majority as proposed by the LDP, it will be easier to initiate amendments.
 自民党が提案するように「3分の2以上」を「過半数」とすれば改正を発議しやすくなる。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government will seek revision of Article 96, which is supported by many parties, ahead of other articles over which parties are divided. This is a realistic and appropriate approach.
 安倍首相は、政党の考え方が対立する条項ではなく、まずは多くの党が賛同できる96条から改正に取り組む考えを示した。現実的で妥当なアプローチである。

His view is shared by some conservative members of the Democratic Party of Japan who reportedly plan to form a new parliamentary league with lawmakers of Ishin no Kai and Your Party to revise Article 96.
 民主党の一部の保守系議員も同様に考え、維新、みんな両党の議員と96条改正を目指して新たな議員連盟を設立するという。

The controversy over constitutional revision, which puts politicians' views of the nature of the state to the test, is significant in that it could lead to a political realignment.
政治家の国家観を問う憲法改正の問題は、政界再編につながる可能性を持つ意味でも重要である。

The DPJ has not yet decided on its position on the issue due to differences of opinion within the party.
 民主党は、党内の意見対立から依然として憲法改正に対する方針が定まっていない。

Even its party platform makes little reference to the issue, saying only that the party "envisages a future-oriented constitution to establish constitutionalism in the true sense of the word." This statement does not give the people much idea about how the party will tackle constitutional revision.
 党の綱領にも「真の立憲主義を確立するため、未来志向の憲法を構想していく」とあるだけだ。これでは憲法改正にどう取り組むのか、さっぱりわからない。

The DPJ must hold in-depth discussions on the matter ahead of the upper house election as the issue has the potential of becoming a bone of contention.
 憲法改正が争点になり得る参院選に向けて、今から党内論議を尽くしておくべきだろう。

===

Unrealistic situation

A constitution does not have to remain unchanged forever. In the past 13 years alone, Switzerland amended its Constitution 23 times, while Germany revised its top law 11 times and France 10 times.
 憲法は、「不磨の大典」ではない。この13年間だけでも、スイスは23回、ドイツは11回、フランスは10回も憲法を改正している。

However, since it was enforced in 1947, the Constitution of Japan has never been revised, an extremely rare case.
 制定以来一度も改正されていない日本の憲法は、世界的に見ても希有(けう)な存在だと言える。

With the changing times, the gap between the Constitution and reality has become diverse and distinct. Many lawmakers believe the Constitution should be revised in relation to protection of environmental rights and privacy, let alone national security, but nothing has been done.
 時代の変化に伴い、憲法と現実との様々な乖離(かいり)が目立っている。安全保障はもとより、環境権、プライバシーの保護など、多くの国会議員が憲法改正は必要と考えながらも、実現に至らなかった。

It is natural for Ishin no Kai coleader Toru Hashimoto to assert that "it's important to discuss the content [of the Constitution], but is it satisfactory to leave intact a situation in which we cannot even seek the people's judgment on revision proposals?"
 日本維新の会の橋下共同代表が「中身の議論も大事だが、国民に改正案の是非を問うこともできない状態を放置していいのか」と主張するのはもっともだ。

Now is the time to relax Article 96's requirements that has made it so difficult to revise the Constitution.
憲法改正を困難にしてきた96条の改正要件を緩和すべき時である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 4, 2013)
(2013年3月4日01時50分  読売新聞)

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カードローンは臨機応変に賢く利用するのが良いようです

金欠病とは言い得て妙な表現なのですが、この時期にはえてして不測の事態で、突然まとまったお金が必要になることが多いですね。例えば家族の突然の病気や入院と入った事態が想定できます。
さあ大変だ。お金が無い。どうしようか。

取りあえずカードローンで借入(かりいれ)をして、しのぐのが手っ取り早い手段です。
カードローンはいくつかの注意点を確認してから、臨機応変に積極的に賢く利用するのが、その後の人生を立て直す切っ掛けともなります。(私の体験です)

では、カードローンを利用するときの注意点を述べます。

1) 貸金業に登録されている会社かどうか確認する(大手の場合には不要です)
2) 貸付金利が法定金利の内側にあるかどうか確認する (年利15%以内だと安心です)
3) 返済期間と返済計画の確認 (出来るだけ早急に返済するのがコツです)

リンクのサイトに、カードローンの有益な利用情報があります。
これは役に立つ!

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2013年3月 4日 (月)

被曝健康評価 不安を和らげる対策が重要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 4, 2013)
More must be done to ease Fukushima radiation concerns
被曝健康評価 不安を和らげる対策が重要だ(3月3日付・読売社説)

The risk of adverse impacts on human health caused by radiation that leaked during the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is probably infinitesimal.
 東京電力福島第一原子力発電所事故による被(ひ)曝(ばく)で健康影響が出る恐れは極めて小さいだろう。

On Thursday, the World Health Organization released a report saying health hazards resulting from the nuclear crisis are low. The report also says the risk of people in radiation-affected areas getting cancer will not be higher than during their normal lifetime.
 この事故の健康リスクは低い、と評価した報告書を世界保健機関(WHO)が公表した。「一般住民のがん発生数が平時より増えることはないだろう」とも述べている。

The WHO investigation findings can be said to be consistent with evaluations done previously at home and abroad. We hope they alleviate the unease felt by many victims of the disaster.
 これまでの国内外の調査とも合致する評価結果と言えよう。被災者の不安軽減につなげたい。

The WHO presented estimates of the radiation doses received by residents of Fukushima Prefecture and elsewhere based on measurement data for radiation and other substances, and used these figures to calculate health risks from the disaster.
 WHOは、福島県などの放射線測定データなどから住民の被曝線量を推計し、これに基づいて、健康リスクを算出した。

Especially noteworthy is the fact that the WHO took special care "not to underestimate" the radiation doses.
 留意すべきは、WHOが「過小評価にならないようにした」という点だ。

For instance, it worked out the projections under the assumption that people in evacuation areas remained in highly contaminated districts and ate radiation-tainted food for up to four months after the nuclear crisis without evacuating--a situation highly unlikely to happen. The WHO evaluations are therefore based on an overestimated radiation dose.
例えば避難区域の住民が事故後4か月間、避難せずに汚染された物を食べ続けた、と実際はあり得ない条件を想定した。事実上、過大な評価となっている。

===

Risk higher, but still very low

The bulk of affected residents are estimated to have received 10 millisieverts or less of radiation in the first year after the disaster, according to surveys by the government and other organizations. This is about the same as a person would receive during a single precision radiological examination of the chest. Potential readings employed by the WHO are about five times this amount.
 政府などの調査では、ほとんどの住民の被曝線量は10ミリ・シーベルト以下と推計している。胸の精密放射線診断1回で浴びる程度の量だ。WHOの値はその約5倍になる。

Given this, health risks in some areas covered by the WHO investigation are higher than in normal times.
 このため、健康リスクは一部地域で平時より高く表れている。

In the town of Namie in the Fukushima Prefecture evacuation zone, the probability of a 1-year-old girl developing thyroid cancer before she turns 16 is set at 0.0365 percent in the WHO report, about nine times higher than the 0.004 percent in normal times.
 避難区域に含まれる福島県浪江町では、1歳女児が16歳までに甲状腺がんを発症する確率が、平時の0・0040%から、約9倍の0・0365%になった。

Using the WHO calculation, less than one girl in 100 currently aged 1 will develop the cancer after the nuclear crisis.
 それでも、対象年齢の女児が100人とすると、事故後の患者数は1人に満たない計算である。

It is generally said one in two Japanese develops cancer in their lifetime. The biggest causes are smoking and improper eating habits, according to experts. Radiation-induced health risks reported by the WHO are so minuscule as to be hardly detectable.
 一般に日本人の2人に1人はがんになる。最大の原因は喫煙や食生活だ。被曝の影響はデータとしては検出できないほど小さい。

The government must do more to provide sufficient information to the public to prevent the belief that health risks have increased in disaster-hit areas from taking on a life of its own. In addition, the WHO, which placed great emphasis on the anxieties of residents, stressed that due consideration should be paid to the "psychological and social effects" of the disaster. The government must respond appropriately to this.
 政府は「リスクが高くなる」という評価が独り歩きせぬよう情報提供に努めるべきだ。加えてWHOが、住民の不安を重視して「精神的、社会的な配慮が必要」と強調したことにも対応すべきだ。

===

Facilitate health checkups

In particular, long-term health monitoring of people exposed to radiation must be considered a matter of high importance.
 特に、被曝した可能性がある人たちの健康調査は重要だろう。

Health checkups being carried out by the Fukushima prefectural government and others, however, have not progressed as hoped. Only 20 percent of people who authorities think should have had their radiation dosage checked have actually done so.
 福島県などが取り組んでいる住民の健康調査は、思うように進んでいない。前提となる個人の被曝線量は、対象となる住民の約2割しか把握できていない。

The Nuclear Regulation Authority plans to press the government shortly to beef up support to accelerate the pace of the health checkups. There is no time to waste in putting these arrangements in place.
 原子力規制委員会は近く、政府の支援を強化して、健康調査を加速するよう求める方針だ。支援の体制作りを急がねばならない。

To ease the concern of people in disaster-stricken areas, it is essential to review the goal of reducing annual radiation contamination levels in these places to one millisievert or less per year. The goal has widely been taken to mean that one millisievert is the threshold between danger and safety in areas affected by the nuclear crisis.
 不安軽減には、除染目標値の年間「1ミリ・シーベルト以下」の見直しも必要だ。危険と安全の境界が「1ミリ・シーベルト」と受け止められている。

The Fukushima prefectural government considers the strict decontamination goal as an impediment to encouraging residents to return to their homes, and has asked the central government to set a new target. The government should quickly start considering this request.
 福島県も避難住民の帰還の障害になっているとして、政府に新たな目標設定を求めている。政府は早急に検討を始めるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 3, 2013)
(2013年3月3日01時48分  読売新聞)

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F35部品輸出 一層の3原則緩和も検討せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 4, 2013)
Export of F-35 parts a chance to relax arms export ban
F35部品輸出 一層の3原則緩和も検討せよ(3月3日付・読売社説)

We praise the government's decision regarding the U.S. F-35 stealth fighter jet, as it will not only reinforce the Japan-U.S. alliance but also maintain and grow Japan's foundation for the production and technology of defense equipment.
 日米同盟の強化にも、日本の防衛生産・技術基盤の維持・育成にも役立つと評価できる。

The government decided Friday to exclude Japanese-made parts for the F-35, which will be the next mainstay fighter for the Air Self-Defense Force, from its ban on arms exports. Several countries, including Japan, are working with the United States on production of the F-35.
 政府が、航空自衛隊の次期主力戦闘機F35の日米共同生産に伴う日本企業による部品輸出を、武器輸出3原則の例外として認めることを決めた。

The F-35 is a state-of-the-art fighter jet with stealth capability that makes the plane less detectable by radar.
 F35は、レーダーに捕捉されにくいステルス性が特徴の最新鋭機だ。

The Defense Ministry will introduce a total of 42 F-35s, starting this fiscal year. Three domestic companies will manufacture their bodies, engines and other parts.
防衛省は今年度から計42機を導入する予定で、国内3企業が機体、エンジンなどを製造する。

The introduction of F-35s is extremely important in terms of air defense because the international environment around Japan is deteriorating due to such factors as China's arms buildup and the nuclear threat from North Korea. We expect the government to proceed with their introduction as scheduled.
 中国の軍備増強や北朝鮮の核の脅威など日本の国際環境が悪化する中、防空面でのF35導入は極めて重要だ。着実に進めたい。

===

Boon for defense industry

The participation of Japanese firms in the production of the F-35 will allow them to acquire advanced technology and experience concerning a fighter jet. It will also enable the Japanese firms to maintain and repair the F-35s in Japan to improve their operating rate.
 F35共同生産への日本企業の参画は、最先端の戦闘機技術やノウハウを吸収できるうえ、F35の国内での修理・整備を可能にし、稼働率を高められる。

Furthermore, it will raise the level of the Japanese aircraft industry and enhance defense technology cooperation between Japan and the United States.
日本の航空機産業の高度化や日米防衛技術協力の強化にもつながろう。

This has significant meaning for the Japanese defense industry.
 この意義は大きい。

Next fiscal year's defense budget will see the first increase in 11 years. However, many defense-related companies have already gone bankrupt or withdrawn from the industry due to the decline in defense spending that continued for 10 consecutive years.
来年度の防衛予算は11年ぶりに増えたが、10年連続の減少で、多くの防衛関連企業が倒産・撤退している。

The weakening of the domestic foundation for production and technology of defense equipment may shake the nation's security.
 国内の防衛生産・技術基盤が弱体化することは、日本の安全保障をも揺るがしかねない。

A new logistic system, in which countries concerned mutually supply parts to reduce costs, was adopted for the joint production of the new fighter jet. Under the system, however, Japan-made parts could be transferred to Israel. This has caused concerns regarding compliance with Japan's three principles on arms exports, aimed at "avoiding any possible aggravation of international conflicts.
 F35共同生産では、費用削減のため、関係国が部品を融通し合う新制度を採用している。日本製部品のイスラエルへの輸出も想定され、「国際紛争の助長を回避する」とした武器輸出3原則との整合性が問題視されていた。

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a statement released by the government that the export of Japanese parts is approved on condition that exports are limited to countries that comply with the mission and principles of the U.N. Charter and that the United States administer strict export controls within the logistic system.
 政府が発表した菅官房長官談話は、F35の部品輸出を容認する要件として、輸出先を「国連憲章の目的と原則に従う」国に限定することや、米国による一元的で厳格な輸出管理を挙げた。

For instance, the export of Japanese parts will not be approved to countries under sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council. We think this is a reasonable judgment.
 具体的には、国連安全保障理事会の制裁対象国などへの輸出は認めないという。妥当な判断だ。

===

Japan caught in own trap

The statement avoids using expressions related to an "international conflict," which has various meanings. In addition to an invasive military action, it could also mean a fight against terrorism or self-defense.
 談話は「国際紛争」に関する表現は外した。そもそも「国際紛争」は様々な意味を持つ。侵略的な軍事行動だけでなく、「テロとの戦い」や自衛行動も含まれよう。

With just a few exceptions, Japan has banned arms exports, being caught in its own trap by the ambiguous concept that the nation aims to avoid "any possible aggravation of international conflicts."
 日本は、「国際紛争の助長」を避けるという曖昧な概念で自縄自縛に陥り、一部の例外を除いて、武器輸出を禁止してきた。

This has caused a vicious cycle in which domestically made weapons have become expensive and weighed on the defense budget, thereby delaying the introduction of advanced equipment to the Self-Defense Forces and debilitating the domestic defense industry.
 その結果、国産武器は割高になって防衛予算を圧迫し、自衛隊の最新装備の導入は遅れ、防衛産業も疲弊する悪循環を招いた。

Some members of the government have used the government's approval for the export of F-35 parts to call for a review of the three principles on arms exports.
 政府内では、F35部品輸出の容認を機に、武器輸出3原則全体の見直し論も出ている。

We hope the government will give priority to the question of what is really significant for the safety of Japan, and study further relaxation of the three principles on arms exports, with certain brakes still applied.
 日本の安全にとって何が重要なのか。この点を最優先し、一定の歯止めをかけつつ、3原則の一層の緩和を検討してもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 3, 2013)
(2013年3月3日01時48分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月 3日 (日)

在留邦人保護 アルジェリアの教訓を生かせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 3, 2013)
Heed lessons from Algeria crisis to improve security system
在留邦人保護 アルジェリアの教訓を生かせ(3月2日付・読売社説)

The government should act urgently to take comprehensive measures to better protect Japanese expatriates, as an increasing number of domestic companies are expanding their businesses abroad.
 日系企業の海外進出が増える中、政府は在留邦人の保護をどう強化するのか。包括的な対策を講じることが急務だ。

A government study panel has disclosed its report on the hostage crisis in Algeria, in which many foreigners including 10 Japanese were killed.
 日本人10人ら多数の外国人が犠牲になったアルジェリアの人質事件について、政府の検証委員会が報告書をまとめた。

According to the report, there were no staff fluent in Arabic or Self-Defense Force attaches at the Japanese Embassy in the country at the time of the terrorist attack. After the crisis broke out, the Japanese government suffered from a serious lack of information on the situation, partly because the Algerian government put a tight lid on information distribution.
 それによると、現地の日本大使館には、アラビア語の専門職員も自衛隊制服組の防衛駐在官も配置されていなかった。事件発生後は、アルジェリア政府が情報統制を強めたこともあり、日本政府は深刻な情報不足に陥った。

"Japan did not maintain sufficient cooperative relations with Algerian organizations," the report says. "Such relationships must be strengthened."
The Foreign Ministry should seriously consider the report's findings.
 「アルジェリアの機関などとの協力関係は必ずしも十分とはいえず、関係を強化する必要がある」との指摘を外務省は重く受け止めねばならない。

===

Better intelligence gathering

The intelligence gathering system used by diplomatic missions abroad must be enhanced to detect early signs of terrorist attacks and help facilitate appropriate action should such events occur.
 テロの兆候を察知したり、事件発生後に的確な対応をとったりするには、在外公館の情報収集体制の強化を急ぐ必要がある。

Regarding the government's reaction to a crisis, the report says all information should be consolidated and shared at the Prime Minister's Office. It also stresses that the commanding role of the office must be reinforced and the government needs to work as a cohesive unit in crisis situations. We expect the government to discuss these recommendations immediately.
 政府の対応に関し、報告書は、首相官邸に一元的に情報を集約し、共有すべきだとして、「官邸の司令塔機能の強化」と「政府が一丸となって対処すること」の必要性を強調している。ただちに検討を進めてもらいたい。

The report also says a revision of the Self-Defense Forces Law should be considered to allow SDF members to transport Japanese involved in a crisis abroad by land. Under the current law, the SDF can only transport citizens on its ships and planes in foreign countries.
 報告書は、海外で危険に陥った日本人を自衛隊が陸上輸送できるよう自衛隊法改正の検討も求めている。現在は自衛艦と航空機による外国での邦人輸送は可能だが、陸上輸送はできないからだ。

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner New Komeito will request that the government consider a bill to amend the law. It is important to make legal revisions in times of peace, to prepare for an array of emergency situations.
 自民、公明両党は、政府に対し、法改正案の検討を求める考えだ。様々な緊急事態を想定して、平時から法整備を進めておくことが大切だろう。

===

Public, private sector ties key

Strengthened cooperation between the government and the private sector is also essential to secure the safety of Japanese expatriates.
 在留邦人の安全を確保するには、政府と民間との連携を強化することも欠かせない。

The effects of the Arab Spring and other incidents are fomenting political unrest and social disruption in North and West African countries. This gives Japanese companies operating in those countries a major cause for concern. It is a matter of course that many firms ask the Foreign Ministry to provide information on the countries in which they operate, such as details on the political environment and security provisions.
 「アラブの春」の余波などにより、北・西アフリカ各国で政情不安や社会の混乱が広がっている。現地の日系企業にとって大きな懸念材料だ。多くの企業が外務省に政治情勢や治安などの情報提供を求めているのは当然だろう。

The ministry says it already distributes information on potential risks to Japanese expatriates through various means such as e-mails sent to registered addresses. However, the Foreign Ministry should more seriously reflect on what information would be most beneficial to citizens abroad.
 現在も、在留邦人のメール登録などによって危険情報を提供しているというが、現地で本当に必要な情報は何なのか、外務省はもっと考えてもらいたい。

Based on the report, the government has formed a panel of experts including company officials. The body is charged with discussing how the government and the private sector can best cooperate and how to minimize the number of Japanese nationals falling victim to terrorist acts abroad in the future.
 政府は今回の報告書を踏まえ、企業関係者らによる有識者懇談会をスタートさせた。企業と政府がどう連携し、将来の犠牲を最小限にするかを議論する。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet, which has acknowledged security management as a priority issue, should not neglect the lessons learned from the hostage crisis in Algeria. The Prime Minister's Office should take the lead in improving the nation's security management system.
 危機管理を最重要課題の一つに掲げる安倍内閣は、事件の教訓をおろそかにしてはならない。首相官邸主導で、危機管理体制の整備を進めていくべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 2, 2013)
(2013年3月2日01時04分  読売新聞)

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中国とインド洋 影響力増大は地域の軍拡招く

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 3, 2013)
China's maritime strategy causing regional arms race
中国とインド洋 影響力増大は地域の軍拡招く(3月2日付・読売社説)

A recent move by China clearly signals that the incoming administration of Xi Jinping seeks to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean as part of its aim to become a maritime giant with massive naval strength.
 強大な海軍力を背景に「海洋強国」実現を目指す中国の習近平政権が、インド洋でも影響力の増大を図る姿勢を鮮明にしたと言えよう。

A state-run Chinese company has taken over the management of Gwadar Port in western Pakistan from a Singaporean firm. The port was built with Chinese government aid.
 中国の支援で建設されたパキスタン西部のグワダル港の運営権が、シンガポール系企業から中国の国有企業に移った。

Situated on the Arabian Sea in the northwestern Indian Ocean, the port is a strategic point near the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil shipping lane from the Middle East to Asia.
 インド洋北西部のアラビア海に面したグワダル港は、中東からアジアへの石油輸送の要所ホルムズ海峡に近い戦略的要衝である。

In addition to seeking more control of the East and South China seas to develop marine resources, China is stepping up efforts to secure maritime interests such as Northern Sea Routes and sea lanes to the Middle East and Africa.
 中国は資源開発を念頭に東シナ海や南シナ海で「管轄」海域を拡大しようとする一方、北極海航路や中東、アフリカとの海上交通路(シーレーン)といった海洋権益の確保に躍起になっている。

The Chinese government has claimed that acquiring the management rights to Gwadar Port is part of its policy of economic cooperation. However, the company involved in the acquisition is a state-backed corporation--one that plays a role in implementing the country's national strategies.
 中国政府は、港の運営権取得は経済協力の一環だと言う。だが、運営に携わるのは国家戦略の一翼を担う中国の国有企業だ。

Concerns that China may eventually use the port for military purposes cannot be dispelled.
将来的な軍港化への懸念は拭えない。

===

Worries over 'String of Pearls'

In addition to Gwadar, China has helped develop ports in other countries on the Indian Ocean, such as in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A map of ports with Chinese involvement now looks like a necklace encircling India.
 中国はグワダル港をはじめ、バングラデシュやスリランカなどインド洋沿岸国で港湾整備を支援してきた。各港湾を結ぶとインドを囲む首飾りのように見える。

Calling the ports a "String of Pearls," the United States is keeping its eye on this and other attempts by China to increase its geopolitical influence.
 米国はこれを、海軍の外洋展開へ布石を打つ中国の「真珠の首飾り」戦略とみて注視している。

We believe India has reason to be concerned over Beijing's control of Gwadar Port.
 インドが中国のグワダル港運営に警戒を示したのは当然だ。

One alarming thing about China's desire to become a maritime power is that it has intensified the arms race in the region.
 問題は、中国の海洋強国化が地域の軍拡競争を煽(あお)る新たな要因となっていることにある。

Recently, India increased efforts to counter China's military buildup, such as by developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and purchasing foreign-made fighter jets. However, these moves could also prompt action from Pakistan, which has an ongoing border dispute with India.
 インドは最近、核弾頭搭載可能な潜水艦発射弾道ミサイルの開発や外国製戦闘機の購入を進めるなど、中国の軍備増強に対抗する動きを本格化させている。それが、対印国境で緊張が続くパキスタンの対抗措置を招く恐れもある。

In the East China Sea, a Chinese naval vessel locked its fire-control radar on a Maritime Self-Defense Force ship earlier this year. The Chinese Navy's attitude has become increasingly provocative.
 東シナ海では中国海軍による海上自衛隊艦艇へのレーダー照射事件も起きた。中国海軍の高圧姿勢が際立っている。

===

Cooperation with India is key

To deal with the regional instability caused by China's actions, Japan and the United States need to work together with India.
 地域を不安定化させる中国の動きに対処するため、日本は米国やインドと連携する必要がある。

In late January, Japan and India held their first-ever talks on maritime affairs. During the talks, the two countries agreed on the importance of ensuring freedom of the seas based on international law, as the seas are significantly important for the good of international society. We urge the two nations to deepen cooperation in many areas, including shipbuilding and port development.
 日印両国は1月末に海洋に関する初の対話を行い、「海洋が国際社会にとって極めて重要な公共財で、国際法に基づく自由を確保していくことが重要だ」との認識で一致した。造船や港湾整備など多方面で協力を深めるべきだ。

A safe Indian Ocean is also essential to Japan's economic growth.
 インド洋の安全確保は、日本の経済発展にも欠かせない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 2, 2013)
(2013年3月2日01時04分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月 2日 (土)

施政方針演説 政権交代の果実を具体化せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 2, 2013)
Use transfer of power to achieve specific results
施政方針演説 政権交代の果実を具体化せよ(3月1日付・読売社説)

"The close alliance between Japan and the United States has now been perfectly revived," and "Let's begin in-depth discussions toward revising the Constitution."
 「緊密な日米同盟は完全に復活」「憲法改正へ向けた議論を深めよう」

These remarks from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policy speech to the Diet on Thursday were especially conspicuous, as they marked changes in Japan's key policies following the transfer of power late last year.
 安倍首相の施政方針演説には政権交代を印象づける言葉が目立った。

We appreciate the prime minister's fundamental stance to seek a "strong Japan" centering around the keyword of the nation's "self-reliance."
 「自立」をキーワードに「強い日本」を目指す、という基本姿勢は、前向きに評価したい。

With such countries as China apparently in mind, Abe spoke about the integrity of Japan's land, territorial waters and airspace, as well as the challenges being made to its sovereignty, during the key policy speech.
Abe mentioned his plan to increase Japan's defense spending for the first time in 11 years, while launching full-fledged discussions on creating an organ similar to the U.S. National Security Council. It is of truly high importance for the government to steadily put these ideas into practice.
 首相は、中国などを念頭に、日本の領土・領海・領空と主権に対する挑発が続いていると指摘し、11年ぶりの防衛費増額や国家安全保障会議(日本版NSC)の設置検討に言及した。着実に具体化していくことが重要だ。

China has defined 2013 as the first year of its becoming a naval power, and is augmenting its maritime capabilities.
 中国は今年を海洋強国化元年と位置づけ、海軍を増強している。

The Japanese government must appeal strongly to the international community for the need to solve international problems not through the use of force but on the basis of law.
政府は、力の行使ではなく、法に基づく問題解決の重要性を国際社会に強く訴えねばならない。

===

Many urgent tasks await

The prime minister referred in the speech to his recent summit meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, vowing that Japan will play additional roles to help beef up bilateral security arrangements.
 首相は日米首脳会談に触れ、安全保障体制の強化のために日本が更なる役割を果たすと語った。

The nation must urgently solve such pending issues as asserting its entitlement to exercise the right to collective self-defense and relocating the functions of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture.
集団的自衛権の行使や米軍普天間飛行場の移設など、懸案事項に道筋をつけることが欠かせない。

Regarding the politically sensitive issue of whether Japan should participate in the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, Abe explained in the speech that the multilateral negotiations will not be held "on the premise of abolishing tariffs without exception."
He indicated the government's willingness to take part in the TPP talks, saying a final judgment on whether to participate "will be made on the government's responsibility."
 米国主導の環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉の参加問題では「聖域なき関税撤廃」が前提ではないことをオバマ米大統領と確認したと説明した。「政府の責任で交渉参加について判断する」と述べ、参加に意欲を示した。

Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers backed by farming organizations and other groups that oppose Japan's participation in the TPP negotiations have begun to shed their wariness at joining the talks on the condition that Japan secure a guarantee through international negotiations that certain trade items will be excluded from the planned abolition of tariffs.
 農業団体などの支援を受けた自民党内のTPP慎重派も、参加を容認し、国際交渉を通じてコメなど例外品目を勝ち取る戦術に転換してきている。

Therefore it can safely be said that the environment is right for the prime minister to officially announce Japan's intention to participate in the TPP talks.
首相の参加表明の環境は、整いつつある。

Japan does not have sufficient time to be involved in crafting the guidelines governing free trade rules in the TPP talks. The government should proceed swiftly with procedures for taking part in the talks to protect Japan's national interests.
 自由貿易のルール作りに日本が関与できる時間はあまり残されていない。速やかに参加の手続きを進めて、国益を確保すべきだ。

In the policy speech, Abe also stressed that the government will do its utmost to make Japan the world's best country for business.
 首相は、「世界で一番企業が活躍しやすい国」を目指すと強調した。

===

Moves for partial coalition

He stated his government will formulate a responsible energy policy, and expressed his resolve to restart nuclear reactors if their safety is ensured. But simply making such a statement is hardly enough.
責任あるエネルギー政策を構築し、「安全が確認された原発は再稼働する」と述べたが、これだけでは物足りない。

Screenings for the reactivation of reactors will not come before July, when the Nuclear Regulation Authority is scheduled to decide on a set of new safety standards. Given this, there will not be satisfactory progress in restarting reactors unless the NRA conducts the screenings in a highly efficient manner. The stable supply of energy and reductions in its cost could be jeopardized.
 原発再稼働の審査は、原子力規制委員会が新安全基準を決定する7月以降になる。よほど効率的に審査しないと再稼働は進むまい。エネルギーの安定供給とコスト低減がおぼつかなくなる。

The prime minister must fully exercise his leadership to achieve the earliest possible restart of reactors.
 首相は率先して再稼働へ指導力を発揮しなければならない。

At the end of his speech, Abe called for the opposition to engage in constructive discussion to produce good results, instead of engaging in partisan bickering with the ruling coalition.
 最後に首相は、与党と足の引っ張り合いをするのではなく、建設的な議論を行い、結果を出そうと野党に呼び掛けた。

His call for expediting interparty talks to review the electoral system and discussions by the panels of both Diet houses on the study of constitutional revisions can also be considered appropriate.
選挙制度の見直しや憲法審査会の論議促進を求めたのも妥当な認識と言える。

Despite the divided Diet, in which the opposition controls the House of Councillors while the ruling camp has a majority in the House of Representatives, a partial coalition is gaining momentum as exemplified by the passage of a supplementary budget through the upper house.
 衆参ねじれ国会でも補正予算が参院で可決、成立するなど部分連合の機運が高まっている。

We strongly hope to see the ruling and opposition blocs work together to form a consensus on key issues.
与野党の合意形成に期待する。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 1, 2013)
(2013年3月1日01時32分  読売新聞)

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教育再生提言 いじめの抑止につなげたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 2, 2013)
Proposals by Abe's education panel must be 1st step to deter bullying
教育再生提言 いじめの抑止につなげたい(3月1日付・読売社説)

The Education Rebuilding Implementation Council, working directly under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has compiled its first set of proposals. It calls for legislation of antibullying measures and strict enforcement of the prohibition on corporal punishment.
 安倍首相直属の教育再生実行会議が、いじめ対策の法制化や体罰禁止の徹底などを求める第1次提言をまとめた。

 We hope the government, based on the proposals, will work hard to realize effective measures, cooperating closely with local governments and schools to make necessary arrangements there.
政府は提言を踏まえ、自治体や学校における体制整備や実効性のある対策の実現に取り組んでもらいたい。

What we would like to especially focus on is the panel's proposal to establish a third-party organization to uncover and investigate bullying cases.
 注目したいのは、いじめの発見や調査を行う第三者組織の設置を提案した点だ。

In the case of a middle school student in Otsu who committed suicide in the autumn of 2011, the school noticed signs of bullying, but did not give appropriate instruction to the students involved. Even after the suicide, the city's board of education merely went through the motions of investigating its cause.
 大津市の中学生が一昨年秋に自殺した事件では、学校がいじめの兆候をキャッチしながら適切な指導をせず、教育委員会による自殺の原因調査もなおざりだった。

===

3rd-party organ may be effective

Because schools and boards of education have failed to deal appropriately with bullying cases, it would surely be effective to establish a third-party organization at each local government, comprising lawyers and state-certified clinical psychotherapists, to accept complaints from children and their parents. We expect such panels would seek solutions from the viewpoints of outsiders.
 学校や教委が機能しないケースが多いことを考えれば、自治体単位で弁護士や臨床心理士らで構成する第三者組織を設け、子供や保護者から相談を受け付けるのは有効だろう。外部の視点で解決策を探ることが期待できる。

We also think the government panel was right to call for measures to detect sudden changes in children's attitudes and behaviors by, for instance, appointing counselors at schools.
 学校にスクールカウンセラーの配置を進め、子供の異変に気付く体制を整えるべきだとする指摘も妥当である。

The proposals emphasize active utilization of a system to suspend students who bully others, and stressed the necessity of cooperating with police.
 提言は、加害生徒に対する出席停止措置の活用や、警察との連携の必要性も強調している。

In handling bullying cases, the first necessary step is persistent instruction by teachers to students who have bullied others. However, if the bullying continues after all possible efforts, schools and teachers must take resolute measures to protect the bullied students.
 いじめへの対応では、まず、教師による加害生徒への粘り強い指導が必要だ。だが、あらゆる手立てを尽くしてもいじめがやまなければ、被害生徒を守るために毅然(きぜん)とした対応をとるのは当然だ。

Especially when schools become aware of criminal acts committed by students--such as assault or extortion--they should not hesitate to report them to police. It is important for schools and police to build relationships of mutual trust on a routine basis.
 特に、暴力や金品のたかりなど法律に抵触する行為が確認された場合には、警察への通報をためらってはなるまい。普段から学校と警察が信頼関係を構築していくことが重要である。

Another of the proposals is to upgrade moral education to an independent subject. Making moral lessons a school subject was proposed in 2007 by the Education Rebuilding Council that was established by Abe during his first Cabinet. The proposal was not realized for reasons including the idea that morality is not a subject amenable to being rated with ordinary school grades.
 提言には、道徳を教科に格上げすることも盛り込まれた。道徳の教科化は、第1次安倍内閣時の教育再生会議が2007年に提案したが、成績評価の対象になじまないなどの理由で見送られた。

===

Importance of moral education

As moral education is not a regular school subject, it has no authorized textbooks. Many teachers actually teaching moral education say they have not been able to find effective ways to instruct students in class.
 現在は正規の教科となっていないため、教科書はない。効果的な指導法がわからないといった声も現場の教師から出ている。

By making it into a regular school subject, the government must improve moral education through the development of teaching materials and the accumulation of studies on teaching methods. Nurturing students' natural human inclination to be considerate of other people's feelings through moral education will help prevent bullying.
 教科化を通じて、教材の開発や指導法の研究を重ね、道徳教育の充実を図るべきだ。道徳の授業で相手の気持ちを思いやる人間性を育むことは、いじめの未然防止に役立つだろう。

Meanwhile, the proposals demand that the central government compile instruction guidelines for club activities at schools as part of measures to eradicate physical punishments.
 一方、体罰根絶に向けた対策として、提言は部活動の指導指針を作成するよう国に求めている。

Quite a few teachers and sports coaches have misunderstood violence against children as part of strict instruction. Stating concrete definitions of corporal punishment and giving examples of such actions should be part of the government's necessary efforts to establish at places of education an awareness that violent acts should not be allowed for any reason.
 子供への暴力を厳しい指導の一環と誤解してきた指導者は少なくない。体罰の定義と行為を具体的に示し、いかなる場合でも暴力は許されないとの意識を教育現場に浸透させていく必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 1, 2013)
(2013年3月1日01時32分  読売新聞)

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教育再生提言 いじめの抑止につなげたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 2, 2013)
Proposals by Abe's education panel must be 1st step to deter bullying
教育再生提言 いじめの抑止につなげたい(3月1日付・読売社説)

The Education Rebuilding Implementation Council, working directly under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has compiled its first set of proposals. It calls for legislation of antibullying measures and strict enforcement of the prohibition on corporal punishment.
 安倍首相直属の教育再生実行会議が、いじめ対策の法制化や体罰禁止の徹底などを求める第1次提言をまとめた。

 We hope the government, based on the proposals, will work hard to realize effective measures, cooperating closely with local governments and schools to make necessary arrangements there.
政府は提言を踏まえ、自治体や学校における体制整備や実効性のある対策の実現に取り組んでもらいたい。

What we would like to especially focus on is the panel's proposal to establish a third-party organization to uncover and investigate bullying cases.
 注目したいのは、いじめの発見や調査を行う第三者組織の設置を提案した点だ。

In the case of a middle school student in Otsu who committed suicide in the autumn of 2011, the school noticed signs of bullying, but did not give appropriate instruction to the students involved. Even after the suicide, the city's board of education merely went through the motions of investigating its cause.
 大津市の中学生が一昨年秋に自殺した事件では、学校がいじめの兆候をキャッチしながら適切な指導をせず、教育委員会による自殺の原因調査もなおざりだった。

===

3rd-party organ may be effective

Because schools and boards of education have failed to deal appropriately with bullying cases, it would surely be effective to establish a third-party organization at each local government, comprising lawyers and state-certified clinical psychotherapists, to accept complaints from children and their parents. We expect such panels would seek solutions from the viewpoints of outsiders.
 学校や教委が機能しないケースが多いことを考えれば、自治体単位で弁護士や臨床心理士らで構成する第三者組織を設け、子供や保護者から相談を受け付けるのは有効だろう。外部の視点で解決策を探ることが期待できる。

We also think the government panel was right to call for measures to detect sudden changes in children's attitudes and behaviors by, for instance, appointing counselors at schools.
 学校にスクールカウンセラーの配置を進め、子供の異変に気付く体制を整えるべきだとする指摘も妥当である。

The proposals emphasize active utilization of a system to suspend students who bully others, and stressed the necessity of cooperating with police.
 提言は、加害生徒に対する出席停止措置の活用や、警察との連携の必要性も強調している。

In handling bullying cases, the first necessary step is persistent instruction by teachers to students who have bullied others. However, if the bullying continues after all possible efforts, schools and teachers must take resolute measures to protect the bullied students.
 いじめへの対応では、まず、教師による加害生徒への粘り強い指導が必要だ。だが、あらゆる手立てを尽くしてもいじめがやまなければ、被害生徒を守るために毅然(きぜん)とした対応をとるのは当然だ。

Especially when schools become aware of criminal acts committed by students--such as assault or extortion--they should not hesitate to report them to police. It is important for schools and police to build relationships of mutual trust on a routine basis.
 特に、暴力や金品のたかりなど法律に抵触する行為が確認された場合には、警察への通報をためらってはなるまい。普段から学校と警察が信頼関係を構築していくことが重要である。

Another of the proposals is to upgrade moral education to an independent subject. Making moral lessons a school subject was proposed in 2007 by the Education Rebuilding Council that was established by Abe during his first Cabinet. The proposal was not realized for reasons including the idea that morality is not a subject amenable to being rated with ordinary school grades.
 提言には、道徳を教科に格上げすることも盛り込まれた。道徳の教科化は、第1次安倍内閣時の教育再生会議が2007年に提案したが、成績評価の対象になじまないなどの理由で見送られた。

===

Importance of moral education

As moral education is not a regular school subject, it has no authorized textbooks. Many teachers actually teaching moral education say they have not been able to find effective ways to instruct students in class.
 現在は正規の教科となっていないため、教科書はない。効果的な指導法がわからないといった声も現場の教師から出ている。

By making it into a regular school subject, the government must improve moral education through the development of teaching materials and the accumulation of studies on teaching methods. Nurturing students' natural human inclination to be considerate of other people's feelings through moral education will help prevent bullying.
 教科化を通じて、教材の開発や指導法の研究を重ね、道徳教育の充実を図るべきだ。道徳の授業で相手の気持ちを思いやる人間性を育むことは、いじめの未然防止に役立つだろう。

Meanwhile, the proposals demand that the central government compile instruction guidelines for club activities at schools as part of measures to eradicate physical punishments.
 一方、体罰根絶に向けた対策として、提言は部活動の指導指針を作成するよう国に求めている。

Quite a few teachers and sports coaches have misunderstood violence against children as part of strict instruction. Stating concrete definitions of corporal punishment and giving examples of such actions should be part of the government's necessary efforts to establish at places of education an awareness that violent acts should not be allowed for any reason.
 子供への暴力を厳しい指導の一環と誤解してきた指導者は少なくない。体罰の定義と行為を具体的に示し、いかなる場合でも暴力は許されないとの意識を教育現場に浸透させていく必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 1, 2013)
(2013年3月1日01時32分  読売新聞)

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2013年3月 1日 (金)

原発政策提言 規制委の独善に注文がついた

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 1, 2013)
Nuclear Regulation Authority should heed its critics
原発政策提言 規制委の独善に注文がついた(2月28日付・読売社説)

A panel on energy and nuclear policies, mainly comprising experts from the private sector, recently submitted an emergency proposal to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
 民間の有識者らで作るエネルギー・原子力政策懇談会(会長・有馬朗人元文相)が安倍首相に緊急提言書を提出した。

In the proposal, the panel urged the government to restart idled nuclear power plants once their safety is confirmed and draw up a new, responsible nuclear policy. The panel, chaired by former education minister Akito Arima, pressed the government to "avoid turning its back on nuclear power and tackle the issue squarely."
We believe the panel's proposal is reasonable.
 政府に対し、安全が確認された原子力発電所を再稼働させ、責任ある原子力政策の再構築を求めた。「原子力から逃げず、正面から向き合う」よう注文もしている。妥当な内容である。

Due to the prolonged suspension of nuclear power plants, the nation has become more dependent on thermal power generation, which has led to a surge in imports of liquefied natural gas used as fuel for thermal power generators. In light of the resultant rise in costs, electric companies have accelerated moves to raise their rates, which will likely have a huge impact on industries and people's daily lives.
 原子力発電所の長期停止で、代替の火力発電用燃料の輸入が急増している。コスト高で電気料金値上げの動きが広がり、産業や国民生活への影響は甚大だ。

Abe has pledged to fundamentally review the zero nuclear policy touted by previous administrations led by the Democratic Party of Japan. We ask the prime minister to take the proposals into account and speed up discussions on working out a new energy policy.
 首相は「原発ゼロ政策」の全面見直しを表明している。提言を踏まえ、新たなエネルギー政策の議論を急いでもらいたい。

===

Fukushima basis of N-policy

The emergency proposal made three suggestions to the government: Rebuild damaged areas of Fukushima Prefecture, implement safety regulations for nuclear power based on global standards, and establish a proper energy policy.
 提言は、福島の再生と国際標準の安全規制、適切なエネルギー政策の確立の3点を求めた。

About 160,000 people have been forced to evacuate from their homes due to the nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. It was sensible for the panel to put its top priority on rebuilding the affected areas, stressing that this should be the foundation of the government's energy and nuclear policies.
 東京電力福島第一原発事故で約16万人が避難を余儀なくされている。提言が福島再生を「エネルギー・原子力政策の出発点」と最重視したのはもっともである。

The panel also asked the government to build an international institute in Fukushima Prefecture tasked with developing technology and fostering international cooperation on decommissioning nuclear reactors. We believe the government should promptly take action to make this idea a reality.
 廃炉の技術開発と国際協力の拠点として、「国際研究開発センター」を福島県に設立することも提案した。具体化を急ぐべきだ。

It is noteworthy that the panel decided to criticize the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), which is tasked with implementing nuclear safety measures, in its emergency proposal. "There are various concerns" about the authority, the panel said.
 注目すべきは、提言が、原発の安全を担う原子力規制委員会について「さまざまな懸念がある」と苦言を呈したことだ。

"[The NRA] is pursuing a goal of reducing the risks [of operating nuclear power plants] to zero, which is impossible to achieve," the report said.
It also said the agency has not yet achieved its goal of becoming a forum for an examination of nuclear safety that takes full advantage of the wisdom of the nation's top experts and uses the maximum amount of information.
 「リスクゼロという不可能な命題を目指している」「わが国最高水準の叡智(えいち)と現在得られる最大限の情報を活用した検討が実現していない」と批判している。

===

NRA becoming self-righteous

We agree that there are many problems with the management of the authority.
確かに規制委の運営には問題が多い。

The authority is now working on drawing up new safety standards on nuclear power plants and studying whether nuclear power plants have active faults beneath them. However, it has excluded experts who were involved in nuclear regulation before the Fukushima crisis from its activities.
 規制委は今、新安全基準作りや敷地内の活断層調査に取り組んでいるが、過去の原子力規制にかかわった専門家は排除している。

When the authority conducted a study on faults running under Japan Atomic Power Co.'s Tsuruga power plant in Fukui Prefecture, it concluded that a crush zone underneath the power plant's reactor is an active fault at a meeting of experts chosen in a biased manner. The authority did not even give Japan Atomic Power a chance to refute the NRA's findings. It is reasonable for the panel to urge the authority to "exchange opinions with [nuclear power plant] operators in an open manner."
 日本原子力発電敦賀原発の活断層調査でも、偏った人選の専門家会合で、活断層と認定する結論をまとめた。日本原電側に反論さえ許さなかった。提言が「事業者とオープンに意見交換すべきだ」と指摘したのは当然である。

Kunihiko Shimazaki, acting NRA chairman, said he plans to ask experts recommended by related academic societies to examine the authority's assessments of the faults under nuclear power plants. However, we believe its examinations will remain problematic unless the authority stops excluding experts who have opinions differing from those of the authority.
 島崎邦彦委員長代理は、活断層認定について、関係学会推薦の専門家にも検証させる方針だが、意見の異なる専門家を排除したままで検証を行うのは問題だ。

The emergency proposal also asked the authority to clarify the rules and timetable on restarting idled nuclear power plants.
 さらに、提言は、規制委に「原発再稼働のルールとスケジュールを明確にすべきだ」と求めた。

NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said when deciding on the restart of nuclear power plants, the authority will not take the costs to power companies into account. However, we believe it is impossible to conduct nuclear regulation without considering the efficiency and economic performance of nuclear power plants.
 田中俊一委員長は「(再稼働の遅れによる)電力会社のコスト増は考慮しない」と繰り返している。だが、効率性、経済性を無視した原子力規制はあり得ない。

The regulation authority's political independence is guaranteed, but that does not mean it should become self-righteous.
 規制委は政治的に独立しているが、独善に陥ってはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 28, 2013)
(2013年2月28日02時04分  読売新聞)

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ハーグ条約 子供の利益守る制度を築け

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 1, 2013)
Establish systems to protect children under Hague treaty
ハーグ条約 子供の利益守る制度を築け(2月28日付・読売社説)

The government must establish proper legal and support systems to protect the interests of children involved in custody battles as a result of failed international marriages.
 子供の利益が損なわれないよう、政府は適切な法制度と支援体制の整備に努める必要がある。

When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with U.S. President Barack Obama during his recent visit to the United States, Abe promised that Japan would soon join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which establishes rules regarding international child custody disputes.
 安倍首相は、国際結婚の破綻に伴う子供の連れ去りに対応する「ハーグ条約」への早期加盟を、日米首脳会談でオバマ大統領に約束した。

The convention is now regarded as international law with 89 signatories, including the United States and many European countries. Japan, the only Group of Eight nation that has not joined the convention, should step up its efforts to sign onto it.
 この条約には、欧米を中心に89か国が参加しており、国際ルールとして定着しつつある。主要8か国(G8)で唯一未加盟の日本も締結を急がねばならない。

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, New Komeito, have agreed to submit a bill seeking Diet approval for Japan to join the treaty and a related bill. The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan advocated joining the convention while it was in power. We hope the ruling and opposition camps will work hard to achieve Diet approval and pass the related bill by the end of the current ordinary Diet session.
 自民、公明両党は、条約の承認案と関連する国内法案の国会提出を了承した。民主党も与党時代、加盟を推進する立場だった。与野党は今国会中の承認・成立に努力してもらいたい。

The convention stipulates, in principle, that if one parent takes a child under 16 years old out of the child's country of habitual residence without the other parent's permission, the child should be returned to the country upon the latter parent's request.
 条約は、16歳未満の子供が片方の親に連れ去られた場合、もう一方の親が返還を求めれば元の国に戻すことを原則としている。

===

Bill addresses threat of violence

The related bill covers matters from domestic judiciary proceedings for issuing orders to return children in custody disputes to the country of their habitual residence, to the role of the Foreign Ministry, which will be in charge of the convention.
 関連法案は、子供の返還を命令するための国内の裁判手続きや、条約を所管する外務省の役割などについて定めるものだ。

A main point in Diet deliberations will be the conditions under which a parent can refuse to return a child.
 国会審議の焦点は、子供の返還を拒否できる条件である。

The bill proposes that a child should not be returned if the petitioner might commit violence against his or her former spouse, the child or people close to them. This condition has been included in consideration for those who are cautious regarding participation in the Hague Convention out of concern that a Japanese parent and their child could be exposed to domestic violence by the other parent when they return to the country of the child's habitual residence.
 法案は、返還の申立人が子供や元配偶者らに暴力を振るう恐れがある場合などと明記する。元の国に戻った親や子供が家庭内暴力(DV)にさらされるとして加盟慎重論があることに配慮した。

However, it is not easy for Japanese parents to prove they have been abused by their spouses or former spouses while living in the country of original residence. We hope Diet members will hold extensive discussions on whether this is an adequate precaution.
 だが、元の国でのDV被害を立証するのは容易ではない。この条件で十分なのかどうか、審議を尽くしてもらいたい。

In the United States and European countries, a parent can be prosecuted as a kidnapper for taking a child out of the country of the child's habitual residence without the other parent's permission. The parent could be arrested when he or she returns to the country with the child. How lawmakers will take these facts into consideration also will be a key matter for Diet deliberations.
 欧米では、子供を連れ去った親を「誘拐犯」として訴追する場合がある。子供を連れて戻れば逮捕されかねない。こうした事情をどう判断するかも重要である。

===

Authorities have limited experience

The bill puts the Tokyo and Osaka family courts in charge of petitions for the return of children in international custody disputes--a measure apparently aimed to make it easier for judicial authorities to accumulate expertise by limiting the number of courts handling such cases because only dozens are expected to be filed a year.
 法案は、担当裁判所を東京と大阪の両家庭裁判所に限定する。返還の申し立ては年数十件程度と見られており、裁判所を絞ることで審理のノウハウが集積しやすくなると判断したのだろう。

Even if parents live outside Tokyo or Osaka, the bill allows them to attend hearings via telephone calls or videoconference from courts near where they live. It is noteworthy that the bill tries to reduce the burden on those living far from the urban areas.
 東京、大阪でなくても近くの裁判所から電話やテレビ会議での審理参加も認めるという。遠隔地に住む人の負担を抑えようという方針は評価したい。

When Japan joins the Hague Convention, some Japanese parents and their children will be involved in trials over custody in the children's country of habitual residence. Diplomatic missions abroad should help these Japanese nationals, for example, by introducing them to local lawyers or support groups.
 日本が条約に加盟すれば、返還命令を受けた日本人の親子が、元の国に戻って親権を巡る裁判に臨むケースも出てくる。在外公館は邦人支援の一環として、現地の弁護士や支援団体を紹介するなどの措置を取ることが望ましい。

The treaty will also be applied to children taken away by non-Japanese spouses. The Foreign Ministry should establish a system to support Japanese who seek the return of their children from other countries.
 一方、日本から海外に連れ去られる子供についても、条約は適用される。外務省は、子供の返還を求める日本人に対する支援体制を整えるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 28, 2013)
(2013年2月28日01時45分  読売新聞)

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