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2014年4月19日 (土)

日韓局長協議―関係改善の足がかりに

April 18, 2014
EDITORIAL: New Tokyo-Seoul talks should lead to serious efforts to mend ties
日韓局長協議―関係改善の足がかりに

Senior diplomats of Japan and South Korea held talks in Seoul on April 16 in a fresh effort to settle the thorny issue of “comfort women.”
 従軍慰安婦問題をめぐり、日本と韓国の外務省の局長がソウルで話し合った。

Since there are wide and deep disagreements on the issue, the bureau chiefs of foreign ministries of the two countries could do little but confirm the basic positions of their respective governments. They reportedly agreed to hold another meeting in Tokyo next month.
 互いの主張には隔たりがあり、今回は基本的な立場の確認にとどまった。次回は来月に東京で開くという。

There will be many twists and turns in the process of working out an agreement. But we welcome the fact that the administrations of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye have started direct talks to repair the soured ties.
 解決への道のりは曲折も予想されるが、安倍政権と朴槿恵(パククネ)政権のもとで直接協議が始まったことを歓迎したい。

The two governments have both recognized the need to tackle this issue. This is at least a starting point for efforts to change the situation. Tokyo and Seoul should take advantage of the window of opportunity opened by the talks to lay a solid foundation for improving the overall relations between them.
 この問題を放置できないとの認識を両政権が確認し合った。少なくとも、そこが出発点だ。両政府は、この協議をきっかけに、総合的な関係改善の足がかりを築いてほしい。

What opened the door to the new bilateral talks was a meeting between Abe, Park and U.S. President Barack Obama last month in the Netherlands. Obama brokered the summit, which brought Abe and Park together for their first face-to-face meeting since they took office more than a year earlier.
 今回の協議の伏線は、先月、オランダで開かれた日米韓首脳会談にあった。オバマ米大統領が仲介し、就任から1年以上実現していなかった日韓両首脳の直接対話ができた。

The latest talks between the director-generals of the concerned ministry bureaus of Japan and South Korea had been arranged as part of the deal for this three-way summit.
 この首脳会談と、いわばパッケージの形で進められてきたのが今回の局長級協議である。

Arranging the talks, however, was by no means easy. South Korea demanded that the talks be focused on the issue of comfort women, while Japan insisted on discussing other important issues between the two nations as well. They include the territorial dispute over the Takeshima islets in the Sea of Japan and policy responses to North Korea’s missile and nuclear arms programs.
 調整は難航した。韓国側は慰安婦問題にしぼった話し合いを求めた一方、日本側は竹島問題や対北朝鮮政策なども協議すべきだと主張した。

Still, the two sides agreed to hold the meeting because of diplomatic pressure coming from Obama’s scheduled visits to both Japan and South Korea next week. Obama has been urging both countries to patch up their relations.
 開催にこぎつけたのは、日韓の和解を強く求めるオバマ氏が来週、両国を訪れることを双方が意識したためだろう。

As it turned out, the first round of talks focused on the issue of comfort women. But a wide range of issues will be discussed from the second round onward, according to reports.
 結局、初回の協議は慰安婦問題を集中的に話し合ったが、次回以降は幅広いテーマが取り上げられる見込みだという。

The primary bone of contention between Tokyo and Seoul in their row over comfort women is how much “responsibility” Japan as a nation should take for the plight of these women, who were forced to provide sex to wartime Japanese soldiers.
 慰安婦問題で日韓がもっとも対立するのは日本の「責任」をどこまで認めるかだ。

The South Korean government demands that Japan acknowledge its “legal liability” for the suffering of these women. Its position is apparently influenced by the tough stances of citizen organizations supporting former comfort women. But Japan claims that all related legal issues were settled when the two countries restored their diplomatic relationships in 1965.
 韓国政府は、市民団体などの強い主張を背景に「法的責任」の認定を求めるが、日本側は国交正常化の際に「法的には解決済み」と主張する。

Japan and South Korea, however, came close to a political settlement of the dispute in autumn 2012, when both countries were governed by their respective previous administrations. According to an Asahi Shimbun report that quoted people who were involved in that matter in both governments, Japan at the time proposed that the Japanese ambassador to South Korea would offer an apology to former comfort women and that the Japanese government would fund humanitarian assistance programs for the victims.
 ただ、日韓ともに前政権だった一昨年秋に、政治決着の間際までこぎつけたことを、双方の当事者らが証言している。
 日本側は当時、駐韓大使によるおわびや、すべて政府資金による被害者支援を提案した。

The proposed solution failed to materialize because of the dissolution of the Lower House for a snap election in Japan. Now the Park administration wants a similar proposal from Tokyo.
 日本の衆院解散で実現しなかったが、韓国側は朴政権下でも同様の提案を求めてきた。

The Abe administration has recognized that humanitarian relief measures are needed by the victims and has been holding behind-the-scenes negotiations with South Korea.
 安倍政権も人道的な措置の必要性は認め、韓国側と水面下の折衝を続けている。

The Japanese government should take all possible measures to support the victims. The South Korean government, for its part, should do more to build a national consensus on a realistic solution to the issue by talking with citizen groups.
 日本政府は今後も誠意をもって可能な限りの措置を探るべきだ。一方の韓国政府も市民団体との対話を進め、現実的な解決策に対する国内世論のとりまとめに取り組んでほしい。

There are many other pending issues between Japan and South Korea. The leaders of Japan and South Korea should expand channels of dialogue and provide effective leadership to build a truly future-oriented relationship between the two countries.
 日韓の間にはこの問題以外にも多くの懸案が横たわる。両国のトップは、対話のチャンネルを広げ、真の未来志向の日韓関係を切り開く指導力を発揮してもらいたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 18

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