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2014年5月24日 (土)

(社説)厚木基地訴訟 住民に真摯に向き合え

May 23, 2014
EDITORIAL: Plight of residents neighboring military bases deserves more policy attention
(社説)厚木基地訴訟 住民に真摯に向き合え

Military bases for national defense obviously have great public importance. Even so, it is unreasonable to expect residents around those facilities to simply put up with the noise created by jets taking off.
 国の防衛のための基地には、高い公共性がある。だとしても地元の住民はひたすら騒音に耐えろというのでは理不尽だ。

The Yokohama District Court on May 21 ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in civil and administrative lawsuits concerning noise pollution at Atsugi air base in Kanagawa Prefecture.
The suits were filed against the central government by local residents who said they are suffering unbearable levels of noise from the base, which is used by the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Navy.
 米軍と自衛隊が使う厚木基地(神奈川県)の騒音訴訟で、横浜地裁は住民の苦痛の訴えに理解を示す判断を下した。

The ruling not just awarded compensation to the plaintiffs. It also ordered the government to halt flights of SDF aircraft between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The order represents the first court injunction against flights in the history of litigation against base-related noise pollution.
 損害賠償だけではない。自衛隊機は原則として夜間と早朝は飛んではならない。全国の基地騒音訴訟を通じて、初めての飛行差し止めを命じた。

This is the fourth legal action against noise pollution caused by the Atsugi air base. In the first suit, the Supreme Court in 1993 acknowledged that noise levels in areas around the base were above the maximum permissible limit and ruled that compensation should be paid.
 厚木基地ではこれが第4次の訴訟だ。93年の第1次訴訟で最高裁はすでに、騒音が「住民の受忍限度を超える」とし、賠償すべきだとの考えを示した。

But the government stuck to its position that people living near a military base have to put up with noise. It has done nothing except offer some compensation in stopgap measures.
 なのに国は「基地の近くに住む以上、がまんして当然」との考え方を崩さず、その後も応急的な賠償にほぼ終始してきた。

In the latest case, the district court decided that the payment of compensation was not enough. It was an unusually harsh ruling for the SDF.
 今回の命令は、賠償だけでは不十分との判断に踏みこんだ。これほど自衛隊に厳しい審判が出たのは異例のことだ。

In a 1970s civil lawsuit by local residents around Osaka airport, the lower courts ordered the suspension of flights, but the Supreme Court overturned the ruling in 1981. Since then, no civil lawsuit seeking a court injunction to stop flights has been successful.
 民事訴訟での飛行差し止めは、70年代に大阪空港訴訟の下級審で認められたが、81年に最高裁が覆し、その後は各地で退ける判断が定着していた。

In the latest case, the plaintiffs tried to change the situation by using administrative litigation for the first time in a case of this kind.
 今回、原告団は基地騒音訴訟で初めて、行政訴訟の形をとって変化を促した。

Unlike civil suits, administrative suits basically concern the appropriateness of the government’s actions and decisions. The Yokohama District Court ruling that partially bans SDF flights indicates that an administrative lawsuit can be an effective legal means to seek court judgment on whether the Defense Ministry uses its discretionary power appropriately.
民事と違い、政府の処分や決定の妥当さを問う。防衛省の裁量の適否を判断する有効な手続きになった。

The court, however, avoided handing down a judgment in the administrative suit on flights of U.S. military aircraft, a source of even more severe noise pollution. In civil suits, courts have rejected calls for injunctions against U.S. military flights on grounds that they are not matters under the control of the Japanese government.
 とはいえ、より深刻な騒音をおこす米軍機について判決は、判断を避けた。米軍の飛行差し止めをめぐる民事訴訟では「国の支配は及ばない」と退ける判断が各地で続いている。

The latest ruling of the administrative lawsuit underscores that there is currently no legal means available for the solution of noise pollution caused by U.S. military aircraft.
 行政訴訟でも今回のような結果では、司法による救済の道は八方ふさがりとなる。

A more fundamental problem is that the judiciary has been avoiding making judgments on the constitutionality of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which is the basis for the presence of U.S. forces in Japan. The courts have cited as a reason the political question doctrine: A highly political issue is not justiciable. In other words, a political issue cannot be decided by legal principles or by a court of justice.
 そもそも米軍駐留の前提となる日米安保条約の合憲性について、司法は「高度な政治性をもつ」として判断を避けてきた。

What is at stake, though, is the right of the people to enjoy a calm and peaceful life. What kind of balance should be struck between the rights of people and the public importance of military bases? If the judiciary refuses to offer an answer to the question, where can the people turn for help?
 だが、問われているのは国民が平穏に暮らす権利だ。軍の公共性とのバランスをどうとるべきか。司法が判断を避けてしまうようでは、国民はどこに救済を求めればいいのか。

The judiciary’s avoidance makes the government’s responsibility all the more heavier. In addition to noise reduction measures at bases, the government should immediately start considering steps for a fundamental solution, such as reducing takeoffs and landings by both SDF and U.S. military aircraft.
 司法が介入を拒む限り、その分、国の責任は重い。各基地の防音対策だけでなく、自衛隊機と米軍機の離着陸を減らすなど抜本措置の検討を急ぐべきだ。

The SDF’s operations and the Japan-U.S. security alliance system are both important for the nation. That is the very reason the government should pay serious attention to the voices of people living around bases in order to ensure the smooth operation of related facilities and systems.
 自衛隊の活動も、日米安保体制も、国にとって重要である。だからこそ、その円滑な運営のために、国は住民の声に真摯(しんし)に耳を傾けねばならない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 22

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