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2014年5月 2日 (金)

(社説)護憲後援拒否 霞を払い議論をひらけ

May 01, 2014
EDITORIAL: Timid public servants have a lot to answer for
(社説)護憲後援拒否 霞を払い議論をひらけ

In a cherry blossom viewing party he hosted on April 12, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe composed a haiku.
“Kyuryo no agarishi haru wa yaezakura” (This spring/ with pay increased/ double cherry blossoms are particularly beautiful)
When he attended a central May Day rally organized by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation on April 26, an incident occurred that made people uneasy.
 「給料の上がりし春は八重桜」。自身主催の「桜を見る会」で面妖な俳句を披露した安倍首相が出席した、メーデー中央大会。こんなことがあった。

Police officers stuck close to four male participants in the rally carrying signs that read: “Consumption tax: Pay it by youreslf.” They told the men not to hold up the signs. When the men refused, the officers kept on at them, saying they were hoisting the signs too high and other excuses.
 「消費税お前が払え」というプラカードを持った男性4人に警察官が張り付き、「掲げるな」に始まり、高く掲げ過ぎだなどと圧力をかけ続ける。

When Abe started speaking in front of the microphone, the four shouted, “No to unpaid overtime!” Immediately, the police officers surrounded them and shoved them out of the venue.
 そして首相がマイクの前に立ち、男性らが「『残業代ゼロ』絶対反対!」と声をあげた途端、警察官が一斉に彼らを取り囲み、会場の外に押し出した。

The men repeatedly asked the officers what was wrong with hoisting the signs and the reason for them being forced out of the site by police. They wanted to know the legal grounds for these actions. But they received no clear answer.
 なぜプラカードを掲げてはいけないのか。なぜ警察に会場から出されなければならないのか。何の法的根拠に基づいているのか。男性らは何度も問うたが、確たる返答はなかった。

The episode appears to be another troubling sign of the growing trend toward suppressing dissenting views and debate on politically delicate issues since Abe took office.
 安倍政権下、異論や議論が霞(かすみ)の奥に追いやられていないか。

Since last year, many local governments have refused to support events that were planned to underscore the importance of protecting the war-renouncing Constitution.
 昨年から、自治体が「護憲」にまつわる行事の後援を拒否するケースが相次いでいる。

The city of Chiba declined a request for support to a pro-Constitution rally held in January.
 千葉市は1月に開かれた集会の後援申請を断った。

The gathering featured a lecture on the implications of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s draft proposal for the Constitution. In explaining its decision not to support the event, the municipal government said it had judged that “subjective views would be expressed in the lecture on an issue that is sparking a nationwide debate.”
「自民党の改憲案で何が変わるか」という講演が予定され「国民的な議論がある問題で、主観的な考えを述べる講演会と判断した」。

Similarly, the city of Kobe took the same position for a gathering of supporters of the Constitution in its current form to be held May 3, which is Constitution Day.
 神戸市は、憲法記念日に開かれる護憲集会の後援を断った。

The municipal government said its political neutrality could possibly be undermined if it supported the event, according to the organizing committee for the gathering. And yet, the city supported two similar events in the past.
実行委員会によると「政治的中立性を損なう可能性がある」が理由だったが、過去2回は後援を受けていたという。

Article 99 of the Constitution says, “The Emperor or the Regent as well as Ministers of State, members of the Diet, judges, and all other public officials have the obligation to respect and uphold this Constitution.”
 憲法99条はこう規定している。「天皇又(また)は摂政及び国務大臣、国会議員、裁判官その他の公務員は、この憲法を尊重し擁護する義務を負ふ」

It is odd to see public servants who are obliged to uphold the Constitution refuse to back a meeting held to protect the Constitution.
 憲法擁護義務を負う公務員が、憲法を守ろうという趣旨の集会の後援を拒否する。なんとも不可解な現象である。

What does “political neutrality” mean? Could there be any lecture in which no “subjective view” is voiced?
 政治的中立とは何か。主観的考えを述べない講演があり得るのか。

It is hard to believe that the decisions by the municipal governments were made after weighing the matter carefully.
およそ真剣に考え抜いて出した結論とは思えない。

What is likely to be behind these episodes is a pathetic attitude of local government officials acting on their desire not to rock the boat. These officials are probably excessively sensitive to what they deem as the wishes and feelings of the Abe administration, which has made constitutional amendment a priority on its political agenda, and its supporters. They apparently fear that supporting a pro-Constitution meeting could provoke a backlash.
うかがえるのは、改憲を掲げる安倍政権と、それを支持する人たちの意向を過剰に忖度(そんたく)し、護憲集会を後援することにクレームがつくことを恐れ、事なかれ主義に走る情けない姿である。

Some local governments are now reconsidering their criteria for lending support to events. Previously, the city of Shiroi, Chiba Prefecture, for instance, made a point of not offering support for events that serve “political or religious purposes.” But in April, the municipal government decided to expand the scope of events covered by the rule to eschew anything that has a “political or religious tinge.”
 後援基準を見直す動きも出ている。千葉県白井市はこれまで「政治的・宗教的目的を有する行事」は後援しないとしていたが、4月に「目的」を「色彩」に変えた。

The decision indicates the city’s reluctance to support or get involved in any event that could be controversial in any way.
要は、できれば後援したくない、面倒には関わりたくないということなのだろう。

But dissenting opinions and serious, lively debates on important issues are key factors for the resiliency and resourcefulness of society. Local governments should rather be willing to take on the trouble of promoting diversity of thought.
 だが、異論が出て、議論が交わされることで社会は強く、豊かになるのである。自治体はむしろ面倒を引き受けるべきだ。

Society can break up a fog of intolerance when local governments perform their roles in opening up and encouraging debate on important issues for people.
 議論を開き、拓(ひら)いていく。その役割を自治体が担ってこそ、社会の霞は払われるのだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 1

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