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2014年6月22日 (日)

(社説)都議会の暴言 うやむやは許されぬ

June 21, 2014
EDITORIAL: Tokyo assembly needs to identify, punish sexist hecklers
(社説)都議会の暴言 うやむやは許されぬ

It is distressing to know there are members of the Tokyo metropolitan assembly who can shamelessly hurl sexist abuse at a female colleague during an assembly session, which is a public forum.
They apparently lack the bravery to announce themselves as the hecklers.
 議場が公の場であることをわきまえず、汚いヤジを飛ばして恥じることがない。名乗り出る潔さすら、持ち合わせない。
 そんな人が首都の議会にいるとは情けない。

The incident occurred on June 18, when Ayaka Shiomura, a 35-year-old member of the opposition Your Party, pointed out that women in Tokyo tend to marry and have babies far later than their counterparts in other parts of Japan. She called for policy support for women facing challenges in getting pregnant, having babies and raising children.
 東京都議会の本会議。塩村文夏(あやか)議員が、東京は全国でとびぬけて晩婚晩産だと指摘し、妊娠・出産・育児に悩む女性への支援の充実を訴えていた。

While she was making the presentation, male members of the assembly shouted abuse at Shiomura, with one saying, “You are the one who must get married as soon as possible.”
 そこへ、男の声で「早く結婚した方がいいんじゃないか」などとヤジが飛んだ。

When she was rendered speechless by the jeers, a ripple of sneers swept through the chamber.
 塩村氏が絶句すると、議場に冷笑が広がった。

A senior assemblyman of the party that is suspected to have the hecklers among its members has shown a reluctance to identify and punish them. “We cannot act on rumors,” the senior assembly member said.
暴言の出どころと疑われた会派の幹部は「臆測で言われても困る」と、発言者を特定せずに幕を引こうとしている。

The verbal abuse and the party’s response to the incident are deeply disgraceful.
 発言そのものも、事後の対応も、二重三重に罪深い。

The nation’s declining birthrate is a structural problem in a society where women face many hurdles in trying to have and raise children while working.
 まず、少子化は、子どもを産み育てることを難しくしている社会構造の問題だ。

The hecklers wrongfully described it as a problem with individuals by effectively saying that Shiomura can help solve the problem by having children.
 それを、ヤジの主は「あなたが産めば解決する」と個人の問題にすりかえた。

What they did was tantamount to sending a message to individual women in this nation that they are responsible for the nation’s demographic decline by failing to have children.
 世の女性ひとりひとりに「あなたが産まないのが悪い」とメッセージを送ったに等しい。

Their words show no sign of awareness of the fact that behind the trend toward marrying and having babies later in life are factors related to both men and women.
 晩婚や晩産は男女双方の問題であるのは当然だが、そういう認識もまるで感じられない。

This lack of an accurate understanding of the problem is at the root of the social pressure on women to choose between pursuing a career and having children. It is also one of the key reasons for many Japanese women to feel hesitant about getting married.
 この無理解こそ、既婚の女性に仕事か子どもかの二者択一を迫り、未婚の女性に結婚をためらわせる元凶ではないか。

If the capital’s assembly fails to make a serious response to the scandal without trying to identify the hecklers, it would effectively be tolerating verbal abuse. That would cause this incident to have far more serious implications than the simple existence of some impudent people among the assembly members.
 このまま発言者を特定もせずにうやむやにすれば、議会として暴言を許容したことになる。不心得な議員が一部にいたという話にとどまらなくなる。

The assembly members are elected representatives of the citizens. Their attitude and behavior are seen as reflecting the prevailing sentiments in society.
 議員たちは選挙を通じて住民らに選ばれた代表である。その姿勢は、世の中の空気を映していると受け取られる。

This episode of abuse suffered by Shiomura could make many Japanese women who are struggling with problems concerning pregnancy and childbearing at their workplaces or homes hesitant to discuss their challenges or seek support.
 妊娠や出産の悩みを語ったり支援を求めたりすると、こんな仕打ちにあうのか――。

That would hamper efforts to solve these intricate and deep-rooted social problems, creating the worst of the negative effects of the sexist jeers.
 職場や家庭で悩みを抱えている女性たちを、そんなふうに萎縮させる。そして、社会の難題の解決をますます遅れさせる。それがなにより罪深い。

When former Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose got embroiled in a money scandal, the metropolitan assembly bitterly criticized him for “making light of” the citizens of the capital and urged him to step down to take responsibility. Now it is time for the assembly to demonstrate its ability to clean up its act.
 猪瀬直樹前知事のカネの疑惑の際は、あれほど厳しく「都民をなめるな」「自らえりをただせ」と迫った都議会である。自浄作用を働かせることを強く求めたい。

Shiomura’s message about the incident on Twitter was retweeted more than 20,000 times in one day, causing a wave of anger to spread like a wildfire nationwide.
 塩村氏のツイッターへの投稿は、1日のうちに約2万回もリツイート(転載)され、全国に怒りが燃え広がった。

This is an age when anger among ordinary citizens manifests itself in a highly visible manner. We can take some solace in the fact that the wave of anger has put strong pressure on the assembly members to act.
 ふつうの生活者の怒りが目に見える時代になった。あっという間に議員たちを取り囲んだ。

We hope this episode will serve as an important lesson for as many local assembly members as possible about the responsibility they have to bear for their remarks in public.
救いはそこにある。これを教訓に、公に発言する責任の重さを全国の一人でも多くの議員にかみしめてもらいたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 21

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