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2014年6月 1日 (日)

(社説)憲法と国民 決定権は私たちにある

May 31, 2014
EDITORIAL: Abe not empowered to change Constitution any way he likes
(社説)憲法と国民 決定権は私たちにある

While debate is raging over the proposal to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense by reinterpreting the Constitution, the bill to revise the national referendum law, which defines the procedure for constitutional amendments, is set to pass the Diet and become law during the current session.
 集団的自衛権にからんで憲法論議が盛んになるなか、憲法改正手続きを定めた国民投票法の改正案が、いまの国会で成立する見通しだ。

The bill sets the voting age for constitutional referendums, something which had not been clear, at 20 and lowers it to 18 four years after the revision comes into effect.
 これまではっきりしていなかった投票権年齢を20歳とし、4年後に18歳に引き下げる。

Some important issues, including the proposal to lower the legal adult age, have been left unsettled. But the revision to the law will at least fill the hole in the legal procedure for the Diet to ask the public to vote for or against a proposed amendment to the Constitution.
成人年齢の引き下げをはじめ先送りされた論点も多いが、これで国会が憲法改正案を国民に問うための法的手続きがととのうことになる。

Sixty-seven years have passed since the postwar Constitution came into force. Traditionally, debates over constitutional issues have pitted people seeking to rewrite the supreme law against those committed to keeping it unchanged. But the revision will open up a new era for constitutional debates.
 日本国憲法が施行されて67年。いわゆる改憲派と護憲派を軸になされてきた論争は、これまでとは違った局面に入っていかざるを得ない。

The current legislative situation rules out the possibility that the Diet will immediately initiate any amendment to a specific article of the Constitution through a concurring vote of a two-third majority of all the members of each house and submit it to the people for ratification at a special referendum.
 ただちに衆参両院で3分の2の賛成を得て条文ごとの改憲案が発議され、国民投票にかけられる状況にはない。

Even so, both the proponents of constitutional amendments and the opponents of such proposals will have to make their respective cases under the pressure of a new situation in which amendments are actually possible.
だとしても、改憲は現実にあり得るという緊張感のなかで、双方が主張を展開することを迫られる。

The Constitution has played an extremely significant role in the postwar development of Japan. The constitutional principles of popular sovereignty, respect for basic human rights and pacifism have functioned as the basic foundation of society. These are values we should keep upholding.
 憲法が戦後日本の発展に果たしてきた役割は極めて大きい。国民主権や基本的人権の尊重、平和主義の原理は、社会を支える基本構造として機能してきた。今後とも堅持していくべき価値である。

There is no need, however, to regard all 103 articles of the Constitution as completely untouchable.
 一方、103条のすべてに指一本触れてはならぬと考える必要はない。

There are many constitutional issues that are open to debate. The legislative gridlock due to a so-called twisted Diet with the Upper House under opposition control underscored the need to reconsider the relationship between the two houses, for instance. Another key issue is the division of roles between the central and local governments.
 ねじれ国会であらわになった衆参両院の関係をどう見直すか。政府と自治体の役割分担はどうあるべきか。議論の余地は大いにある。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is advocating a revision to Article 96, which stipulates the procedure for constitutional amendments, as well as a change in the government interpretation of the war-renouncing Article 9 to make it possible for Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.
 安倍首相は改憲手続きを定めた96条改正や9条の解釈変更を唱える。

But these proposals are attempts to tackle key constitutional issues in a not-so-above-board manner by taking advantage of the wide gap between calls for rewriting the Constitution entirely and total opposition to any amendment. We cannot support Abe’s constitutional initiatives.
それは「全面改正せよ」「一切認められない」という二元論的な対立のすき間をついて出てきた「からめ手」だ。認めることはできない。

During deliberations on Japan’s right to collective self-defense at both houses of the Diet, Abe expressed his strong desire to change the government’s interpretation of the Constitution with regard to the issue in order to pave the way for Self-Defense Forces operations for the protection of U.S. warships and the elimination of mines in the Persian Gulf.
 集団的自衛権をめぐる今週の衆参両院の審議で、安倍首相は憲法解釈を変え、自衛隊による米艦防護やペルシャ湾での機雷除去に道を開くことに強い意欲を示した。

In answering related questions at the Diet, Abe repeatedly stressed that the initiative is for the protection of the people’s lives and security.
 首相は答弁で「国民の命や平和な暮らしを守る」と繰り返し強調した。

His remarks clearly showed his enthusiasm for the security policy initiative. But that has made it even harder to understand why he is not trying to propose to the public a revision to the Constitution to realize his idea.
熱意はわかったが、だったらなおさら、なぜそのための憲法改正案を国民に問おうとしないのだろうか。

Let us remember the basic principles of constitutional government.
 立憲政治の原則を、もう一度確認したい。

We entrust the government we have elected to enact and revise laws and enforce them appropriately. But we don’t give the government a carte blanche to change the Constitution in any way it likes.
 私たちは選挙で信認した政権に、法の制定や改廃、その適切な執行を託している。だが、憲法に関しては白紙委任をしているわけではない。

Only the people have the right to make the final decision on any change to the Constitution, which is secured by the requirement of a national referendum for a constitutional amendment.
 憲法についての最終決定権者は国民であり、それを担保するのが国民投票だ。

No government, no matter how much public support it enjoys, should be allowed trample on this cardinal principle.
それをないがしろにするのは、どんなに多数の支持を得た政権であっても、許されることではない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 31

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