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2014年9月29日 (月)

御嶽山噴火 見せつけられた予知の難しさ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Eruption of Mt. Ontake demonstrates difficulty in predicting volcanic activities
御嶽山噴火 見せつけられた予知の難しさ

Once again, we have been confronted with a graphic reminder of the ferocity of volcanoes.
 火山の猛威を、まざまざと見せつけられた。

Mt. Ontake, a peak more than 3,000 meters above sea level that straddles the Nagano-Gifu prefectural border, erupted shortly before noon Saturday.
 長野県と岐阜県にまたがる標高3000メートル超の御嶽山が噴火した。

With the start of the year’s autumnal foliage season on the weekend, a large number of hikers were on the mountain when it blew its top.
 紅葉シーズンの週末とあって、登山客が大勢いた。

Many people were reported to have been seriously injured from extremely hot volcanic ash. A number of people took refuge in mountain lodges, but rescue operations were hindered as eruptions continued.
高温の火山灰などで多数の重傷者が出ている。山小屋に退避した人もいるが、噴火が続いているため、救援活動は時間を要している。

The government set up a liaison office at the Crisis Management Center in the Prime Minister’s Office to speed information-gathering efforts concerning casualties and damage. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued instructions to officials to place priority on rescuing victims and ensuring the safety of climbers, and ordered the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces personnel to the affected area.
 政府は、首相官邸の危機管理センターに連絡室を設置し、被害の情報収集などを急いでいる。安倍首相は、被災者の救助や登山客の安全確保に全力を尽くすよう指示し、自衛隊を派遣した。

All-out endeavors must be made to minimize the extent of damage, and no time should be wasted in transporting victims and carrying out search-and-rescue operations for people unaccounted for.
 負傷者の搬送、行方不明者の捜索・救難を急ぎ、被害を最小限に食い止めねばならない。

It is unclear when Mt. Ontake’s volcanic activity will subside.
 噴火活動がいつ静まるのか、まったく予測はつかない。

Plumes of smoke billowed high into the sky from spots near the mountaintop in the volcano’s eruption, and a huge amount of volcanic ash spread over the mountain’s slopes at tremendous speed. Volcanic rocks were also flung around extensively.
 山頂付近から噴煙が高く舞い上がり、大量の火山灰が猛烈なスピードで山腹を流れ下った。噴石も広範囲に飛散している。

A close watch must be kept on the mountain’s volcanic activities, while efforts should be made to prevent secondary dangers.
 引き続き火山活動の厳重な監視が必要だ。二次災害にも十分警戒してもらいたい。

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued an alert, warning that further eruptions on a scale similar to Saturday’s are possible. The agency has raised the eruption alert level on its scale of five from the lowest 1 at normal times to 3, meaning climbers are restricted from entering the mountain range.
 気象庁は、今後も同規模の噴火が起きる恐れがあるとして、警戒を呼びかけている。5段階ある噴火警戒レベルを平常時の1から入山規制を伴う3に引き上げた。

Beef up observation

Even though Mt. Ontake has long been considered to have an extremely low degree of volcanic activity, it suddenly erupted in 1979, causing volcanic ash to fall over an extensive area. Small-scale eruptions occurred in 1991 and 2007.
 活動性が極めて低い火山と考えられていた御嶽山は、1979年に突如噴火し、火山灰が広い地域に降った。91年と2007年にも小規模の噴火を起こしている。

The meteorological agency planned to upgrade the surveillance of Mt. Ontake by designating it as one of the 23 most active volcanoes in the country, out of a total of 110 active volcanoes. The agency, however, fell short of detecting signs that the volcano was about to erupt this time.
 気象庁は、全国に110ある活火山のうち、活動が活発な23火山の一つに御嶽山を選び、監視体制の充実を目指していた。だが、噴火の予兆は捉えられなかった。

The agency’s failure to forecast the event shows how difficult it is to predict volcanic eruptions.
 噴火予知の難しさが浮き彫りになったと言えよう。

Although it had noted a succession of fairly active volcanic tremors in the Mt. Ontake range from early this month, the agency did not predict an eruption, mainly because of a dearth of data. No explicit changes in the crustal movement below the mountain were detected that could have served as clear precursors of the eruption, according to the agency. In light of this, the current method of collecting data must be reviewed.
 気象庁は今月上旬から、やや活発な地震動を観測していたが、過去の噴火データが乏しく、噴火につながると判断できなかった。噴火の明確な前兆となる地殻変動なども探知されなかった。監視体制の再点検が求められる。

In spite of Japan being a volcanic country, experts have pointed out that both budgets and personnel required for volcano observation are insufficient. Full-fledged volcanic observation systems are limited to few regions, such as Mt. Sakurajima in Kagoshima Prefecture and Mt. Asama on the border of Nagano and Gunma prefectures.
 日本は火山国なのに、監視に必要な予算や人材が不足しているとの指摘がある。充実した観測体制は、鹿児島県の桜島や長野・群馬県境の浅間山などに限られる。

When Mt. Shindake on Kuchinoerabu Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, erupted in August this year, the local meteorological observatory detected nothing that indicated it would erupt.
 8月に鹿児島県の口永良部島で新岳が噴火した際には、前兆を察知できなかった。

No regular observation activities have been conducted for Nishinoshima island, an uninhabited islet in the Ogasawara chain, despite continuing volcanic activities.
噴火活動が続く小笠原諸島の西之島は、常時の観測さえしていない。

Partly because of the rise in popularity of mountain climbing in recent years among middle-aged and elderly people, many volcanic mountains are thronged with hikers. Many well-known hot spring resorts and other sightseeing spots are near volcanoes. Everyone should take to heart the possibility of being involved anytime in an emergency in these areas.
 最近は、中高年の登山ブームもあり、登山客でにぎわう火山は多い。周辺には温泉など有名観光地もある。万一の事態があることも忘れてはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 28, 2014)Speech

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