英字新聞

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2014年04月

(社説)安倍政権の絆 ガラパゴス化が心配だ

April 16, 2014
EDITORIAL: Abe administration's disturbing signs of 'Galapagos' syndrome
(社説)安倍政権の絆 ガラパゴス化が心配だ

In his recent address to newly hired government employees, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe exhorted them to broaden their horizons, saying, “In this age of globalization, Galapagos officials who only know about Japan are worthless.”
 「グローバルな時代にあって、『日本のことしか知らない』ガラパゴス人間では、話になりません」。春4月。安倍首相は新人官僚にこう訓示した。

That’s well said. But coming from the mouth of this leader, the words sound somewhat hollow. A number of irresponsible remarks recently made by some administration officials and close Abe aides have triggered concerns about the government’s field of vision. We cannot help but wonder if the vision is limited to an area far narrower than Japan: to things that are only convenient to the administration.
 けだし名言、ただし説得力を欠く。最近の安倍政権とその周辺では、日本どころか自分に都合のいいことしか見ていないのではないかと驚かされる、無責任な言動が続いているからだ。

For instance, Hakubun Shimomura, the minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, said in a Diet session on March 26 that the so-called Murayama statement was not officially endorsed by a Cabinet decision. The statement was released in 1995 by Tomiichi Murayama, the prime minister at the time, expressing remorse and apologizing for Japan's wartime actions. Shimomura later corrected his comment, saying he had committed “a mistake of fact.”
 下村文部科学相は、「村山談話は閣議決定されていない」という国会答弁を、「事実誤認だった」と訂正した。

It is startling that the education minister, a man known as a passionate advocate of teaching “correct history,” was so wrong about such a basic fact. The statement was indeed officially approved by a Cabinet decision.
「正しい歴史教育」に熱心な文科相が、これほど基本的な事実を誤認していたことにただ、驚く。

When he was asked about the government’s definition of the right to collective self-defense during a Diet session on March 20, Ichiro Komatsu, director-general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, adamantly refused to respond, saying he didn’t want to give a wrong answer. “It would be very bad if I answer the question carelessly and am then criticized for correcting my statement later,” he said.
 内閣法制局長官は、国会で集団的自衛権の定義について質問され、「うかつに答弁し、『後で訂正するのはけしからん』となるのは非常に良くない」と、頑として答弁を拒んだ。

Seiichi Eto, a special adviser to Abe, indignantly reacted to a U.S. statement expressing disappointment at Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine last December with a post on a video-sharing site in which he said, “We are disappointed at the United States for saying it was disappointed.”
 首相の靖国神社参拝に対し「米国が『失望』と言ったことに我々の方が失望だ」とした首相補佐官。

Yoshitaka Sakurada, a senior vice minister at the education ministry, attended a rally where people were calling for a revision of the 1993 statement issued by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono apologizing to the women who were forced to provide sex to wartime Japanese troops. At the meeting, Sakurada supported the call for revising the statement, saying: “I am a person who abhors the fabrication of facts. My feelings and thoughts are the same as yours.”
「河野官房長官談話の見直しを求める国民大集会」に出席し「私は事実を捏造(ねつぞう)することが大嫌いな人間だ。皆さんと心は同じ、考え方も同じ」と賛意を示した文科副大臣。

Similar remarks were also made by a top executive of Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK).
 似た趣旨の発言は、NHK首脳からも漏れこぼれている。

Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga have downplayed the implications of the various utterances by saying they were only “personal opinions.” But that doesn’t dilute the fallout from these controversial remarks.
 首相や菅官房長官はしばしば「個人的見解」などと片づけているが、当然、それで済むはずがない。

The various comments by people close to Abe have alarmed the international community and fueled suspicions that these “personal opinions” actually reflect the prime minister’s true views and feelings. The situation is clearly damaging Japan’s national interests, the importance of which Abe likes to stress.
「個人的見解」の方がむしろ首相の本音ではないかという疑念や警戒感が世界に広まり、首相が大事にしている「国益」が確実に損なわれている。

Abe himself is responsible for the situation since his visit to war-related Yasukuni Shrine triggered the controversial comments expressing “personal opinions.” Abe went “in a private capacity,” even though many people around him urged him not to go.
 そもそも「個人的見解」がだだ漏れるようになったきっかけは昨年12月、首相が周囲の反対を押し切り、それこそ「私人の立場」で靖国神社を参拝したことだ。

Abe’s renewed passion for pursuing a political agenda for the nation’s “departure from the postwar regime” has inspired his aides to join his crusade. As a result, it seems that they have lost their ability to make sensible judgments, causing the entire administration to lose its balance.
再び火が付いた「戦後レジームからの脱却」への首相の情熱に周囲が引き込まれ、責任感や判断力が低下し、政権全体のバランスが崩れ始めているのではないだろうか。

What is especially disturbing is that the individuals who have made these questionable remarks don’t seem to have an inkling of what made their remarks so controversial.
 深刻なのは、当人たちが、発言の何が問題視されているのかを根本的に理解していないことだ。

This is clear from a comment written by a secretary to Eto, a special adviser to Abe, in Eto’s blog. “Although Eto made the statement with pride for himself and his country, he has retracted it to avoid causing trouble to the Abe administration, which is pursuing such important causes as making an amendment to the Constitution.”
「自身と自国のプライドを持って発言したことだが、これから憲法改正等大義を目指す安倍政権のご迷惑になってはならぬと撤回した」。補佐官のブログに秘書が書いている。

These officials have not offered any explanation about why and how their remarks were problematic. Nor have they taken responsibility for the controversies they provoked. Nor has the administration tried to hold them responsible for their questionable comments. This indulgent atmosphere appears to be breeding self-righteousness among administration officials and enhancing purely collusive relations among people around Abe.
 何がどう問題だったのか。説明せず。責任を取らず。取らせず。そのような生ぬるい空気の中で「自分は悪くない」がすくすくと育ちゆき、首相を取り巻く面々の絆だけがいびつな形で強まっているのではないか。

We are deeply concerned about growing signs of the Galapagos syndrome coming from the Abe administration.
 安倍政権のガラパゴス化。
 心配だ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 10

竹富町の教科書 法改正の趣旨踏まえた対応に

The Yomiuri Shimbun 8:47 pm, April 15, 2014
Local boards of education must act in conformity with revision of law
竹富町の教科書 法改正の趣旨踏まえた対応に

The town board of education in Taketomi, Okinawa Prefecture, which has deviated from rules regarding the selection of textbooks for use in public schools and continues to use a textbook of its own choice, recently announced that it will not comply with a demand for corrective action from the education ministry.
 ルールを逸脱し、独自採択した教科書を使用し続けている沖縄県の竹富町教育委員会が、文部科学省の是正要求に応じない方針を表明した。

The law on the free provision of school textbooks stipulates that a joint textbook adoption district—comprising more than one municipality—must adopt the same textbook throughout.
 教科書無償措置法は、複数の自治体で構成する共同採択地区では、同一の教科書を採択するよう定めている。

The Taketomi Board of Education’s adoption of a textbook of its own choice clearly violates the law. It was only to be expected that the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology ministry would issue a demand for corrective action, based on the Local Government Law.
 竹富町教委だけが独自に異なる教科書を採択したのは、明らかに違法行為である。文科省が地方自治法に基づき、是正要求を発動したのは当然のことだった。

The town board of education’s refusal to obey the corrective order shows a lack of willingness to comply with the law that is notable for an institution responsible for the administration of education. Such a position can hardly be tolerated.
 是正要求に従おうとしない竹富町教委の姿勢は、教育行政を担う機関として、順法精神に欠け、許されるものではない。

If a board of education has a problem with a demand from the ministry for corrective action, it can file a formal objection and seek a review by a committee dedicated to settling national-local disputes, a third-party organization affiliated with the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry. It is hard to understand why the Taketomi board has not sought recourse via this process.
 是正要求に不服がある場合、第三者機関である国地方係争処理委員会に審査を申し立てることができる。竹富町教委がこの手続きをとらないことも理解に苦しむ。

In 2011, the textbook selection council of the Yaeyama district, comprising the city of Ishigaki and the towns of Taketomi and Yonaguni, selected a civic studies textbook published by Ikuhosha Publishing Inc. for use in middle schools. The problem started when the Taketomi Board of Education decided alone to adopt a textbook published by Tokyo Shoseki Co.
 石垣市、竹富町、与那国町による八重山地区の採択地区協議会は2011年、中学校の公民教科書に育鵬社の教科書を選んだ。これに対し、竹富町教委が東京書籍版を採択したのが問題の発端だ。

Little coverage of territories

The textbook published by Ikuhosha contains a full description of territorial issues, including the government’s perspective on Takeshima island and the Senkaku Islands.
 育鵬社版は、竹島や尖閣諸島についての政府見解を書き込むなど、領土に関する説明が充実している。

The text published by Tokyo Shoseki, on the other hand, contains little description regarding territorial issues, while covering issues concerning U.S. military bases in Okinawa Prefecture in detail.
東京書籍版は、領土の記述が少ない一方で、沖縄の在日米軍基地問題に詳しく触れている。

Objections within the prefecture to the Ikuhosha textbook, the authors of which include former members of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, may also have influenced the Taketomi Board of Education’s textbook choice.
 「新しい歴史教科書をつくる会」の元メンバーらが執筆する育鵬社版に対し、沖縄県内で反発があることも、竹富町教委の独自採択に影響しているのだろう。

The board is seeking independence from Yaeyama district’s textbook selection council, and is working toward securing autonomy to select textbooks for use in the town from the next fiscal year onward. This course of action is also questionable.
 竹富町教委は八重山地区の協議会からの離脱を要望し、来年度から使う教科書の単独採択を目指すという。これも疑問である。

A revised law on the free provision of school textbooks was enacted on April 9. The wording of the revised law to describe administrative units of joint textbook adoption districts was changed from “cities and counties” to “cities, towns and villages.” Based on this change, the Taketomi Board of Education asserts that it is now possible for it to adopt a textbook of its own choice.
 今月9日に改正教科書無償措置法が成立し、採択地区の設定単位が「市郡」から「市町村」に改められた。それを根拠に、竹富町教委は単独採択が可能になったと主張している。

Yet the purpose of the revision is to allow textbooks to be selected by educational districts that combine towns and villages more flexibly, rather than being bound to county divisions that no longer correspond to the distribution of local communities and their livelihoods due to merger of cities, town and villages in recent years.
 だが、改正の目的は、市町村合併で郡が実際の生活圏と重ならなくなったため、郡にとらわれず、町村の柔軟な組み合わせを可能にする点にある。
 
The joint textbook selection system is absolutely intended to remain in place, and the legal revision is by no means intended to fragment educational districts.
あくまで共同採択制度は維持しており、採択地区の細分化を図ったわけではない。

It is inevitable that the Taketomi Board of Education’s policy of breaking away from the educational district will be criticized as an attempt at distorting the legal revision to its own advantage.
竹富町教委の離脱方針は、法改正を逆手にとったものと批判されても仕方あるまい。

The joint textbook selection system has merits, such as the ability for smaller municipalities to cooperate with one another in the careful adoption of textbooks.
 共同採択制度には、小規模自治体が協力し合うことで、丁寧に教科書を選べる利点がある。

It is the Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education that will decide how municipalities will combine to form textbook selection districts. We hope the prefectural board will make its decision according to the spirit in which the legal revision was intended.
 採択地区の構成を決めるのは沖縄県教委だ。法改正の趣旨をしっかり踏まえ、適切な判断をしてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 15, 2014)

G20共同声明 ウクライナ支援で協調したが

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:15 pm, April 14, 2014
World must stay vigilant against fallout over turmoil in Ukraine
G20共同声明 ウクライナ支援で協調したが

The world’s major economies have managed to take concerted steps in beefing up support to Ukraine, which is on the verge of a financial crisis—at least for the time being.
 財政危機に瀕ひんしたウクライナの支援強化へ、ひとまず足並みをそろえたと言えよう。

But tensions over the situation in Ukraine have increased with no clear path in sight for resolving confrontations between Russia and the United States and European nations. The world must stay vigilant against any fallout on the world economy that the turmoil in Ukraine could incite.
 だが、ウクライナ情勢は一段と緊迫化し、米欧とロシアの対立が解消する道筋は不透明である。ウクライナの混乱が世界経済に及ぼす悪影響を警戒しなければならない。

The meeting in Washington of finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 20 advanced nations and emerging economies closed on Saturday after issuing a joint statement.
 先進国と新興国が参加し、ワシントンで開かれた主要20か国・地域(G20)財務相・中央銀行総裁会議は共同声明を採択した。

It was the first international conference that Japan, the United States and European nations officially participated in together with Russia since Western nations strengthened sanctions against Moscow in an angry response to its annexation of the southern Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.
 ロシアによるウクライナ南部クリミア編入に反発する米欧は、制裁を強化した。その後、日米欧とロシアなどがそろって公式に国際会議に臨んだのは初めてだ。

In a sign of continued tension, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned of additional U.S. sanctions against Russia, which was repudiated by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, during their bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting.
 G20に合わせた2国間会談で、追加制裁を警告したルー米財務長官に、シルアノフ露財務相が反論するなど緊張が続いている。

Despite the rift, the joint statement stated, “We are monitoring the economic situation in Ukraine, mindful of any risks to economic and financial stability.”
 それでも共同声明は「ウクライナ経済や金融安定へのいかなるリスクにも留意する」と記した。

With financial support from Russia frozen, Ukraine is weighed down by a huge sovereign debt and teeters on the verge of default.
 ロシアからの金融支援が凍結されたウクライナは巨額の政府債務を抱え、債務不履行(デフォルト)の瀬戸際にある。

If Ukraine’s bankruptcy becomes a reality, financial markets around the world will suffer a serious blow, possibly adversely affecting the global economy. Apparently, this alarm loudly resonated among all G-20 members.
 財政破綻が現実になれば、世界の金融市場が動揺し、世界経済に打撃を与えかねない。G20は強い危機感を共有したのだろう。

IMF response

The International Monetary Fund, Japan, the United States and European nations have announced financial support totaling $27 billion (¥2.7 trillion) over the next two years, which naturally prompted the G-20 to hail the IMF’s response in its joint statement. It is necessary for the IMF to provide loans as soon as possible.
 国際通貨基金(IMF)と日米欧などが2年間で270億ドル(約2・7兆円)の支援を打ち出している。共同声明がIMFの対応を歓迎したのはもっともだ。早期の融資実現を目指す必要がある。

Indications were that Russia’s predicament was behind the G-20 members taking joint steps in providing support to Ukraine. Russia would incur a massive loss should credit it provided to Ukraine become unrecoverable.
 今回、ウクライナ支援で連携が成立した背景には、ロシアの苦境がうかがえる。保有するウクライナ向け債権が焦げ付くと、ロシアは巨額の損失を被るからだ。

With its economy continuing to slow down, Russia apparently had no choice but to cooperate with the support program led by the United States and European nations if it wants to put priority on ensuring its economic stability. Russia should take its responsibility for causing the turmoil to heart.
 ロシアの景気減速も続く中で、経済安定を優先し、米欧主導の支援策に協調せざるを得なかったようだ。ロシアは混乱を招いた責任を痛感すべきだろう。

Meanwhile, the joint statement said, “We welcome the prospects for global economic growth to strengthen in 2014 but remain vigilant in the face of important global risks and vulnerabilities.”
 一方、世界経済に関して、共同声明は、「今年の成長は強まる見通しだが、リスクや脆弱ぜいじゃく性がある」と言及した。

In their last meeting in February, the G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors agreed on a numerical target of lifting “our collective GDP [gross domestic product] by more than 2 percent above the trajectory implied by current policies over the coming five years.” At stake however is how they can meet the target. The joint statement appropriately stated the G-20 members will review their growth strategies by September.
 前回2月のG20は、「世界成長率を5年間で2%以上の底上げ」という数値目標で合意したが、課題はどう実現するかである。共同声明が9月までに成長戦略を点検する方針を示したのは妥当だ。

In contrast to the U.S. economy, which is chugging along, Europe faces the rising threat of deflation. The Chinese economy is not free from worries, either.
 景気回復が続く米国経済と対照的に、欧州ではデフレ懸念が台頭し、中国経済も不安を抱える。

The Japanese economy, meanwhile, has an uncertain path ahead now that the consumption tax rate was raised this month. The nation should incorporate regulatory reforms and corporate tax reduction in a new growth strategy to contribute to the growth of the global economy.
 消費増税後の日本経済の先行きに不透明感がある。日本は新たな成長戦略に規制改革や法人税減税などを盛り込み、世界の成長に貢献することが求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 13, 2014)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:人生のサイズダウン /東京

スローライフの思想に相通じる良い論説ですね。
女性でもより大きな家、より高い収入思考の人たちは意外に多いと思いますが^^。
(スラチャイ)

April 13, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Downsizing one's life
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:人生のサイズダウン /東京

A number female friends around my age moved house this spring. In each case, they moved to either a smaller home or a smaller workplace.
 同世代の女性の友人の中で、この春、引っ越しをした人が何人かいる。それが全員、それまでより小さな部屋や仕事場に移ったのだ。

Common opinion is that selling a big house and moving to a one-room apartment is not something to celebrate. However, the friends who were invited to visit these smaller homes all dished out compliments. They, and I, got excited and said things like, "I want to live somewhere uncrowded like this," or "You don't need a big room; this is enough," as we admired the smaller, cute furniture.
 常識で考えれば、大きな一戸建てを売ってワンルームマンションに移るのは、喜ばしいこととは言えない。しかし、「これまでよりサイズダウンした新居」に招かれた友だちは、声をそろえて「いいわねえ」と言う。私も含め、「私もこれくらいモノのない中で暮らしたい」「大きな部屋なんて必要ないよね、これで十分」「わあ、小さなテーブル、かわいい!」と興奮状態に陥ってしまう。

I wonder how this would go for men, however. Even though more men think flexibly nowadays, some are still unhappy with moving to the suburbs or a smaller place. Talking like characters in a historical drama, they say, "We're finally letting go of the castle," or, "It's a retreat to the countryside." I feel that if only they could enjoy the freshness of their new life, things would be much simpler.
 これが男性だったらどうだろう、と考える。だいぶ考え方が柔軟な男性も増えたとはいえ、小さな部屋や郊外に移ると、いまだに「ついに城を手放して」「都落ちですよ」などと時代劇のような言葉で、環境の変化を恥じて見せる人もいる。彼らが「こんな生活も新鮮だな」と楽しめれば、ずっと生きやすくなるはずなのに、と思う。

In my consultation room as well, it is overwhelmingly men who cannot let go of values like, "Higher income is better," and, "The bigger the house, the better." These men become depressed when they can't get ahold of those things.
 診察室で見ていても「収入は多いほどよい」「家は広いほどよい」という価値観を捨てきれず、それがうまくいかないと「人生、終わりだ」とうつ病にまでなるのは、圧倒的に男性だ。

Women, on the other hand, accept the situation they are in, and sometimes even purposefully choose a job that pays less if it is fulfilling, or a home that has fewer rooms if it allows a more compact, comfortable life. It is almost always women who actively enjoy cutting down on their life, and they do not hesitate to congratulate other female friends on such choices.
 一方、女性たちは、そのときどきの状況を受け入れたり、中にはあえて「収入は少ないが、人の役に立つ仕事」や「部屋数は少ないがコンパクトに暮らせそうな家」を選んだりする人さえいる。いわゆる人生のサイズダウンを積極的に楽しめるのは、ほとんどが女性なのだ。また女性の友人どうしでも、それを選択した人に「おめでとう!」「うらやましい」と称賛の声を惜しまない。

Of course, it might be important to always maintain a spirit of self-improvement. However, effort does not always lead to success, and more importantly, if you wear yourself out through over-exertion, there is no point. I think it is acceptable to sometimes choose the easier or less-demanding way and downsize our lifestyles.
 もちろん、あくまで上昇志向を失わず、常に「今より上へ」とがんばることも大切かもしれない。とはいえ、努力が必ずしも成果に結びつくわけではないし、何よりがんばりすぎることで心身ともに疲れきってしまっては意味がない。ときには、よりラクなほうへ、より手軽なほうへ、と人生のサイズダウンをはかることだってあってよいのではないだろうか。

When I visited one of my friends who moved to a smaller home, even her fashion sense seemed "lighter," and she seemed to have become younger. Looking at her smile, I thought that maybe I, too, would put an end to the plans, goals and pressures that fill my life and live lighter.
 より小さな住まいに移った友人の家を訪れると、出迎えてくれた彼女はファッションまで軽やかになり、なんだか若返ったように見えた。いつまでもあふれるほどのモノ、計画や目標、プレッシャーなどを抱え込んで暮らす生活にはどこかで見切りをつけて、私ももっと身軽に生きていこうかな、とその笑顔を見ながら考えた春の日であった。

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2014年04月08日 地方版

エネルギー計画 「原発活用」は現実的な戦略だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:28 pm, April 12, 2014
Government takes realistic stance on N-power in basic energy plan
エネルギー計画 「原発活用」は現実的な戦略だ

 ◆最適な電源構成の設定を急げ◆

The basic energy plan, which serves as a guideline for the government’s energy policy and was endorsed at a Cabinet meeting on Friday, represents a leap forward in efforts to normalize that policy, which has been marred by a series of turnabouts. The government now must reestablish a regime for a stable supply of energy.
 迷走した日本のエネルギー政策を、正常化する大きな一歩である。電力の安定供給体制の立て直しが求められよう。

The plan defined nuclear energy, the key focus in drafting the program, as “an important base load electricity source” that generates electricity day and night. It also clearly stated that nuclear power plants will resume operations after their safety is confirmed.
 政府がエネルギー政策の指針となるエネルギー基本計画を閣議決定した。
 最大の焦点だった原子力発電所については、昼夜を問わずに発電する「重要なベースロード電源」と位置付けた。
安全性を確認した原発の再稼働も明記した。

The plan is appropriate for officially ending the policy line of phasing out nuclear energy that was upheld by the administrations of the Democratic Party of Japan.
 民主党政権が掲げた「脱原発路線」に、正式に決別する妥当な内容と言える。

Komeito consent was key
 ◆公明党の同意がカギに◆

Following the outbreak of the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, operations of all 48 of the nation’s nuclear reactors have been suspended—a situation that is simply abnormal.
 東京電力福島第一原発の事故を受け、全原発48基の停止という異常事態が続いている。

The government initially planned to have the basic energy plan endorsed at a Cabinet meeting early this year, but it had to wait until now because of prolonged efforts to reach a consensus between the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner New Komeito.
 政府は当初、今年初めにもエネルギー基本計画を閣議決定する方向だったが、自民、公明両党との調整が長引いた。

Komeito, which had vowed to swiftly stop nuclear power generation during election campaigns, eventually agreed to the basic policy of utilizing nuclear power—a realistic judgment in light of the stringent power supply situation facing Japan.
 速やかな「原発ゼロ」を選挙公約に掲げた公明党も、最終的に、原発を活用する基本方針に同意した。厳しい電力事情を考えたうえでの現実的な判断だった。

Nuclear power accounted for 30 percent of the nation’s electricity generation before the nuclear crisis. Nearly 90 percent of the power once generated by nuclear plants is now being compensated for by thermal power.
 事故前に全発電量の3割だった原発を火力発電が代替し、比率は9割近くに達している。

Depending excessively on thermal power, for which fuel must be imported from abroad, is extremely risky from a security viewpoint.
 輸入燃料に頼る火力発電への過度な依存は、エネルギー安全保障の観点から極めて危うい。

The additional fuel costs incurred by the substitution of thermal power top ¥3.6 trillion a year, draining an enormous amount of national wealth from Japan into resource-rich countries.
 火力発電の追加燃料費は年3・6兆円に上り、資源国への巨額な国富流出が続く。

The electricity rates TEPCO charges households have risen by 40 percent from before the crisis, and the corresponding rates by Kansai Electricity Power Co. have increased by nearly 30 percent. As things stand now, additional rate hikes are inevitable.
家庭の電気料金は事故前より東電で4割、関西電力も3割近く上がり、このままでは追加値上げも不可避だろう。

It is worrying that there are no prospects yet of resuming the operations of nuclear power plants. The government should gear up efforts to restart nuclear power plants through such measures as persuading the local governments that host power plants to accept their resumption.
 問題は、いまだに原発再稼働への道筋が見えないことである。政府は立地自治体の説得を含め、再稼働の実現に向けた取り組みを加速させるべきだ。

Energy target doubtful
 ◆再生エネ2割は疑問◆

Another focal point of the basic plan was how to estimate the spread of solar power and other renewable energy. The government stated in the plan that it would aim to raise the percentage of renewable energy in the electricity supply to more than 20 percent by the end of fiscal 2030, from about 10 percent in fiscal 2012.
 基本計画のもう一つの焦点は、太陽光など再生可能エネルギーの普及をどう見込むかだった。政府は、2012年度に約1割だった再生エネの比率を、30年度に2割以上にすることを盛り込んだ。

The target was set in deference to Komeito and others, who place importance on renewable energy. Although it is necessary to expand the use of renewable energy, it is doubtful whether it was appropriate to set a numerical target only for renewable energy when the government has yet to compile an overall plan with appropriate percentage targets for all energy sources.
 再生エネを重視する公明党などの主張を受け入れたものだ。再生エネの拡充は必要だが、目指すべき最適な電源構成の全体像をまとめる前に、再生エネだけに数値目標を掲げたのは疑問である。

Raising the percentage of renewable energy to 20 percent means that renewable energy sources must be used to produce electricity equivalent to that generated by the full operation of 10 nuclear reactors, in addition to what is currently being generated by renewable energy sources.
 2割に引き上げるには、原発10基をフル稼働して作る電力を、再生エネで新たに確保する計算になる。

To produce that amount of electricity with solar power would require a tract of land 10 times the area inside the JR Yamanote Line, which loops around central Tokyo. In the case of wind power generation, it would require about 20,000 windmills. As things stand, these options have only a faint possibility of realization.
太陽光だけなら東京の山手線内の10倍の用地が、風力では約2万基の風車が要る。現時点では実現性に乏しい目標ではないか。

There are many hurdles to overcome, such as abrupt changes in power generation volume depending on sunshine and wind conditions. It will be impossible to find a way unless technology development is accelerated through the joint efforts of the private and public sectors.
 日照や風の状況による発電量の急変動など、克服すべき課題も多い。官民が連携して技術開発を加速しないと、活路は開けまい。

The crucial point is to promptly set a target figure for the composition of all power resources, including nuclear power generation, and present a road map for achievement of that goal.
 大切なのは、原発を含む電源構成の目標設定と、その達成への工程表を速やかに示すことだ。

If the direction of the nation’s energy policy remains uncertain, it will be difficult for companies to work out business strategies for the medium and long term. There are also fears it will hinder the Abe administration’s Abenomics economic policy.
 エネルギー政策の方向が不透明なままでは、企業が中長期の経営戦略を立てにくい。安倍政権の経済政策「アベノミクス」の足かせとなる恐れもある。

It is essential to diversify energy sources in a balanced manner among thermal generation, nuclear power and renewable energy, which all have merits and demerits in terms of economic efficiency, stability of supply and environmental impact. It is also necessary to take a multilateral approach, including the development and construction of thermal power plants with lower greenhouse gas emissions.
 経済性や供給安定性、環境負荷など、それぞれ長所と短所のある火力、原子力、再生エネにバランスよく分散させることが肝心だ。温室効果ガスの排出量を抑えた火力発電所の開発・新設など、多角的な対応も求められよう。

The basic energy plan states that dependence on nuclear power generation “will be reduced as much as possible.” But at the same time, it says “the nuclear power volume to be secured will be assessed.” This leaves room for the possibility of building a new nuclear power plant or reactor. But there is no denying that the plan stopped short of clarifying its stance.
 基本計画は原発依存度を「可能な限り低減させる」とする一方、「確保していく規模を見極める」としている。原発の新増設に含みを残しているが、踏み込み不足は否めない。

A policy to promote construction of new nuclear power plants or reactors should be clarified in the future for the purpose of maintaining nuclear technology and nurturing related human resources.
 原子力技術の維持と人材育成のためにも、原発を新増設する方針を明示すべきだろう。

The public has deep-seated concerns about the safety of nuclear power plants, partly due to the delay in ending the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The government and TEPCO must work together closely to end the crisis as soon as possible.
 原発の安全性に対する国民の不安が根強いのは、福島第一原発の事故収束の遅れも一因だ。政府と東電が緊密に連携し、早急に収束を図ることが重要である。

Pave way for final disposal

To utilize nuclear power generation, it is essential to pave the way for resolving the issue of a final disposal site for radioactive waste. It was natural for the basic energy plan to say “the government will take the initiative in tackling the matter.” It is urgent to carry out concrete measures, such as selection of a final disposal site.
 原発を活用するうえで、放射性廃棄物の最終処分に道筋をつけることも欠かせない。「国が前面に立って取り組む」としたのは当然だ。処分地選定などで具体的な進展を図ることが急務となる。

 ◆最終処分に道筋つけよ◆

Regarding the nuclear fuel cycle, the plan retains an expression that the matter “will be dealt with flexibly.” However, concern remains.
 核燃料サイクルについて「対応の柔軟性を持たせる」との表現が維持されたのは、懸念が残る。

It is laudable, on the other hand, that the Monju fast-breeder reactor has been positioned anew as a focus of international research to reduce the amount and toxicity of nuclear waste. This must be used as a tailwind for the steady promotion of the nuclear fuel cycle.
 一方、高速増殖炉「もんじゅ」が新たに、核廃棄物の減量や有害度低減などの国際的な研究拠点と位置付けられたのは評価できる。核燃サイクルの着実な推進への追い風としたい。

China has 15 nuclear reactors and plans to construct an additional 55 units. If a serious nuclear accident occurs in China, radioactive substances will fall on Japan.
 中国には15基の原発があり、55基の建設が計画されている。重大な原発事故が起きれば、放射性物質は日本にも飛来する。

Exporting Japanese nuclear reactors with high safety performance to emerging countries will contribute to the international community and simultaneously lead to securing Japan’s own safety.
 安全性能の高い日本の原発を新興国などに輸出することは、国際貢献になると同時に、日本の安全確保にもつながる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 12, 2014)

(社説)金正恩体制 経済再建に専念せよ

April 11, 2014
EDITORIAL: North Korea's Kim should focus on economic reconstruction
(社説)金正恩体制 経済再建に専念せよ

North Korea can never hope to rebuild the dilapidated nation without abandoning its nuclear and missile programs. Can’t it face up to this reality?
 核とミサイルを放棄することしか国家再建の道はない。その現実を直視できないのか。

Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s supreme leader, doesn’t appear to have any serious intention to improve the disastrous state of the country.
 北朝鮮の最高指導者、金正恩(キムジョンウン)氏には、破滅的な国の現状を本気で改める覚悟はないようだ。

The Supreme People’s Assembly, the country’s parliament, was convened on April 9 in Pyongyang. As the assembly’s members were newly chosen in March in the first parliamentary election since Kim became leader, observers paid close attention to the session, expecting it to offer signals about the direction in which the new regime intends to lead the nation.
 国会にあたる最高人民会議が平壌で開かれた。金正恩体制で先月初めて選ばれたメンバーによる会議で、新体制の方向性をうらなうと注目された。

As it turned out, however, the assembly session left little doubt that the country’s leadership has decided to maintain mostly the status quo. Especially notable about the reported results of the session is the regime’s strong will to pursue both the development of nuclear weapons and economic reconstruction at the same time.
 結論は、ほぼ現状の維持にすぎなかった。伝えられる会議の結果で目立つのは、核開発と経済の立て直しを両方とも進めるという、強い意志の表れだ。

Jang Song Thaek, Kim’s uncle, who was widely viewed as the leading champion of economic reform, was purged and executed last December. There were speculations that the removal of Jang could affect the regime’s stance toward reform.
 経済改革の主導役とみられていた正恩氏の義理の叔父張成沢(チャンソンテク)氏が昨年粛清された。それが改革の流れに影響を与えるのでは、との観測もあった。

Given that Premier Pak Pong Ju, another presumably pro-reform figure within the leadership, was reappointed, however, North Korea’s secluded regime apparently intends to maintain its policy of putting a high priority on the improvement of people’s living standards.
 だが、やはり経済改革派と目される朴奉珠(パクポンジュ)首相が再任されたことをみると、「人民生活の向上」を訴えてきた政権の姿勢に変化はないとみていいだろう。

Observers also pointed out the possibility that 86-year-old Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the second most powerful man in the country, could retire due to his advanced age. But he has also retained his post.
 高齢のため引退の可能性がささやかれたナンバー2の金永南(キムヨンナム)・最高人民会議常任委員長は留任した。

Some close aides to Kim Jong Un, including Choe Ryong Hae, director of the General Political Bureau of the military, were promoted to senior posts in the National Defense Commission.
崔竜海(チェリョンヘ)・軍総政治局長ら側近グループは国防委員会の要職に引き上げられた。

All these personnel decisions indicate that the North Korean leadership has no intention to change the nation’s power structure in any drastic way. These moves as a whole probably represent the regime’s attempt to prevent the purge of Jang from provoking unrest in the nation.
 こうした人事は、権力システムを急変させるつもりはない姿勢を示している。張氏の粛清を受けた国内の動揺を抑えるための判断だったとみられる。

What is troubling is the creation of the Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry. The new ministry is reportedly an upgrade of North Korea’s General Department of Atomic Energy. The move has made clear Pyongyang’s will to keep developing nuclear arms.
 問題なのは原子力工業省を新設したことだ。これまであった原子力総局を省に格上げしたとされ、今後も核開発を推し進める意思を鮮明にした。

On March 26, North Korea fired two ballistic missiles that are believed to have been mid-range Rodong projectiles into the Sea of Japan.
 北朝鮮は先月、中距離の「ノドン」とみられる弾道ミサイルを日本海に向けて発射した。

After the U.N. Security Council issued a statement to the media condemning the missile launch, Pyongyang reacted with a threat to conduct what it called a new form of nuclear test.
 国連安全保障理事会が発射を非難する「報道機関向け談話」を出したことを受け、北朝鮮側は反発し、「新たな形態の核実験」の実施を示唆した。

Speculation is rife that this new type of nuclear test may involve the use of highly enriched uranium.
 「新たな形態」については、高濃縮ウランを使うのではないかとの臆測が飛び交っている。

North Korea may be threatening to demonstrate anew its nuclear capabilities by showing off what it has achieved in the uranium enrichment program it has been secretly pursuing instead of using plutonium extracted from an experimental nuclear reactor.
 実験用原子炉から取り出したプルトニウムではなく、長らく秘密裏に続けていたウラン濃縮で改めて核の能力を示そうという脅しなのかもしれない。

There are not yet any concrete signs that North Korea is about to conduct a nuclear test, but the North Korean regime should be aware that it would cause its own collapse should it proceed with such a test.
 具体的な兆候はまだないが、もし強行すれば、自壊への道筋をたどることを自覚すべきだ。

The international community is already severely critical of the regime of Kim Jong Un. China, the largest supplier of aid to North Korea, is no exception. Pyongyang would be well-advised to avoid committing any more acts that would only deepen its international isolation.
 正恩体制への国際社会の視線はすでに冷たい。最大の支援国である中国も例外ではない。これ以上、孤立を深める愚行を犯すべきではない。

What the young leader should do is to wean the nation from the diplomatic brinkmanship to which his father, the late Kim Jong Il, resorted all too often. The impoverished nation cannot afford to pursue a dual-track policy of military buildup and economic rehabilitation.
 正恩氏に必要なのは、父の故金正日(キムジョンイル)氏が繰り返した瀬戸際政策からの決別である。軍事と経済の二兎(にと)を追う余裕などない。

The young Kim should focus his efforts on leading the nation out of its international isolation and putting its economy on a path toward regeneration.
孤立から脱し、経済を再生する努力にこそ集中すべきだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 11

ウクライナ混乱 これ以上許せない露の介入

The Yomiuri Shimbun 6:57 pm, April 10, 2014
Further Russian intervention in Ukrainian crisis will not be tolerated
ウクライナ混乱 これ以上許せない露の介入

Further interventions in which Russia uses force in Ukraine’s domestic situation cannot be tolerated.
 ウクライナ国内へのロシアの力による介入を再び許してはなるまい。

In three eastern Ukraine provinces where many Russian-speaking people live, the beleaguered nation has deteriorated into a state of chaos, as evidenced by the seizure of provincial government buildings by pro-Russian demonstrators.
 ロシア系住民の多いウクライナ東部の3州で、親ロシア派のデモ隊が地方政府庁舎を占拠するなど、混乱が広がっている。

In two of the three provinces, Donetsk and Kharkiv, pro-Moscow activists have declared the creation of “ people’s republics,” both of which are devoid of any legal basis. Protesters in Donetsk against the Ukrainian authorities are reportedly poised to carry out a referendum to consider the possibility of secession from Ukraine.
 ドネツク、ハリコフ両州では、親露派が、法的根拠を欠いた「人民共和国」樹立を宣言した。ドネツクは、独立の是非を問う住民投票も行うという。

These moves are reminiscent of Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in the southern region of Ukraine last month by way of a disputed referendum that ran counter to the Ukrainian Constitution.
There is no doubt that Russia is behind them.
 憲法に反する住民投票を経て、ロシアへ編入されたウクライナ南部のクリミア半島を想起させる動きだ。背後に、ロシアがいるのは間違いない。

Moscow has built up tens of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border. According to information from the U.S. government, Russian special forces and intelligence service agents have crossed the border into
Ukraine, maneuvering to instigate pro-Russian separatists.
 ロシア軍は、ウクライナとの国境付近に数万人規模の部隊を展開している。特殊部隊や情報機関要員が越境し、親露派を扇動しているとの米政府の情報もある。

Could it be that Russia is trying to set the stage for a military intervention on the pretext of protecting ethnic Russians in the east? Since even the ethnic Russians, as a matter of course, belong to the nation
of Ukraine, Moscow’s self-serving logic is completely unacceptable.
 ロシア系住民の保護を口実として、軍事介入する態勢を整えようとしているのではないか。ロシア系といえども、ウクライナ国民である。そのような身勝手な理屈は認められない。

If the chaos in Ukraine escalates, it will give rise to fears of major clashes between antigovernment protesters and the country’s security forces. Does Moscow truly have no option of acting with restraint
instead of exerting continuous pressure on Ukraine?
 混乱が拡大すれば、デモ隊と治安当局との間で大規模な衝突が発生する恐れもある。ウクライナに圧力をかけ続けるロシアに自制という選択肢はないのだろうか。

Still Ukraine’s Constitution

Russia has come up with a proposal that Ukraine revise its Constitution to shift to a federal system and stipulate military neutrality. The proposal is most likely designed to place the east under Moscow’s
influence by making it independent of the central government through the adoption of a federal system, with the aim of preventing Ukraine from joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
 ロシアは、ウクライナが憲法改正を行い、連邦制移行と軍事的中立を定めることを提案している。連邦制で中央政府から自立した東部を影響下に置き、ウクライナの北大西洋条約機構(NATO)加盟を阻むのが狙いだろう。

Constitutional decisions, however, are in the hands of the Ukrainian people, not Russia.
 だが、憲法を決めるのは、ロシアでなく、その国の国民だ。

In Ukraine, a presidential election will be held in May to launch a full-fledged administration to replace the current interim government. The international community should join forces to ensure that the
election is conducted fairly.
 ウクライナでは来月に大統領選挙が行われ、現在の暫定政府に代わる本格政権が発足する。国際社会は選挙が公正に行われるよう協力する必要がある。

During the period leading up to the presidential election, the interim government must do its best to bring calm to the chaotic state of affairs by reducing unrest on the part of ethnic Russians through such
means as having radical nationalists, who are strongly inclined to be against Moscow, lay down their arms.
 暫定政府は、それまでの間、反露傾向の強い過激な民族主義組織の武装解除などを通じて、ロシア系住民の不安解消に努め、混乱の沈静化を図らねばならない。

Strapped with huge amounts of government debt, Ukraine has seen its fiscal condition become increasingly stringent. The Ukrainian government is urged to address the task of drastic economic reform
to garner confidence from nations set to extend assistance to Ukraine.
 巨額の政府債務を抱え、財政状況も厳しさを増している。大胆な経済改革に取り組み、支援国の信頼を得ることも求められよう。

It is only natural that the United States and the European Union have taken a stiffer line than ever toward Russia.
 米国や欧州連合(EU)がロシアに対し、態度をこれまで以上に硬化させているのは、当然だ。

Washington has expressed its intention to mete out additional sanctions against Moscow in such key sectors as energy, financial services and mining as long as Russia fails to change its current stance.
 米国は、ロシアが態度を変えなければ、エネルギーや金融、鉱業などの重要分野で、追加制裁を行うと表明している。

The four parties concerned—the United States, Russia, the EU and the Ukrainian interim government—are scheduled to hold foreign ministerial talks next week. We hope to see the talks reach an agreement
on the need to find a way to ease tensions through negotiations.
 米露EUとウクライナ暫定政府の4者は来週、外相会談を開く。交渉で緊張緩和への糸口を探ることを期待したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 10, 2014)

国民投票法改正 7党合意の提案は確かな一歩

The Yomiuri Shimbun 9:52 pm, April 09, 2014
7-party bill on constitutional revision procedure a step forward
国民投票法改正 7党合意の提案は確かな一歩

Seven ruling and opposition parties have jointly submitted a bill to revise the National Referendum Law,

which stipulates procedures to amend the Constitution, to the House of Representatives.
 自民、公明、民主など与野党7党が、憲法改正の手続きを定めた国民投票法改正案を衆院に共同提出した。

Members of the seven parties, including the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito as well as

the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, account for more than 90 percent of the lawmakers in both

houses of the Diet. The bill is expected to be enacted during the current Diet session.
 所属議員は、衆参両院の9割超を占めている。今国会で成立する見通しだ。

The seven parties spent many days in intensive and careful discussions before reaching an agreement

on the bill for joint submission. We wish to express great praise for their efforts.
 与野党が協議を重ね、共同提案に至るまで丁寧に合意を形成したことを前向きに評価したい。

“This is a step forward in preparing an environment for amending the Constitution,” said Hajime

Funada, chairman of the LDP’s Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision to the Constitution. A revision

of the Constitution by the Diet’s initiation requires the approval of at least two-thirds of the members of

each house prior to a special referendum. We ask the parties not to squander this cooperative

momentum.
 自民党の船田元憲法改正推進本部長は「憲法改正に向けて環境作りが一歩前進した」と指摘した。国会による憲法

改正の発議は、衆参各院の3分の2以上の賛成が必要となる。今回の連携の機運を大事にしていかねばならない。

The bill stipulates that the voting age for national referendums will be set at 20 or older, but the age

will be lowered to 18 or older four years after the enforcement of the bill.
 改正案は、国民投票の投票年齢について、当面は「20歳以上」とし、改正法施行の4年後、自動的に「18歳以上」に

なるとした。

In line with the move, the seven parties and another opposition party also plan to lower the voting age

stipulated under the Public Offices Election Law to 18 within two years. The eight parties have agreed to

establish a project team on the issue. We would like to encourage them to maintain their schedule in

achieving that goal.
 公職選挙法の選挙権年齢に関しても、2年以内に国民投票に合わせて「18歳以上」へ引き下げることを目指す。与野

党は、そのためのプロジェクトチームを設置することで合意した。期限内に実現してもらいたい。

There is also some question as to whether the legal age of adulthood should be lowered to 18 from 20,

as currently stipulated in the Civil Code. The eight parties said they would discuss this issue as well in

the project team, but they avoided setting a specific date for such a change. They should not be faulted

for this decision because discussions on the issue have not progressed in the Diet, and also because the

impact of lowering the adulthood age on society would likely be enormous.
 もう一つの懸案である民法の成人年齢を18歳に引き下げる問題もこのチームで検討するというが、期限は明示していな

い。国会で議論が進まず、社会への影響も大きい以上、やむを得まい。

Clarify public workers’ role

When the ruling camp compiled a draft for the bill on revising the referendum law, it initially included a

clause banning government employees from participating in organized campaigning soliciting people to

vote, conducting signature-collecting campaigns and holding demonstrations.
 公務員の国民投票運動について、与党案には当初、組織的な勧誘や署名、示威運動を禁止する規定が盛り込まれ

ていた。

However, to the disappointment of many, this clause was omitted due to opposition from the DPJ, a

party backed by labor unions such as the All-Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers’ Union and by the

Japan Teachers’ Union. Instead, a supplementary provision was added to the bill, which said the ban on

group activities would be an issue subject to further discussions.
 自治労や日教組の支持を受ける民主党が強く反対したために、これが削除され、法案の付則で検討課題とされたのは

残念だ。

The political activity of public employees is limited under the National Civil Service Law and the Local

Civil Service Law, in order to preserve political neutrality and secure equity in the execution of public

services.
 公務員は、政治的中立性や公務の公平性確保の観点から、国家公務員法と地方公務員法などで政治活動が規制

されている。

If their political activities are permitted unconditionally just because such referendums make crucial

decisions concerning amendments to the Constitution, it will inevitably create a variety of problems. The

ruling and opposition parties must come up with a plan to impose some manner of limitations on the

political activities of government employees before a referendum is carried out.
 憲法改正に関する重要な国民投票だからといって、公務員の政治活動を無制限に認めれば様々な問題が生じよう。与

野党は国民投票の実施前までに一定の歯止めをかける方策を考える必要がある。

Another issue left undecided is whether to introduce a preliminary national referendum system for

matters presumably subject to constitutional amendments. The ruling and opposition parties decided to

shelve the issue, saying it will be discussed periodically in the commissions on the Constitution in both

houses of the Diet.
 憲法改正の「対象となり得る問題」について、予備的な国民投票制度を設けるかどうかも、宿題の一つとされていた。与

野党は、衆参の憲法審査会で定期的に議論するとして、先送りした。

We are afraid that once the scope of the national referendum expands to issues other than the direct

constitutional amendments, it could muddle national politics. We urge the parties to discuss the issue

carefully.
 国民投票を憲法改正以外にも拡大すると、国政に混乱をもたらさないか。慎重に検討すべきだ。

Despite the fact that problems have been left unsolved, the process for revising the Constitution will

become tangible with the passage of the bill on revising the National Referendum Law.
 課題はなお残るとはいえ、憲法改正の手続きは、今回の改正案が成立すれば道筋がつく。

We now need to shift to the content of the constitutional amendments. Discussions on the issue have

long been stalled. The next issue to consider is how to propel the stalled discussions forward.
 停滞している憲法改正の中身の議論をどう動かすか、考えねばならない次のテーマである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 9, 2014)

(社説)技能実習拡充 これでは出稼ぎ労働だ

April 09, 2014
EDITORIAL: Labor policy message to foreigners; Thanks. Now go home
(社説)技能実習拡充 これでは出稼ぎ労働だ

In a nutshell, the thinking behind the government’s emergency policy for the construction industry is: Despite the nation’s serious labor shortage, young people don’t want jobs, which forces us to rely on foreigners. But we don’t want them to settle in Japan permanently. So we will extend the period they can work in Japan up to double the current limit. But we will ensure they go home after the period expires.
 人手不足は深刻なのに、若者らは就職してくれない。ならば外国人に頼るしかない。ただ、定住してもらっては困る。日本で働ける期間を最長2倍に延ばすが、必ず帰国させる。
 政府が建設分野で決めた緊急対策は、突き詰めればそういうことになる。

Will such an impromptu measure work?
 こんな場当たり的な対応でうまくいくだろうか。

Central to this policy is the Technical Intern Training Program for foreigners. The purpose of this program is to aid newly emerging nations and developing countries by developing their personnel resources through work experience in Japan for a maximum of three years.
 対策の中心は、外国人技能実習制度である。人づくりを通じて新興国や途上国の発展を支援することが目的で、3年を上限に働いてもらう仕組みだ。

The government also combines this program with the visa residential status named “Designated Activities,” which is issued to foreign nationals, such as amateur athletes, domestic servants employed privately by diplomats, and those in the Technical Intern Training Program.
Under this visa status, foreigners who have completed the program will be able to stay in Japan for an additional two to three years. The government says this is a temporary arrangement that will remain in effect until fiscal 2020, the year of the Tokyo Summer Olympics.
 そこに「特定活動」という在留資格をからませる。在日外交官の家事使用人やアマチュアスポーツ選手らに出してきたビザで、技能実習を終えた人にも2~3年の滞在を認める。東京五輪が開かれる2020年度までの限定措置という。

About 150,000 foreign nationals are currently working under the Technical Intern Training Program in all fields. But the original purpose of “aiding developing nations” has become blurred, and the program now serves in reality as a means to cover the domestic labor shortage with foreigners.
 技能実習制度で働く外国人は全分野で約15万人。「途上国支援」という目的はかすみ、国内の人手不足を埋める手段になってきたのが実態だ。

Under this program, many problems have come to light, such as illegally long working hours, nonpayment of wages and human rights violations, including physical abuse.
 法律を無視した長時間労働や賃金の不払い、暴力などの人権侵害もたびたび明らかになっている。

The Diet has discussed these matters, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has issued directives to the parties concerned, and the International Labor Organization and the U.S. Department of State have issued reports, all repeatedly urging the Japanese government to fix the situation.
国会での議論や総務省の勧告、国際労働機関(ILO)や米国務省の報告書など、内外から対策をとるよう繰り返し促されてきた。

The government has finally decided that only reputable organizations and companies should be allowed to join the program, and that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and the construction industry should exercise greater oversight.
 政府は今回、受け入れ窓口となる団体や実習先の企業を優良なところに限ったり、国土交通省や建設業界による監視を強めたりすることを決めた。

But we believe the government’s foremost priority now should be to eradicate the problems. The move to accept more foreigners is not limited to the construction sector.
だが、まずは問題の根絶に全力をあげるべきではないか。
 外国人の受け入れを拡充しようという動きは、建設分野にとどまらない。

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has come up with a set of proposals, including extending the duration of the Technical Intern Training Program from the current three years to five years, raising the foreign trainee quota, which is currently determined by the number of employees on each company’s payroll, and expanding the sectors subject to the program to other fields, including nursing care.
 技能実習の期間を3年から5年に延ばす。企業の従業員数に応じて決まる実習人数の枠を広げる。対象業種を増やし、介護分野などを加える――。

The government’s Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy and the Industrial Competitiveness Council are now studying these proposals.
自民党はこんな提言をまとめ、政府も経済財政諮問会議や産業競争力会議で検討を始めた。

However, the government is reluctant to accept foreigners as workers on a full-scale basis and allow them to settle permanently in Japan as immigrants, insisting that the matter has nothing to do with immigration and that the issue needs to be further debated by the public.
 一方で、労働者の本格的な受け入れと定住、いわゆる移民問題には及び腰だ。「移民は考えていない」「国民的な議論が必要」などというだけだ。

By overseas standards, the argument can be made that anyone who works in a foreign country for five or six years is none other than an immigrant. Given the reality of the work performed by foreign nationals under the Technical Intern Training Program, the Japanese government’s claim that they are basically “trainees” will not be accepted by the international community.
 海外の基準に照らすと、5年も6年も働く外国人は移民にほかならないという見方がある。働き方の実態をみれば、「実習が基本だから」という理屈は国際的に通用しないだろう。

As for the government’s haste to expand the Technical Intern Training Program in disregard of the many problems this entails, a concerned source offered this criticism: “It looks as if the government is simply trying to increase the number of migrant workers.”
 多くの問題を放置したまま技能実習の拡充を急ぐ政府に対し、ある関係者は「まるで出稼ぎ労働の拡大だ」と批判する。

We wonder how the Abe administration will respond to that criticism.
 安倍政権は、この指摘にどう答えるのか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 6

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「ポスト定年世代」考える /東京

January 19, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Time for young people to take center stage
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「ポスト定年世代」考える /東京

While there are still a few days left until the campaign for the Feb. 9 Tokyo gubernatorial election kicks off on Jan. 23, so far candidates who are 65 or older are getting all the attention. Some candidates are in their 70s and 80s. If they worked at a private company, they would have been retired a long time ago.
 東京都知事選が行われる。23日の告示まではまだ間があるが、現時点で立候補意思を示したり、話題になったりしている人たちの中心は65歳以上。70代や80代の人もいる。会社勤めならとっくに定年退職しているはずの年齢だ。

Just as I was watching TV during the New Year holiday, former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone and Yomiuri Shimbun Chairman Tsuneo Watanabe appeared on the air, discussing various issues Japan is facing. They are 95 and 87, respectively. Although they are considered conservatives, their strong passion for international cooperation and world peace made their points very convincing.
 新年にテレビを見ていたら中曽根康弘氏と渡辺恒雄氏の対談番組を放映していたが、このお二人は95歳と87歳だ。保守派といわれる方々だが、国際協調や平和に対しての強い思いがあり、発言には強い説得力があった。

Meanwhile, the young, from those in their teens to their 30s, claim that they keep getting a bad deal in life because they were born in the midst of the decades-long recession. They also have to face problems with the aging population and declining birth rate. People in this age group might not have a guaranteed pension and it's hard for them to climb up the corporate ladder because the older executives remain in power. Some even struggle to find regular full-time employment. The young sometimes slam the older generation for "hanging onto their vested interests."
 10代から30代の若い世代は、自分たちは不況が始まってから生まれ、少子高齢化のあおりも受け、損ばかりしていると言う。年金も受給できる保証がないし、組織の重要なポストにも年配者が居座って、なかなか自分たちにチャンスが回ってこない。それどころか、正社員の仕事さえ見つけるのが難しい。若者は、上の世代のことを「既得権益にすがる老害」などと呼ぶこともある。

However, when opportunities rise, those in post-retirement age are usually the ones who raise their hands to do the job. Some might argue that young people don't have opportunities, but I often hear people say things like, "The person in their 30s I asked to take the director position firmly declined my offer" and "Nobody raised their hands to serve as the chair when we invited applicants among the young."
 しかし、いざとなると「よっしゃ、私が」と出てくるのは、結局のところ“ポスト定年世代”。若い人には声がかからないからだ、と言う人もいるが、あちこちから「30代の人に組織の代表を、と依頼したけれど固辞された」「下の世代から委員長を募ったけれど、手が上がらなかった」といった声が聞こえてくる。

The younger generation may have sensed from the massive volume of information they have access to that responsible positions are not worth it. Some think that they don't want to fail and embarrass themselves and some might value freedom over a career or social status.
 責任ある立場についても「労多くして実り少なし」なのではないか、ということが情報量の多い若い人たちには読めているのかもしれない。「失敗して恥をかきたくない」「地位よりも自由がほしい」と思っている人もいるのだろう。

Nevertheless, it's sad that every time something big happens, we see the older generation on center stage.
とはいえ、いつまでも「何かがあると表に出てくるのは65歳以上」ではあまりにも寂しい。

As I was rambling on about such a cultural environment to my friends, they asked me, "Wait, what about your generation that falls in between the old and young?"
 そんなことを知人に話したら、「ちょっと待って。若者が表に出てこないと言う前に、間の世代に当たるあなたたちはどうなの」と言われた。

Indeed. We haven't seen people in my age group, in their 50s, or those in their 40s, who are eager to take responsibility for society since Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto emerged on the scene.
確かに、私のような50代やすぐ下の40代からも、考えてみれば橋下徹大阪市長以降、「社会を背負って立つ」と意気込むリーダーが出てきていない。

I wonder if we, under the age of 60, would become interested in standing up and taking action after we hit that age where we are free from roles in an organizational structure, or if we would continue to hesitate to take center stage no matter how old we become.
 “アンダー60”の私たちも組織での役割から解放される年代になれば、「私がひと肌脱ごう」と立ち上がるのだろうか。それとも、幾つになっても、「いや、私は矢面には立ちたくないんで」と尻込みし続けるのだろうか。

In any case, we need to think about what we should do to change the cultural tendency where people rely on the post-retirement age group to take on responsible jobs.
いずれにしても「責任ある役割は、ポスト定年世代にお任せ」という風潮をどこかで変えるためには何をすべきかについても、私たちはもっと考えていく必要があるようだ。

〔都内版〕

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2014年01月14日 地方版

プロフィール

srachai

自己紹介・リンク

■近況

2009年の9月15日に脳梗塞を発症、右手が少し不自由になりました。
MRAで脳梗塞の部位を特定でき、素早い処置をとれたので大事に至りませんでした。
快復にむけてリハビリ中です。
(2011/01/01更新)

■自己紹介・リンク

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fc2 家族のアルバム
初歩の日本語(タイ人学生向け)
タイの小学三年生数学学力テスト(国家試験)
タイ語、中国語、ビルマ語
Preliminary Japanese lessons for Thai students
旅行のタイ語学習サイト
ラオ日・日老辞書
妻はタイ人/タイの文化/タイの仏教戒律

  • ライブドアブログ