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■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

[ はじめに ]
タイのスラチャイです。
英語学習に王道はありません。
毎日毎日の地道な努力の積み重ねが必要です。
スラチャイはNHKのラジオ英語会話で現在の英語力を身につけました。
一日僅か15分の学習でも数年間継続すれば相当な学習効果が期待できます。

[ 名前 ]
松井 清 (スラチャイ)

[ 略歴 ]
・福岡県出身
・国立高知大学卒業
・準大手建設会社に就職
・50歳で会社を早期退職
・99/10 タイ全土を旅行
・00/10 タイに移住
・03/07 カイちゃん誕生
・07/06 シーファーちゃん誕生
・現在タイ国コンケン在住

[ 座右の銘 ]
Slow and steady wins the race.
遅くとも着実な者が勝利する
(NHK基礎英語芹沢栄先生)

[ 学習の手引き ]
・音読して耳から英語を吸収
・Think in English.
・ネイティブ発音付辞書活用
・英英辞典を活用(英和も)
・翻訳和文で専門用語確認

[ English Newspapers ]
Yomiuri
Mainichi
Asahi
Japan Times
Washington Post
Newyork Times
Bangkok Post
The Nations
Phuket Gazette

[ 英字新聞の英和対訳学習 ]
英字新聞(読売)
英字新聞(毎日)
英字新聞(朝日)
英字新聞(朝日2)

[ スラチャイ編集の辞書 ]
タイ日辞書(改訂版)
日タイ辞書(改訂版)
ラオ日辞書
日ラオ辞書

[ 英字新聞リンク ]
ocn cafe
fc2
goo
yahoo
ameba

 
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2014年04月30日

ダンス営業規制 実態に即した法改正が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun 6:55 pm, April 28, 2014
Law regulating dance clubs should be revised to reflect current reality
ダンス営業規制 実態に即した法改正が必要だ

Regulating dance classes under the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses can be considered off the mark. The law should be revised to reflect reality.
 風俗営業法でダンス教室まで規制するのは、的外れと言われても仕方あるまい。実態に即した法改正が必要である。

The Osaka District Court has acquitted the former operator of a dance club accused of running the establishment without permission in violation of the law, based on its judgment that “it cannot be said the operator allowed customers to engage in the kind of hedonistic dancing regulated by the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses.”
 若者らがダンスを楽しむ「クラブ」を無許可営業したとして、風営法違反に問われた元経営者に、大阪地裁が無罪を言い渡した。「風営法が規制する享楽的なダンスをさせたとは言えない」との判断からだ。

However, the court also rejected the claim by the defense counsel that “the law infringes on the freedom of business activity and is therefore unconstitutional,” concluding that “regulation is needed for the public benefit and is thus constitutional.”
 一方、弁護側の「風営法は営業の自由を侵害しており、憲法違反だ」という主張に対して、判決は「規制は公共の利益のために必要で、合憲」と結論づけた。

We believe it is appropriate to acknowledge the rationality of controlling the excesses of sex entertainment businesses, while also clarifying the facts in individual cases involving dance clubs and other operations.
 性風俗の乱れを取り締まる合理性は認めながら、クラブなどの個別の状況に応じて事実認定したのは、適切と言えよう。

Some of the law’s stipulations are outdated because it regards all businesses related to dance as “adult entertainment” and regulates them in the same way.
 風営法の規定で時代にそぐわないのは、ダンスに関するあらゆる営業を「風俗営業」と位置づけ、一律に規制している点だ。

Regulation of dance businesses was included when the law was enacted in 1948, just after the end of World War II. At that time, dance halls were considered hotbeds of prostitution.
 風営法にダンスの営業規制が盛り込まれたのは、戦後間もない1948年の制定時に遡る。当時、ダンスホールが売春の温床となっていたことが背景にある。

Currently, the operation of dance businesses, including dance halls and classes that do not serve food or drinks, in principle requires permission from a public safety commission. Such businesses are prohibited from opening establishments close to residential areas, schools, hospitals and some other locations. Also, their business hours must end at midnight in principle, and they are off limits to people younger than 18.
 客に飲食を提供しないダンスホールやダンス教室を含め、営業には、原則として公安委員会の許可が必要だ。住宅地や学校、病院などの近くでは開業できない。営業時間は原則午前0時までで、18歳未満の立ち入りは禁止される。

Popularity of dancing rising

More people are enjoying dancing as a fitness or artistic activity, and ballroom dance is popular mainly among the elderly. Considering these circumstances, it may be advisable to scrap the regulation of dance halls and dance classes.
 ダンスをスポーツや芸術活動として楽しむ人が増えている。高齢者を中心に社交ダンスも流行している。こうした現状を考えれば、ダンスホールやダンス教室への規制は撤廃すべきではないか。

But dance clubs should remain subject to some regulation. They usually play reverberating music very loudly, triggering many complaints from neighbors because of the noise and vibrations. Furthermore, drug trade and violence are sometimes associated with dance clubs.
 その一方、クラブに対しては、一定の規制を残すべきだろう。大音響で音楽を流すため、騒音や振動の苦情が多い。薬物売買や暴力事件なども発生している。

A suprapartisan group of about 60 Diet members, called the league of lawmakers promoting dance culture, is trying to submit a bill to revise the law during the current Diet session.
 超党派の国会議員約60人で作る「ダンス文化推進議員連盟」は、風営法改正案を今国会に提出することを目指している。

Among their proposals, the one most likely to be adopted is to abolish the regulation of dance halls and classes but continue to regulate the location of dance clubs, while allowing them to extend their business hours if they get permission.
 ダンスホール、ダンス教室の規制は撤廃し、クラブについては、立地規制を維持しつつ、許可を受ければ営業時間を延長できるとする案が有力とされている。

A considerable number of dance clubs are deliberately operating without official permission because they would have a hard time attracting customers if they closed early. The bill under study by the lawmakers perhaps merits consideration, as it presents realistic controls.
 営業の終了時間が早いと客が集まらないとして、あえて無許可営業を続けているクラブは少なくない。改正案は、現実的な対策として検討に値するのではないか。

At a subcommittee meeting of the government’s Council for Regulatory Reform, some members called for using dance clubs to attract tourists in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
 政府の規制改革会議の部会では、2020年の東京五輪を前に、クラブを観光資源として活用すべきだといった意見も出た。

What matters most is to create an environment for people to enjoy dancing in a wholesome manner.
 重要なのは、ダンスを健全に楽しむための環境作りである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 28, 2014)
posted by srachai at 08:23| Comment(0) | 読売英字

2014年04月29日

認知症事故判決 介護する側の苦労も考慮した

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:13 pm, April 27, 2014
Court considers hardship of caring for senile in lawsuit over rail death
認知症事故判決 介護する側の苦労も考慮した

Last week’s ruling by the Nagoya High Court posed a weighty question: How can we establish a system that will enable people to live at home after developing senile dementia?
 認知症になっても自宅で暮らせる体制をどう築くか。重い課題を突きつける判決である。

The case, which was sent to the court on appeal, involves a suit filed by the Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) seeking compensation from the bereaved family of a man with senile dementia who died after being struck by a train−an accident the railway company claims caused damage because it delayed the train schedule. The high court ordered the man’s wife, who was caring for her husband at home, to pay compensation.
 認知症の男性が列車にはねられて死亡し、JR東海が遺族に遅延損害の賠償を求めた訴訟の控訴審で、名古屋高裁は、介護していた妻に賠償を命じる判決を言い渡した。

There have been a considerable number of cases in which elderly people with dementia have wandered away from their home and become involved in train accidents. The issue is something people providing nursing care for family members can relate to.
 認知症の高齢者が徘徊はいかいし、鉄道事故に遭うケースは少なくない。介護する家族にとって、人ごとではない問題だ。

The accident occurred when the man wandered out and entered the train tracks after his wife had briefly dozed off.
 この事故では、妻がまどろんでいるわずかの間に、男性は外出し、線路内に立ち入った。

In the first trial at the Nagoya District Court, the presiding judge said that the danger of the man being involved in an accident, if he went out, was predictable and that “the wife was at fault for neglecting her duty to constantly watch over him.”
 1審の名古屋地裁は、男性が外出すれば事故が起きる危険性を予見できたとした上で、「妻には、夫から目を離さずに見守るのを怠った過失がある」と認定した。

The high court, on the other hand, ruled that such an accident had not been predictable. The court also rejected the claim that she was at fault for neglect, which constitutes illegal behavior, by taking into account the fact that the wife was trying hard to nurse him. But it still acknowledged her responsibility of paying compensation as the person obliged to supervise her husband since he could not be legally held accountable.
 これに対し、名古屋高裁は「事故は予見できなかった」と判断した。妻らが介護に努めていた点も考慮し、不法行為による過失を否定した。ただ、責任能力のない夫を介護する妻には、監督義務者としての賠償責任を認めた。

24-hour watch impossible

It is virtually impossible for family members to watch sufferers of senile dementia they care for around the clock. If family members are made to shoulder excessive burdens, more and more people will have second thoughts about caring for such patients at home.
 介護する家族が四六時中、認知症の高齢者から目を離さずにいることはできまい。家族に過重な責任を負わせれば、自宅での介護に二の足を踏む人が増えよう。

The fact that the high court halved the amount of compensation the family has to pay in this case indicates it took into consideration the hardship of nursing care givers.
 高裁が賠償額を1審に比べ半減させたのは、介護する側の苦労にも目配りした結果と言える。

Furthermore, the high court pointed out a blunder on the part of JR Tokai, saying, “It can be presumed that the accident could have been prevented” if the railway company had locked an opening in a fence, from which the man is believed to have entered the tracks.
 高裁は、JR東海に対しても、男性が線路に立ち入ったとみられるフェンスに施錠していれば、「事故を防げたと推認できる」と落ち度を指摘した。

The court also said, “It is the social responsibility of public transportation entities to improve safety” by paying consideration to people unable to understand the danger of accidents. We hope all railway companies will take this point seriously.
 事故の危険を理解できない人がいるのを考慮し、「公共交通機関として安全の向上に努めるのは社会的責務」とも述べた。鉄道各社は重く受け止めてもらいたい。

At a time when the number of senile dementia patients has surged in recent years to 4.6 million, and there are long waiting lists to enter special nursing homes for the elderly, it is difficult to care for senile dementia sufferers at nursing facilities alone.
 認知症高齢者は急増し、460万人に上る。特別養護老人ホームの入居待機者も多く、施設だけで介護するのは困難だ。

In 2012, about 9,500 went missing because of senile dementia, of which 359 people were later found dead. It is essential to expand and improve the system for supporting nursing care at home in addition to coming up with measures to prevent accidents involving elderly people who wander away.
 認知症が原因で行方不明になった人は2012年に約9500人に上り、359人は発見時に死亡していた。在宅介護を支援する体制の拡充と、徘徊による事故を防ぐ手立てを考えねばならない。

The government, for its part, should establish around-the-clock visiting nursing care services as well as medical institutions that would dispatch a doctor to the home of a patient whose symptoms have worsened.
 政府は、24時間型の訪問介護サービスや症状の悪化時に往診する医療機関の整備を急ぐべきだ。

It is indispensable to involve community members in countermeasures. The city of Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture, which sends e-mail alerts to citizens whenever a senile dementia sufferer goes missing, can be a good example for other local governments.
 地域ぐるみの対策も欠かせない。認知症の高齢者が行方不明になると、市民に一斉メールで知らせる福岡県大牟田市の取り組みは、他の自治体の参考になる。

It will also be necessary to study the advisability of establishing an insurance system that would compensate railway companies for accidents involving senile persons.
 事故が起きた場合、鉄道会社に損害金が支払われる保険制度の創設も検討課題になるだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 27, 2014)
posted by srachai at 08:43| Comment(0) | 読売英字

2014年04月28日

(社説)防衛省の隠蔽 良心はどこへいった

April 26, 2014
EDITORIAL: Bullying cover-up casts doubts on the Defense Ministry’s moral integrity
(社説)防衛省の隠蔽 良心はどこへいった

A cover-up scandal concerning the 2004 suicide of a Maritime Self-Defense Force seaman has brought to the fore the Defense Ministry’s willingness to go to any length to keep embarrassing facts in the dark.
 都合の悪い文書は組織をあげて隠す。それを内部告発する者は徹底攻撃する。そんな防衛省の姿が浮かび上がった。

The ministry appears determined to sweep any inconvenient documents under the carpet through organization-wide efforts and relentlessly attack any whistle-blowers.
 海上自衛隊の男性隊員の自殺をめぐり、先輩のいじめを示す証拠を同省が隠蔽(いんぺい)していたと、東京高裁が認定した。

On April 23, the Tokyo High Court acknowledged the deliberate concealment of internal documents that showed the seaman of the MSDF destroyer Tachikaze was bullied by a senior officer.
The existence of the documents came to light only after a lieutenant commander exposed the cover-up by submitting a statement to the high court, saying the MSDF was hiding the documents.
 そんな証拠があることは、裁判を担った海自の3等海佐が暴露し明らかになった。

If the lieutenant commander had not acted, the organization’s failure to stop the bullying would have never become known to the public.
それがなかったら、いじめを放置した組織の責任は闇に葬られていた。

Despite being an organization whose mission is to protect the lives of people, the ministry made every effort to obscure the truth in order to protect itself, without reflecting on the seriousness of the loss of a life.
 人命を守るべき組織でありながら、命が失われた重みを顧みずにひたすら自らの防衛に腐心したのである。

The ministry clearly needs to do some soul-searching. It should carry out an immediate and exhaustive investigation into the case to find out who ordered the concealment of the documents and who knew the facts, and then publish the findings.
 猛省するほかあるまい。誰が隠蔽を指示し、その事実を誰が知っていたのか。早急に徹底調査し、公表すべきだ。

The concealed documents were the results of a survey covering all 190 crew members of the Tachikaze to see whether bullying was a factor in the seaman’s suicide. They also included records of comments made by crew members who knew what happened and were interviewed as part of the ministry’s in-house inquiry.
 隠されたのは、男性が所属した護衛艦の乗組員たちにいじめの有無を聞いたアンケートや、事情にくわしい乗組員に聞き取ったメモだ。

The victim’s family filed a freedom-of-information request for the survey results, but the MSDF denied their existence.
 遺族は情報公開法に基づいて開示を請求したが、海自は存在しないとして応じなかった。

There is no way to have specific information held by an organization disclosed if the organization claims there is no such information.
 情報をもつ側が「ない」と突っぱねれば、情報公開は成り立たない。

The controversial state secrets protection law will come into force by the end of this year amid serious concerns about the disclosure situation in this country.
そんな実態がある中で年内に特定秘密保護法が施行される。

The law will make it even more likely that information inconvenient to the government will remain undisclosed to the public. This prospect is really distressing.
当局に不都合な情報はいっそう闇にとどまるだろう。暗然たる気持ちになる。

The only ray of hope in the whole depressing episode is the conscientious act of the lieutenant commander who prevented the scandal from being hushed up.
 救いといえば、3佐の良心が、それを許さなかったことだ。

Revealing the existence of the evidence before the court of appeal was a courageous deed that jeopardized his position within the organization.
控訴審で証拠の存在を明らかにしたことは、組織人としての立場を賭した、勇気ある行いだった。

The government, however, criticized his remarks as untrustworthy during hearings of the high court.
 しかし、控訴審で国側はその発言を「信用できない」と批判した。

There must be a considerable number of people within the MSDF who were actually privy to the cover-up. But no one but the lieutenant commander came forward to tell the truth.
実際には、少なからぬ関係者が隠蔽を知っていたはずだが、その3佐以外、誰も真実を語ろうとしなかった。

The Defense Ministry even considered punishing the officer. That’s simply an outrageous response to his honorable act.
 同省は3佐の懲戒処分も検討したという。言語道断の対応というほかない。

It is not the whistle-blower, but the people who tried to conceal the information who should be punished.
処分が必要なのは告発者ではなく、情報隠しをした側である。

The ministry should promise not to treat the lieutenant commander unfairly.
告発した3佐を不当に扱うことはしないと約束すべきだ。

Ten years have already passed since the seaman committed suicide. If the survey had been disclosed earlier, the trial would not have taken so long, and the lessons from the incident might have been used for the efforts to root out bullying within the SDF.
 男性の自殺からすでに10年がたっている。アンケートが早く明らかになっていれば、裁判は長引かなかったし、その教訓は自衛隊内のいじめ防止などに生かせたかもしれない。

There is a winner and a loser for every trial. When the government is the defendant, however, it should not focus simply on winning the case.
 ふつうの裁判に勝敗はつきものだが、国が当事者の場合、勝てばいいというものではないはずだ。

The government, which exists to serve the public interest, is responsible for offering all evidence that can help clarify the truth during the trial.
真実に近づく証拠を裁判で示すことが、公益の側に立つ政府の責任ではないか。

For any public entity, the cause of social justice should be of more value than its own organization. The Defense Ministry needs to take this obvious principle to heart.
 どんな公的組織であれ、その組織自体よりも大切に守るべき社会の正義というものがある。防衛省はその当たり前の原則を肝に銘じるべきだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 26
posted by srachai at 08:20| Comment(0) | 朝日英字

2014年04月27日

配偶者控除 女性活用につながる見直しか

The Yomiuri Shimbun 11:00 pm, April 24, 2014
Will reviewing spousal tax deduction help boost role of women in society?
配偶者控除 女性活用につながる見直しか

The government’s Tax Commission has started discussing a review of the tax deduction system for spouses, which is aimed at reducing the burden of income and resident taxes on taxpayers with spouses.
 所得税などの負担を軽減する「配偶者控除」の見直し論議が、政府税制調査会で始まった。

To help expand the role of women in society at a time when the working generation is shrinking due to the ongoing trend of a low birthrate and a rapidly aging population, a comprehensive range of reforms in many areas is required. Changes to the tax system alone will not be sufficient.
 少子高齢化で「働く世代」が減少する中、女性の社会進出を後押しするため、税制だけでなく、総合的な対策が問われている。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made helping women to play a more important role in society a key element of his economic growth strategy. “We should review the tax system, which restricts women’s employment,” said Abe, who has instructed relevant government bodies to reexamine the deduction system. We think this is a fair response to the changing times.
 見直しは、女性活用を成長戦略に掲げる安倍首相が「女性の就労を抑制する税制を見直すべきだ」と指示したのがきっかけだ。時代の要請とも言えるだろう。

Under the current spousal tax deduction system, the main household income earner can deduct \380,000 from their annual taxable income if their spouse is a full-time homemaker, or works part-time and earns \1.03 million or less per year.
 所得税の配偶者控除とは、専業主婦やパートで働く配偶者の年収が103万円以下の場合、世帯主の課税所得を一律で38万円減らす制度である。

Many companies reduce their spousal allowance and other allowances paid to employees at the \1.03 million threshold. Consequently, housewives working part-time tend to arrange their working hours to ensure they do not earn more than \1.03 million.
 103万円を境に配偶者手当などを減らす企業も多い。パートで働く主婦は103万円を超えないよう仕事を調整しがちになる。

If a wife earns more than \1.03 million but less than \1.41 million, her husband can still claim a special spousal deduction. However, it is a fact that the “\1.03 million wall” limits women's desire to work.
 収入が103万円を超えても141万円未満までなら、控除を受けられる特別措置も設けられているが、「103万円の壁」が女性の働く意欲を損ねている側面があるのは確かだ。

The spousal tax deduction was introduced in 1961. Its objective was to provide tax relief to typical households at the time, in which the husband went to work while the wife stayed at home to devote herself to housekeeping and raising children.
 配偶者控除は1961年に導入された。夫が外で働き、妻が家庭で育児や家事に専念するという、当時の一般的な家族を税制面から支援する狙いがあった。

Today, however, more households have broken away from the traditional model, with both spouses in employment. There have also been major social shifts regarding the handling of household chores.
 しかし、今では、共働き世帯が専業主婦の世帯数を上回る。仕事や家事の分担に対する意識も大きく変化している。

A long road ahead

It would be wrong, however, to simply assume that the revision of the spousal tax deduction system alone would be sufficient in allowing more women to find employment. There are a myriad of reasons why many women who want to work are unable to do so. Many full-time housewives are so tied up with child-rearing and caring for elderly parents that they find it very difficult to join the labor force.
 ただ、配偶者控除を見直しただけで女性がより働くようになると短絡的に考えることはできない。働きたくても働けない理由は様々だ。子育てや介護で就労しにくい専業主婦も少なくなかろう。

In addition to the spousal tax deduction, the government must also consider how to resolve the other obstacles obstructing women from working. Pressing issues include eliminating long waiting lists for day care centers, expanding the nursing care insurance system and rectifying the customary practice of working long hours.
 政府は待機児童の解消や介護保険拡充、長時間労働の慣行是正といった課題の解決策も併せて検討しなければならない。

Some estimates suggest that abolishing the exemption would result in a tax increase of about \70,000 for a household with an annual income of \5 million. The government will also need to consider relief measures to ensure the additional burden on household budgets after the system review does not increase significantly.
 控除を廃止すれば、年収500万円の家庭で7万円程度の増税になるとの試算がある。家計の負担が大幅に増えないよう、負担緩和措置の検討も必要になる。

If the consumption tax rate is raised to 10 percent in October 2015 as scheduled, the burden on family budgets will balloon even further. The government is considering cutting the corporate tax rate, but the move could fuel criticism that businesses are receiving preferential treatment while households are being slapped with higher taxes.
 消費税率が予定通り2015年10月に10%へ引き上げられると、家計負担はさらに膨らむ。政府は法人税率引き下げを検討中だが、「企業優遇」「家庭増税」という批判が高まりかねない。

In campaign booklets containing the Liberal Democratic Party’s policies for the House of Representatives election in 2012 and last summer’s House of Councillors election, the ruling party declared it would retain the spousal tax deduction system. Many LDP members are reluctant to review the system, or are outright opposed to such discussions. One of the most vocal opponents is Finance Minister Taro Aso, who said, “We mustn’t do anything thoughtless.”
 自民党は、12年の衆院選と昨夏の参院選の政策集で配偶者控除の維持を掲げていた。党内では制度見直しに異論も少なくない。麻生財務相は、「うかつなことはできない」と慎重論を唱えている。

How can more employment opportunities be created for women? We hope the government and ruling parties will deepen discussions on this issue from a wide range of viewpoints.
 女性の就労機会をどう拡大するか。政府・与党は幅広い観点から議論を深めてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 24, 2014)
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2014年04月25日

閣議の議事録―何のための公開なのか

April 23, 2014
EDITORIAL: Abe misses the point in disclosing minutes of Cabinet meetings
閣議の議事録―何のための公開なのか

For the first time since Japan adopted the Cabinet system in 1885, the government on April 22 disclosed to the public the minutes of a Cabinet meeting and a following ministerial meeting, both held on April 1.
“This is a historic first step,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gloated over the disclosure. New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi called it an “epoch-making” attempt.
 これが、安倍首相が胸を張る「歴史的な一歩」か。これが、公明党の山口那津男代表が言う「画期的」な試みなのか。
 1885(明治18)年に内閣制度が発足して以来初めて、閣議と閣僚懇談会の議事録が公開された。

We welcome the information disclosure itself. However, the manner in which this was done was hardly satisfactory, and we definitely do not share the enthusiasm of Abe and Yamaguchi.
そのこと自体は歓迎したいが、公開のあり方は到底満足できるものではない。

At the April 1 meeting, the Cabinet effectively lifted the nation’s self-imposed ban on weapons exports and replaced it with the new “three principles of defense equipment transfer.” The decision represented a major turning point in Japan’s post-World War II pacifist policy that was grounded in the spirit of the Constitution.
 公開された4月1日の閣議では、「武器輸出三原則」に変わる「防衛装備移転三原則」が決定された。憲法の理念に基づく、戦後日本の平和主義のひとつの重要な転換点である。

According to the minutes, however, the minsters in charge merely “expressed their resolve” to apply the new principles appropriately, while Abe was quoted as saying, “I think it is most important to explain the purpose of the new principles in a way the people can understand, and make efforts to gain their understanding.”
 ところが議事録によると、閣議では関係閣僚が、新原則の適切な運用に関して「決意表明」するにとどまっている。安倍首相も「新たな原則の趣旨を分かりやすく説明し、国民的理解を促進することが非常に重要であると考えております」。

This meeting ended in only 12 minutes, and the entire transcript is written on four pages of A4-size paper. Is this the reality of a Cabinet meeting, which serves as the supreme government session for making final policy decisions? The sheer absence of substance is almost incredible.
 所要時間12分。A4判で実質4枚。内閣の最高かつ最終的な意思決定の場である閣議の現実がこれなのか。にわかには信じがたい空疎さである。

Granted, it has often been said that Cabinet meetings are extremely formalized and that in-depth discussions rarely take place even at the more casual ministerial meetings that follow.
 かねて閣議は極めて形式的で、閣僚懇談会でも突っ込んだ議論はほとんどされないと言われてはきた。

But if the disclosed minutes are an indication of how little the Cabinet ministers have to say about policies, then the fundamental question that arises is, “Where are the nation’s policy decisions really made?”
しかし本当にこの程度のやりとりしか行われていないとすると、この国の意思決定はいったいどこで行われているのか。
根本的な疑問が頭をもたげてくる。

What makes the situation even more frustrating is that we have no means of verifying whether the disclosed minutes accurately reflect what was really discussed during the Cabinet meeting.
ただ問題はそれ以前に、本当にこの程度の発言しか出ていないのか、検証のしようがないことだ。

The disclosure is based on the Cabinet’s decision, and it is not a legal requirement.
 公開は法律で義務づけられたものではなく、閣議決定に基づいている。

In fact, the “minutes” are actually nothing more than notes taken by the deputy chief Cabinet secretary and other officials present at the meeting. As such, we have no idea exactly what standards are being followed in the compilation of the minutes.
公開されるのは議事録といっても陪席した官房副長官らが発言要旨を記録したメモであり、どのような基準に基づきまとめられているのかわからない。

The prime minister has said, “From the standpoint of information disclosure, it is desirable to swiftly make public the information under the current laws.” But Abe is missing the whole point.
首相は「現行法の下で速やかに公表した方が情報公開の観点で望ましい」としているが、何か勘違いしていないか。

The compilation and disclosure of minutes is not a “public service.” Article 1 of the law on management of public records and archives defines public records as “intellectual resources to be shared by the people in supporting the basis of sound democracy.” The purpose of this law is to keep records of who made the decisions and why, so that they can be examined by future generations.
 議事録の作成と公開は「サービス」ではない。公文書管理法第1条は、公文書を「健全な民主主義の根幹を支える国民共有の知的資源」と位置づける。誰が、なぜそのような意思決定をしたのか、過程を記録し後世の検証に堪えられるようにする。

So long as the government neglects its responsibility to history, there is no point whatsoever in disclosing information that cannot be verified, no matter how swiftly the government makes it public.
 その歴史に対する責任を等閑視し、検証不能なものをどんなに速やかに公開したところで、何の意味もない。

The public records management law needs to be revised so that not only Cabinet meetings and ministerial meetings but also all other meetings that affect vital policy decisions, such as meetings of the Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council, will be required to keep their minutes. The minutes should be disclosed to the public in principle after a certain number of years.
 公文書管理法を改正し、閣議や閣僚懇のほか国家安全保障会議(日本版NSC)など重要な意思決定に関わる会議も議事録作成を義務づける。一定の年月が経てば原則公開する。

Only when such changes have been made can the prime minister rightfully say that a “historic first step” has been taken.
 そこに踏み込んで初めて、「歴史的な一歩」が刻まれる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 23
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2014年04月24日

船舶差し押さえ 日中共同声明の精神が揺らぐ

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:03 pm, April 22, 2014
Chinese seizure of Japanese vessel undermines spirit of 1972 statement
船舶差し押さえ 日中共同声明の精神が揺らぐ

The seizure of a Japanese ship is an unprecedented exercise of Chinese public authority against a private Japanese firm. The action will lead to a further deterioration in Japan-China relations, while the Xi administration has been stepping up pressure on Japan over history issues.
 日本企業に対する前例のない公権力行使だ。歴史問題で対日圧力を強める習近平政権の下、日中関係がさらに悪化しかねない事態である。

The Shanghai Maritime Court announced Saturday it had impounded a large vessel owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, which was berthed at a Zhejiang Province port, in connection with a lawsuit over a ship leasing contract dating back to 1936.
 中国の裁判所、上海海事法院は19日、1936年の船舶賃貸借を巡る訴訟に絡み、商船三井所有の大型船舶を浙江省の港で差し押さえたと発表した。

The Chinese judiciary is under the control of the Communist Party, so it is possible that the seizure reflects the will of the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s administration.
 中国の司法は、共産党の指導下にあり、習政権の意思を反映したものと言えよう。

The lawsuit was filed in 1988 by two grandchildren of the founder of a Chinese shipping company, and calls for the payment of fees for two freighters leased to a predecessor of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and additional compensation for the ships, which eventually sank.
 訴訟は、中国海運会社の関係者が80年代に起こした。商船三井の前身となる企業に貨物船2隻を貸した際の賃貸料や、沈没した船の賠償金の支払いを求めてきた。

A ruling on the case became final in December 2010, when an appellate court upheld a 2007 decision, ordering Mitsui to pay more than \2.9 billion.
 2010年末、商船三井に29億円余の賠償金支払いを命じる判決が確定した。

The Chinese court impounded the ship, leased by Mitsui to a Chinese steelmaking company, arguing that Mitsui failed to comply with the order to settle unpaid bills and pay compensation.
 商船三井が賠償に応じないとして、裁判所は、中国の鉄鋼会社に貸し出されていた船舶の差し押さえという措置を取った。

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the seizure had no connection with the issue of war reparations.
 中国外務省は「戦争賠償問題とは無関係」と説明している。

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denounced the Chinese action as “extremely regrettable” and said the seizure “would undermine the spirit at the heart of the 1972 Japan-China joint statement that established the normalization of bilateral relations.”
 これに対し、菅官房長官は「極めて遺憾だ。1972年の日中共同声明に示された国交正常化の精神を根底から揺るがしかねない」と述べた。賛同できる見解だ。

We are inclined to agree.

Claims renounced

In the 1972 joint statement, China agreed to renounce demands for war reparations from Japan. The Chinese side essentially put a lid on demands by Chinese citizens for war reparations.
 共同声明で中国政府は、戦争賠償請求の放棄を表明している。中国側は、基本的には民間からの賠償請求を封じ込めてきた。

Over the years, Japan has provided more than \3 trillion in loans to promote and sustain Chinese economic development, and Japan continues provision of grant assistance to poorer regions of China today. Japanese companies have made substantial contributions to the country through investment in and technological cooperation with China as well.
 日本政府は、総額3兆円余の円借款を供与し、中国の経済発展を支えた。貧困地域などへの無償資金協力はなお続いている。企業も現在に至るまで投資や技術協力で多大な貢献をしている。

The Chinese government has not made sufficient efforts to spread awareness of these Japanese contributions in the country.
 こうした経緯を中国政府は、国内に十分説明していない。

The Xi administration has been ratcheting up its anti-Japan propaganda campaign over historical perceptions since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a visit to Yasukuni Shrine in December.
 習政権は、安倍首相の靖国神社参拝を機に、歴史認識問題での反日宣伝を一段と強めている。

What prompted Chinese authorities to seize a Japanese ship more than three years after the court’s decision was finalized? Given its timing, it is possible to see the move as a ploy by Beijing to pressure Japan ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Tokyo.
 判決確定から3年以上たって、なぜ、差し押さえという手段をとったのか。オバマ米大統領の訪日直前というタイミングをとらえた対日圧力と見ることもできる。

Suga expressed concern over the Chinese action, saying that it “could intimidate Japanese firms” planning to expand business in China.
 菅長官は、中国でのビジネス展開を考える日本企業にとって「萎縮効果」を生みかねないと指摘し、憂慮の意を示した。

Amid declining Japanese investments in China, any increase in the perceived risk of Chinese investment will likely come as a blow not only to Japan, but also to China, whose economic growth has been slowing.
 日本の対中投資が落ち込む中、中国リスクの増大は日本だけでなく、経済成長が減速している中国自身にとっても痛手のはずだ。

A succession of lawsuits filed by Chinese who claimed they or members of their families were forced to work at Japanese factories during the war have called for Japanese firms to pay compensation. In light of this most recent move, many fear further seizures of the assets of Japanese firms.
 戦時中に強制連行されたとする中国人元労働者らが、日本企業に損害賠償を求める動きが相次いでいる。今後、日本企業の資産差し押さえが拡大する恐れもある。

The Xi administration must reaffirm mutual benefit as the heart of Japan-China relations.
 習政権は、互恵という日中関係の原点を再確認すべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 22, 2014)
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2014年04月23日

外国人労働者 活用策を幅広く議論する時だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun 6:45 pm, April 21, 2014
In-depth discussions needed over hiring of more foreign workers
外国人労働者 活用策を幅広く議論する時だ

With the shrinking of this country’s workforce as a result of the rapid graying of society and the chronically low birthrate, Japan now faces the major challenge of meeting the nation’s manpower needs to ensure its society remains vigorous.
 少子高齢化で、働く世代の人口は減り続けている。社会の活力を維持するため、労働力の確保は大きな課題である。

Under the circumstances, the government has begun studying the effective use of foreign workers in such sectors as construction and nursing care services. The first issue to be taken up is significantly increasing the number of foreign workers in the construction industry.
 政府は建設、介護などの分野で外国人労働者の活用策の検討を始めた。
第1弾は、建設業での外国人の受け入れ拡充だ。

With the sharp rise in demand for construction related to facilities for the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, the industry is expected to face acute manpower shortages.
 建設業界は、2020年東京五輪・パラリンピックに向けて施設の建築需要が急増し、大幅な人手不足が予想される。

Regarding the plan for accepting technical trainees from developing countries−the Industrial Trainee and Technical Internship Program−the government plans to extend the period of stay for trainees in this country to up to six years, from the current three years, if they work in the construction industry. The planned extension will be temporary, effective from fiscal 2015 until the opening of the Tokyo Olympics. The step appears to be a last-ditch, stopgap measure to cope with the extreme shortage of construction workers.
 政府は開発途上国から受け入れる外国人技能実習制度について、在留できる期間を3年から最長6年に延長する方針を決めた。15年度から五輪開催までの時限措置とする。労働力不足の急場をしのぐ苦肉の策と言えよう。

In regard to the government-backed foreign trainee program, a slew of instances involving violations of the Labor Standards Law have been reported, including nonpayment of wages. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry must bolster surveillance procedures to crack down on wrongful labor practices.
 技能実習制度を巡っては、賃金不払いなど労働基準法違反の事例が相次いでいる問題がある。厚生労働省は、不正の監視を強化しなければならない。

Labor shortages are also serious in the nursing care service sector. Due to the graying of society, the number of nursing care workers across the country should be increased by 1 million by 2025, according to a government estimate.
 介護分野の人手不足も深刻だ。急速な高齢化に伴い、政府推計では、25年までに介護職員を100万人増やす必要があるという。

However, the foreign nursing care workers accepted by this country have been strictly limited to people from such countries as Indonesia who come to Japan with the aim of acquiring qualifications as certified welfare workers under economic partnership agreements between Japan and these countries. The number of people who passed certification examinations totaled about 240 since the start of the program in fiscal 2008, far short of making up for the labor shortage.
 経済連携協定(EPA)に基づき、外国人の介護労働は、インドネシアなどから介護福祉士の資格取得を目指して来日する場合に限られている。これまでの試験合格者は約240人に過ぎず、人手不足の解消にはほど遠い。

Boost working conditions

Without opening the door wider for foreigners with vocational skills, the future rise in demand for labor can never be met. The government should study the feasibility of adopting a new vocational certification examination system.
 一定の技能を持つ外国人に門戸を広げなければ、今後の需要はまかなえない。新たな技能検定試験なども検討してもらいたい。

It is also essential for the government to help foreigners who wish to work here as nursing care workers to improve their Japanese-language capabilities, as communication in Japanese is indispensable in the field.
 介護に不可欠なコミュニケーション能力を高めるため、政府は介護職員を志す外国人への日本語学習支援にも力を入れるべきだ。

One major factor behind the labor shortages in the construction and nursing care sectors may be because young Japanese who find employment in these businesses tend to quit their jobs very soon. This is mainly because wages in these sectors are lower than in other industries, making young workers worried about making long-term plans for the future.
 建設や介護分野の人手不足の背景には、就職した若者が定着しない問題も指摘できる。賃金が他の産業に比べて低く、将来の生活設計を描きづらい事情がある。

As long as companies remain dependent on cheap labor from overseas, wage levels of these firms are bound to remain static, and as a result they will continue to be unable to secure sufficient workers. It is vitally important for them to improve working conditions for Japanese workers, such as by introducing a regular wage raise system and a framework conducive to enhancing their vocational careers.
 安上がりな外国人労働者に頼ろうとする限り、賃金水準は向上せず、人手も確保できない。昇給制度など待遇改善やキャリア形成の仕組みを整えることが大切だ。

The government has hammered out a policy of encouraging women and the elderly to find employment. In sectors where there is still a labor shortage despite this policy, the government must come up with steps to make better use of labor from abroad.
 政府は女性や高齢者の就労促進を打ち出している。それでも不足する分野の労働力として外国人を活用する方策を考えるべきだ。

If foreign workers can be employed to do housework, the ratio of women joining the nation’s workforce will increase.
 家事支援に外国人を受け入れれば、女性の就業率をアップさせる効果も期待できよう。

There are now about 700,000 foreign workers in the country. Considering the possibility of cultural friction between foreign workers and Japanese and the impact on the nation’s public security, foreign workers should not be brought into the country in a haphazard manner.
 現在、外国人労働者は約70万人に上るが、文化的な摩擦や治安への影響を考えると、無秩序に増やすことはできまい。

How should foreign workers be brought into this country and how should they be utilized? The time is ripe for the government and private sector to discuss these matters extensively.
 外国人労働者をどう受け入れ、どう活用するか。官民で幅広く議論する時期に来ている。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 21, 2014)
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2014年04月22日

(社説)日中関係 この機運を生かしたい

April 21, 2014
EDITORIAL: Don’t miss the window of opportunity opening for Japan-China thaw
(社説)日中関係 この機運を生かしたい

There have been some tentative signs of a thaw in the frosty relationship between Japan and China.
 凍りついていた日中関係に、やっと改善に向けた兆しが出てきた。
Japan and China are at loggerheads over a slew of thorny issues both in the past and at present. That’s exactly why it is so important for the two countries to repair their ties so that they can have a normal diplomatic dialogue.
両国間には過去と現在にまたがる多くの難問が横たわるが、だからこそ、ふつうに対話できる関係を作り直したい。

Some notable exchanges have taken place recently between the two countries.
 このところ注目すべき交流が続いている。

It has been revealed that Hu Deping, a Chinese pro-Japan advocate with close ties to President Xi Jinping, secretly met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo earlier this month.
 習近平(シーチンピン)国家主席と近い関係にある胡徳平氏が来日し、今月上旬、安倍首相と面会していたことが明らかになった。

Yohei Kono, the former Lower House speaker, met with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang on April 15 in Beijing. During the meeting, Wang criticized Abe but nevertheless said, “We hope the Japanese business community will make efforts to overcome the difficulties (in the bilateral relationship) and contribute to improving the relationship.”
 元衆院議長の河野洋平氏が北京で会談した汪洋(ワンヤン)副首相は、安倍首相を批判する一方、「日本の経済界が困難克服のため努力し、関係改善に貢献することを望んでいる」と発言した。

In addition, Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe will visit Beijing from April 24 to 26. It is the first time in as many as 18 years that the chief of the Tokyo metropolitan government has been formally invited to visit Beijing, which has a friendship city agreement with the Japanese capital. China’s Foreign Ministry has issued a statement welcoming Masuzoe’s visit.
 今月24日からは舛添要一・東京都知事が友好都市関係にある北京を訪れる。北京市からの招待は実に18年ぶりだ。中国外務省も歓迎の談話を出した。

The two countries, which are such close neighbors, should not remain estranged as they are now. If both sides are seeking to figure out a way to mend ties, that’s good news.
 隣国同士、このまま疎遠でいいはずがない。なんとか改善の道はないか。そんな意思が双方に働いているとすれば、好ましい進展だ。

Some efforts were also made to improve the situation last year.
 昨年も事態打開への努力はあった。

Even after China made a provocative move to suddenly establish an air defense identification zone in areas over the East China Sea including the disputed Senkaku Islands, diplomats from Tokyo and Beijing continued their exchanges to turn around bilateral ties.
11月に中国国防省が東シナ海域で突然、防空識別圏を敷く挑発行動に出た後も、外交当局者間の往来は続いた。

But Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine the following month caused bilateral exchanges to come to a halt.
だが、安倍首相による年末の靖国神社参拝で交流は途絶えた。

The Xi administration, which has been ratcheting up criticism of Japan over history-related issues, is unwilling to make an overt move to seek reconciliation with Tokyo unless Abe makes a concession.
 歴史問題で非難を強めてきた習政権は、安倍首相が譲歩しない限り、公然と和解に動くような体裁はとりたくない。

Beijing has probably decided to limit its efforts to patch up the ties to economic and private-sector exchanges while taking a wait-and-see approach toward Abe.
まずは経済と民間の交流に力を入れ、安倍氏の出方は慎重に見極めよう、ということなのだろう。

But issues concerning views about history are not the only obstacles to improvement of the bilateral relations.
 ただ、日中の間にある障害は歴史認識だけではない。

For many years, China has been dangerously expanding its military capacity in its efforts to enhance its influence in surrounding areas. China’s aggressive military buildup and increasingly assertive behavior have created tension in neighboring areas including Japan.
むしろ中国が危うい軍拡を長年続け、周辺域での影響力拡大を図っていることが、日本を含む近隣に緊張をもたらしている。

Dialogue between the defense officials of both countries is necessary for preventing unnecessary clashes.
 無用な衝突を防ぐためにも、防衛当局間の対話が必要だ。

The establishment of a system to ensure safety in actions in the sky and the sea taken by the two countries in states of alert would help improve the security environment in the region.
空や海での警戒行動をめぐる安全確保のメカニズムをつくれば、地域の安保環境に役立つ。

On the economic front, Japan and China have a strong complementary relationship. China still needs Japanese technologies, while Japan needs China’s market and labor.
 一方、経済面では日中は相互補完関係が強い。今も中国は日本の技術を求め、日本は中国の市場と労働力を必要とする。

Tokyo and Beijing should start talks to enhance their bilateral economic relations including efforts to accelerate the negotiations for a three-way free trade agreement among Japan, China and South Korea.
 日中韓で構想されている自由貿易協定交渉の加速を含め、経済関係強化をめざした議論を政府間で進めるべきだ。

Concerns about China’s rapidly growing military power are widely shared by Pacific Rim countries.
 軍事大国化する中国への懸念は、今や環太平洋諸国が共有している。

But many countries in the region, including the United States, have been maintaining relations with China based on active bilateral talks on various issues instead of cutting off dialogue between the leaders.
それでも、米国はじめ各国は首脳同士の対話を絶やすような選択はせず、むしろ活発に主張をぶつけ合う関係を維持している。

Japan and China once agreed to promote mutually beneficial strategic relations between them. That means both sides should try to find a way to promote coexistence and co-prosperity even if there are serious disputes and disagreements.
 対立を抱えていても、共存共栄を図る。それがかつて日中で合意した「戦略的互恵関係」の意味するところではないか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 20
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2014年04月21日

高齢人口25% 独り暮らし対策は待ったなし

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:13 pm, April 18, 2014
Measures urgently needed to cope with, reduce number of elderly living alone
高齢人口25% 独り暮らし対策は待ったなし

As the people born during the postwar baby boom have begun entering the later stages of their lives, one out of every four people in Japan is now aged 65 or older.
 団塊の世代が高齢期を迎え、日本の総人口の4人に1人が65歳以上になった。

Working out measures to address the challenges posed by the nation’s rapid aging−a situation without parallel in the rest of the world−is an unmistakably urgent matter.
世界に類を見ないスピードで進む高齢化への対策が急務である。

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry released population estimates as of Oct. 1, 2013, in which people aged 65 and over comprised more than 25 percent of the population for the first time. Nearly 31.9 million had celebrated their 65th birthday.
 総務省が2013年10月1日時点の人口推計を公表した。65歳以上の人口が初めて全体の25%を超え、3190万人に達した。

Japan’s population has contracted for a third straight year, and the working-age population−people aged from 15 to 64−has fallen below 80 million for the first time in 32 years.
 総人口は3年連続で減少し、15〜64歳の生産年齢人口は32年ぶりに8000万人を下回った。

The aging of society brings with it ballooning social security costs, including expenditures for medical and nursing care. As a result, the burden of maintaining the social security system has grown even heavier on a working generation that is shrinking in an alarming fashion.
 高齢化に伴い、医療や介護などの社会保障費は膨張している。減少する「働く世代」には、社会保障制度を維持するための負担が重くのしかかる。

Japan’s social security system, as it exists today, is hardly sustainable and threatens to undermine Japan’s social and economic vigor. The situation is grave indeed.
 このままでは、制度を持続できず、経済・社会の活力も損なわれる。深刻な事態である。

In 2025, as the baby-boom generation passes the age of 75, the number of people needing medical and nursing care will undoubtedly rise even higher.
 団塊の世代が75歳以上となる25年には、医療や介護を必要とする人がさらに増えるだろう。

But as the number of older people continues to swell, there are limits to the number of elderly that can be cared for at facilities for the aged and hospitals. Expenditures covered by the nursing care and health insurance systems are likely to increase, leading to a further rise in benefit payments.
 増加する高齢者を施設や病院で受け入れることには限界がある。介護・医療保険から支払われる費用が高くなりがちで、給付費の一層の膨張を招く。

The situation calls for arrangements for integrated nursing care and medical services to be provided in the home, allowing the elderly to live at home for as long as reasonably practical. The government must also back construction of new housing to accommodate older people, including those with lower incomes.
 可能な限り自宅で暮らせるよう、訪問介護や在宅診療を一体的に提供する体制作りが必要だ。低所得でも入居できる高齢者向け住宅の整備も求められよう。

Build mutual aid framework

It is important that Japan also define a strategy for addressing the increasing numbers of older people living alone. According to projections by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, the number of such elderly people, which stood at 4.98 million in 2010, will rise to 7.62 million in 2035, an increase of about 50 percent.
 独り暮らしの高齢者対策も待ったなしだ。国立社会保障・人口問題研究所の推計では、10年の498万人が35年には1・5倍の762万人にまで増える。

Older people who receive no help from family are likely to face great difficulty living on their own if and when they encounter even minor physical or mental issues. Symptoms of dementia and other disorders also tend to be overlooked. Building neighborhood frameworks of mutual support to take the place of absent families is indispensable in coping with this situation.
 家族の手助けがない高齢者は、心身が少し不調でも自立生活が困難になる。認知症などの症状も見過ごされやすい。家族に代わり、地域で支え合う互助の仕組みを育てることが欠かせない。

Many noteworthy programs to keep an eye on elderly residents and provide them with places to interact with other people have been launched by nonprofit organizations and volunteers. We should encourage the further spread of such works.
 各地でNPOやボランティアによる見守り活動や、交流サロンといった高齢者の居場所作りが始まっている。こうした取り組みを広げていきたい。

The role played by local governments is crucial as well. One program by the government of Minato Ward, Tokyo, makes door-to-door visits to the homes of single elderly residents to offer appropriate administrative services, in an effort to better understand their living conditions. This program could be a useful model for other local governments.
 自治体の役割も重要だ。戸別訪問で独り暮らし高齢者の生活状況を把握し、適切なサービスにつなぐ東京都港区の取り組みなどは、他の自治体の参考となる。

We hope to see older people who are in good health and spirits take on volunteer and other activities for the benefit of their communities. Such contributions will add meaning to their lives, and at the same time reduce the likelihood that they will need nursing care services, thereby helping rein in social welfare expenditures for the nation as a whole.
 元気な高齢者にはボランティアなどとして地域で活躍してもらいたい。それが自身の生きがいや介護予防になり、社会保障費の抑制につながるだろう。

There is a close link between the number of older people living alone and the increasing number of unmarried people. Many people within the growing ranks of low-wage nonregular employees are giving up on getting married.
 独り暮らし高齢者の増加は、未婚率の上昇と密接な関係にある。低賃金の非正規労働者の増加で、結婚をあきらめる人が多い。

This is why employment patterns are an important part of preventing further growth in the number of older people living alone−working conditions for nonregular workers should be improved and companies must be urged to expedite promotion of such workers to regular-employee status.
 将来の独り暮らし高齢者を増やさないためにも、非正規労働者の処遇改善や正社員への転換を促進しなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 18, 2014)
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2014年04月18日

(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
posted by srachai at 08:17| Comment(43) | 朝日英字
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