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遺骨が問う戦後―過去に向き合い続ける

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2010/12/28
--The Asahi Shimbun Dec. 27
EDITORIAL: Search for war remains
遺骨が問う戦後―過去に向き合い続ける

The search for the remains of Japanese soldiers who died in the Pacific War is gaining momentum.
 太平洋戦争の戦没者の遺骨収集事業が、動きだしている。

"We will check each and every grain of sand," Prime Minister Naoto Kan said after digging into the volcanic ash and soil of Iwo Jima, a fierce battleground between Japan and the United States.
 「一粒一粒の砂まで確かめる」。先日、日米激戦の地、硫黄島で火山灰まじりの土を掘り返した菅直人首相は、こう誓った。

The remains of 13,000 Japanese soldiers have yet to be found on this island, but the prime minister's special task force has located a group burial ground based on information from American documents. A full-fledged excavation project is to begin.
この島では日本兵1万3千人分の遺骨が見つかっていないが、官邸の特命チームが米国資料をもとに集団埋葬地を特定。これから発掘作業が本格化する。

Kan stressed, "The country has a responsibility to bring the remains back home," and implied that he is eager to expand the search program to other battle zones.
 首相は「遺骨帰還は国の責務」と強調し、他の戦域での収集の拡充にも意欲を見せた。

About 2.4 million Japanese died in Okinawa and in foreign lands during the war. The 65th year after the war is drawing to a close, yet the remains of only 1.26 million have returned home.
沖縄や海外での戦没者は計240万人。戦後65年が暮れつつあるというのに、戻ってきた遺骨は126万柱にとどまっている。

Actually, there is no law that says "the country has a responsibility" to retrieve the remains. When the war ended, what is now the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare took over the unfinished administerial business of the Japanese military, and the ministry has conducted the search as part of an assistance program for families of the war dead.
 実は、遺骨収集を「国の責務」と定めた法律はない。旧軍の残務整理を引き継いだ厚生労働省が、戦没者遺族の援護の一環で続けてきた。

For a while after the war, it was difficult to set foot on lands the Japanese military had once invaded. It was not until the late 1960s, after reparation payments to those governments had made progress, that official government teams could make repeated trips to those lands in search of the remains.
 敗戦後しばらく、侵略した地に足を踏み入れるのは難しかった。政府が率いる遺骨収集団が盛んに赴くようになったのは、各国への賠償が進んだ1960年代末のこと。

Former war comrades would serve as guides for the families of the fallen as they made their way into the jungles. The rescue of Shoichi Yokoi, a Japanese soldier who had held out in Guam until 1972, gave the project momentum.
戦友が道案内し、遺族が肉親の最期を思いながら、密林にわけ入る。72年、グアム島の残留兵横井庄一さん救出で関心が高まり、遺骨収集は一気に進んだという。

With Japan entering the Heisei Era starting in 1989, veterans and families have grown older. With fewer leads on possible locations of the remains, the project dwindled down.
 平成に入り、戦友や遺族は高齢となった。遺骨のありそうな場所の情報は減り、事業は先細りになる。

Starting four years ago, parts of the recovery project were commissioned to private groups, but there have been rumors that some of the bones that an NPO had collected in the Philippines might include those of local people. Some have suggested perhaps it was time to draw the project to a close.
4年前からは一部で民間団体への委託が始まったが、フィリピンではNPO法人が集めた骨に現地の人のものが混ざっている疑いが指摘されている。そろそろ幕引きを、という声も出ていた。

Kan had shown interest in this matter since his days in the opposition. We would like to believe that his involvement is not for the sake of his administration's popularity, but that he is truly committed to the recovery project in the numerous former battlegrounds.
 菅首相は、野党時代からこの問題に関心を持ってきた。思いつきの政権浮揚策ではなく、本気で各地での収集に取り組もうとしていると信じたい。

If so, is it not time to consider moving beyond the usual framework of assisting the families and paying tribute to the deceased?
だとしたら、従来の遺族援護や慰霊といった枠組みを越え、遺骨収集のあり方を考え直すときではないか。

In the future, the recovery project should involve more young people, including student volunteers.
 (収集の正確さや効率を期すのは当然だ。) 今後の担い手は学生ボランティアなど、若い人にも広げるべきだろう。

Perhaps the recovery project can be continued as a process of contemplation and soul-searching; a process for us to think and question why people were mobilized by the state and had to die in such places, only to be left there. It can be turned into an opportunity for us to learn the horrors of war, to learn from the mistakes of the past, and discover means of reconciliation.
 国家に動員された人たちが、なぜこんな所で命を落とし、放置されねばならなかったのか。戦争の悲惨さと、反省を学び、和解の手がかりとする。そんな営みとして続けられないか。

For example, of the 520,000 Japanese casualties of war in the Philippines, the remains of 370,000 have returned home. But when we search for the remains of Japanese soldiers, we must not forget that more than 1 million Philippine civilians were killed.
 たとえば52万人が戦死したフィリピンには、37万人分の遺骨が残る。しかしあの戦争では、100万人を超すフィリピン民間人が犠牲になっている。日本兵の最期を捜すときには、そのことを忘れてはなるまい。

In China and North Korea, the search for remains, let alone their recovery, is still difficult. The remains include those of the soldiers who were originally from lands Japan colonized. Seoul is demanding Tokyo return the remains of those forcibly taken to Japan.
 中国や国交のない北朝鮮では、いまだに遺骨調査さえ難しい。兵士には旧植民地出身者も含まれる。韓国政府からは、日本各地に強制連行された人の骨を返せと、求められてもいる。

The bones are silent, but from the dark they continue to question how Japan dealt with the aftermath of war. The important thing is to constantly face up to the past.
 物言わぬ骨たちが、暗闇からこの国の戦後処理を問うている。大切なのは過去に向き合い続ける姿勢である。
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2010-12-29 07:05 | 英字新聞

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