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「原子力ムラ」の閉鎖的体質

(Mainichi Japan) April 25, 2011
How did Japan's nuclear industry become so arrogant?
記者の目:「原子力ムラ」の閉鎖的体質=日野行介(大阪社会部)

 ◇事故の背景に、批判拒む傲慢さ

What has stood out at the countless press conferences by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and the Cabinet Office's Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) of Japan that I've attended in covering the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant, is the rampant use of cliches such as "unanticipated state of affairs" and "unprecedented natural disaster."
 東京電力福島第1原発の事故の取材応援で、東電や経済産業省原子力安全・保安院、内閣府原子力安全委員会の記者会見に何度も出席した。そこで強く疑問に感じたのは、「想定外の事態」や「未曽有の天災」という決まり文句を盾に、決して非を認めようとしない専門家たちの無反省ぶりだ。

The excuses made by the organizations involved go to show that so-called nuclear power experts have no intention to self reflect or admit their shortcomings.
It was this self-righteousness -- evidenced over the years in the industry's suppression of unfavorable warnings and criticisms, as well as in their imposition of the claim that the safety of nuclear energy was self evident -- that lay down the groundwork for the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
これまで不都合な警告や批判を封じ込め、「安全」を自明のものとして押し付けてきた業界の独善的体質が今回の事故の背景にあると思える。

 ◇言葉は丁寧だが決して非認めず

At press conferences, TEPCO officials repeatedly express their "deep apologies" for the trouble caused to the Japanese people. However, as soon as reporters' questions turn to the actual safety of nuclear power stations -- about which they had long boasted a multilayered safety system referred to as "defense in depth" -- they begin to act coolly. Their speech may feign civility, but they never admit to any wrongdoing and merely keep insisting the righteousness of their own claims. When particularly unflattering questions are posed to them, some TEPCO executives glower at the reporters who dared to ask and give only a brusque response.
 「大変なご心配をおかけして申し訳ありません」。東電の記者会見は必ずと言っていいほど謝罪の言葉が出る。だが、「多重防護」を誇ってきたはずの原発の安全性自体に疑問が及ぶと、会見する幹部の態度は途端に硬くなる。言葉は丁寧だが、非は決して認めず、自分たちの言い分だけを強調する。都合の悪い質問には、記者をにらみつけながら木で鼻をくくったような対応をする幹部もいる。

Video footage of these press conferences, accessible via television broadcasts and the Internet, combined with disappointment with the government for its mishandling of the disaster, has fed the public's skepticism about the reliability and honesty of industry and political leaders.
 こうした会見の模様はテレビやインターネット動画でそのまま報道され、政府の対応への不信とも相まって、国民は「本当に大丈夫なのか」「うそをついているのではないか」と疑念を募らせている。

Between 2002 and 2005, I was posted to the Fukui Prefecture city of Tsuruga, which hosts 15 nuclear reactors along Wakasa Bay. The area is dubbed Genpatsu Ginza (Nuclear Ginza) -- after the upscale Tokyo shopping district that is home to many shops and department stores -- for the its abundance of nuclear power plants, and a lot of the bureau's important reporting has concerned the nuclear power plants.
 私は02年から3年間、若狭湾に原発15基が林立する福井県敦賀市に勤務した。「原発銀座」と称される地域で、取材の最重要テーマが原発だった。

The many nuclear power engineers and researchers I met while based in Tsuruga did not leave a good impression on me. They generally did not provide sufficient answers to questions that could put them and nuclear energy in a negative light, and were arrogant enough to turn a deaf ear to any criticism that may be aimed at them.
 取材で接した原子力の技術者・研究者たちの印象は決して芳しいものではない。都合の悪い問いにまともに答えず、批判的な意見に耳を貸さない尊大ぶりが印象に残った。

When the Kanazawa branch of the Nagoya High Court handed down a ruling in January 2003 nullifying permission that had previously been given for the construction of the prototype Monju fast breeder reactor (FBR), electrical power companies and researchers involved in the power industry were up in arms. At a debate about the court ruling, a university professor who was a proponent of nuclear energy employed his knowledge of specialized terminology to talk down an opposition-party Diet member. Later on, I witnessed the professor and some cronies smirk in the corner of the room as they muttered, "Take that, you amateurs."
 高速増殖原型炉「もんじゅ」(敦賀市)の設置許可を無効とした名古屋高裁金沢支部判決(03年1月)の際には、電力会社や研究者が業界を挙げて判決を攻撃した。判決に関する討論会で、推進派の大学教授が専門用語を駆使して野党の国会議員をやり込めた後、会場の片隅で「素人のくせに」と仲間内で笑い合っているのを見た。

Several years ago, a regional television broadcaster that featured a researcher critical of nuclear energy in a documentary drew strong protest from a local utility firm, which argued that the show was based on a misunderstanding of nuclear energy. Although the program did not directly criticize the utility firm, the broadcaster was unable to ignore the claims of the company, one of its major sponsors. It was made to promise to dispatch reporters to nuclear power plants on a regular basis.
 ある地方テレビ局が数年前、原子力に批判的な研究者をドキュメンタリー番組で取り上げたところ、地元電力会社が「原子力を理解していない」と猛烈に抗議した。番組はこの電力会社を直接批判する内容ではなかったが、テレビ局は広告主の抗議を無視できず、記者による定期的な原発見学を約束した。

An executive at the power company whom I interviewed about the case said, "An understanding of how safe nuclear power stations are was lacking. What we wanted was repentance (from the broadcaster)." TEPCO officials that I've recently been observing at press conferences remind me of that pompous power company executive.
 この件について取材した私に、電力会社の役員は「(原発が)いかに安全か理解していない。『反省しろ』ということだ」と言い放った。その傲慢な態度は、今回の事故を巡る会見で見た東電幹部と重なり合う。

 ◇官民にまたがる狭い人脈社会

So how did the industry become what it is now?
 なぜ、こんな体質が醸成されるのだろうか。

Tetsunari Iida, a former nuclear engineer who currently heads the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, says that the industry is dominated by a closely-knit nuclear establishment. Those who graduate from universities and graduate from schools with degrees in nuclear power engineering go on to work at power companies, energy-related manufacturers, or municipalities that host nuclear power stations. Everything comes down to personal networks, and who the graduating students go on to work for is largely influenced by the connections and interests of the students' professors. Regardless of whether the employers are public or private organizations, the newly inducted engineers are raised to become full-fledged members of the nuclear establishment.
 原子力の技術者だった飯田哲也・環境エネルギー政策研究所長は、業界の実態を「原子力村(ムラ)」と名付けた。大学や大学院で原子力を学んだ学生は、電力会社やメーカーに就職したり、国や立地自治体の技官になる。就職先は担当教官の意向で決まることが多い人脈社会で、彼らは官民に分かれても「ムラ」の一員として育っていく。

Accidents involving nuclear power plants are widely covered by the press, and are subject to intense criticism from citizens' groups. Because the nuclear establishment takes on a victim mentality when subjected to such pressure, it one-sidedly labels criticism from opponents as "opinions of mere laypersons," further reinforcing its self-righteous opinion of itself as the experts.
 原発関係の事故はメディアで大きく報じられる。市民団体などの批判にさらされることも多い。“被害者意識”から、彼らは批判を「素人の意見」だと一方的に決めつけ、独善的な専門家意識を強めていくのだろう。

Nuclear safety regulation in Japan is ostensibly covered under a "double-check" system, but in practice, the system has not functioned sufficiently. Since both those in a position to be checked and those in a position to do the checking come from the same establishment, they are motivated to take action that will protect their common interests. As for NISA, there's a fundamental structural problem in that it is but an arm of METI, the government ministry in charge of promoting nuclear power generation.
 原発の安全規制は、保安院と原子力安全委員会による「ダブルチェック」体制とされる。しかし現実には十分機能していない。チェックする方も、される方も、同じ「ムラ」の構成員なので、業界全体の利益を守ろうという意識が働く。保安院に至っては、原発を推進する経産省に属するという構造的問題を抱えている。

A comparison of the agencies overseeing nuclear energy in Japan and the U.S., respectively, is also telling. While the U.S. agency is called the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), its Japanese counterpart is called the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA). The conclusion we can reach from this is that by focusing so much on promoting the "safety" of nuclear energy, "regulation" and "supervision" have been left on the back burner.
 組織の名称にしても、米国は「原子力規制委員会(NRC)」なのに、日本の機関には「規制」ではなく「安全」が使われている。「原子力は安全」という宣伝を優先するあまり、規制や監視という視点が欠落していたとしか思えない。

The ongoing disaster in Fukushima has finally built momentum behind a discussion to split NISA from METI. There is no question that such a measure is necessary, but mere reshuffling cannot change the fundamental nature of those involved.
 今回の事故を受け、保安院を経産省から分離する組織改革がようやく検討される見通しとなった。必要なことだとは思うが、組織いじりだけでは専門家たちの体質を変えていくことはできない。

We are guilty of having relegated -- up until now -- the issue of nuclear energy as a world away, and a field best left to "experts" in the nuclear establishment. But the still unfolding crisis has made us painfully aware how closely linked nuclear energy is to our lives, from concerns over radiation exposure to power shortages. We no longer have the choice to remain apathetic. (By Kosuke Hino, Osaka City News Department)
 これまで私たちは原子力の問題を「専門家の世界だから」と、直視することを避け、「ムラ」に委ねすぎてきた。だが今回の事故で、放射能への不安から電力不足問題に至るまで、原子力が一人一人の生活に密接にかかわることが明白になった。もう無関心は許されない。

毎日新聞 2011年4月21日 東京朝刊
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by kiyoshimat | 2011-04-26 11:01 | 英字新聞

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