終戦に思う―今、民主主義を鍛え直す

2011/08/16
--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 14
EDITORIAL: Thinking about the end of the war; for a better democracy.
終戦に思う―今、民主主義を鍛え直す

A young officer murmurs: "There is never any victory for those who do not progress. The best thing that could happen to us is to be defeated now and thus wake up. When will we be saved if we don't wake up now?"
 「進歩のないものは決して勝たない。負けて目覚めることが最上の道だ。……今目覚めずしていつ救われるか」。青年士官がつぶやく。

In the spring of 1945, the Japanese battleship Yamato received orders to embark on a suicide mission.
 戦艦大和(やまと)は昭和20年春、帰還のあてない特攻出撃を命じられた。

The young officer's words were written down by a shipmate, Mitsuru Yoshida, in his "Senkan Yamato no Saigo" (Requiem for Battleship Yamato).
青年士官とともに乗艦した吉田満(みつる)が一部始終を書いた「戦艦大和ノ最期」にある。

His country had effectively forced him to meaningless end, but it seems the young officer still clung to hope.
 青年士官は、無駄死にを強いたに等しい国でも、せめて、未来には希望を託したのだろう。

Yet, did we really achieve progress? Did we wake up? Have we really been saved? Aug. 15 marks the 66th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II.
 しかし、私たちは、進歩し、目覚め、救われたのだろうか。明日、敗戦から66年。

--When will we wake up, if not now?--
■今目覚めずしていつ

In August, shortly before Japan's defeat, a young trainee officer who was drafted as a student found himself on the Satsuma Peninsula in Kagoshima Prefecture.
 敗戦間際の8月、学徒出陣で見習士官になった若者が鹿児島県薩摩半島にいた。

He was in command of troops preparing for a final showdown with U.S. forces.
中隊を率い米軍との決戦に備えていた。

They were defending an area they called "Ichikoro Jinchi" (easily defeated trench).
 守る場所を「イチコロ陣地」と呼んだ。

They had four cannons and only 72 rounds.
配備された4門の大砲に砲弾はわずか72発。

In a shooting match, their ammunition would not last even a few minutes.
撃ち続ければ数分ももたない。

When he asked his superior officer, "How are we going to fight with this?", the major replied on the spur of the moment, "When it comes to the push, there will be loads and loads of shells."
「これでどうやって戦うのか」と問うと、上官の少佐は、その場しのぎに「いざという時にはうなるほどの砲弾が来る」と言った。

After the war, the young trainee officer joined the Ministry of Finance and became a so-called elite bureaucrat.  若者は戦後、旧大蔵省に入りエリートと呼ばれる身となる。

Ritsuo Isobe, now 89, once headed the National Tax Agency.
磯辺律男元国税庁長官(89)は戦時中のエリート、職業軍人らをこう見る。

His view of the wartime elite, mainly professional soldiers, is that "they were interested in nothing but their own promotion, and spared no thought about how they should conduct themselves for the sake of their country and the people."
「自分の階級を上げることしか関心がなく、国のため、国民のために自らがどうあるべきかを考えなかった」

In those days, the country sought additional enemies despite already being caught up in the quagmire of the Sino-Japanese war.
 既に日中戦争の泥沼にはまっていたのに新たな敵を求めた。

As the United States was Japan's supplier of oil and other resources, it was unthinkable that Japan would dive headlong into the Pacific War against that country.
石油など資源の供給元だった米国相手の太平洋戦争への突入はあり得べからざることだった。

Yet, it was the military professionals who twisted the narrative, self-servingly calling it a war of survival and a matter of self-defense.
 それを自存自衛と都合よく言い換え、追い立てたのは軍人たちだった。

They rallied the country around those slogans. The citizens, whipped up into a frenzy by the early victories, answered the call and rallied around the military men.
国民も当初の勝利に浮かれ、軍人をもり立てた。

Why did they choose the path of self-destruction?
 なぜ、自滅への戦争を選んだのか。

In December, the movie "Isoroku Yamamoto" will be released.
今年12月、映画「山本五十六(いそろく)」が公開される。

The actor playing the commander-in-chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Combined Fleet is Koji Yakusho.
山本連合艦隊司令長官を演じての思いを役所広司さんに尋ねた。

When we asked him his views after having played Yamamoto, Yakusho answered, "This country has a history of the elite running things as they see fit, and thinking that's all right. The same thing is happening now.
 「この国にはエリートが自分たちに都合よく回しておけばいい、という歴史があり、今も続いている。

And on the other hand, the public is always serious about making money, but tends to forget things that are important."
一方で国民はビジネスや金もうけは真剣だが大事なことを忘れていく」と答えた。

--A negative structure repeated--
■負の構図再び

The same pattern was repeated after the war.
 戦後も繰り返された。

In the case of the bubble economy, the responsibility lay with the bureaucrats who left the excessive money supply as it was, and also with the public.
That is because they capitalized on the booming assets by snatching up real estate and stocks, thereby inflating their prices far beyond their actual worth.
 バブル経済は、金余りを放置した官僚たちと、それに乗じて土地や株を買いあさり、本来の価値以上につり上げた国民の責任だ。

As a result, the prices of these assets went into a nosedive, creating a huge amount of bad loans. But the bureaucrats procrastinated about releasing information, which in turn delayed the solution.
揚げ句、暴落し多額の不良債権が発生したが、官僚は実態の公開を渋り解決が遅れた。

"The country was defeated, but there are roads."
 「国破れて道路あり」。

Spending on public works projects spun out of control.
公共事業に大盤振る舞い。

Wasteful investments were made one after another, turning farm roads into airstrips, erecting opulent public buildings, and so on.
農道空港や豪華な箱もの施設など無駄な投資が積み重ねられた。

After the spending spree, we were left with an enormous fiscal deficit.
宴(うたげ)の後に膨大な財政赤字が残った。

And now the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Was that not a story caused by overconfidence in the "nuclear village" comprising electric power companies, pro-nuclear bureaucrats and scholars?
 そして福島第一原発の事故。原子力村の自己過信が招いた物語でなかったか。

Despite being one of the most quake-prone countries on Earth, Japan built 54 nuclear reactors, apparently ignoring the fact that massive tsunami are known to strike.
 世界有数の地震国。大津波も襲う大地に54基もの原発を造った。

There were even plans to build at least 14 additional reactors by 2030, and raise our reliance on nuclear energy for electricity generation to 50 percent or higher.
さらに2030年までに14基以上増やし、総電力中の原子力を5割以上にする計画を立てていた。

Our excessive reliance on nuclear power was left unchecked and tolerated.
原発依存の過剰さが放置、容認されてきた。

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, along with the power companies, closed their eyes to the realities of this quake-prone country.
 経済産業省や電力会社は、地震国の真実に目を塞いだ。

They released convenient and palatable information, but they hid inconvenient data.
都合のいい情報は伝えるが不利なデータは隠す。

They also staged fake Q&A sessions to manipulate public opinion.
さらにやらせ質問で世論を誘導。

This is just as bad as the wartime "daihonei happyo," or the military wartime propaganda that issued lie after lie about the war situation.
ウソを重ねた軍部の「大本営発表」顔負けだ。

But is this just the nuclear village's fault?
 でも原子力村だけの責任か。

Tatsuhiro Kamisato, a project associate professor at the University of Tokyo, is a member of the Nippon Mae e Iinkai (Japan forward committee) set up by The Asahi Shimbun. He says the true cause of the nuclear crisis lies in the fact that "we failed to carry out a full-fledged democratic debate about nuclear energy," and that both "the closed system of experts" and "the lack of interest among most of the public" were complicit in allowing the accident to happen.
 朝日新聞が設けた「ニッポン前へ委員会」の神里(かみさと)達博委員(東大特任准教授)は原発事故の真因として「原子力について民主的な熟議を怠ってきた」とし、「閉鎖的な専門家システム」と「大半の国民の無関心」という共犯関係によって生じたと指摘している。

National defense and securing stable energy supplies are vital functions of government.
 国を守る力もエネルギーも必要な機能だ。

But the public went so far as to entrust their lives and properties to the bureaucrats and experts, sometimes standing by and just watching, while at other times making frantic efforts to obtain profits.
しかし国民が自らの生命や財産まで官僚や専門家集団に委ね、ある時は傍観、ある時は狂奔した。

Perhaps this national habit of dependency and irresponsibility lies at the root of the repetitive failures that our country has experienced.
この人任せと無責任が、度重なる失敗の根底にあるのではないか。

-- Our intent to protect --
■自らの意思で守る

Each and every individual citizen should have the intent to protect their life and property; it is then that citizens can choose the people who will take those intentions and turn them into reality, make them our politicians and have them work for us.
 生命や財産は、国民一人一人が守り抜くという意思を持ち、その意思を実現できる人物を政治家に選び、働かせる。

We have no choice but to create a system whereby the public and politicians can check the value and risks of a given issue.
国民と政治家が問題の価値やリスクをチェックできる仕組みを作り上げる、

This essentially amounts to reconstructing a better, more decent democracy. We have no other choice.
すなわち民主主義を真っ当なものに鍛え直すしかない。

Information is desperately important.
 死活的に重要なのは情報だ。

Alex Kerr, a scholar on East Asian culture, says that bureaucrats and a handful of experts have dominated information, and it was up to them to make the decisions.
東洋文化研究者アレックス・カーさんは「情報が官僚や一部の専門家に握られ、決断も彼らがしてきた。

By rights, that should be the politicians' and citizens' job, but they have been neglected, he says.
本来、政治家や国民が果たすべき役割がなおざりにされてきた」と指摘する。

As early as 2002, Kerr already wrote in his book, "Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Modern Japan," how Japan's pork-barrel, bureaucrat-led politics and information manipulation by the nuclear village constituted the dark side of Japan.
 彼は2002年の著書「犬と鬼・知られざる日本の肖像」で、既に利権政治と官僚主導に加え原子力村の情報操作を日本の暗部として書いていた。

He says that this structure has not changed since the war, all the way down to Fukushima. In order to change this, there is no other way but to tear down their monopoly of information, he says.
「この構造は戦争から福島まで変わらない。変えるには情報独占を打ち崩すしかない」と話す。

Healthy, independent journalism bears a heavy responsibility and has a major role to play.
 健全で利害から独立したジャーナリズムが果たすべき責任と役割は重い。

Our role is to prevent the bureaucrats from monopolizing or manipulating information, and make sure that everyone whose lives and assets might be at risk get to share that information.
情報を官僚らに独占、操作させず、生命や資産が脅かされる可能性のある人全員が共有する。

We seek to fulfill our role without forgetting the history of failures.
失敗の歴史を忘却せず使命を果たしてゆきたい。

Only after having done so can we finally reply to the young officer on the Yamato. "Finally, we will take one step forward so that we can wake up and be saved."
 そうしてこそ大和の青年士官に答えられる。「私たちもようやく、目覚め救われるように、一歩前に出ます」と。
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by kiyoshimat | 2011-08-17 07:57 | 英字新聞

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