国会を包囲する人々―民主主義を鍛え直そう

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 30
EDITORIAL: Anti-nuke protests offer an opportunity to move democracy forward
国会を包囲する人々―民主主義を鍛え直そう

A myriad of lights cast a soft glow around the Diet building as dusk fell on July 29.
 夕暮れの国会議事堂を、無数の灯(ともしび)が取り囲んだ。

Thousands of anti-nuclear protesters formed a human chain around most of the Tokyo landmark in the latest of a continuing series of demonstrations against the reopening of nuclear power plants following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The "Encircle the Diet" rally was organized by a coalition of citizen groups.
Participants demanding the phaseout of nuclear power generation in Japan chanted slogans against the restart of idled nuclear reactors, holding candles and flashlights.
 きのう、市民グループの呼びかけであった「国会大包囲」。脱原発を求める人々が、キャンドルやペンライトを手に「再稼働反対」を連呼した。

The massive demonstration came after several months of Friday night protests at the prime minister's office and the Diet building. Tens of thousands of people have joined the growing movement.
 ここ数カ月、毎週金曜の夕方には、首相官邸と国会の前でも何万という人々が抗議の声をあげている。

Never have so many Japanese participated in a movement against a government policy since a wave of protests against the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty swept the nation half a century ago in 1960.
 1960年の安保闘争から半世紀。これほどの大群衆が、政治に「ノー」を突きつけたことはなかった。

This loud chorus of objections to nuclear power generation that has risen among the silent majority is an amazing change triggered by the March 11, 2011, disaster and the subsequent reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
 「もの言わぬ国民」による異議申し立て。3・11と福島原発事故がもたらした驚くべき変化である。

MOVEMENT FUELED BY REACTOR RESTARTS
■原発再稼働で拡大

The weekly anti-nuclear protests in front of the prime minister's office began at the end of March with just 300 participants. The number of protesters swelled after the government decided in June to bring two idled reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant back online.
 官邸前の抗議行動は、3月末に300人ほどで始まった。それが、6月に政府が大飯原発の再稼働を決めた前後から、みるみる膨らんだ。

One participant in the July 29 rally, a 60-year-old, self-employed woman from the city of Shimanto, Kochi Prefecture, expressed her indignation at Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's remarks at the news conference to announce his decision to reactivate the two reactors.
 「大包囲」に来た高知県四万十市の自営業の女性(60)は、再稼働を表明した野田首相の記者会見に憤る。

"I can't forgive him for saying he had decided (to restart the reactors) for the people's sense of security," the woman said. "He should have been honest and said (his decision had been) for money."
「国民の安心のために決断したという言葉が許せない。正直に金もうけのためといえばいいのに」

Most of the protesters who were interviewed by The Asahi Shimbun shared the feeling that the government and electric utilities, which are in a rush to restart reactors, are hiding the truth.
 再稼働を急ぐ政府や電力会社は「本当のこと」を語っていない――。話を聞いた参加者にほぼ共通する思いだ。

First of all, they find it hard to believe the claim that nuclear power plants in Japan are basically safe.
 まず、「安全だ」という説明が信じられない。

That's hardly surprising. The causes of the accident have yet to be fully identified, while it is suspected that the Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture, operated by Kansai Electric Power Co., could be sitting atop an active fault.
 当然だろう。事故原因も判然とせず、大飯では活断層の存在も疑われている。

We wonder how many Japanese are willing to accept Noda's assertion that the nation is equipped with a reliable system to prevent a recurrence of nuclear accidents.
首相が「事故を防止できる体制は整っている」と力んでも、真に受ける人がどれほどいるのか。

The protesters are also suspicious of the claim that there will be a serious power shortage unless reactors are reactivated.
 「電気が足りなくなる」という説明にも疑問の目を向ける。

They say that there was a sufficient power supply last winter and that no shortage is emerging this summer despite repeated warnings about a power crunch.
 足りない、足りないと言いながら、昨冬もこの夏も余裕があるではないか。

They suspect that the real motive behind the hasty move to restart reactors is to protect the financial health of the electric utilities, which are suffering from higher fuel costs due to increased thermal power generation.
再稼働の本当の理由は、電力会社の経営を守るためではないのか。

Some of the protesters accept that nuclear power generation can only be phased out through a time-consuming process.
 参加者の中には、原発ゼロを実現するにはある程度時間がかかると考える人もいる。

If Noda had clearly committed his administration to weaning Japan from dependence on atomic energy and mapped out a plan to decommission reactors over time, starting with the most dangerous ones, his efforts to reopen reactors might not have stirred such a huge wave of public outrage.
 もし首相が「脱原発」の立場を明確にし、危険度の高い原発から順次廃炉にする行程を示していたら、ここまで怒りが燃え広がることはなかったのではないか。

DEEP-ROOTED DISTRUST OF ESTABLISHMENT
■根強い体制不信

But the Noda administration's actions concerning nuclear power generation are not the only problem.
 ただ、問題は野田政権のふるまいだけにとどまらない。

At the root of the protest movement is strong distrust of the way indirect democracy is practiced in this country.
抗議の根っこにあるのは、間接民主主義のあり方に対する強い不信感である。

One of the protesters, a 77-year-old woman from the city of Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, said: "Democracy is supposed to be politics based on people's opinions. Politics that ignores people's voices is nothing more than fascism."
 兵庫県姫路市の女性(77)は「民主主義は民の声を聴く政治のはず。声が届かないのはファッショだ」と語った。

This viewpoint has been expressed time and again at the protest rallies.
 こんな声は抗議の場のあちこちで聴かれる。

Indirect democracy should allow voters to realize the policies they favor through their elected representatives, or legislators. Many Japanese seem to feel that the nation's system of indirect democracy is not functioning properly in that their voices are rarely heeded by policymakers.
 有権者が、選挙で選んだ自分たちの代表(議員)を通じて政策を実現する。その間接民主主義の回路が機能せず、自分たちの声が政治に届かない。

This sense of frustration appears to have been driving people into actions that seem closer to direct democracy.
 そんないらだちが、人々を直接民主主義的な行動に駆り立てているのではないか。

The Fukushima nuclear disaster was clearly the last straw.
 そして、これを決定づけたのが原発事故だった。

Many Japanese believe it was not a natural disaster but the result of human error due to failures by the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operated the plant.
 これは天災ではなく、電力会社や政府による人災だ。

They criticize the government and TEPCO for not immediately disclosing the facts of core meltdowns nor information about the release of radioactive materials from the plant into the environment.
メルトダウンの事実も、放射性物質の飛散情報もすぐに公表しなかった。

They don't trust news organizations either, which they believe base their reports mostly on information provided by the government.
そんな政府の情報をもとに報道するメディアも信用できない――。

People are not just distrustful of politics. They are also critical of newspapers and TV networks, which they regard as part of the establishment.
 政治不信にとどまらず、新聞やテレビまで「体制側」とみなして批判の目を向ける。それほど不信の根は深い。

COMPLEMENTARY ROLES OF POLICYMAKERS AND PEOPLE
■補完しあう関係築け

The trend toward direct democracy will only accelerate in coming years.
 直接民主主義の流れは、今後も強まるだろう。

Large-scale political movements like the one against the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty have not been seen in Japan for decades. This was most likely because Japan was preoccupied with rapid economic growth.
 安保闘争のような大規模な政治行動は、高度経済成長とともに70年代以降、影を潜めた。

But Japan has entered an era of economic decline. We are now in danger of losing the wealth and even the safety we have long taken for granted.
 いまは右肩下がりの時代。手にしていたはずの豊かさも、安全までも、ポロポロとこぼれ落ちる。

Politicians have to be held accountable for policy problems in various areas. This is an essential part of the democratic process.
さまざまなテーマで、政治の責任を追及する声がやむことはあるまい。

But no good would come from political confrontation between the establishment and the people, separated by the wall of the prime minister’s office and alienated from each other by mutual distrust.
 そんなとき、官邸の壁を隔て、「体制」と「民衆」が相互不信に凝り固まって対峙(たいじ)していては何も生まれない。

Direct democracy is an effective means to ensure that people's voices are reflected in policymaking during periods between elections.
 直接民主主義は、選挙と選挙の間の民意を映す方法としては有効だ。

It is the job of political parties and politicians to incorporate their views into actual policies.
しかし、その声を政策に落とし込むのはあくまでも政党や政治家の役割である。

There is a communication breakdown between policymakers and the people. This needs to be quickly addressed by establishing a mutually complementary relationship.
 国民との間の詰まったパイプを修繕し、新しい回路をつくることで相互補完の関係を築く。

One of the leaders of the coalition organizing protest rallies says the movement has prodded some lawmakers into action as the scale of public opposition to nuclear power is plain for all to see.
 一連の抗議行動を呼びかけた市民グループのリーダーの一人は「大規模な抗議行動で、数を可視化することで議員が動き出した」と語る。

As the wave of protests swelled, lawmakers of both the ruling and opposition camps started joining the rallies.
 抗議の人波が膨れあがるのにあわせて、与野党の議員が行動に加わるようになった。

A group of local assembly members have formed a new environmentalist party, Midori no To (Greens Japan), under the banner of immediate abolition of all nuclear power plants.
地方議員らが「原発の即時全廃」を掲げて「緑の党」を立ち上げた。

Some of these moves among politicians are probably attempts to garner votes in the next national election by jumping on the anti-nuclear bandwagon.
But there is no denying that people's voices are beginning to influence politics.
 中には選挙目当ての便乗組もいるだろうが、人々の声が政治を動かしつつあるのは確かだ。

The organizers of the protest rallies are asking for meetings with top officials at the prime minister's office.
 抗議行動の主催者らは、官邸側に面会を申し入れているという。

We think Noda should invite protesters in all age groups to his office for a discussion.
この際、老壮青の参加者も招き入れて、首相みずから話し合ってはどうか。

That would be a good start for fresh efforts to change "negative democracy," driven by distrust, into "positive democracy" based on trust and dialogue.
 それを手始めに、不信に動かされる「負の民主主義」を、信頼と対話に基づく「正の民主主義」に鍛え直していくのだ。
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2012-08-02 07:52 | 英字新聞

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