「ほっ」と。キャンペーン

高校生の皆さんへ―支え合いに取り組もう

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 3
EDITORIAL: A letter to high school students
高校生の皆さんへ―支え合いに取り組もう

To the 214 first-year students at Kagawa Prefectural Takamatsu-Kougei High School:
 香川県立高松工芸高校1年生214人の皆さんへ。

Thank you for writing essays on our editorial about the issue of integrated tax and social security reform in Contemporary Social Studies classes.
 現代社会の授業で「社会保障と税の一体改革」に関する社説に感想文を書いていただき、ありがとうございました。

The editorial titled "Do adults understand?" was published on Dec. 28, 2011. It was written from the point of view of a member of a future generation who was lamenting the fact that their generation would be forced to pay for the huge debt the Japanese government had piled up to finance its spending.
 おととし12月28日付の「オトナはわかってる?」という社説でした。日本の政府が大きな借金をしていることを、そのツケを回される将来世代になりかわって嘆く内容でした。

When we responded to your essays on the article, you all again took the trouble of writing what you felt. We were very happy because we found in this correspondence great hope for the future of this country.
 返事を出したら、また一人ひとりが感想を書いてくれて。
 とてもうれしく思いました。この交流を通して、大きな希望を見いだせたからです。

IT'S NO LONGER SOMEONE ELSE'S PROBLEM
■「お任せ」はもう限界

One of you wrote, "It is important for us all to think about 'what today's adults have failed to do' instead of simply complaining about their selfishness."
 こんな一文がありました。
 《大人は自分勝手だと文句をいうだけでなく「今の大人ができなかったこと」を考えることが、私たちにとって大切だ》

What is it exactly that today's adults have failed to do?
 今の大人ができなかったことって、何だろう。

Sociologist Shinji Miyadai offers good insight into this question.
 社会学者の宮台真司さんの言葉がヒントになります。

"Japan is a society where people complain and leave matters to others, not a society where people take on matters and think about them," he writes.
 「日本は、引き受けて考える社会でなく、任せて文句を言う社会」

Here are some typical examples of how Japanese tend to think:
 具体的には、こんな考え方じゃないだろうか。

* It is the responsibility of bureaucrats and politicians to make policy decisions on such difficult issues as social security and tax. All we ordinary people can do is gripe about how things stand.
 ――社会保障と税なんて難しい問題は、官僚や政治家が決めること。普通の私たちは文句をいうことしかできない。

* We left the problem for politicians to handle when we cast our ballots at the polls. In the end, people in power will work things out, right?
 ――選挙で政治家に任せた。最後はエライ人がつじつまを合わせてくれるんでしょ。

For many years in Japan, the amount of money the government spends and distributes has been bigger than the amount of money collected by the government through taxes. To make up the difference, the government has been piling up more and more debt.
 日本では、税金で集めるお金より、国が使ったり配ったりするお金が多いので、つじつま合わせに借金をしてきました。

Obviously, however, the government cannot continue running up debt forever. But it is not easy to increase taxes, either, whether the consumption tax or other levies.
 でも、借金はいつまでも続けられない。消費税とか、税金を増やすのも簡単じゃない。

Meanwhile, the number of elderly people who need social security services like nursing care and pensions continues to grow at an alarming pace.
 一方で、介護や年金など社会保障を必要とするお年寄りはどんどん多くなる。

It seems that we can no longer afford to leave this important problem for people in power to deal with. As a first step toward abandoning this attitude, let us learn how the social security system works.
 「お任せ」は、もう限界みたい。そこから脱するために、まず社会保障がどうやって成り立つのか、考えてみる。

BUILDING TIES
■つながりをつくる

When you look around you, don't you find that there is a growing number of lonely people in your neighborhood?
 君たちが暮らすご近所を見回してみると、孤独な人が増えてませんか?

Take old people, for instance. As they grow physically weaker, they find it increasingly difficult to go out. They also feel sad as their memory dims, making it harder for them to keep following what is happening around them.
 お年寄り。体力がなくなって外出が難しくなる。記憶力が衰え、周りのことがわからなくなると悲しいだろう。

Young people who have quit their jobs or left school usually see their circles of acquaintances shrink, and those who have withdrawn from society after being bullied at school must endure solitude.
 若者。仕事や学校をやめてしまうと、つきあいが減る。いじめられて、引きこもったりしたら、孤独だろう。

Parents of young children feel lonely and frustrated if they have to spend all of their time at home with their children.
 子育て中の親。家の中で、子どもとだけ過ごしていたら寂しく、イライラすることもある。

The most unfortunate thing that can happen to a person is probably to become isolated from society. It is, therefore, vital to help people avoid such a situation by building ties with others.
 人とのつながりがなくなるのが一番、不幸せじゃないかな。 そこをなんとかする。人と人のつながりをつくっていく。

Your writings included some heartening comments on this problem.
 《ああ、そんなことでいいんだ。ふだんからできそう》

One of you wrote, "Such simple things will help. I can probably do them in my daily life." Another said, "I think more people will become happy if we fix the problems one by one." "I have realized that my surroundings are also part of the country," commented a third.
 《一つひとつ直していけば、幸せな人が増えるのでは》
 《自分の身のまわりも国の一部なんだ、と気づきました》

The spirit of mutual aid and support expressed in these remarks is the very foundation of social security.
 君たちが感想文に書いた、こんな「支え合いの思い」。これこそ、社会保障の土台です。

If we understand the importance of mutual aid and support, we should first do what we can do immediately, either on our own or together with our neighbors. Then, we need to contribute money to pay for the professional medical and nursing-care services that some people need.
 支え合いが必要だと思えば、まず自分たちやご近所で、できることをやる。専門的な医療や介護は、プロにやってもらうため、お金を出し合う。

But people generally develop a tendency to think from a standpoint of profits and losses as they grow older.
 ところが、オトナになると、損得勘定に敏感になる。

Many adults say they are having a hard time trying to make ends meet and demand that people in better financial conditions pay for social security. Others say they deserve to receive more aid because they are so badly off. Still others argue that people should not be given a "free ride" under the system of mutual support.
 ――自分は生活が苦しい。お金は、もっと余裕がある人に払ってもらいたい。
 ――こんなに困ってるのだから、もっと助けてほしい。
 ――支え合いに「ただ乗り」している人を甘やかすな。

There are various conflicting opinions on social security issues, and it is difficult to find solutions acceptable to a majority of people.
 対立する意見があり、あちらが立てば、こちらが立たず。この調整が難しい。

EVERYBODY HAS A ROLE TO PLAY
■みんなに出番がある

"Politicians who appear on TV don't listen to what others say at all once they start stating their own opinion," one of you wrote. That's exactly true and unfortunately so because working out compromises between people with conflicting opinions and interests is what politics is all about.
 《テレビに出る政治家は、自分の意見を言い始めたら、人の意見をまったく聞かない》
 なるほど、そうだ。政治とは本来、対立する意見を調整する仕事なのにね。

Some politicians promise to improve the social security system without increasing the financial burden on the public.
 ――みなさんの負担を増やさず、社会保障をよくします。
 そういう政治家もいる。

But there can never be such a magic solution to the problem.
 でも、そんな夢のような解決策はありっこない。

The only effective way for us to tackle the problem is to stop leaving the work to politicians and bureaucrats and start considering and discussing it as our own challenge. We may have to set aside our wishes and opinions in consideration of others from time to time.
 お任せをやめ、自分たちに引きつけて、よく考え、話し合うしか道はない。自分が「こうしたい」と思っても、相手のことを考えてゆずったり……。

We also need people who listen carefully to what others say and carry out what they can do quietly.
 人の話を聞いて、黙々と行動する人も欠かせない。

"I'm not good at making arguments and usually do nothing but listen to other people's opinions. But it seems that I have to express my opinions on important issues," one of you wrote.
 《私は主張するのが苦手で、他の人の意見を聞いてばかりいるけど、大切なことは言わないといけないのかな》

That's right. We urge you to pluck up your courage and voice your opinions on issues that you think are important.
 そう。大切だと思うことは勇気を出して言ってみる。

Everybody has a role to play. If we roll up our shirt sleeves and get down to tackling the situation, we will probably be able to work out solutions to the problems through constructive discussions.
 みんなに「出番」がある。腕まくりして取り組み、話し合うなかから、「問題解決」が色々な場所で起こってくる。

"I don't think there are any politicians who are trying to make things worse," one of you said.
 《政治家だって国を悪くしようとしている人はいないと思います》

That's also true. You should act on this belief and start by doing what you can do.
 確かにね。そんなぎりぎりの信頼感を胸におさめて、まず自分ができることを引き受ける。

If you become voters who recognize the power and importance of mutual support among members of society, politics of this nation will no doubt begin to move in the right direction. That's because politics mirrors what is happening around us.
 支え合いの力と思いを身につけた君たちが有権者になれば、政治もきっとよくなるはずだ。政治は私たちの周りで起きていることの鏡なのだから。

We have high expectations of all of you.
 おおいに期待しています。
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2013-01-05 07:43 | 英字新聞

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