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園児犠牲訴訟 津波への予見と情報があれば

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 19, 2013
Kindergartens must ensure safety of children when disasters occur
園児犠牲訴訟 津波への予見と情報があれば(9月18日付・読売社説)

A private kindergarten in Miyagi Prefecture has been taken to task in a court ruling on a lawsuit filed by parents whose kindergarten children died in the March 2011 disaster. The ruling blamed the kindergarten for failing to protect its pupils from the tsunami triggered by the catastrophic Great East Japan Earthquake, and the facility’s operator was ordered to pay compensation. This may serve as a wake-up call for facilities taking care of small children.
 津波から園児の命を守れなかった責任は、幼稚園にある。幼い子供を預かる施設への警鐘と言える賠償命令だ。

On Tuesday, the Sendai District Court ordered the kindergarten’s operator to pay about ¥177 million in compensation to the parents of four children who died along with a kindergarten employee when the tsunami engulfed their school bus immediately after the earthquake.
 東日本大震災の直後、宮城県石巻市の私立幼稚園の送迎バスが津波に巻き込まれ、園児らが死亡した事故で、仙台地裁は幼稚園側に約1億7700万円の損害賠償を命じた。

The lawsuit had been filed by the parents, who argued that the deaths were caused by the kindergarten’s failure to take appropriate action to protect their children’s lives. In supporting the plaintiffs, the district court concluded that the kindergarten had neglected to gather information about the likelihood of a tsunami following the quake.
 死亡した園児4人の両親が「園の対応の悪さが引き起こした人災だ」と訴えていた。判決は「津波に関する情報収集義務を怠った」と結論付け、訴えを認めた。

Kindergarten pupils are far less competent in avoiding danger than grown-ups. It is difficult for them to escape to safety at their own discretion in an emergency.
 幼い園児は、危険を回避する能力が大人ほど発達していない。津波襲来の際などには、自らの判断で避難することは困難だ。

The court ruling was quite reasonable in stating that there was no way for kindergarten children to ensure their safety other than to trust the school’s director and teachers and follow their instructions.
 判決が「園長、教諭を信頼して指導に従うほかに生命身体を守る手立てがない」と指摘したのは、もっともである。

Kindergartens are duty-bound to protect the safety of their pupils. In fact, the court ruling stated that kindergartens are obliged to anticipate possible danger and do their utmost to avert any threat.
 手立てがない以上、幼稚園には、子供の安全を守る高度な義務が課される。判決も「危険性を予見し、回避する最善の措置を取る義務を負う」と判断した。

Based on this, the court placed the blame on the kindergarten in Ishinomaki, arguing that the facility should have expected the arrival of a tsunami considering that an earthquake with a maximum seismic intensity of lower 6 on the Japanese scale of 7 had continued for about three minutes. The ruling said the kindergarten should have listened closely to the radio and the community public address system to gather information about a possible tsunami.
 その上で、最大震度6弱の揺れが約3分間も続いたことを考えれば、園側が津波襲来を予見するのは可能であり、「ラジオや防災無線を正確に聴く必要があった」と、園側の落ち度を認定した。

No preparations made

During the trial, the kindergarten insisted that the tragedy was an unavoidable accident caused by a devastating tsunami that could not have been foreseen.
 園側は「予測不可能な異常な津波で引き起こされた不可抗力による事故」と主張してきた。

It should be noted, however, that the bus taking the children home was headed toward the sea after leaving the kindergarten, which was on elevated ground. It was reasonable for the four children’s parents to argue that the loss of life should be attributed to the kindergarten’s thoughtless conduct, especially as the facility itself was not affected by the tsunami.
 だが、幼稚園は高台にあるのに、園児を自宅に送り届けようとバスは海側に向かった。園自体は津波被害を受けなかっただけに、園児の両親が「園の行為で犠牲が出た」と訴えたのは理解できる。

A manual prepared by the kindergarten to protect its pupils whenever a major earthquake occurs requires its employees to ensure the children take refuge in the facility’s play area at first, and then allow them to return home with their parents when they arrive to pick them up. However, most of the kindergarten’s staff had not known of the manual. No disaster drills had been carried out in accordance with the manual, either.
 大地震の際は園庭に避難し、保護者が迎えに来てから園児を引き渡すとの園のマニュアルがあるにもかかわらず、教職員の大半が存在を知らず、マニュアルに沿った訓練も実施しなかったという。

Evidently, the kindergarten lacked preparations regarding a massive earthquake and possible tsunami.
 大地震と津波への備えを欠いていたのは明らかだろう。

If the kindergarten appeals to a higher court, a new round of hearings will start. It remains to be seen whether the kindergarten will be able to pay the massive amount of court-ordered compensation.
 園側が控訴すれば、訴訟は続くが、多額の賠償命令に対し、園側に支払い能力はあるのかという問題は残る。

If a feared massive Nankai Trough earthquake actually strikes, a tsunami is predicted to follow that would cause damage in excess of that incurred by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
 南海トラフ巨大地震では、東日本大震災を上回る規模の津波被害が想定されている。

Kindergartens must secure evacuation sites and routes in preparation for such a disaster, while also conducting periodic disaster drills to make sure their teaching staff and pupils know how to use them. This task should be tackled immediately by all facilities that take care of children, including day-care centers and primary schools.
 避難場所や経路を確保し、日ごろの訓練で教職員や子供に徹底させる。幼稚園だけでなく、保育所や小学校など、子供のいる施設が早急に取り組むべき課題だ。

At municipally run kindergartens in Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, children, teachers and all other staff conduct drills in which they evacuate to higher ground almost every day. This is the kind of effort that should be made in other parts of the country.
 和歌山県串本町の町立幼稚園では、ほぼ毎日、園児と職員全員が高台への避難訓練を続けている。こうした取り組みを広げたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 18, 2013)
(2013年9月18日01時28分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2013-09-20 06:40 | 英字新聞

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