JR西事故無罪 惨事忘れず不断の安全対策を

The Yomiuri Shimbun October 1, 2013
JR West has obligation to adopt stringent, thorough safety steps
JR西事故無罪 惨事忘れず不断の安全対策を(9月30日付・読売社説)

Even though former presidents of West Japan Railway Co. were not held criminally responsible for the fatal accident on the Fukuchiyama Line, the company cannot avoid its social responsibility as an operator of a public transportation system. JR West has to take stringent safety measures.
 元社長の刑事責任は問われなくとも、公共輸送機関としての社会的責任は免れない。JR西日本は、安全対策を徹底せねばならない。

The Kobe District Court has found three former presidents of JR West, including Masataka Ide, not guilty of professional negligence causing death and injury in a train crash on the Fukuchiyama Line in April 2005 that killed 106 passengers.
 乗客106人が犠牲になった2005年4月のJR福知山線脱線事故で、神戸地裁は、業務上過失致死傷罪に問われた井手正敬氏らJR西日本の3人の元社長に無罪を言い渡した。

Designated lawyers who served as public prosecutors hinted that they may appeal the ruling to a higher court.
 検察官役の指定弁護士は、控訴する意向を示した。

After district public prosecutors decided in 2009 not to indict the three former presidents, a citizen inquest panel voted to indict them the following year.
 歴代3社長は、市民により構成される検察審査会の議決で強制起訴された。

The panel indicted them on the grounds that they failed to instruct their subordinates to install an automatic train stop (ATS) system to prevent accidents at the curve where the train derailed.
現場のカーブに自動列車停止装置(ATS)を整備する指示を怠ったとの理由からだ。

However, the district court ruled that “it was impossible for any of these senior executives to recognize the danger of the curve, as their subordinates had not provided explanations about it.” The court concluded, “They could not predict the accident in any concrete way.”
 しかし、判決は「部下からの説明がなかったため、経営幹部はカーブの危険性を認識できる機会がなかった」と判断し、「3人が事故を具体的に予見することはできなかった」と結論づけた。

As there was no way to predict such an accident, which would be necessary to establish professional negligence resulting in death and injury, there was no other choice but to find them not guilty.
 業務上過失致死傷罪の成立要件である予見可能性が認められない以上、無罪しか選択肢はなかったということだろう。

Prediction of crash difficult

In January last year, the not-guilty ruling handed down by the Kobe District Court on Masao Yamazaki, another former president and the only person indicted by the prosecutors over the accident, became final as the prosecution did not appeal.
 昨年1月には、検察がこの事故で唯一、起訴した山崎正夫元社長の無罪も確定している。山崎氏は、現場を急カーブに造り替えた当時、安全対策の責任者である鉄道本部長を務めていた。

Yamazaki was head of JR West’s train operations headquarters and in charge of safety measures at the time when the curve in question was made sharper.
 山崎氏の立場でも、危険認識がなかったと認定された。

It was found that it was impossible for even Yamazaki, who was in a position of direct responsibility back then, to have predicted the danger of an accident at the curve. It would, therefore, be even more difficult to hold the other three criminally responsible, as they held higher positions than Yamazaki at the time.
さらに上の地位にいた3人に刑事責任を問うのは困難だったと言えよう。

According to the Penal Code, criminal responsibility is applied to individuals, not business corporations. Taking into consideration that even a president, who represents a company, is no exception, a not-guilty ruling is unavoidable.
 刑法上、刑事責任の対象は個人であり、企業の責任を問える制度にはなっていない。企業を代表する社長であっても、例外ではないことを考えれば、無罪の結論は、やむを得ない面がある。

Yet, it is only natural for bereaved families of the victims of the accident to have reservations about the justice of the latest court decision.
 だが、遺族が割り切れぬ思いを抱くのは無理もない。

After passing judgment, the presiding judge admitted, “It is only reasonable [for relatives of victims] to regard it as absurd that no one was held criminally responsible.”
裁判長も判決後、「誰一人、刑事責任を問われないのはおかしいと思うのは、もっともだ」と述べた。

It is an undeniable fact that the company’s failure to install the ATS system on the curve promptly enough led to the tragic accident. JR West has an obligation to adopt thorough safety measures by learning from the accident.
 ATS整備の遅れが事故を招いたのは、動かぬ事実だ。事故を教訓に、JR西日本には、万全の安全対策を講じる責務がある。

The latest acquittals may lead to arguments about whether indictments by citizen inquest panels work. Inquest panel decisions have led to eight criminal cases in courts since such decisions were made legally binding in 2009. But in only one case has a guilty verdict been handed down.
 今回の無罪判決は、強制起訴制度のあり方を議論する契機となろう。これまでに8件が強制起訴され、有罪判決は1件だ。

While the system is significant in reflecting views of ordinary people in criminal justice, a number of problems have emerged.
 刑事司法に市民の感覚を反映させる意義がある一方で、問題点も浮かび上がってきている。

The burden on designated lawyers to prove a case with limited evidence is heavy. When a defendant is indicted by a citizen inquest panel, an enormous amount of time is needed in preparing for a trial.
 限られた証拠で立証を強いられる指定弁護士の負担は重い。強制起訴された被告が、公判対策に膨大な時間を割かれることも無視できない。

We hope the Justice Ministry will examine past cases closely to improve the current system.
法務省が中心になり、これまでの事例を検証し、制度の改善に努めてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 30, 2013)
(2013年9月30日01時31分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2013-10-02 07:29 | 英字新聞

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