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子ども手当 混乱回避へ与野党協議始めよ

2011-02-28 10:17:01 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 28, 2011)
Child allowance system unsustainable
子ども手当 混乱回避へ与野党協議始めよ(2月27日付・読売社説)

Deliberations on a bill to expand child-rearing allowances paid to families in fiscal 2011 have started in the House of Representatives.
 子ども手当法案の審議が衆院で始まった。

Not only the Liberal Democratic Party but also New Komeito have made clear their stances against the bill. In the current divided Diet, even if the bill passed the lower house, it would almost surely be voted down in the House of Councillors, where opposition parties hold the majority. Therefore, there is only a marginal possibility that the bill will become law within the current fiscal year.
 自民党だけでなく公明党も反対姿勢を明確にしている。たとえ衆院で可決されても、ねじれ国会の下、参院で否決されるのは確実で、最終的に成立は困難だ。

The current child-rearing benefit system, for families with children of middle school age or younger, is based on a temporary statute valid for one year. If the bill on a new law does not pass the Diet, the current system will revert to the former system of dependent child allowances from April.
 現行の子ども手当制度は1年ごとの時限立法に基づいており、新たな法案が成立しなければ、4月からは以前の児童手当に戻らざるを得なくなる。

City, town and village governments actually in charge of handing out the child-rearing allowances changed their computer programs to fit the current system.
Therefore, it would be difficult for them to switch back to the old system so soon, as the old dependent child allowance system is quite different from the current system.
 事務を受け持つ市町村は、対象世帯を把握して支給するシステムを子ども手当用に変更しているため、仕組みの異なる児童手当に急に戻せと言われても、実際には対応は難しい。

===

Major confusion expected

However, the local governments cannot prepare for the next fiscal year on the premise that the bill will not become law. If the situation goes on as it is, clerical work on issuing the benefits at municipal government offices will fall into major confusion. The ruling and opposition parties should immediately begin discussions to avoid such an outcome.
 不成立を前提にして準備するわけにはいかない。このままでは市町村の支給事務に大きな混乱が生じる。与野党は、それを回避するための議論をただちに始めなければならない。

To do so, the government and the Democratic Party of Japan have to drop the child-rearing allowance system, at least for now. The government should declare a stance of returning to the old dependent child allowance system, created when the LDP and New Komeito were in power, and ask both parties for cooperation.
 それには政府・民主党が子ども手当をいったん撤回することだ。自公政権が作った児童手当に立ち返る方向を示し、自公両党に協力を求めるしかあるまい。

The new bill for the second year of the child-rearing allowance system is designed to raise the current monthly handout of 13,000 yen per child to 20,000 yen for children younger than 3.
 2年目の子ども手当法案は、現行の月額1万3000円を、3歳未満については2万円に引き上げる内容だ。

The LDP and New Komeito have been arguing that improvements to child-related services, such as solving the problem of children waiting to be enrolled at certified nursery schools, should be given priority rather than maintaining a system to dole out cash.
 自公両党は、現金支給というバラマキよりも、待機児童の解消など現物サービスを優先すべきだと主張している。

The child-rearing allowance system has been impossible from the beginning. It would require a hefty 5.5 trillion yen annually to fund the full monthly amount of 26,000 yen per child that the DPJ has pledged to eventually provide, but there was no prospect for securing stable revenue sources.
 そもそも、安定的な財源の見通しを欠いたまま、満額支給すれば年5・5兆円もの巨費を投じることになる子ども手当は、土台から無理があった。

===

Kan: Surprised at 26,000 yen

Prime Minister Naoto Kan himself has admitted as much.
 首相自らそれを認めている。

During recent deliberations on the bill at the Diet, he said, "I was little bit surprised to hear the monthly amount of 26,000 yen when Mr. [Ichiro] Ozawa was party president," recalling the time when the DPJ was deciding the amount.
 国会審議で菅首相は、子ども手当の額決定の際、「小沢代表当時に2万6000円と聞いて、ちょっとびっくりした」と述べた。

As Kaoru Yosano, state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, described it, this remark is "quite honest."
 与謝野経済財政相が言う通り、「非常に正直」な発言だ。

If Kan still thinks so, his administration should not adhere to the child-rearing allowance bill any more and, instead, both the ruling and opposition parties should cooperate to design a new system as soon as possible, with improvement of the old dependent child benefit system as the basic starting point.
 そうであるなら、子ども手当法案にこれ以上固執せず、与野党で早急に、児童手当の拡充を基本とした新たな仕組みを設計しなければならない。

If they follow the right steps, it may be possible to return to the framework of the former system of dependent child benefits backed by revenue sources, while avoiding confusion at the same time.
 手順を踏めば、混乱を避けながら、財源に裏付けられた児童手当の枠組みに戻ることも可能ではないか。

To finance the current child-rearing allowance system, the tax exemption system for families with children up to 15 years old was abolished, for instance. If that system is not revived, families will face significant tax increases. The government and the DPJ should analyze the situation carefully once again.
子ども手当の財源に充てるために廃止した年少扶養控除なども、復活させなければ実質増税となる。再考が必要だ。

There will be resistance within the DPJ to withdrawing such a high-profile plank of the party's 2009 general election manifesto, which helped propel the party to power.
 政権公約の目玉政策を撤回することには、民主党内で異論が出るだろう。

However, the government and the DPJ should not just wait for major confusion to arise without taking measures to avoid it.
だが、何の手も打たず、混乱を招くべきではない。

We hope Kan will show his leadership in remedying the situation.
菅首相には、事態打開のため指導力を発揮してもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 27, 2011)
(2011年2月27日01時23分  読売新聞)

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Social security reform

2011-02-27 07:40:02 | 英字新聞

消費税増分はVAT(付加価値税value added tax)としたほうが良いかも。
欧米はVATだし、タイでさえVATです。ちなみにタイの現時点のVATは7%です。
しかしながら消費税を増額する前に、霞ヶ関の特別会計に是非メスを入れてもらいたい。
朝日新聞でもこの問題はタブーになっているのでしょう。
あるいは暗闇の中に閉ざされていてよくその実体が見えないとか。
そうであるならば、新聞社には記者魂を発揮してこのエリアに切り込むことが強く望まれる。
記者の命の保証ができないというのも多分理由でしょう。
特別会計予算には各分野とも相当な余剰金が含まれているようです。
米国国債を無理やり引き受けさせられていますが、毎月3兆円弱のお金が使われています。
一年では30兆円、一億の国民が赤ちゃんからお年よりまでひっくるめて一人当り30万円負担している計算になります。
米国国債の買い入れは一例で氷山の一角。
消費税を増税しなくともやっていけるだけの体力はまだ残っている!
(スラチャイ記)

2011/02/26
--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 25
EDITORIAL: Social security reform
社会保障と税の改革―財源なくして安心なし

A government council is now intensively debating the integrated tax and social security reform proposed by the administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan. The Kan administration intends to announce a plan for revamping the social security system in April and then draft a blueprint for the integrated reform incorporating tax increases to finance the social security overhaul.
 政府の「集中検討会議」が、社会保障と税の一体改革を議論している。4月中に社会保障改革案を示し、6月にはその財源を賄うための増税策との一体改革案をまとめる。

Reform of the nation's tax and fiscal regime and the social safety net was the underlying theme of the series of editorials we published from October 2007 to April 2008 on proposals to make Japan a more hopeful society.
 朝日新聞が2007年10月から08年4月にかけて連載したシリーズ社説「希望社会への提言」でも、税・財政と社会保障の改革は根幹だった。

Immediately after the series of editorials, U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed, pushing the world into synchronized recession. The global economic crisis revived deflation--continuous declines in prices and wages--in Japan.
 この連載の直後、リーマン・ショックと同時不況が世界を襲った。日本では物価や賃金が下がり続けるデフレがぶり返した。

A vision for rehabilitation
■財政再建へ展望ひらけ

A power transfer took place in the United States and then in Japan.
 米国に続き日本でも政権交代が起きた。

With the nation heading into a future of unprecedented demographic situation due to the aging of the population and low fertility rate, repairing the frayed social security system and mapping out a feasible plan for restoring fiscal sanity is the principal challenge facing policymakers.
だが、未曽有の少子高齢社会に向かういま、社会保障のほころびを繕い、財政再建の道筋をつけることが政治の歴史的使命であることに変わりはない。

The further deterioration of the nation's fiscal health due to stimulus measures taken in response to the economic crisis has increased the urgency for a radical reform of the tax code centering on a consumption tax hike. Such a tax overhaul is an indispensable prerequisite for social security stability.
危機対策などで一段と悪化した財政をみれば、消費増税を柱とする税制の抜本改革は待ったなしだ。それなしに社会保障の安定は望めない。

We would like to add some fresh proposals to the arguments we made in the series of editorials for a hopeful society.
 私たちもいま、「希望社会への提言」を踏まえて追加的な検討を加えつつ、提案をしていきたい。

As for reform of the state pension program, it should be based on the current social insurance formula. That would be more realistic than the fully tax-financed system for basic portions, which is proposed by business organizations and Rengo (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), the nation's largest labor organization.
 まず、年金については、いまの社会保険方式を土台に改革を進める。そのほうが、経済団体や連合などが提言している基礎年金をすべて税で賄う「税方式」より現実的だろう。

The precious new revenue from tax hikes in the coming years will have to be used mainly to finance programs in such areas as health and nursing-care and child-care support.
 今後の増税による貴重な税収は、医療と介護、子育てなどの分野に優先して振り向ける必要があるからだ。

Between fiscal 2006 and fiscal 2025, the total amount of health-care and nursing-care benefits will grow by 70 percent and 160 percent, respectively, compared with a 40-percent increase in pension payouts, according to estimates by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
 厚生労働省による社会保障給付の見通しでは06年度から25年度にかけ、年金の伸びは1.4倍だが、医療は1.7倍、介護は2.6倍に伸びる。

In addition to tackling the problems of the shortages of doctors and special elderly nursing homes, the government needs to expand its policy support for families rearing children and people struggling to become financially independent.
医師不足や特別養護老人ホームの入居待ちの緩和だけでなく、子育て支援、自立支援などの強化も必要である。

Securing a balance between generations
■世代間のバランス保て

But it is important to ensure financial stability of the pension program. The government has raised the ratio of state financing of the program's basic portions to half, but the step is partly paid for with surpluses and reserves in special budget accounts known as "maizokin" (buried gold) under a stopgap-funding program. The priority should be on securing a stable tax revenue source for the partial state funding of the pension program.
 ただし、年金の安定を図ることは大切だ。基礎年金の国庫負担を2分の1に引き上げたが、埋蔵金でとりあえず穴埋めしている部分がある。税でしっかりと手当てするのが最優先だ。

To reduce the number of people who fail to pay into the "kokumin nenkin" national pension program, the "kosei nenkin" plan for corporate employees should be expanded to cover nonregular workers like part-timers and temporary workers. Efforts to collect premiums for the national pension from the remaining nonpayers should be redoubled.
 国民年金の未納者は、厚生年金の傘を広げ、パートや派遣で働く人を加えることで数を減らす。

But at the same time, steps should be taken to make certain that all low-income earners will be exempted from premium payments or benefit from premium cuts.
残る人たちには徴収を徹底するが、低所得者は保険料の免除や軽減をもれなく受けられるようにする。

The national identification number system the government is considering is essential for providing welfare services better tailored to the needs of the people. The proposed integration of the kokumin and kosei nenkin programs should be promoted as the effectiveness of the ID number system for efforts to track the income of self-employed workers is ascertained.
 政府が導入を検討している共通番号は、きめ細かな福祉に不可欠だ。国民年金と厚生年金の一元化は、共通番号が自営業者の所得把握に効果を発揮することを見極めつつ進めたい。

Companies should be required in principle to have all employees enrolled in the kosei nenkin program and contribute to the system. It is part of a company's social responsibility to pay its fair share of the cost of social welfare for its employees.
 企業は人を雇ったら原則として厚生年金に加入させ、保険料を負担する。被雇用者のために応分の負担をするのは社会的な責任である。それを果たせる企業を育てたい。

Economic growth is also crucial for the health of social security. Ensuring the long-term financial stability of the social security system requires effective efforts to develop people and industries to create huge additional value for economic growth. The reality, however, is that pension benefits remain at high levels despite stagnant wage growth and a deflationary trend. This situation is causing pension inequality between generations. Fixing the inequity is imperative.
 経済成長も不可欠だ。高い付加価値を生み出せる人材と産業を育成し、経済を成長させなければ、社会保障の安定は望めない。ところが、現実には賃金が増えず物価も上がらないのに年金は高止まりして、世代間のバランスが崩れている。修正は急務である。

The pension reform in 2004 introduced a system to gradually but automatically lower the levels of pension benefits in response to the aging of the population and the low birth rate. But a provision stipulating that nominal amounts of benefits should be kept unchanged as much as possible has caused the real levels of benefits to rise amid deflation.
 04年の年金改革では、少子高齢化に対応して年金の水準を少しずつ自動的に削ることにした。だが、「年金の名目額をできる限り下げない」との特例を設けたため、デフレ下で年金の水準は実質的に上がってしまった。

As a result, the financial future of the public pension system is in jeopardy. The levels of pension benefits should be lowered in line with falling prices.
 この結果、年金制度の将来が危うくなっている。デフレに対応して、水準を引き下げる必要がある。

Taking a hard look at the dire state of the nation's public finances and recognizing the need to increase the burden on taxpayers is a prerequisite for meaningful social security reform.
 社会保障を改革する前提は、国の財政悪化の現状を直視し、必要な負担増から目をそむけないことだ。

Our serial editorials proposed that the state budget be divided into two parts.
 シリーズ社説では、国の財政を大きく二つにわけるよう提言した。

One part would finance expenditures crucial for the people's sense of security, such as spending on the health and nursing care, pension and child-care support programs. The additional revenue from future tax hikes would be used mainly to fund these outlays.
 一つは医療・介護・年金や子育てなどの費用を賄う「安心勘定」で、増税分はこちらに集中投入する。

The other part of the budget would finance the rest of government expenditures, including spending on debt servicing. This part should be subject to exhaustive efforts for spending cuts through the elimination of waste. We also predicted that Japanese taxpayers would have to brace themselves for a future consumption tax rate above 10 percent.
もう一つは、借金返済を含む「我慢勘定」で、無駄の削減など徹底した歳出カットを行うとした。そして、いずれ消費税10%台を覚悟するしかないと見通した。

Virtual cycle of reform and growth
■成長との好循環を

Since the Lehman Shock, Japan's fiscal conditions have deteriorated further. The nation's horrendous fiscal morass is underscored by the fact that on the basis of the original budget, the government's borrowing will surpass its tax receipts for two straight years.
 リーマン・ショック後、財政はさらに悪化し、当初予算で2年連続、借金が税収を上回るという異常事態だ。

The fiscal management strategy announced by the Kan administration in June last year and the fiscal rehabilitation bill drafted by the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party both call for ensuring that all government outlays, excluding debt service expenses, will be fully covered by tax receipts in fiscal 2020.
 菅政権が昨年6月に決めた「財政運営戦略」と自民党の「財政健全化責任法案」は、「20年度には、借金の返済・利払いを除いた経費を税収で賄えるようにする」という目標で一致する。

But there will be a gargantuan revenue shortfall of nearly 26 trillion yen (about $317 billion) in fiscal 2020 unless nothing is done. That would be equivalent of the revenue from a 9-percent consumption tax.
 だが、今のままだと国の税収は20年度に26兆円近くも不足する。消費税率換算で9%分だ。

Filling the budget hole with a tax hike, however, would only amount to this. The cost of the government's services provided in that year would be covered by its tax take in the same year without any fresh borrowing that would increase the burden on future generations.
 それを増税で埋めても、やっと「その年に使ったサービスの費用を同じ年の税収で賄い、将来にツケを回さない」ことになるだけだ。

Welfare states in Europe have been using their revenues from value-added taxes to finance their social security payouts. This approach has won the trust of European taxpayers by convincing them that they will receive benefits in return for the increased burden. In contrast, Japan has been expanding social security benefits without securing sufficient revenue sources to finance them. It is time to fundamentally change this approach.
 欧州の福祉国家は、付加価値税(消費税)の税収を社会保障に回し、「負担が増えても受益がある」という信頼を得た。日本は財源の手当てが不十分なまま、サービスの充実を先行させてきた。それを根本から改めるときだ。

Much of the fresh money to be raised through a tax increase will have to be used to reduce the government debt. This is necessary for paying for the debt-financed services provided in the past.
 過去に借金で賄ったサービス分を埋める意味でも、増税の相当部分を赤字削減に回さざるをえないだろう。

The government also needs to make cool-headed efforts to eliminate overlapping services and review the level of benefits.
 サービスの重複を解消し、給付水準を見直す。その作業も冷静に進めていかねばならない。

The new money to spend on social security will come from economic growth. On the other hand, health, nursing and child-care services are a crucial part of the social infrastructure for economic growth. It is important to create a virtuous cycle of social security reform and economic growth.
 社会保障に使う財源は、経済成長から生まれる。医療・介護・保育のようなサービスは成長のための社会基盤でもある。社会保障と成長の好循環をつくりだしたい。

Laying down a grand vision for the future of social security and taking the first step toward securing revenue sources to finance the system is absolutely vital for rescuing Japan from the trap of stifling stagnation.
 大きな将来図を描き、財源確保へ第一歩を踏み出す。そうしなければ、日本の閉塞(へいそく)状況は打開できない。

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原油価格急騰 脱「石油・中東依存」を進めよ

2011-02-26 05:15:47 | 英字新聞

>この現状を改善するにはどうすべきか。地域的にはロシアからの輸入拡大が考えられよう。(読売)
反対です!
北方領土からのロシア人たちの立ち退き要求が先です。
自国の領土に他国からどんどん移住者を増殖させられて読売はくやしくないのでしょうか。
ロシアとは外交を絶つべきでしょう。
無関心な米国の協力をとりつけることが急務です。
尖閣では協力できて北方領土では協力できないでは筋が通らない。
(スラチャイ記)

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 26, 2011)
Reduce dependence on oil, Middle East
原油価格急騰 脱「石油・中東依存」を進めよ(2月25日付・読売社説)

Crude oil prices are rising quickly amid growing political tension in oil-producing countries in North Africa, including Libya, and the Middle East.
 リビアなど北アフリカや中東の産油国の政情緊迫化を受け、原油価格が急騰している。

Every kind of crude oil whose price is used as a barometer for international trading has topped the benchmark of 100 dollars a barrel.
 国際指標となる油種はすべて、1バレル=100ドルの大台を突破した。

Should oil prices continue rising, they will slow the world economy, now moving toward recovery, and weigh down the Japanese economy as well. We must remain on guard.
 原油高が続けば、回復傾向をたどる世界経済の足を引っ張り、日本経済にとっても重荷となる。警戒が怠れない。

The government and industrial sectors may need to promote anew energy measures to help Japan become less dependent on oil and the Middle East.
 政府や産業界は、脱石油、脱中東依存のエネルギー対策を、改めて推進する必要があろう。

Among internationally traded crude oil, North Sea Brent Crude--the most quoted oil product in the London market--exceeded 110 dollars a barrel, while Texas Light Sweet Crude Oil hit the 100 dollars mark in New York.
 国際的な原油価格は、ロンドン市場の代表的油種である北海ブレントが1バレル=110ドルを超え、ニューヨーク市場でもテキサス産軽質油が100ドルに達した。

As we ushered in the 2000s, crude oil prices were on the rise, due chiefly to growing demand in such emerging economies as China and to an inflow of speculative money. They hit a record high of 147 dollars a barrel in New York during the summer of 2008.
 2000年代に入り、原油価格は中国などの需要拡大と投機資金の流入によって値上がりを続け、08年夏にニューヨーク市場で1バレル=147ドルの史上最高値を付けた。

However, prices later dropped markedly, due to a rebound from their excessive highs and the repercussions of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
だが、行き過ぎの反動とリーマン・ショックで急落した。

===

Turmoil drives up prices

Crude oil prices have been moving up ever since, as if in step with the recovery in the world economy. With energy demand remaining brisk in emerging economies, the oil market probably expects a shortage of crude oil in the future.
 その後は、世界経済の復調に合わせ、再び上昇に転じている。新興国のエネルギー需要は依然として旺盛であり、将来の供給不足を市場が見込んでのことだろう。

The situation in Egypt boosted the upward trend in oil prices earlier this year; concerns grew over the safe passage of tankers through the Suez Canal. Uprisings also took place in Bahrain and Libya, sending crude oil prices even higher.
 値上がり傾向に弾みを付けたのが、今年に入ってからのエジプト情勢の急転だ。スエズ運河でのタンカー航行が不安視された。さらにバーレーンやリビアにも危機が飛び火し、一段高となった。

If political turmoil also erupts in such major oil producers as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, crude oil prices will inevitably climb further. Some observers have said prices could rise to the levels seen in summer 2008.
 政治的混乱が、仮にサウジアラビアやアラブ首長国連邦(UAE)などの大産油国に及べば、原油価格のさらなる上昇は避けられまい。08年夏並みの水準に達する可能性も指摘されている。

Japan's first step should probably be to diversify the source of its oil imports.
 こうした動きに対し、日本が取るべき道はまず、原油輸入先の多角化であろう。

===

History repeats itself

Learning from the oil crises of the 1970s, Japan reduced its dependency on Middle East crude oil from 90 percent of its oil imports at that time to a 60 percent level in the 1980s.
 日本は1970年代の石油危機を教訓に、当時、9割を超えていた原油の中東依存度を低減する努力を続け、80年代には6割台にまで落とすことに成功した。

Due to such factors as a decline in oil production in Indonesia, however, oil imports from the Middle East began rising again. Today, nearly 90 percent of Japan's oil imports come from the Middle East.
 だが、インドネシアの産出量減少などにより、再び中東からの輸入が増え、現在は9割近くを中東に依存する状況に戻っている。

What must Japan do to improve this situation? From a geographical point of view, increasing oil imports from Russia is a viable measure. Japan might also be able to rely on unconventional oil recovery methods, such as extracting oil from rock and sand formations.
 この現状を改善するにはどうすべきか。地域的にはロシアからの輸入拡大が考えられよう。北米で進む、岩石や砂から取り出す非在来型原油の開発にも期待できるのではないか。

On the other hand, it is also important to make use of energy sources other than petroleum. Japan should promote the shift from oil to natural gas, which has stable prices.
 一方で、石油以外のエネルギー源の活用も重要だ。価格の安定している天然ガスへの切り替えを進めるべきだ。

Needless to say, it is also crucial to promote the generation of nuclear and solar power and to popularize the use of electric vehicles.
 もちろん、原子力発電や太陽光発電の推進、電気自動車の普及なども大切である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 25, 2011)
(2011年2月25日01時19分  読売新聞)

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Suu Kyi's determination to peacefully defy dictatorship remains unchanged

2011-02-25 06:14:56 | 英字新聞

I'm moved to tear several times while editing this column in the morning.
This is also one of the finest columns I've ever read in my life, being edited by an editor with Mainichi Shimbun.
I'm deeply moved.
(srachai)
編集していて何度も涙をこぼしました。
毎日新聞が記者の足を駆使して作成した力作です。
感動しました。
(スラチャイ記)

(Mainichi Japan) February 24, 2011
Suu Kyi's determination to peacefully defy dictatorship remains unchanged
記者の目:スーチーさんの「手紙」13年ぶり再会=朴鐘珠
 
The Mainichi Shimbun resumed Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's column, "Letter from Burma," this year after a 13-year break. I flew to Myanmar where press restrains were in force late last year and visited Suu Kyi's residence prior to the publication of the first part of the column on New Year's Day.
 ミャンマーの民主化運動指導者、アウンサンスーチーさん(65)による本紙連載「ビルマからの手紙」を13年ぶりに再開した。元日からの掲載に先立ち私は昨年末、取材規制のかけられたミャンマーに入国し、スーチーさんの自宅を訪ねた。

Suu Kyi had been under house arrest there on and off over a 15-year period from 1989 to November last year. I stood by one of the windows of her residence, and thought about how firm her determination must be to spend her life resisting Myanmar's military dictatorship.
そこは彼女が89年から昨年11月まで断続的に15年軟禁されていた場所だ。私は窓辺に立ち、人生を賭したスーチーさんの覚悟の深さに思いを巡らせた。

 ◇昨秋に軟禁解除、弾圧構造は不変
The military dictatorship has been in power in Myanmar for nearly half a century since the 1962 coup. Suu Kyi founded the National League for Democracy (NLD) in 1988 in a bid to democratize the country, and the party secured 82 percent of the seats in Parliament in a 1990 general election. Nevertheless, the military regime refused to hand over power to the NLD and suppressed pro-democracy movements.
The military regime has continued a reign of terror, detaining and torturing NLD members and supporters. Last autumn, the regime called a general election and released Suu Kyi from house arrest. However, the shift to civilian rule was a mirage and the military is still ruling the country.
 ミャンマーでは1962年のクーデターから半世紀近く、軍事独裁政権が続いている。民主主義国家の実現を目指すスーチーさんは88年に国民民主連盟(NLD)を結党、90年の総選挙で全議席の82%を獲得した。しかし軍政は政権移譲に応じず民主化運動を弾圧、NLD党員や支持者を拘禁・拷問する恐怖政治を敷いてきた。昨秋以降の総選挙とスーチーさんの軟禁解除、形だけの民政移管後も、軍政の支配構造は変わらない。

Suu Kyi's residence is situated in Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar. Since its gate is higher than an adult's average height, it is impossible to look into her home from the street. There is no other house nearby, and since security forces are surrounding her home round the clock, ordinary citizens are reluctant to approach her house out of fear that security authorities might suspect they have ties to Suu Kyi.
 スーチーさんの自宅は、国内最大都市のヤンゴンにある。門扉が大人の背丈よりも高いため、表通りから中をうかがうことはできない。近隣に民家がなく、何より治安当局が周囲を取り巻き24時間監視しているので、一般市民は関係を疑われるのを恐れて近づきたがらない。

Her house is a western-style two-story building with white walls, and security authorities set up a fence with barbed wire behind her home facing a lake. When I saw a scene at the lakeside while waiting for her to return home, I could hardly believe my eyes. There, dozens of couples were dating while people with children were taking a walk. A promenade leads to an amusement park and a Ferris wheel towers over trees.
 自宅は2階建ての白壁の洋館で、湖に面した裏手には当局によって有刺鉄線が張られていた。彼女の帰宅を待ちながら窓辺に立ち、格子の間から見えた景色に目を疑った。くるりと弧を描いた湖畔の芝生で、何十組ものカップルが肩を寄せ合い、その間を親子連れが散歩している。遊歩道の先には遊園地があり、緑の木々の上に観覧車のてっぺんが頭を出していた。

A place isolated from the outside world and a place where citizens lead their daily lives coexist there -- a ruthless reality.
 同じ湖のほとりに、外界から孤立した空間と、市民の日常とが隣り合わせる非情な現実があった。

Suu Kyi, who was separated from her family because of her house arrest, has never lost courage even though she regularly sees citizens nearby who appear happy, and instead tolerates her solitary life. She has reasons for having to do so.
軟禁によって家族と引き裂かれたスーチーさんはしかし、手の届きそうなところにあふれる平凡な幸せにも心を折られることなく、孤独な時間を耐え抜いた。彼女には、そうしなければならない理由があった。

Suu Kyi lost her husband, who had been battling cancer in Britain, in 1999 while she was under house arrest. Feeling that he was close to the end of his life, he applied for a visa to visit Myanmar to meet his wife, only to be rejected. The military regime hoped that Suu Kyi would leave for Britain to meet with her ailing husband. However, she chose to stay home because there was no guarantee that she would be allowed to come back to Myanmar once she left the country. She chose to prioritize her pro-democracy movement rather than stay with her dying husband. Her determination is undoubtedly attributable to the existence of fellow freedom fighters imprisoned as political prisoners.
 スーチーさんは軟禁解除中の99年、英国で闘病していた夫をがんで亡くしている。死期が迫り、夫はミャンマーへの入国ビザを申請したが却下された。軍政側はこれを機にスーチーさんが英国へ出国してくれることを期待したが、一度祖国を離れれば再入国できる保証はない。彼女は国内にとどまった。最愛の人の死に立ち会うより民主化運動を優先した決意。彼女にそこまで腹をくくらせたものは、政治犯として獄中につながれた仲間の存在に違いない。

In December 1995, shortly after she started the column in the Mainichi Shimbun, Suu Kyi told the world political prisoners were barred from meeting their children for over two years and that their family members were being interrogated and harassed.
 最初にスーチーさんの「手紙」の連載を初めて間もない95年12月、彼女は「籠の外の若い鳥」と題し、政治犯の子が親との面会を2年以上も許可されず、また家族が当局から尋問や嫌がらせを受けている窮状を訴えた。

Her message that she was not the only Myanmar woman detained for her political thoughts appears to reflect a kind of guilty feeling she harbors toward other people who were being suppressed by the military regime.
「私は、政治のために拘置されたビルマ唯一の女性ではない」という一文に、弾圧される人々への、ある種の後ろめたさがにじむ。

There is a special reason why Suu Kyi evaded being tortured or imprisoned even though she is the leader of Myanmar's pro-democracy movement. Her father played a leading role in winning Myanmar's independence and she is well-known to the world as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. The military regime cannot simply take her away from society.
民主化運動の“首謀者”である彼女が拷問や投獄を免れたのには、特別な事情がある。父がビルマ独立運動に献身した将軍という血筋と、ノーベル平和賞を受賞した国際的知名度。軍政とて彼女を他の名もなき政治犯のように、いきなり表社会から消し去るようなまねはできない。

 ◇無名の政治犯に思いを寄せ続け
In other words, Suu Kyi is a pro-democracy activist whose safety is guaranteed. Therefore, she is obviously determined to share the pain imposed on her fellow pro-democracy activists. In the second letter of the current series that ran on Feb. 6, she confessed that she made a habit of having breakfast quite late during her house arrest "so that in my hunger I would not forget our comrades who were incarcerated not in their own homes but in prisons, often in places far distant from where their families live."
 誤解を恐れずに言えば、彼女はミャンマーで最も身の安全を保障された民主化運動家である。だからこそ、仲間が強いられた痛みを率先して共有することを自らに課しているのだろう。連載再開2通目の手紙(2月6日朝刊)で彼女は、軟禁中に朝食の時間を遅らせていたことを明かした。「自らを空腹にすることで、刑務所に投獄され、家族から引き離されている同志を忘れないため」と記している。

I have met various people as a journalist, but I clearly remember I felt tense when I first met Suu Kyi. The feeling derived from my sense of reverence -- similar to a feeling I harbored toward citizens who repeatedly staged a sit-in protest in the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, to express opposition to the relocation of a U.S. base to the area and those who were involved in a signature-collecting campaign against a so-called plutonium-thermal power generation project. They are determined to confront political power without resorting to violence.
 私はこれまで記者としてさまざまな人と接してきたが、スーチーさんと向き合った時に感じた緊張には覚えがある。沖縄で米軍基地の移設を許さず辺野古の浜で座り込みを続ける人々や、佐賀で原発のプルサーマル発電に異を唱え署名を集めていた人々にも抱いた、非暴力不服従で権力に対峙(たいじ)する覚悟への、畏敬(いけい)の念だ。

I asked Suu Kyi, a Japanophile who studied at Kyoto University in the 1980s, what she expects Japan to do for the democratization of Myanmar. Instead of answering my question, she asked me whether I, as a Japanese national, have urged the Japanese government to pressure Myanmar's military regime to release all political prisoners. I couldn't nod with confidence to Suu Kyi, who shot a questioning glance at me. (By Pak Chong-chu, Foreign News Department)
 80年代に京都大へ留学した親日家でもあるスーチーさんに、ミャンマー民主化のため日本に期待することを尋ねたところ、「日本人なら当然、軍政に政治犯を釈放させるよう、自国の政府に働きかけているでしょう?」と逆に質問された。日本の覚悟を推し量ろうとするような彼女の瞳に自信を持ってうなずくことができなかった。(外信部)

毎日新聞 2011年2月24日 0時12分

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NZ大地震 「直下型」の怖さ見せつけた

2011-02-24 05:10:46 | 英字新聞
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 24, 2011)
N.Z. shows horror of near-field quakes
NZ大地震 「直下型」の怖さ見せつけた(2月23日付・読売社説)

It was a bleak scene that prevailed after Tuesday's earthquake in New Zealand--buildings and other structures were reduced to piles of rubble, including an old British-style brick church.
英国風の古いレンガ造りの教会、ビルなどが無残に崩れ落ちている。

The disaster that struck Christchurch, the largest city on the country's South Island, has palpably demonstrated the ferocity of quakes that have their focus just below urban areas, known as near-field temblors.
ニュージーランド南島最大の都市クライストチャーチの被災状況は、都市直下型地震の脅威をまざまざと見せつけた。

The powerful earthquake has caused many casualties, including people crushed under the rubble of houses and other buildings that crumbled to the ground. According to media reports, an office building occupied by about 200 workers collapsed in the quake.
倒壊したビルの下敷きになるなどして多数の死傷者が出ている。200人が勤務するオフィスビルも崩れ落ちたという。

More than 3,000 Japanese are believed to have been in the city at the time of the earthquake, including local residents, tourists and students.
日本人も、在住者に加え、観光客や留学生など計3000人以上が市内にいたとみられる。

Among them were 23 teachers and students from Toyama College of Foreign Languages, who were visiting Christchurch to attend classes at a local school.
富山市の富山外国語専門学校からは、教員と学生計23人が語学研修のため現地を訪れていた。

Reports say the teachers and students from Toyama were in the school cafeteria having lunch when the quake hit and that several members of the group were injured, some when they were trapped under the debris of the collapsed building. There has been no contact with some students.
地震が起きた時、昼食のためカフェテリアにいたという。崩壊した建物の下に閉じこめられるなどして、負傷者が出た。連絡がつかなくなっている学生らもいる。

We hope the Foreign Ministry, the travel agency responsible for arranging the group's trip to the city and all others connected to the latest disaster will try to confirm the situation of all Japanese victims as soon as possible.
外務省や旅行会社などは、被災者たちの一刻も早い安否確認に努めてもらいたい。

===

City overwhelmed

The earthquake has disturbed road traffic and communication networks in the city. Many local residents have evacuated from the devastated city center. Local medical institutions have found their staff and equipment insufficient to treat a large number of wounded people, and a state of emergency has been declared in the city.
現地では道路や通信網が混乱している。多くの住民が、被害の大きかった街の中心部から避難している。負傷者が多く、医療機関での治療が追いつかない。市内には非常事態が宣言された。

The Japanese government has sent an advance team to New Zealand to prepare for rescue operations in devastated areas there. Our country must extend swift and sufficient aid to the stricken area.
日本政府は、救出・救援活動に備えて先遣隊を送った。早急かつ十分な支援が求められる。

New Zealand is an earthquake-prone country, located in the southern Pacific Ocean at the convergence of two gigantic continental plates. Numerous active faults that can cause near-field earthquakes run under the country's inland areas.
ニュージーランドは、日本と同じ「地震国」だ。地球の表面を覆う巨大なプレート(岩板)同士がぶつかり合う場所にあり、内陸部には、直下型地震を引き起こす活断層がいくつもある。

This latest disaster came months after another major earthquake struck Christchurch in September, injuring more than 100 people. Tuesday's quake--which had a smaller magnitude than last year's temblor--turned out to be more devastating, as its focus was located only five kilometers underground.
クライストチャーチでは昨年9月にも大きな地震があり、100人以上が負傷している。今回は前回ほどの規模ではなかったが、震源が5キロ・メートルと浅かったため、被害が大きくなった。

New Zealand sees only one-tenth as many noticeable and major quakes of Japan. Only a few massive earthquakes have ever been recorded in New Zealand, a nation that experienced its first major influx of immigrants from Europe about two centuries ago. Also, little progress has been made in investigating the state of active faults and other seismic elements in the nation.
ただ、ニュージーランドは、有感地震や大きな地震の発生頻度では日本の10分の1程度だ。欧州からの移民が本格化して200年余りのため、過去に起きた大地震の記録は少なく、活断層などの調査も進んでいるとは言えない。

===

Quake resistance insufficient

The latest quake has destroyed not only historical structures but many new office and other buildings, including some that were constructed with advanced quake-resistant technology. The degree of damage suffered by these buildings shows their resistance to seismic shocks was less than satisfactory.
一部の建造物には先進的な耐震技術が使われているが、被害状況を見ると、歴史的建物ばかりでなく新しいビルも崩壊している。耐震性が十分でなかったようだ。

The Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995 was no less illuminating in this respect. The damage caused by that disaster shed light on the lack of sufficient earthquake resistance in many buildings in this country.
日本も、1995年の阪神大震災で、建造物の耐震性の弱さが露呈した。

Efforts have been made to improve the ability of such structures to withstand earthquakes, but there have been delays in anti-seismic reinforcement work on such structures as primary and middle school buildings nationwide.
その後、耐震補強が進められてはきたが、小中学校の校舎などの補強は遅れている。

It is essential to reexamine our preparedness for massive earthquakes, which could occur anywhere in the nation. This is particularly true with a near-field earthquake predicted to strike Tokyo soon, as well as quakes that seismologists say may happen in the Tokai region and some parts of the Kinki district.
いつ起きてもおかしくない首都直下地震や、東海、東南海、南海地震など巨大地震への備えを改めて点検することが大切だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 23, 2011)
(2011年2月23日01時12分  読売新聞)
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