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(社説)参院選挙改革 大きな汚点を残した

2015-07-30 07:49:03 | 英字新聞

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 29
EDITORIAL: Common sense lacking in Upper House electoral reform
(社説)参院選挙改革 大きな汚点を残した

The revised Public Offices Election Law was enacted on July 28, clearing the way for the implementation of a “plus 10, minus 10” formula to reform the Upper House electoral system. Under this formula for seat redistribution, the Shimane and Tottori constituencies are being merged, as are the Tokushima and Kochi constituencies.
 鳥取と島根、徳島と高知をそれぞれ「合区」するなどして、参院の定数を「10増10減」する改正公職選挙法が成立した。

For the first time in the history of Upper House elections, prefectural voting districts are being merged.
都道府県単位の選挙区が統合されるのは、参院選が始まって以来初めてのことだ。

Thanks to the legal revision, Japan will at least not commit the folly of going ahead with the Upper House election next summer in disregard of the Supreme Court’s ruling in November 2014 that the 2013 poll in the chamber was held “in a state of unconstitutionality” due to disparity in vote value.
 最高裁に「違憲状態」だと指摘されたまま、来年夏の参院選に突入する愚だけはかろうじて避けられた。

However, the revised law was approved in the Upper House plenary session on July 24 by a narrow margin of 131 to 103. And six Liberal Democratic Party legislators representing the four above-mentioned prefectures walked out before balloting, even though the amendment bill had been under deliberation for nearly two years.
しかし、参院本会議での採決は、賛成131、反対103という小差。合区対象となる4県選出の自民党議員6人は退席した。
 2年近くかけて議論してきたにもかかわらず、である。

It is fundamental to democratic procedures that the people’s elected representatives deliberate on issues thoroughly, coordinate conflicting opinions and reach a consensus that serves the public interest. And especially when the subject of discussion is the nation’s election system--which forms the basis of representative democracy--whatever decision that is reached must have broad, suprapartisan support.
 議論を尽くし、意見の違いを調整して、公共の利益にかなう結論を出す。それが民主主義的手続きの基本である。とりわけ代表民主制の基礎となる選挙制度は、党派を超えた幅広い合意のうえで決めるのが筋だ。

But what stood out this time was the indolence of the ruling LDP that should have been leading the deliberations. Reacting only haphazardly to developments, the party presented a “plus 6, minus 6” formula that would have resulted in a vote-disparity ratio of more than 4 to 1. The LDP waited until there was only about one year left before the next Upper House election before going along, albeit reluctantly, with the “plus 10, minus 10” formula proposed by four opposition parties, including the Japan Innovation Party.
 それなのに、際だったのは議論を主導すべき自民党の怠慢である。最大格差が4倍を上回る「6増6減」案を示すなど、場当たり的な対応を重ねたあげく、来年の参院選が約1年後に迫るなか、維新の党など野党4党が出した「10増10減」の「助け舟」にしぶしぶ乗った。

But even with this formula, the maximum vote-disparity ratio is 2.97 to 1. The grave question remains as to whether this really meets the constitutional requirement that all ballots be equal in value.
 それでも一票の最大格差は、2・97倍もある。憲法が求める「投票価値の平等」にこたえ得るか、深刻な疑問符がつく。

Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, co-sponsored with the opposition Democratic Party of Japan and others a bill calling for the creation of “10 merged constituencies.” With a vote-disparity ratio of 1.95 to 1 at most, this was obviously a better choice than the “plus 10, minus 10” formula in terms of reducing the vote-disparity ratio. But even though the Komeito-DPJ formula should be used at least for the Upper House election next summer, it was hardly discussed in the Diet.
 一方、民主、公明両党などが共同提出した「10合区」案は、最大格差が1・95倍。一票の不平等を正すという点では自民党案よりはましである。少なくとも来年の参院選はこちらで行うべきだったが、国会ではほとんど議論されなかった。

In short, we, the sovereign people, were not even given a chance to get to know and think about this alternative. We were simply forced to accept the Diet’s decision.
主権者である国民は考える機会も材料も与えられないまま、結論だけが押しつけられた形だ。

The revised Public Offices Election Law comes with this supplementary provision: “Studies shall continue to fundamentally review the election system, and a conclusion shall be reached at all costs.” But except for the expression “at all costs,” this provision is merely a rehash of the supplementary provision that was attached to the election law revised three years ago, when the current election system was adopted under a “plus 4, minus 4” formula.
 今回、改正法の付則にはこんな一文が盛り込まれた。「選挙制度の抜本的な見直しについて引き続き検討を行い、必ず結論を得るものとする」。しかしこれは3年前、「4増4減」して現行制度に改めた時の付則に「必ず」が加わっただけだ。

Whether the merging of constituencies is the best solution is subject to debate. Assuming Japan’s population will continue to shrink and people will keep moving to the big cities, the electoral map will have to be redrawn time and again, necessitating a series of stopgap mergers.
 合区が最善かには議論の余地がある。日本の人口減少と都市への人口集中が進めば、今後も同じような小手先の数字合わせが繰り返され、ずるずる合区を重ねる事態になりかねない。

Is that really what this nation needs? To answer this question, we must discuss the fundamental question: What is the role of the Upper House?
 それでいいのか? その答えを探るためにも、「参院の役割とは何か」を根本から議論する必要がある。

But through all these years, Upper House members have failed to answer the question every time, and merely resorted to stopgap measures. When will those legislators ever realize how much they have damaged their own credibility and the image of the Upper House as “the seat of common sense and decency”?
 ところが毎回、答えを出せないまま、弥縫(びほう)策でお茶を濁す。その繰り返しが、自らの正統性と「良識の府」の看板をどれだけ傷つけてきたか、参院議員はいつになったら気づくのか。

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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:人間を楽しもう /東京

2015-07-29 09:15:43 | 英字新聞

July 05, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Living life to its fullest as a human being
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:人間を楽しもう /東京

As an ice-breaker at the beginning of a seminar, I often ask my students to introduce themselves by telling the class what they'd want to be if they could be anything. Without fail, at least a few students say they would choose to be a cat, bird or fish. Some students name other animals and even plants. But the reasons they cite for these choices are all the same: they want to be "free."
 大学のゼミの始まりで緊張をほぐすためによく「何にでもなれるとしたら何がよいか」のテーマで自己紹介してもらう。すると必ず何人かは「ネコ」「トリ」「サカナ」と答える。ほかの動物や植物の名前もよくあがる。理由はいずれも「自由になりたいから」。

From my point of view, students have an abundance of freedom in their college years, but they themselves don't see it that way. They apparently live very hectic lives. They find that receiving instruction and at times reprimands in extracurricular activities and part-time jobs is stressful. Interpersonal relationships require that they be considerate. Many students commute from their parents' homes if possible, which means they may have long trips to and from school. Completely exhausted, it's no wonder that students wish they could simply lie in the sun like a cat, soar through the sky like a bird, or swim deep in the ocean like a fish.
 私から見ると大学生活など自由そのものだが、学生たちは「そうじゃない」と言う。授業に課題その他で目の回る忙しさなのだそうだ。サークル活動やアルバイトでは、先輩に指導されたり叱られたりで緊張の連続。友人とのつき合いにも何かと気をつかうという。さらに最近は「通えるなら実家から」という学生が多く、通学に長い時間がかかる。疲れきってふと、「ネコになってのんびり寝転んでいたい」「トリやサカナになって空や海でゆったりしたい」と思う学生がいても決して不思議ではない。

But it feels to me like a waste to go through life as a human being while wishing one were a cat or a bird. That's why I remind my students that the animals they've named can't read or write, or that some animals live in constant fear of being devoured by predators. But the response I get is usually some version of, "That's fine. I wouldn't mind," or "There'd be no point in resisting."
 せっかく人間に生まれたのに「ネコやサカナがよかった」というのも、なんだかもったいなく思える。そういう学生には、必ず「でも本を読んだり文章を書いたりできないよ」「天敵に食われちゃうかもしれないよ」ときいてみる。返ってくる答えもだいたい決まっていて「それでもいいです」「仕方ないので気にしません」。

Are they just aloof? Maybe. Regardless, I feel sorry for students who are willing to risk their lives in order to "be free" or take it easy. I had a patient some years ago, a high school student, who told me, "I think I've already experienced all the fun there is to be had in life. Everything from here on out will be boring." I was flabbergasted.
 あっさりしているといえばそれまでだが、人間らしさや命の危険と引き換えにしてでも「ゆっくりしたい」と思っている学生たちがなんだか気の毒になってくる。何年か前には「人生の楽しいことはだいたいすべて経験しちゃったと思います。あとはつまらないことだけ」と話す高校生に診察室で出会い、あぜんとしたこともある。

It's true. Not everything in life as a grown-up is fun. Adults usually have little free time but more responsibilities at work and at home. Adults have to deal with making mistakes at work and saying goodbye to more and more loved ones. Some days can be really tough. I, too, wonder at times what it would be like to go back to my junior high school years. But I still have moments where I feel I've achieved something significant in my career, or that I've made an important decision at a turning point in my life.
 たしかにおとなになれば、ますます時間の自由はきかなくなるし、職場や家庭での責任も重くなり、仕事でミスをしたり親しい人との別れが増えたりと、決して楽しいことばかりではない。私もときどき、「中学生くらいに戻れたらな」などと空想することもある。しかし、そんなしんどい毎日の中にも、「自分がやりたかった仕事で成果を出せた」とか「人生の岐路に立ち自分なりの答えを見つけた」とか、手ごたえを感じる瞬間もある。

To all the young people who wish they could be a cat: Your school years -- as well as the years following school -- may be difficult, but we as human beings are able to make decisions in our lives to try and make them into what we choose. So let's enjoy it.
 「ネコになりたい」などという若い人たちには、こう言いたい。「たしかに学生もたいへん、その後はもっとたいへんかもしれないけれど、自分の人生を自分で決めて切り開けるのが人間だよ。もっと人間であることを楽しもうよ」。

For this message to be convincing, however, we adults must first demonstrate that we are happy in our own lives.
そのためにも、私たちおとながもっと楽しそうな顔で暮らさなければ、とも思うのだ。(精神科医)

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年06月30日 地方版

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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:傷つけたら謝る /東京

2015-07-28 09:16:35 | 英字新聞

July 12, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: If you've hurt someone, go ahead and apologize
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:傷つけたら謝る /東京

Recent comments made by lawmakers and a lecturer during a study session of the Liberal Democratic Party have been brought into question, including those demeaning two newspapers in Okinawa and the Okinawan public.
 自民党の勉強会に出席した議員や講師の発言が問題になっている。沖縄の新聞や住民をおとしめるような内容と言ってよいだろう。

While those who made the comments explained that they had been "joking," and that what they had said "did not constitute suppression of speech," there is no denying the fact that these statements resulted in people feeling hurt.
発言者は「冗談だった」「言論の弾圧ではない」と釈明しているが、傷ついた人たちがいることはたしかだ。

In my view, there does not exist a single individual who does not end up hurting others in some way or another throughout the course of daily living. Even comments that were made without any malicious intent on the part of the speaker may end up making someone else feel saddened or angered.
 毎日を生きる中で、まったく人を傷つけずにいることは誰もできない、と私は考えている。悪気がない言葉でも、聞いた人によっては悲しくなったり怒りを感じたりする。

For some time after my father had passed away, for example, hearing other people my age say things like, "My father is making efforts to take care of his health, so he is really doing great," would make me wonder, "Does this mean that my own father had been neglecting his health?" which would in turn cause me to feel despondent.
たとえば私も、父親を亡くしてしばらくの間は、同世代の人が「うちの父は健康のために努力しているので元気そのもの」などと言うのを聞くと、「私の父は努力を怠ったのかな」などと落ち込んでいた。

In other words, even if we understand that someone may not have meant a particular statement in a certain way, we may still perceive it in a negative manner.
頭では「相手はそんなつもりもなく言ったのだから」とわかっていても、どうしてもマイナスに受け取ってしまうことがあるのだ。

Naturally, I assume that I too say things from time to time that end up causing painful feelings for others. The people who come to visit my office are particularly vulnerable to being hurt, since they are experiencing mental and physical difficulties. And on those occasions when I do end up saying something insensitive, rather than protesting with something like "Please don't say that!" they normally do nothing beyond managing a weak laugh. On numerous occasions, I have gone pale-faced when years later those same people have come back and told me, "What you said to me back then was really shocking."
 もちろん、私が何気ない言葉で誰かを傷つける側にまわることもあるだろう。とくに、診察の場にやって来る人たちは、心身の不調を抱えているのだからよけいに傷つきやすくなっている。しかも、その人たちはたとえ私が心ない言葉を発しても、その場では力なく笑うだけで「先生、そんなこと言わないでください」などと抗議することもない。何年もたってから「先生のあのときの言葉、とてもショックでした」と言われ、顔が青ざめたことも何度かある。

How can we address this problem, then? If we put too many restrictions on ourselves in terms of what we are permitted to say, we will end up not being able to say anything at all. At the same time, however, we must always keep in mind the fact that even our innocently expressed speech has the power to inadvertently cause pain for others -- particularly those who are in vulnerable positions or members of marginalized groups.
 では、どうすればよいのか。これもダメ、あれもいけない、と気をつかいすぎると、何も言えなくなってしまう。ただ、自分の悪気のない言葉も、思わぬ人たち、とくに弱い立場や少数者の立場にいる人を傷つける場合もある、ということは、いつも頭の片すみにとめておくべきだ。

And if someone then confronts us by saying, "I really wish that you wouldn't have said that," we must immediately apologize for having caused hurt with our words, rather than deflect their criticism by saying something like "I didn't mean anything negative, so what's the harm?" or "You're the one who's in the wrong for getting upset."
もし相手が「それは言ってほしくなかったな」などと言ったら、すぐに「傷つけたならごめんなさい」と謝ることも必要だろう。「悪意はなかったんだからいいじゃない」「こんなことを気にするあなたが悪い」などと開きなおるのはよくない。

Finally, while this is most definitely not an easy thing to do, we must also practice gathering the strength to say "please stop" when others bring up a topic or say something that makes us feel uncomfortable. At such times, we should not worry about disturbing the positive atmosphere. Rather, we should firmly express our own feelings -- even if it is done by speaking quietly.
 また、これはとてもむずかしいが、相手が言ってほしくない話題や言葉を話した場合、「やめてください」と伝える“練習”もしておきたい。「せっかく場が盛り上がっているから」などと気配りをしすぎず、小さな声でも、しっかりと自分の意思を伝えるのだ。

Of course, the ideal situation is one whereby we never say things that end up hurting others. Realistically speaking, however, this is something that we human beings are unable to avoid.
 傷つけあう言葉を言わないのがいちばんだが、生きている限り、それは避けられない。

At such times, then, we must apologize as soon as we realize what has occurred, and we must then make efforts to take better care the next time. This is a fundamental truth, and it is applicable in any and all types of situations.
だとしたら、気づいた段階で謝って、次からは気をつける。これがどんな場合でも基本だと思う。

(精神科医)
(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年07月07日 地方版

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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:やらざるをえないもの /東京

2015-07-27 09:37:03 | 英字新聞

July 26, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the heart: Things that we feel compelled to do
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:やらざるをえないもの /東京

The Akutagawa Prize, which is awarded twice yearly, is an extremely prestigious honor among writers. The winners of the most recent competition -- the 153rd in its history -- were "Scrap and Build" by Keisuke Hada, and "Hibana" by Naoki Matayoshi.
 小説家にとってはあこがれの賞、芥川賞。選考は年に2回だが、第153回となる今回は羽田圭介さんの「スクラップ・アンド・ビルド」、そして又吉直樹さんの「火花」が選ばれた。

Matayoshi is one-half of the comedy duo "Peace," and he may often be seen on television. The main character in his novel is similarly a comedian, who undertakes a quest to advance to a full-fledged master of humor under a comedy mentor.
 又吉さんは、テレビでもよく見かけるお笑い芸人コンビ「ピース」のひとりだ。受賞作の主人公もやはり芸人。

The novel portrays the dedication with which the performer strives to become a star -- efforts that are so extreme, in fact, that what begins as a light story gradually becomes quite intense for the reader.
先輩格を師匠とあおぎ、人気者を目指して必死にがんばるその心もようが描かれ、楽しく読んでいるうちに主人公らのあまりの真剣さにだんだん息が苦しくなってくるような作品だ。

Author Amy Yamada, an Akutagawa Prize judge, spoke on behalf of the selection committee during a press conference -- and I found her description of Matayoshi's novel striking. "The work seems to be portraying a poignant story that the author felt compelled to tell," she commented. "While the novel does have its faults, it left me with an overall feeling that was quite strong."
 選考委員を代表して作家の山田詠美さんが記者会見で話をした。又吉さんの作品を講評しての言葉がとても印象的だった。「どうしても書かざるをえない切実なものが迫ってくる感じで、欠点も多々あるんですけど、何か強いものを感じて」

This phrase "felt compelled to..." is one that I had not heard for a very long time -- and it represents a feeling that I had long forgotten.
 「どうしてもやらざるをえない」。私は、その言葉を久しぶりに聞いた気がした。最近はそんな気持ちをすっかり忘れていた。

I leave every morning for the university or for my office, where I then give lectures or see patients. When deadlines approach, I write my columns. Although I do attempt to give my best efforts for such pursuits, I find myself feeling very relieved on my days off. And on some days, I find myself thinking, "Truthfully, I would just rather not go in to work today."
朝、時間が来れば病院や大学に出かけ、診察や授業をする。締め切りが来ると原稿を書く。もちろんどれもそれなりに真剣にやっているつもりだが、休みの日が来るとほっとする。「今日は正直言って仕事に行きたくない」と思う日もある。

In other words, the phrase "compelled to..." represents a strong feeling from which I have become alienated. Without realizing it, I suppose that I have taken on the attitude of simply doing things "because it is my job."
「どうしてもやらざるをえない」といった強い思いからは、ずいぶん遠ざかってしまっていた。知らないうちに、どこか「仕事だから」と割り切ってこなしていたのかもしれない。

As for my young students at university, they are involved with their studies, club activities, and part-time jobs. While I am sure that these are all activities they enjoy doing, it is my guess that they rarely feel so strongly about something that they are "compelled" to do it.
 大学で出会う若い学生たちは、どうなのだろう。勉強、部活、アルバイトに遊び。どれもやりたいからやっているのだろうが、「どうしてもやらざるをえない」とまで感じることは少ないのではないか。

When handing in reports, my students sometimes include their own opinions, prefaced with something like this: "I know this is not directly related to the subject at hand, but I really felt like I had to write it." It is precisely this type of feeling that I hope these students will continue to cultivate.
たまにリポートに「課題とは直接、関係ないけれど、これだけはどうしても言っておきたくて」と自分の意見を書いてくる学生もいるが、そういう気持ちを大切にしてもらいたい、と思う。

Matayoshi works as a comedian, but he additionally penned a novel because he "felt compelled" to do so -- even though it might have been more beneficial for him as a performer to have spent that time appearing on television or doing comedy shows. In order to engage in this novel-writing endeavor, I'm sure that he must have also gained the understanding of his comedy partner and others around him.
 又吉さんはお笑い芸人として活躍しているが、それでも「どうしても書かざるをえない」という気持ちに動かされるようにして小説を書いた。もしかするとそんな時間があったらテレビに出たりお笑いライブをしたりしたほうが芸人としてはプラスかもしれないが、コンビの相方や周囲の人たちも理解してくれたのだろう。

I would love to once again engage in something because I felt compelled to do so -- even if it meant pushing myself beyond my own limits in the process. And it is none other than Matayoshi's work that has inspired me with this feeling.
私ももう一度、「これだけはやらざるをえないんです」と無理してでも何かをやってみたい。そんな気持ちにさせてくれた又吉さんの受賞だった。(精神科医)

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年07月22日 地方版

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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:介護マーク、本気で考えて /東京

2015-07-26 06:48:39 | 英字新聞

July 19, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Giving priority treatment to caregivers
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:介護マーク、本気で考えて /東京

These days, certain considerate gestures have become fairly commonplace: things like giving up a "priority seat" to a pregnant woman or to a cane-wielding elderly person, or pushing the button to keep an elevator door open for someone in a wheelchair who is trying to get off.
 バスや電車で「おなかに赤ちゃんがいます」というマタニティーマークを身につけた女性やつえをついた高齢者が前に立ったら席をゆずる。エレベーターで車いす使用者と乗り合わせたら、降りるときに「開」ボタンを押すなどしてサポートする。こんな助け合いの行動が、完璧とは言えないまでもかなり世の中に浸透してきた。

But a woman who came to my consultation room said that, "people don't understand the stress of caregivers and won't give you their seat on a train."
 「でもね」とあるとき、診察室で女性が話してくれた。「介護疲れはまわりの人になかなかわかってもらえないし、電車で席をゆずってもらったりもできないですよね」

This woman is a single person in her 50s. She has a job and lives with her elderly parents, who both need care. During the day she uses the services of home helpers and care facilities, but at night she cares for them herself. While she believes in supporting her parents, she can feel the toll of the stress on her body and mind. When she sought medical help to reduce her stress, she was recommended counseling and came to see me. After talking with her for a while, I saw that she was close to suffering from "caregiver depression."
 彼女は独身の50代。高齢の両親と同居しながら働いている。ふたりとも「要介護」で、日中はヘルパーやデイサービスを活用しているが、夜は彼女がひとりで世話をする。「親なので当然」とは思っているが、心身ともにくたくたになっているのを感じている。「なんとか疲れを取る方法はないか」と内科を受診したらカウンセリングを勧められ、私の診察室にやって来たのだ。話をしてみると、いわゆる「介護うつ」に近い状態であった。

The woman said that on the train to go home after finishing her day's work, she thinks about what she will need to do when she gets home, and that alone brings a wave of exhaustion upon her. If she could only sit, she could rest before arriving home, but usually it is crowded and she has to stand. She can't very well say to someone, "I'm going to be doing care work, so can you give me your seat?"
 彼女は仕事が終わって帰りの電車に乗った瞬間、「うちに着いたらあれしてこれして」とその夜にやることを考えるという。それだけでどっと疲労感が押し寄せる。そのときに座っていられたら「よし、家に着くまでひと休みしよう」と思えるが、たいていは混んでいて立ちっぱなし。まさか「すみません、これから介護が待っているので席をゆずってもらえませんか」と頼むわけにもいかない。

I suggested, half-jokingly at the time, "It might be good if there was a charm you could wear that would inform others that you're a caregiver" like the key chains given to pregnant women that encourages other passengers to give up their seats for them, but she nodded and said seriously, "You're right."
 「疲れた。誰かにやさしくしてもらいたい。でも無理」と考えているだけでストレスはどんどん高まっていくのだろう。私は「『いま介護してます』という介護マークでもあればいいかもしれませんね」と半ば冗談のつもりで言ったのだが、彼女は真剣な表情で「本当に」とうなずいた。

There are many workplaces that do not give enough consideration to pregnant and child-raising employees, but the lack of consideration for caregivers is greater still.
 妊娠や子育てにもまだ配慮の足りない職場は多いが、介護への理解不足はそれ以上。

Of course, more and more nursing care services have become available, but with the falling birth rate and fewer people getting married, it is thought that there will be more cases of people caring for their parents alone, just like this woman.
もちろん、介護保険でいろいろなサービスが使えるようになってはきたが、少子化や非婚化が進む中、この女性のように「ひとりで両親ふたりを介護」というケースも増えてくると思われる。

Some people, with no other option, leave their jobs to focus on care giving, but that is neither good for them nor society, and if they fall into "caregiver depression," it will take a long time for them to recover.
やむをえず仕事をやめる「介護離職」に踏みきる人もいるが、社会にとっても本人にとっても望ましいことではない。「介護うつ」にまでなってしまうと、回復までに長い時間がかかる。

This is why I hope that someone will seriously think about creating some kind of symbol to identify caregivers so they can receive priority seating on public transport.
 マタニティーマークならぬ介護マーク。誰か本気で考えてみてくれないだろうか。

(精神科医)
(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年07月14日 地方版

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