路上の民主主義―自ら考え動き出す人たち

May 15, 2014
EDITORIAL: Citizens taking a stand to protect democracy in Japan
路上の民主主義―自ら考え動き出す人たち

The triple disaster that befell Japan in 2011 was the catalyst for profound reflection among citizens and calls for

fundamental changes in our society.
The Great East Japan Earthquake generated towering tsunami that triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1

nuclear power plant and plunged the nation into a state of shock. Some people likened the catastrophe to a “second

defeat in war.” Many Japanese took it upon themselves to try to engineer change in society.
 変わらなければ。
 変えなければ。
 東日本大震災と東京電力福島第一原発事故を経験した2011年。「第二の敗戦」といった言葉も飛び交うなか、日本社会は深い

自省と、根源的な変革を求める空気に満ちていた。

One visible manifestation of the reflective mood was a massive rally calling for an end to Japan’s reliance on nuclear

power generation. It was held in Tokyo about six months after the calamity. An estimated 60,000 people attended the

“Sayonara Genpatsu” (Good-bye to nuclear power generation) rally, according to the event’s organizers.
 それを目に見える形で示したのが、震災から約半年後に東京で開かれた「さようなら原発」集会だ。主催者発表で6万人が参加。

In his address to the rally, Kenzaburo Oe, a Nobel laureate writer, stressed the importance of the gathering and

demonstrations in general as a means for citizens to express their views. “What can we do? All we have are such

rallies driven by the democratic spirit and demonstrations by citizens,” he said. Nearly three years have passed since

then.
ノーベル賞作家・大江健三郎さんは訴えた。「何ができるか。私らにはこの民主主義の集会、市民のデモしかない」
 あれから3年近くが経った。

ABE SOWS SEEDS
■首相がまく種

During this time, the Liberal Democratic Party returned to power. The LDP-led government has sought to restart idled

nuclear reactors and revived the old-style policy of spending on massive public works projects.
 自民党が政権に戻り、原発再稼働が推進され、大型公共事業が復活する。

The grim realization has dawned on many Japanese that they have failed to bring about change.
 何も変えられなかった。

Some people have become disillusioned. Others have lost heart or simply grown weary.

 冷めた人。折れた人。疲れた人。

There is no denying that the bitter sense of resignation that set in among the people, coupled with their deep

disappointment at the performance of the previous government led by the Democratic Party of Japan, has provided

much political capital for the Abe administration.
民主党政権への深い失望と相まって膨らんだ諦念(ていねん)が、安倍政権の政治的原資となってきたことは否めない。

A pillar of democracy is a belief in the need to have constructive, in-depth exchanges with people of opposing

opinions.
 反対意見に向き合い、議論を深める。民主制の根幹だ。

But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to believe quite the opposite. He seems to think that as the nation’s top

leader, chosen through elections, he can have his own way and would be wasting his time listening to others’

opinions.
しかし首相はどうやら、選挙で選ばれた、最高責任者の自分がやりたいようにやるのが政治で、反対意見なんか聞くだけ無駄だと考えて

いるようだ。

This, then, explains the Abe administration’s outrageous decision to seek an effective elimination of constitutional

restrictions on Japan’s use of armed force through nothing more than a Cabinet decision.
 憲法の縛りさえ、閣議決定で「ない」ことにしてしまおうという粗雑さ。

The Diet, which is dominated by the ruling parties, has been showing increasing signs of acting as a rubber stamp

body in the face of the administration’s strong-arm approach to policymaking.
これに対し、与党が圧倒的議席をもつ国会は、単なる追認機関と化しつつある。

Are ruling party leaders aware that the prime minister’s heavy-handed tactics for pursuing his political agenda and

the pitifully tame Diet are spawning and fostering a new breed of political actors who think and act on their own?
The question is whether this situation is fortunate or unfortunate for this nation’s negligent politicians.
 気づいているだろうか。
 首相の強権的な政治手法とふがいない国会のありようが、自ら思考し、行動する政治的な主体を新たに生み、育てていることに。怠

慢なこの国の政治家にとっては、幸か、不幸か。

MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD
■声を響かせる

The English phrase “Fight the power” is the principal slogan adopted for a student demonstration staged in Tokyo’s

Shinjuku district on May 3, Constitution Day, against the newly enacted state secrets protection law.
The slogan is “a little too radical, but probably OK because it is in English,” said one of the student organizers.
 「『Fight the power』、これは権力と闘えって意味で、ちょっと過激なんすけど、まあ英語だから大丈夫かなと」

The 400 or so participants practiced chanting in chorus in a park where they gathered before taking to the streets.

They took part in the demonstration as individuals, not as members of any organization, in response to calls on the

Internet or invitations by friends to turn up for the rally.
 憲法記念日に東京・新宿で行われた「特定秘密保護法に反対する学生デモ」。集合場所の公園で約400人が声を合わせ、コール

の練習を始めた。都内の大学生らが主催した、党派によらない個人参加のデモ。ネットや友人関係を通じて集まった。

As they started marching on the streets, led by a car equipped with a loudspeaker beating out a rhythm with heavy

bass sounds, the demonstrators kept chanting, “No to the state secrets protection law” and “Protect the Constitution.”

These rather stiff phrases, chanted in a rhythmic pace, echoed across Shinjuku.
 出発。重低音のリズムを刻むサウンドカーを先頭に、繰り返される「特定秘密保護法反対」「憲法守れ」。堅苦しい言葉がうまくリズム

に乗っかって、新宿の街にあふれ出していく。

Participating students took the microphone in turns.
 大学生たちがマイクを握る。

“I feel happy about being born in Japan, where we can live freely in ways we like,” said one student. “But the state

secrets protection law was rammed through the Diet in the face of opposition. As I was concerned that the Japan I

love so much could be destroyed if nothing was done, I felt compelled to act.”
 「自分らしく、自由に生きられる日本に生まれたことを幸せに思っています。でも、特定秘密保護法が反対を押し切って成立した。この

ままじゃ大好きな日本が壊れちゃうかもしれないって思ったら、動かずにはいられませんでした」

“I’m not ashamed of expressing my will to protect my freedom and rights,” said another. “And I believe in making

‘constant efforts’ to do so.”
 「私は、私の自由と権利を守るために意思表示することを恥じません。そしてそのことこそが、私の『不断の努力』であることを信じます」

They all spoke clearly in their own words and from their hearts.
 私。僕。俺。借り物でない、主語が明確な言葉がつながる。

Do they want to change their society? It would seem they are more interested in protecting their society.
 社会を変えたい?
 いや、伝わってくるのはむしろ、「守りたい」だ。

The way the controversial bill was railroaded through the Diet raised many doubts and questions in their minds.
 強引な秘密法の採決に際し、胸の内に膨らんだ疑問。

They asked themselves what democracy really means. One tentative answer they came up with is that it means they

need to keep thinking on their own without any fear of making mistakes and continuing to voice their doubts and

questions if they think that something is wrong.
 民主主義ってなんだ?
 手繰り寄せた、当座の答え。
 間違ってもいいから、自分の頭で考え続けること。おかしいと思ったら、声をあげること。

That is why they took to the streets and made their voices heard.
 だから路上に繰り出し、響かせる。自分たちの声を。

“Tell me what democracy looks like?” one student shouted. “This is what democracy looks like!” responded the others.
 「Tell me what democracy looks like?(民主主義ってどんなの?)」のコール。
 「This is what democracy looks like!(これが民主主義だ!)」のレスポンス。

One scholar argues that, in a period of upheavals when people find it difficult to envision a bright future, they tend to

cling to something by engaging in physical activities.
 ある学者は言う。頭で考えても見通しをもてない動乱期には、人は身体を動かして何かをつかもうとするんです――。

The students are well aware of the harsh reality. They know society doesn’t change easily. But they also know they

don’t have to give up. They are more focused on continuing, rather than winning their battle.
 彼らは極めて自覚的だ。社会はそう簡単には変わらない。でも諦める必要はない。志向するのは「闘い」に「勝つ」ことよりも、闘い「続

ける」ことだ。

CHANGE IS HAPPENING
■深く、緩やかに

Anti-nuclear demonstrators held their 100th rally in front of the prime minister’s office in Tokyo on the first Friday of

May.
 5月最初の金曜日に100回目を迎えた、首相官邸前デモ。

The number of participants has fallen, and the enthusiasm of the regular event has waned. Instead, it has become

part of the everyday lives of people still taking part in the event.
 数は減り、熱気は失せ、そのぶんすっかり日常化している。

There are couples sitting on the lawn and eating rice balls and groups singing songs. They enjoy spending time in

their own ways in areas around the prime minister’s office, which are “opened to the public.”
植え込みに座って、おにぎりを食べるカップル。歌をうたうグループ。「開放」された官邸周辺を思い思いに楽しんでいる。

Demonstrators have stuck to some basic principles, including keeping their acts peaceful, focusing on core messages

and participation as individuals. Without the experiences accumulated through regular, uneventful anti-nuke rallies in

front of the prime minister’s office and the wise strategies developed for this new type of demonstrations, there might

not have been the waves of people protesting against the state secrets protection law in front of the Diet last

December or the recent student rally in Shinjuku.
 非暴力。訴えを絞る。個人参加。官邸前で積み上げられた日常と、新しいデモの「知恵」がなければ、昨年12月に秘密法に反対す

る人々が国会前に押し寄せることも、学生たちのデモも、なかったかもしれない。

“Its strong roots are not visible/ But they are there even though they are invisible/ Invisible things exist,” Misuzu

Kaneko says in her book, “Hoshi to tanpopo” (The star and the dandelion).
 つよいその根は眼にみえぬ。
 見えぬけれどもあるんだよ、
 見えぬものでもあるんだよ。
 (金子みすゞ「星とたんぽぽ」)

Like dandelions, these civic movements have deep roots in people’s daily lives. Like pieces of dandelion fluff, the

voices of these people waft off and reach somewhere else. The fallen seeds take root at new places.
 たんぽぽのように、日常に深く根を張り、種をつけた綿毛が風に乗って飛んでいく。それがどこかで、新たに根を張る。

On May 15, the Abe administration will take a step toward allowing Japan to exercise its right to collective self-

defense. Probably, many pieces of fluff will swirl up into the air again.
 きょう、集団的自衛権の行使容認に向け、安倍政権が一歩を踏み出す。また多くの綿毛が、空に舞いゆくことだろう。

Society is changing, deeply, quietly and calmly.
 社会は変わっている。
 深く、静かに、緩やかに。

–The Asahi Shimbun, May 15

広告

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク

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