(社説)新国立競技場問題 強行政治の行き詰まりだ

–The Asahi Shimbun, July 18
EDITORIAL: Stadium snafu shows failure of Abe’s strong-arm politics
(社説)新国立競技場問題 強行政治の行き詰まりだ

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s words sounded hollow when he announced his decision July 17 to scrap the much-criticized design of the new National Stadium, the main venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Abe said he made the decision after “giving careful attention to the voices of the people.”
“We want to ensure that the sports events will be praised by the people of the world,” he added.
安倍首相の言葉が空々しい。
「国民の声に耳を傾けて」「世界から称賛される大会に」
2020年東京五輪・パラリンピックの主会場となる新国立競技場の計画見直しに、首相がやっと重い腰を上げた。

Just one week ago, Abe, speaking in the Diet, rejected the idea of changing the costly design on grounds that construction would not be completed in time for the Olympics if it was altered.
わずか1週間前、国会で「時間的に間に合わない」と否定したのは、首相自身だった。

His sudden reversal coincides with the ruling camp’s move to force controversial security legislation through the Lower House, despite growing objections to the package even as Diet deliberations on the bills progressed.
急な心変わりは、審議を重ねるほど異論が高まった安全保障関連法案を、衆院で強引に採決したタイミングと重なり合う。

Abe’s about-face seems to be a ploy to stop the slide in public support for his Cabinet by acting like a leader who is willing to respond to the people’s opinion, at least on the stadium issue.
せめて競技場の問題では、民意にこたえる指導者像を演じることで内閣支持率の低落傾向に歯止めをかけたい。そんな戦術と勘ぐられても仕方ない。

The foolish construction plan would have forced spending of a recklessly large amount of taxpayer money amid an unprecedented fiscal squeeze that is facing the nation.
空前の財政難のなか、競技場に無謀な巨費を投じる愚策だった。

The blueprint fell far short of the standards for public works projects, which should be supported by detailed explanations and serious consensus-building efforts, as well as a convincing long-term financing plan for the use of the facility after the completion.
丁寧な説明と合意づくり、完成後もにらんだ長期の収支計画など、公共事業に求められる水準にほど遠い代物だった。

“I have decided to take the current plan back to the drawing board and re-examine (the project) from scratch,” Abe told reporters at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo in announcing his inevitable change of policy.
「白紙に戻し、ゼロベースで見直す」(首相)との方針転換は至極当たり前の決定である。

It goes without saying that the Abe administration, the Tokyo metropolitan government, the Olympic organizing committee and other parties involved should now craft a down-to-earth construction plan for the stadium that contributes to promoting grass-roots sports in the future.
They should also fulfill their international responsibility to organize a successful Olympics and Paralympics in 2020.
政府と東京都、大会組織委員会など各関係組織は、五輪・パラリンピックを成功させる国際責任を果たすとともに、後世の国民スポーツの底上げに資する堅実な計画を練り直すべきなのは言うまでもない。

FUZZY RESPONSIBILITY
■あいまいな責任所在

However, the key question is why this obvious decision had been delayed for so long. Why was the plan kept unchanged until now, despite being so clearly and seriously flawed?
問題の核心はむしろ、なぜ、この土壇場まで決断ができなかったのか、である。誰の目にも明らかな問題案件であり続けたにもかかわらず、なぜ止められずにここまできたのか。

This prolonged delay in tackling the problem points to one of the deep-rooted problems with the nation’s ailing governing system: a fuzziness about who is responsible for what.
そこには、日本の病んだ統治システムの姿が浮かび上がる。すなわち、責任の所在のあいまいさである。

Hakubun Shimomura, the sports minister, tried to avoid taking the blame by saying he did not receive related information in a timely manner, while the Japan Sports Council, the operator of the stadium project, said the sports ministry is responsible for making the decision to change the plan.
下村文科相は情報が上がってくるのが遅れたと逃げ、事業主体の日本スポーツ振興センターは、計画変更の判断は文科省に責任があると押しつけあった。

Yoshiro Mori, the former prime minister and president of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, who previously called for the construction of a grand stadium even if it cost 300 billion yen or 400 billion yen ($2.4 billion or $3.2 billion), had the effrontery to say on July 17, “I didn’t like the design of the stadium from the beginning. Nobody is responsible (for the fiasco).”
3千億円でも4千億円でも立派なものをと主張してきた大会組織委の森喜朗会長はきのう、「僕は元々、あのスタジアムは嫌だった」「誰も責任はない」と言い放った。

The government’s explanation about the construction plan raised a raft of questions. One was how it intended to finance the project–estimated construction costs have almost doubled from the original budget to 252 billion yen–and cover the running costs after completion. But the government just kept waffling.
当初予算からほぼ倍増した建設費と、完成後の維持費をどう工面するのか。政府の説明にはいくつも疑問が突きつけられ、あやふやに終始した。

After Abe’s announcement of the change of course, Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe angrily said, “Who will take the responsibility?”
That’s a reasonable question. But it is still unclear who of all the people involved, including the capital’s governor, is ultimately responsible for the project.
「誰が責任をとるのか」。舛添要一・都知事が漏らした怒りの声はもっともだったが、その知事も含めて今に至るも、誰が最終責任者なのかが見えない。

According to an Asahi Shimbun report, one Diet member made surprising remarks about the issue.
“Nobody dares to hang a bell to the cat’s neck as the ultimate responsibility (for the project) has to fall on the two prime ministers of Abe and Mori,” the lawmaker was quoted as saying.
本紙が報じた国会議員の発言は驚くほかなかった。「責任の行き着く先は、安倍晋三と森喜朗という2人の首相になるから誰も鈴を付ける人がいない」

People in power get their own way by using their clout. That’s the reality of the Japanese political community that has been highlighted by this stadium snafu. In this domain, it seems, the prime minister and other political heavyweights act like absolute monarchs, and even members of the same party cannot challenge their opinions and decisions.
権力を握った者がにらみをきかせれば、無理が通る――。露呈したのは、首相や有力政治家が絶対君主のようにふるまい、たとえ同じ政党のメンバーでも異論を言えない。そんな日本の政界の有り様である。

PUBLIC OPINION CONSTANTLY IGNORED
■民意軽視が常態化

Made under growing pressure from public opinion, Abe’s decision to change the stadium design also speaks volumes about how his style of politics has ceased to work.
世論に押された末の今回の決定は、安倍流政治の行き詰まりも物語っている。

Even as the stadium project went adrift, the Abe administration consistently refused to pay attention to dissenting voices. It has become the norm for responsible policymakers in the government to ignore public opinion. This is a serious problem.
競技場問題が迷走した過程で一貫していたのは、異論を遠ざける姿勢だった。政策決定の責任者たちが、国民の声に耳をふさぐことが常態化している問題は深刻だ。

The stadium’s design, chosen through an international competition, has been roundly criticized by architects and civic organizations from the start. Critics have said the design does not blend with the surrounding landscape. They have also argued it will be too gigantic and construction costs could snowball.
「デザインが景観にそぐわない」「巨大すぎる」「工費が膨れあがりかねない」。国際コンペで採用されたデザインについては当初から、建築界や市民団体から異論が噴出していた。

There have been many opportunities for the government to reconsider the plan, including the time when the basic design blueprint was approved in May last year. Shimomura pointed out that the design was determined when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power, in what sounded like an attempt to shuffle off responsibility onto the opposition party.
昨年5月に基本設計案を了承した時も含め、見直す機会は何度もあった。デザインが決まったのは「民主党政権のときだ」と下村文科相は責任転嫁めいた釈明もした。

But the Abe administration should do serious soul-searching about the fact that it has missed out on all the opportunities to rethink the plan.
だが、ことごとく引き返すチャンスを逃してきたのは安倍政権だったことを猛省すべきだ。

SAME MIND-SET FOR OTHER KEY ISSUES
■安保と原発にも通底

The Abe administration has shown a troubling tendency to ignore public opinion, avoid its responsibility to explain its actions, and go ahead with policy decisions for the nation’s future that are not based on solid ground.
民意を顧みず、説明責任を避け、根拠薄弱なまま将来にわたる国策の決定を強行する――。

The stadium issue is not the only example that attests to this tendency of the administration. The same mind-set has also been behind the way the administration has handled the package of security bills and moved to restart offline nuclear reactors, which are issues of grave concern for the public.
それは競技場問題に限った話ではない。国民が重大な関心を寄せる安保関連法案や、原発関連行政にも通底する特徴だ。

During the Diet debate on the security legislation, the prime minister and other members of the Cabinet made many unintelligible remarks while failing to answer people’s doubts and questions.
首相や閣僚らが意味不明な国会答弁を重ね、国民の疑問は置き去りにされている安保法案。

The administration is forging ahead with plans to bring idle reactors back online without making clear who takes the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the people.
国民の安全に関する最終責任がどこにあるのか見えないまま、再稼働に突き進もうとしている原発の問題。

Many Japanese have voiced clear and strong concerns about these two initiatives.
そのいずれでも国民の多数がはっきりと強い懸念を示している。

Abe has been trying to push them through by using the ruling camp’s majority in the Diet while paying little respect to dissenting opinions even though these initiatives have a direct bearing on people’s lives and safety.
国民の命と安全に直結する問題だというのに、首相は国会での数の力で押し通し、異論に敬意を払おうとしない。

Since those in power pay no heed to what the people say, it is not surprising that scholars and citizens are becoming increasingly vocal in expressing objections to his policies.
政治権力者が民意に耳をふさぐなら、学者や市民の異議申し立てが熱を帯びるのは当然だ。

The administration should not alienate people from politics any further.
これ以上、政治と国民の距離を広げてはならない。

In explaining the reasons for his sudden decision to rethink the stadium plan, Abe said, “Each Japanese and each athlete has to play a leading role.”
急に競技場計画を見直す理由として、首相は「主役は国民一人ひとり、アスリートの皆さんです」と語った。

If that is how he truly feels, Abe should realize that each individual member of the public should play a leading role in making decisions on all policy issues, including security and nuclear power issues.
ならば安保も原発も、あらゆる政治課題でも、主役は国民一人ひとりであることを悟るべきだ。

The stadium debacle offers a wide range of important lessons for the administration to glean.
今回の競技場問題から、くむべき教訓は広く、重い。

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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