英字新聞 (読売、毎日、朝日、英字新聞の社説を学習研究 )


ガザ停戦合意 楽観できぬ和平実現への道

The Yomiuri Shimbun
No optimism warranted on prospects of realizing peace in Gaza Strip
ガザ停戦合意 楽観できぬ和平実現への道

It is imperative to seek ways to realize a permanent ceasefire and pursue the road to peace in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which has effective control over the Palestinian autonomous region of Gaza, and Israel have agreed to an open-ended ceasefire after 50 days of fighting.

The death toll has topped 2,100 in Gaza, and most of the victims are civilians, including women and children. The two sides must give top priority to maintaining the ceasefire.

Since fighting started in early July, temporary ceasefires have taken effect several times through Egypt’s mediation, but none lasted for long.

The recent truce was agreed upon because Hamas developed a heightened sense of crisis after three of its military leaders were assassinated by Israel. On the other hand, Israel had been pressed to bring the conflict to an early end, in light of the fact that the popularity ratings for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration have plummeted due to an increase in the number of victims from the conflict.

Following the recent ceasefire accord, Israel relaxed the economic blockade it had been imposing since the Hamas seizure of Gaza in 2007, allowing humanitarian aid and materials for reconstruction work to be transported into Gaza.

The U.N. World Food Program has begun to provide food assistance to Gaza.

Bumpy road ahead

However, a rough road lies ahead for reconstruction of the autonomous region.

Gaza has suffered destruction on an unprecedented scale. Its economy has been brought to the brink of collapse, with the unemployment rate reaching 50 percent. It will be difficult for Hamas to procure the estimated reconstruction costs of $6 billion on its own. Hamas faces the challenge of finding a way to secure aid from the international community.

There is concern in the United States, Europe and Egypt that if a huge amount of assistance money is provided to Hamas, which calls for the defeat of Israel, it will be misused to beef up its military capabilities.

In actuality, Hamas has replenished its rocket artillery and other arms every time clashes with Israel came to a standstill and then resumed attacks.

For an international assistance framework to be created, it is indispensable for the Palestinian Authority, which has formed an interim government with Hamas, to serve as a channel to receive assistance, thereby ensuring transparency in the flow of aid supplies and funds. The political leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, is being put to the test in this regard.

It was also agreed that Israel and Hamas would enter indirect talks on a permanent ceasefire within a month, with Egypt acting as an intermediary. Starting the negotiations smoothly could be the first step toward achieving peace.

Israel wants to ensure its own national security, while Hamas has asked for a complete lifting of the Gaza blockade and the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Each of these demands has been left pending, as the two sides have stood firm on their positions. No optimism is warranted regarding the future course of talks.

International efforts—centering on those by Egypt, which has served as an intermediary in the negotiations, and the United States, which can exert influence over Israel—are essential to spur the promotion of mutual concessions by the two conflicting parties.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 29, 2014)Speech


香山リカのココロの万華鏡:招きたくない監視社会 /東京

August 24, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Publically shaming criminals online is going too far
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:招きたくない監視社会 /東京

Recently, a comic store generated controversy with a threat to publically release the image of a shoplifter's face who was caught on a security camera stealing an expensive figurine. The store first released an image of the shoplifter with his face pixelated and threatened to remove the pixilation if the person did not return the figurine by a certain day.

In the end, at the urging of police, the store did not remove the pixilation. However, in on-the-street interviews on television shows, many people gave the opinion that the pixilation should have been removed, to help deter future shoplifters.

Crime is said to be overall on the decline, but shoplifting numbers refuse to fall. Perhaps lacking awareness that what they have done is a crime, some shoplifters supposedly take a defiant attitude, saying, "As long as I return it, there's no problem, right?"

Some small retailers are supposedly affected quite badly by shoplifting, so it is not a problem that can be overlooked.  経営に大きな支障が出る小売店もあるというから、見逃せない問題だ。

However, we must be careful about the idea that a store can set up its own "punishment," by for example threatening to release a photo of a shoplifter's face.

In this day and age, using the Internet one can easily find all kinds of information about a person -- their name, their address, their place of work.
It can lead to ruining a person's standing in society.

While the theft in the recent case was of a very valuable item, is it right for stores to be able to decide that when the value of shoplifted merchandise is over some particular amount it warrants a public release of the shoplifter's photo?

Sometimes on the Internet, people will release photos of criminals, taken while they happened to be nearby.

"This person is a groper," they may write, releasing a photo on a site such as Twitter.

I feel that more and more, the reaction to this public exposure is not "that's going too far," but "they deserve it."

Of course, no matter the reason, there is no excuse for breaking the law or other rules.

But I also think that stores -- who are not police -- should not come up with and deal out their own "punishments." しかし、警察以外の個人や店の手により、どんな“罰”を加えても許されるというのは違うと思う。

While public exposure on the Internet is not a direct punishment like a fine or prison sentence, it is in some ways a heavier punishment.

According to police statistics, recently many shoplifters are people 65 and over.

Maybe, having retired or no longer having any family, they think, "I have nothing left to lose, so I don't care who you report me to.

You're going to put my face out on the Internet? I don't care." If so, it is a sad situation.
ネットで顔を“さらす”? ああ、かまいませんよ」という心境なのだろうか。それも寂しい話だ。

I hope that we do not become a world where people are always observing each other, quick to photograph and expose other people on the Internet the moment they do something wrong.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2014年08月19日 地方版


健康寿命 「元気で長生き」を目指したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Elderly must enjoy healthy long life without need for nursing care
健康寿命 「元気で長生き」を目指したい

A major challenge facing the nation at a time when its population is rapidly aging is to ensure that elderly people can maintain their day-to-day lives for as long as possible, dispensing with the need to receive nursing care.

In early August, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry released the 2014 edition of its annual white paper, which focused on the goal of expanding the healthy life span so that the nation can be transformed into a long-lived, healthy society.

Healthy life expectancy refers to the number of years that people can continue to live their daily lives independently, uninterrupted by health problems and without having to receive the help of family members or others.

In 2010, the healthy life span of the Japanese stood at 70.42 for men and 73.62 for women, both marking the world’s highest levels. The figures have been increasing year by year.

However, these figures compare poorly with the average life expectancy—80.21 for men and 86.61 for women in 2013. This shows there is a disparity of about 10 years between the healthy life span and the average life expectancy among both Japanese men and women.

The gap represents how long men and women will be highly dependent on nursing care and medical services. It is widening due to a greater increase in the average life expectancy compared to that of the healthy life span.

It is necessary to shorten the period for which people need nursing and medical care, a task essential for enabling elderly people to live fulfilling, independent lives. If aged persons do not become bedridden and can live in good health for an extended period, the medical and nursing-care expenses they incur will likely be significantly reduced.

The government has said the goal of making Japan a nation of healthy and long-lived people is a pillar of its growth strategy.

In its strategy for health preservation and medical improvement adopted at a Cabinet meeting in July, the government said it would pursue the target of increasing the healthy life expectancy by more than one year by the end of 2020. The government hopes to nurture healthcare businesses that support elderly people’s efforts to lead long healthy lives, and promote such services and operations overseas, an endeavor conducive to economic growth.

An increase in the number of healthy elderly people is also expected to help secure workers and contribute to the promotion of volunteer activities.

Battle lifestyle illnesses

To increase the healthy life span, it is important for individuals to take preventive measures against lifestyle-related illnesses even while they are still working. Various complications can occur from diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases associated with one’s lifestyle habits, which can easily lead to a need for nursing-care services in old age.

It is also necessary for local government and business corporations to play an active role in improving the health of local residents and employees. Measures must include promoting better lifestyle habits and raising the percentage of people receiving medical checkups.

A good case in point is the Shizuoka prefectural government. The local government is promoting what it calls a “health mileage program” under which local residents are awarded points according to their medical checkup and daily physical exercise records. When a resident has collected a certain number of points, he or she is entitled to receive complimentary services at shops participating in the program.

Meanwhile, Tanita Corp., a Tokyo-based measurement equipment manufacturer, has adopted a system in which pedometers are distributed to all its employees, requiring them to record how many steps they take every day. Employees who score high in this daily practice receive awards for their accomplishments.

We hope measures will be taken to achieve the intended goal in a manner that fits the realities of each community and company.

It is also important to provide elderly people with more opportunities to play an active role in society. If they make contributions to society through work and community service, elderly people will find their lives to be fulfilling and are unlikely to need nursing care.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 24, 2014)


社説:広島土砂災害 検証尽くして教訓導け

August 23, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Learning a lesson from Hiroshima landslides
社説:広島土砂災害 検証尽くして教訓導け

The number of residents reported missing following major landslides in northern Hiroshima in the predawn hours of Aug. 20 has significantly increased, threatening to make the disaster the worst of its kind in recent years when combined with the confirmed death toll.
Initially seven people were reported missing, but a little over 24 hours later that figure climbed to over 50. The discrepancy in the numbers reported missing comes from police and local municipalities using different methods to confirm the safety of residents.

The difficulty that officials face in fully grasping the extent of the damage indicates how severe the disaster is.

With rain continuing to fall intermittently, rescuers are desperately searching for the missing while remaining on alert against secondary damage. All efforts should be exhausted in search and rescue operations, with priority put on saving human lives.

Amid ongoing power and water outages in the disaster-hit areas, an increasing number of residents have been forced to take shelter at public facilities.

Local municipalities are urged to pay close attention to residents' needs so that volunteers can provide adequate support.

Hiroshima Prefecture has the most spots vulnerable to sediment disaster in Japan.

However, the designation of warning zones under the Act on Sediment Disaster Countermeasures for Sediment Disaster Prone Areas has not come fast enough.

The residential areas that suffered damage in the latest landslides were prone to disasters due to their proximity to mountains, but most of them had not been designated as sediment disaster-prone areas.

Financial and manpower shortages have reportedly hampered the progress of field surveys, while residents are reluctant to have land designated as being disaster-prone, fearing that their property values will be downgraded.

Nevertheless, it is serious that such an immense disaster hit areas that had not been listed as being disaster-prone.

If more damage like this arises, criticism that the disaster was a man-made calamity could intensify.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is urged to review the operation of the law and promote the designation of areas prone to sediment disaster as such.

If reviews alone are insufficient, legislative revisions need to be deliberated in the Diet.

The city of Hiroshima has acknowledged that its evacuation advisory came too late, and is poised to review the standards for issuing such advisories.

Memories of the landslide disaster on Izu Oshima Island in October last year, when an absence of an evacuation advisory or order resulted in many casualties, remains fresh in our minds.

The central government subsequently notified municipalities across the nation to issue evacuation advisories without fearing that they might turn out to be unnecessary.

The government should fully reassure municipalities about the directive once again.

It is difficult and dangerous for residents to evacuate at night, but the risks could be lowered in some cases if people moved to the upper floors of buildings.

In the Hiroshima disaster, a family found their way to safety by evacuating upstairs to the second floor of their home. 今回の災害でも1階から2階に移り全員が無事だった家族がいた。

Residents in disaster-prone areas should regularly discuss how to act in the event of a disaster and make steadfast preparations.

In the wake of the torrential rain that hit the Kii Peninsula in September 2011, leaving 82 people dead and 16 missing, the Wakayama Prefectural Government created guidelines for issuing evacuation advisories.

The guidelines require avoidance of ambiguous expressions.

They also require the use of numerical criteria such as accumulated precipitation so residents can make an objective judgment.

In the Hyogo Prefecture town of Sayo, where flooding from a typhoon five years ago left 18 dead and two missing, the town office introduced a monitoring system in which residents living near rivers report water levels and other relevant information, based on which the town office decides whether to issue evacuation advisories.

We should take note of such system improvements grounded in lessons learned from tragedies.

In the Hiroshima disaster, the cause and background factors of the extensive damage should be thoroughly verified so we can utilize the information in future measures.

毎日新聞 2014年08月23日 02時33分(最終更新 08月23日 09時39分)


社説:原子力小委 動画非公開は教訓軽視

August 20, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Nuclear policy committee shows disregard for Fukushima lessons
社説:原子力小委 動画非公開は教訓軽視

One of the most important lessons we've learned from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster is that the closed nature of the nuclear power industry led us to underestimate the dangers of nuclear reactors.

The industry tuned out sound criticism from outside sources, largely influencing the government's policy and risk assessment.

We must put this lesson to good use by making the policymaking and risk assessment process public and raising information transparency.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) -- established after the onset of the Fukushima disaster -- streams video of its meetings and press conferences live, and the footage is also available for viewing online after the events take place.

A Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) deliberative council that reviewed the government's basic energy policy does the same.

Such arrangements not only allow debate to extend to outside experts, it also serves to raise awareness and interest among the general public.

However, the Nuclear Energy Subcommittee of METI's Advisory Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, which has been holding meetings since June, accepts silent observers but does not publicly broadcast its meetings.

Some subcommittee members have demanded that the meetings be broadcast, but as of the fourth meeting held Aug. 7, no video had been made available.

The subcommittee was established for the purpose of deliberating specific policies in the nuclear energy field based on the Basic Energy Plan approved by the Cabinet in April.

Topics under discussion include reconstruction and revival in Fukushima, reduced dependence on nuclear energy, human resource development and nuclear fuel cycle policy.

Such discussions will have a great bearing on what the country decides for its energy mix.

With the subcommittee debating topics that will dictate Japan's nuclear policy, transparency of its discussions is crucial.

Some may argue that allowing silent observers to watch from the visitors' gallery and the release of the minutes are sufficient.

But those who can actually attend the meetings comprise a tiny percentage of the general public.

Overviews of the meetings are released within a week or so of each meeting, but they do not indicate who said what. 1週間程度で議事要旨は公開されるが、発言者が誰かわからない。

It takes about a month before the minutes are released, by which time the next meeting has already taken place.

This state of affairs prevents the public from closely following the deliberation process.

Some have proposed a compromise of providing audio broadcasts of the meetings, but such broadcasts fail to provide a complete picture, since it's difficult to identify who has the floor at any given time.

The subcommittee chair, Itaru Yasui, has cited the uneasiness some members would feel in voicing their views if the meetings were to be broadcast via video.

However, nuclear energy policy is an important matter bearing on Japan's post-Fukushima energy policy.

It's a matter of great interest to the public.

If indeed the subcommittee's members feel they can't be honest if their meetings are broadcast, then perhaps there's a lack of understanding about the significance of the meetings and the importance of their transparency.

At its fourth meeting, the subcommittee recognized the importance of making its meetings public, saying that it would "discuss how to improve the situation."

We hope the subcommittee will modify its policy and move ahead with video broadcasts of their meetings.

毎日新聞 2014年08月20日 02時40分