英字新聞 (読売、毎日、朝日、英字新聞の社説を学習研究 )

2014-04-19

電力経営悪化 エネルギー政策全体の課題だ

福島原発事故処理が完全に終わるという目処はいまだにたっていません。
いったいこれから先どれだけのお金がかかるのでしょうか。
最終的には全部国民が負担させられるのではないでしょうか。
原発で得られる電力が安価であるというのは神話となっていますが、読売はこの神話をいまだに信じています。
新聞で世論に訴えるのは自由ですが、物事の本質を突き詰めて論議して欲しいものです。
(スラチャイ)

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:05 pm, April 17, 2014
Utilities’ deteriorating financial state a key issue for entire energy policy
電力経営悪化 エネルギー政策全体の課題だ

The financial circumstances of electricity utilities continue to deteriorate, chiefly due to delays in restarting their nuclear power plants.
 原子力発電所の再稼働の遅れなどで、電力会社の経営悪化に歯止めがかからない。

There are also growing concerns over the adverse impact of electricity rate hikes on general households and the industrial sector.
 電気料金の値上げによる家計や産業界への悪影響が、ますます懸念されよう。

Chubu Electric Power Co. is planning an average increase of 3.8 percent from May. The company had initially sought a 5 percent hike but lowered its request after being asked by the government to take measures such as cutting down fuel costs.
 中部電力の家庭向け電気料金が5月から、平均3・8%値上げされることになった。約5%の申請に対し、政府は燃料費の節約などを求め、値上げ幅を圧縮した。

Chubu Electric Power is the seventh utility firm to make a “drastic” hike in its electricity rates, which requires government approval. Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Kansai Electric Power Co. have done the same.
 原発事故後、国の認可を要する「本格値上げ」は、東京電力や関西電力などに続いて7社目だ。

Following the outbreak of the crisis at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, all nuclear power plants have been suspended, causing utility companies’ fuel costs to soar after they switched to thermal power plants. As a result, the utilities have been under strain financially.
 東電福島第一原発の事故を受けた全原発の停止によって、火力発電用の燃料費が増大したことが、各社の財務を圧迫している。

Of the nation’s 10 utilities, six companies, including Chubu Electric, are expected to post a recurring loss for the business year ending in March. Five out of the six electricity providers are projected to post a recurring loss for a third straight year, a financial situation that may prompt banks to cut off their loans.
 電力10社のうち中部電を含む6社は、今年3月期決算で経常利益が赤字になる見通しだ。このうち5社は、銀行に融資を打ち切られる可能性のある「3期連続赤字」が見込まれる。

It was necessary to a certain extent for the government to have approved the power companies’ rate hike requests while calling on them to make thorough efforts to streamline themselves.
 政府が合理化の徹底を求めた上で、各社に値上げを認めたのも、やむを得ない面はあろう。

But it is quite serious that the utility companies are about to enter a second round of rate increases.
 ただし、値上げが「2巡目」に入りつつあるのは深刻である。

Government reluctant

Hokkaido Electric Power Co., which implemented a 7 percent to 8 percent increase in the utility rate last September, announced its plan in February to implement yet another hike. The company said it has been unable to restart its nuclear power plant as it had hoped, leaving it unable to improve its business performance.
 昨年9月に7%台の値上げを実施した北海道電力は今年2月、再値上げの検討を表明した。想定通りに原発を再稼働できず、業績改善が望めないためという。

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has in effect put a hold on Hokkaido Electric’s rate hike, saying, “It’s important [for the company] to make efforts to avoid a rate hike.”
 茂木経済産業相は「値上げ回避の努力が重要だ」などと述べ、事実上待ったをかけている。

The government’s reluctance to approve the rate hikes while delaying the restart of nuclear power plants only serves to further aggravate power companies’ financial situation.
再稼働が遅れている中で値上げに難色を示すだけでは、電力会社の経営は苦しくなるばかりである。

To avoid becoming insolvent with cumulative deficit, Hokkaido Electric has reportedly been studying the possibility of receiving financial support from the Development Bank of Japan. We recognize the value of the utility’s efforts to avoid a rate hike, but they are merely last-ditch measures.
 累積赤字による債務超過を防ぐため、北海道電は日本政策投資銀行から資本支援を受ける方向で検討しているという。値上げを避ける努力は評価できるが、あくまで「窮余の一策」と言える。

The financial state of other utility companies, besides Hokkaido Electric, is also deteriorating. Shortage of funds will leave utility companies unable to make necessary repairs of their power transmission lines and transformer stations, or to inject sufficient money into the renewal of these facilities, adversely affecting power supply. Such a situation must be avoided at all costs.
 北海道電以外の電力各社も財務内容が悪化している。資金不足で送電線や変電所などの補修や更新投資が十分に行えず、電力供給に支障が出る事態は、何としても避けねばならない。

With these factors in mind, it is essential for power companies to be allowed to restart nuclear power plants that have been confirmed to be safe, so their costs for generating electricity can be reduced.
 やはり、安全性の確認できた原発を再稼働し、発電コストを低下させることが欠かせまい。

The most important points are for the Nuclear Regulation Authority to accelerate its safety inspections of nuclear power plants and for the government to extend solid support to the power plants that pass those inspections, so restarting operations can proceed smoothly.
 重要なのは、原子力規制委員会が原発の安全審査を加速させるとともに、審査をパスした原発の再稼働が円滑に進むよう、政府がしっかり後押しすることだ。

It is also necessary for the central government to make an all-out effort to explain the situation, to win the support of local governments that host nuclear power plants.
立地自治体の理解を得るため、説明に全力を挙げる必要がある。

Japan’s economic reconstruction depends on a stable supply of cheap electricity. The time has come for both the public and private sectors to seriously reflect on power companies’ deteriorating financial circumstances, and the challenges posed for the overall energy policy of this country.
 安価な電力の安定供給は、日本経済再生に不可欠だ。電力会社の経営悪化を、エネルギー政策全体の課題と捉え、官民が対応策を真剣に考える時に来ている。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 17, 2014)

2014-04-18

(社説)安倍政権の絆 ガラパゴス化が心配だ

April 16, 2014
EDITORIAL: Abe administration's disturbing signs of 'Galapagos' syndrome
(社説)安倍政権の絆 ガラパゴス化が心配だ

In his recent address to newly hired government employees, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe exhorted them to broaden their horizons, saying, “In this age of globalization, Galapagos officials who only know about Japan are worthless.”
 「グローバルな時代にあって、『日本のことしか知らない』ガラパゴス人間では、話になりません」。春4月。安倍首相は新人官僚にこう訓示した。

That’s well said. But coming from the mouth of this leader, the words sound somewhat hollow. A number of irresponsible remarks recently made by some administration officials and close Abe aides have triggered concerns about the government’s field of vision. We cannot help but wonder if the vision is limited to an area far narrower than Japan: to things that are only convenient to the administration.
 けだし名言、ただし説得力を欠く。最近の安倍政権とその周辺では、日本どころか自分に都合のいいことしか見ていないのではないかと驚かされる、無責任な言動が続いているからだ。

For instance, Hakubun Shimomura, the minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, said in a Diet session on March 26 that the so-called Murayama statement was not officially endorsed by a Cabinet decision. The statement was released in 1995 by Tomiichi Murayama, the prime minister at the time, expressing remorse and apologizing for Japan's wartime actions. Shimomura later corrected his comment, saying he had committed “a mistake of fact.”
 下村文部科学相は、「村山談話は閣議決定されていない」という国会答弁を、「事実誤認だった」と訂正した。

It is startling that the education minister, a man known as a passionate advocate of teaching “correct history,” was so wrong about such a basic fact. The statement was indeed officially approved by a Cabinet decision.
「正しい歴史教育」に熱心な文科相が、これほど基本的な事実を誤認していたことにただ、驚く。

When he was asked about the government’s definition of the right to collective self-defense during a Diet session on March 20, Ichiro Komatsu, director-general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, adamantly refused to respond, saying he didn’t want to give a wrong answer. “It would be very bad if I answer the question carelessly and am then criticized for correcting my statement later,” he said.
 内閣法制局長官は、国会で集団的自衛権の定義について質問され、「うかつに答弁し、『後で訂正するのはけしからん』となるのは非常に良くない」と、頑として答弁を拒んだ。

Seiichi Eto, a special adviser to Abe, indignantly reacted to a U.S. statement expressing disappointment at Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine last December with a post on a video-sharing site in which he said, “We are disappointed at the United States for saying it was disappointed.”
 首相の靖国神社参拝に対し「米国が『失望』と言ったことに我々の方が失望だ」とした首相補佐官。

Yoshitaka Sakurada, a senior vice minister at the education ministry, attended a rally where people were calling for a revision of the 1993 statement issued by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono apologizing to the women who were forced to provide sex to wartime Japanese troops. At the meeting, Sakurada supported the call for revising the statement, saying: “I am a person who abhors the fabrication of facts. My feelings and thoughts are the same as yours.”
「河野官房長官談話の見直しを求める国民大集会」に出席し「私は事実を捏造(ねつぞう)することが大嫌いな人間だ。皆さんと心は同じ、考え方も同じ」と賛意を示した文科副大臣。

Similar remarks were also made by a top executive of Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK).
 似た趣旨の発言は、NHK首脳からも漏れこぼれている。

Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga have downplayed the implications of the various utterances by saying they were only “personal opinions.” But that doesn’t dilute the fallout from these controversial remarks.
 首相や菅官房長官はしばしば「個人的見解」などと片づけているが、当然、それで済むはずがない。

The various comments by people close to Abe have alarmed the international community and fueled suspicions that these “personal opinions” actually reflect the prime minister’s true views and feelings. The situation is clearly damaging Japan’s national interests, the importance of which Abe likes to stress.
「個人的見解」の方がむしろ首相の本音ではないかという疑念や警戒感が世界に広まり、首相が大事にしている「国益」が確実に損なわれている。

Abe himself is responsible for the situation since his visit to war-related Yasukuni Shrine triggered the controversial comments expressing “personal opinions.” Abe went “in a private capacity,” even though many people around him urged him not to go.
 そもそも「個人的見解」がだだ漏れるようになったきっかけは昨年12月、首相が周囲の反対を押し切り、それこそ「私人の立場」で靖国神社を参拝したことだ。

Abe’s renewed passion for pursuing a political agenda for the nation’s “departure from the postwar regime” has inspired his aides to join his crusade. As a result, it seems that they have lost their ability to make sensible judgments, causing the entire administration to lose its balance.
再び火が付いた「戦後レジームからの脱却」への首相の情熱に周囲が引き込まれ、責任感や判断力が低下し、政権全体のバランスが崩れ始めているのではないだろうか。

What is especially disturbing is that the individuals who have made these questionable remarks don’t seem to have an inkling of what made their remarks so controversial.
 深刻なのは、当人たちが、発言の何が問題視されているのかを根本的に理解していないことだ。

This is clear from a comment written by a secretary to Eto, a special adviser to Abe, in Eto’s blog. “Although Eto made the statement with pride for himself and his country, he has retracted it to avoid causing trouble to the Abe administration, which is pursuing such important causes as making an amendment to the Constitution.”
「自身と自国のプライドを持って発言したことだが、これから憲法改正等大義を目指す安倍政権のご迷惑になってはならぬと撤回した」。補佐官のブログに秘書が書いている。

These officials have not offered any explanation about why and how their remarks were problematic. Nor have they taken responsibility for the controversies they provoked. Nor has the administration tried to hold them responsible for their questionable comments. This indulgent atmosphere appears to be breeding self-righteousness among administration officials and enhancing purely collusive relations among people around Abe.
 何がどう問題だったのか。説明せず。責任を取らず。取らせず。そのような生ぬるい空気の中で「自分は悪くない」がすくすくと育ちゆき、首相を取り巻く面々の絆だけがいびつな形で強まっているのではないか。

We are deeply concerned about growing signs of the Galapagos syndrome coming from the Abe administration.
 安倍政権のガラパゴス化。
 心配だ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 10

2014-04-17

竹富町の教科書 法改正の趣旨踏まえた対応に

The Yomiuri Shimbun 8:47 pm, April 15, 2014
Local boards of education must act in conformity with revision of law
竹富町の教科書 法改正の趣旨踏まえた対応に

The town board of education in Taketomi, Okinawa Prefecture, which has deviated from rules regarding the selection of textbooks for use in public schools and continues to use a textbook of its own choice, recently announced that it will not comply with a demand for corrective action from the education ministry.
 ルールを逸脱し、独自採択した教科書を使用し続けている沖縄県の竹富町教育委員会が、文部科学省の是正要求に応じない方針を表明した。

The law on the free provision of school textbooks stipulates that a joint textbook adoption district—comprising more than one municipality—must adopt the same textbook throughout.
 教科書無償措置法は、複数の自治体で構成する共同採択地区では、同一の教科書を採択するよう定めている。

The Taketomi Board of Education’s adoption of a textbook of its own choice clearly violates the law. It was only to be expected that the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology ministry would issue a demand for corrective action, based on the Local Government Law.
 竹富町教委だけが独自に異なる教科書を採択したのは、明らかに違法行為である。文科省が地方自治法に基づき、是正要求を発動したのは当然のことだった。

The town board of education’s refusal to obey the corrective order shows a lack of willingness to comply with the law that is notable for an institution responsible for the administration of education. Such a position can hardly be tolerated.
 是正要求に従おうとしない竹富町教委の姿勢は、教育行政を担う機関として、順法精神に欠け、許されるものではない。

If a board of education has a problem with a demand from the ministry for corrective action, it can file a formal objection and seek a review by a committee dedicated to settling national-local disputes, a third-party organization affiliated with the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry. It is hard to understand why the Taketomi board has not sought recourse via this process.
 是正要求に不服がある場合、第三者機関である国地方係争処理委員会に審査を申し立てることができる。竹富町教委がこの手続きをとらないことも理解に苦しむ。

In 2011, the textbook selection council of the Yaeyama district, comprising the city of Ishigaki and the towns of Taketomi and Yonaguni, selected a civic studies textbook published by Ikuhosha Publishing Inc. for use in middle schools. The problem started when the Taketomi Board of Education decided alone to adopt a textbook published by Tokyo Shoseki Co.
 石垣市、竹富町、与那国町による八重山地区の採択地区協議会は2011年、中学校の公民教科書に育鵬社の教科書を選んだ。これに対し、竹富町教委が東京書籍版を採択したのが問題の発端だ。

Little coverage of territories

The textbook published by Ikuhosha contains a full description of territorial issues, including the government’s perspective on Takeshima island and the Senkaku Islands.
 育鵬社版は、竹島や尖閣諸島についての政府見解を書き込むなど、領土に関する説明が充実している。

The text published by Tokyo Shoseki, on the other hand, contains little description regarding territorial issues, while covering issues concerning U.S. military bases in Okinawa Prefecture in detail.
東京書籍版は、領土の記述が少ない一方で、沖縄の在日米軍基地問題に詳しく触れている。

Objections within the prefecture to the Ikuhosha textbook, the authors of which include former members of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, may also have influenced the Taketomi Board of Education’s textbook choice.
 「新しい歴史教科書をつくる会」の元メンバーらが執筆する育鵬社版に対し、沖縄県内で反発があることも、竹富町教委の独自採択に影響しているのだろう。

The board is seeking independence from Yaeyama district’s textbook selection council, and is working toward securing autonomy to select textbooks for use in the town from the next fiscal year onward. This course of action is also questionable.
 竹富町教委は八重山地区の協議会からの離脱を要望し、来年度から使う教科書の単独採択を目指すという。これも疑問である。

A revised law on the free provision of school textbooks was enacted on April 9. The wording of the revised law to describe administrative units of joint textbook adoption districts was changed from “cities and counties” to “cities, towns and villages.” Based on this change, the Taketomi Board of Education asserts that it is now possible for it to adopt a textbook of its own choice.
 今月9日に改正教科書無償措置法が成立し、採択地区の設定単位が「市郡」から「市町村」に改められた。それを根拠に、竹富町教委は単独採択が可能になったと主張している。

Yet the purpose of the revision is to allow textbooks to be selected by educational districts that combine towns and villages more flexibly, rather than being bound to county divisions that no longer correspond to the distribution of local communities and their livelihoods due to merger of cities, town and villages in recent years.
 だが、改正の目的は、市町村合併で郡が実際の生活圏と重ならなくなったため、郡にとらわれず、町村の柔軟な組み合わせを可能にする点にある。
 
The joint textbook selection system is absolutely intended to remain in place, and the legal revision is by no means intended to fragment educational districts.
あくまで共同採択制度は維持しており、採択地区の細分化を図ったわけではない。

It is inevitable that the Taketomi Board of Education’s policy of breaking away from the educational district will be criticized as an attempt at distorting the legal revision to its own advantage.
竹富町教委の離脱方針は、法改正を逆手にとったものと批判されても仕方あるまい。

The joint textbook selection system has merits, such as the ability for smaller municipalities to cooperate with one another in the careful adoption of textbooks.
 共同採択制度には、小規模自治体が協力し合うことで、丁寧に教科書を選べる利点がある。

It is the Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education that will decide how municipalities will combine to form textbook selection districts. We hope the prefectural board will make its decision according to the spirit in which the legal revision was intended.
 採択地区の構成を決めるのは沖縄県教委だ。法改正の趣旨をしっかり踏まえ、適切な判断をしてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 15, 2014)

2014-04-16

G20共同声明 ウクライナ支援で協調したが

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:15 pm, April 14, 2014
World must stay vigilant against fallout over turmoil in Ukraine
G20共同声明 ウクライナ支援で協調したが

The world’s major economies have managed to take concerted steps in beefing up support to Ukraine, which is on the verge of a financial crisis—at least for the time being.
 財政危機に瀕ひんしたウクライナの支援強化へ、ひとまず足並みをそろえたと言えよう。

But tensions over the situation in Ukraine have increased with no clear path in sight for resolving confrontations between Russia and the United States and European nations. The world must stay vigilant against any fallout on the world economy that the turmoil in Ukraine could incite.
 だが、ウクライナ情勢は一段と緊迫化し、米欧とロシアの対立が解消する道筋は不透明である。ウクライナの混乱が世界経済に及ぼす悪影響を警戒しなければならない。

The meeting in Washington of finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 20 advanced nations and emerging economies closed on Saturday after issuing a joint statement.
 先進国と新興国が参加し、ワシントンで開かれた主要20か国・地域(G20)財務相・中央銀行総裁会議は共同声明を採択した。

It was the first international conference that Japan, the United States and European nations officially participated in together with Russia since Western nations strengthened sanctions against Moscow in an angry response to its annexation of the southern Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.
 ロシアによるウクライナ南部クリミア編入に反発する米欧は、制裁を強化した。その後、日米欧とロシアなどがそろって公式に国際会議に臨んだのは初めてだ。

In a sign of continued tension, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned of additional U.S. sanctions against Russia, which was repudiated by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, during their bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting.
 G20に合わせた2国間会談で、追加制裁を警告したルー米財務長官に、シルアノフ露財務相が反論するなど緊張が続いている。

Despite the rift, the joint statement stated, “We are monitoring the economic situation in Ukraine, mindful of any risks to economic and financial stability.”
 それでも共同声明は「ウクライナ経済や金融安定へのいかなるリスクにも留意する」と記した。

With financial support from Russia frozen, Ukraine is weighed down by a huge sovereign debt and teeters on the verge of default.
 ロシアからの金融支援が凍結されたウクライナは巨額の政府債務を抱え、債務不履行(デフォルト)の瀬戸際にある。

If Ukraine’s bankruptcy becomes a reality, financial markets around the world will suffer a serious blow, possibly adversely affecting the global economy. Apparently, this alarm loudly resonated among all G-20 members.
 財政破綻が現実になれば、世界の金融市場が動揺し、世界経済に打撃を与えかねない。G20は強い危機感を共有したのだろう。

IMF response

The International Monetary Fund, Japan, the United States and European nations have announced financial support totaling $27 billion (\2.7 trillion) over the next two years, which naturally prompted the G-20 to hail the IMF’s response in its joint statement. It is necessary for the IMF to provide loans as soon as possible.
 国際通貨基金(IMF)と日米欧などが2年間で270億ドル(約2・7兆円)の支援を打ち出している。共同声明がIMFの対応を歓迎したのはもっともだ。早期の融資実現を目指す必要がある。

Indications were that Russia’s predicament was behind the G-20 members taking joint steps in providing support to Ukraine. Russia would incur a massive loss should credit it provided to Ukraine become unrecoverable.
 今回、ウクライナ支援で連携が成立した背景には、ロシアの苦境がうかがえる。保有するウクライナ向け債権が焦げ付くと、ロシアは巨額の損失を被るからだ。

With its economy continuing to slow down, Russia apparently had no choice but to cooperate with the support program led by the United States and European nations if it wants to put priority on ensuring its economic stability. Russia should take its responsibility for causing the turmoil to heart.
 ロシアの景気減速も続く中で、経済安定を優先し、米欧主導の支援策に協調せざるを得なかったようだ。ロシアは混乱を招いた責任を痛感すべきだろう。

Meanwhile, the joint statement said, “We welcome the prospects for global economic growth to strengthen in 2014 but remain vigilant in the face of important global risks and vulnerabilities.”
 一方、世界経済に関して、共同声明は、「今年の成長は強まる見通しだが、リスクや脆弱ぜいじゃく性がある」と言及した。

In their last meeting in February, the G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors agreed on a numerical target of lifting “our collective GDP [gross domestic product] by more than 2 percent above the trajectory implied by current policies over the coming five years.” At stake however is how they can meet the target. The joint statement appropriately stated the G-20 members will review their growth strategies by September.
 前回2月のG20は、「世界成長率を5年間で2%以上の底上げ」という数値目標で合意したが、課題はどう実現するかである。共同声明が9月までに成長戦略を点検する方針を示したのは妥当だ。

In contrast to the U.S. economy, which is chugging along, Europe faces the rising threat of deflation. The Chinese economy is not free from worries, either.
 景気回復が続く米国経済と対照的に、欧州ではデフレ懸念が台頭し、中国経済も不安を抱える。

The Japanese economy, meanwhile, has an uncertain path ahead now that the consumption tax rate was raised this month. The nation should incorporate regulatory reforms and corporate tax reduction in a new growth strategy to contribute to the growth of the global economy.
 消費増税後の日本経済の先行きに不透明感がある。日本は新たな成長戦略に規制改革や法人税減税などを盛り込み、世界の成長に貢献することが求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 13, 2014)

2014-04-15

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:人生のサイズダウン /東京

スローライフの思想に相通じる良い論説ですね。
女性でもより大きな家、より高い収入思考の人たちは意外に多いと思いますが^^。
(スラチャイ)

April 13, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Downsizing one's life
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:人生のサイズダウン /東京

A number female friends around my age moved house this spring. In each case, they moved to either a smaller home or a smaller workplace.
 同世代の女性の友人の中で、この春、引っ越しをした人が何人かいる。それが全員、それまでより小さな部屋や仕事場に移ったのだ。

Common opinion is that selling a big house and moving to a one-room apartment is not something to celebrate. However, the friends who were invited to visit these smaller homes all dished out compliments. They, and I, got excited and said things like, "I want to live somewhere uncrowded like this," or "You don't need a big room; this is enough," as we admired the smaller, cute furniture.
 常識で考えれば、大きな一戸建てを売ってワンルームマンションに移るのは、喜ばしいこととは言えない。しかし、「これまでよりサイズダウンした新居」に招かれた友だちは、声をそろえて「いいわねえ」と言う。私も含め、「私もこれくらいモノのない中で暮らしたい」「大きな部屋なんて必要ないよね、これで十分」「わあ、小さなテーブル、かわいい!」と興奮状態に陥ってしまう。

I wonder how this would go for men, however. Even though more men think flexibly nowadays, some are still unhappy with moving to the suburbs or a smaller place. Talking like characters in a historical drama, they say, "We're finally letting go of the castle," or, "It's a retreat to the countryside." I feel that if only they could enjoy the freshness of their new life, things would be much simpler.
 これが男性だったらどうだろう、と考える。だいぶ考え方が柔軟な男性も増えたとはいえ、小さな部屋や郊外に移ると、いまだに「ついに城を手放して」「都落ちですよ」などと時代劇のような言葉で、環境の変化を恥じて見せる人もいる。彼らが「こんな生活も新鮮だな」と楽しめれば、ずっと生きやすくなるはずなのに、と思う。

In my consultation room as well, it is overwhelmingly men who cannot let go of values like, "Higher income is better," and, "The bigger the house, the better." These men become depressed when they can't get ahold of those things.
 診察室で見ていても「収入は多いほどよい」「家は広いほどよい」という価値観を捨てきれず、それがうまくいかないと「人生、終わりだ」とうつ病にまでなるのは、圧倒的に男性だ。

Women, on the other hand, accept the situation they are in, and sometimes even purposefully choose a job that pays less if it is fulfilling, or a home that has fewer rooms if it allows a more compact, comfortable life. It is almost always women who actively enjoy cutting down on their life, and they do not hesitate to congratulate other female friends on such choices.
 一方、女性たちは、そのときどきの状況を受け入れたり、中にはあえて「収入は少ないが、人の役に立つ仕事」や「部屋数は少ないがコンパクトに暮らせそうな家」を選んだりする人さえいる。いわゆる人生のサイズダウンを積極的に楽しめるのは、ほとんどが女性なのだ。また女性の友人どうしでも、それを選択した人に「おめでとう!」「うらやましい」と称賛の声を惜しまない。

Of course, it might be important to always maintain a spirit of self-improvement. However, effort does not always lead to success, and more importantly, if you wear yourself out through over-exertion, there is no point. I think it is acceptable to sometimes choose the easier or less-demanding way and downsize our lifestyles.
 もちろん、あくまで上昇志向を失わず、常に「今より上へ」とがんばることも大切かもしれない。とはいえ、努力が必ずしも成果に結びつくわけではないし、何よりがんばりすぎることで心身ともに疲れきってしまっては意味がない。ときには、よりラクなほうへ、より手軽なほうへ、と人生のサイズダウンをはかることだってあってよいのではないだろうか。

When I visited one of my friends who moved to a smaller home, even her fashion sense seemed "lighter," and she seemed to have become younger. Looking at her smile, I thought that maybe I, too, would put an end to the plans, goals and pressures that fill my life and live lighter.
 より小さな住まいに移った友人の家を訪れると、出迎えてくれた彼女はファッションまで軽やかになり、なんだか若返ったように見えた。いつまでもあふれるほどのモノ、計画や目標、プレッシャーなどを抱え込んで暮らす生活にはどこかで見切りをつけて、私ももっと身軽に生きていこうかな、とその笑顔を見ながら考えた春の日であった。

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2014年04月08日 地方版