2012年11月02日

日本は変われるのか


Can Japan Change?
( TIME )

One of the more frustrating tasks I regularly face in my job as an
economics correspondent in Asia is explaining (or attempting to
explain) what goes on in the Japanese economy. In many ways, the
place seems to simply defy logic, or the basic laws of human nature.
How can a society watch its economic fortunes deteriorate for two
decades and do almost nothing about it?

There is another reason, though, that might explain the situation
best, which I hear from my friends in South Korea. I covered the
Asian financial crisis in 1997 from Seoul, and I can tell you that
the Koreans know something about crisis management. At the time, the
economy seemed to plunge off a cliff. Koreans truly worried that
their three-decade economic miracle had come to a sudden, devastating
end. Yet in the aftermath, a stronger, healthier, more innovative
economy emerged.

Many Koreans I have spoken to believe that their country’s
postcrisis success could never have happened without the crisis
itself. The collapse showed everyone just how out-of-date and flawed
their economic model had become and washed away the opposition to
change. In fact, the reforms South Korea eventually adopted, at both
the national and corporate level, broke through many of the same
hurdles now blocking Japan’s way. South Korea, too, suffered from
cozy ties between government and business, too much bureaucratic
interference and a lack of entrepreneurship. Seoul addressed these
issues after the Asian crisis (though not completely); Japan never has.

That could be because Japan has never stared into the abyss. Sure,
recessions have come with depressing frequency, young people can’t
find the solid jobs they used to, corporate Japan is retreating from
industries like consumer electronics, which it once dominated. But
Japan’s fate has been something more like that story about boiling a
frog. If you put the poor amphibian into cold water and turn up the
heat, it doesn’t realize it’s being cooked to death. I’ve never
actually tried this with a real frog, but if it is true, it explains
the situation in Japan. While South Korea got tossed directly into
hot water, Japan has been poached slowly. If Japan faced a South
Korea-like crisis, my friends in Seoul say, that would finally force
Japan to change.


■ Uh-huh... なるへそ特記事項 ■


■ 1段落目

defy:無視する、反抗する、受けつけない

deteriorate:悪くなる・する


■ 2段落目

日本社会が人間性まで疑われる!ほどの不振に陥ったのはなぜか。原文の前の
パラグラフでその理由が述べられています。閉鎖的な官僚主義、既得利権、進
取の気性の欠如など、おなじみの話です。このパラグラフが「another
reason」で始まっている所以です。

plunge:突っ込む、飛び込む

flaw:きず、欠陥、損なう、駄目にする

■ 3段落目

cozy:居心地のよい、くつろげる

entrepreneurship:企・起業家(entrepreneur)精神

■ 4段落目

abyss: 深いふち、地獄、混沌

poach:(熱湯の中で)ゆでる


■ さらば日本語ふむふむ読み ■


Can Japan Change?
( TIME )


One of the more frustrating tasks

I regularly face in my job as an economics correspondent in Asia

is explaining (or attempting to explain)

what goes on in the Japanese economy.

In many ways,

the place seems to simply defy logic,

or the basic laws of human nature.

How can a society watch

its economic fortunes deteriorate for two decades

and do almost nothing about it?


There is another reason, though,

that might explain the situation best,

which I hear from my friends in South Korea.

I covered the Asian financial crisis in 1997 from Seoul,

and I can tell you

that the Koreans know something about crisis management.

At the time, the

economy seemed to plunge off a cliff.

Koreans truly worried

that their three-decade economic miracle

had come to a sudden, devastating end.

Yet in the aftermath,

a stronger, healthier, more innovative economy emerged.


Many Koreans

I have spoken to

believe

that their country’s postcrisis success could never have happened

without the crisis itself.

The collapse showed everyone

just how out-of-date and flawed their economic model had become

and washed away the opposition to change.

In fact,

the reforms

South Korea eventually adopted,

at both the national and corporate level,

broke through many of the same hurdles

now blocking Japan’s way.

South Korea, too, suffered

from cozy ties between government and business,

too much bureaucratic interference and a lack of entrepreneurship.

Seoul addressed these issues after the Asian crisis

(though not completely);

Japan never has.


That could be because Japan has never stared into the abyss.

Sure,

recessions have come with depressing frequency,

young people can’t find the solid jobs they used to,

corporate Japan is retreating from industries

like consumer electronics,

which it once dominated.

But Japan’s fate has been something more like that story

about boiling a frog.

If you put the poor amphibian into cold water and turn up the heat,

it doesn’t realize

it’s being cooked to death.

I’ve never actually tried this with a real frog,

but if it is true,

it explains the situation in Japan.

While South Korea got tossed directly into hot water,

Japan has been poached slowly.

If Japan faced a South Korea-like crisis,

my friends in Seoul say,

that would finally force Japan to change.


■ お帰り日本語ふむなる試訳 ■


日本は変われるのか
( TIME )

私がアジアの経済特派員の仕事で決まって直面する思うに任せない課題の1つ
は、何が日本経済に起こっているのかを説明する(または、それを試みる)こ
とだ。さまざまな点でこの場所ではまったく理屈が、または人間性の基本法則
が通用しないかのようだ。いったいどんな社会が経済的な命運が尽きようと
するのを目の当たりにしながら、手をこまねいていられるのか。

しかし、もう1つの理由がある。現状をもっともうまく説明できるかもしれな
いこの話を、私は韓国の友人から聞いた。私はソウルから1997年のアジア金融
危機を報じたのだが、韓国人には危機管理について心当たりがあると言うこと
ができる。当時、経済は崖から真っ逆さまに落ちるかのようだった。韓国人は
文字通り、30年間の経済的奇跡が突然壊滅的な終焉を迎えたことに心を痛めた。
ところがその後、以前にもまして力強く健全で、革新的な経済が立ち現れた。

私が話した韓国人の多くが信じている。同国が危機後の成功を果たすことがで
きたのは、危機そのものがあったからだ。破綻によって誰の目にも明らかだっ
た。同国の経済モデルがいかに時代遅れで綻びのあるものになっていたか。だ
から、変化に反対する姿勢を押し流した。実際に、韓国が最終的に選んだ改革
によって、国と企業のレベルを問わず、今まさに日本の行く手を阻んでいる多
くの障害を克服することができた。韓国もまた政財界の馴れ合いや官僚の干渉
の激しさ、起業家精神の欠如に苦しんだ。ソウルはアジア危機の後でこうした
問題に(完全にとは言えないものの)取り組んだ。日本は決してそうしなかっ
た。

それは、日本が決して奈落を凝視しなかったからかもしれない。確かに、不景
気は気が滅入るほど頻繁に訪れ、若者はかつてのようにしっかりした定職を見
つけられず、日本株式会社は各産業から手を引き、家電業界が権勢を誇ったの
も昔の話だ。だが、日本の運命はどこか例のゆでガエルの話を彷彿とさせる。
哀れな両生類を冷水に入れて熱を加えていっても、そいつは死ぬまで火が通っ
ていたことに気づかない。さすがに私は本物のカエルで試したことは一度もな
いが、これが本当なら、日本の現状への説明になる。韓国はそのまま熱湯に飛
び込んだが、日本はゆっくりゆで上げられた。日本が韓国式の危機に直面した
らどうか。ソウルの友人が言うには、そうすれば、日本もいよいよ変化を余儀
なくされるだろう。


■ もう一度ふむなるTIMEしよう! ■


Can Japan Change?
( TIME )

One of the more frustrating tasks I regularly face in my job as an
economics correspondent in Asia is explaining (or attempting to
explain) what goes on in the Japanese economy. In many ways, the
place seems to simply defy logic, or the basic laws of human nature.
How can a society watch its economic fortunes deteriorate for two
decades and do almost nothing about it?

There is another reason, though, that might explain the situation
best, which I hear from my friends in South Korea. I covered the
Asian financial crisis in 1997 from Seoul, and I can tell you that
the Koreans know something about crisis management. At the time, the
economy seemed to plunge off a cliff. Koreans truly worried that
their three-decade economic miracle had come to a sudden, devastating
end. Yet in the aftermath, a stronger, healthier, more innovative
economy emerged.

Many Koreans I have spoken to believe that their country’s
postcrisis success could never have happened without the crisis
itself. The collapse showed everyone just how out-of-date and flawed
their economic model had become and washed away the opposition to
change. In fact, the reforms South Korea eventually adopted, at both
the national and corporate level, broke through many of the same
hurdles now blocking Japan’s way. South Korea, too, suffered from
cozy ties between government and business, too much bureaucratic
interference and a lack of entrepreneurship. Seoul addressed these
issues after the Asian crisis (though not completely); Japan never has.

That could be because Japan has never stared into the abyss. Sure,
recessions have come with depressing frequency, young people can’t
find the solid jobs they used to, corporate Japan is retreating from
industries like consumer electronics, which it once dominated. But
Japan’s fate has been something more like that story about boiling a
frog. If you put the poor amphibian into cold water and turn up the
heat, it doesn’t realize it’s being cooked to death. I’ve never
actually tried this with a real frog, but if it is true, it explains
the situation in Japan. While South Korea got tossed directly into
hot water, Japan has been poached slowly. If Japan faced a South
Korea-like crisis, my friends in Seoul say, that would finally force
Japan to change.


■ もっとふむなるしたい人は、記事の続きも読んでみよう!
 ↓ ↓ ↓
http://ti.me/S5CwnS


■ 編集後記 ■


今回の記事はいかがでしたか。日本の佇まいは高度成長期の頃とどう違うのか。
遅ればせながら「ALWAYS・三丁目の夕日」を見ました。頑張れば必ず報われる。
それを象徴する東京タワー。昭和って、明るい明日を無邪気に信じることがで
きた時代だったのですね。う〜む、でも、実際にそうだったかなあ。

それにしても、安倍晋三総裁がこれを「美しい日本」の例に挙げていたとは!
郷愁とは、甘美に流れやすいものです。


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