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经济学人中英对照:日本的灾难,也是领导力的危机

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Japan's disaster日本的灾难

A crisis of leadership, too

也是领导力的危机

The many-headed catastrophe points to deeper-seated problems in governing Japan

棘手的灾祸背后,日本政府深层次的弊病显露出来

SINCE the lives of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Japanese were turned upside down by earthquake, tsunami, fire and looming nuclear threat, people around the globe have watched, amazed, at the survivors’ composure—“stoicism” is the word they most often reach for. There have been few complaints, just civic-minded initiative. All along the coast, the urgent talk is not just about survival in the face of shortages of food, water and fuel. Stricken communities are desperate to start rebuilding their towns.

地震,海啸,大火以及日益严重的核辐射把日本人的生活搅得翻天覆地,几十万日本人受到影响。而此时此刻,全世界都将目光聚焦日本,惊叹于幸存者的沉着淡定。而“坚忍克己”是他们嘴边形容日本最常用的词。日本人很少抱怨什么,有的只是互帮互助。目前,震区食物,水源以及燃料短缺,对于灾区人民来说,最迫切的不仅仅是如何活下去,还是重建家园

Stoicism is an admirable response to what fate deals you. It also serves as a coping mechanism in the face of incomprehension. And the Japanese no longer just find it hard to understand how nature could deal such a blow; increasingly, they want to know why the government of a rich and orderly land should be taking so long to tame an overheating nuclear plant and get help to communities ravaged by the tsunami. A lack of water, food and warmth are a fresh and acute source of suffering. Despite the scale of the humanitarian disaster, some of the suffering is avoidable. The system is letting citizens down.

面对自然的“摧残”,“坚忍克己”是多么的令人敬佩。对于自己无法理解的东西,保持坚忍克己,也实为不错。现在,日本不仅不明白自然为何会如此残暴,他们更难以理解的是,为何在一个如此富裕有序的国度里,政府却要花如此长的时间才能控制住过热的核机组,才能援救饱受海啸摧残的人民。目前,人们饱受着食物以及饮水短缺的痛苦,情况紧急。撇开大规模的人道主义灾难不说,某些痛苦还是可以避免的。日本的国家体制让人民失望至极。

This criticism may seem harsh. For a start, Naoto Kan, the prime minister, has maintained relative calm despite the menacing situation at Fukushima Dai-ichi, the crippled nuclear plant. His government has also been far more transparent than its predecessors. The Bank of Japan acted promptly, providing liquidity to prevent a natural disaster from becoming a financial one.

批评的声音也许还真是刺耳。一开始,尽管福岛核电站爆炸,情况紧急,但日本首相菅直人处事还是比较冷静的。菅直人当局也要比前任政府公开透明的多。日本中央银行也是迅速做出反应,出动流动资金,避免灾害殃及金融业。

Favourable comparisons have rightly been made with the bumbling response by an earlier government to the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, which killed 6,400. Then, Japan’s government was slower than South Korea’s to set up an emergency relief operation. Yakuza, the Japanese mafia, were the first to set up soup kitchens for the victims.

But that is setting the bar very low indeed. After all, the Kobe fiasco hastened the end of the Liberal Democratic Party’s post-war supremacy and the rise of Mr Kan’s Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). Kobe showed that the country was run by incompetents. The shock led to soul-searching by a once-confident Japan which, with its economy broken, seemed adrift. Yet all was not lost in the “lost decade”. Out of Kobe grew new civic-minded energies. Mr Kan himself has a background in civic activism. In 2009 the DPJ promised a new, more accountable kind of politics. A less deferential electorate approved.

1995年的神户地震夺去了6400人的生命,当时的日本政府反应相当笨拙,现在是时候把两届政府做一比较了。当时,韩国出动紧急救援的速度都比日本当局还要迅速。日本黑手党率先启动流动厨房,营救难民。但是对于政府来说,这个标准确实太低了。毕竟,神户地震的处理不利使自民党的“死期”愈发的近了(二战以来,自民党在日本一直掌管着最高权利),这么一来,菅直人所在的民主党地位也就提高了。政府处理神户地震的失败,说明当时的政府没有能力。当年的那场地震再加上经济的萧条,使日本一度陷入了一片茫然的境地,这也就促使了一向自信有加的日本,好好地自我反思了一番。但是在经济衰退的十年里(1991-2000),也不是一切尽失。因为神户地震,一股热心公益事业的浪场掀起。菅直人自己当年就参与过公益活动。2009年,上台之初,民主党就许诺构建一个新的,更有责任的政府。一个合选民心意的不那么逆来顺受的政府。

Yet, this month’s disasters underscore how much more the system still needs to change—along with the politicians guiding it. For one, the fiasco at Fukushima Dai-ichi has revealed, again, the cosy ties between the nuclear industry and government. Together, they have stifled debate, covered up bungles and made assumptions about risks that were too optimistic. The crisis management at TEPCO, the plant’s owner, has laid bare an astounding lack of leadership. “What the hell’s going on?” Mr Kan demanded at one point.

本月以来的各种灾祸,更加凸显了日本政治体制还是多么的需要改革,政府高官也多么需要改进工作了。举个例子来说吧,福岛的核电厂事件又一次揭示了政府同核工业之间的那根“和平共处”的弦。他们“勾结在一起“,息事宁人,掩盖失误,并且对危险的估计还太过乐观。核电站的“东家”----东京电力公司应对危机的所作所为,暴露了令人匪夷所思的低下领导力。菅直人一度责问:“这到底是怎么回事啊?”

The same might be asked of the operation to get help to the tsunami victims. For all that Mr Kan has attempted to be seen at the front, in Tokyo the sense of a looming humanitarian crisis in the north has been slow to sink in. That is partly because nuclear worries have absorbed much of the government’s attention. Few politicians in a centralised system have bothered to travel north themselves. The media, taking their cue from the Tokyo establishment, have not thought properly to report the unfolding struggle for food and fuel.

营救海啸难民的行动也应受到如此质疑。虽然菅直人一直努力让公众看到,自己迎难而上“奋斗在最前线”,但是福岛的人道主义危机也愈发显现,并且慢慢渗透到了东京。而部分原因可能是因为,政府很重视民众对于核辐射的担忧。但在这么一个中央集权的国度里,几乎没有哪个政客会自己亲自去灾区考察。媒体从日本当局那里得到了些许蛛丝马迹,由此报道了食物以及燃料短缺的惨状,但此举还真是不大明智。

Yet businessmen and victims say supplies are being held up as bureaucracies fall back on tired old rules and straitjacket procedures. Lorries full of supplies have been unable to get petrol on the empty expressway north, reserved for “emergency” vehicles. While this severe shortage of fuel spread through northern Japan, oil companies were sitting on huge supplies which by law they had to keep in reserve. If ever an occasion for their use was justified, it was this catastrophe. Yet the government took ten days to beg for (not order) their release. From the start, Mr Kan should have declared a state of emergency. Even now, clear lines of authority for handling the many-headed crisis have not been properly established.

面对如此天灾,政府却还一味地拘泥于繁文缛节。由此,许多商人以及难民表示,如今救灾物资根本无法落实到位。通往北方的空旷高速公路上,装满救灾物资的卡车却无处加油,设在那里的加油站在“紧急情况”下才能启动。燃料危机肆掠日本的北方地区,而与此同时,石油公司却紧紧的把持着数量巨大的能源不放,因为法律要求他们储备能源。要是这些能源真有正当用途的话,那就非此次赈灾莫属了!然而,日本政府却花了十天时间“请求”石油公司打开库存,赈济救灾(注意!政府是“请求”,而不是“要求”)。一开始,菅直人就本应该宣布国家进入紧急状态。而即使是到了今天,应对棘手的灾难,日本当局还是没能制定出一套清晰的应对方针。

Who the hell’s in charge?

到底是谁管事啊?

Japan has gone without effective leadership for so long, with an endless procession of faceless prime ministers and their cabinets, that it has made political dysfunction look almost like well-practised art. But this crisis has shone a pitiless light on that failure. Mr Kan, who has promised political change, now needs to bring it about. Japan’s people can help, adopting a different attitude to their government. Stoicism—however good for coping with adversity—is bad for bringing on change. Time for the Japanese to unleash some righteous anger on a system that has let them down.

很长一段时间以来,日本历届政府都很不作为。不知名的首相及其内阁走马灯似的换,长此以往,政治的无能几乎丝毫不出差错,次次上演。但是,此次灾祸之于日本失败的政治,无疑更是雪上加霜。菅直人当初承诺要推进政治改革,如今可是需要兑现了。对此日本人民也能帮上忙,那就是改变自己对政府抱有的态度。应对灾祸,坚忍克己当然行之有效,但是对于开展改革来说,却是糟糕至极。面对令自己失望的制度,现在日本人民是时候,站出来充分表达自己的怒气了。

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