I wrote my comment in the readers' comment section for the article.
My comment is as follows (with some tweaks):
It is interesting to compare this article with the one David McNeill wrote when Naoto Kan, the then-leader of the lefty Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), stepped down as the Prime Minister in August 2011.
Kan’s record as the PM was dismal. He mishandled the 2011 earthquake/nuclear plant incident. He did not do any good to the economy or foreign affairs. The approval rating for his administration plunged to as low as 15%.
Despite all these, McNeill’s article for Kan’s resignation was sympathetic and even poetic (see the first paragraph of the article). The headline read “'Least bad' Japanese leader Naoto Kan throws in the towel”. He quoted two academics who both desperately tried to save Kan’s butt. No opposite view was offered.
On the other hand, in his latest article, McNeill tried painstakingly to make sure the reader would perceive Abe as a hawkish right-winger/revisionist, played down what Abe achieved and hoped Abe would be remembered as a caretaker (well, McNeill’s wording is “History may well record him as a political caretaker”).
Of course, Abe did not play a perfect game and his record is mixed. However, compared to Kan, he fared much better. In terms of the economy, Nikkei went up from 8,500 to 24,000, the unemployment rate came down from 4.3% to 2.4%, and the jobs-to-applicants ratio rose from 0.8 to 1.6. (The figures are all 2012 vs. 2019). The suicide dropped from 27,858 to 20,169 as well. As for the international relationship, he enhanced existing alliances and developed new partnerships. The number of Covid-19 deaths is relatively low.
According to the Kyodo poll conducted on 29/30 August after the announcement of his resignation, the approval rating for the Abe administration soared by 20.9% from a week ago to 56.9%. On hearing the announcement, Nikkei collapsed by nearly 600 points to 22,735 and ended the day at 22,882.
McNeill clearly failed to capture the reality and the prevailing sentiment in and around Japan again. Or he refused to do so. After all, McNeill is a kind of journalist who puts his own political or ideological agenda before journalistic commitments to finding the truth and documenting empirical facts. Look at the final line of the article. It is McNeill who wants to see Abe’s tenure as a failure. That is his wishful thinking. A wishful thinking does not belong to the straight news section. It may to the opinion section if anybody’s wishful thinking is ever worth publishing on a national newspaper.
Here is more realist/less ideological piece from BBC if interested.
This article is written by Dr John Nilsson-Wright, Chatham House (Korea Foundation Korea Fellow and Senior Fellow for Northeast Asia) & University of Cambridge
For what McNeill described as “School textbooks have removed references to war crimes” which was the highlighted text on the print copy, Nilsson-Wright said, “moved away from overly self-critical historical narratives in high-school textbooks.”
Regarding Sino-Japanese relations, Nilsson-Wright wrote:
“Sensibly, while Mr Abe has remained acutely aware of the geostrategic threat posed by China, this has not been allowed to block opportunities for pragmatic co-operation with President Xi Jinping.”
Nilsson-Wright concludes his article as follows:
“Notwithstanding Mr Abe's aspirational, but at best partially realised nationalist ambitions, his pragmatic achievements are likely to be his most enduring legacy.”
たとえば、マクニールは「学校の教科書から戦争犯罪に関する記述を削除した (School textbooks have removed references to war crimes)」と書いていて、アイリッシュ・タイムズの紙面ではこの部分が大きめの文字でレイアウトされている。ジョン・ニルソン=ライトの記事では、これは「高校の教科書に関して、過度に自己批判的な歴史記述から離れた (moved away from overly self-critical historical narratives in high-school textbooks)」となっている。
ジョン・ニルソン=ライトは、記事を次のように締めくくっている。「安倍の意欲的だが、よく言っても部分的にしか実現できなかったナショナリスト的大志よりも、実際的な成果こそが最も息の長い彼のレガシーとなる可能性が高い」(Notwithstanding Mr Abe's aspirational, but at best partially realised nationalist ambitions, his pragmatic achievements are likely to be his most enduring legacy.)
If you grow up in Japanese society, everyone have experienced sexual violence, or sexual assault, but not everyone consider it was. Especially when you start using public transportation as a high-school girl. That's when it happens every day. So whenever we go... get to the classroom, that was always the topic: today, this man jerked off on me, today this man cut my skirt. But this was something that we have to deal with. We never reported it.
(A) 「sexual violence, or sexual assault」の訳について。伊藤氏があえて選択したのかどうかはわからないが、「sexual violence」や「sexual assault」はかなり強い言葉として英国の一般視聴者に受け止められるだろう。であれば、英国の視聴者がどのように受け止めたのかを日本人に説明する目的では、それと同じくらい強い言葉を訳語として選ぶべきである。BBC の字幕は「性暴力」「性的暴行」と言う訳語を選択しているが、英国の一般視聴者が受ける印象もこれに近いものだと私は考える。
カツミ氏は「長年に及ぶ筆者の人権界での経験と、様々なメディアや専門家による文献などに直接接してきたことから得られる結論」として「一般に国際社会においては”sexual assault”と認識されている暴力であり、対する正規訳は「性的加害」であると理解している」と書いておられる。そして、「sexual violence, or sexual assault」をまとめて「性的加害」と訳しておられる。人権等の専門家の間では、正規訳が「性的加害」であるのかもしれないが、オーディエンスが一般視聴者であるという事実を考えた場合、「sexual violence, or sexual assault」を「性的加害」という一般になじみのない言葉に訳すのは、英国人一般視聴者がどう感じたのかを日本人に伝える目的では不適切と考える。
(D) 「this man cut my skirt.」の「cut」が「caught」ではないかという指摘。たしかにこれはどちらにも聞こえる。この発言の直前にあるのが「this man jerked off on me」(男に精液をかけられた) というかなりひどい被害について話しているので、それに匹敵する被害ということで「cut」の方が文脈上は可能性が高い気もするが、これはどちらにも聞こえるので意見は差し控えたい。