I came upon this sentence in a newspaper article:


Which I translated into:

Although there is no doubt that the safety of the nation is important, the comprehension is totally missing that a democracy can only exist on the foundation of the right to know

Firstly, I am not 100% sure if I got it right that in that sentence, the right to know (知る権利) is the foundation for democracy, or whether it might be the other way round.

Secondly, would you in this example even translate the word "基盤" literally, or is it just seen as a premise. If so, could I replace "知る権利の基盤があってこそ" with "知る権利ありき" ? Since, as I understood, ありき also follows a premise.

  • Where did you find the word ありき?
    – virmaior
    Feb 2, 2018 at 14:07
  • ありき as in: "これでは法案に欠陥があるのを自覚しながら、まずは成立ありきの本音を認めたのと同じではないか" "While one realizes the deficiencies of the bill, is it not the same as regarding (it, the bill) as already completed?" (Context to this was the statement of a politician talking about a bill as if it was an already promulgated law.) This is just a sloppy translation, but unfortunately the only example i know with the correct use of ariki (also from a newspaper article). "ありき"in a more common connection might for example be "運転免許ありき" in the sense of "(having a) driver's license is mandatory", e.g. for getting a job...
    – muuly
    Feb 2, 2018 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


As I am not a native speaker of Japanese I might be wrong about this, but the way I interpret the sentence is:

There is no doubt that national security is important, but the understanding that it is the foundation of the right to know upon which democracy rests, is entirely lacking.

So, I would definitely translate 基盤 as the foundation upon which democracy rests. And, in response to your first question, I would say a democracy's foundation is the right to know (i.e., public information).

However, as I said before, I am not a native speaker. The reason I replied this way is that I cannot "add a comment" due to insufficient points, or so it seems. Also, by "refreshing" your question this way, others who are native speaker-levelled may notice it.

I hope this helps you, if only slightly. (:

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