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The following excerpt is from a reading comprehension exercise (page 214 of TRY! 日本語能力試験 N2 文法から伸ばす日本語).

交差点で車同士が衝突する事故が起きた。事故原因の調査では、運転手に重大な過失は認められなかった

Is it correct to recognize 認められなかった as the (negation of the) passive form of 認める? If so, what does に indicate? Is 運転手に重大な過失は認められなかった equivalent to 運転手重大な過失を認めなかった? (That seems logical grammatically. But it sounds like a strange way of using the passive voice.) Does に indicate the location, in an abstract sense, where 過失 (does not) exist? If so, who is the subject of 認める?

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  • BTW note that 認められる is passive, and the subject of the sentence is 重大な過失.
    – sundowner
    Nov 28, 2022 at 14:20

1 Answer 1

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The subject of 認める is omitted and it is the person who did the 調査.

I'm not sure to what extent 認める parallels to recognize, but there are two slightly different meanings:

  1. to admit. E.g., 罪を認める (to concede that s/he is guilty)
  2. to find. E.g., 類似点をみとめる (to find resemblence)

The usage in question is 2 and に indicates abstract location ('no faults were found in the driver'). If it is 運転手は過失を認めた, it means The driver admitted his own fault.

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