出先機関工程表 首相は不戦敗を繰り返すな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 31, 2009)
Aso mustn't buckle on decentralization plan
出先機関工程表 首相は不戦敗を繰り返すな(3月31日付・読売社説)

A loss by default is the only way to describe Prime Minister Taro Aso's capitulation to those lawmakers acting on behalf of specific interest groups and bureaucrats with vested interests, both of whom oppose the decentralization of power.
 地方分権に抵抗する族議員と官僚に対する麻生首相の不戦敗――。そう言わざるを得ない。

The government recently formulated a road map for the reform of government branch offices as part of decentralization efforts. However, the road map failed to incorporate any concrete plans as to whether any branch offices would be eliminated or consolidated, while it shied away from any move to cut 35,000 central government officials at these offices. These matters have been put off until a decentralization reform outline scheduled to be compiled by the end of this year.
 政府が国の出先機関改革の工程表を策定した。出先機関の統廃合案や職員3万5000人削減の具体案は一切盛り込まれず、年末の出先機関改革大綱に先送りされた。

In its second package of recommendations submitted in December, the Decentralization Reform Committee proposed the abolition and consolidation of Construction and Transport Ministry regional development bureaus and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry regional agricultural administration offices. The committee of experts and others also recommended the operations and projects of these bodies be taken over by local municipalities.
 有識者らによる地方分権改革推進委員会は昨年12月の第2次勧告で、国土交通省地方整備局や農水省地方農政局の統合・再編や事務の地方移管などを提言した。

Attention focused on the extent to which the government road map could incorporate the committee's recommendations as policy.
 今回の工程表では、提言をどこまで政府の方針として決定できるかが最大の焦点となっていた。

Aso has championed decentralization as a top priority for his Cabinet. Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kunio Hatoyama has resolved to knuckle down and start discussions with ministries that have bristled at the decentralization plan, even if it means "becoming their punching bag," he said.
 麻生首相は地方分権を「内閣の最重要課題」と強調する。鳩山総務相も「サンドバッグになる」と言い、反発する関係府省との調整に意欲を示していた。

However, no ministerial-level negotiations have been held, and the road map has been stripped of any hard-hitting content.

Tough times no excuse (英文翻訳抜け?)
ところが、閣僚折衝さえ開かれず、中身の乏しい工程表になってしまった。

Admittedly, this is a difficult time to be formulating such a road map.
 工程表の作成には、難しい時期であったのは事実だ。

With the economy tanking and the government being called on by all and sundry to take robust and quick economic and employment measures, moves to devolve power and staffers to local municipalities have screeched to a halt.
 景気が悪化し、政府による強力で迅速な経済・雇用対策が求められる中、権限や職員の地方移管にブレーキがかかった。

The weakening of Aso's leadership due to dismal approval ratings for the Cabinet also has given cover to lawmakers lobbying for the interests of specific groups and bureaucrats scrambling to protect their vested interests.
内閣支持率の低迷に伴う首相の求心力低下も、族議員と官僚の既得権益保護の動きを許した。

However, we think this excuse is unacceptable. Reforming government branch offices is a historic task that has been left untouched during the reorganization of central government ministries and agencies.
 だが、そうした弁明は通用しない。出先機関改革は中央省庁再編で積み残された歴史的課題だ。

Many government branch offices are not closely supervised by the Diet and local assemblies or watched by residents. This lax oversight has given rise to a spate of scandals, such as wasteful spending of road-related tax revenues by construction ministry regional development bureaus, and poor supervision of rice tainted with pesticide or mold by the farm ministry's regional agricultural administration offices.
 地方整備局の道路特定財源の無駄遣い、地方農政局のずさんな事故米の監督……。国会・地方議会や住民の監視が届きにくい出先機関で不祥事が多発している。

The transfer of government branch offices' work, officials and budgets earmarked for their projects to local municipalities will help revitalize regional areas and invigorate local economies, and streamline administrative duties by the central government and local municipalities by eliminating overlaps.
 地域を活性化し、地方経済を再生する。国と地方の二重行政を排し、効率化する。その両方の観点から、出先機関の事務や財源の地方移管が要請されている。

Key election issue

A sharing of roles, in which local municipalities basically handle regular work and projects during normal times and let the central government step in to deal swiftly with emergencies such as recession and major disasters, should have been discussed over the years.
 不況や大災害など非常時には、政府が機動的に対処する余地を残しつつ、平時は地方が基本的に事務を行う。そんな役割分担の制度を検討してきたはずだ。

Another loss by default on this matter would be inexcusable. The government should quickly start coordinating with relevant bodies so it can incorporate specific goals into its decentralization reform outline at the end of the year. The prime minister and the internal affairs and communications minister will need to exercise leadership should the going get tough during this process.
 不戦敗を繰り返すことは許されない。年末の改革大綱で具体的な成果を上げるには、政府は早い段階から、周到に調整を進める必要がある。首相や総務相が要所で指導力を発揮すべきだ。

Decentralization will be a key issue during the next House of Representatives election campaign. The Democratic Party of Japan has trumpeted a radical policy to abolish and cut back government branch offices should it take office.
 次期衆院選で、地方分権は一つの争点となろう。民主党は、「出先機関は廃止・縮小」などと、より急進的な政策を掲げている。

If the ruling parties postpone reform of government branch offices until after the lower house election, they would leave themselves open to accusations that their words contradict their actions. We hope the ruling coalition holds its nerve and puts up numerical targets concerning the shift of government branch offices' operations and projects to local municipalities, as well as in cuts to the number of central government officials working at these offices.
 与党が出先機関改革をすべて衆院選後に先送りするようでは、言行不一致が問われよう。事務の地方移管や職員削減について、具体的な数値目標を掲げるくらいの積極性を見せてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 31, 2009)
(2009年3月31日01時30分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-03-31 22:11 | 英字新聞

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