消費者庁 できるか縦割り行政の打破

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Apr. 20, 2009)
Consumer agency must avoid turf wars
消費者庁 できるか縦割り行政の打破(4月20日付・読売社説)

Will a new agency be able to function as a sort of new control tower for administration of consumer affairs?
 消費者行政の新しい司令塔として機能するのだろうか。

A new government organization will be inaugurated by the end of this year to replace the current system of consumer affairs management that has too often shown the negatives of sectionalism among ministries and agencies such as the failure to detect a spate of food mislabeling cases and to prevent accidents caused by defective products.
 度重なる食品偽装を見抜けなかったり、欠陥商品による事故を防止できなかったりと、省庁ごとの縦割りで弊害が目立った消費者行政の立て直しを担う新組織が、年内にも発足する。

A bill to form a consumer affairs agency is highly likely to become law at the current Diet session as the House of Representatives approved it Friday.
 消費者庁を設置するための修正法案が衆院で可決され、今国会での成立が確実になった。

The government and the ruling coalition parties initially submitted a bill to establish the envisaged agency as an external organ of the Cabinet Office, but the Democratic Party of Japan opposed it, making a counterproposal to set up a "board of consumers rights" as an organ independent from all the other government bodies.
 内閣府の外局に消費者庁を置く政府・与党案に対し、民主党は、各省庁から独立した「消費者権利院」の設置案を提示し対立してきた。

However, the DPJ has come to a compromise and agreed to revision of a bill sponsored by the government and the ruling coalition parties.
だが、民主党が歩み寄り、法案修正で合意した。

The start of Diet deliberations on the bill has been delayed to a large extent, but it was significant that the ruling and opposition parties were finally able to reach political agreement.
 法案の審議入りは大幅に遅れたが、ようやく政治決着にこぎ着けた意義は大きい。

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Watchdog panel

A main point of their agreement was the position of a supervisory panel of experts, which was placed under the consumer affairs agency in the bill sponsored by the government and the ruling coalition parties.
 与野党合意のポイントは、政府・与党案で消費者庁内に置くとした有識者委員会の扱いだった。

In the revised bill, however, the panel was upgraded to a consumer committee ranking alongside the consumer affairs agency as a government watchdog.
 修正法案では、これを消費者庁と同格の監視機関となる「消費者委員会」に格上げした。

The revised bill, which has incorporated some of the ideas presented by the DPJ, has granted the envisaged committee strong authority not only to keep an eye on the consumer affairs agency and demand reports from the other government organizations but also to advise the prime minister and other Cabinet members to address problems.
 消費者庁を監視し、各省庁に報告を求めるほか、首相や閣僚に是正を勧告する強力な権限が与えられた。
民主党の主張を一部取り入れたものだ。

However, the ruling and opposition parties postponed dealing with many problems as they raced to a compromise.
 だが、妥協を急いだあまり、先送りされた課題も多い。

First, the bill does not clearly show how the consumer committee and the consumer affairs agency should coordinate their actions and request the other government organizations to respond quickly when a consumer problem arises.
 まず、問題が起きた時、消費者委員会と消費者庁がどう連携し、他省庁に迅速な対応を求めていくかがあいまいだ。

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Danger of duplication

Meanwhile, if its secretariat is overexpanded, the consumer committee will be superfluous, becoming an entity similar to the consumer affairs agency.
 その消費者委員会の事務局が肥大化すれば、それこそ屋上屋を重ねることになる。

It is also difficult to select members of the committee, who must come from the private sector.
民間人を充てる委員会の委員の人選も難しい。

The consumer affairs agency, and the other concerned ministries and agencies will jointly administer many laws related to consumer affairs. However, demarcation of jurisdictions of each ministry and agency remains unclear.
 消費者関連の多くの法律は、消費者庁と各省庁の共管となる。だが、各省庁に残る権限との線引きもはっきりしないままだ。

There is an urgent need to build a system within the consumer affairs agency, able to quickly collect information on risks to consumers' safety and prevent or minimize damage.
 消費者の安全を脅かす情報を素早く収集し、被害防止や、拡大を防ぐための消費者庁内の体制作りも急務である。

Such problems should be studied more closely to prevent confusion after the launch of the consumer affairs agency.
 消費者庁発足後に混乱を招かないよう、こうした問題点をさらに詰める必要がある。

It is also very important that the ruling and opposition parties agreed to enhance central government support for expanding local consumer centers through an increase in the number of consumer counselors and other measures.
 与野党合意で、相談員の増員など地方の消費生活センター拡充を目指し、国の支援を強化することで一致した点は極めて重要だ。

The number of such offices that are closer to consumers, where they can seek advice in a friendly atmosphere, should be increased.
消費者が気軽に相談できる身近な窓口を増やしたい。

Reorganization of the consumer administration does not immediately guarantee its smooth operation.
 組織を再編したからといって、消費者行政がただちにうまく回転するわけではない。

It is a fact that central government bureaucrats have so far given priority to manufacturing and industrial sectors. They must change their mentality drastically to focus truly on the people.
 霞が関のお役人はこれまで、生産者や産業界を重視してきたのが実態だ。その姿勢を、国民本意に転換するための抜本的な意識改革が欠かせまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 20, 2009)
(2009年4月20日01時27分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2009-04-20 08:38 | 英字新聞

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