地方制度答申 分権へ議会と監査を強化せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jun. 22, 2009)
Decentralization needs strong local pols, audits
地方制度答申 分権へ議会と監査を強化せよ(6月22日付・読売社説)

To promote decentralization, it is essential to improve the local government systems to which administrative work and authority are to be transferred. In addition to municipal mergers, it is important to strengthen local assemblies as well as auditing and oversight of local governments.
 地方分権の推進には、事務や権限を譲り受ける自治体の体制充実が欠かせない。市町村合併に加え、地方議会や監査機能の強化が重要である。

An advisory panel to the prime minister on local government has proposed that the incentives for the so-called Heisei-era megamergers end in March. The panel also suggested that the megamerger campaign be followed by voluntary mergers, regional cooperation among municipalities and the establishment of administrative support systems by prefectural governments for small municipalities.
 第29次地方制度調査会が、「平成の大合併」を来年3月に終結させることを答申した。その後は、自主的な合併のほか、複数の市町村の広域連携や、都道府県による小規模市町村への行政支援の制度を用意するよう提言している。

The government's megamerger campaign that started in 1999 has decreased the number of municipalities with populations of fewer than 10,000 by nearly 70 percent, with about 470 such municipalities remaining. The financial situation of municipal governments in depopulated mountainous areas or on remote islands is serious.
 1999年以来の合併運動の結果、人口1万人未満の自治体は7割近く減少したが、なお470前後が残る。過疎の山間地や離島の自治体の財政状況は厳しい。

Tokyo, Osaka and other metropolitan areas have seen few municipal mergers. Even if it is not so problematic at this stage, financial burdens are expected to sharply rise in the mid- to long-term due to rapid aging of the population and renovation of public facilities.
 東京、大阪など大都市圏では合併がほとんど進まなかった。今は問題がなくても、中長期的には、急速な高齢化や公共施設の更新で財政負担の急増が見込まれる。

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Continue voluntary mergers

To strengthen administrative and fiscal bases of municipal governments, mergers remain a promising option. Voluntary mergers of municipalities should be encouraged, and systems for the central and prefectural governments to extend support for municipal mergers should remain in the future.
 市町村の行財政基盤を強固にするには、今後も、合併が有力な選択肢であることに変わりはない。今回は見送っても、将来、市町村が自主的に合併する道と、国や都道府県が合併を側面支援する制度は残すべきだろう。

The panel called for widening the scope of public works projects and other matters for which assembly approval is required to conclude contracts, as well as the target of semipublic sector entities required to submit financial reports to local assemblies. These measures are expected to strengthen the oversight functions of local assemblies.
 答申は、地方議会の監視機能を強めるため、公共事業などの契約締結の議決対象や、議会に経営状況を報告する第3セクターなどの対象を拡大するよう求めた。

When decentralization moves forward, the role of local assemblies will become significantly larger. While universal criteria for setting up day care centers set by the central government are to be minimized, criteria that could be stipulated through ordinances passed by local assemblies are to significantly increase.
 地方分権が進めば、地方議会の役割は一段と大きくなる。国が定める全国統一の保育所の設置基準などは必要最小限のものに限る一方で、地方議会が条例で定められる基準が大幅に増える。

In such processes, it is unacceptable that local assembly members continue acting as go-betweens for particular interests or practicing pork-barrel politics.
 そうした中で、地方議員が従来通りの口利き行為や地元への利益誘導に走ることは許されない。

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Local government must change

Members of local assemblies must be well aware of the gravity of their responsibilities and are expected to change their attitudes. Local residents, for their part, should pay attention not only to local governments but also to local assemblies.
 地方議員は、その責任の重みを自覚し、意識改革を図ることが求められる。住民も、自治体だけでなく、地方議会の動向にも、もっと関心を持つべきだろう。

The panel's proposal included measures to strengthen auditing functions. The panel called for joint establishment of an auditing committee office by a number of municipalities and the introduction of a system under which local governments would undergo external auditing once in a couple of fiscal years.
 答申には、自治体の監査機能の強化策も盛り込まれた。複数の市町村による監査委員会事務局の共同設置や、外部監査を複数年度に1回受ける方式の導入である。

These measures are aimed at helping small municipalities, which have difficulty in setting up an independent audit office or conducting external auditing every fiscal year, to expand their auditing functions.
 独立した監査委事務局を設置したり、外部監査を毎年度実施したりするのが財政的に困難な小規模市町村が、監査体制を拡充しやすくするのが目的だ。

To prevent another case of municipal bankruptcy like the city of Yubari in Hokkaido, local governments from this fiscal year under the law on local government fiscal health are obliged to make fiscal reconstruction plans in certain cases based on financial settlements in previous fiscal years.
 今年度からは「第二の夕張」を出さないため、地方自治体財政健全化法に基づき、前年度決算を踏まえた財政再生・健全化計画の義務付けが始まる。

It is important that each local government try to streamline administrative work without losing the substance of auditing functions but by incorporating third-party perspectives generated from external auditing.
 各自治体は、監査を形骸(けいがい)化させず、外部監査による第三者の視点を活用し、行政の合理化に努めることが大切だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 22, 2009)
(2009年6月22日01時26分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2009-06-22 07:29 | 英字新聞

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