経済財政白書 物足りない回復への処方箋

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 25, 2009)
Economic white paper short on specifics
経済財政白書 物足りない回復への処方箋(7月25日付・読売社説)

The theme of the fiscal 2009 Annual Report on the Japanese Economy and Public Finance was "overcoming crisis and the outlook for sustainable recovery."
 今年度の経済財政白書は、「危機の克服と持続的回復への展望」をテーマに取り上げた。

Although the country's economy has stopped deteriorating, it is still in a deep rut and there are lingering concerns that it could worsen further still.
 景気はやっと下げ止まったものの、今なお深い谷の中にあり、さらに底割れする心配も消えていない。

The white paper on the economy and public finances was drawn up in the middle of a dire economic situation. As such, it was expected to present a clear remedy for the Japanese economy that would guide it through the crisis and help it regain its growth potential.
 厳しい経済情勢のもとでまとめられた白書には、日本経済が危機を切り抜け、成長力を取り戻すためのしっかりした処方箋(せん)を示すことが期待されていた。

The white paper said that although the country's economy slumped at the fastest pace on record, and that the extent of the slowdown also was the deepest ever, it finally began picking up thanks to the government's pump-priming measures and the recovery of foreign economies.
 白書はまず、景気はかつてない「速さ」と「深さ」で落ち込んだが、経済対策や海外経済の回復のおかげで、ようやく持ち直してきたと分析した。

But the report pointed to three continuing risks in the economic outlook--the deteriorating employment situation, the risk of backsliding into deflation and a downturn in foreign economies.
 ただし、先行きには「雇用の悪化」「デフレへの逆戻り」「海外経済の下振れ」という三つのリスクが残っているとした。

The employment situation made for particularly grim reading. The paper estimated the number of workers surplus to requirements at Japanese firms topped 6 million. Many companies are believed to have hired far more workers than they actually need for their production.
 特に雇用では、仕事の減った会社が社員を解雇せずに抱える“企業内失業”が600万人に及ぶと推計した。

The report warned that unless production recovers soon, these firms will soon find it difficult to retain employees and will resort to slashing their workforces.
このため生産が急ピッチに回復しないと企業のやせ我慢が続かず、人員の大幅削減が始まるだろうと警告を発した。

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Govt must keep risks in mind

We think the white paper was on the mark to point out the need for the government to appropriately proceed with economic and fiscal management while paying close attention to such risks.
 白書が「こうしたリスクに注意しながら、政府は適切な経済財政運営を進めていく必要がある」と指摘したのは当を得ている。

Regrettably, the report stopped short of making detailed proposals on specific policies.
 ただ、具体的な政策運営に関する各論は、少し物足りない。

The white paper called on the government to jump-start economic recovery by a two-track policy of domestic and foreign demand.
 内需と外需の「双発エンジン」による回復を目指すべきだと、白書は説く。

We do not object to the proposal. Yet, it should be remembered that domestic demand was weak even during the economic expansion that lasted nearly seven years from 2002. Given that, the paper should have spelled out how domestic demand could be promoted in the middle of an employment crisis.
異論はないが、2002年からの7年近い景気拡大期でさえ、内需は弱かった。雇用危機の中で、内需をいかに振興すべきか論じてほしかった。

The nation's shrinking population will gradually erode domestic demand. Under these circumstances, it is important to consider how the increasing needs of an aging society, such as medical and nursing services, can be linked with domestic demand.
 人口減少で内需は縮小する方向だ。医療や介護など高齢化社会に高まるニーズをどう内需につなげるかという論点も重要だろう。

The white paper also said shoring up the credibility of pension and other social security services will make people less likely to squirrel away excess savings, and this would flow on to support consumption. This is a good viewpoint, but to our regret, the argument is not overly convincing because it failed to explain where the fiscal resources to realize such proposals would come from.
 白書は、年金など社会保障への信頼を高めれば過剰な貯蓄が減って、消費を下支えするとした。いい視点だが、肝心の財源を示さず説得力を欠いたのは残念だ。

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History could repeat

Though Japan's economic growth is driven by exports, the nation will have to vie for export markets with emerging economies. The paper should have presented strategies for taking advantage of the growth of Asian countries and other nations.
 得意の輸出も、新興国の台頭でパイの争奪が激しくなる。アジアなどの成長をうまく取り込む戦略を示してもらいたかった。

The paper concluded that economic recovery would be the surest way to resolve social and economic disparities in this country. But this claim is too simplistic. Relying on the economic recovery to resolve the problem could doom the nation to repeating the terrible times of the so-called employment ice age, when many university graduates struggled to find jobs after the economic bubble burst. The income disparity among young people significantly widened during this period.
 一方、格差問題では「景気回復が最大の対策」と総括しているが、あまりに素っ気ない。景気回復頼みでは、就職氷河期に若者間の所得格差が急拡大した悲劇を、繰り返しかねない。

An overemphasis on profitability and efficiency in line with the structural reform drive is partly responsible for the widening social and economic disparities and exhaustion of the social security system.
 格差拡大や社会保障の疲弊は、構造改革路線に沿った収益偏重、効率至上主義にも責任がある。

The white paper had carried the same subtitle of "No growth without structural reforms" for five years in an apparent show of support for the government's structural reform drive. Perhaps it is time to reflect on the proposals it made during that period.
 「改革なくして成長なし」の副題を5年間掲げ、改革路線を後押しした過去の経済財政白書の総括も、そろそろ必要ではないか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 25, 2009)
(2009年7月25日01時54分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-25 08:38 | 英字新聞

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