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社会保障 与野党は「負担」を率直に説け

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 27, 2009)
Frank talks over burdens needed to sustain welfare
社会保障 与野党は「負担」を率直に説け(7月27日付・読売社説)

The nation's social security system surely cannot be sustained if things remain as they are. Such a sense of crisis likely is shared by many voters.
 日本の社会保障は、このままでは必ず立ちゆかなくなる。そんな危機意識を持つ有権者が多いのではないか。

The number of elderly people, who form the top layer of the demographic pyramid, is expected to grow rapidly, while the layer comprising the working generations that support elderly people will get steadily thinner due to the declining birthrate. Although social security spending continues to grow at a pace of 1 trillion yen per year, it appears that it will be difficult to secure the fiscal resources necessary to meet this cost. This is the situation we are facing.
 人口ピラミッドの上部にある高齢者層が急速に膨らみ、一方で、支える現役層は少子化によってますます細っていく。社会保障費は年に1兆円ペースで増え続けるのに、必要な財源のめどがつかないのが現状だ。

Whichever party takes power after the upcoming House of Representatives election, the population "body" that is growing increasingly obese will cause the social security "outfit" to rip apart unless the system is fixed as soon as possible.
 政権の形がどうなろうとも、社会保障制度という衣を急いで仕立て直さなくては、膨らむ体に耐えきれず、裂けてしまうだろう。

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Parties must cooperate

Among a number of related issues to be tackled, a particularly urgent task is securing adequate medical services. As medicine is directly linked to people's lives and health, this issue has been a source of anxiety felt by people in connection with the nation's social security system as a whole.
 山積する課題の中でも、緊急に手を打つべきは医療である。命と健康に直結するだけに、社会保障全体の不安の源になっている。

To solve the problem of the shortage of doctors, both the ruling and opposition parties have proposed that the number of medical school students enrolled be increased. But increasing the number alone will not solve the problem.
 医師不足を解消するために、与野党とも医学部定員の増加策を打ち出しているが、人数を増やすだけでは解決しない。

The Yomiuri Shimbun last year put forward a comprehensive reform blueprint that includes a systematic allocation of doctors in a carefully planned manner. Using this proposal as a basis for discussion, we hope that parties will compete to hammer out their own medical reform plans--not mere lists of measures, but comprehensive programs.
 読売新聞は昨年、医師を計画的に配置することなど包括的な改革プランを提言した。これもたたき台の一つとして、各党は個別対策の羅列にとどまらない総合的な医療改革案を競ってほしい。

The nation cannot afford any further delay in pension system reform, either. The government and ruling parties have proposed that the current systems be improved with an enhanced minimum safeguard function.
 年金改革も先送りできない。政府・与党は現行の社会保険方式を改良して、最低保障機能を強化する方針を打ち出している。

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan also has offered a reform plan to allow, under a unified basic system, pensioners to receive benefits in proportion to their income levels during their working years, with minimum guarantee pension benefits added on.
 民主党も国民共通の所得比例年金をベースとして、最低保障年金を上乗せする改革案を示した。

The ruling and opposition parties differ on this issue, but it is still possible for them to search for common ground for discussions.
隔たりはあるが、これならば、議論の接点を探ることも十分に可能ではないか。

Rather than merely finding fault with each other's policies, both sides should try to find basic points of agreement on social security policy that they can build on in a suprapartisan manner.
 互いの政策を批判し合うだけでなく、社会保障で一致できる基本線を見いだし、超党派で取り組む素地を作ることも重要だろう。

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Sales tax hike inevitable

For policies to be implemented, it is indispensable to have a revenue source. The ruling and opposition parties have mounted different arguments to try to persuade the public of the need to shoulder more burdens.
 政策には財源の裏付けが不可欠である。だが、負担増を説くことには与野党で濃淡がある。

The DPJ has said it will not raise the consumption tax rate for four years while suggesting that revenues equivalent to those raised from the current 5 percent consumption tax, irrespective of any future increase in the rate, be used for pension system reform at some stage in the future. Regarding revenue sources for other welfare measures, the DPJ said it would manage to raise the necessary funds by cutting wasteful budget spending and other means.
 民主党は年金改革にいずれ消費税5%分を投入するとしつつも、税率は4年間、引き上げない方針だ。ほかの福祉施策の財源については、予算の無駄の見直しなどで捻出(ねんしゅつ)するという。

The Liberal Democratic Party, meanwhile, indicated that it will consider raising the consumption tax rate in three years if the economy recovers. But this proposal has been deemphasized ahead of the general election.
 自民党は、景気回復を前提に3年後の消費税率引き上げを検討するとはしているが、総選挙を前に声が小さくなっている。

If lawmakers avoid discussions on the consumption tax, which is the only stable source to finance the social security system, all policy pledges on this issue--no matter how appealing they may sound--likely will be end up being mere slogans.
 安定した社会保障財源として他に選択肢のない消費税の議論から逃げていては、いくら耳に心地よい公約を並べても結局、お題目に終わる可能性が大きい。

The extent to which they can honestly and frankly explain to voters the need to assume increased burdens will be a barometer for judging which party or which candidate is responsible.
 有権者に向かって負担増の必要性をどれだけ正直に、率直に説くか。それが責任ある政党、候補者を見極める尺度になるだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 27, 2009)
(2009年7月27日01時37分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-27 06:51 | 英字新聞

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