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衆院選公示 政権構想と政策を吟味しよう

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 19, 2009)
Voters deserve a clear presentation of policies
衆院選公示 政権構想と政策を吟味しよう(8月19日付・読売社説)

Official campaigning for the House of Representatives election kicked off Tuesday. This is an extremely important contest, the outcome of which will steer the future course of the nation.
 日本の進路を左右する極めて重要な衆院選が18日、公示された。

We hope that each voter, political party and candidate will carry an awareness of the significance of this election and fulfill their respective responsibilities in it.
 各政党、候補者はもとより、有権者一人ひとりが、今回の総選挙の意義をしっかりと自覚し、それぞれの責任を果たしてもらいたい。

The nation faces a number of difficult and serious problems.
 日本は今、多くの困難かつ深刻な課題に直面している。

The world economy appears to be emerging from the business downturn that struck the globe at the same time, but has yet to reach full-fledged recovery. How to put the nation's economy on a recovery path while taking into consideration the worsening employment situation is a pressing problem.
 世界経済は、同時不況から脱しつつあるが、本格的な景気回復には至っていない。悪化が続く雇用情勢に目配りしつつ、いかに日本経済を回復軌道に乗せるのか。

 ◆経済をどう回復させる◆
With the declining birthrate combined with the aging of the population, the assumption of a social security system supported by a steadily growing economy no longer holds water. It is necessary to work on a new mechanism that addresses benefits and burdens and to reconstruct a sustainable system to realize it.
 少子高齢化が進む中、右肩上がりの経済成長が前提の社会保障制度は機能しない。新たな給付と負担のあり方を検討し、持続可能なシステムを再構築する必要がある。

The security environment surrounding the nation has grown more severe. North Korea is accelerating its nuclear and ballistic missile development and China is aiming to be a military superpower.
 日本を取り巻く安全保障環境はかつてなく厳しい。北朝鮮は核・弾道ミサイル開発を加速させ、中国の軍事大国化も進む。日本の平和と安全をどう確保するのか。

How can the nation's peace and security be ensured? Appropriate ways to solve these pressing issues should be a key point of contention in the election.
 衆院選で争われるべきは、これらの課題に対する適切な処方箋(せん)だろう。

===

Priorities of the 2 coalitions

Each political party and candidate needs to present fresh visions for the nation and the policies needed to realize them so that voters can have clear choices.
 各党と候補者は、日本の新たな国家像と、それを実現するための政策を語り、有権者に選択肢を示すべきだ。

Both the ruling and opposition parties are presenting their ideas of a government with the notion that they will be establishing ruling coalitions.
 与野党は、連立政権を前提に政権構想を提示している。

A good way to see which policies a future government would give priority to is to look at the common policies of the current ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, and the common policies of three opposition parties--the Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party and People's New Party.
政権選択の重要な手がかりは、自民、公明の連立与党の重点政策と、民主、社民、国民新の野党3党による共通政策だろう。

As their growth strategy, the ruling parties have pledged in their common campaign platform to create domestic demand worth 40 trillion yen to 60 trillion yen and secure 2 million jobs over the next three years. They specify that they will implement drastic tax reforms--including raising the consumption tax rate once the economy recovers--to ensure a stable financial resource for social security programs.
 与党は、経済成長戦略として「今後3年間で40~60兆円の需要を創出し、200万人の雇用を確保する」と強調した。社会保障の安定財源として、景気回復を前提に、消費税を含む税制の抜本改革を実行するとも明記している。

Though the pledge carries the responsible attitude of a ruling party toward tackling economic recovery and financial reconstruction in two stages, the presentation's concrete measures to realize these policies have not been made clear. The two parties need to provide a more understandable explanation of this to voters.
 景気回復と財政再建に2段階で取り組む方針を明示したのは、責任ある態度だが、実現に向けた具体的な道筋は不透明である。より明確な説明が求められよう。

The three opposition parties tout as their top policy priority the support of household budget concerns, such as directly providing child-rearing allowances and free high school education. They aim to increase disposable incomes and spur economic growth through domestic demand. They also say they would leave the current consumption tax rate unchanged until the next lower house election.
 野党3党は、子ども手当、高校無償化など直接給付型の家計支援を最重点施策に掲げた。国民の可処分所得を増やし、内需主導型の成長を目指す。消費税率は次期衆院選まで据え置くという。

===

Promises must be paid for

If the opposition parties were to implement these new policies, estimated to cost about 16.8 trillion yen a year, it would indeed bring about a certain expansion in domestic demand. But there is no denying that the ideas presented regarding domestic demand-led growth were made hastily, as evidenced by the common criticisms that the plans are "pork-barrel policies" and "lack future growth strategy."
 年16・8兆円にも上る新規施策を実施すれば、内需拡大に一定の効果は持つだろう。だが、内需主導型の成長戦略は、「ばらまき」「成長戦略がない」との批判を受けて急遽(きゅうきょ)示したもので、“後付け”との印象は否めない。

Since it was first presented, a fundamental question of whether the opposition parties can really secure this 16.8 trillion yen a year only through cuts in wasteful spending has not been cleared up.
 そもそも、16・8兆円もの財源を無駄遣いの排除などだけで本当に捻出(ねんしゅつ)できるのか、という根本的な疑問も解消されていない。

 ◆4年間の総括が重要◆
In the fields of foreign policy and national security, the ruling parties stipulated the continuation of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean and antipiracy mission off Somalia.
 外交・安全保障分野で、与党は、海上自衛隊によるインド洋での給油活動やソマリア沖での海賊対処活動の継続を明記した。

Both missions are important activities for Japan to assume its role in the international community's fight against terrorism, and to reinforce its alliance with the United States.
 いずれも、国際社会の「テロとの戦い」の一翼を担い、日米同盟を強化する上で重要な活動だ。

On the other hand, the three opposition parties have made no reference to foreign and national security policy issues in their common policy.
 一方、野党3党の共通政策は外交・安保政策に言及していない。

This is primarily because of the large difference in the positions taken by the three parties, with, for instance, the SDP opposed to the dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces abroad. Yet this is merely an attempt at postponing the solving of thorny issues until after the election.
社民党が自衛隊の海外派遣に反対するなど、各党の立場に大きな隔たりがあるためだが、難題を衆院選後に先送りしたにすぎない。

Should the three parties form a coalition government, while leaving their stances on such a fundamental issue murky, will they be able to pursue a responsible foreign policy and protect the national interest?
 国家の基本にかかわる問題をあいまいにしたまま、連立政権を組んだ場合、責任ある外交を展開し、日本の国益を守れるのか。

It is important for parties to deepen their discussion on foreign affairs and national security through the election campaign.
 選挙戦を通じて、外交・安保政策論議を深めることが大切だ。

===

View of the past

Another vital point is how to sum up the track record of the ruling coalition government of the LDP and New Komeito since the previous lower election four years ago.
 前回衆院選以来4年間の自公連立政権を、どう総括するかも重要な視点だ。

The ruling parties suffered a crushing defeat in the House of Councillors election in 2007. Ever since, the Diet has been divided with the DPJ-led forces dominating the upper house and the ruling coalition parties controlling the lower house--sending the Diet's business into disarray.
 2007年参院選で与党が大敗した結果、国会は衆参ねじれ状態となり、機能不全に陥った。

As a matter of course, the ruling parties' major defeat stemmed from the problems involving the ruling coalition government, including the sloppy management of public pension data by the Social Insurance Agency and the opaque reports of office expenses of political fund management organizations of Cabinet members.
Yet, the DPJ may also carry grave responsibility for the political turmoil under the divided Diet, as the party, under the leadership of Ichiro Ozawa, pursued a strategy of all-out confrontation with the ruling parties.
 年金記録漏れや閣僚の事務所費問題など、大敗の原因は無論、自公政権にある。だが、ねじれ国会での政治の混乱については、小沢代表の下、政局至上主義で与党と全面対決に走った民主党側にも大きな責任があろう。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his successor Yasuo Fukuda both abandoned their administrations about one year after taking office, making apparent the LDP's declining ability to govern.
 安倍、福田両首相は各1年で政権を放り出し、自民党の統治能力の低下を露呈させた。

Meanwhile, successive DPJ leaders Seiji Maehara and Ichiro Ozawa also resigned to take responsibility for scandals that damaged the party, with Maehara quitting over a DPJ lawmaker using a faked e-mail to make spurious accusations against a relative of an LDP Diet member, and Ozawa stepping down over false records of political fund donation, incidents that increased people's distrust of politics.
民主党の前原、小沢両代表も偽メールや政治資金の問題で辞任し、国民の政治不信を高めた。

Both the ruling and opposition camp should bear in mind that it is their joint responsibility to rebuild the public's trust.
政治への信頼回復は、与野党の連帯責任であることを忘れるべきではない。

===

Future of nation at stake
 ◆「日本の進路」熟考を◆

A change of government, as the DPJ asserts, is an important element for realizing a sound parliamentary democracy.
 民主党の主張する「政権交代」は、健全な議会制民主主義を実現するうえで重要な要素だ。

Yet the crucial point is not a "change of government" per se, but how the nation's politics should be changed through changes in the government.
ただ、肝心なのは、「交代」自体ではなく、「交代」によって政治をどう変えるかだろう。

The upcoming election is the third time the lower house poll has been fought based on the political parties' respective policy platforms they intend to pursue if they come to power.
 今回は、各党が政権公約を掲げて戦う3回目の衆院選となる。

Their policy pledges cover a wide range of issues and include a lot of highly technical matters. Voters should not be bewildered by mere make-believe populist policies, campaign tactics or fleeting sociopolitical atmosphere of the moment.
 政権公約は多岐にわたり、専門的な内容も多い。単なる人気取りの政策や選挙戦術、一時のムードに惑わされてはなるまい。

Voters must think carefully and consider the issues from multiple angles to grasp the pros and cons of the parties' policies level-headedly and choose the administration.
 政策の是非を冷静に見極め、政権を選択するためには、複眼的な思考が有権者に求められる。

The upcoming lower house election is an important opportunity for us to think seriously about the future course of the nation and push the nation's politics forward.
 今回の衆院選を、日本の進路を熟考し、政治を前進させるための重要な一歩としたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 19, 2009)
(2009年8月19日01時17分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2009-08-19 07:37 | 英字新聞

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