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きょう投票 1票が日本の進路を決める

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 30, 2009)
An election that will chart Japan's future course
きょう投票 1票が日本の進路を決める(8月30日付・読売社説)

Which political party and which candidates should be entrusted to take the helm of this nation?
Today, Aug. 30, is the polling day for the 45th House of Representatives election. It is an election that will determine Japan's future path.
 日本の舵(かじ)取りを委ねるのにふさわしい政党はどこか、候補者は誰か。有権者の1票が日本の進路を左右する。
 きょう30日、第45回衆院選が投票日を迎えた。

Voters must choose whether to continue under the current administration of the Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner New Komeito, or to switch to a new administration centered on the Democratic Party of Japan.
 自民、公明両党の現政権の継続か、民主党を基軸とする新政権の誕生か。

The election campaign has focused not only on a straight evaluation of the accomplishments and policies of each party. Voters also have had to weigh up which party most deserves to govern.
今回の選挙戦では、各政党の実績、政策の評価に加えて、選挙後の政権の選択が大きな焦点となった。

The LDP had to fight the election campaign in the face of a strong voter backlash.
 自民党にとっては、強い逆風の下の選挙戦だった。

After an overwhelming victory in the lower house election in 2005 under the administration of then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the premiership changed hands three times, passing to Shinzo Abe, Yasuo Fukuda and then Taro Aso. The party was subject to persistent criticism for passing the reins of government from one party head to another.
 小泉政権下の前回衆院選での圧勝の後、安倍、福田、麻生と首相が3度も交代し、「政権たらい回し」の批判は根強かった。

Since taking power in September, Prime Minister Taro Aso showed himself to be inconsistent and indecisive at a number of crucial moments, such as when he failed to explain what the flat-sum cash benefit program was meant to achieve. Each time he floundered, he pushed down the LDP's approval rating.
 麻生首相も、昨年9月の政権発足以来、定額給付金の性格付けを始めとして、節目で発言のぶれや優柔不断さを露呈し、そのたびに自民党の支持率を押し下げた。

For the DPJ, doubts have been raised over its ability to govern due to its composition--a motley collection of politicians from different parties ranging from conservatives on one side of the political spectrum to former members of the now-defunct Japan Socialist Party on the other.
In addition, some observers have expressed caution over the party's desire to form a coalition with the Social Democratic Party, which has very different national security policies from the DPJ.
 民主党に対しても、保守系から旧社会党出身までを党内に抱えた「寄り合い所帯」に起因する統治能力への疑問や、安全保障政策で開きのある社民党との連立を志向することへの不安などが、指摘された。

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Vote on policies, not feelings

Some observers have said that the vote likely will reflect dissatisfaction with the LDP or anxiety over the DPJ, rather than voters' active decision to continue with an administration formed of the LDP-Komeito coalition or move to one centered on the DPJ.
 有権者にとっては、自公政権か民主基軸政権かの積極的な選択というより、「自民党への不満か、民主党への不安か」の消極的な選択でしかない選挙だという指摘もある。

However, the results of the lower house election will have a direct bearing on this nation's future.
It cannot be correct to decide which party and politician to choose simply on the basis of one's discontent, anxiety or a fleeting emotion.
 しかし、衆院選の結果は、これからの日本の進路に直結する。不満であるとか、不安であるとかいった気分や、一時のムードで、決めていいはずがあるまい。

Policies must, first and foremost, be the key criteria for deciding who to vote for.
 有権者が投票の第一の判断基準とすべきは、やはり政策だ。

 ◆政策を冷静に見極めよ◆
Each party conducted its campaign by first drawing up a platform covering the policies each would implement during the four-year House of Representatives term.
 各政党とも、衆院議員の任期である4年間に実施する政策を網羅した政権公約(マニフェスト)を掲げて選挙に臨んだ。

Policies on pensions, health care, child-rearing and education, which are of great interest to voters in this nation that is rapidly aging and has a very low birthrate, as well as funding for those policies, surfaced as major issues in the election campaign.
 中でも、少子高齢化が進む中で、有権者の関心が高い年金・医療、子育て・教育などの政策や、その財源の手当てが、主要な争点に浮上した。

The LDP stressed it would introduce drastic reforms of the taxation system, including an increase of the consumption tax rate, to provide stable financing for the social security system. The LDP did not clarify when it would raise the consumption tax, saying only that it would occur after the nation achieved 2 percent year-on-year economic growth.
 自民党は、社会保障の安定財源として、消費税率引き上げを含む税制抜本改革に取り組むと強調した。引き上げの時期は、年率2%の経済成長が達成されてからとしたが、明示は避けた。

The DPJ listed many schemes that would provide direct payment of benefits to households as a way of boosting spending, such as child-rearing allowances. It said it would fund the measures by cutting spending in other areas, for example suspending nonessential projects. The party said it would not raise the consumption tax rate before the next lower house election.
 民主党は、「子ども手当」など多くの直接給付型の家計支援策を掲げた。財源は、不要不急な事業の中止など徹底した歳出削減で捻出(ねんしゅつ)し、消費税率は次の衆院選まで据え置くとした。

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Leadership important

Differences among the two key parties in the fields of diplomacy and national security are conspicuous, such as whether to press on with the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.
 インド洋における海上自衛隊の給油活動を継続するか否かなど、外交・安全保障政策でも各党の主張の違いは顕著だ。

It is important to calmly assess the persuasiveness of each party's policies. We hope voters will thoroughly examine each party's stance.
 どの主張に説得力があるか、冷静に見極めることが大事だ。有権者には、各党の政策を十分に吟味してもらいたい。

 ◆党首力はどちらに軍配◆
Choosing between the party leaders is as important as choosing policies.
 政策の選択と同様に重要なのが、党首の選択である。

If the LDP and Komeito secure a majority in the lower house, Aso will hang on to the premiership. If the DPJ and other opposition parties take a majority of the seats, DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama will be appointed prime minister.
 自公両党が過半数を確保すれば麻生首相が続投する。民主党など野党が過半数を奪えば、「鳩山首相」が誕生するだろう。

Aso has criticized the DPJ's foreign and security policies as lax, stressing at the same time that only the LDP is able to govern responsibly.
 麻生首相は、民主党の外交・安保政策が曖昧(あいまい)であるなどと批判して、自民党こそ「責任力」ある政党だと主張した。

Hatoyama, however, has said that a bureaucrat-led political system would continue if an LDP-led regime continued, and has pointed to the importance of a shift to an administration led by the DPJ, which he said would be more people-focused.
鳩山代表は、自民党政権の下では官僚主導の政治が続くとして、「国民本位」の政権への交代を訴えた。

Unless the lower house is unexpectedly dissolved or the prime minister is replaced, this lower house election will select a leader who will guide this nation for the next four years. We hope that voters will consider the remarks Aso and Hatoyama have made during the election campaign.
 途中で衆院解散や首相交代がなければ、向こう4年間、この国の舵取りを担う指導者を選ぶ選挙である。両党首が選挙戦を通じて、どのような発言をしたかも思い起こしたい。

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Will the young vote?

In the polling booth, voters have to write down on the ballot paper the name of the political party they wish to vote for in the proportional representation block and the name of their preferred candidate for the single-seat constituency. The qualifications of each candidate to be a lawmaker is an important element to consider when making this judgment.
 比例選は投票用紙に政党名を書き、小選挙区選では候補者名だ。各候補者の政治家としての資質も、大事な判断の要素だ。

If a candidate was an incumbent lower house lawmaker prior to the dissolution of the Diet, his or her past achievements and Diet performance can, of course, be used to make this decision. If a candidate is running for the first time, voters are recommended to carefully study the candidate's political views contained in public bulletins published during campaigning.
 解散まで現職議員だった候補者であれば、これまでの実績や国会での活動ぶりが、一つの手がかりとなろう。新人候補の場合も、選挙公報などから浮かび上がる政見に目を凝らしたい。

In a democracy, ultimate power rests with the people. We hope each voter will cast his or her vote responsibly, after comprehensively judging each party's policies, each party leader's competence and each candidate's insight.
 民主政治では国民が主権者だ。有権者は、各党の政策、党首の力量、各候補の識見を総合的に判断し、自らの1票を責任をもって投じてほしい。

 ◆若者こそ選挙に関心を◆
The number of people who already have cast their ballot in early voting prior to Sunday's lower house election has dramatically increased. This indicates high interest in the election. A recent Yomiuri Shimbun survey showed that 79 percent of those polled said they definitely would vote.
 今回の選挙では、期日前投票をした人が飛躍的に増えた。選挙に対する有権者の関心の高さの表れだろう。読売新聞の全国世論調査でも、「必ず投票に行く」と答えた人は79%に上った。

Among those in their 20s, however, the figure stood at just 56 percent. It is extremely regrettable if younger people feel that "politics won't change even if we vote" and have given up hope.
 だが、20歳代に限ると、56%にとどまる。若い世代が「投票しても政治は変わらない」などとあきらめているのだとしたら、きわめて残念だ。

Social security system reform and job-creation measures, which once again emerged as major points of contention in the election, are issues that no one can remain indifferent to.
 今回の選挙でも重要な論点となった社会保障制度改革や雇用対策などは、いずれも無関心ではいられない問題だ。

We hope young people will go to the polls and exercise their right to choose their future.
 若い人たちには、自分たちの将来を自ら選び取る気持ちで、投票所に足を向けてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 30, 2009)
(2009年8月30日01時15分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-08-30 10:47 | 英字新聞

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