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党首討論見送り 首相の決断で応じるべきだ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 20, 2009)
Hatoyama should agree to debate with Tanigaki
党首討論見送り 首相の決断で応じるべきだ(11月20日付・読売社説)

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan has long been insisting that a Diet session should be a stage for debates among lawmakers. However, the party has recently been contradicting its policy line by refusing to hold a debate between party leaders at the Diet.
 国会を政治家同士の論戦の場としたい――。そう力説している民主党が党首討論の開催に応じないのは、まったく筋が通らない。

The first debate between Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who also is president of the DPJ, and Liberal Democratic Party President Sadakazu Tanigaki was initially scheduled for Wednesday. But the DPJ had been reluctant to hold the question time since last week, and the debate was eventually called off.
 鳩山首相と谷垣自民党総裁による初の党首討論は当初、18日に開催する予定だった。ところが、民主党が先週になって難色を示し、日の目を見なかった。

The parties had agreed to hold a debate of party leaders every Wednesday. This means Nov. 25 would be the last opportunity for the leaders to cross verbal swords if the current Diet session is not extended.
 党首討論は、各党の申し合わせで毎週水曜に開催するとなっているので、会期延長がなければ、来週の25日が最後の機会となる。

The DPJ insists question time was not held because the party wanted to give priority to deliberations on outstanding bills.  民主党は、法案審議を優先するためとしている。

However, this excuse seems rather flimsy, considering a debate between party leaders would take only 45 minutes from 3 p.m. each Wednesday.
 しかし、党首討論は水曜の午後3時から45分間だけだ。

The DPJ could do several things to get question time up and running, such as setting aside time by taking a break from deliberations on the bills with the cooperation of the LDP--the party chomping at the bit to hold the debate.
開催を要求する自民党の協力を得て、その時間だけ法案審議を中断するなど工夫の余地はいろいろあろう。

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Frail reasoning

Most baffling of all, if giving priority to Diet deliberations was the DPJ's real motive for dodging question time this week, holding the debate toward the end of the Diet session will only become more difficult. The prospect of the leaders facing off on Nov. 25 looks ever more unlikely. Is the Hatoyama administration going to postpone the first verbal joust between party leaders until next year's ordinary Diet session?
 そもそも法案審議の優先が理由なら、会期末ほど開催が困難で、25日の開催も危うくなる。鳩山政権初の党首討論を来年の通常国会まで先送りするつもりなのか。

The agreement among the parties states that all cabinet ministers are supposed to sit with the prime minister during question time. The DPJ has since griped that having every minister available at debate time is very difficult. However, the LDP has said it does not mind if every minister is not present.
 各党の申し合わせでは、すべての閣僚が「原則として陪席する」となっている。民主党はこれを持ち出し、閣僚全員をそろえるのが容易でないとも釈明するが、自民党は「閣僚がそろわなくてもよい」と言っている。

We think both reasons given by the DPJ for postponing question time lack conviction. This will only give more ammunition to critics in the LDP who suspect the DPJ refuses to hold the debate because it does not want Hatoyama's falsified political donations scandal to be pursued at the Diet.
Even if the party is averse to such criticism, the prime minister should agree to take part in the debate without ducking for cover.
 いずれも、説得力を欠く理由ばかりだ。これでは、「首相の偽装献金問題を追及されたくないからだ」と批判する自民党を勢いづかせるだけだろう。それが不本意なら、鳩山首相は逃げ隠れせずに党首討論を受けて立てばよい。

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Ozawa has role to play

We think DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa, who is responsible for Diet affairs, should comply with the LDP demand to hold the debate. Ozawa, who is trying to submit a bill on Diet reforms to the current Diet session, himself said a Diet session should be an arena for debates among politicians.
 国会対応の責任者である小沢幹事長も、自民党の要求に応じるべきだ。小沢氏は国会改革に関する法案の今国会提出をめざし、「国会も政治家同士の論戦に改めるべきだ」と強調している。

By this logic, surely a debate among party leaders is the prime example of politicians locking horns.
 「政治家同士の論戦」の最たるものが、党首討論ではないか。

A working group of the National Council for Building a New Japan (21st Century Rincho), a nongovernmental think tank, made a proposal to hold a debate between party leaders every week after Ozawa had sought its advice. This would not require any new legislation and could be realized immediately--if the DPJ decided to give it the green light.
 小沢氏の要請を受けた「新しい日本をつくる国民会議」(21世紀臨調)も、党首討論の毎週開催を提言している。新たな立法措置を必要とせず、民主党が決断すれば直ちに実現することだ。

It is also important to simplify the debate arrangements with some remedial measures, such as cutting the length of the debate and reviewing the agreement that requires every cabinet minister to attend.
時間の短縮や全閣僚陪席の見直しなど、開催しやすくすることも大事だ。

Intensive, detailed discussions are needed on a raft of political issues, including financial sources for new policy measures such as child-rearing allowances, and the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, on which Hatoyama's remarks have often been inconsistent. We also want to hear exhaustive explanations on the falsified political donations directly from the mouth of the prime minister himself.
 子ども手当など新規施策の財源や、首相の発言がぶれる米海兵隊普天間飛行場移設の問題など、掘り下げるべき論点は多い。首相の偽装献金問題も、本人の口からきちんとした説明を聞きたい。

It is obvious the DPJ is obstructing these debates. The party should agree to hold question time on Nov. 25--unless it fancies being accused of trying to sweep its leader's donations scandal under the carpet or of reducing its Diet reform pledge to an empty slogan.
 それを阻んでいるのは、明らかに民主党である。「疑惑隠し」「看板倒れの国会改革」のそしりを受けたくなければ、25日の党首討論開催に応じるべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 20, 2009)
(2009年11月20日01時19分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2009-11-20 08:47 | 英字新聞

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