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デフレ危機 政策総動員で景気の悪化防げ


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The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 1, 2009)
Use all policy tools to rescue economy
デフレ危機 政策総動員で景気の悪化防げ(12月1日付・読売社説)



Falling prices resulting from deflation may seem like a blessed rain after the drought for salaried workers pinching pennies in the economic downturn and pensioners.
 デフレによる物価下落は、不況で給料の減ったサラリーマンや、年金暮らしの人にとっては「恵みの雨」だろう。



But deflation is an awful, intractable disease that wreaks havoc on an economy. It is dangerous to make light of it.
 だが、デフレは経済を冷やし、衰退させる恐ろしい難病だ。軽視するのは危険である。



 ◆格安チキンで節約ランチ◆
Recently, a simple lunch combo offered by a convenience store--instant noodles in a cup plus a piece of fried chicken--has proved a hit with salaried workers looking to save money.
 「カップめん+チキン」
 コンビニで最近、こんな節約メニューの昼食を選ぶサラリーマンが増えている。



Lawson Gate City Ohsaki convenience store, located in front of JR Osaki Station in Tokyo, is crowded with salaried workers at lunchtime. Not a few of the men among them presumably opt for cup noodles to save time and money.
 東京・大崎駅前にあるローソンゲートシティ大崎店の昼時は、サラリーマンやOLでにぎわう。確かに、時間とカネの節約からか、男性にはカップラーメン派が少なくない。



But cup noodles alone seems a paltry lunch. Most of them buy one more item under the hit "plus one" offer--a new fried chicken product called L Chiki that went on sale this spring.
 でも、カップめんだけではさすがにわびしい。ほとんどの人が「あと1品」を買う。そのヒット商品が、今春発売したフライドチキンの新製品「Lチキ」だ。



A single L Chiki nugget weighs about 100 grams, almost the same as Lawson's regular fried chicken nugget, but costs 128 yen, 40 yen less than the regular nugget. According to Ryosuke Kobayashi, 26, head of the Osaki shop, the new product has proved popular because it is cheap and filling, and its sales are between 150 percent and 200 percent greater than the regular product.
 約100グラムと従来品とほぼ同じ量で、値段を168円から128円へ下げた。小林亮介店長(26)によると、安くて食べ応えがあると評判で、「以前の1・5倍から2倍も売れている」という。



The new fried chicken product is cheap because imports of low-priced Brazilian chicken have jumped, causing a collapse in the price of chicken, including Japanese chicken. Following the worldwide economic slump that began last year, demand for Brazilian chicken in the United States and European countries, which had been major importers of the product, decreased, and the price-busting chicken began to be imported into Japan in large volumes.
 値下げできたのは、安いブラジル産鶏肉が大量に出回り、国産も含め値崩れが起きたためだ。昨年来の世界不況でブラジルの得意先だった欧米の需要が減り、格安の鶏肉が日本に流入した。



This prompted convenience stores to offer low-priced fried chicken products. They have found themselves waging a price war with boxed-meal chain store operators, which are luring customers with fried chicken lunches priced at about 300 yen.
 こうして、コンビニに安いフライドチキンが並び、ライバルの弁当チェーンも300円前後のから揚げ弁当で安さを競う。



The consumer price index, meanwhile, continues to fall, declining 2.2 percent in October from a year earlier, marking the eighth consecutive monthly fall. Prices of food--a daily necessity--had been thought to be resistant to deflation, but food prices have been below those of the previous year for five months in a row.
 10月の消費者物価指数は前年同月比2・2%下落し、大幅なマイナスが続いている。必需品のため、下がりにくいとされる食料も、5か月連続で前年を下回る。



 消費者にとってうれしい「食のデフレ」だが、かつてない逆風に苦しむ人たちもいる。
Although this downward trend in food prices may be a blessing for consumers, people on the other side of the shop counter are being buffeted by unprecedentedly strong headwinds.



===



Price wars hit small firms
 ◆中小企業を襲う価格競争◆



Takayoshi Isoda, 74, president of chicken wholesaler Torishin in Tokyo's Itabashi Ward, deplores the current situation. "The price of Brazilian chicken is almost half that of last year," he pointed out.
 東京・板橋の鶏肉販売会社「鳥新」の磯田孝義社長(74)は「このブラジル産は、去年のほぼ半値に落ちた」と嘆く。



Ninety percent of the chicken Isoda's firm trades in is from Brazil. As major chicken wholesalers have mounted a price-cutting offensive against smaller firms, Isoda is told by his clients, "Sorry, we want to buy chicken from a company that sell the cheapest product." His company's sales of chicken, mainly for commercial use, have tumbled due to a fall in selling prices.
 扱う輸入鶏肉の9割はブラジル産。大手が安売り攻勢を仕掛け、取引先からは「悪いけど1円でも安いところで買う」と言われる。販売単価の下落で業務用を中心に売上高が減った。



The prices did not rebound in November, although the year-end, when demand usually spikes, is around the corner, with sales for that month only about 70 percent of last year's.
 需要期の年末を控えた11月も価格は回復せず、売り上げは前年の7割程度に低迷している。



"I've been in this business for 50 years, and this is the first time we've found ourself in such a serious situation," Isoda said.
磯田社長は「50年商売して、こんな不振は初めて」と、頭を抱える。



The price competition has been intensifying to attract bargain-seeking customers.
 「節約需要」を取り込むための価格競争は、激化の一途だ。



Supermarkets and major retailers have added to the lineups of their own-brand products, which are much cheaper than similar well-known brand-name products. Some major retail shops sell own-brand 350-milliliter cans of cola and tea for as little as 30 yen.
 スーパーなどで、割安なプライベートブランド(PB)商品が増えた。350ミリ・リットル缶入りで30円を切るPBのコーラやお茶を売る量販店もある。



The deflationary trend in the clothing sector is also notable. For instance, prices of low-priced jeans were progressively slashed to just 880 yen by such retailers as Aeon Co. and Daiei Inc., 850 yen by Seiyu GK and 690 yen by Don Quijote Co.
 「衣のデフレ」もすさまじい。格安ジーンズの値段は、イオンとダイエーが880円、西友850円、ドン・キホーテ690円とどんどん下がった。



"I just try clothes on at department stores. I actually buy the clothes from Internet shops, which are cheaper," a female office clerk said, describing how she husbands her limited resources.
 あるOLは「デパートは試着まで。買うのは安いネット通販で」と家計防衛作戦を披露する。



Department store sales have declined for 20th straight months through October, with sales of clothing marking the sharpest decline. Some department stores even sell men's suits for less than 10,000 yen in a bid to regain lost ground.
 百貨店は10月まで20か月連続で売上高が減り、中でも衣料品の落ち込みが激しい。失地回復を狙って1万円を切る紳士スーツを売る百貨店も出てきた。



Major retailers can maintain their businesses even in the face of fierce price wars, but small and midsize businesses tend to be driven into a corner in such a situation.
 大手ならある程度、値下げ競争に耐えられるが、中小企業は窮地に追い込まれやすい。



The results of a survey by Shoko Chukin Bank, whose clients are small businesses, showed that business sentiment among small and midsize enterprises turned downward in October for the first time in nine months, supporting the theory that the business recovery appears to have ground to a halt.
 商工中金の調査によると、中小企業の10月の景況判断指数が9か月ぶりに低下に転じて、業績回復の足踏みが裏付けられた。



The main cause is a decline in sales due to the downward trend in retail prices. It seems inevitable that small businesses will have to accelerate their restructuring efforts.
主因は、販売価格の下落による売り上げ減少だ。中小企業のリストラ加速は避けられそうにない。



Consumption will deteriorate if employment and wages are curtailed further at small and midsize companies, which employ 80 percent of the Japanese workforce.
 労働者の8割が働く中小企業で雇用や給与のカットが広がれば、消費は打撃を受ける。



===



Deflationary threat looms



There are signs that the nation is on the brink of falling into a deflationary spiral, in which shortage of demand pushes down commodity prices, accelerating economic deterioration.
その需要不足が価格を押し下げ、さらに景気悪化が加速する「デフレスパイラル」の危険が高まりかねない。



In response, the government again declared last month that the economy is experiencing deflation, pointing out a demand shortage of as much as 40 trillion yen.
 こうした中、政府は再びデフレを宣言した。消費などの需要が40兆円も足りないためだ。



 ◆政府と日銀は協調せよ◆
In spite of this, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has frozen the implementation of parts of the fiscal 2009 supplementary budget, including public works projects, stoking fears that the demand shortage will depress the economy even further in the coming year.
 ところが、鳩山内閣は公共事業の一部を凍結しており、来年にかけて需要不足が景気を底割れさせるとの懸念が広がる。



The government has proposed the provision of child-rearing allowances and the elimination of tolls on expressways as measures to stimulate domestic consumption. But many question whether these measures will produce positive effects quickly, and whether they are sustainable.
 内需刺激策として子ども手当や高速道路無料化を掲げているが、即効性や持続性に疑問がある。



The steep appreciation of the yen and drops in stock prices we saw last week increase deflationary pressure. Hatoyama held an emergency meeting with concerned Cabinet ministers on Sunday at which he instructed them to include measures to deal with the strong yen and bearish market in a planned second supplementary budget for this fiscal year.
 先週のような急激な円高と株価下落もデフレ圧力となる。鳩山首相は29日、関係閣僚と緊急協議し、第2次補正予算に円高・株安対策を盛り込むよう指示した。



Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa on Monday belatedly acknowledged that the nation was in a state of deflation, saying the central bank will "make utmost efforts to overcome deflation."
 日銀の白川総裁も30日、「デフレ克服のために最大限の努力を行う」と述べ、遅ればせながらデフレを認めた。



The government and central bank are finally preparing to work together to use every available policy tool to combat deflation. A package of comprehensive antideflationary measures must be implemented without delay.
政府・日銀が協調して、政策を総動員する態勢がようやく整ってきた。総合的なデフレ対策を急がねばならない。



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 1, 2009)
(2009年12月1日00時58分  読売新聞)


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by kiyoshimat | 2009-12-01 08:46 | 英字新聞

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