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元秘書2人起訴 鳩山首相の政治責任は重大だ

Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 25, 2009)
Scandal responsibility lies with Hatoyama
元秘書2人起訴 鳩山首相の政治責任は重大だ(12月25日付・読売社説)

Prosecutors have decided not to indict Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama over falsified reports on his political funds. However, the prime minister bears a heavy political responsibility for, in effect, allowing his former secretary to continue illegal accounting practices for years. The prime minister also deceived the public as he did his best to avoid telling the truth on the murky matter.
 元秘書の不正行為を放置したうえ、国民に真実を語ろうとしなかった。鳩山首相は不起訴だったとはいえ、政治的責任は極めて重大である。

Prosecutors on Thursday indicted Hatoyama's former state-funded first secretary without arrest for alleged violations of the Political Funds Control Law. The secretary, who was in charge of the administrative affairs of Hatoyama's political fund management organization, allegedly falsified official fund reports of Hatoyama's political fund organizations. The prosecutors also filed a summary indictment against another state-paid former secretary for policy affairs to Hatoyama, who served as the accountant for the fund organization, ordering him to pay a fine.
 首相の資金管理団体などの収支報告書に虚偽を記載したとして、実務担当者だった元公設第1秘書が、政治資金規正法違反で在宅起訴された。会計責任者だった元政策秘書も略式起訴され、罰金の略式命令を受けた。

The prosecutors concluded the former first secretary disguised funds extended by Hatoyama and his mother as income from individuals' donations and sales of tickets for fund-raising parties. The former policy affairs secretary was charged with gross negligence for failing to notice the falsifications by leaving the accounting work up to the first secretary.
 元公設秘書は、首相や母親からの資金などを個人献金やパーティー収入に偽装した。元政策秘書は元公設秘書に任せ、注意を怠る重大な過失があったという。

 ◆「知らぬ」は通用しない◆
It is extremely unusual for former aides to a prime minister to be indicted while the premier is still in office. But the amount of funds falsely entered in the reports totaled about 400 million yen over five years. The scale of the deception means that laying criminal charges in this case was an easy call to make.
 現職首相の元秘書の訴追は異例だが、虚偽記入の総額は5年間で約4億円にも上っており、刑事責任が問われるのは当然だ。

===

Prime minister standing firm

Hatoyama has deflected calls to step down over the messy affair. "It's my responsibility to fulfill my mission as a politician," he said at a press conference following the indictments.
 鳩山首相は記者会見で、「政治家としての使命を果たすことが、私の責任だ」と述べ、自らの辞任を否定した。

While Hatoyama was a member of the opposition camp, however, he was quick to make comments that seem to contradict his position in this case. "The responsibility lies with a politician if his or her secretary committed a crime." "If I were the person involved, I'd take off my Diet member pin." Hatoyama took these potshots on such occasions as the arrest of a secretary to former Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Koichi Kato and that of a secretary to Muneo Suzuki, a House of Representatives lawmaker.
 だが、首相は野党時代、加藤紘一自民党元幹事長や鈴木宗男衆院議員の秘書らが逮捕された際、何度もこう明言していた。
 「秘書の犯罪は議員の責任だ」「私なら議員バッジを外す」

But now the shoe is on the other foot and Hatoyama must face up squarely to the situation he finds himself in. Where once Hatoyama was calling on others to resign, now he finds himself the target of such demands.
 この言葉が今、自身の進退に向けられていることを、厳粛に受け止める必要がある。

Hatoyama insisted at the press conference that he was "totally unaware" of the massive amount of funds originating from his mother. Even if he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, his explanation leaves us shaking our heads.
 首相は記者会見で、母親からの巨額の資金提供について「全く承知していなかった」と改めて強調した。首相がいかに裕福な家庭環境で育ったとしても、この説明は信じがたい。

Even if Hatoyama did not know about the funds dispensed from his mother up until June, when disguised donations filed in the names of dead people came to light, he later had the first secretary make a report on the matter and let a lawyer look into the case. It is inconceivable that Hatoyama did not notice the about 1.2 billion yen in funds from his mother.
 仮に「故人献金」問題が発覚した6月までは知らなかったとしても、その後、元公設秘書から事情を聞き、弁護士に調査までさせている。計12億円超の資金提供に気づかないことはあり得ない。

===

Questions unanswered

The revelations came out just as the lower house election was approaching. If Hatoyama hid the funds from his mother in an attempt to save his own neck and avoid any negative fallout that could impact on his party's election chances, this would be an act of betrayal against the public.
 当時は、衆院選が迫っていた。自らの保身と、選挙への悪影響を避けるため、母親からの資金提供を隠していたのなら、国民に対する背信行為である。

Why did the first secretary make false entries in fund reports? For what purposes were the mother's funds used? Was the provision of funds from his mother a way to dodge paying inheritance tax?
 元公設秘書はなぜ虚偽記載を行ったのか。母親の資金をどんな活動に使ったのか。資金提供は相続税対策だったのではないか。

Hatoyama has provided scant explanations to these questions. The prime minister must explain in detail about the series of fund-management irregularities. Without doing so, he will never be able to regain public trust.
 こうした多くの疑問に対して、首相の記者会見での説明は極めて不十分だった。首相は改めて機会を設け、一連の問題の全体像を自ら丁寧に説明すべきだ。それなくして国民の信頼は回復しない。

 ◆「贈与税申告」は疑問だ◆
Hatoyama had a squeaky-clean reputation when it came to political fund management. But it now is clear that the prime minister had left his funds affairs entirely in the hands of the former first secretary and overlooked false entries of a staggering amount of money. Hatoyama cannot escape supervisory responsibility for these lapses.
 鳩山首相は、政治とカネについてクリーンな政治家との印象を持たれてきた。だが、実際は政治資金の管理を元公設秘書に丸投げし、巨額の虚偽記載を見過ごしていた。監督責任は免れない。

"I did not, under any circumstances, line my own pockets," the prime minister stated. "Nor did I unlawfully profit."
 首相は「私腹を肥やしたわけではない。不正な利得も受けていない」と述べた。

===

Arguments not convincing

Some observers say Hatoyama's case is not particularly iniquitous, as the original funds were not corporate donations but rather, money provided by his mother.
今回の原資が企業献金でなく、身内からの資金提供なので悪質性は低いとの意見もある。

However, Hatoyama's arguments are far from convincing.
だが、そんなことはない。

The prime minister has acknowledged that the funds provided by his mother were "gifts," and has said he will pay gift tax on them. However, if the scandal had not come to light, Hatoyama would have evaded more than 600 million yen in gift tax.
 首相は、母親からの資金提供を「贈与」と認め、贈与税を申告する意向を示した。資金提供が発覚しなかったら、6億円以上の納税を逃れていたことになる。

If such an act was allowed to occur, it would trample upon the feelings of honest taxpayers and potentially shake the tax declaration system to its core.
 こうした行為がまかり通れば、まじめに納税しようとする国民の気持ちを踏みにじり、申告納税制度の根幹が揺らぎかねない。

Political fairness, some say, cannot be guaranteed if wealthy individuals are allowed to transfer massive amounts of money to political organizations. From this point of view, the Political Funds Control Law stipulates a limit on individual donations.
 資産家が巨額の資金を自由に政治団体に繰り入れて使えるようでは、政治活動の公平性が担保されない、との指摘がある。政治資金規正法が個人献金の上限額を定めているのは、こうした観点も踏まえたものと言えよう。

In another scandal embroiling the Democratic Party of Japan, a secretary of Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa was indicted in connection with irregularities over the receipt of political funds from general contractor Nishimatsu Construction Co. At the first hearing earlier this month, prosecutors accused Ozawa's secretary of establishing collusive ties with Nishimatsu.
 民主党では、小沢幹事長の秘書も西松建設の違法献金事件で起訴され、初公判で検察側からゼネコンとの癒着を指弾された。

In spite of this, no one within the DPJ has called on Hatoyama and Ozawa to give detailed accounts of the allegations being levied. DPJ members are unable to effectively refute criticism that there are fundamental problems both within the party and with its ability to cleanse itself.
 それなのに、党内から、鳩山首相や小沢氏に詳しい説明を求める声さえ出ていないのは、現在の民主党の体質や自浄能力に問題がある、と見られても仕方がない。

Hatoyama's fund management organization submitted false reports on small donations from individuals. It abused a provision in the Political Funds Control Law that does not require such organizations to report the name of individual donors if the amount donated is less than 50,000 yen a year.
 首相の資金管理団体は小口の個人献金の大半が虚偽記載だった。政治資金規正法で、年5万円以下の献金は寄付者名を記載する必要がないことを悪用したものだ。

===

More transparency needed

Under the law, political organizations must retain receipts for any expenditure of more than 1 yen. But the law is not quite as strict with regard to revenues, and has relatively weak stipulations regarding the reception of funds.
 現行法では、政治団体の1円以上の支出については、すべて領収書を用意しなければならないが、収入面は規定が甘く、バランスを欠く。

We believe consideration should be given to the introduction of a system to enhance the transparency of political funds received by such organizations.
収入の透明性を高める制度を検討していいだろう。

 ◆捜査は尽くされたのか◆
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office decided not to directly question Hatoyama and his mother about the funds, but rather allow them to submit a written statement to prosecutors. But did the prosecutors find out about everything they needed to know without questioning them directly?
 東京地検は首相や母親の事情聴取を見送り、上申書で済ませた。本人を聴取せず、本当に全容を解明できたのだろうか。

An ordinary citizen would certainly have to face a grilling from prosecutors if he or she was suspected of having committed a criminal act. Did prosecutors perhaps give too much consideration to the person currently standing at the helm of government?
 一般国民が検察に疑いを持たれたならば、聴取を受けずに済むことはまずない。今回、時の最高権力者への配慮はなかったか。

Lately, public participation in judicial affairs has picked up pace. For example, more powers have been granted to the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution, in which people examine the soundness of prosecutors' decisions not to indict individuals in certain cases.
 最近は、検察の不起訴処分が妥当かどうかを国民が審査する検察審査会の権限が強化されるなど、国民の司法参加が進んでいる。

Particularly in cases that attract a great deal of public attention, prosecutors should be more willing to talk to the press and others about their decisions, rather than only revealing what they know at a trial.
 検察は、社会的な関心の高い事件については、公判の場だけでなく、記者会見などでもっと説明する必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 25, 2009)
(2009年12月25日00時59分 読売新聞)v
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by kiyoshimat | 2009-12-25 04:58 | 英字新聞

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