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独法事業仕分け 「政治劇場」の再現では困る

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 17, 2010)

Budget screening no place for theatrics
独法事業仕分け 「政治劇場」の再現では困る(4月16日付・読売社説)

The government is preparing to conduct a new round of budget screening, the second of its kind to be staged to identify wasteful items of government spending in what is known as jigyo shiwake. The upcoming jigyo shiwake process will target dozens of independent administrative corporations and public-utility foundations.
 政府が、独立行政法人と公益法人を対象とする事業仕分け第2弾の準備を進めている。

The government should ensure the next budget screening does not degenerate into a mere attempt by politicians to play to the gallery. In this regard, there are lessons to be learned from last year's inaugural jigyo shiwake session.
昨秋の第1弾の反省を踏まえ、政治パフォーマンスに陥らないようにすべきだ。

The second screening process has been preceded by interviews conducted by some senior government officials--including Yukio Edano, state minister in charge of government revitalization--with officials from the Cabinet Office and other ministries that govern independent administrative corporations and government-affiliated public-interest foundations. This task was aimed at drawing up a list of institutions to be targeted in the upcoming budget screening process. The next round of jigyo shiwake will comprise two parts, the first of which will take place in late April, followed by the second one in late May.
 枝野行政刷新相らは、仕分けの対象となる独法と政府系の公益法人を選ぶため、所管する府省などから聞き取り調査を実施した。本番の仕分け作業は、今月下旬と来月下旬に行われる予定だ。

Many institutions subject to the next budget screening honor the so-called amakudari (descent from heaven) practice in which retired high-ranking bureaucrats take up executive posts at such corporations and foundations. They receive grants-in-aid from the government. They also can win orders for government-funded and other projects to be carried out under terms highly favorable to them.
 独法や公益法人の多くは、各府省から職員の天下りを受け入れつつ、政府の補助金を受け、有利な条件で事業を受注している。

In some cases, such institutions then farm out these projects to other government-affiliated and private corporations. This means these projects can be subcontracted at lower costs than those incurred by independent administrative corporations and public-service foundations. The money saved through this scheme has been used to pay salaries to amakudari employees at these institutions.
時には、受注事業をより安値で別の法人や企業に再発注し、その差額で天下り職員の給料を捻出(ねんしゅつ)する。

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Cut collusive ties

The government should sever its collusive relations with independent administrative and public-interest corporations. Doing so is extremely important for reducing overall government expenditures and promoting administrative reform.
 そんな持ちつ持たれつの関係に大胆にメスを入れることは、政府全体の歳出削減と行政改革を進めるうえで、極めて大切だ。

Efforts to drastically curtail amakudari appointments must be complemented by an attempt to reconsider the current national government personnel system as a whole, including the early-retirement program.
 ただ、独法や公益法人への天下りを大幅に減らすのであれば、早期勧奨退職を含む、現在の国家公務員制度全体の見直しにも同時に取り組むことが欠かせない。

In December 2007, the Cabinet of then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda put together a consolidation plan targeting independent administrative corporations, which number 104 at present. However, minimal progress has been made in achieving the goal stipulated in the plan, which called for abolishing or privatizing six of these corporations. Only three institutions have been consolidated.
 現在104ある独法については2007年12月に福田内閣が整理合理化計画をまとめた。だが、廃止・民営化とされた6法人のうち、実現したのは3法人だけで、進捗(しんちょく)ははかばかしくない。

The fundamental idea behind jigyo shiwake screening is that unnecessary projects conducted by such institutions must be scrapped while also privatizing those that could be carried out in the private sector, and that operations for which the national government should bear responsibility must be carried out directly by the government. The upcoming screening process will be tested over whether these guiding principles will be thoroughly adhered to in examining the projects of each independent administrative corporation.
 不要不急または民間で可能な事業は廃止・民営化する。国が責任を負うべき事業は国が直接実施する。仕分け作業を通じて各独法の事業を吟味し、この方針をどこまで徹底できるかが問われる。

In July 2008, Fukuda ordered a 30 percent cut in government subsidies to public-utility corporations. The target has been accomplished.
 公益法人については、08年7月に福田首相が政府支出の3割削減を指示し、目標は達成された。

However, it is difficult to keep a close check on the hefty 6,625 government-supervised public-interest corporations and the necessity of each project they conduct, as well as the propriety of the number of board members at each institution and the salaries paid to them. Given this, jigyo shiwake bears immense significance as a new tool for reforming the system governing such institutions.
 しかし、国所管の公益法人は6625にも上り、個別事業の必要性や役員の人数・報酬の妥当性に監視の目が届きにくい。事業仕分けという新たな手法で改革に取り組む意義は小さくない。

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No room for populism

However, the government should not repeat the method it adopted in last autumn's budget screening. Inspectors assigned to the first round of jigyo shiwake frequently lambasted bureaucrats without allowing them to state their opinions and decided on budget cuts. Discussions on each budget item had to be wrapped up within one hour.
Such an approach must be dismissed as a mere form of populism. More careful discussions are desired.
 一方で、昨秋の第1弾のように、1案件にわずか1時間という制約の中、問答無用で官僚をたたき、予算を切る、というポピュリズム(大衆迎合主義)的なやり方を繰り返すべきではあるまい。もっと丁寧な議論が求められる。

During last year's budget screening, inspectors were apparently preoccupied with the immediate cost-effectiveness of each project. They failed to look at the whole issue from the standpoint of a medium- and long-term national strategy. Inspectors should realize they would fail to see the whole picture if they discussed projects to be conducted in sectors where a high degree of expertise is involved--for instance, science and technology, national security and cultural advancement--exclusively from the viewpoint of cost-effectiveness.
 第1弾では、目先の費用対効果だけに固執し、中長期的な国家戦略という視点が欠けていた。科学技術や安全保障、文化振興といった専門性が要求される分野で、効率論一辺倒では大局を見失う。

Care and caution also should be exercised in choosing jigyo shiwake inspectors. Private citizens and foreign residents should not be asked to play a role in making decisions about key policies and changes in administrative systems, as they lack credentials in the form of an official appointment.
 仕分け人の選任も、慎重を期す必要がある。民間人や外国人が、正式な辞令交付もないまま、政府の重大な政策や制度の変更に関与することは避けるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 16, 2010)
(2010年4月16日01時15分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2010-04-17 11:13 | 英字新聞

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