憲法記念日 改正論議を危機打開の一助に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 4, 2010)
Time to restoke debate on top law revision
憲法記念日 改正論議を危機打開の一助に(5月3日付・読売社説)

Many people might say that with Japan in the economic and political doldrums, the nation cannot afford to spare any time or effort to discuss revision of the Constitution.
 八方ふさがりの日本。いま、憲法改正論議の暇(いとま)はない、と言う人は少なくないかもしれない。

But just because Japan is in such a feeble state, we wonder if perhaps it is all the more necessary to get back to the issue of the Constitution since it provides the fundamentals for governing the state.
 だが、こうした時だからこそ、国の統治の基本を定めた憲法の問題に立ち返ってみることが必要ではないか。

Giving constitutional debate a push could help overcome the political and economic crises confronting the country today.
 政治や経済の危機的な状況を打開する一助になるはずだ。

Today marks Constitution Day, a national holiday to commemorate the day the Constitution came into force on May 3, 1947. We want people to observe this day by thinking again about whether the national charter should be revised.
 きょうは憲法記念日。改憲を改めて考える一日にしたい。

 ◆憲法審査会を動かせ◆
The National Referendum Law, which stipulates the procedure for constitutional revision, will come into effect on May 18, three years after its enactment. This law allows revision proposals to be submitted to the Diet at any time.
 今月18日、憲法改正手続きを定めた国民投票法が、同法成立後3年を経てようやく施行される。これからは、いつでも憲法改正原案の国会提出が可能になる。

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Diet panels twiddling thumbs

But each Diet chamber's Deliberative Council on the Constitution, where draft revision proposals are to be deliberated, have been twiddling their thumbs.
 だが、原案などを審査する場になる、国会の憲法審査会が動いていない。

The House of Representatives has only decided to work out provisions for managing its council. The House of Councillors, for its part, has yet to even establish such rules, a vacuum Takeo Nishioka, chairman of the upper house Committee on Rules and Administration, has denounced as "illegitimate."
 衆院は審査会を運営するための審査会規程を定めただけだ。参院に至っては規程すらない。民主党の西岡武夫参院議院運営委員長が「違法状態」と言っている。

The primary responsibility for negligence of constitutional debate lies with the Democratic Party of Japan, which has been mothballing the issue for politically motivated reasons. By the same token, the Liberal Democratic Party should take responsibility for lacking the power to promote the debate even though it lists constitutional revision as a party platform.
 最大の責任は、政略的思惑から改憲論議を棚上げしている民主党にある。さらに改憲を党是としながら、推進力を欠く自民党の責任も否めない。

The Constitution stipulates provisions for amendments, but the Diet enacted a law on the procedure for revising the top law only a few years ago. The Diet finally ironed out this wrinkle when it enacted the National Referendum Law. However, the fact that its deliberative councils have yet to function is tantamount to the continuation of their nonfeasance.
 憲法に改正条項があるのに、手続き法を作ってこなかった国会の“不作為”は解消されたが、審査会始動をサボタージュしていては、不作為の継続に等しい。

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DPJ stance problematic
 ◆気がかりな憲法解釈◆

Worryingly, the DPJ, which came to power in September, has a unique interpretation on some constitutional issues.
 政権が交代した昨年来、気になるのが、与党・民主党による独自の憲法解釈だ。

DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa and some other party members are supportive of moves to give local suffrage to permanent foreign residents in this country.
 小沢幹事長らは、永住外国人への地方参政権付与について積極姿勢をみせている。

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said in a Diet interpellation that giving such suffrage "wouldn't constitute a violation of the Constitution." However, his argument is based on an obiter dictum given unrelated to a Supreme Court ruling in 1995.
 鳩山首相も、国会で「憲法に抵触する話ではない」と答弁した。だが、これは1995年の最高裁判決での、判決の結論とは関係のない傍論を根拠としていた。

Article 15 of the Constitution stipulates that "the people have the inalienable right to choose their public officials and to dismiss them." The top court ruled in 1995 that such a right was limited to the Japanese people and not granted to people with other nationalities. The content of the ruling, rather than the obiter dictum, should be respected.
 憲法の国民主権に照らせば、憲法15条の公務員を選定・罷免する権利の保障は、日本国籍を持つ「日本国民」を対象とし、外国人には及ばない。この判決の本論こそ尊重すべき考え方である。

The DPJ also says it plans to establish "regional sovereignty."
 民主党は「地域主権国家」を目指すとしている。

The definition of "sovereignty" under the Constitution includes a state's ruling power. The expression "regional sovereignty" could give rise to a misunderstanding that state power will be transferred to local governments, as if this nation was being transformed into a federal system. The DPJ's usage of the expression is misleading and incorrect.
 憲法で明記した「主権」の意味の一つは、国家の統治権だ。「地域主権」という表現は、国の統治権を地方に移譲し、連邦制に移行するかのような誤解を与える。不適切な用い方だ。

Speaking at the Diet, Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan said: "No word on the separation of powers is mentioned in the Constitution. The Diet is the parent organization that brings forth a cabinet. Because of this, the Diet and the cabinet could never be independent of each other."
 菅副総理は国会で、「憲法には三権分立という言葉はない。国会は内閣を生み出す親。国会と内閣は独立した関係ではありえない」という趣旨を述べている。

However, the Constitution has separate chapters on the Diet, the cabinet and judiciary. This clearly indicates the Constitution is based on the principle of the separation of powers.
 しかし、憲法は各章に「国会」「内閣」「司法」を設けており、権力分立原則に立っていることは明らかだろう。

The emperor's audience with a foreign dignitary is not "an act in matters of state" as stipulated in Article 7 of the Constitution, but "an act in public matters."
 天皇と外国要人との会見は、憲法7条の「天皇の国事行為」ではなく、「公的行為」である。

Ozawa misinterpreted this constitutional definition in connection with the government's unusually hasty arrangement of an audience with the Emperor for a Chinese dignitary in December. Moreover, Ozawa went as far as to surmise the Emperor would say he would "meet with him" if asked to do so. This set off a maelstrom of criticism that the government was exploiting the Emperor as a "political tool."
 小沢幹事長は、天皇陛下と中国要人との「特例会見」問題で、そこを取り違えたうえ、天皇陛下も会うと「必ずおっしゃる」と陛下の判断に言及するなど、「天皇の政治利用」批判を招いた。

Hatoyama finds himself with little room to move due to his clumsy handling of the issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture. Many analysts suggest the political confusion stems from the lack of a firm security policy by the Hatoyama administration despite its assertion that the Japan-U.S. relationship "should be on an equal footing."
 鳩山首相は、米軍普天間飛行場移設問題の処理を誤り、立ち往生している。混乱は「対等な日米関係」を唱えながら政権として確固たる安全保障政策をもたないため、という指摘は多い。

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Return to fundamentals
 ◆国の基本に立ち返ろう◆

If the government calls for an "equal" partnership with the United States, it should face squarely the issue of whether the right to collective defense can be exercised in light of the Constitution.
 「対等」を掲げるなら、まず、集団的自衛権行使という憲法上の問題に正面から向き合わなければならない。

In the current fiscal year's budget, the value of government bond issuance exceeds estimated tax revenue, thereby further aggravating fiscal conditions. But Hatoyama still insists "the consumption tax won't be raised during the current term of lower house members."
 今年度予算は、国債発行額が税収を大きく上回っている。財政状況は悪化の一途だ。ところが、首相は、衆院議員の任期中、「消費税率は引き上げない」との発言を繰り返している。

Fiscal reconstruction will be impossible without a consumption tax increase. The current fiscal crisis makes it all the more urgent to discuss how a provision for maintaining fiscal discipline can be woven into the Constitution.
 しかし、これでは財政の立て直しは不可能だ。財政規律の維持をうたう条項を憲法にどう盛り込むかが、切実さを増すゆえんだ。

During the time when the ruling parties dominated the lower house while opposition parties controlled the upper house, questions were raised about whether the upper house wielded excessive legislative power. However, this matter is no longer debated at all. Simply following the proverb "once on the shore, we pray no more" is not excusable.
 衆参ねじれ国会の下で問われた参院の強すぎる権限の見直しも、さっぱり議論されなくなった。喉元(のどもと)過ぎれば熱さを忘れる、ということでは困る。

In a series of lawsuits disputing vote disparity in single-seat constituencies in last August's lower house election, the number of "unconstitutional" or "quasi-constitutional" judgments has exceeded that of "constitutional" rulings. The Diet can no longer remain uncommitted on this issue.
 昨年衆院選の小選挙区での「1票の格差」をめぐる訴訟では、全国各地の高裁で、「合憲」判断を上回る「違憲」「違憲状態」の判決が相次いでいる。国会も安閑としてはいられない。

Discussions in the Diet and elsewhere on "the way Japan should be as a state" and medium- and long-term policy matters are drying up. Jump-starting discussions again on revision of the Constitution also would encourage such political debate.
 政治の現場で、「国のかたち」や中長期にわたる政策課題をめぐる議論が衰えている。そうした議論を盛んにしていくためにも、いま一度、憲法改正論議を活性化させていく必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 3, 2010)
(2010年5月3日01時11分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2010-05-04 10:01 | 英字新聞

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