農業開国 攻めの農政へ体質転換を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 1, 2010)
Japan's farm sector must change itself
農業開国 攻めの農政へ体質転換を急げ(11月30日付・読売社説)

How should Japan's agricultural sector be resuscitated?
 日本の農業をどう再生していくか――。

Intensifying discussions over the nation's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement shed light on the need for the administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan to drastically reform agricultural policies.
 環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への参加問題をきっかけに、農政の抜本改革が菅内閣の大きな課題に浮上している。

Agricultural organizations and others are fanning a sense of crisis, insisting that TPP participation will cause the collapse of Japan's agricultural sector. However, before discussing the advisability of participating in the agreement, we all have to be aware that Japan's farming industry is clearly following a course of decline.
 農業団体などは「参加すれば、農業は壊滅する」と危機感をあおっているが、TPPを云々(うんぬん)する以前に、日本の農業が衰退の一途をたどりつつあるのは明らかだ。

The foundations of Japan's farming industry have become extremely vulnerable as a result of years of overly generous protection through various domestic and international measures, such as massive subsidies and high tariffs.
 日本の農業は長い間、巨額の補助金や高関税という内外の手厚い保護によって守られ、すっかり足腰が弱くなってしまった。

It is time for the government to squarely face this reality and change the course of its policy so that the agricultural industry will be able to transform itself into one that is highly productive and internationally competitive. This will be a prerequisite for Japan to participate in the TPP agreement.
 政府は、その現実を直視し、今こそ生産性が高く国際競争力を持つ農業に生まれ変われるよう政策転換すべきだ。それがTPP参加の前提条件となろう。

The government held the first meeting of its headquarters on promoting the revitalization of the food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries Tuesday to start considering concrete measures to achieve the goal. The headquarters reportedly plans to draw up basic principles in June and an action plan in October next year, but we wonder whether this will be too late.
 政府は30日、「食と農林漁業の再生推進本部」の初会合を開き、具体的な対策の検討に着手する。来年6月に基本方針、10月に行動計画を策定するというが、それではあまりに遅すぎないか。

===

Farm maladies can be cured

The domestic farming industry is in a critical situation. Currently, the nation's gross agricultural production totals a little over 8 trillion yen, a decline of 30 percent from its peak. The workforce in the sector has halved in the past two decades, and its average age has climbed to 66. In addition, the acreage of untended farmland continues to increase.
 国内農業は危機的状況にある。農業総産出額は8兆円あまりで、ピーク時より3割減少した。農業人口は20年間で半減し、平均年齢は66歳に達した。耕作放棄地も増大する一方だ。

To break the grip of these trends, the government must firstly foster an environment in which motivated farmers will be able to exercise their business sense and promote profitable agriculture.
 窮状を打開するには、まず意欲のある農家が経営感覚を発揮し、ビジネスとして成り立つ農業を展開できる環境を整えることだ。

Farmland could be consolidated to promote large-scale farming to reduce production costs. The bond between farmers and consumers could be strengthened through reform of the distribution system to enable farmers to more easily purchase equipment and supplies and expand their sales routes. Foreign markets could be targeted, taking advantage of the high quality of Japan's farm products. These are just a few ideas.
 農地を集約して大規模化を進め、生産コストを下げる。資材購入や販路拡大を容易にする流通改革で、農家と消費者の結びつきを強める。高品質を武器に輸出を目指す。


There must be a variety of ways to give the farm sector vitality.
たくましい農業の実現に向け、様々な方策があろう。

The government's fiscal burdens will be the focus of attention in promoting such measures. A certain amount of government spending will be unavoidable, but it will be important to limit the spending to projects that will lead to structural reforms of the agricultural sector.
 焦点となるのは、こうした対策に伴う財政負担だ。一定の財政支出はやむを得ないにせよ、農業構造改革につながる事業に対象を限定することが重要である。

Following the Uruguay Round agreement on agriculture in the 1990s, the government spent more than 6 trillion yen to help farmers deal with the effects of the accord.
 1990年代のウルグアイ・ラウンド合意では、総額6兆円を上回る対策費がつぎ込まれた。

===

Spend money thoughtfully

However, a large amount of the money ended up wastefully spent on useless projects, such as the construction of various facilities in farming villages and hot spring resorts. Even airports were built, along with expanding agricultural roads, as a way to promote the industry by transporting farm products by air. The spending could hardly be called effective.
 しかし、農村の各種施設や温泉ランド、農道空港など無駄な事業に浪費された面が強く、効果を上げたとは言い難い。

The government also needs to review the income compensation program for all rice farming households, a system launched this year. Sixty percent of farming households have side jobs that provide them with a stable income. Unless the government's assistance is focused on full-time farming households, which play a central role in the industry, it will not strengthen the agriculture sector's foundations.
 すべてのコメ農家を対象に今年から始まった戸別所得補償制度も見直す必要がある。農家の6割は農業以外に安定した収入がある兼業農家だ。中核的な専業農家に支援を絞り込まなければ、農業の体質強化にはつながるまい。

Every time the farming industry has emerged as an issue of contention, agricultural organizations and Diet members with vested interests in the industry, who have an eye on future elections, have perverted policies and hampered reforms.
 農業が課題に上がるたび、選挙を意識した族議員や農業団体が政策をねじ曲げ、改革を阻んできた。

Policymakers must remember to keep the nation's interests at heart, as they should encourage growth in "fields of rice" rather than pander to farmers as a way to cultivate "fields of votes."
政治が重視すべきは「水田」であり、「票田」ではない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 30, 2010)
(2010年11月30日01時31分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2010-12-01 07:40 | 英字新聞

<< 朝鮮半島―米中が対話の環境作りを 新聞社はウソを報道してはいけません >>