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日本経済再生 閉塞感の打破へ政策を転換せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 5, 2011)
Policy changes needed to break economic deadlock
日本経済再生 閉塞感の打破へ政策を転換せよ(1月4日付・読売社説)

The Japanese economy's recovery has slowed to a stall.
 日本経済は景気回復の歩みが鈍り、「踊り場」でもたついている。

Amid ongoing deflation, the working population has started to decline, and the impact on production and consumption is very worrying.
 デフレが続く中で、働く世代の人口減少が始まり、生産や消費への悪影響が懸念される。

Will Japan, which was once an economic giant second only to the United States, follow a path of decline without doing anything?
 米国に次ぐ経済大国だった日本は、このまま衰退の道をたどるのか。

Many people must now feel they will be unable to lead a stable postretirement life in light of the possible collapse of social security and the nation's finances.
社会保障や財政が破綻して、老後の暮らしが立ちゆかなくなるのではないか。そんな不安を抱く人も少なくないはずだ。

To break through the growing sense of stagnation, the government needs to drastically change its economic policies.
 強まる閉塞感を打破するため、今こそ経済政策の抜本的な見直しが必要である。

The Japanese economy has overcome the global recession and somehow turned around since spring 2009.  世界同時不況を切り抜け、日本の景気は2009年春から好転した。

However, this was made possible by the temporary tailwinds of major economic stimulus measures and short-lived expansion of foreign demand pushed by the growth of other Asian countries.
The unreliable nature of the economy in terms of maintaining sustainable growth is quite clear if one looks back at the economic standstill since autumn of last year.
だが、大規模な景気対策やアジアの成長による外需拡大などが一時的な追い風になっただけで、自律的な成長力の頼りなさは、昨秋からの景気の足踏みを見れば明らかである。

Automobile sales sharply declined due to the termination of eco-car subsidies in September. The scaling down of the eco-point system for household appliances in December put a brake on sales of flat-screen TVs and other appliances.
 9月のエコカー補助金打ち切りで自動車の販売は急減し、12月の家電エコポイント縮小を機に、薄型テレビなどの売れ行きにもブレーキがかかった。

Furthermore, growth in exports is almost flat because of the yen's appreciation and the slowdown of overseas economies.
円高に加え海外経済の減速の影響で、頼みの輸出も伸びが鈍っている。

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Govt policy no help
 ◆政策も外需も息切れ◆

The employment situation is also severe. The unemployment rate remains at a high level in the 5 percent range. Many young people, freezing in the midst of the so-called job-hunting ice age, have been struggling in their "shukatsu" job-hunting activity.
 雇用も厳しい。失業率は5%台に高止まりしたままで、「就職氷河期」の寒風に吹かれた大勢の若者が“就活”で苦戦している。

Yet the government and the Bank of Japan maintain their forecast that overseas economies such as those in other parts of Asia will steadily pick up and the Japanese economy will also recover on a possible increase in exports.
 それでも、政府や日銀は、アジアなど海外経済が順調に盛り返し、輸出増加をテコに景気が回復していくと見込んでいる。

Many people will neither feel satisfied with nor see any relief in such an optimistic scenario that depends on other countries. Repeated policy mistakes by the Democratic Party of Japan-led government since the party took the helm of government in September 2009 could prevent the Japanese economy from recovering.
 そんな海外頼みの回復シナリオを描かれても、とても安心はできない。一昨年の政権交代からの度重なる政策ミスが、日本経済の復調を妨げかねないためだ。

One such recent policy mistake by the DPJ-led government is its decision not to officially participate in talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership strategic economic partnership agreement.
 最近の失政のひとつは、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への正式参加を見送ったことである。

The TPP is designed for participating countries from the Asia-Pacific area to mutually abolish tariffs and liberalize trade and investment. Nine countries including Australia, Singapore and the United States are now negotiating a final agreement.
 TPPは、アジア・太平洋の各国が互いに関税を撤廃し、貿易や投資を自由化するもので、アメリカやオーストラリア、シンガポールなど9か国が交渉している。

Japan has fallen behind its Asian rivals, including South Korea, in economic partnership agreements. If Japan does not participate in the TPP, it will be excluded from the framework of free trade and investment.
 日本は個別の自由貿易協定(FTA)で出遅れ、さらにTPPも不参加となれば、自由な貿易や投資の枠組みから締め出される。

This would be a fatal blow to the nation, which is a trade-oriented country. Even so, Prime Minister Naoto Kan easily put off a decision to join the framework for some later occasion.
 通商国家の日本にとって致命的な痛手となるのに、菅首相はあっさり決断を先送りした。

 ◆バラマキ農政を改めよ◆

He did this because he listened to the opinions of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry and Diet members backed by voters in farming areas. They argued that abolition of tariffs would invite massive imports of cheap foreign agricultural products and Japan's agriculture would collapse.
 関税廃止で安い農産品が大量に輸入され、農業が壊滅する……。農水省や農業関係議員の、こうした主張に耳を貸したためだ。

But the value of farm products affected by abolishing the tariffs is relatively small. Even that of rice, the nation's staple food, does not reach 2 trillion yen. That for konnyaku potato, the tariff rate of which is 1,700 percent, is only 14 billion yen. That for butter, which carries a 360 percent tariff, is 78 billion yen.
 高関税に守られた農産品の生産額は、主食のコメさえ2兆円に届かない。関税が1700%のコンニャクイモは140億円、360%のバターも780億円だ。

===

Competitiveness crucial
 ◆成長戦略の着実な実施を◆

Indeed, it is important to maintain high rates of self-sufficiency for the nation's main agricultural products. However, Japan will not be able to compete internationally if it remains closed by continuing to protect farm products that account for only a small share of the entire Japanese economy.
 主要農産品の自給は重要だが、経済全体から見て規模の小さい農産品の保護にこだわり、「平成の開国」を果たせぬようでは、日本は国際競争から脱落する。

China is believed to have outpaced Japan in terms of gross domestic product last year, according to various data. Can nothing be done to stop the economy from falling further?
 日本は昨年、中国に国内総生産(GDP)で抜かれたとみられる。経済の先細りを食い止める手立てはないのだろうか。

Actually, the government as well as private organizations have proposed various solutions.
 実はこれまで、政府や民間で数多くの処方箋が示されている。

The government's New Growth Strategy is an initiative designed to create more than 120 trillion yen of demand in environmental, health care and nursing care fields in the next decade.
 政府の新成長戦略は、環境や医療・介護などの分野で、今後10年に120兆円を超える新たな需要を生み出す構想だ。

To prevent a slowdown in growth in consumption and production due to the decline in the labor force, the growth strategy suggests such measures as a program to assist in child-rearing to promote employment of women and deregulation to boost demand by improving medical care and nursing care services. It lists a variety of measures.
 労働人口の減少による消費や生産の低迷を防ぐため、女性の就労を促す子育て支援や、医療・介護サービスを充実させて需要を喚起する規制緩和など、メニューは盛りだくさんだ。

However, many of the programs are facing deadlock as intragovernmental coordination is not going well. We must say politicians have failed to show the leadership needed to make the growth policies a reality.
 ところが、いざ実施しようとすると、政府内で足並みが乱れて、なかなか前に進まなくなる政策も多い。成長政策で政治のリーダーシップが欠如していると言わざるを得ない。

It is not only weakened economic power that is making people feel anxious about their future. Shortcomings in the social security system and the nation's aggravated finances are already at a critical level. These are also major factors.
 国民が将来に不安を感じる原因は、経済力の弱体化ばかりではない。社会保障制度のほころびと財政の悪化が、もはや危機的になっていることが大きい。

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Social security costs rising
(増大する社会保障費)

The nation's social security costs have been increasing by 1 trillion yen a year. The government is funding its contribution to the pension payment by raiding reserved funds in special accounts, dubbed "buried treasure." Such an unreasonable, irresponsible measure cannot be used anymore.
 国の社会保障費は毎年1兆円のペースで増え続けている。年金の国庫負担を、何とか工面した埋蔵金で穴埋めするような無理なやりくりは長続きしない。

To secure stable revenue sources, it is clear that the consumption tax rate must be raised in the near future.
 安定した財源を確保するため、近い将来、消費税の増税が避けられないことは明らかだ。

Kan should honestly explain to the Japanese people about the seriousness of the current situation and start drastic tax and fiscal reforms.
 菅首相は、事態の深刻さを率直に国民に説明し、税財政の抜本改革に取りかからねばならない。

As a matter of course, people would not say yes to Kan's plea for a tax increase if the government continues its unpopular handouts such as child-rearing allowances and eliminating expressway tolls.
 当然ながら、子ども手当や高速道路無料化など、国民に不評なバラマキ政策を続けたままでは、増税への理解を得られまい。

Above all, the government should withdraw its manifesto for the 2009 House of Representatives election as soon as possible and show us steady policies to promote the growth of the Japanese economy.
 まずは、政権公約(マニフェスト)を早急に撤回し、日本経済の成長を促す地に足のついた政策を提示すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 4, 2011)
(2011年1月4日01時06分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2011-01-11 05:02 | 英字新聞

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