国債の格下げ 財政再建の前進で信認回復を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 30, 2011)
Bond downgrade a call to reform
国債の格下げ 財政再建の前進で信認回復を(1月29日付・読売社説)

The U.S. rating agency Standard & Poor's on Thursday downgraded long-term Japanese government bonds by one notch, from AA to AA minus.
 米国の格付け会社、スタンダード・アンド・プアーズ(S&P)が、日本の長期国債の格付けを「ダブルA」から「ダブルAマイナス」に1段階引き下げた。

Of course, we do not have to react with undue joy or alarm to ups and downs in the rating, as it is merely an evaluation a private company has made based on its own analysis.
 格付けは、民間会社が独自の分析に基づいて示した評価に過ぎず、一喜一憂する必要はない。

However, the current value of government bonds might drop and their interest rate might go up after the lowering of the rating, which is considered an indicator of creditworthiness. The government has to keep an eye on market trends.
 だが、国債の信用力の目安とされる格付けが下がると、国債価格も下がり、金利上昇を招く恐れがある。市場動向への警戒を続ける必要があろう。

Prime Minister Naoto Kan's government is planning to draft by June a plan to reform both social security and the tax system in an integrated manner. As the first step toward sound public finance, the government must stipulate a hike in the consumption tax rate in the draft plan to secure a stable revenue source.
 菅内閣は、社会保障と税の一体改革案を6月までにまとめる方針だ。安定財源を確保するため、そこに消費税率の引き上げを明記し、財政健全化への一歩を踏み出さねばならない。

We believe it is the only way to restore the credibility of the government bonds.
 それが国債の信認を回復する唯一の道である。

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Details of diagnosis

S&P explained that it decided to downgrade the Japanese government bonds because the nation's fiscal debts are the worst among advanced economies and there seems to be no easy way to reduce them. The agency also cited prolonged deflation as another factor making elimination of the budget deficit difficult.
 格下げの理由をS&Pは、日本の財政赤字が先進国中、最悪のレベルで、今後も削減が容易ではないとみられるため、と説明している。長引くデフレも財政赤字の解消を難しくする要因に挙げた。

Furthermore, it said that the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration lacks a consistent strategy on the debt problem.
 さらに「民主党政権には債務問題に対する一貫した戦略が欠けている」とも指摘した。

S&P announced a year ago that it was likely to lower the rating of the government bonds. The company apparently has watched the actions of the government since then and concluded that it was neither sufficiently serious about nor capable of taking measures toward fiscal rehabilitation.
 S&Pは、1年前に格下げを予告している。その後の政権の対応を見る限り、財政再建に向けた本気度や実行力が足りないとの判断に至ったようだ。

In fact, though tax revenues are 41 trillion yen, the issuance of government bonds amounts to 44 trillion yen in the fiscal 2011 budget. This abnormal situation of debt issuance exceeding tax revenues has continued since fiscal 2010.
 実際、2011年度予算は、41兆円の税収に対し、国債発行額が44兆円にのぼる。借金が税収を上回る異常事態は2年連続だ。

Total long-term debts of the central and local governments will reach 892 trillion yen by the end of fiscal 2011. This is more than 1.8 times the gross domestic product, ensuring that Japan will maintain its status among the world's advanced economies as the one in the worst fiscal condition.
 国と地方の長期債務は、11年度末で892兆円に及ぶ。国内総生産(GDP)の1・8倍を超えており、先進国の中で最悪の状況が続くことになる。

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Taxes must rise

To defuse the situation, the Kan Cabinet must launch drastic measures to increase tax revenues.
 こうした事態を打開するためにも菅内閣は、思い切った増収策を打ち出す必要がある。

The downgrade could be interpreted as a prompt for the administration to carry out such measures swiftly and surely.
 格付けの引き下げは、その着実な実行を“催促”したものと受け止めることもできよう。

Japanese government bonds are now rated lower than those of Spain--which faces its own fiscal uncertainty--and at the same level as those of Kuwait and China. However, Japan's situation is different from those of Greece and Ireland, where downgrades have fueled economic confusion.
 日本の国債の格付けは、財政不安を抱えるスペインを下回り、中国やクウェートと並んだ。だが、格下げで経済の混乱に拍車がかかったギリシャやアイルランドなどとは事情が違う。

A calm response is required in the case of Japanese government bonds because 95 percent of them are stably absorbed domestically.
 日本の国債は、95%が国内で安定的に消化されている。冷静な対応が求められる。

The prime minister was criticized for saying, "I don't know much about this kind of thing" in reference to the downgrade. He later said he simply meant he had not received detailed briefings on the issue.
 菅首相は格下げについて「そういうことに疎い」と発言、批判された。「詳しく聞いていない」との趣旨だったと釈明している。

In any case, however, we have to say that Kan's remarks were indiscreet coming from the prime minister, who should take the lead in fiscal rehabilitation.
 財政再建に指導力を発揮すべき首相の言葉としては、不用意だったと言わざるをえまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 29, 2011)
(2011年1月29日02時04分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2011-01-30 06:53 | 英字新聞

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