小沢氏流を超えて―「政局」政治から卒業を

2011/02/22
--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 21
EDITORIAL: Politics in shambles
小沢氏流を超えて―「政局」政治から卒業を

Japan's political disease appears to be getting worse by the day.
 日本政治の病、いよいよ篤(あつ)しの感が深い。

The malady that has stricken so many members of the political community is characterized by an obsession with power struggles in Nagatacho and causes lawmakers to neglect their primary task: the development and execution of policies.
 政策の立案決定や遂行よりも、権力の争奪をめぐる永田町のなかの抗争、いわゆる政局にかまける病である。

A group of 16 lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan who are close to former party chief Ichiro Ozawa have announced their intention to leave the party's Diet bloc. Within the party, open calls are being heard for Prime Minister Naoto Kan to step down.
 民主党の小沢一郎元代表に近い議員16人が同党の会派からの離脱を表明し、党内では菅直人首相の退陣論が公然と語られ始めた。

Kan has responded to the moves within his own party by indicating he might dissolve the Lower House for a snap election.
これに対し首相は衆院解散に含みを持たせ、対抗する。

All this is happening in the midst of the Diet deliberations on the government's draft budget for new fiscal year, which starts in April.
 新年度予算案審議の真っ最中である。

The outlook of crucial budget-related bills is unclear. It is a matter of great urgency to craft a plan for the proposed integrated tax and social security reform.
予算関連法案の成否はきわどい。社会保障と税の一体改革に目鼻をつける作業は待ったなしだ。

In other words, Japan cannot afford to allow its lawmakers in both the ruling and opposition camps to be engrossed in the political power game.
 そんな時期に、与野党あげて「政局」政治に没頭している余裕は、いまの日本にはない。

At the root of the current political situation is the struggle between Ozawa supporters and the anti-Ozawa camp that has defined the framework of Japanese politics for two decades.
 「小沢」か、「脱小沢」か。20年来の日本政治を枠づけてきた対立構図が、今回の局面の底流にも横たわる。

It is hard to believe that the nation's political maladies can be cured without solving this problem.
これを清算することなしに、政治の病が癒えるとは考えにくい。

It is therefore important to take a fresh look at what Ozawa's brand of politics is really about.
 小沢氏流の政治とは何かを、改めて見つめ直さなければならない。

The concentration of power
■めざすは「権力集中」

The key word to understanding Ozawa's politics is, after all, power.
 小沢政治を解剖する道具とすべき言葉は、やはり「権力」だろう。

Ozawa once led the movement for political reform. But for what?
 小沢氏は「政治改革」を主導した。何のためか。

In his book "Nihon Kaizo Keikaku" ("Blueprint for a New Japan,") published in 1993, Ozawa wrote about a "troubling lack of leadership."
1993年に出した「日本改造計画」冒頭に、「迷惑な『指導力の欠如』」という項目がある。

According to Ozawa, Japan is "a dinosaur with a small brain." The creature's every move is controlled not by the brain of the leader's decisions, but through coordination among its limbs and tail. That's how Japanese politics works, he argues.
 それによれば、日本は「小さな脳しか持たない恐竜」である。脳、つまり指導者の指示ではなく、手足やしっぽが互いに調整し、一挙手一投足を決める。それが日本政治だというのだ。

During the Persian Gulf crisis, the overseas deployment of Self-Defense Forces troops to support international peace-keeping efforts was blocked by opposition within the government and resistance by opposition parties.
 湾岸危機の際、自衛隊海外派遣を、政府内の異論や野党の抵抗に阻まれていた。

Referring to this experience, Ozawa calls for changing the decision-making system and "democratic concentration" of power in the top leader.
意思決定の仕組みを変え、権力を最高責任者に「民主主義的に集中」しなければならないと説く。

Ozawa's political reform was aimed, first and foremost, at enabling quick decision-making.
何より迅速な「決断」を可能にすることが、小沢氏の政治改革だった。

From time to time, Ozawa has played brass-knuckle politics to secure the power needed for such decision-making.
 決断を支える権力を手にするためなら、小沢氏は時になりふり構わず行動してきた。

In 2007, when he was the DPJ's president, Ozawa led the party to a victory in the Upper House election that made it the largest voting bloc in the chamber.
 民主党代表だった2007年、参院選で第1党に躍進した。

Ozawa parlayed his party's strength in the Upper House to stage fierce political attacks on the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, forcing one prime minister to resign after another.
その後は自民・公明政権を徹底的に揺さぶり、次々に首相を退陣に追い込んだ。

Still fresh in our memories are his successful bids to block the government's nominees for the post of Bank of Japan governor, which caused the top post at the central bank to remain vacant for a while. And then he won the political battle to ensure the expiration of gasoline tax surcharges.
 日本銀行総裁を空席に、ガソリン税の暫定税率を期限切れにしたのは記憶に新しい。

The DPJ's manifesto for the 2009 Lower House election was developed in line with the agenda set by Ozawa before his resignation as party president over political donations by Nishimatsu Construction Co.
 09年の衆院選マニフェスト(政権公約)は、西松建設事件で代表を辞任する前に、小沢氏が敷いた路線に沿ってつくられた。

Ozawa enlarged the scale of the DPJ-proposed child-care allowance program, claiming the money needed to finance the program would be raised, no matter how much.
「財源はなんぼでもできる」と言い切り、子ども手当の規模を拡大させたのも小沢氏である。

While it's true that Ozawa's political tactics made some contribution to his party's ascent to power, the government is now paying an enormous price for his tactics.
 こうした戦術が政権交代になにがしかの「貢献」をしたのは事実だろう。しかし、その「貢献」のおかげで政権が払わされている代償は甚大である。

The Kan administration is facing opposition criticism that the DPJ made many empty policy promises not backed by a solid financing plan. There is currently little hope for constructive bipartisan talks on Kan's key policy proposals.
公約は財源のない空証文だと批判を浴びて、与野党協議もままならない。

Ozawa's past behavior indicates that his political priorities may not be realizing policies and visions, and he has insisted that the DPJ should stick to its manifesto.
 小沢氏流の政治はまた、政策なり理念なりを二の次にしていると疑わざるをえない。
 小沢氏は衆院選公約の固守を説く。

Old-fashioned numbers game
■古い原理に乗る矛盾

During the process of formulating the budget for the current fiscal year, however, he decided that the gasoline tax surcharges should stay in place despite his previous fight to have them scrapped.
 しかし、あれほど廃止にこだわっていた暫定税率の維持を、10年度予算編成で決めたのは小沢氏自身である。

Ozawa also decided that outlays for land improvement projects should be halved, a move seen as political punishment for an industry organization that supported the LDP. His move forced the organization to declare its "political neutrality."
 土地改良予算半減の判断も、小沢氏によるものだ。それは自民党支持の業界団体への制裁と受け止められ、団体は「政治的中立」を宣言するに至る。

If his true goal is the realization of his policy visions, he had many opportunities to pursue the goal while the DPJ was an opposition party controlling the Upper House. But he didn't take advantage of these opportunities.
 政策の実現が真の目的なら、参院の多数を握っていた野党時代にも、それは十分可能だったはずだが、小沢氏はそうはしなかった。

In addition, there is little transparency in the way he exercises his political power. In a dual power structure, Ozawa made policy decisions as a party kingpin while pulling the strings of the prime minister, who is supposed to be the top decision-maker.
 しかも、その権力行使は透明性を欠く。「最高責任者」たる首相の背後で党側の小沢氏が決める「二重権力」。

Unlike the prime minister, who cannot escape from his accountability to the Diet, Ozawa can easily avoid being held accountable for his decisions.
国会から逃れられない首相と異なり、説明責任からも自由になりやすい。

He acts on the conviction that the source of political power lies in the number of allies. This is the logic of faction politics, which involves increasing the number of followers by offering election support and money.
 力の源泉は数。選挙や資金の面倒をみて手勢を養う派閥の論理である。

That's why the public casts a suspicious eye on his fund-raising machine, which secures the huge amounts of money needed for this politics of patronage.
だから、多額の資金をどう賄っているのか疑問の目を向けられることになる。

Ozawa's advocacy of reform is fundamentally incompatible with his old-fashioned approach to politics, which is a legacy of the so-called 1955 system, marked by the de facto monopoly of power by the LDP amid ideological confrontation with the Socialists.
 55年体制的な古い原理に乗って「改革」を主導する。そこに小沢氏の抱える自己矛盾を見てとることができる。

Ozawa's commitment to creating a political situation where power transfers to and fro between two major parties is the original goal of his political reform has also become shaky, if his actions in recent years are any indication.
 「2大政党による政権交代のある政治」の実現という政治改革の原点も、その後の小沢氏の行動からすれば揺らいで見える。

During the administration of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, Ozawa surprised the public by plotting to engineer a "grand coalition" between the LDP and the DPJ.
 福田内閣時代、自民、民主の「大連立」を工作し、世を驚かせた。

After the DPJ came to power, however, Ozawa adopted a political strategy focused on weakening the LDP's power base.
 逆に政権奪取後は、自民党を徹底的に追い詰める方向にかじを切る。

His political track record inevitably leaves us wondering what he has been pursing other than power.
 その政治的遍歴を見るにつけ、小沢氏が追い求めてきたものは結局、権力のほかの何だったのかという疑問が浮かんでくる。

No time to unseat the Cabinet
■「倒閣」の時なのか

Politics, of course, is a practice that can never be separated from power.
 もとより政治という営みは権力と無縁では成り立たない。

Japan's voting public will never see an end to power struggles among their lawmakers. But something has to give.
今後も時に「政局」と呼ばれる抗争局面が訪れるだろう。しかし、物事には限度がある。

The nation has been plagued by constant political bickering. Since the departure of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the revolving door at the prime minister's office over the past several years has presented an unseemly spectacle. Ozawa's political influence was apparently behind many of these leadership changes.
 ポスト小泉の日本政治は、政争がひときわ絶え間ない。首相の「たらい回し」は目に余る。その多くに小沢氏の影が見える。

It is about time for Japan to outgrow this acceptance of constant political power struggles and depart from winning power by making smooth talk to voters.
 そろそろ、権力闘争にうつつを抜かす政治から卒業する時である。

Maybe then lawmakers will be able to take a hard look at the bitter realities facing the nation and tackle them head-on.
 甘い言葉で権力を奪う政治から、苦い現実を見据える政治へ。

Japan needs a leader who offers careful explanations about his policies and makes serious efforts to persuade the public to support them, instead of a leader who acts as if he had a carte blanche.
白紙委任を得たかのように振る舞う指導者から、丁寧に説明し、説得する指導者へ。

Japan also needs a Diet that seeks agreements through serious debate focused on policy issues, instead of a Diet preoccupied with partisan invectives.
与野党が非難の応酬に終始する国会から、政策本位で合意を探る国会へ。

The public is taking a dim view of the Kan administration, which is struggling to improve its performance.
 菅政権は低迷を脱せず、民意の評価は一層厳しい。

Even so, with every Japanese keenly aware that the nation is facing a litany of woes, this is no time for political battles between ruling party rebels trying to overthrow the Cabinet and a prime minister threatening to dissolve the Lower House.
それでもなお、誰もが日本の難局を痛感している今このとき、「倒閣」だ、「解散」だとぶつかり合っている場合だろうか。
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by kiyoshimat | 2011-02-23 06:59 | 英字新聞

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