マイナス成長―変革力育む環境作りを

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 20
EDITORIAL: Competition needed to stoke innovation, creativity
マイナス成長―変革力育む環境作りを

As expected, the Great East Japan Earthquake caused great damage to the nation's economy.
 東日本大震災が日本経済に与えた痛手はやはり大きかった。

Gross domestic product for the January-March period showed an annualized drop of 3.7 percent in real terms.
GDP has contracted for two consecutive quarters since the October-December period, when the economy started to level off.
今年1~3月期の国内総生産(GDP)は実質で年率3.7%減少し、踊り場に入った昨年10~12月期から2四半期連続のマイナスとなった。

Before the March 11 disaster, the nation's economy was expected to go on an offensive in an increasingly multipolar global market following the recovery of the U.S. economy. But the earthquake took the wind out of Japan's sails.
 本来なら日本経済は、米経済の持ち直しを受け、多極化する世界市場に向けて攻勢に出ていたはずだ。その出ばなを震災でくじかれた。

The April-June quarter is also expected to undergo economic contraction, according to private-sector estimates.
 民間予測では4~6月期もマイナスという。

While demand for reconstruction rose smoothly after the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, the situation this time differs mainly on two points.
阪神大震災の時には復興需要がスムーズに出てきたが、今回は主に二つの点で事情が異なる。

One is the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
 まず、東京電力の福島第一原発の事故だ。

With the decline in electric power supply centering on the Tokyo metropolitan area covered by TEPCO, prolonged restrictions on economic activities are unavoidable.
東電がカバーする首都圏を中心に電力供給の低下により、経済活動への制約が長引くことが避けられない。

Second, the supply chain, or a highly mutually dependent supply network of parts that developed in the assembly-oriented manufacturing industry, suffered serious damage.
 さらに、組み立て型製造業で発達したサプライチェーンと呼ばれる高度に相互依存的な部品供給態勢が、深刻な打撃を被ったことだ。

For example, assembly plants of many automakers would stop if a semiconductor plant is unable to make microcontrollers for electronic controls.
たとえば半導体工場で電子制御用のマイコンがつくれなくなると、それだけで多くの自動車会社の組み立て工場が止まる、という事態だ。

The earthquake put before us a new question: What should be done for the Japanese economy to continue to provide top-level products and services to meet the needs and purchasing power of various markets around the world?
 日本経済が、今後も最高の製品やサービスを世界の様々な市場のニーズと購買力に合わせて提供していくためには、どうしたらいいのか。震災は新たな課題を突きつけた。

Japan must come up with highly advanced products that cannot be found anywhere else to overcome the yen's appreciation and continue exporting.
 日本が円高を克服して輸出を続けるには、一芸を究めるような高度な製品作りが切り札になる。

However, manufacturing centers of such products tend to be concentrated on one site when volume efficiency and other factors are taken into account.
だが、これは量産効果などを踏まえると製造場所が1カ所に絞られる傾向が強まる。

Such risks were exposed by the severing of the supply chain by the earthquake.
 震災によるサプライチェーンの分断は、このリスクを顕在化させた。

There is also a possibility that international customers may re-examine their overdependence on Japanese parts and materials.
世界の顧客が部品や素材の日本への過度な依存を見直す可能性もある。

Manufacturers are urged to disperse production centers and take other measures to prevent customers from going elsewhere.
客離れに至らぬよう、生産拠点の分散などの手を打っていきたい。

Meanwhile, the expansion of the service industry is attracting attention as a growth strategy.
 一方、成長戦略としてサービス産業の拡充に期待が集まっている。

Still, there is a need to review Japan's real capabilities comprehensively when we think about the failure of two giant service companies--TEPCO's nuclear power plant accident and Mizuho Bank's system trouble--both triggered by the earthquake.
だが、震災が引き金となった二つの巨大サービス企業のつまずき、すなわち東電の原発事故と、みずほ銀行のシステム障害を考えると、日本の実力を総点検する必要がある。

Large corporations protected by monopoly or oligopoly may be suffering from systemic fatigue more than we realize.
 独占や寡占に守られた大企業は、私たちが自覚する以上に制度疲労を起こしているのではないか。

Such a situation may be standing in the way of innovation and nipping creative ideas in the bud.
それが革新や創造の芽を摘んでいないか。

If so, creating an environment to make companies stronger through competition becomes more important than ever.
とすれば、競争を通じて企業を鍛え直す環境作りが一段と重要になる。

Kaoru Yosano, minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, expressed confidence for the future, saying, "The resilience of the Japanese economy is sufficiently strong."
 与謝野馨経済財政相は「日本経済の反発力は十分に強い」と先行きに自信を見せた。

But instead of simply relying on natural resilience, we should sort out our strengths and weaknesses and cultivate the power to transform ourselves and open up the future with new ideas and ingenuity.
だが、自然な反発力に期待するだけでなく、強みと弱みを洗い出し、新たな発想や工夫で未来を切り開く変革力も育みたい。
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2011-05-22 07:05 | 英字新聞

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