「ほっ」と。キャンペーン

記者の目:「ウソ」で原発交付金=古関俊樹

(Mainichi Japan) February 24, 2012
Town's 'lies' show stronger checks needed in gov't use of precious tax money
記者の目:「ウソ」で原発交付金=古関俊樹

 ◇「血税」の使途、チェック徹底を

A report in The Mainichi Shimbun revealed that the Oi Municipal Government in Fukui Prefecture, the location of Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi Nuclear Power Plant, received 2.5 billion yen in "nuclear power plant grants" after submitting a fake business proposal to the central government. Naturally, one can point the finger at the town assembly whose members all kept quiet despite knowing, in the words of one town official, that the town "lied to the government." Yet at the same time, the fact that the government's screening system could not see through this "lie" is problematic.
 関西電力・大飯原発のある福井県おおい町が国に虚偽の事業計画を提出し、「原発交付金」25億円を受け取っていたことが毎日新聞の報道で明るみに出た。「国にウソをついた」(町幹部)ことを町議会の議員全員が知りながら、それを黙認していた町も町だが、町の「ウソ」を見抜けなかった国の審査体制にも問題がある。

In the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, reviews of the government's energy policies have been mulled, and the status of such grants, which are funded by taxes, has come under scrutiny. Unless an effective checking system is in place the public will not agree to having the grant system continue.
福島第1原発事故を機に、国のエネルギー政策の見直しが検討され、交付金のあり方も問題になっている。交付金の原資は税金だ。実効的なチェック体制がなければ、交付金制度継続への国民の理解は得られない。

 ◇原発マネー入り 貧しい町が一変

The public finances of Oi, a town of about 8,800 people cannot be separated from nuclear power facilities. In the 1960s, the town was so short of funds that it was unable to pay the wages of its town workers, but the when the Oi Nuclear Power Plant started operating in 1979, the situation changed completely. The town received a huge amount of nuclear power plant-related grants and fixed property tax and used the money to build hot spring facilities, a sports park and a stream of other lavish structures. Prefectural government officials said that as of fiscal 2009, the town had received 32.2 billion yen.
 人口約8800人のおおい町の経済は原発と切り離せない。1960年代、町は職員給与を支払えないほどの財政難だったが、79年に大飯原発が稼働し始めると、状況が一変。多額の固定資産税や原発交付金が入り、温泉や総合運動公園など豪華施設が次々に整備された。県によると、09年度までに町が受けた交付金は総額約322億円に上る。

As the cash flowed in, the town in 1991 established a plan to turn its image from a nuclear plant town into a resort town, and a marina and other facilities were prepared. However, when the town sought an operator for a hotel that was to be a centerpiece of the resort, it struggled to find anyone due to poor economic conditions. With no sightseeing spots in the area it was hardly a favorable location, and eventually only one party applied.
 こうした中、町は91年、「原発の町からリゾートの町に」を合言葉に、リゾート施設の整備計画を策定した。マリーナなどが整備されたが、05年にその中核施設であるホテルの事業者を公募した際は、不況で募集が難航。周囲に観光地がないなど立地条件も悪く、結局、応募は1業者だけだった。

Here the town told its first "lie" to the government as it eyed more nuclear plant-related grants.
 ここで町は、交付金の支給をあてこみ、国への申請で最初の「ウソ」をつく。

The hotel operator formulated a business plan stating that it expected about 60,000 visitors a year, with the total cost of the project reaching 5.9 billion yen (Plan A). The town meanwhile prepared a 6 billion yen plan (Plan B) that envisaged 105,000 visitors a year. The town made preparations to formally adopt Plan A, but when applying for a grant it presented Plan B to the central government, showing a higher number of visitors. At the time, business at facilities funded by grants was slow, leading to criticism. It is believed the town's submission of a fictitious business plan was based on the conclusion that projects which forecasted low profitability would be less likely to be eligible for grants.
 業者は年間来場者を約6万人と予測し事業計画(総額約59億円)=仮にA計画=を立てた。一方、町が事前に作った計画(同約60億円)=仮にB計画=では、年間来場者を10万5000人と予測した。町は実際はA計画を正式採用し準備を進めたが、交付金申請の際は、利用者予測が多かったB計画を国に提出した。当時、交付金で建てた各地の施設の運営が低迷、批判されており、「採算性を低く見積もると交付金が出にくい」との判断が、この虚偽申請の背景にあったと見られる。

The town then told a second "lie."
 さらに町は2度目の「ウソ」をつく。

When the government screened Plan B -- that is, the fake plan -- to decide whether or not to provide a grant, it judged that about 1 billion yen in operating expenses could be cut. The government urged the town to make these reductions, but the operator, which was already proceeding with Plan A responded, "It's impossible to make any cuts under our plan." Eventually the town decided to secretly cover about 700 million yen of the requested cuts to help make the amounts add up. Of course, it did not inform the government about this "covert operation."
B計画、すなわち虚偽の計画を基に交付金給付の可否を審査してきた国は、事業費のうち約10億円の削減が可能だと判断。町にこれを求めた。だが、すでにA計画で事業を進めてきた業者が「我々の計画(A計画)では削減は無理だ」と反発。結局、町は国が求めた削減分のうち約7億円をひそかに自ら負担することにし、つじつまを合わせた。無論、国には当時この「秘密工作」を知らせていない。

As a result, the project passed government screening, and 2.5 billion yen was paid out. Construction of the hotel was completed in 2009, but the occupancy rate last fiscal year stood at just 30 percent.
 これで国の審査は通り、国は交付金25億円を支給。ホテルは09年完成したが、昨年度の稼働率は3割にすぎない。

 ◇透明性を高める外部審査委公開

There are two problem points in this case: Firstly, obviously, is the town's response. The background to the case was reported at a meeting of all members of the town assembly in 2007, and a town official confessed, "We lied to the government." But this was not brought forward as a problem, and at a plenary session of the town assembly two days later the project was approved. Town assembly members at the time pointed out that the project was already proceeding, and it could not be halted at such a late stage. But as a result, some 700 million yen of the town's tax funds were eaten up. There is no doubt that the town assembly checking system failed to function as a result of the town's reliance on grants for many years and its desensitization to the fact that it was using public funds.
 問題点は二つある。まず、当然ながら町の対応だ。一連の経緯は07年、町議会の全員協議会に報告され、町幹部が「国にウソをつきました」と告白した。だが問題にならず、2日後の本会議で事業は承認された。当時の町議らは「事業が進展しており、今さら反対できなかった」と弁明するが、それで約7億円もの町税が浪費された。議会のチェック機能が全く働かなかった背景には、交付金に長年依存し、公金感覚がマヒした町の体質があるのは間違いない。

Secondly is the central government's response. Being a case in which a local government was deceiving the central government, the central government was primarily a victim, but I think it has room for improvement. For example, it could open meetings of the external screening committee of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy to the public. The agency says that meetings are not made public "to allow members to freely state their opinions," but in the Oi Municipal Government's case, it is likely that the town's false application would have been detected.
 次に国の対応だ。「行政(町)が行政(国)を欺く」という構図の中、国は一義的には被害者だが、改善の余地はあると思う。例えば、透明性を高めるため、交付金の給付を審査する経済産業省資源エネルギー庁の外部審査委員会を公開してはどうか。同庁は「委員が自由に意見を言えるためにも、公開にはなじまない」と話すが、今回、公開されていれば、町の虚偽申請を見抜く可能性は十分あった。

I also want to mention the examination system after grants are paid out. The agency says that inspections are the responsibility of the Board of Audit of Japan, but it's possible Board of Audit inspections could come too late. There is rather a need to review the screening system of external screening committees. If such a screening were applied to the Oi Municipal Assembly and the hotel operator, the false claim could easily have been detected. And if the screening system is strengthened, this will help prevent false applications in the first place. If problems are found only after the building is constructed, then it will be extremely difficult to recover the grant money.
 交付金支給後の検証体制にも触れたい。同庁は「検証は会計検査院の役目」と話すが、それでは遅きに失する可能性がある。やはり外部審査委員会の審査体制を見直すべきだ。今回、町議会や業者にあたれば簡単に虚偽申請はわかったはずだ。審査体制が強固になれば、虚偽申請の防止にも役立つ。建物の工事終了後に不正が見つかった場合、失われた交付金を回収するのは非常に困難になる。

In promoting nuclear power plants, the central government has enticed local bodies to host plants with a huge amount of grants. But the grants are originally collected as taxes on top of electricity charges. Officials need to be more aware that each grant they dish out is hard-earned tax money.
 国は原発推進で立地自治体に交付金という「アメ」を大量につぎ込んできた。だが交付金の原資は国民の電気料金に上乗せして徴収される税金だ。交付金が「血税」だということを関係者は再認識すべき時にきている。

(By Toshiki Koseki, Osaka City News Department)
(大阪社会部)

毎日新聞 2012年2月23日 0時22分
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2012-02-26 08:14 | 英字新聞

<< 海外M&A 強い円のメリットも... 新規就農支援 魅力ある産業へ若... >>