買い物弱者 地域の生命と活力守る支援を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jun. 26, 2012)
Assist 'disadvantaged shoppers,' revitalize local economies
買い物弱者 地域の生命と活力守る支援を(6月25日付・読売社説)

Stores in many neighborhoods have closed, but residents do not have the means of transportation to reach distant places to shop. The problem of "disadvantaged shoppers" who face obstacles in buying daily necessities such as food is quite serious.
 身近な地域の商店が消え、遠出しようにも交通手段がない。食料品などの買い物がままならない「買い物弱者」の悩みは切実である。

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry has estimated the number of disadvantaged shoppers based on the national census, commerce statistics and other data.
 農林水産省が、国勢調査や商業統計などを使って、買い物弱者の実態を推計した。

There are as many as 9.1 million people around the country without cars whose homes are 500 meters or more from stores where they can buy fresh food. Ten percent of the populations of Hokkaido and Nagasaki Prefecture are disadvantaged shoppers. The number topped 500,000 in Tokyo and Osaka Prefecture, respectively.
 最寄りの生鮮食料品店まで直線で500メートル以上離れ、自動車を持たない人は全国で910万人に上った。北海道や長崎県は人口の1割に達し、東京都、大阪府などでも50万人を数えた。

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Problem not only in rural areas

People tend to think disadvantaged shoppers exist only in remote areas where depopulation and aging are steadily progressing and there is little public transportation. However, the ministry's study shows urban areas are no exception to the trend.
 買い物弱者と言えば、人口減と高齢化が進み、公共交通機関が貧弱な過疎地に特有の現象、と思われがちだが、都市部も例外ではないことを示す。

Due to the advance of mass market retailers into suburban areas, local shopping arcades are being deserted and small shops are closing. This trend is growing nationwide.
 大型量販店の郊外進出に押されて、徒歩圏にある地元商店街がさびれ、小型店が閉鎖するケースは全国的に増えている。

This is a serious situation that shows so-called food deserts--areas where daily food necessities such as fish, meat and vegetables are inaccessible--have been growing.
 魚や肉、野菜など日々欠かせない食料の調達が困難な「フードデザート」(食の砂漠)の広がりをうかがわせる深刻な状況だ。

Both the public and private sectors should cooperate to map out various measures to deal with the respective situations of local communities.
 官民が連携して、地域の実情に応じた多彩な支援策を検討することが必要である。

A variety of programs have already started in some areas, including mobile stores operated by local brick-and-mortar stores that visit residential areas, Net supermarkets that deliver commodities ordered online and shopping buses operated by residents.
 地元商店などが住宅地に出向く出張店舗、インターネットで注文を受けた商品を配送するネットスーパー、住民らが運行する買い物バスなど、すでに各地で様々な取り組みが始まっている。

After the Great East Japan Earthquake, mini-mobile convenience stores in the quake-hit areas encouraged the quake-hit victims and contributed greatly to restoration of their daily lives.
 東日本大震災でも、各地に商品を届けるコンビニの移動店舗などが被災者を元気づけ、生活復興に大きく貢献した。

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Creative ideas necessary

We expect the distribution industry to produce imaginative and creative ideas. Helping disadvantaged shoppers can also become an opportunity for businesses to uncover demand they previously missed. We hope the industry will look into the matter from a long-term business perspective.
 流通業界の創意工夫が期待される。買い物支援は、これまで取り逃がしていた需要を掘り起こす新たな「商機」となりうる。息の長いビジネスを目指してほしい。

Nevertheless, some places such as underpopulated areas deep in the mountains will remain unprofitable no matter how hard the private sector alone tries. It will be indispensable for local governments to support private companies' efforts.
 それでも、山奥の過疎地など民間の経営努力だけでは、とても採算が取れないという場所は残る。自治体が支援して民間企業を後押しすることが欠かせない。

It may be necessary for local governments to promote the "compact city" initiative--bringing commercial and residential districts physically closer together--while securing public transportation for aged people that will make it easier for them to go shopping. Such community planning is important.
 高齢者が外出して買い物しやすいよう公共交通を確保し、商業地と住宅地を近接させたコンパクトシティー構想を促進する。そうしたまちづくりの視点も大切だ。

If the problem of disadvantaged shoppers is left untouched, the outflow of population will never stop and local communities will become further devitalized. We hope residents, volunteers, companies and local administrations will combine their wisdom to come up with ways they can work together.
 買い物弱者を放置すれば、人口流出が進み、地域は一段と疲弊しかねない。住民、ボランティア、企業、行政がどう連携できるか、知恵を絞ってもらいたい。

Concerning assistance to disadvantaged shoppers, a wide range of policy problems are interrelated--revitalization of local communities, transport policy and distribution of food are examples.
 買い物支援は、地域活性化、交通政策、食品流通など幅広い政策課題が関連している。

The farm ministry, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry and the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry should not carry out research or introduce model cases separately, but reinforce measures to assist the shoppers in a unified manner as the government.
農水、経済産業、国土交通3省は、調査研究や事例紹介などをばらばらに実施するのではなく、政府一体で対策を強化すべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 25, 2012)
(2012年6月25日01時25分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2012-06-27 07:26 | 英字新聞

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