消費税と新聞 文化と民主主義を守るために

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 4, 2012)
Keep tax on printed matter low to protect culture, democracy
消費税と新聞 文化と民主主義を守るために(8月3日付・読売社説)

A number of European nations have adopted reduced tax rate systems to keep value-added taxes low on newspapers and books.
 欧州諸国では、新聞や書籍に対する付加価値税を低く抑える軽減税率を採用している。

To preserve the culture of print and democracy, Japan should introduce a similar system in the course of its planned consumption tax rate increase.
 活字文化と民主主義を守るため、日本でも今回の消費税率引き上げで、軽減税率を導入すべきである。

Value-added taxes in Europe, which are equivalent to the consumption tax in Japan, have higher rates--at about 20 percent--than Japan. But the tax rates applied to newspapers are just 7 percent in Germany and 2.1 percent in France, while there is no tax on such matter in Britain.
 日本の消費税に当たる欧州の付加価値税は、税率が20%前後と日本より高いが、新聞に適用される税率は、ドイツが7%、フランスが2・1%、イギリスが0%などに軽減されている。

This is because newspapers are recognized as public organs that support democracy by providing information on the policies of central and local governments and carrying various opinions on a number of issues. As a result, they offer material people use to form judgments.
 新聞が、国や地方の政策や多様な言論を伝えて判断材料を提供するなど、民主主義を担う「公器」として認識されているからだ。

In this respect, newspapers have won the trust of many readers in Japan as well. The use of newspapers at schools also has been spreading with Newspapers in Education (NIE) programs, which are aimed at helping schoolchildren improve their reading comprehension abilities and cultivate their abilities to think and make judgments to solve problems.
 日本でも新聞は、こうした観点から多くの読者の信頼を得てきた。子どもたちの読解力を伸ばし、問題解決のための判断力や思考力を養うことを目指して、学校で新聞を活用するNIE(教育に新聞を)活動も広がっている。

We consider it necessary to pay due attention to newspapers' inherent role in serving the public and its interests.
 新聞の公共性、公益性に着目する必要がある。

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Diet group backs current rate

A Diet group to promote the culture of print, comprising lawmakers from various parties, has issued a statement calling for maintaining the current tax rate at 5 percent for newspapers, books and some other publications.
 超党派の国会議員でつくる「活字文化議員連盟」は、新聞や書籍などに現行税率5%の維持を求める声明を出した。

The statement expressed a strong sense of crisis regarding these types of publications, saying: "Their public nature is extremely strong, in that they have played central roles in maintaining the culture of print in Japan. Consumption tax hikes would accelerate people's moves away from printed matter."
 「日本の活字文化保持の中枢の役割を果たしてきた公共性は極めて高い。消費税率引き上げは国民の活字離れを加速させる」と強い危機感を示している。

In Diet deliberations on bills to raise the consumption tax rate, which are now in the final stage, there has been active discussion of reduced tax rate systems.
 大詰めを迎えた消費税率引き上げ法案の国会審議でも、軽減税率を巡る議論が活発化している。

New Komeito's vice representative, Akira Matsu, called for introducing a reduced tax rate system on printed matter when the consumption tax rate is raised to 8 percent in the first of the envisaged two-stage tax hike plan.
"Reduced tax rate systems [on newspapers and books] are implemented in a number of European nations as they are considered intellectual infrastructure for democracy," Matsu said.
 公明党の松あきら副代表は「欧州では新聞や書籍は民主主義の知的インフラとみなされ、軽減税率が目立つ」とし、日本でも消費税率を8%に引き上げる段階から導入するよう求めた。

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said in response: "[The government] will consider [reduced tax rate systems] from various points of view. It's important that we study the situation in foreign countries."
 野田首相は「様々な観点から検討する。外国の事例の検討も大事な要素だ」と応じた。

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Be careful of taxing education

Learning from European models, we consider it necessary to give prudent consideration to taxes imposed on knowledge and education.
 欧州の事例に学び、「知識」や「教育」に対する課税は、慎重に考えるべきだろう。

To maintain social security systems in a stable manner, it is inevitable to consider a future additional increase in the consumption tax rate beyond 10 percent.
 社会保障制度を安定的に維持するには、将来的に消費税率を10%超に引き上げる追加増税を視野に入れざるを得ない。

To ease the financial burden on households and obtain the people's understanding, we think it would be effective to introduce reduced tax rate systems.
 家計の負担感をやわらげ、国民の理解を得るためにも、軽減税率の導入が効果的だ。

Opponents of such systems, mainly in the Finance Ministry, argue it would be difficult to set clear lines for which items should be subject to lower tax rates and that the systems might result in lower tax revenues.
 「対象品目の線引きが難しく、税収減につながる恐れがある」として、財務省を中心に軽減税率への反対論がくすぶる。

But if eligibility for lower tax rates is limited, it is unlikely there would be sharp drops in tax revenues.
 だが、軽減対象を限定すれば、大幅な税収減とはなるまい。

To determine what should be subject to lower tax rates, political leaders should be responsible for deciding after a third-party committee or other body studies the issue.
 軽減税率の対象に何を選ぶかは、第三者委員会のような組織で検討したうえで、政治が責任を持って判断すべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 3, 2012)
(2012年8月3日01時55分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2012-08-05 08:31 | 英字新聞

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