公取委員長不在 「市場の番人」務めが果たせぬ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 29, 2012)
FTC chairman's empty seat must be filled--now
公取委員長不在 「市場の番人」務めが果たせぬ(10月28日付・読売社説)

The Fair Trade Commission chairman's seat has been empty for more than a month.
 公正取引委員会の委員長ポストの空席が、1か月以上に及んでいる。

The government must submit a proposal to fill this vacancy in the coming extraordinary Diet session and obtain approval from both houses of the Diet to resolve this irregularity.
 政府は臨時国会で人事案を示し、衆参両院の同意を得て、異常事態を解消せねばならない。

Kazuhiko Takeshima retired as FTC chairman on Sept. 26 after completing his second five-year term. However, the government did not submit a proposal to fill the vacancy to the ordinary Diet session.
 竹島一彦前委員長は9月26日、2期10年の任期を満了し、退任した。だが、政府は通常国会で後任の人事案を提示しなかった。

The five-member FTC board now lacks two members as one of the members died before Takeshima retired. It is the first time since the FTC was inaugurated for the board to have only three members.
 急逝した別の委員と合わせて2人の欠員が生じ、5人で構成する公取委は初の3人体制を余儀なくされている。

This means that if a single member is unable to attend a meeting, the FTC will lack a quorum. If this situation continues, it may affect the operations of the commission.
委員が1人欠けても委員会は開くことができず、このままでは、公取委の業務に支障をきたしかねない。

The FTC plays a leading role in keeping competition fair through such activities as clamping down on price cartels, bid rigging and illicit activities of administrative organizations as well as by approving corporate mergers.
 公取委は、企業のカルテルや談合、行政組織の不正などにメスを入れ、企業合併にお墨付きを与える競争政策の司令塔である。

Needless to say, the responsibility of the chairman is especially heavy. It is extremely problematic to leave the seat vacant for a prolonged period.
 委員長の責任は特に重い。そのポストを長期間、不在のまま放置するのは問題だ。

Democratic Party of Japan-led administrations have a bad habit of lightheartedly shelving decisions on important policies and personnel appointments and placing the blame squarely on the divided Diet, in which opposition parties control the House of Councillors. The party should break this habit immediately.
 衆参ねじれ国会を言い訳に重要な政策や人事の決定を安易に先送りするのは、民主党政権の悪癖である。早急に改めるべきだ。

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Commission's functions stronger

Recently, the FTC has been steadily strengthening its functions as a "guardian of the market."
 公取委はこのところ、「市場の番人」としての機能強化を着々と進めている。

Drastic revisions to the Antimonopoly Law gave the FTC authority to launch legally binding investigations. Financial penalties for companies violating the Antimonopoly Law were raised, while a system was adopted to reduce or exempt surcharges on companies voluntarily reporting bid rigging.
 独占禁止法の抜本改正で、強制調査権を手にした。違反企業への課徴金を引き上げる一方、談合を自己申告した企業の課徴金を減免する制度も取り入れた。

Such changes enabled the FTC board to take a more effective carrot-and-stick approach, leading to a number of serious violations being uncovered. The amount of financial penalties imposed on companies reached a record 72 billion yen in fiscal 2010.
 こうした「アメとムチ」を駆使する執行体制の下で、大型事件を相次いで摘発した。2010年度の課徴金総額は、過去最高の720億円に達した。

Still, illegal business practices show no sign of declining significantly. Bid rigging involving officials of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry and the Defense Ministry were revealed recently.
 それでも、不正取引は後を絶たない。最近は、国土交通省や防衛省の官製談合が表面化した。

Also noteworthy is the practice of companies abusing their status to "oppress" subcontractors, such as by demanding lower prices or delaying payment. The public places high hopes on the FTC as a watchdog to prevent illegal practices.
 親会社が優先的地位を乱用し、代金の値下げや支払いを遅らせるといった「下請けいじめ」も目立つ。不正に目を光らせる公取委への期待は大きい。

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Bigger role in corporate mergers

The FTC's role of approving corporate mergers is also gaining weight as the number of mergers that influence the global market is increasing, due to the rapid globalization of the economy.
 グローバル経済の進展で世界的な企業統合が相次ぎ、合併審査も重要度を増している。

The commission recently revised its methods in approving corporate mergers, such as by paying more attention to the global market share of the merging companies as well as simplifying the approval process.
 最近では、世界の市場占有率を重視し、時間がかかると不評だった手続きを迅速化するなど、新たな手法を取り入れた。

The revision has enabled the FTC to more rapidly complete its examination of huge mergers, such as that between Nippon Steel Corp. and Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd. and the management integration of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Osaka Securities Exchange.
 新日本製鉄と住友金属工業の合併、東京証券取引所と大阪証券取引所の経営統合といった大型案件で、従来よりスピード審査ができたのもこのためだ。

Considering the importance of the FTC role, its leadership must be returned to good working order as soon as possible.
 やはり、公取委の体制を早急に整えるべきである。

The Diet also has not yet approved the government's personnel appointments for the Nuclear Regulation Authority and the NHK Board of Governors. It is time to put an end to the prolonged turmoil caused by the Diet's failure to approve the government's appointments, which is the result of political maneuvering.
 原子力規制委員やNHK経営委員などの国会同意も遅れている。政局が招く国会同意人事の混乱を長引かせてはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 28, 2012)
(2012年10月28日01時25分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2012-10-30 07:26 | 英字新聞

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