社会保障会議 制度の安定に負担を求めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 3, 2012)
Heavier burdens inevitable for sustainable social security
社会保障会議 制度の安定に負担を求めよ(12月2日付・読売社説)

A newly launched expert council on the future of the nation's social security system will need to hold exhaustive discussions on ways to ensure people can live with peace of mind.
 国民生活の安心を確保するために、議論を尽くさねばならない。

The national council for reform of the social security system has been inaugurated to deliberate the future shape of social security.
 今後の社会保障のあり方を検討する社会保障制度改革国民会議がスタートした。

The head of the council, Keio University President Atsushi Seike, said at its first meeting Friday he hopes the council will develop "logical discussions as a group of experts."
会長の清家篤・慶応義塾長は「専門家として論理的な議論をしたい」と強調した。

It is crucial that the 15-member council, whose deadline for presenting its conclusions is set by law for August next year, hammer out measures for transforming the existing social security system--which has been fraying because of Japan's rapidly aging population coupled with a low birthrate--into a solid, sustainable framework.
 来年8月の設置期限までに、少子高齢化でほころびが目立つ制度を持続可能な仕組みにする方策を打ち出すことが重要である。

While benefit payments have snowballed, premiums and tax revenues for funding these expenses have been floundering. The disruption in the balance between benefit payments and the burden on the public to finance the system is leading it to the precipice.
 膨らみ続ける社会保障給付費に対し、財源の社会保険料や税収は低迷している。給付と負担のバランスが崩れていることが、制度の危機につながっている。

Government debts to make up for the revenue shortfall have ballooned.
不足分を補う国の借金は増える一方だ。

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Do away with inequities

The new council plans to ensure necessary social security services can be provided while "curbing the increasing financial burden on the people."
 国民会議は「国民負担の増大を抑制しつつ」必要なサービスを確保する方針だ。

However, it would be all but impossible to maintain the system without asking the public to fairly shoulder a burden commensurate with their income level.
だが、国民に公平で相応の負担を求めなくては、制度は維持できまい。

People aged 70 to 74 pay 10 percent of their medical fees from their own pocket, although the rate set by law is 20 percent. The medical bill burden for people in this age bracket is substantially lower than that of people younger or older than them. This has generated a sense of inequality. We think the supposedly provisional measure should be quickly removed so people aged 70 to 74 pay 20 percent of their medical bills.
 例えば70~74歳の医療費の窓口負担率は、法定では2割なのに、1割に抑えられている。前後の年代に比べて自己負担が軽く、不公平が生じている。すみやかに2割負担に引き上げるべきである。

Social security benefits will inevitably be curbed. In addition, pension benefits must be lowered in accordance with the falling wage levels of working generations currently paying pension premiums.
 給付の抑制も避けられない。年金保険料を納める現役世代の賃金水準の低下に合わせ、年金給付を引き下げる必要がある。

Steps to boost the low birthrate also are urgently needed.
 少子化対策も急務だ。

As a percentage of gross domestic product, Japanese government spending on child care support is less than one-third that of the expenditures of nations such as France and Sweden, which have turned around their low birthrates. Effective social security measures, including expanding day care services for children, and ways to secure revenue, must be worked out.
 フランス、スウェーデンなど少子化を改善させた国々に比べ、日本の子育て支援支出は国内総生産(GDP)比で3分の1に満たない。保育サービスの拡充など効果的な政策や、財源を確保する方策を追求すべきだ。

The council will discuss four main issues: medical services, nursing care services, pensions and ways of reversing the low birthrate. Yet another issue--employment--must not be left unaddressed.
 国民会議の検討項目は医療、介護、年金、少子化の4分野だが、雇用対策も忘れてはならない。

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3-party cooperation vital

The council is expected to include in its agenda how to improve the working conditions of nonregular employees who are not covered by social security insurance plans despite earning low wages.
低賃金のうえ、社会保険が適用されない非正規雇用の待遇改善などが検討課題になろう。

To translate the council's conclusions into concrete policies, cooperation between the Democratic party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito will be vital.
 国民会議の結論を得て、具体的な政策に結び付けるためには、民主、自民、公明3党の協力体制が欠かせない。

The DPJ has been arguing for the creation of a guaranteed minimum pension system and abolition of the special medical care service arrangements for people 75 or older. Both DPJ goals are unrealistic and opposed by the LDP and Komeito.
 民主党は、最低保障年金の創設や後期高齢者医療制度の廃止を主張しているが、現実味に乏しく、自公両党は反対している。

After the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election, the three parties, in parallel with discussions by the national council, must hold consultations and find solutions to these issues.
衆院選後、国民会議と並行して政党間協議を行い、決着するべきだ。

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), for its part, wants to change the pay-as-you-go pension system, under which benefits for current pensioners are funded by premiums paid by workers, into a funded pension system under which premiums paid by workers fund the pension they receive after retirement.
 日本維新の会は現在の賦課方式の年金制度を積み立て方式に改めると主張し、

Another new party, Nippon Mirai no To (Japan future party), has trumpeted the creation of a minimum pension guarantee system.
日本未来の党は最低保障年金の創設を訴えている。

The feasibility of these arguments is questionable. Nevertheless, these arguments could affect deliberations by the council, depending on the results of the lower house election.
 実現性は疑問だが、衆院選の結果次第では、国民会議に影響を与える可能性もある。

Every party must be well aware of the importance of stably maintaining the nation's social security system.
 どの政党も、社会保障制度を安定させながら維持していくことの重要性を認識すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 2, 2012)
(2012年12月2日01時04分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2012-12-04 07:52 | 英字新聞

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