社会保障政策 全世代で応分の負担が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 3, 2013)
Sustaining social security system requires all generations to chip in
社会保障政策 全世代で応分の負担が必要だ(12月31日付・読売社説)

 ◆活力回復へ少子化に歯止めを◆
Japan's rapidly aging population and chronically low birthrate have cast a dark shadow on the nation's social security system--it has become unclear whether pension, health care, elderly care and other services can be maintained in the future.
 急速な少子高齢化で、年金、医療、介護など社会保障制度の維持に黄信号がともっている。

Due to anxiety about the future, the public has become caught up in a mentality to curb spending and increase savings, which has been one reason for the economic slump. We urge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Cabinet to speed up their efforts to rebuild public trust in the social security system.
 将来への不安から、消費を控えて貯蓄に回そうとする心理が、景気低迷にもつながっている。安倍内閣は、社会保障制度に対する信頼の回復を急がねばならない。

The Cabinet must give top priority to steadily implementing integrated reform of the social security and tax systems, centering on raising the consumption tax rate. Additional tax revenues will become a funding source for basic pension payments, health care and other welfare services. It will be a major step toward maintaining the social security system.
 最優先すべきは、消費税率の引き上げを柱とする社会保障と税の一体改革を着実に進めることだ。消費増税分は、基礎年金や医療などの財源に充てられる。制度を維持していくための大きな一歩になるだろう。

 ◆改革は長期的な視点で◆

However, it is obvious that such reform--although necessary--is not sufficient to resolve the problem. It will be crucial to implement steps to turn around the low birthrate as a part of long-term reform based on a farsighted viewpoint.
 無論、これだけでは不十分だ。将来を見据えた長期的な改革として、少子化対策が重要である。

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Spend more on children

Japan's social security programs have so far provided solid services to the elderly, such as substantial pension payments. On the other hand, measures to tackle the low birthrate have been poor.
 これまでの日本の社会保障は、年金額などで高齢者に手厚い反面、少子化対策が貧弱だった。

The state coffers are expected to collect an additional 13.5 trillion yen due to the consumption tax increase, and under the integrated reform, 700 billion yen will be used to support child-rearing. However, the money to be spent on child-rearing is nowhere near what was spent by France, Sweden and other nations that successfully conquered their own low birthrate problems.
 社会保障と税の一体改革によって、消費増税分13兆5000億円のうち、7000億円が子育て支援策の財源となる。それでも、フランスやスウェーデンなど、少子化の克服に成功した国々に比べると相当見劣りする。

Japan's most recent total fertility rate--the average number of children each woman has in her lifetime--was 1.39, one of the lowest among advanced nations. Due to the low birthrate, the nation's population is expected to drop by more than 30 percent over the next 50 years, and by about two-thirds in 100 years.
 日本は、1人の女性が産む子供の数を示す合計特殊出生率が1・39で、先進国では最低のレベルだ。出生率の低下で、人口は今後50年間に3割以上も減り、100年後には3分の1の規模に縮むと予測されている。

If the government is unable to increase the birthrate, the labor force will drop significantly. As a result, the working generation will have to bear a heavier burden to keep social security programs running. It also will hurt economic growth and diminish social vitality.
 少子化に歯止めがかからなければ、労働力人口が減少し、現役世代の社会保障費負担は重くなる。経済成長にもマイナスで、社会の活力をそぐことにもなる。

Many women are still forced to quit their jobs when they have babies. This situation must be changed. Concern about losing their jobs has become one reason some women hesitate to have children. The government must urgently create an environment in which women can work without anxieties, such as by boosting child care services and increasing income compensation for women taking child care leave.
 出産を機に退職を余儀なくされる女性が多い現状を改善したい。失職への不安が、出産をためらう一因だ。保育サービスの拡充や育児休業中の所得保障の強化など、安心して働き続けられる環境を整えることが急務だろう。

During a recent press conference, Abe said one of his administration's tasks is to make Japan a nation where more women can have successful careers and feel comfortable having and raising children. During the administrations of the Democratic Party of Japan, 10 politicians held the post of state minister for measures for the declining birthrate in three years and three months. We urge the Abe administration to learn from this awful example and powerfully promote measures to rectify the low birthrate.
 安倍首相は記者会見で、女性が活躍し、子供を産み育てやすい国を作っていくことが政権の責務だと強調した。3年3か月で少子化相が計10人も入れ替わった民主党政権を反面教師とし、強力に少子化対策を進めてもらいたい。

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Help nonregular workers
 ◆非正規雇用対策が課題◆

The increase in nonregular workers has also become another problem for social security. The ranks of nonregular workers, such as part-time and temporary workers, recently exceeded 18 million--35 percent of the total workforce.
 少子化と並び、非正規雇用の増大も社会保障を危うくしている。パート、契約社員などの非正規労働者は1800万人を超え、被用者の35%に達した。

Many businesses do not apply social insurance programs--such as pension, medical and employment insurance--to their nonregular employees. The increase in the number of workers not obliged to pay social insurance premiums undermines the foundation of the social security system that is sustained by these premiums.
 非正規労働者については、年金、医療、雇用など社会保険を適用していない企業が多い。社会保険料の徴収対象でない労働者の増加は、保険料収入で成り立つ社会保障制度の根幹を揺るがす。

There is wide concern these nonregular workers will face severe lifestyle constraints if they lose their jobs or become ill, and will end up being entitled to only a small pension--or no pension at all.
 失業や病気が生活困窮に直結し、将来は無年金・低年金になる恐れも強い。

Nonregular workers are more likely to be axed first in corporate restructuring. Many find it difficult to get married due to financial reasons. The proportion of married nonregular workers in their 30s is about half that of regular employees in the same age bracket. This causes a vicious circle that accelerates the decline in the birthrate.
 非正規労働者は、リストラの対象にもなりやすい。経済的な理由で結婚が難しく、30歳代男性の既婚者の割合は正社員の半分ほどにとどまる。それが少子化を加速させる悪循環を招いている。

Expanding employee pension plans and social insurance programs to nonregular workers and correcting the gap in wages between regular and nonregular workers are major challenges.
 非正規労働者に対する厚生年金など社会保険の適用拡大や、正社員との賃金格差の是正は大きな課題である。

At a news conference after his recent appointment as health, labor and welfare minister, Norihisa Tamura said his ministry "will also deal with the employment issue wholeheartedly" to revitalize the economy. This is a reasonable statement. We hope the labor ministry will knuckle down to the task of improving the treatment of nonregular workers.
 田村厚生労働相が記者会見で、経済再生のため「雇用についてもしっかり対応したい」と述べたのは妥当だ。非正規労働者の処遇改善にも積極的に取り組んでもらいたい。

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Bearing appropriate burdens

To ensure the social security system is sustainable, every member of the population--young and old, regardless of generation--will need to bear a burden commensurate with their financial abilities. In particular need of an overhaul is the pension system.
 社会保障制度を持続可能にするには、若者から高齢者まで、世代を問わず、能力に応じて負担することも求められる。特に見直しが必要なのは、年金税制である。

Tax deductions from public pensions are considerable, so pensioners pay far less tax than do employees whose income is around the same as that of pensioners. It will be necessary to rectify this gap by strengthening taxation on pensioners.
 公的年金は税額控除が大きく、年金生活者の納税額は、同じ収入の勤労所得者に比べて大幅に少ない。年金課税を強化し、現役世代との格差を是正すべきだ。

This is not the sole problem. Patients aged 70 to 74 have been temporarily allowed to pay 10 percent of their medical bills from their own pocket, instead of the legally set rate of 20 percent. As a consequence, the proportion of income people in this age bracket use for medical expenses is smaller than that used by people in age groups on either side of them. We think the burden should be raised to 20 percent for people in the 70-74 bracket, as is legally provided for.
 問題はそれだけではない。70~74歳の医療費の窓口負担は、法定では2割のところ、1割に抑えられている。その結果、前後の年代に比べ、収入に占める負担額の割合が小さい。本来の2割負担に引き上げることが求められる。

 ◆給付の抑制も不可避◆

Under the current nursing care insurance system, service recipients who need only relatively little help pay 10 percent of the costs--the same level as people requiring a higher level of assistance. Consideration must be given to raising the rate shouldered by the former.
 介護サービスは現在、比較的症状が軽い要支援者でも、自己負担率は重度の要介護者と同じ1割だ。今後は負担率の引き上げも検討課題になる。

Cuts in pension benefits will be unavoidable.
 給付の抑制も避けられない。

A system was introduced in 2004 to keep the growth rates for public pensions below those for wages and prices. But the system has never been enforced. It should be implemented as early as possible.
 公的年金には、賃金や物価の変動率より年金の伸び率を低く抑える仕組みが2004年に導入されたが、一度も発動されていない。早期に実施する必要がある。

In reality, however, there are large income gaps among pensioners, and many of them rely on basic pension benefits for living expenses. So when the consumption tax rate is raised, it will be crucial to implement measures for low-income earners, such as introducing lower rates for daily living necessities.
 ただ、年金生活者の所得格差も大きく、生活費を基礎年金だけに頼る低年金の高齢者も少なくない。消費増税の際、生活必需品の軽減税率を導入するなど、低所得者対策が欠かせない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 31, 2012)
(2012年12月31日01時15分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2013-01-04 06:40 | 英字新聞

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