憲法記念日 改正論議の高まり生かしたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun May 4, 2013
Growing debate in Diet on revision of basic law should be put to good use
憲法記念日 改正論議の高まり生かしたい(5月3日付・読売社説)

 ◆各党は参院選へ具体策を競え◆

In the current Diet session under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, discussions about the wisdom of revising the Constitution are unusually animated.
 安倍政権下の国会では憲法改正を巡る論議がいつになく活発だ。

Depending on the outcome of the House of Councillors election this summer, revision of the Constitution, which Abe has committed to including in the upper house election platform, may become more likely.
 夏の参院選の結果次第で、安倍首相が公約に掲げる憲法改正がいよいよ現実味を帯びてくるだろう。

May 3 is Constitution Day, marking the 67th year since the enforcement of the current supreme law.
 きょうは、日本国憲法が施行されてから67年目の憲法記念日。

Despite drastic changes in the domestic and international environments since it was put into force, the Constitution has never been changed.
日本の内外情勢は激変したにもかかわらず、憲法はまだ一度も改正されていない。

We should make this day an opportunity to think about what the Constitution should be.
そんな憲法の在りようを考える機会としたい。

 ◆まずは発議要件緩和を◆

Ease revision requirements first

Lying at the root of the constitutional debates is the fact that the Japanese have had "no experience at all writing a constitution on their own," as the prime minister has pointed out.
 憲法改正論議の根底にあるのは安倍首相が指摘するように、「日本人は自身の手で憲法を作ったことがない」という事実である。

The prewar constitution--the Constitution of the Empire of Japan of 1889--commonly called the Meiji Constitution, was granted by the Emperor. And the current Constitution was produced based on a draft worked out under the Occupation after the end of World War II by the General Headquarters of the Allied Powers.
 戦前の大日本帝国憲法は天皇の定めた欽定(きんてい)憲法だ。現行憲法は占領下、連合国軍総司令部(GHQ)の草案を基に制定された。

The idea of the Japanese people themselves discussing fundamentals of the nation and revising the Constitution in a way suited to the changing times is natural and reasonable indeed.
 国民自ら国の基本を論じ、時代に合うよう憲法を改正するという考え方は、至極もっともだ。

In nationwide opinion surveys conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun, respondents who favor changing the Constitution have consistently outnumbered opponents since the 1993 survey.
読売新聞の世論調査でも1993年以降、ほぼ一貫して憲法改正賛成派が反対派を上回っている。

The core of constitutional revision, as is widely known, lies in the advisability of changing Article 9.
 憲法改正の核心は、やはり9条である。

The stipulation in the second paragraph of the article that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained" has diverged greatly from reality.
 第2項の「陸海空軍その他の戦力は保持しない」は、現実と乖離(かいり)している。

To end the fiction that "the self-defense forces are not military forces," the SDF must be given explicit constitutional status.
「自衛隊は軍隊ではない」という虚構を解消するため、自衛隊を憲法に明確に位置付けるべきだ。

Article 96 of the Constitution, which sets down requirements regarding amending the supreme law, has also emerged as a major point of contention in discussions about the Constitution.
 憲法の改正要件を定めた96条も主要な論点に浮上してきた。

Not only the Liberal Democratic Party but also such opposition parties as Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party have made public commitments to revising Article 96. The two opposition parties' commitments are noteworthy as they point toward possible cooperation with the LDP over constitutional revision after the coming upper house election. This opportunity must not be missed.
 自民党だけでなく、日本維新の会やみんなの党も96条の改正を公約している。参院選後の連携を図る動きとしても注目される。この機を逃してはなるまい。

Article 96 states the Diet can initiate amendments to the Constitution with approval of "two-thirds or more" of all members of both chambers of the legislature and the amendments must thereafter gain approval by a majority of all votes cast in a special referendum.
 96条は、憲法改正について衆参各院の総議員の「3分の2以上」の賛成で国会が発議し、国民投票で過半数の賛成を得なければならないと定めている。

Given these procedures, Japan's Constitution can be considered much more difficult to revise than the supreme laws of other countries. It seems the GHQ might have thought when drafting the Constitution that it would take a long time for democracy to take root in Japan.
 世界でも改正難度の高い硬性憲法と言えるだろう。GHQは、日本で民主主義が確立するには時間がかかると考えたようだ。

The LDP's draft of constitutional revisions calls for easing the "two-thirds or more" requirement of Article 96 to a simple majority of both houses of the Diet.
 自民党の憲法改正草案は、96条の「3分の2以上」という要件を「過半数」と改めている。

The LDP-envisioned revision of the article would make it easier for the Diet to initiate constitutional revision, but there would be no change at all in the subsequent process, in which a final decision on the matter is up to a national referendum.
 国会が改正案の発議をしやすくなるだけで、最終的にその是非を決めるのは国民投票であることに変わりはない。

The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan has been arguing that not procedural matters for amending the Constitution but discussions about which specific parts of the Constitution should be changed must come first.
 民主党は改正手続きよりも、どの条項を改めるかという内容の議論が先だと言う。

The LDP and some others, however, have already publicly suggested concrete plans to revise the Constitution.
だが、自民党などは既に具体的な改正方針を国民に示している。

The DPJ is urged to engage fully in intraparty discussions concerning the advisability of changing the Constitution and come up with a unified party view on the matter.
民主党こそ憲法改正について論議を尽くし、党としての見解を明らかにすべきだ。

Roles of Diet chambers
 ◆必要な衆参の役割分担◆

Another urgent task is to review the roles of both Diet houses.
 衆院と参院の役割を見直すことも、喫緊の課題である。

Under the current situation of the "divided Diet," both the ruling and opposition parties must be keenly aware of how much the existence of "an excessively strong upper house" has stagnated national politics.
 衆参ねじれ国会の下で、「強すぎる参院」の存在がどれほど国政を停滞させてきたか、与野党とも痛感しているはずだ。

One possible solution is to revise Paragraph 2 of Article 59. The current paragraph stipulates that a bill passed by the lower house but voted down by the upper house becomes law when passed a second time by the lower house with a majority of "two-thirds or more" of the members present. This should be changed to a simple majority. That would make passage of bills in the lower house on a second vote easier and better clarify the lower house's superiority over the upper house.
 解決策の一つが、59条2項の改正だ。参院が衆院と異なる議決をした法案は、再び衆院で「3分の2以上」の多数で可決すれば成立する、という現行の規定を「過半数」に改めればよい。再議決による法案成立が容易になり、衆院の優位性もより明確になる。

We question why the LDP's constitutional revision draft does not refer to this point.
 自民党の憲法改正草案がこれに言及していないのは疑問だ。

In 2000, a private body of advisers to the upper house president compiled a Diet reform plan that includes relaxation of the conditions for a second vote in the lower house and abolition of the upper house's right to designate a prime ministerial candidate. The reform would require constitutional revision.
 2000年に参院議長の私的諮問機関が、衆院での再議決要件緩和のほか、参院の首相指名権の廃止など憲法改正も伴う改革案をまとめた。

The plan, which aims at shrinking the authority of the House of Councillors to reduce its participation in the administration of the national government, is still worth considering.
 参院の権限を縮小し、政権から距離を置く。今でも十分、検討に値する。

Concerning electoral system reform to correct the disparity in the value of votes, both chambers' electoral systems should be reviewed simultaneously.
 「1票の格差」是正のための選挙制度改革も、衆参の制度を同時に見直すべきだろう。

What functions should the upper house and lower house each have? In what way should people's wills be reflected in politics to form a desirable administration? Electoral systems must be reformed from such viewpoints.
 衆院と参院がどういう機能を分担すればよいか。望ましい政権を形成するためには、どう民意を集約するか。そうした観点から選挙制度を検討する必要がある。

This year's Constitution Day comes shortly after a series of high court rulings in lawsuits challenging the disparity in the value of votes in December's House of Representatives election in which the courts ruled the election was "unconstitutional." The Supreme Court will rule on the matter as early as this autumn.
 今年の憲法記念日は、先の衆院選での「1票の格差」を巡る訴訟で高裁による「違憲」判決が相次いだ直後に迎えることになった。秋にも最高裁が判断を示す。

At this critical stage, the Diet, the legislative branch of the nation, must at least pass a lower house rezoning bill designed to cut five seats from the lower house.
 ここに至った以上、立法府として最低限、0増5減の区割り法案を成立させるのが筋である。

Avoid a race to cut seats
 ◆定数削減競争は避けよ◆

The Democratic Party of Japan and other parties are currently competing with their plans to aggressively cut the number of Diet seats, saying "reforms in which the government as well as Diet members share the pain" are necessary. This is nothing but populism disguised as reform.
 民主党など各党は国会議員も「身を切る改革」が必要だと主張し、定数削減を競っている。これは改革を装ったポピュリズム(大衆迎合)と言うほかない。

The number of members in Japan's Diet members is not excessive when compared with other nations based on population. Cuts in personnel costs for Diet members would have only a limited effect in reducing the government's fiscal expenditures. Such an action would rather deteriorate the Diet's legislative functions. If Diet members want to feel pain, it would be better to cut their annual salaries and subsidies to political parties.
 日本は、人口当たりの国会議員数では国際比較でも決して多くはない。国会議員の人件費を減らしても財政削減効果は限定的だ。かえって立法機能が低下しよう。身を切るなら、歳費や政党助成金をカットすればよいではないか。

Some believe the Constitution should stipulate measures the nation can take in response to emergency situations and the right to a healthy environment for the people. We think these are very important viewpoints.
 憲法に関しては、緊急事態対処や環境権などを規定すべきだとの主張もある。重要な視点だ。

With the upper house election just around the corner, we hope each party will positively engage in the debate.
 参院選に向け、各党とも積極的に論戦を展開してもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 3, 2013)
(2013年5月3日01時05分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2013-05-05 08:33 | 英字新聞

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