消費税率 「来春の8%」は見送るべきだ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 1, 2013
Govt should shelve sales tax hike to 8% in April to guard recovery
消費税率 「来春の8%」は見送るべきだ(8月31日付・読売社説)

 ◆デフレからの脱却を最優先に

The most imperative issue for the Japanese economy is to overcome deflation. If an increase in the consumption tax rate dampens the economy, which has finally begun to recover, it will ruin the whole situation.
 日本経済の最重要課題は、デフレからの脱却である。消費税率引き上げで、ようやく上向いてきた景気を腰折れさせてしまえば元も子もない。

The government should shelve the planned hike in the consumption tax rate to 8 percent in April next year. Rather, it would be a realistic choice to raise the tax rate from the current 5 percent to 10 percent in October 2015 after achieving a full economic recovery.
 政府は、2014年4月に予定される消費税率の8%への引き上げは見送るべきだ。景気の本格回復を実現したうえで、15年10月に5%から10%へ引き上げることが現実的な選択と言えよう。

The government has been holding intensive discussion sessions to hear a wide range of opinions from experts and others over the advisibility of the planned increase in the consumption tax rate.
 消費増税を巡って、有識者らから幅広く意見を聴く政府の集中点検会合が開かれている。

Achieve growth, fiscal health
 ◆成長と財政再建両立を

It was a matter of course for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is expected to make a decision on the tax hike this autumn, to say: “I’ll ultimately decide on my own responsibility. After getting the results of the discussions, I’ll try to make a proper judgment taking into account a variety of economic indicators.”
 安倍首相が今秋の決断へ、「最終的に私の責任で決める。会合の結果報告を受け、様々な経済指標を踏まえて適切に判断したい」と述べているのは妥当だ。

Japan has been suffering from deflation for 15 years and running huge fiscal deficits. If economic stagnation continues for a prolonged period, Japan’s strength might be further weakened.
 日本は、15年間もデフレが継続し、巨額の財政赤字を抱える。景気低迷がさらに長期化すれば国力の低下が進みかねない。

How can the nation defeat deflation and achieve both economic growth and fiscal reconstruction? What is required for Japan are concrete measures to tackle these difficult problems.
 デフレを克服し、経済成長と財政再建の両立をいかに図るか。日本に求められているのは、この難題に取り組む方策である。

The Yomiuri Shimbun has insisted on the necessity of raising the consumption tax from the standpoint that the nation needs to secure fiscal resources for social security expenditures, which are growing year by year, and get its fiscal condition in sound shape in the medium term. We maintain this stance.
 読売新聞は年々増える社会保障費の財源を確保し、中期的に財政健全化を図るべきだとの立場から、消費増税の必要性を主張してきた。考えは変わらない。

Many of the experts and others participating in the discussions have argued in favor of raising the tax rate next spring as planned, but the question is whether that is the right time to raise the tax.
 有識者らの多くは、来春に予定通り引き上げるよう主張したが、問題は、来春が増税するのに適切な時期かどうかだ。

The nation’s real gross domestic product for April-June rose only 2.6 percent on an annualized basis. Although the effects of the Abe administration’s Abenomics economic policies have begun to be seen, it is far from what we could call a self-sustaining recovery led by private-sector demand.
 今年4~6月期の実質国内総生産(GDP)は、年率換算で2・6%増にとどまった。
 安倍政権の経済政策「アベノミクス」の効果が見え始めてきたものの、民需主導の自律的回復というにはほど遠い。

It is a cause for concern that the nation has not yet achieved a virtuous cycle of Abenomics in which growth results in higher wages and more employment.
 懸念されるのは、成長に伴って賃金が上昇し、雇用も拡大するというアベノミクスの好循環が実現していないことだ。

Next April will be a crucial time, particularly as companies may decide to increase wages after the annual spring labor offensive and may decide to expand their recruitment of new graduates for 2015. Cold water must not be thrown on progress leading toward a virtuous cycle.
 来年4月は、春闘による賃上げや新卒採用の拡大などが見込まれる重要な時期である。好循環への動きに冷水を浴びせたくない。

Surely, a consumption tax rate hike alone will not help the nation achieve fiscal reconstruction. There are fears that if the economy loses steam with the tax hike, it could mean that tax revenues from such sources as corporate and income taxes will not increase as much as expected. Such a scenario would rather push fiscal reconstruction further into the distance.
 もちろん、消費増税だけで財政は再建できない。増税で景気が失速すれば、法人税や所得税などの税収も期待したほどは増えない恐れがある。それではかえって財政健全化が遠のくだろう。

Although the government this autumn plans to hammer out additional economic measures, including a tax cut to stimulate investment, as part of its growth strategy, it will take time for these policy measures to produce tangible results.
 政府は今秋、成長戦略として投資減税などの追加策を打ち出す方針だが、そうした政策効果が表れるまでには時間がかかる。

Aim for 10% in ’15
 ◆15年の10%を目指せ

If the consumption tax rate cannot be raised to 10 percent in 2015 as a result of adhering to the plan to increase it to 8 percent next April, that will be an inversion of Japan’s priorities.
 8%への引き上げに固執した結果、景気が落ち込み、10%への引き上げを実現できなくなれば、本末転倒である。

Some people, on the other hand, have expressed concern that if the tax hike is postponed, confidence in Japanese government bonds will drop, leading to a rise in long-term interest rates.
 他方、消費増税を先送りした場合には、日本国債の信認が損なわれ、長期金利が上昇すると懸念する声が出ている。

What matters is whether the government can send a strong message that will dispel such fears. The government is urged to seek understanding both at home and abroad by announcing that postponing the rate increase to 8 percent is the result of its giving top priority to ending deflation and that its committ-ment to fiscal reconstruction will not falter in the least.
 重要なのは、不安を払拭する政府の強いメッセージである。8%見送りはデフレ脱却を最優先した結果であり、財政再建の決意はいささかも揺るがないと表明し、内外の理解を求めてもらいたい。

A matter to be tackled in this connection is how to secure fiscal funds to make up for tax revenue that will be lost by putting off the tax hike. It will be necessary to curtail nonurgent spending while considering all possible measures.
 増税先送りに伴う消費税収分をカバーする財政資金の確保も課題になる。まず緊急性の低い歳出は削減し、併せて、あらゆる政策を検討する必要がある。

One policy could be to make effective use of untapped household assets by issuing government bonds that do not bear interest but are exempt from inheritance tax on their face value. The funds to be collected widely could be used on a priority basis for social security programs and measures to prevent and reduce disasters.
 利子が付かない代わりに、国債の額面分に相続税を課さない無利子非課税国債を発行し、家計に眠る貯蓄を有効活用することは政策メニューの一つだ。
 広く集めた資金を社会保障や防災・減災対策などに重点配分することが考えられる。

Steps to reduce burdens
 ◆軽減税率を新聞にも

When the rate is raised to 10 percent in October 2015, it will be indispensable to consider measures to lessen the burden on the public. We suggest the government introduce reduced tax rates on certain items and that the current tax rate of 5 percent be maintained for foodstuffs such as rice and miso paste as well as newspapers, which are public goods necessary to sustain democracy.
 15年10月に消費税率を10%に引き上げる際は、国民負担の軽減が不可欠だ。税率を低く抑える軽減税率を導入し、コメ、みそなどの食料品や、民主主義を支える公共財である新聞を対象とし、5%の税率を維持すべきだ。

We cannot agree with increasing the consumption tax in increments of one percentage point because it will vastly increase the administrative work for small and midsize businesses and make it difficult for them to reflect the tax increase in their product prices.
 消費税率を1%ずつ段階的に引き上げる案では、中小企業などの事務負担が増大し、価格転嫁しにくくなるため、賛成できない。

When deciding on a tax increase, it is necessary to keep a close watch on the world economy.
 消費増税の判断にあたっては、世界経済への警戒も怠れない。

As tensions have risen in Syria, U.S. military action is looming as a possibility. Crude oil prices have already been soaring, while the strong yen and low stock prices have continued. With no prospect in sight of restarting of nuclear reactors, further rises in utility rates can be anticipated due to escalating fuel costs.
 シリア情勢が緊迫化し、米国による軍事行動が取り沙汰される。すでに原油価格が高騰し、円高・株安傾向も続いている。原発再稼働の見通しが立たない中、燃料高に伴い、電気料金のさらなる値上げも予想されよう。

The U.S. “exit strategy” of phasing out its unconventional monetary easing measures and China’s financial risks can be regarded as destabilizing factors.
 米国が異例の量的緩和策を縮小する「出口戦略」や、中国の金融リスクも波乱要因と言える。

When the consumption tax was raised from 3 percent to 5 percent in April 1997, business suddenly slowed down due to the double blow of serious financial uncertainty and the Asian monetary crisis. This was a bitter lesson to learn.
 1997年4月に消費税率を3%から5%に引き上げた際、深刻な金融不安に加え、アジア通貨危機が重なり、景気が急減速したことが苦い教訓である。

The government is urged to closely examine domestic and foreign affairs, and make an appropriate decision so as not to miss the chance to revitalize Japan.
 内外情勢を十分に見極め、日本再生のチャンスを逃さない決断が政府に求められている。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 31, 2013)
(2013年8月31日01時31分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2013-09-02 06:17 | 英字新聞

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