貿易赤字15か月 原発再稼働で早期に歯止めを

The Yomiuri Shimbun October 23, 2013
Restart nuclear reactors to help stem snowballing trade deficit
貿易赤字15か月 原発再稼働で早期に歯止めを(10月22日付・読売社説)

Japan’s trade deficit continues to grow unabated. If the nation’s wealth continues to pour out of the country, the path toward rejuvenation of Japan’s economy will become tougher.
 貿易赤字の拡大に歯止めがかからない。国富の流出が続けば、日本経済再生への道は一段と険しくなるだろう。

The government must do everything in its power to enable Japan to rebuild itself as a trade-oriented nation.
 政府は「貿易立国」の復活に向け、全力を挙げなければならない。

Japan’s balance of trade, the difference between the monetary value of exports and imports, stood at ¥930 billion in the red in September. This marked the 15th consecutive month of a year-on-year increase in the trade deficit, surpassing the previous record of 14 straight months set 33 years ago at the time of the second oil crisis.
 輸出額から輸入額を差し引いた9月の貿易収支は、9300億円の赤字だった。貿易赤字は15か月連続で、第2次石油危機時の14か月を超え、33年ぶりに最長記録を更新した。

The trade deficit for the April-to-September first half of this fiscal year reached ¥4.9 trillion, a record for a fiscal half year.
 今年度上半期(4~9月)の赤字も4・9兆円に達し、半期として過去最大となった。

The trade deficit has primarily stemmed from the sharp rise in Japan’s imports of fuel for thermal power plants, which are being used increasingly as an alternative power source for the nation’s idled nuclear power plants. The yen’s depreciation against the dollar in recent times has also been a factor in the deficit’s expansion.
 貿易赤字の主因は、全国の原子力発電所が停止し、代替する火力発電所向けの燃料輸入が急増したことである。為替相場が円安・ドル高に振れたことも、赤字拡大に拍車をかけたと言える。

Imports of liquefied natural gas, the main fuel used for power generation, have doubled compared with just before the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011.
 主力燃料である液化天然ガス(LNG)の輸入額は、東日本大震災前から倍増した。

According to a government estimate, additional fuel costs, including those of LNG and crude oil needed for thermal power generation due to the mothballing of nuclear reactors, is expected to total ¥9 trillion over the three fiscal years from 2011 to 2013.
政府試算によると、LNGや石油など、原発停止による火力発電の追加燃料費は、2011~13年度の3年間で総額9兆円にのぼる見通しだ。

This extraordinary situation in which a massive amount of money for fuel imports has flowed out of Japan and into resource-rich countries in the Middle East and elsewhere cannot simply be brushed off.
 巨額の輸入代金が、中東などの資源国に流出し続けている異常事態を看過できない。

This country urgently needs to restart nuclear power plants that have been confirmed safe to operate, and lessen its excessive dependence on thermal power plants.
 安全性を確認できた原発を再稼働し、火力発電への過度な依存を改めることが急務である。

Give companies a hand

The rise in electricity rates stemming from higher fuel costs is also a serious issue. Within the service area of Tokyo Electric Power Co., electricity bills for an average-sized family have risen by about 30 percent compared with before the 2011 quake and tsunami disaster—an increase of nearly ¥1,800 a month.
 燃料費の増大に伴う電気料金の上昇も深刻だ。東京電力の管内では、標準家庭の料金が震災前より約30%、月額で1800円近く値上がりした。

The electricity rate for corporate users has risen by an even wider margin. This situation could accelerate the hollowing-out of industry as businesses shift production bases abroad to avoid rising operating costs at home. There also are fears that a vicious circle may develop in which Japan’s exports decline as a result of the hollowing-out of industry, pushing the trade deficit even higher.
 企業向けの電気料金は、家庭より値上げ幅が大きい。企業がコスト増を敬遠し、生産拠点を海外に移す「産業空洞化」が再び加速しかねない状況だ。空洞化で輸出が減り、貿易赤字がさらに拡大する悪循環も懸念される。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has indicated he plans to make Japan “the best country in the world for companies to do business,” by promoting his growth strategy, which includes deregulatory measures. To achieve this, it is essential to establish a system that guarantees a stable supply of cheap electricity.
 安倍首相は規制緩和など成長戦略を推進し、日本を「世界で一番企業が活躍しやすい国」とする考えを示している。その実現には、安価な電力の安定供給体制を確立することが不可欠だろう。

It is worrisome that while imports of solar panels and smartphones from China have increased, Japan’s exports to newly emerging economies in Asia and elsewhere have remained sluggish.
 中国からの太陽光パネルやスマートフォンの輸入が増える一方、アジアなど新興国向け輸出が伸び悩んでいるのは気がかりだ。

The government should cut the effective corporate tax rate and help companies boost their international competitiveness. The public and private sectors also should unite in the promotion of infrastructure exports, including nuclear power plants and high-speed railway systems.
 政府は法人税実効税率を引き下げ、企業の競争力強化策を後押しすべきである。官民連携による、原発や高速鉄道などインフラ輸出の促進も求められる。

The bottom line is that private businesses produce attractive goods and services with their own originality and ingenuity. We hope they will rise to the challenge and emerge victorious in the international competition.
 肝心なのは、民間企業が創意工夫で魅力的な商品やサービスを生み出すことである。チャレンジ精神を発揮し、国際競争を勝ち抜いてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 22, 2013)
(2013年10月22日01時32分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2013-10-24 06:51 | 英字新聞

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