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国会代表質問

(Oct. 2, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun
Debate leaves more questions than answers
国会代表質問 すれ違いに終わった党首対決(10月2日付・読売社説)

Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa's speech during the Diet questioning session Wednesday was rather unusual. Was this an attempt to counter the equally unconventional policy speech given by Prime Minister Taro Aso to the Diet on Monday?
 異例の所信表明演説には、異例の代表質問で応じるということか。

Political maneuvering between the Liberal Democratic Party and the DPJ ahead of the next House of Representatives election is well and truly under way.
次期衆院選に向けて、自民、民主両党の駆け引きが本格化している。

Ozawa's speech, which he regarded as a policy speech he would make if he were prime minister, stressed mostly how a DPJ-led government would change Japan. Ozawa clearly spelled out policy pledges for the next lower house election, such as the provision of child-rearing allowances and a subsidy to guarantee a certain level of income for each farmer, and indicated the time frame for carrying out these policies.
 民主党の小沢代表は、自らの代表質問を「所信表明」と位置づけ、「民主党政権」が日本をどう変えるか、をもっぱら力説した。この中で、子ども手当や農家の戸別所得補償など、衆院選の政権公約の実施時期を個別に明示した。

The DPJ took a step forward from the pledges contained in its manifesto for last year's House of Councillors election by presenting a "flow chart" for carrying out policies. The two sets of policy pledges, however, are similar in that both spelled out policies without clearly stating where financial resources to fund them would come from.
 政策の「工程表」を示したのは、昨年夏の参院選公約より一歩前進だ。だが、財源の裏付けがあいまいな点はあまり変わらない。

Ozawa called for reconfiguring the net expenditures of the general and special accounts--212 trillion yen per year--and using about 10 percent of the budgets, or 20.5 trillion yen, for financing the DPJ's policies.
 小沢代表は、一般・特別会計の年間純支出計212兆円を抜本的に組み替え、その約1割の20・5兆円を財源にする、という。

Slashing expenditures, however, is difficult when more than 80 percent of them are earmarked for debt-servicing costs and social security benefits payments. The so-called "buried gold," or surplus funds in special accounts, which the DPJ has proposed tapping for implementing some of its policies, will not be an inexhaustible financial resource.
 しかし、支出の8割以上は国債償還、社会保障給付などで、削減は困難だ。特別会計の「埋蔵金」も恒久的財源にはならない。

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Dodging tough questions

When the DPJ officially announces its manifesto for assuming power, the party must give clear answers to such questions.
 民主党が政権公約を正式に発表する際には、こうした疑問に明確に答える必要があろう。

This was not the first "policy speech" Ozawa has made during a Diet questioning session by party representatives. Ozawa adopted a similar tack in January 1996 when he was allowed to question the policy speech made by then Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto immediately after becoming chief of the now-defunct New Frontier Party.
 小沢代表の代表質問での「所信表明」は、初めてではない。新進党党首に就任した直後の1996年1月にも、当時の橋本首相に対し同様の手法をとっている。

Ozawa, meanwhile, did not directly answer five questions Aso had directed at the DPJ during the prime minister's policy speech.
 一方で、麻生首相が所信表明演説で発した五つの質問に対しては、正面から答えなかった。

For example, Ozawa did not answer whether his party will give priority to the Japan-U.S. security alliance or the United Nations in diplomatic and security matters. He merely said, "The Japan-U.S. security alliance and the policy of placing the United Nations at the core of this nation's diplomatic policies do not contradict each other at all."
 例えば、日米同盟と国連の優先順位については、「日米同盟と国連中心主義は何ら矛盾しない」との無難な発言にとどめた。

Ozawa probably judged that it would not work to his advantage to discuss in detail the topics proposed by Aso. However, these debates will fail to get to the crux of each issue if both leaders simply speak past each other by making assertions.
 相手の土俵に乗るのは得策でない。そんな判断が小沢代表にあったのだろう。だが、双方が互いの主張を一方的に述べるだけでは、議論はすれ違うばかりだ。

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Still time for debates

Debates only grab the attention of listeners when each side makes its position clear, while making rebuttals to the other's arguments.
 自らの立場を明確にしつつ、きちんと反論し合ってこそ、聞き応えのある論議になる。

Pointing to the fact that the administrations of Aso's two predecessors--Shinzo Abe and Yasuo Fukuda--were short-lived, Ozawa called for an early dissolution of the lower house. "It only stands to reason in a parliamentary democracy to hand over the reins of government to the opposition and hold a general election," Ozawa said.
 小沢代表は、安倍、福田両政権が短命に終わったことを踏まえ、「野党に政権を渡し、総選挙を行うのが議会制民主主義の筋道」と早期の衆院解散を求めた。

Aso scoffed at Ozawa's assertion by saying, "The LDP is the party that has the unyielding capability to hold the reins of government and assume responsibility for the future of Japan." Aso upped the ante by touching on Ozawa's admission when a proposal to form a grand coalition between the LDP and DPJ collapsed last year that doubts were cast on the DPJ's ability to assume power.
 麻生首相は「確固たる政権担当能力を持ち、日本の未来に責任を持てるのは自民党だ」と切り返した。昨秋に大連立構想が頓挫した際、小沢代表が、民主党の政権担当能力に疑問が示されていると認めたことにも触れ、反論した。

The face-off between the LDP and DPJ presidents ended without getting down to the essence of the issues. But the two leaders still have more opportunities for open debates. A question-and-answer session is scheduled for next week's meeting of the lower house Budget Committee to deliberate the supplementary budget.
 この日の党首対決は、全般的に“消化不良”に終わったが、まだ機会はある。来週は、補正予算案審議のため、一問一答方式の衆院予算委員会が開かれる予定だ。

We believe this meeting would be a good opportunity for Ozawa to put forward more questions. We hope he will hold more in-depth debates with Aso.
 小沢代表が再び質問に立ってはどうか。麻生首相と、より深みのある論戦を展開してほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 2, 2008)
(2008年10月2日01時50分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2008-10-02 08:28 | 英字新聞

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