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外交・安保 民主党は「給油」の代案を示せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 31, 2009)
DPJ's troubling stand on refueling mission
外交・安保 民主党は「給油」の代案を示せ(7月31日付・読売社説)

How should the nation deal with the threats posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles as well as acts of international terrorism? How can Japan's national interests be protected while this nation works in tandem with international society?
 北朝鮮の核・ミサイルや国際テロの脅威にどう備えるのか。国際社会と協調しながら、日本の国益をいかに守るか。

We hope political parties will hold animated discussions on what course Japan's diplomatic and security policies should take, during their campaigns for the upcoming House of Representatives election.
 各政党は衆院選を通じて、外交・安全保障政策の方向性を大いに論じてもらいたい。

At the moment, the topic on many observers' lips is the Self-Defense Forces' refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.
 目下の焦点は、インド洋での海上自衛隊の給油活動だ。

In a recent moderation of its foreign and security policy, the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan announced a plan to continue, for the time being, the refueling mission, which the party once decried as violating the Constitution.
 民主党は、かつて「憲法違反」とまで批判していた給油活動を当面継続する新方針を打ち出した。

However, DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama said Wednesday his party would not extend the mission once the new Antiterrorism Law expires in January. We find the party's fickle response to this important mission hard to fathom.
ところが、鳩山代表は、来年1月の新テロ対策特別措置法の期限切れ後は活動の延長はしないと表明した。分かりにくい対応だ。

Why did the DPJ decide to continue the operation for the time being if it believes it violates the Constitution? If the party withdraws the Maritime Self-Defense Force from the Indian Ocean, just what does it plan to contribute to the international fight against terrorism? Does it plan to do nothing at all?
 「憲法違反」の活動を、なぜ当面は継続するのか。仮に海自を撤収させる場合、「テロとの戦い」のために、代わりに何をするのか。それとも何もしないのか。

The DPJ has a responsibility to provide clear answers to these questions.
 民主党は衆院選前に、これらの点を明確にする責任がある。

===

Afghanistan proposal weak

In 2007, the party submitted to the Diet a counterproposal to the ruling bloc's antiterrorism bill. The DPJ's alternative plan called for providing humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan after a formal ceasefire has been reached in the war-torn country. The grim reality, however, is that there is absolutely no prospect of such an accord being signed. The upshot is that the DPJ proposal practically means that Japan would sit on its hands and offer nothing to the international fight against terrorism.
 一昨年、民主党が国会に提出した新テロ特措法の対案は、アフガニスタンでの武力抗争停止の合意後に人道復興支援を行う内容だった。そんな合意の見通しはなく、事実上は何もしない案だ。

Given that, the proposal is unlikely to be warmly supported in foreign capitals.
 同じ案では、国際社会の理解は到底得られまい。

The DPJ proposed in its manifesto that Japan will share roles with the United States and proactively fulfill its responsibilities to build an "equal Japan-U.S. relationship."
 民主党の政権公約は、「対等な日米関係」を構築するため、「米国と役割を分担しながら日本の責任を積極的に果たす」と明記した。

The expression "equal relationship" suggests the DPJ intends to back away from the path trodden by the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, which it claims have been content to follow the lead of the United States.
「対等な関係」とは、自公政権は米国に追従してきたが、民主党政権は違う、という趣旨だろう。

The DPJ manifesto says the party plans to propose to the United States that the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement be revised and the realignment of U.S. forces stationed in Japan be reviewed.
 公約によれば、日米地位協定や米軍再編の見直しを米側に提起するという。

But if the DPJ is serious about bringing these pledges to fruition, it must explain what international responsibilities it plans to fulfill. Failure to do so will sink any hopes the party has of building an "equal relationship" with the United States.
だが、その実現には、まず、どんな国際的な「責任」を果たすのかを示すことが不可欠だろう。それなしに、「対等な関係」を築けるはずがない。

===

Adapting to the real world

On the other hand, the party offered forward-looking pledges on the antipiracy mission off Somalia and cargo inspections that form part of the international sanctions imposed on North Korea. These steps indicate the DPJ is open to taking a more realistic approach to foreign and security policy matters.
 一方で、ソマリア沖の海賊対策や、北朝鮮制裁目的の貨物検査に前向きな政策を示したことは現実路線化の表れと評価できる。

But we have some niggling doubts, not least the party's plan to form a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party, which opposes the dispatch of SDF personnel on overseas missions. Will the DPJ be able to continue the MSDF antipiracy mission despite the SDP's objections?
 ただ、懸念もある。自衛隊の海外派遣に反対する社民党との連立政権を目指していることだ。社民党の反対を押し切って海自の海賊対処活動を継続できるのか。

The right to collective self-defense is another key issue. The LDP plans to incorporate this subject in its election pledges. We welcome this move.
 集団的自衛権の問題も重要な論点である。自民党は政権公約に盛り込む方針だ。歓迎したい。

The LDP's election pledge will be based on a proposal by a panel of experts led by former Ambassador to the United States Shunji Yanai. The pledge is expected to state that the government will review its interpretation of the right to collective self-defense, which, according to the government, the nation possesses but is prohibited from exercising under the Constitution.
柳井俊二・元駐米大使が座長を務めた有識者懇談会の提言を基に、集団的自衛権の行使を禁じる政府の憲法解釈の変更を想定している。

The threats posed by North Korea amplify the need to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance. Exercising the nation's right to collective self-defense will be an important step to achieving this goal.
 北朝鮮の脅威を踏まえれば、日米同盟を強化する必要性は高まっている。集団的自衛権の行使は、その重要な一歩となろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 31, 2009)
(2009年7月31日01時21分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-31 10:39 | 英字新聞

米中戦略対話 どう進む新しい時代の「G2」

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 30, 2009)
U.S.-China dialogue exposes responsibilities
米中戦略対話 どう進む新しい時代の「G2」(7月30日付・読売社説)

The first round of the ministerial-level U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue ended in Washington on Tuesday with the issuing of a joint statement.
 米中の閣僚級による初めての戦略・経済対話がワシントンで開かれ、共同文書が発表された。

The dialogue was a revamp of the talks between the financial chiefs of the two nations that were initiated by the former administration of U.S. President George W. Bush. President Barack Obama's administration has regularized and broadened these discussions to include diplomatic and security dimensions.
 ブッシュ前政権時代に始まった経済対話を、外交・安保なども協議する場に格上げし、定例化する。

Obama said in his opening speech Monday, "The relationship between the United States and China will shape the 21st century." There is weighty meaning behind these words.
 オバマ米大統領が「米中が21世紀を作る」と述べた意味は重い。

With the United States and China now being called the "G-2," Obama's remark expresses the determination of the two countries to play an important role for peace and stability in the international community, in addition to the world economy.
 2大主要国「G2」と呼ばれ始めた米中が、世界経済だけでなく、国際社会の平和と安定に重要な役割を果たしていく決意を表明したものだ。

By placing priority on China, which is getting economically stronger, the United States aims to have China share responsibility within the international community.
 米国は、経済力をつけた中国を重視し、責任を共有させることを狙っている。

Meanwhile, China seems to be exercising influence on the United States by trumpeting the fact that it has become the largest holder of U.S. Treasury securities.
中国も、米国債の最大の保有国になったことを背景に、米国への影響力を行使しようというのだろう。

===

Doing business together

It is true that many tasks cannot be solved unless the United States and China--which are strengthening their economic interdependence--act together. However, there is still much diplomatic and military friction between the two. It will be worth watching how the future U.S.-China relationship will unfold against the backdrop of both cooperation and tension.
 経済的に相互依存関係を強める米中が協調しなければ、解決できない課題が多いのも事実だ。しかし、外交・軍事面で、両国は依然、緊張の火種を抱えている。協調と対立の中で、今後の米中関係がどう進むのか注目される。

The joint statement said, at first in the economic field, that corrections should be made to the trade imbalance, which sees U.S. deficits against China continuing to balloon, and that cooperation should be aimed at achieving steady growth.
 共同文書はまず、経済分野で、中国に対する米国の赤字が膨らむ貿易不均衡を是正し、着実な成長を図るための協調をうたった。

In light of the issues besetting the two countries, it is not surprising that among key tasks for future scrutiny are the United States' overconsumption and China's domestic-demand expansion policies that are being spurred by its own increased consumption.
 米国は過剰消費の見直し、中国が消費拡大による内需拡大策を課題に掲げたのは、両国の抱える問題に照らせば当然のことだ。

Also included was the issue of U.S. budget deficit reduction, as China would like to see a restoration of fiscal soundness and a stable U.S. dollar. If the United States reduces its budget deficit, this will help the world economy, including Japan, as it attempts to overcome the financial crisis.
 米国の財政赤字削減も盛り込まれた。中国が財政健全化とドルの安定を求めたためだ。米国が財政赤字を削減することは、金融危機克服を目指す日本など世界経済にも寄与する。

===

Other issues on table

Regarding global warming, the two nations--the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases--agreed to create a framework of dialogue. It is impossible to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gases unless these two nations work to tackle the issue.
 地球温暖化問題では、温室効果ガスの2大排出国である両国が対話の枠組み創設で合意した。両国が真剣に取り組まねば、温室効果ガスの削減は実現できない。

Regarding the suspended six-party talks on North Korea's denuclearization, the two nations affirmed that it is important to see a resumption of the talks and agreed to continue working toward denuclearization.
 中断している北朝鮮の核問題をめぐる6か国協議については、再開の重要性を確認し、非核化に向けた努力の継続で一致した。

The United States and China emphasized the importance of implementing the U.N. sanctions resolution against North Korea, which aggressively conducted a nuclear test. The United States appeared to be urging the Chinese side to again implement sanctions on North Korea.
 核実験を強行した北朝鮮に対する国連制裁決議については、「履行の有効性」を強調した。米側は改めて中国側に制裁の実行を促したものと見られる。

The two nations also discussed how to handle antiterrorism measures and strengthen cooperation toward nuclear disarmament.
 反テロへの取り組みや核軍縮に向けた連携強化も協議した。

Although the issue of human rights was taken up, the statement failed to refer to China's ethnic minority issue, including the bloody violence in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, or issues surrounding Taiwan.
人権問題も取り上げられたが、共同文書はウイグル暴動など少数民族問題に言及せず、「台湾問題」も触れなかった。

Such issues as the financial crisis, global warming and North Korea are important tasks directly linked to Japan's national interests. In addition to cooperating closely with the United States, Japan also needs to continuously call on China to play a responsible role.
 金融危機や地球温暖化、北朝鮮問題などは、日本の国益に直結する重要課題だ。日本は米国と緊密に連携するとともに、中国にも責任ある役割を果たすよう、引き続き求めていく必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 30, 2009)
(2009年7月30日01時16分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-30 11:39 | 英字新聞

財政再建 先進国最悪の赤字をどうする

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 29, 2009)
Parties must show how to deal with deficit
財政再建 先進国最悪の赤字をどうする(7月29日付・読売社説)

How can Japan, which has the largest deficit among developed countries, rebuild its finances? This is a vital issue to be contested during the House of Representatives election campaign and a theme neither the ruling nor the opposition parties can avoid.
 先進国で最悪の赤字を抱える財政をどう立て直すか――。衆院選の大きな争点の一つであり、与野党とも避けて通れないテーマである。

The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito is already armed with a passable proposed solution. The proposal comprises two fiscal reconstruction goals that were incorporated in the fiscal policy guidelines for 2009 approved by the government in June.
 自民、公明の与党側には一応の答えが用意されている。6月に閣議決定された「骨太の方針2009」に盛り込まれた、財政再建に関する二つの目標だ。

The first goal is for the central and local governments to achieve a surplus in their primary balances by fiscal 2019, which indicates a degree of fiscal soundness. The second is to lower the ratio of outstanding debts owed by central and local governments to the gross domestic product by the early 2020s.
 財政の健全度を示す国と地方の基礎的財政収支を19年度までに黒字化する、というのがまず一点。さらに、国内総生産(GDP)に対する国と地方の債務残高の比率を20年代初めまでに引き下げる、というものだ。

In the past, the government had planned to achieve a surplus in the primary balance by fiscal 2011, but decided to postpone the target year substantially after the initial plan became impossible due to the recent economic downturn.
 以前は、基礎的財政収支の黒字化を11年度までに実現するとしていたが、景気悪化で不可能になり、目標年次を大幅に先送りした。

===

Govt sticks to goals

However, the government still deserves praise for not abandoning its goal of fiscal reconstruction. The central and local governments' combined outstanding debts are estimated to exceed 800 trillion yen by the end of fiscal 2009. They have already reached 170 percent of GDP. If the debts are left unattended, the nation is likely to face fiscal catastrophe.
 それでも、財政再建の旗を降ろさなかったことは評価できよう。国と地方の債務残高は、09年度末に800兆円を超える見通しだ。GDP比は約170%に達しており、放置すれば、財政破綻(はたん)国家への道をたどりかねない。

One measure to help achieve the two goals is to raise the consumption tax rate. The fiscal policy guidelines informally propose an option of increasing the consumption tax rate by 1 percentage point a year starting from fiscal 2011 until it has been raised by 7 points to 12 percent.
 目標達成の手段の一つが消費税率の引き上げだ。骨太の方針09は、参考資料としながらも、11年度から毎年1%ずつ、合計7%引き上げる道筋を描いている。

The consumption tax is significant also as a stable resource to finance social security expenses that are ballooning as the nation's population is aging and the declining birthrate indicates the funding from pension contributions will drop. It is reasonable to start preparations now so that the consumption tax rate can be raised as soon as the economy stabilizes.
 消費税は、少子高齢化で膨れあがる社会保障費を安定的に賄う財源としても重要である。景気が安定し次第、素早く引き上げられるよう、今から準備しておくのは当然であろう。

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of Japan has not discussed fiscal reconstruction in concrete terms in its manifesto for the lower house election. On the contrary, the opposition party has listed in it a set of policy measures that would require large expenditures.
 一方、民主党の政権公約(マニフェスト)には、財政再建についての具体的な記述はない。それどころか、多額の歳出が必要な政策が並んでいる。

===

Expensive promises

They include a child allowance, free public high school education, income guarantees for farming families and elimination of highway tolls. These measures may look like they would lead to a reduction of the public financial burden, but they do not--taxpayers will eventually have to bear the costs.
 子ども手当支給、公立高校教育の無償化、農家への戸別所得補償、高速道路無料化などだ。これらの施策は、国民生活の負担軽減につながるように見えるが、そうではない。いずれ税金で負担せねばならないものばかりだ。

The DPJ says that the party would be able to secure financial resources totaling nearly 17 trillion yen by trimming the fat in the budget and using the "buried treasure" that includes investment returns in the Fiscal Investment and Loan Program Special Account and the Foreign Exchange Fund Special Account, but we do not think it possible to find such a huge amount of money through such measures.
 民主党は、予算の無駄を見直したり、いわゆる“埋蔵金”を活用したりして、17兆円近い財源を確保するという。だが、それほどの額が見いだせるとは思えない。

The DPJ said that it would not raise the consumption tax rate for the next four years if the party takes office. DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama once said that his party would not even discuss the issue, but he has lifted such a ban--apparently due to pressure from DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada.
 民主党は消費税率について、今後4年間は引き上げない、としている。鳩山代表は、議論すらしないとの考えを示していたが、岡田幹事長に押される形で、その封印を解いた。

If he really means it, as DPJ leader, Hatoyama has a responsibility to thoroughly discuss the possibility of a consumption tax hike during the election campaign and to show voters how his party would handle the consumption tax in the future.
 そうであるなら、選挙戦で大いに議論し、消費税の将来像を示すのが指導者としての責任だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 29, 2009)
(2009年7月29日01時19分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-29 08:32 | 英字新聞

民主党政権公約 現実路線化がまだ不十分だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 28, 2009)
DPJ's newfound realism fails to convince
民主党政権公約 現実路線化がまだ不十分だ(7月28日付・読売社説)

The Democratic Party of Japan on Monday announced its manifesto for the Aug. 30 House of Representatives election. Though it is commendable that the DPJ has adopted a pragmatic stance in its domestic and foreign policies--obviously with an eye to taking over the reins of government--the policy platform it has unveiled is flawed.
 民主党が衆院選の政権公約を発表した。政権交代を意識し、内政、外交両面で現実路線に踏み出したことは歓迎するが、十分とは言えない。

As domestic pledges, the manifesto sets out an array of direct-benefit policies closely connected with people's daily lives, including a child allowance, free high school education and the abolition of the provisional higher gasoline tax rate.
 政権公約は内政面で、子ども手当、高校の無償化、ガソリンの暫定税率の廃止など、国民生活に深くかかわる直接給付型の政策を、ずらりと並べている。

But it is impossible to weigh the merits of a policy, no matter how attractive it is, unless its costs and concrete measures to fund it are discussed as part and parcel of the policy in question.
 ただ、どんな魅力的な政策も、必要な費用や具体的な財源措置を一体のものとして検討しなければ、その是非は判断できない。

The manifesto presents a time line that has the DPJ implementing the policies in stages over the four years after it comes to power and calculates the total cost necessary to carry out these measures at 16.8 trillion yen annually.
 民主党は、政策を4年間で段階的に実施する工程表を示し、最終的費用を年16・8兆円と試算した。

To fund these policies, the DPJ says it would secure 9.1 trillion yen by cutting public works projects, personnel expenses and government subsidies; 5 trillion yen by using surplus funds in special accounts, dubbed "buried treasure"; and 2.7 trillion yen by reviewing special taxation measures such as the spousal tax deduction.
 財源は、公共事業や人件費、補助金の削減で9・1兆円、埋蔵金の活用などで5兆円、配偶者控除の廃止など税制見直しで2・7兆円を工面し、賄うという。

===

Manifesto sums don't add up

The latest DPJ manifesto is an improvement on the last one, which was prepared for the 2007 House of Councillors election, as the party has fixed the schedule for the implementation of its stated policies and describes in more detail how it will fund them. Nevertheless, it is questionable whether it is really possible to secure the massive sums required to carry out the DPJ's policies simply by streamlining the overall national budget, which currently stands at about 207 trillion yen, as the DPJ asserts.
 一昨年の参院選公約と比べれば政策の実施時期を特定し、財源も具体的になった点では前進だ。だが、国の総予算207兆円の組み替えで巨額の財源を本当に確保できるか、との疑念が依然残る。

For example, the manifesto says 1.1 trillion yen will be secured by curtailing about 20 percent of the 5.3 trillion yen in personnel expenses for central government employees. As one method to cut personnel expenses, the DPJ says it will transfer central government employees to local governments as part of decentralization.
 例えば、国家公務員の人件費5・3兆円を約2割削減し、1・1兆円の財源を確保するという。その手法として、地方分権による職員の地方移管などを挙げる。

But if central government employees are transferred to local governments, it is only logical that the central government transfers the financial resources to pay their salaries. The DPJ's envisaged method can never be considered cost-saving. After all, the party must achieve a net reduction of 20 percent in the number of central government employees and in their payrolls and allowances. Can the DPJ push this through in defiance of assumed resistance from the labor unions that support the party?
 だが、職員を自治体に移せば、財源は一緒に移すのが筋で、節約にはならない。結局、国家公務員の数と給与・手当の計2割分の純減が必要だが、民主党支持労組の抵抗を排し、断行できるのか。

Furthermore, there is a great risk in making permanent use of the "buried treasure," currently totaling 4.3 trillion yen, which includes investment returns in the Fiscal Investment and Loan Program Special Account and the Foreign Exchange Fund Special Account. This is because the investment returns are affected by government bond rates and exchange rate fluctuations.
 国債の金利や為替の変動に左右される財政投融資、外国為替資金の両特別会計の運用益など、埋蔵金4・3兆円の恒久財源化にも、大きなリスクが伴う。

===

No mention of MSDF mission

As for foreign and national security policies, the manifesto makes no mention of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, which the DPJ opposed. The party has in fact said it would allow the mission to continue for the time being. Also, the language in the latest manifesto is milder with regard to revising the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement and reviewing the cost of hosting U.S. bases in the country.
 外交・安全保障政策では、反対していたインド洋での海上自衛隊の給油活動に言及しなかった。当面は継続する方針という。日米地位協定の改定や在日米軍駐留経費の見直しも表現を緩めた。

The DPJ is right to attach importance to the continuity of Japan's foreign policy and the Japan-U.S. relationship, but its policy shift is too abrupt.
 外交の継続性や日米関係を重視する姿勢は間違っていないが、その路線転換は唐突すぎる。

Former DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa insisted that the MSDF's refueling mission--an issue that throws the DPJ's policy about-face into relief--is "unconstitutional" and waged an all-out battle against the government and ruling parties over the matter, forcing the suspension of the mission for nearly four months. Given this, the DPJ's new stance on the matter can only be regarded as expedient.
 政策変更の象徴である給油活動について、小沢一郎・前代表は「憲法違反」と決めつけ、政府・与党と全面対決の末、4か月近くも中断に追い込んだ。それを思い起こせば、今回の対応がご都合主義と言われても仕方がない。

The DPJ should fully explain to the public its position--whether it opposes the refueling mission or conditionally approves it. An equivocal attitude regarding such a fundamental foreign policy issue is unacceptable.
 民主党は、給油活動に反対なのか、条件付き容認なのか、その立場を明確にし、きちんと国民に説明すべきだ。外交の基本部分で、あいまいな態度は許されない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 28, 2009)
(2009年7月28日01時19分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-28 08:08 | 英字新聞

社会保障 与野党は「負担」を率直に説け

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 27, 2009)
Frank talks over burdens needed to sustain welfare
社会保障 与野党は「負担」を率直に説け(7月27日付・読売社説)

The nation's social security system surely cannot be sustained if things remain as they are. Such a sense of crisis likely is shared by many voters.
 日本の社会保障は、このままでは必ず立ちゆかなくなる。そんな危機意識を持つ有権者が多いのではないか。

The number of elderly people, who form the top layer of the demographic pyramid, is expected to grow rapidly, while the layer comprising the working generations that support elderly people will get steadily thinner due to the declining birthrate. Although social security spending continues to grow at a pace of 1 trillion yen per year, it appears that it will be difficult to secure the fiscal resources necessary to meet this cost. This is the situation we are facing.
 人口ピラミッドの上部にある高齢者層が急速に膨らみ、一方で、支える現役層は少子化によってますます細っていく。社会保障費は年に1兆円ペースで増え続けるのに、必要な財源のめどがつかないのが現状だ。

Whichever party takes power after the upcoming House of Representatives election, the population "body" that is growing increasingly obese will cause the social security "outfit" to rip apart unless the system is fixed as soon as possible.
 政権の形がどうなろうとも、社会保障制度という衣を急いで仕立て直さなくては、膨らむ体に耐えきれず、裂けてしまうだろう。

===

Parties must cooperate

Among a number of related issues to be tackled, a particularly urgent task is securing adequate medical services. As medicine is directly linked to people's lives and health, this issue has been a source of anxiety felt by people in connection with the nation's social security system as a whole.
 山積する課題の中でも、緊急に手を打つべきは医療である。命と健康に直結するだけに、社会保障全体の不安の源になっている。

To solve the problem of the shortage of doctors, both the ruling and opposition parties have proposed that the number of medical school students enrolled be increased. But increasing the number alone will not solve the problem.
 医師不足を解消するために、与野党とも医学部定員の増加策を打ち出しているが、人数を増やすだけでは解決しない。

The Yomiuri Shimbun last year put forward a comprehensive reform blueprint that includes a systematic allocation of doctors in a carefully planned manner. Using this proposal as a basis for discussion, we hope that parties will compete to hammer out their own medical reform plans--not mere lists of measures, but comprehensive programs.
 読売新聞は昨年、医師を計画的に配置することなど包括的な改革プランを提言した。これもたたき台の一つとして、各党は個別対策の羅列にとどまらない総合的な医療改革案を競ってほしい。

The nation cannot afford any further delay in pension system reform, either. The government and ruling parties have proposed that the current systems be improved with an enhanced minimum safeguard function.
 年金改革も先送りできない。政府・与党は現行の社会保険方式を改良して、最低保障機能を強化する方針を打ち出している。

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan also has offered a reform plan to allow, under a unified basic system, pensioners to receive benefits in proportion to their income levels during their working years, with minimum guarantee pension benefits added on.
 民主党も国民共通の所得比例年金をベースとして、最低保障年金を上乗せする改革案を示した。

The ruling and opposition parties differ on this issue, but it is still possible for them to search for common ground for discussions.
隔たりはあるが、これならば、議論の接点を探ることも十分に可能ではないか。

Rather than merely finding fault with each other's policies, both sides should try to find basic points of agreement on social security policy that they can build on in a suprapartisan manner.
 互いの政策を批判し合うだけでなく、社会保障で一致できる基本線を見いだし、超党派で取り組む素地を作ることも重要だろう。

===

Sales tax hike inevitable

For policies to be implemented, it is indispensable to have a revenue source. The ruling and opposition parties have mounted different arguments to try to persuade the public of the need to shoulder more burdens.
 政策には財源の裏付けが不可欠である。だが、負担増を説くことには与野党で濃淡がある。

The DPJ has said it will not raise the consumption tax rate for four years while suggesting that revenues equivalent to those raised from the current 5 percent consumption tax, irrespective of any future increase in the rate, be used for pension system reform at some stage in the future. Regarding revenue sources for other welfare measures, the DPJ said it would manage to raise the necessary funds by cutting wasteful budget spending and other means.
 民主党は年金改革にいずれ消費税5%分を投入するとしつつも、税率は4年間、引き上げない方針だ。ほかの福祉施策の財源については、予算の無駄の見直しなどで捻出(ねんしゅつ)するという。

The Liberal Democratic Party, meanwhile, indicated that it will consider raising the consumption tax rate in three years if the economy recovers. But this proposal has been deemphasized ahead of the general election.
 自民党は、景気回復を前提に3年後の消費税率引き上げを検討するとはしているが、総選挙を前に声が小さくなっている。

If lawmakers avoid discussions on the consumption tax, which is the only stable source to finance the social security system, all policy pledges on this issue--no matter how appealing they may sound--likely will be end up being mere slogans.
 安定した社会保障財源として他に選択肢のない消費税の議論から逃げていては、いくら耳に心地よい公約を並べても結局、お題目に終わる可能性が大きい。

The extent to which they can honestly and frankly explain to voters the need to assume increased burdens will be a barometer for judging which party or which candidate is responsible.
 有権者に向かって負担増の必要性をどれだけ正直に、率直に説くか。それが責任ある政党、候補者を見極める尺度になるだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 27, 2009)
(2009年7月27日01時37分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-27 06:51 | 英字新聞

法科大学院 少数精鋭で質の高い教育を

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 26, 2009)
Law schools must put quality before quantity
法科大学院 少数精鋭で質の高い教育を(7月26日付・読売社説)

To ensure our judicial system functions as it should, capable judges, prosecutors and lawyers must be nurtured. So it is inevitable that law schools that play an insufficient role in training these much-needed workers in the legal field will be culled.
 信頼される司法制度を構築するには、有能な裁判官、検察官、弁護士の養成が必要だ。その養成機関としての役割を担えない一部の法科大学院の淘汰(とうた)は避けられまい。

The number of applicants for the nation's 74 law schools for the 2009 academic year fell 25 percent from the previous year, marking the first time applications have fallen below 30,000.
 今春、法科大学院に入った学生が対象だった2009年度入試の志願者数は、前年度より25%減少し、初めて3万人を割った。
Out of the total, the ratio of total applicants to successful applicants fell below two to one at 42 schools. At one law school that offered 30 places, only five were filled.
競争倍率は、74校のうち42校で2倍未満だった。定員30人のところ、入学者が5人の大学院もあった。

The entrance exam process for law schools for the 2010 academic year will begin soon, but it seems the number of applicants will remain low. Law schools were introduced in 2004 as a key pillar of judicial system reform, but they likely have reached a watershed earlier than expected.
 10年度入試が間もなく本格化するが、志願者数の低迷は続くとみられる。司法制度改革の柱として04年に誕生した法科大学院は早くも転換期にあるといえよう。

All law school graduates are eligible to sit the national bar examination, for which the pass rate was initially predicted to be about 70 to 80 percent. However, the actual pass rate has fallen far short of this mark, with the rate last year a mere 33 percent.
 法科大学院の修了者には司法試験の受験資格が与えられる。その合格率は当初、7~8割に達するとの見通しだった。
 だが、実際の合格率は振るわず、昨年は33%だった。

Under the current circumstances, students who are studying at law school are far from guaranteed a place in the legal field, which inevitably leads to a decline in applicant numbers.
法科大学院に入っても法曹への道が開かれない現状が、志願者減につながっていることは間違いないだろう。

===

Vicious circle

Law schools are required to teach students the basics of the legal profession, giving them a good grounding in legal theory and practice, and not placing undue weight on preparations for the bar exam.
 法科大学院には、司法試験の受験指導に偏らず、法理論や実務面で、法律家としての基礎を身に着けさせることが望まれている。

If law schools cannot attract high-quality applicants, they will have no choice but to accept less capable students. Under such circumstances, students with less aptitude than courses have been designed to accommodate would have to sit the bar exam without receiving sufficient training and, as a result, likely would fail. It really is a vicious circle.
 しかし、質の高い志願者が集まらなければ、大学院は能力的に劣る学生を受け入れざるを得ない。学生は十分な力を身に着けられないまま司法試験に臨み、不合格となる。まさに悪循環である。

The Central Council for Education has asked law schools whose ratio of total applicants to successful applicants falls below two to one to cut the number of students allowed to enroll. So far, about 50 law schools have decided to cut their intake quotas. This is to be expected as a way of ensuring the quality of students.
 中央教育審議会は、入試の倍率が2倍未満の法科大学院に対し、定員を減らすよう求めている。これまでに約50校が定員削減を決めたのは、学生の質の確保の観点から、当然のことといえる。

The root cause of this vicious circle is that possibly all 74 of the nation's law schools currently fail to meet the necessary standards. The trend of applicants not enrolling at law school will increase if law schools cannot produce good results. Therefore, a number of law schools will struggle and some are bound to fail.
 悪循環のそもそもの原因は、74の大学院が乱立していることにある。今後、実績を残せない大学院が敬遠される傾向は、さらに進むだろう。その結果、経営が悪化し、淘汰されるケースが出てくるのもやむを得まい。

The government should actively promote the reorganization and integration of law schools.
 大学院同士の統合や再編も積極的に進めるべきだ。

===

Quotas to be raised

The government plans to increase the number of places on offer to those who sit the bar exam from about 2,000 in 2008 to 3,000 in 2010. This plan should be firmly adhered to as a way of addressing the uneven distribution of lawyers across the nation, brought about largely by the concentration of lawyers in urban areas, as well as other problems.
 政府は、昨年は2000人余だった司法試験の合格者を、10年には3000人に増やす方針だ。都市部に集中する弁護士の偏在解消などのため、この増員計画は堅持していかねばならない。

In doing so, the question of how to halt the declining quality of successful applicants will need to be addressed.
 その際、合格者の質の低下をどう抑えるかが課題である。

Every law school should be required to implement an advanced education program for a few select, highly capable students.
各大学院が、少数精鋭のきめ細かい教育を実践することが求められる。

From the 2011 academic year, a preliminary examination system will be introduced that will ensure that even those who do not graduate from law school can still sit the bar exam if they pass a preliminary exam. If a high number of students choose to sit the preliminary test, the very reason for law schools existing will be called into question.
 11年度からは、法科大学院を経なくても司法試験を受験できる予備試験が始まる。この受験者が多くなれば、法科大学院は存在意義が問われることになる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 26, 2009)
(2009年7月26日01時20分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-26 07:36 | 英字新聞

経済財政白書 物足りない回復への処方箋

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 25, 2009)
Economic white paper short on specifics
経済財政白書 物足りない回復への処方箋(7月25日付・読売社説)

The theme of the fiscal 2009 Annual Report on the Japanese Economy and Public Finance was "overcoming crisis and the outlook for sustainable recovery."
 今年度の経済財政白書は、「危機の克服と持続的回復への展望」をテーマに取り上げた。

Although the country's economy has stopped deteriorating, it is still in a deep rut and there are lingering concerns that it could worsen further still.
 景気はやっと下げ止まったものの、今なお深い谷の中にあり、さらに底割れする心配も消えていない。

The white paper on the economy and public finances was drawn up in the middle of a dire economic situation. As such, it was expected to present a clear remedy for the Japanese economy that would guide it through the crisis and help it regain its growth potential.
 厳しい経済情勢のもとでまとめられた白書には、日本経済が危機を切り抜け、成長力を取り戻すためのしっかりした処方箋(せん)を示すことが期待されていた。

The white paper said that although the country's economy slumped at the fastest pace on record, and that the extent of the slowdown also was the deepest ever, it finally began picking up thanks to the government's pump-priming measures and the recovery of foreign economies.
 白書はまず、景気はかつてない「速さ」と「深さ」で落ち込んだが、経済対策や海外経済の回復のおかげで、ようやく持ち直してきたと分析した。

But the report pointed to three continuing risks in the economic outlook--the deteriorating employment situation, the risk of backsliding into deflation and a downturn in foreign economies.
 ただし、先行きには「雇用の悪化」「デフレへの逆戻り」「海外経済の下振れ」という三つのリスクが残っているとした。

The employment situation made for particularly grim reading. The paper estimated the number of workers surplus to requirements at Japanese firms topped 6 million. Many companies are believed to have hired far more workers than they actually need for their production.
 特に雇用では、仕事の減った会社が社員を解雇せずに抱える“企業内失業”が600万人に及ぶと推計した。

The report warned that unless production recovers soon, these firms will soon find it difficult to retain employees and will resort to slashing their workforces.
このため生産が急ピッチに回復しないと企業のやせ我慢が続かず、人員の大幅削減が始まるだろうと警告を発した。

===

Govt must keep risks in mind

We think the white paper was on the mark to point out the need for the government to appropriately proceed with economic and fiscal management while paying close attention to such risks.
 白書が「こうしたリスクに注意しながら、政府は適切な経済財政運営を進めていく必要がある」と指摘したのは当を得ている。

Regrettably, the report stopped short of making detailed proposals on specific policies.
 ただ、具体的な政策運営に関する各論は、少し物足りない。

The white paper called on the government to jump-start economic recovery by a two-track policy of domestic and foreign demand.
 内需と外需の「双発エンジン」による回復を目指すべきだと、白書は説く。

We do not object to the proposal. Yet, it should be remembered that domestic demand was weak even during the economic expansion that lasted nearly seven years from 2002. Given that, the paper should have spelled out how domestic demand could be promoted in the middle of an employment crisis.
異論はないが、2002年からの7年近い景気拡大期でさえ、内需は弱かった。雇用危機の中で、内需をいかに振興すべきか論じてほしかった。

The nation's shrinking population will gradually erode domestic demand. Under these circumstances, it is important to consider how the increasing needs of an aging society, such as medical and nursing services, can be linked with domestic demand.
 人口減少で内需は縮小する方向だ。医療や介護など高齢化社会に高まるニーズをどう内需につなげるかという論点も重要だろう。

The white paper also said shoring up the credibility of pension and other social security services will make people less likely to squirrel away excess savings, and this would flow on to support consumption. This is a good viewpoint, but to our regret, the argument is not overly convincing because it failed to explain where the fiscal resources to realize such proposals would come from.
 白書は、年金など社会保障への信頼を高めれば過剰な貯蓄が減って、消費を下支えするとした。いい視点だが、肝心の財源を示さず説得力を欠いたのは残念だ。

===

History could repeat

Though Japan's economic growth is driven by exports, the nation will have to vie for export markets with emerging economies. The paper should have presented strategies for taking advantage of the growth of Asian countries and other nations.
 得意の輸出も、新興国の台頭でパイの争奪が激しくなる。アジアなどの成長をうまく取り込む戦略を示してもらいたかった。

The paper concluded that economic recovery would be the surest way to resolve social and economic disparities in this country. But this claim is too simplistic. Relying on the economic recovery to resolve the problem could doom the nation to repeating the terrible times of the so-called employment ice age, when many university graduates struggled to find jobs after the economic bubble burst. The income disparity among young people significantly widened during this period.
 一方、格差問題では「景気回復が最大の対策」と総括しているが、あまりに素っ気ない。景気回復頼みでは、就職氷河期に若者間の所得格差が急拡大した悲劇を、繰り返しかねない。

An overemphasis on profitability and efficiency in line with the structural reform drive is partly responsible for the widening social and economic disparities and exhaustion of the social security system.
 格差拡大や社会保障の疲弊は、構造改革路線に沿った収益偏重、効率至上主義にも責任がある。

The white paper had carried the same subtitle of "No growth without structural reforms" for five years in an apparent show of support for the government's structural reform drive. Perhaps it is time to reflect on the proposals it made during that period.
 「改革なくして成長なし」の副題を5年間掲げ、改革路線を後押しした過去の経済財政白書の総括も、そろそろ必要ではないか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 25, 2009)
(2009年7月25日01時54分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-25 08:38 | 英字新聞

防衛白書 脅威を直視し防衛力を高めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 24, 2009)
Face up to threats, boost defense capability
防衛白書 脅威を直視し防衛力を高めよ(7月24日付・読売社説)

The security environment surrounding Japan gives no ground for optimism. It is vital that the nation steadily strengthen its defense capability by squarely facing up to threats posed by neighboring nations and a myriad of unstable factors.
 日本の安全保障環境は楽観を許さない。周辺の脅威と不安定要因を直視し、防衛力を着実に高めることが肝要である。

The Defense of Japan 2009 white paper, which recently was approved by the Cabinet, stated that North Korea's nuclear test in May and the growing capability of its ballistic missiles are grave threats to this country's security.
 2009年版防衛白書は、5月の北朝鮮の核実験と弾道ミサイル能力の増強について「わが国の安全に対する重大な脅威」と明記した。

The white paper stressed that these elements cannot be tolerated because they significantly jeopardize the peace and security of not only Northeast Asia but also the entire international community. We are not surprised by the recognition of this threat.
 「北東アジアおよび国際社会の平和と安全を著しく害する」として、「断じて容認できない」とも強調している。当然の認識だ。

The white paper said it is difficult to completely rule out the possibility that North Korea will, in the relatively near future, succeed in downsizing a nuclear weapon to the extent that it could be loaded as a warhead on a ballistic missile.
 弾道ミサイルへの搭載を可能にするための核兵器の小型化・弾頭化についても、「比較的短期間に実現に至る可能性も排除できない」と分析している。

Japan must continue its diplomatic efforts to pressure North Korea under the U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions in cooperation with China, South Korea and the United States.
 日本は、米中韓などと連携し、国連安全保障理事会の制裁決議に基づき、北朝鮮に圧力をかける外交努力を続けねばなるまい。

===

Keep eye on China, N. Korea

At the same time, as the white paper pointed out, the nation has to be prepared for the unexpected. It would be folly to forget that the reported health problems of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and the issue of who will succeed him could destabilize the regime in Pyongyang.
 同時に、白書の指摘するように、金正日総書記の後継者問題をめぐり北朝鮮の「体制が不安定化する可能性」がある以上、不測の事態に備える必要がある。

It is extremely important to fortify the Japan-U.S. alliance, thereby strengthening its military deterrence. The nation must not neglect to stay alert to and monitor the activities of North Korea, and should steadily proceed with deploying a missile defense system.
 抑止力を高めるため、日米同盟を一段と強固にすることが極めて重要だ。北朝鮮に対する警戒・監視活動を怠らず、ミサイル防衛の配備を着実に進めるべきだ。

At the same time, the nation should remain wide awake to China's rapid military buildup and expanded scope of activities.
 中国軍の急速な増強と活動範囲の拡大にも注意が欠かせない。

China's defense spending has seen double-digit growth for 21 consecutive years. The white paper said Beijing is working to acquire, maintain and protect its own interests in marine resources as well as to protect its sea lanes, in addition to its national defense and preventing Taiwan's independence.
 中国の国防費は21年連続で2ケタの伸びを示している。白書は、国家防衛や台湾の独立阻止にとどまらず、「海洋権益の獲得・維持・保護や海上輸送路保護」の目的が含まれる、と分析する。

In particular, the white paper expressed caution over China's increasing activities in waters near Japan. This point was epitomized by the four Chinese naval vessels that went around Japan in October by passing through the Tsugaru Strait, going southward in the Pacific Ocean and then sailing between the main island of Okinawa Prefecture and Miyakojima island.
 特に、昨年10月に中国海軍艦船4隻が津軽海峡を通過し、太平洋を南下した後、沖縄本島と宮古島の間を通って日本を周回した事例などを紹介し、海洋活動の活発化に警戒感を示した。

===

Budget considerations

The Ground Self-Defense Force is switching its strategy from focusing on contingencies that could affect the northern part of Japan, to an area centered on the southwestern part of the nation. Next spring, the 1st Combined Brigade stationed in Okinawa Prefecture will be upgraded and reorganized, which will entail increasing its personnel from 1,800 to 2,100.
 陸上自衛隊は、北方重視から南西重視への転換を図っている。来春、沖縄に駐在する混成団を旅団に格上げし、隊員数を1800人から2100人に増やす。

We think it is important that this upgrade--and other similar changes--should be promoted in a planned revision of the National Defense Program Guidelines due by the end of this year.
 今年末に予定される「防衛計画の大綱」の改定では、こうした転換を一層進めることが大切だ。

The United States, South Korea, India and Australia are increasing their defense budgets, as are China, North Korea and Russia. By contrast, Japan has trimmed its defense budget by between 0.1 percent to 1 percent annually since fiscal 2003.
 北朝鮮、中国、ロシアだけでなく、米国、韓国、インド、豪州がそろって国防予算を増やす中、日本の防衛費は03年度以降、毎年0・1~1・0%の減少が続く。

If Japan continues pruning its defense budget even while a neighboring country conducts a nuclear test and launches missiles that fly over this country, it could send the wrong signal that Japan takes its national security lightly.
 隣国が核実験を行い、自国上空を飛び越えるミサイルを発射しても、防衛費を削減し続けるのでは安全保障を軽視しているとの誤ったメッセージになりかねない。

While seeking efficiency in equipment procurement is one thing, we wonder if now might be the time to halt the gradual erosion of Japan's defense budget.
 装備調達の効率化は当然としても、そろそろ防衛費の漸減に歯止めをかけるべき時ではないか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 24, 2009)
(2009年7月24日01時22分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-24 07:25 | 英字新聞

麻生対鳩山 「首相」の資質が問われる

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 23, 2009)
Leaders under scrutiny in lower house contest
麻生対鳩山 「首相」の資質が問われる(7月23日付・読売社説)

The House of Representatives election will have a direct bearing on the selection of the prime minister, who is chosen from the bloc that secures a majority in the chamber.
 衆院選は、日本の舵(かじ)取りを担うリーダー選びに直結する。
 過半数を確保した勢力から首相が選ばれるからだ。

As a result, voters bear a heavy responsibility as they will be choosing the person who will guide this country.
有権者の責任はきわめて重い。

The nation's leader needs to present voters with a clear indication of what course and shape this country should take, and what must be done to achieve stated goals.
 この国の最高指導者に求められるのは、日本の針路や、あるべき国家像、それに至る道筋を有権者に明示することだ。

To realize the visions that will be presented during the campaign, the nation's leader must have the political skills necessary to keep a tight rein on his party, the ability to fully utilize bureaucrats and the capacity to offer voters convincing explanations on issues.
 自ら掲げるビジョンを実現させるには、党内を掌握する政治手腕や、官僚を自在に使いこなす力量、有権者を納得させる説明能力が不可欠である。

However, both Prime Minister Taro Aso and Democratic Party of Japan President Yukio Hatoyama fail to live up to such expectations of leadership.
 時代の求めるリーダー像に照らして、麻生首相も鳩山民主党代表も、はなはだ心もとない。
===

Inconsistency fuels distrust

What is particularly worrying are the inconsistencies in both their words and actions.
特に懸念されるのが、言動に首尾一貫性を欠くことだろう。

Since taking office in September last year, Aso's inconsistencies and indecisiveness have been exposed at a number of crucial moments, such as his comments on what the flat-sum cash benefit program was meant for, the proposed division of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry into two new ministries, the reappointment of Japan Post Holdings Co. President Yoshifumi Nishikawa and disputes over the planned reshuffle of key posts in the Liberal Democratic Party, to name a few. In a sense, Aso has been digging his own grave with his words, which have pushed down his Cabinet's approval rating.
 麻生首相は、昨年9月の就任以来、定額給付金の性格付け、厚生労働省分割構想、日本郵政社長人事、自民党役員人事騒動と、節目で言動のぶれや優柔不断さを露呈した。自らの内閣支持率を押し下げ、墓穴を掘ってきた格好だ。

People's distrust in politics will be fueled further if the country's top leader goes back on something he has previously said. Aso therefore should not forget the old saying "An imperial mandate is like perspiration"--once released, it can never be taken back.
 一度口にしたことを後で言っていないと翻せば、国民の政治への不信感は増幅する。綸言(りんげん)汗のごとし、を忘れてもらっては困る。

After dissolving the lower house, Aso called loudly for the realization of a society that feels safe to live in. But, given the current circumstances, voters will have doubts about this pledge and wonder whether it is possible to realize such a promise.
 そんな状態で「安心社会」を実現させると声高に訴えても、きちんと実行してくれるのか、有権者は疑いの目で見るに違いない。

Aso's tenure as LDP leader will expire at the end of September, and the outcome of the lower house election will hold the key to his future as party head. Aso will be faced with the difficult decision of whether he should step down or stay on in the position.
 首相の場合は、9月末に自民党総裁の任期が切れる。進退のカギを握るのは衆院選の結果だ。退陣か、再選かの厳しい選択を迫られることになる。

===

Will Hatoyama stand firm?

Hatoyama, meanwhile, has long called for revision of the Constitution. Claiming that the incompatibility of Article 9 of the Constitution with modern political realities has undermined what he describes as a "healthy realism," Hatoyama has released his own proposal for constitutional amendment that approves the exercising of the nation's right of collective self-defense.
 一方、鳩山代表は長年、憲法改正を旗印に掲げてきた。憲法9条と政治的現実の乖離(かいり)が「健全なリアリズム」を損ねたと指摘し、集団的自衛権の行使を容認する独自の改憲案も公表している。

Yet since taking the helm of the DPJ for the second time in May, Hatoyama has kept a lid on his aspiration for constitutional amendment. This apparently is in consideration of former Japan Socialist Party members within his own party, as well as the Social Democratic Party, which is expected to be one of the DPJ's coalition partners.
 だが、5月に党代表に返り咲いて以来、自らの改憲志向を封印している。党内の旧社会党系議員や、連立政権の友党と考える社民党への配慮からだろう。

Hatoyama recently referred to the possibility of taking a "realistic approach" to Japan's three nonnuclear principles of not possessing, producing or allowing nuclear weapons on its territory, with a view to allowing nuclear-armed U.S. vessels to call at Japanese ports. He also indicated his intention to continue, for the time being, the Self-Defense Forces' refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.
 最近、非核三原則について、米軍の核搭載艦船の寄港容認を念頭に「現実的対応」に言及した。インド洋での給油活動を当面、継続する考えも示している。

Hatoyama is believed to have made such remarks to highlight the "healthy realism" that he talks about, but has drawn furious criticism from the SDP for doing so. Yet if Hatoyama gives ground in response to such criticism, he is unfit to be the next prime minister.
 鳩山代表が信条とする「健全なリアリズム」の発露だろうが、社民党から強く批判されている。これで腰砕けになるようなら、次期首相の資格はない。

So, will it be Aso or Hatoyama that voters will entrust with the future of this country? The public is closely watching and carefully listening to what the two have to say and what they plan to do.
 この国の将来を、麻生首相と鳩山代表のいずれに託すか。有権者は、二人の言動に目を凝らし耳をすましている。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 23, 2009)
(2009年7月23日01時34分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-23 08:26 | 英字新聞

衆院解散 政策本位で政権選択を問え

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 22, 2009)
Vote on policies, not change for change's sake
衆院解散 政策本位で政権選択を問え(7月22日付・読売社説)

The House of Representatives was dissolved Tuesday. The government then formally decided the schedule of the 45th general election at an extraordinary Cabinet meeting, with campaigning officially commencing on Aug. 18 and voting set for Aug. 30.
 衆院が21日、解散された。衆院選の日程は、8月18日公示、30日投開票だ。

The focal point of the lower house election is whether the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito coalition will remain in power or a new administration led by the Democratic Party of Japan will come into existence.
自民、公明両党の現政権の継続か、民主党を中心とする新政権の誕生か。これが最大の焦点になる。

However, we must not simply gaze on and watch the scramble for political power unfold before our eyes.
 しかし、単に政権の争奪だけに目を奪われてはなるまい。

Rather than mulling over the pros and cons of having a change of government, due consideration should be given to the key policies put forward by each party and their abilities to implement them.
 「政権交代」の是非の前に、各政党が掲げる主要政策とその実行能力が問われている。

During the 40 days from the dissolution to the vote, we hope voters will thoroughly evaluate each party's policies.
 投開票までは40日間という長丁場だ。有権者はその間、各党の政策を十分吟味してもらいたい。

At this stage in the buildup to the lower house election, various opinion polls have indicated that the DPJ enjoys a lead over the LDP with the approval rating for the main opposition party surpassing the LDP's.
 衆院選を前にした各種世論調査では、民主党の支持率が自民党を上回るなど、民主党優位が伝えられている。

===

Ensuring stable politics
 ◆政治の安定をどう築く◆

DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama has said the party's goal in the upcoming election is to become the biggest party in the lower house and thereby form a new government. The DPJ plans to form a coalition with the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party after the election because even if it wins the election and gains a majority in the lower house it will not by itself alone have a majority in the House of Councillors.
 民主党の鳩山代表は「第1党で政権交代」を目標に掲げている。民主党は、衆院で過半数を制しても、参院で単独過半数を確保していないため、社民党や国民新党と連立政権を組むという。

The question is whether this plan will indeed ensure a stable political environment.
 これで安定した政治を行うことができるのかどうか。

The LDP and New Komeito managed to get through the divided Diet by holding a second vote on important bills using their two-thirds majority in the powerful lower house. But it appears impossible for the two parties to maintain their current number of seats in the upcoming election.
 一方、自民、公明の与党はこれまで、衆院の3分の2以上の多数による再可決で、「ねじれ国会」をしのいできた。今回の選挙で、これだけの議席を確保することは不可能だろう。

Whatever happens, the nation's political world is going to face the difficult task of finding a way to ensure smooth decision making in both chambers of the Diet.
 いずれにしても、衆参両院による意思決定をいかに円滑に進めるかという難題が、政治に突きつけられることになる。

At present, the public is struggling through a recession and is increasingly anxious about the declining birthrate and the graying population. In foreign relations, people are concerned about the deterioration in the national security situation as evidenced by China's growing military power and North Korea's accelerating efforts to develop nuclear arms.
 今、多くの国民は、不況に苦しみ、少子高齢化社会への不安を募らせている。対外的には、軍事大国化する中国や核武装を急ぐ北朝鮮など、我が国周辺の安全保障環境の悪化を懸念している。

===

Present clear vision
 ◆明確な国家像を示せ◆

Each party needs to present its prescribed course of action for eliminating these concerns.
 各党は、国民の不安解消に向けた処方箋(せん)を示す必要がある。

The parties' manifestos will again be the focus of attention in the upcoming election.
 今回も、政権公約(マニフェスト)が注目されている。

It is certainly desirable that parties establish a time frame for achieving their policies and set numerical targets in their manifestos. What is more important, however, is to chart a clear vision for the nation--a vision of the kind of country each party seeks to achieve.
 確かに、政権公約で政策の達成期限や数値目標を示すのはいい。だが、より重要なのは、日本をどのような国にしていくのかという「国家像」の提示である。

During a general meeting of DPJ members from both houses Tuesday, Hatoyama stressed the importance of a shift from politics led by bureaucrats, which has been the case since the Meiji Restoration.
 鳩山代表は、21日の両院議員総会で、「明治維新以来の官僚主導政治」からの転換を強調した。

However, an attempt to achieve a political realm that is indeed led by politicians will only end up in disarray if those politicians do not have sufficient political clout to convince bureaucrats to do things they want them to.
 だが、「政治主導」を実践するといっても、官僚を説得して動かすだけの政治力が伴わなければ、混乱するだけだろう。

The DPJ has said its manifesto will include policies introducing a monthly child care allowance, the abolishing of provisionally higher tax rates, such as that applying to the gasoline tax, and waiving expressway tolls.
 民主党は、政権公約に「子ども手当」やガソリン税などの暫定税率廃止、高速道路の原則無料化などの政策を盛るとしている。

 ◆政策に財源の裏付けを◆
However, it is extremely questionable whether such financial resources can be secured merely through eliminating wasteful government spending and some other means.
 だが、無駄遣いの排除などで、これらの財源を捻出(ねんしゅつ)できるのか、はなはだ疑問だ。

DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada has said no policy measure could be devised without thinking about how it can be funded. The DPJ should clearly state how it would come up with financial means for funding its policies and put together an election manifesto that the public will find convincing.
 岡田幹事長は「財源なくして政策なし」と語っている。民主党は、財源を明示し、国民の合点が行く政権公約を作り上げるべきだ。

Political parties tend to formulate manifestos they hope will please voters. It should be noted, however, that policies devised in such a manner eventually force voters to pay for the inadequacies of such election pledges. The parties should know better than to compete in writing election manifestos merely designed to curry favor with voters.
 政権公約は、各党とも有権者の歓心を買うものになりがちだ。だが、そのツケはいずれ有権者に回る。大衆迎合的な公約を競うことは、避けなければならない。

===

Shift on security policies

The DPJ has maintained its opposition to some of this nation's international peace cooperation activities, including the Maritime Self-Defense Force refuelling operations in the Indian Ocean. However, the opposition party's stance in this respect seems to be changing somewhat, as indicated by Hatoyama's recent remark that the MSDF's mission should continue for the time being.
 民主党は、インド洋での海上自衛隊による給油活動など国際平和協力活動に反対姿勢を示してきた。ただ、最近になって、鳩山代表は、給油活動を当面、継続する考えを表明した。

The DPJ has every reason to review and shift its key policies in a realistic manner. The party must take to heart the principle of consistency in Japan's diplomacy, as it stands a good chance of coming into power by replacing the current ruling coalition.
 政権交代を視野に入れ、外交の継続性から現実的方向に政策転換するのは当然のことだ。

Hatoyama's apparent change of heart has antagonized SDP leader Mizuho Fukushima. An envisaged DPJ-led coalition government including the SDP would experience great difficulties in operating smoothly, given the fundamental policy differences between the DPJ and SDP.
 だが、社民党の福島党首は反発した。基本政策で隔たりがある社民党との連立政権は、極めて難しい運営を迫られるだろう。

Meanwhile, the LDP has been late in producing its manifesto for the upcoming general election. This can be attributed to the LDP's recent internal turmoil and the policy differences among its factions and groups. Some LDP members are still seeking to enter the lower house race under their own manifestos rather than the one to be drafted by the party's top cadre.
 一方、自民党は、政権公約作りが遅れている。党内の混乱と政策上の路線対立からだ。一部に、独自の公約を掲げて選挙を戦う動きもくすぶっている。

During a meeting of LDP lawmakers from both chambers of the Diet on Tuesday, Prime Minister Taro Aso said he was sorry for his slips of the tongue and his inconsistent remarks about policy issues. He also apologized for the LDP's defeats in recent local elections, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly race.
 麻生首相は、21日の両院議員懇談会で、自らの失言や政策をめぐる発言のぶれについて、反省の意を表明し、東京都議選など地方選の連敗についても、陳謝した。

===

Apologize to people, not party

Aso's apology came too late. The prime minister should not forget that he owes an apology for his inconsistent policies to the public, not LDP legislators.
 遅すぎる。政策のぶれに関して謝るべき相手は、誰よりも国民であることを忘れてはなるまい。

An essential task to be tackled by the LDP as a party in power is to devise and implement necessary policies. It is important for the ruling party to examine the results of the economic stimulus measures put in place by the government and the ruling parties amid the protracted global recession.
 自民党にとっても、肝心なのは政策だ。世界同時不況の下で、政府・与党が打ち出した矢継ぎ早の経済対策の検証が重要である。

During a Cabinet meeting held to decide on the lower house dissolution Tuesday, the prime minister demonstrated his determination to transform this country into "an energetic society in which people can live without worries."
 首相は、衆院解散を決定した閣議で、「安心で活力ある社会を実現しなければならない」と決意を表明した。

 ◆「責任政党」が試される◆
The LDP should come out with a clear plan to raise the consumption tax rate if it wants to be recognized as a party that can think and act responsibly. The dispute over a rise in the tax rate could emerge as an issue that decisively pits the LDP against the DPJ, which has said it would not increase the consumption tax rate for four years if it takes office.
 「責任政党」を標榜(ひょうぼう)するなら、消費税率引き上げなどについて、明確な方針を打ち出すことが必要だ。「4年間は消費増税しない」としている民主党との対立軸の一つになるだろう。

With the lower house dissolved Tuesday, each political party is already fighting for seats in the lower house, even prior to the start of its official campaign. We hope all political parties will wage a battle of words on key issues, including social security programs and a new horizon on the Japan-U.S. relationship. Other essential issues include this country's policy on North Korea and other aspects of national security.
 各党は、事実上の選挙戦に入った。年金、医療など社会保障や、新たな日米関係をはじめ、対北朝鮮など安全保障問題についても、政策論を戦わせてほしい。

All this is certain to make it easy for voters to see which party is better suited to run the nation, the LDP or the DPJ.
 自民、民主両党のどちらに「政権担当能力」があるかは、そこから自(おの)ずと見えてくるはずだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 22, 2009)
(2009年7月22日01時29分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-22 09:06 | 英字新聞