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「ニッポン漂流」を回避しよう 今ある危機を乗り越えて

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 1, 2010)
Leaders must chart new political course
「ニッポン漂流」を回避しよう 今ある危機を乗り越えて(1月1日付・読売社説)

 ◆国家戦略を示すときだ◆
Will the nation's economy pick up? Will we be able to continue to receive medical and nursing care with a sense of assurance? Will a rift appear in Japan-U.S. relations?
 景気はよくなるか。医療、介護が安心して受けられるか。日米関係に亀裂は入らないか。

Many people doubtless greeted the New Year with such concerns because the nation's lack of political direction and ongoing economic stagnation inspire fear rather than expectations in people and bring a sense of resignation rather than hope.
 多くの国民が、こんな不安を胸に新年を迎えたに違いない。日本の将来に、期待よりも懸念、希望よりもあきらめを強く抱かせるような、政治の迷走、経済の停滞が続いているからだ。

The primary reasons stem from Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's administration not only lacking the sort of mid- and long-term national strategy needed to maintain peace, prosperity and a safe, secure society, but also its failure to clearly show the people the course that the nation should take at the moment.
 主な原因は、鳩山連立政権が日本の平和と繁栄、安心社会を維持するための、中長期の国家戦略を欠くうえに、当面の針路すら国民に明示できないことにある。

Without a national strategy, Japan will be left adrift on the rough seas of global politics--a dreadful situation.
 国家戦略なき日本は、国際社会の荒波の中で孤立化し、やがては漂流することになろう。これでは困るのだ。

Which direction should Japan take? What sort of nation should Japan seek to be? How will the nation draw its new state image? Our political leaders must shoulder the responsibility for guiding the nation through this critical time and present a bold national strategy to do so.
 日本が進むべき道は何か。どんな国造りを目指すのか。新しい国家像をどう描くのか。危機を乗り越える具体的な処方箋(せん)とともに、骨太な国家戦略を示すこと、それが政治に課された責任である。

 ◆連立の弊害をただせ◆
The dysfunctional nature of the Hatoyama administration is the result of the disproportionate influence wielded by the smaller members of the ruling coalition, the insistence on adhering strictly to the manifesto touted by the Democratic Party of Japan during the House of Representatives election in implementing policies and the obstinate stance of excluding bureaucrats from the policymaking process.
 鳩山政権の機能不全は、大きく言えばキャスチングボート政治、マニフェスト至上主義、官僚排除に由来する。

In addition, there is the scandal over questionable political donations involving Hatoyama's political fund management organization. Hatoyama has made it clear he intends to leave the matter of whether he should resign up to the voters. Depending on how public sentiment develops, it could lead to political upheaval. It also is possible that Japan's political world could be thrown into turmoil.
 加えて、鳩山首相自身の献金問題だ。首相は進退を世論に委ねる意向を明らかにしたが、展開次第では政変に結びつく。日本政治が激動する可能性もあろう。

We cannot overlook the present situation in which the DPJ, the predominant party in the ruling camp, is at the mercy of its junior coalition partners--the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party--which, despite their small number of seats, hold the key to the fate of bills in the House of Councillors, distorting the fundamentals of the nation's foreign and security policies and fiscal and economic management.
 小所帯ながら参院で法案成否の鍵を握る社民、国民新両党が大勢力の民主党を振り回し、外交・安全保障や財政・経済運営の基本をゆがめる現状は看過できない。

The Hatoyama administration's postponing of its decision on the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture typifies this situation.
 象徴的事例が、米軍普天間飛行場移設問題の決着先送りだ。

Hatoyama's indecision and the intercession of DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa and other officials whose top priority is maintaining the ruling coalition have led to the present critical juncture in the Japan-U.S. alliance.
鳩山首相の優柔不断もさることながら、連立政権維持を優先する民主党の小沢幹事長らの思惑により、日米同盟の危機が指摘される事態になっている。

===

1955 model worked

The merger of the Liberal Party and the Japan Democratic Party to create the Liberal Democratic Party in November 1955 was born out of a sense of crisis as these conservative parties witnessed the unification of the left and right factions of the Japan Socialist Party in October of the same year. Yet it was also aimed at heading off a power struggle among small splinter parties.
 1955年の保守合同は、左右両派社会党の統一を目にした保守陣営の危機感から誕生したが、小党乱立の弊害を除くねらいもあった。

Then Deputy Prime Minister Taketora Ogata pointed out that leaving the deciding vote in the Diet in the hands of small parties would shake the public's trust in political rule by the majority, and emphasized the urgent need to bring political stability with the merger.
 緒方竹虎(おがたたけとら)副総理が、小党のキャスチングボートは多数決政治の信頼を揺るがすと指摘、保守合同による「政局の安定は現下爛頭(らんとう)の急務」と強調したゆえんである。

Although there were pros and cons to the so-called 1955 regime--in which the LDP controlled both houses of the Diet, and the JSP held roughly half the number of seats held by the LDP in each house--there is no doubt that it secured the nation's peace on the basis of the Japan-U.S. alliance and built the foundations for political stability under the LDP's single-party control and for the ensuing economic growth.
 55年体制には功罪あるが、日米同盟に基づいて日本の平和を確保し、自民党一党支配による政局の安定と、それに伴う経済成長の礎を築いたことは間違いない。

The Hatoyama Cabinet is under pressure to take the deciding vote away from its junior coalition partners.
 鳩山内閣はキャスチングボート政治からの脱却が迫られている。

When it comes to important policies and bills that could determine the fate of the nation and have a major impact on people's lives, the administration should not hesitate to form a temporary alliance and cooperate with opposition parties or even to form a national-unity administration through a bold political reorganization.
国の命運がかかり、国民生活の基盤が左右されるような重要政策・法案の成否に当たっては、野党とも提携する「部分連合」や、大胆な政界再編による「挙国政権」づくりをためらうべきではない。

 ◆日米基軸が国益に沿う◆
The Japan-U.S. alliance is the cornerstone of national security. While continuing its development of nuclear arms, North Korea is demanding a security guarantee and economic assistance. Meanwhile, China is attempting to expand its economic interests, backed by its military buildup.
 言うまでもなく、日米同盟は日本の安全保障の生命線だ。
 核開発を続ける一方で体制保証と経済支援を強要する北朝鮮、軍事力増強を背景に経済権益の拡大を図る中国。

For Japan, which is separated by a narrow strip of water from these two countries of different political systems, maintaining amicable Japan-U.S. relations on the basis of the security alliance should be a fundamental part of the national strategy.
 政治体制が異なる両国と一衣帯水の日本にとって、安全保障同盟を基軸とする良好な日米関係の維持は、国家戦略の基本に位置づけられなければならない。

In spite of this, Hatoyama's words and deeds touting his vision of an East Asian community and aimed at distancing Japan from the United States could potentially endanger the alliance.
 それなのに、東アジア共同体構想を掲げ、米国離れを志向する鳩山首相の言動は極めて危うい。

It is self-evident that, as a sovereign state, Japan has an equal relationship with the United States.
 主権国家として、日本が米国と対等な関係にあるのは自明だ。

Yet, the Japan-U.S. security alliance is based on mutual benefit whereby Japan is protected by the United States in time of emergency in exchange for allowing the United States to establish military bases in Japan.
 しかし、安全保障に関して言えば、有事の際に米国が日本を守り、その代わりに日本が米軍に基地を提供する、という相互補完関係にある。

The Japan-U.S. security alliance made it possible for Japan to pursue butter instead of guns in the postwar years.
日米安保体制が、戦後日本の「軽武装・経済優先」路線を可能にしたわけだ。

If Japan ends its previous dependence on the United States and pursues relations as an equal, it will become vital to drastically reinforce the nation's ability to defend itself and deal with external threats, including that posed by North Korea.
 鳩山首相が言うように、米国依存を改め、対等な関係を目指すのなら、北朝鮮などの脅威に備えた自主防衛力の抜本的な強化が必須となる。

Doing so would require a substantial increase in defense spending, a move that would lead to cuts in budgetary resources that should otherwise be used to improve the economy and carry out social welfare programs. This would be exacerbated by greater concerns among neighboring nations about Japan's military buildup.
 防衛費は膨張し、景気対策や社会保障に回すべき予算が圧迫される。さらに、日本の軍事力強化に対する周辺諸国の懸念を増幅させるだろう。

For this country, weakening its alliance with the United States and seeking a fifty-fifty bilateral relationship is not a realistic option.
 米国との同盟関係を薄めて、対等な関係を築くというのは、現実的な選択ではない。

Meanwhile, Japan has every reason to step up its strategic reciprocal relationship with China, a nation with which this country has close economic ties. Cooperation with China is also indispensable to keep North Korea in check.
 一方で、日本が経済的に密接なつながりを持つ中国と、「戦略的互恵」関係の強化を進めるのは当然だ。北朝鮮の暴走に歯止めをかけるためにも、中国の協力は欠かせない。

More importantly, Japan must look at the whole issue from the standpoint of basing peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region on efforts to step up relations with the United States, with which this nation shares such values as democracy, a respect for human rights, freedom of thought and creed.
 しかし、それ以上に民主主義、人権尊重、思想・信条の自由という普遍的価値を共有するアメリカとの関係強化を、アジア・太平洋の平和と安定の基礎に置く視点が不可欠である。

===

Economy mismanaged

 ◆非常時は大胆な政策を◆
A price war is raging among corporations selling their products at prices lower than their production and other necessary costs in the consumer electronic, apparel, food and some other industries. However, consumers cannot afford to be complacent about a heavy discount on goods. No one should forget that the excessive price war is a precarious phenomenon that could produce negative effects, including the advent of a dog-eat-dog society, growth in corporate bankruptcies, rising unemployment, declining wages and worsening deflation.
 家電、衣料、食品業界などで、コスト割れの安売り競争が横行している。消費者も、安く買えると喜んでばかりはいられない。弱肉強食、倒産・失業増加、賃下げ、デフレ悪化などの、負の側面を持つ危険な現象だからである。

Overcoming deflation requires strong political leadership. The government must show the market its strong determination to bail the nation out of a deflationary crisis at any cost--even by adopting strong-arm tactics. The significance of doing so is evident if one stops to remember historical events. In the early 1930s, Finance Minister Korekiyo Takahashi demonstrated strong leadership in fighting the Showa Depression, as did U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in combating the Great Depression of 1929.
 デフレ脱却には、強力な指導力が不可欠だ。
 昭和恐慌時の高橋是清(これきよ)蔵相、アメリカ大恐慌時のフランクリン・ルーズベルト大統領のように、不況脱出のためには強権発動も辞さず、の断固とした政治意思を市場に示す必要がある。

Regrettably, it seems that Hatoyama is unable to demonstrate any determination to overcome the ongoing recession. The prime minister's adherence to the ruling party's manifesto is so obsessive that he has been unable to set policy priorities, thus wavering between conflicting options in settling disputes over each issue.
 残念なことに、鳩山首相からは不況脱出にかける強力なメッセージが伝わってこない。マニフェストに固執する余り、政策の優先順位を決められず、右往左往しているからだ。

This was also true with the process of putting together a new fiscal budget. The Hatoyama administration experienced continued confusion in deciding how to treat several DPJ manifesto pledges in compiling the budget, including plans to scrap the provisionally higher gasoline tax and set up a child-raising allowance program. The turmoil was eventually put to rest when party Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa submitted a solution, in effect, to each pending problem that must be addressed under the next budget.
 新年度予算編成作業でも、マニフェストの柱に掲げたガソリンの暫定税率廃止、子ども手当などを巡って迷走を続け、結局、民主党の小沢幹事長が仕切る形で決着した。

This means the DPJ's promise to ensure the Cabinet is the sole organ responsible for devising government policies has been reduced to an empty and deceptive slogan. It is very disturbing to see that the ruling party has the upper hand over the government.
政策は政府に一元化、という看板も羊頭狗肉(くにく)で、「党高政低」の現実には大きな不安が残る。

The Hatoyama Cabinet has been unable to smoothly communicate with bureaucrats, leaving itself with a lack of information that could otherwise be provided by them. Any prime minister--or cabinet member, for that matter--would find it impossible to make proper policy decisions if they were denied essential information that could be provided by bureaucrats. Using the skills and expertise of bureaucrats for meaningful purposes--not shunning them outright--is what it takes for political leaders to better fulfill their duties.
 鳩山内閣は官僚との円滑な意思疎通を欠き、情報不足に陥っている。首相や閣僚が「裸の王様」では正しい政策判断はできない。官僚を忌避するのではなく、使いこなすのが政治家だろう。

 ◆社会保障を景気対策に◆
The DPJ pledge to use taxpayers' money not for concrete, but for people has taken on a life of its own. This should be perceived as a hazardous turn of events.
 「コンクリートから人へ」というキャッチフレーズが独り歩きしている。危険なことだ。

The slogan seems to suggest that promoting public works projects is a harmful policy peculiar to a country dominated by the construction industry. True, each public works project needs to be examined for its propriety, but it is important to conduct economy-boosting public works projects at a time when most regional economies are impoverished.
 公共事業は「土建国家」の悪玉施策と言わんばかりである。吟味は必要だが、地方が疲弊しているときに、即効性が高い公共事業の活用も大切だ。

===

Sales tax hike needed

An essential task to be undertaken in building a society in which people can live without anxiety is to provide well-organized medical, nursing care and welfare services. Improving the quality of social welfare programs will not only establish a better social safety net, but such efforts also produce economic pump-priming effects.
 安心社会づくりで肝心なのが医療、介護、福祉である。社会保障の充実は、安全網の整備に加え景気対策の効果も期待できる。

Social security-related businesses and services in this country--a sector in which about 6 million people now work--are certain to expand their scope in the future due to the nation's declining birthrate combined with the graying of its population. It is said that this sector can compare with other industries in creating jobs, encouraging production and cash flow.
 約600万人が従事する社会保障の分野は、少子高齢化により今後も拡大する。雇用を作り、生産を促し、カネを循環させる機能は、他産業と比べて見劣りしない、といわれている。

The government cannot get by with avoiding an increase in the consumption tax rate if it hopes to raise financial resources for future social welfare programs. The Hatoyama administration must lift the continued freeze on a rise in the tax rate and seek popular support for the tax hike after an improvement in the economy.
 社会保障の財源として消費税率引き上げは避けて通れない。鳩山政権は凍結の封印を解き、景気回復後の税率引き上げに国民の理解を求めなければならない。

Issuing a massive number of new government bonds under the next fiscal budget has become unavoidable. Of the total debt-servicing costs to be incurred under the new budget, about 10 trillion yen will be used to pay interest on the government bonds purchased. It is worth considering the issuance of zero-interest, tax-exempt government bonds to ease the burden shouldered by the government in paying interest, an idea advanced by such key figures as Shizuka Kamei, state minister in charge of financial services.
 来年度予算では、大量の国債発行が不可避となった。国債費のうち約10兆円が利払いに充てられている。利払いの負担を軽減するため亀井金融相らが主張するように、無利子非課税国債を発行することも検討に値しよう。

The government should also be advised to encourage people to use part of their nest eggs--a pool of money worth about 30 trillion yen--to buy government bonds, although such a policy measure could be criticized as a form of preferential treatment for wealthy people. We believe doing so will help boost the economy.
 金持ち優遇の批判も予想されるが、約30兆円のタンス預金を国債に吸い上げて活用できれば、景気対策に役立つではないか。

In a time of crisis, it is necessary to think and act in a manner that fits the situation. This nation must quickly leave behind the current political tendency to please the public with lavish handouts and eye-catching actions. It must be remembered that "bread and circuses"--that is, handouts and petty amusements used by politicians to attract popular support--was a factor believed to have quickened the fall of the Roman Empire.
 非常時には非常時なりの思考と行動が必要である。ローマ帝国の滅亡を早めた「パンとサーカス」の、大衆迎合的ばらまき・見せ物政治から一日も早く抜けださなければならない。

Failure to leave the current political climate behind means political leaders in this nation will not be able to end the ongoing crisis, or fulfill their obligations to set a course for the future of their nation.
 そうでなければ、眼下の危機を乗り越えることも、明日への責任を果たすこともできない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 1, 2010)
(2010年1月1日00時35分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2010-01-01 11:00 | 英字新聞