舛添都知事 自らの言葉なぜ語らぬ

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 9
EDITORIAL: Masuzoe must explain spending with own words, not legal babble
(社説)舛添都知事 自らの言葉なぜ語らぬ

Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe is grossly mistaken if he thinks he has offered convincing answers to questions about his qualifications to head the capital’s government and the administration itself. Serious doubts still remain following revelations about his spending of taxpayer money for personal use.
In recent sessions of the Tokyo metropolitan assembly, Masuzoe was bombarded with questions about his dubious expenditures on hotels, meals, books and artwork. (過剰英訳です)
 東京都知事としての資質への疑念や都政への不信感が、これで解消できたと舛添要一知事は思っているのだろうか。

Tokyo citizens wanted to hear Masuzoe’s own thoughts concerning his moral responsibility for using public money for personal purposes, not the opinions of the lawyers who have scrutinized his questionable expenditures and drawn up a report on their findings.
 都議会の代表質問と一般質問が終わった。都民が聞きたかったのは、さまざまな公私混同の道義的責任などを、調査報告書をまとめた弁護士ではなく、舛添氏自身はどう考えているのかという点だっただろう。「自分の言葉で語って」と都議たちは何度も促した。

Assembly members who questioned the governor repeatedly urged him to speak with his own words.
 しかし舛添氏は、判で押したような「反省」を繰り返した。

But Masuzoe only reiterated cookie-cutter comments about his “soul-searching” over the spending. He refused to offer the related details he must have discussed with the lawyers or specific measures to fix the problem.
弁護士らには語ったはずの詳細な事実や、具体的な改善策を尋ねられても答えを避けた。

Still, he dared to say, “I wish to regain public trust by fulfilling my responsibility to explain in this way.” This comment sounds like nothing but an expression of defiance.
 それなのに「このように説明責任を果たしていくことで信頼を回復したい」と言うのでは、開き直りにしか聞こえない。

Masuzoe liked to say the metropolitan assembly represents the capital’s public. But his remarks in the assembly sessions suggest his disrespect for the assembly.
 「都議会こそが都民の代表」と繰り返していたはずが、こんな答弁ぶりでは議会軽視の姿勢も問われるべきだろう。

He appears unable to even recognize what is the real issue.
 舛添氏は、何が問題なのかも認識していないのではないか。

If he really spent part of his political funds, including public money, for personal purchases, he should at least be accused of betraying the trust of taxpayers.
 公金を含む政治資金の一部を私生活に流用したとすれば、納税者に対する背信である。

He has worsened matters by failing to fulfill his responsibility to answer the questions raised, causing confusion and disruptions in the work of the metropolitan government.
その上に説明責任を果たさない混乱が都政の停滞を招いている。

After seeing how he has responded to the scandal, most citizens of the capital are naturally unwilling to support his desire to retain his post.
 これで知事続投の意欲を示されても都民は納得できまい。

The lawyers announced their report on his spending on June 6, the day before the metropolitan assembly started its session. The report said millions of yen in Masuzoe’s expenditures on hotel stays with his family, meals and artwork were “inappropriate.”
 代表質問の前日に公表された報告書は、家族同伴のホテル宿泊費や、飲食費・美術品代などの一部を「不適切」と認定した。その重みを舛添氏は深刻に受け止めねばならない。

Masuzoe needs to take this judgment seriously.

The report includes some telltale signs of his stance toward political funds. When he was asked about his purchase of a book on making soba (buckwheat noodles), for example, Masuzoe reportedly tried to justify the spending by saying, “I once discussed politics while making soba, and the book has been useful for my political activities.”
 報告書からは、政治資金をめぐる意識が透けて見える。例えば、そば打ちの本を買ったことについて「そばを打ちながら政治談義をしたこともあり、政治活動に役立っている」と述べたという。

As for his purchase of historical novels, he said he had bought it “for studying Edo Period customs,” according to the report.
時代小説の購入は「江戸時代の風俗研究のため」。

He made it sound like all aspects of his life were related to politics.
 生活のすべてが政治であるといわんばかりだ。

Masuzoe described the report as a “harsh” assessment of his expenditures. But most ordinary citizens don’t share his view.
舛添氏は報告書を「厳しい」指摘というが、ふつうの市民感覚から見れば、そうとは言えない。

The report didn’t question the appropriateness of his purchases of many calligraphy works, saying they also served both his hobby and his interests as a politician.
 多くの「書」の購入について報告書は「趣味と政治家としての実利・実益を兼ね備えている」ので問題なしとした。

As for a silk Chinese outfit he bought in Shanghai, Masuzoe reportedly claimed he could move his ink brush smoothly in calligraphy when he wears the robe. The lawyers accepted Masuzoe’s explanation as “specific and convincing.”
上海で買ったシルクの中国服は「書道の際に着ると筆をスムーズに滑らせることができる」という舛添氏の説明を、「具体的で説得力がある」と評した。

Does the governor intend to continue such expenditures now that they have judged to be “appropriate?”
 適切とされたこれらの支出を今後も続ける気なのか。

What does he think about assembly members’ call for him to make a “painful decision?” Masuzoe needs to offer honest and straightforward answers to these questions.
都議から求められた「身を切る決断」をどう考えるのか。舛添氏は正面から語らねばならない。

The metropolitan assembly, for its part, is responsible for making an exhaustive inquiry into the governor’s dubious expenditures.
 都議会には、審理を尽くす責任がある。

Members of the assembly’s general affairs committee should rigorously investigate the scandal during an intensive session on the topic expected to be held as early as next week.
来週にも見込まれる総務委員会での集中審議で、きちんと追及すべきだ。
[PR]

# by kiyoshimat | 2016-06-10 11:38 | 英字新聞

米中戦略対話 南シナ海安定に責任を果たせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Washington must press Beijing to act responsibly in S. China Sea
米中戦略対話 南シナ海安定に責任を果たせ

China has been beefing up its efforts to build artificial islands in the South China Sea for use as military bases while also repeating self-serving actions and remarks over human rights and trade issues.
 南シナ海の軍事拠点化を加速させ、人権問題や貿易でも独善的な言動を繰り広げる。

To maintain peace in Asia and the stability of the global economy, it is crucial for the United States to keep pressing China to abide by international rules and fulfill its responsibilities as a major power.
 アジアの平和と世界経済の安定を保つには、そんな中国に、国際ルールを順守し、大国の責任を果たすよう米国が促し続けることが欠かせない。

In the eighth round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, cabinet-level officials discussed a wide range of issues over two days.
 第8回米中戦略・経済対話が北京で行われ、閣僚級が2日間、幅広い課題を巡って協議した。

Regarding the dispute over the South China Sea, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for maintaining a maritime order based on international laws. “I reiterated America’s fundamental support for negotiations and a peaceful resolution, based on the rule of law, as well as ... our concern about any unilateral steps by any party,” he said.
 南シナ海問題について、ケリー米国務長官は「一方的な行動ではなく、法の支配や外交を通じて解決すべきだ」と述べ、国際法に基づく海洋秩序の維持を訴えた。

However, both sides remained far apart on this issue. “China has every right to uphold its territorial sovereignty and lawful and legitimate maritime entitlements,” State Councilor Yang Jiechi said. Chinese President Xi Jinping also emphasized that there are “differences that cannot be resolved for the time being” between the two countries.
 中国の楊潔●国務委員は、「国家の主権と領土を断固守る」と語った。習近平国家主席も「すぐに解決できない対立もある」と強調し、議論は平行線をたどった。(●は竹かんむりの下にがんだれと虎)

The Xi administration is believed to be considering a plan to reclaim land on Scarborough Shoal, which lies close to the Philippines, on top of artificial islands they have already built in the South China Sea. Beijing apparently aims to build a runway and radar installations to pave the way for establishing an air defense identification zone over the area.
 習政権は、既に造成した人工島に加え、フィリピンに近いスカボロー礁でも埋め立てを検討しているとみられる。滑走路やレーダー網を整備し、防空識別圏の設定につなげる思惑があるのだろう。

The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration is expected to make a decision by the end of this month on a case the Philippines has brought over Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, which Manila calls a violation of international laws.
 フィリピンが中国の領有権主張を国際法違反と提訴したオランダ・ハーグの常設仲裁裁判所は、月内にも判断を下す見通しだ。

Yang, however, once again said China will ignore the decision. Does this mean that Beijing does not shy away from becoming isolated in the international community? A stance to turn from the rule of law will only give more credence to the idea that China is not like other nations.
 楊氏は、仲裁裁の結果を受け入れない考えを改めて示した。国際社会で孤立することも辞さないと言うのか。「法の支配」に背を向ける姿は、「中国異質論」に拍車をかけるだけである。

Staging cooperation

Kerry expressed his concerns over China’s human rights issues. In April, the Xi administration enacted a law to put foreign nongovernmental organizations providing services in the country under the supervision of security authorities. It cannot be overlooked that Beijing is oppressing human rights under the guise of “domestic affairs.”
 ケリー氏は中国の人権状況を問題視する意向を伝えた。習政権は4月に、国内で活動する外国の非政府組織(NGO)を公安当局の管理下に置く法律を制定している。中国が「国情」を盾に人権を抑圧する事態は看過できない。

One of the concerns in China’s economy is the delay in structural reforms, best exemplified by the overproduction of steel, among other products. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew requested that China reduce production in steel and aluminium, saying, “Excess capacity has a distorting and damaging effect on global markets.”
 経済分野で懸念されるのは、鉄鋼などの過剰生産に象徴される中国の構造改革の遅れだ。ルー米財務長官は「世界市場を歪ゆがめ、悪影響を及ぼす」と語り、鉄鋼やアルミニウムの減産を要請した。

The latest Group of Seven summit meeting held in the Ise-Shima area of Mie Prefecture also described the overcapacity of steel as a cause for concern in the global economy, as it triggers unfair discount sales. The Xi administration is being held responsible for nipping possible disorder in the bud by making sure it reorganizes state-owned enterprises, among other measures.
 不当廉売を招く鉄鋼の過剰生産は、先の主要国首脳会議(伊勢志摩サミット)でも、世界経済の不安材料とされた。習政権には、国有企業の整理などを着実に進め、混乱の芽を摘む責務がある。

The latest U.S.-China dialogue was held as the last session under the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. The U.S. side said the two countries were able to produce results as they deepened their cooperation on issues such as climate change and Iran’s nuclear development program through a series of discussions. The dialogue seemed to be effective to some degree in deterring unexpected collisions by facilitating exchanges among military officers.
 今回はオバマ政権下で最後の戦略対話となった。米側は、一連の対話を通じ、気候変動対策やイランの核問題などで協力が深まり、成果が出たと説明する。軍当局間の交流により、不測の衝突を防ぐ一定の効果はあっただろう。

China did not make any concessions on issues it regards as “core interests.” Wasn’t a show of cooperation put on rather than differences being resolved?
 中国は「核心的利益」と位置づける問題で一切譲歩しなかった。対立の解消より、協調を演出する側面が目立ったのではないか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 8, 2016)
[PR]

# by kiyoshimat | 2016-06-09 07:48 | 英字新聞

韓国慰安婦財団 合意履行へ国民の理解求めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
ROK must expand people’s support to implement ‘comfort women’ deal
韓国慰安婦財団 合意履行へ国民の理解求めよ

It can be said that a first step has been taken for implementation of a deal reached by the Japanese and South Korean governments in late December on the so-called comfort women issue. We want to see how the administration of President Park Geun-hye will follow through.
 慰安婦問題を巡る昨年末の日韓合意の履行に向けて、一歩前進したと言えよう。朴槿恵政権の取り組みを見守りたい。

A preparatory committee has been established in South Korea to set up a foundation to support former comfort women based on the bilateral accord.
 元慰安婦を合意に基づいて支援する財団の設立準備委員会が韓国で発足した。

The Japanese government will provide ¥1 billion for the foundation to be established by the South Korean government. The purpose of the foundation is said to be “to restore the honor and dignity of former comfort women and heal their emotional wounds.” The foundation will be required to embody the aims of the bilateral deal.
 韓国政府が設立する財団に、日本政府が10億円を拠出する。「元慰安婦の名誉と尊厳の回復、心の傷の癒やし」が事業目的とされる。その合意の趣旨を体現した財団となることが求められる。

Chaired by Kim Tae Hyeon, an honorary professor at Sungshin Women’s University and an expert on women’s issues, the committee consists of 11 members, including former Foreign Minister Yu Myung Hwan and a scholar on Japanese affairs. The panel will compile assistance programs for the former comfort women, and the foundation is scheduled to be set up as early as this month.
 準備委は、女性問題専門家の金兌玄・誠信女子大名誉教授が委員長を務め、柳明桓元外相、日本研究者ら計11人で構成される。元慰安婦支援の計画をまとめ、今月中にも財団が設立される運びだ。

During a recent news conference, Kim stressed a policy of respecting the intentions of former comfort women in carrying out assistance programs, saying, “We’d like to become sympathetic from our hearts to the pains of the victims [former comfort women] and meet their requests.”
 金委員長は記者会見で、「被害者(元慰安婦)の痛みに心から共感し、応えたい」と述べた。元慰安婦の意向を尊重して活動を進める方針を強調している。

It took more than five months before the preparatory committee was established. Behind the delay could be the Park administration’s wish to avoid having the comfort women issue become a point of contention in the general election that was held in April and evade the possibility of a barrage of criticism by opposition parties.
 準備委発足までに5か月以上かかった。4月の総選挙で慰安婦問題が争点となり、野党から攻撃されるのを避けたいとの判断が、朴政権にあったためだろう。

Given the stunning election defeat of her ruling party, the pressure on her administration’s governance has been mounting.
 総選挙で与党が大敗したことから、朴大統領の政権運営への圧力が高まっている。

No more time for delay

The Minjoo Party of Korea, a leftist opposition group that is now the biggest force in the National Assembly, has denounced the Japan-South Korea deal on the comfort women issue as making no mention of Japan’s legal responsibility and has called for holding negotiations again on the matter. A South Korean group assisting the former comfort women has been strongly opposing the inauguration of the preparatory committee.
 第1党となった左派野党「共に民主党」は日韓合意について、日本の法的責任の認定がない点などを批判し、再交渉を主張する。元慰安婦の支援団体も、準備委発足に強く反発している。

Of concern is that the South Korean people’s understanding of the bilateral accord on the comfort women issue is not sufficient. According to a joint public opinion survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun and The Hankook Ilbo, 73 percent of South Korean respondents did not support the comfort women deal.
 気がかりなのは、国民の理解が十分に得られていない状況だ。読売新聞と韓国日報の共同世論調査では、合意を「評価しない」とする人が韓国で73%に上った。

The deal was worked out as a result of mutual concessions by Tokyo and Seoul. True, it triggered a chance for the two countries to restore strained bilateral relations. The Park administration has reportedly received an increasing amount of affirmative responses to the deal in interviews with the former comfort women.
 合意は日韓双方が歩み寄った成果であり、停滞していた日韓関係を改善する契機となったのは間違いない。朴政権が元慰安婦との面談を進める中で、合意に肯定的な反応が増えているという。

Forty-six former comfort women remained alive when the deal was hammered out last December. But four of them have since died. Delay in assistance programs can no longer be allowed.
 存命している元慰安婦は合意時に46人だったが、その後、4人が亡くなった。支援事業のこれ以上の遅滞は許されまい。

It is essential for the Park administration to tenaciously seek to obtain the people’s understanding of its accord with Tokyo on the comfort women issue and strive to enable the foundation to function smoothly.
 朴政権は合意の意義について、粘り強く国民に理解を求め、財団が円滑に活動できるよう努めることが欠かせない。

As for a Japanese request for the removal of a statue of a girl installed in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, the South Korean government has pledged “to work toward resolving the matter appropriately.”
 日本側が撤去を求めるソウルの日本大使館前の少女像について、韓国側は「適切に解決されるよう努力する」と約束している。

It should not be forgotten that the matter is gravely related to securing the peace and safety as well as the dignity of the embassy. South Korean organizations, including one that installed the statue, object to its removal, but it is also important for the South Korean government to induce them to remove the statue in line with progress in implementation of what has been agreed upon in the deal.
 大使館の安寧や威厳の維持に関わる重大な問題であるのを忘れてはならない。少女像を設置した団体などは撤去に反対するが、朴政権は合意履行の進展に伴い、撤去へ誘導していくことも大切だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 7, 2016)
[PR]

# by kiyoshimat | 2016-06-08 10:54 | 英字新聞

三菱マテ和解 形を変えた中国の揺さぶりか

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Is China exerting new pressure on Japan in a different way via courts?
三菱マテ和解 形を変えた中国の揺さぶりか

It is feared that a new tendency of filing lawsuits against or seeking compensation from Japanese companies may spread in China.
 日本企業を相手取った新たな訴訟や賠償請求の動きが中国で広がらないか、懸念される。

A settlement has been reached regarding some Chinese who said they were forcibly taken to Japan as laborers during World War II and are demanding an apology and compensation from Mitsubishi Materials Corp., formerly Mitsubishi Mining Co.
 戦時中に中国から強制連行され、労働を強いられたとする中国人の元労働者らが三菱マテリアル(旧三菱鉱業)に謝罪と損害賠償を求めていた問題で、双方が和解した。

Mitsubishi Materials has apologized to them, admitting its “historical responsibility” over the issue. The company will pay 100,000 yuan (about ¥1.7 million) to each.
 三菱マテリアルは「歴史的責任」を認めて謝罪を表明した。1人当たり10万元(約170万円)を支払う。

With 3,765 Chinese people having worked at the company, the total scale of the settlement will be one of the largest ever for a Japanese company regarding wartime laborers alleged to have been forcibly taken to Japan.
働いていたのは3765人で、強制連行を巡る日本企業の和解としては過去最大規模だ。

The company probably opted to settle the issue to avoid the risk of prolonged litigation and paying a huge sum in compensation, and to give priority to expanding its business operations in China.
 訴訟の長期化や多額の賠償金のリスクを避けるとともに、中国ビジネスの展開を優先するために、和解を選んだのだろう。

Japanese lawyers also were involved in the lawsuit on the Chinese side. About 39,000 Chinese people were said to have been forcibly taken to Japan as laborers and 35 Japanese companies were reportedly involved.
 中国側には、日本人弁護士も関与した。強制連行された中国人労働者は約3万9000人で、関係した企業は35社に上るという。

If Japanese companies are pressured one after another to bear huge expenses, it is highly likely there will be a further increase in Japanese companies hesitating to make investments in China.
 今回の和解を機に巨額の費用負担を迫られるケースが続けば、対中投資に二の足を踏む企業が一段と増えかねない。

In the Japan-China joint statement signed in 1972 to mark the normalization of bilateral relations, the Chinese government relinquished all reparation demands for damage related to the war. The Japanese government has consistently taken the standpoint that no reparation issue is pending between Japan and China.
 中国政府は、1972年の国交正常化時の日中共同声明で、日本に対する戦争被害の賠償請求を放棄すると宣言した。日本政府は一貫して、「日中間の請求権問題は存在していない」との立場だ。

But the Chinese government has unilaterally asserted that individual rights to claim damages were not settled by the joint statement.
 だが、中国政府は、個人の賠償請求権は共同声明では決着していないと一方的に解釈している。

Top court’s indiscretion

The Supreme Court turned down the Chinese plaintiffs’ claim for individual reparations in 2007, saying, “Under the Japan-China joint statement, individual Chinese cannot file reparation claims for war damage.”
 日本の最高裁は2007年、「日中共同声明により、中国人個人は戦争被害について、裁判上の賠償請求はできなくなった」として、中国人の訴えを棄却した。

On the other hand, the top court added that “it is hoped efforts would be made toward giving relief to the victims” by the companies concerned and others. This additional comment must be considered indiscreet. It may have affected the decision by Mitsubishi Materials.
 一方で、関係企業などに「被害者の救済に向けた努力が期待される」とも付言した。不用意だったのではないか。三菱マテリアルの判断にも影響しただろう。

The Chinese court, which is under the control of the Chinese Communist Party-led government, initially did not accept claims by individuals. China was believed to have attached importance to relations with Japan, as its economic development was helped by such assistance as yen loans.
 共産党政権の指導下にある中国の裁判所は当初、中国人の訴えを受理しなかった。円借款などで経済発展を支えた日本との関係を重視していたためとみられる。

A problem arose when a Beijing court accepted in March 2014 a suit filed against Mitsubishi Materials by some former Chinese laborers over forcible mobilization.
 問題なのは、14年3月、三菱マテリアルの強制連行に関し、北京の裁判所が一部の元労働者らによる訴訟を受理したことである。

The administration of Xi Jinping apparently shifted its policy to intensify pressure on Japan, following such developments as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine. The Chinese government may expect, once again, that it can hold Japan in check over issues of historical perception by tacitly approving the latest settlement.
 習近平政権は、安倍首相の靖国神社参拝などを受け、対日圧力を強める方針に転換したのだろう。今回も和解を黙認することで、歴史問題で日本を牽制けんせいできるとの思惑があるのではないか。

In South Korea, court battles continue over damages claims filed by former South Korean workers who say they were forcibly mobilized by the Japanese government during the war. The Japanese government should take precautions to ensure that neither China nor South Korea bring up again any issues that have already been settled legally.
 韓国では、戦時中に動員された元徴用工が損害賠償を求めた裁判が続いている。法的に解決済みの問題を中韓両国が改めて蒸し返すことのないよう、日本政府は、警戒せねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 6, 2016)
[PR]

# by kiyoshimat | 2016-06-07 12:30 | 英字新聞

日米韓防衛協力 北ミサイル対処に万全を期せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan, U.S., South Korea must act together on North Korean missiles
日米韓防衛協力 北ミサイル対処に万全を期せ

North Korea has repeatedly taken militarily provocative actions. It is essential for Japan, the United States and South Korea to reinforce their framework for jointly dealing with contingencies.
 北朝鮮が軍事的挑発を繰り返している。日米韓3か国は、不測の事態に備え、共同対処体制を強化することが肝要だ。

Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and South Korean Defense Minister Han Min Koo held talks in Singapore. They strongly condemned North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and confirmed that the three countries will make all-out efforts to share intelligence and conduct surveillance activities.
 中谷防衛相、カーター米国防長官、韓国の韓民求国防相がシンガポールで会談した。北朝鮮の核・ミサイル開発を強く非難し、情報共有や監視活動に万全を期すことを確認した。

Since April, North Korea has launched four ballistic missiles believed to be Musudan missiles, which have a range that can reach Guam, a U.S. territory. All the launches appeared to have failed, but some believe North Korea will continue missile launches until it succeeds.
 北朝鮮は4月以降、米領グアムに届く「ムスダン」とされる弾道ミサイルを4発発射した。すべて失敗した模様だが、成功するまで発射を続けるとの見方もある。

South Korea holds the key to trilateral cooperation. The full participation of South Korea, which directly faces the North Korean military and has its own intelligence, would greatly enhance Japan-U.S. cooperation.
 日米韓連携のカギは韓国だ。北朝鮮軍と直接対峙たいじし、独自情報を持つ韓国が本格的に加わることで日米協力は大幅に深化する。

During the talks, the three countries decided to conduct joint missile defense drills off Hawaii late this month. This is an important achievement, together with an agreement reached during Japan-South Korea defense ministerial talks to establish a hot line for emergencies. This may also serve to hold North Korea in check.
 会談では、今月下旬の3か国合同ミサイル防衛訓練のハワイ沖実施を決定した。日韓防衛相会談で緊急時のホットライン設置で一致したこととともに、重要な成果だ。北朝鮮への牽制けんせいともなろう。

Prior to the talks, Carter indicated that he would like to have the most advanced missile defense system deployed shortly at a U.S. military base in South Korea.
 カーター氏は会談前、最新鋭ミサイル防衛システムを在韓米軍に近く配備したい意向を示した。

Enhanced deterrence

There are cautious voices in South Korea in this regard — apparently in consideration of China — but the deployment of the new missile defense system would enhance deterrence and contribute to the regional stability of Northeast Asia. We hope the United States and South Korea, taking a broad perspective, will reach an agreement soon through talks.
 韓国には、中国への配慮から慎重論もあるが、新システム配備は抑止力を高め、北東アジアの安定に資する。大局的観点から、早期に米韓協議で合意してほしい。

In a speech delivered at the Asia Security Summit, Carter criticized China’s building of military strongholds in the South China Sea as “expansive and unprecedented actions.”
 カーター氏は「アジア安全保障会議」の演説で、中国による南シナ海の軍事拠点化を「膨張的で前例のない行動」と非難した。

Nakatani said with China in mind, “A unilateral change of the status quo, by saying it is established fact, excessively deviates from maritime order based on principles of international law.”
 中谷氏も、中国を念頭に、「一方的な現状変更、既成事実化は、国際法の原則に基づく海洋秩序を著しく逸脱する」と指摘した。

It is of great significance that Japan and the United States have appealed in unison to the international community concerning the impropriety of China raising regional tensions.
 地域を緊張させる中国の不当さを、日米が結束して国際社会に訴えた意義は大きい。

China’s construction of military installations on artificial islands in the sea is reckoned to be in its final phase. It is widely believed that China will also establish an air defense identification zone over the South China Sea, in addition to the one it has already set up over the East China Sea. Continued U.S. involvement is essential to counter China’s attempt to win air and naval supremacy of the South China Sea.
 人工島での軍事施設の整備は、最終段階にあるとされる。東シナ海に続いて南シナ海にも、防空識別圏を設定するとの見方が強い。南シナ海の制空・制海権を握ろうとする中国に対抗するには、米国の継続的な関与が欠かせない。

It is important that Japan and the United States cooperate to help the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations enhance their intelligence-gathering and surveillance capabilities.
 東南アジア諸国連合(ASEAN)各国の情報収集・警戒監視能力の向上を、日米が連携して支援する取り組みが大切である。

Establishment of a new international forum, which Japan and the United States have advocated, and an unofficial U.S.-ASEAN defense ministers’ meeting, to be held in September in Hawaii, will also boost the arrangement of the defense cooperation.
 日米が提唱した国際フォーラムの新設や、9月にハワイで開く米ASEAN非公式国防相会議も、態勢作りを後押ししよう。

It is unreasonable for Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the Joint Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, to reject Carter’s criticism of China, saying it was “not based on the facts.”
 カーター氏による中国批判に、中国軍の孫建国・統合参謀部副参謀長が「事実に即していない」と反論したのは、筋違いである。

Carter’s warning that “China could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation” could become reality if the country continues talking and behaving self-righteously.
 中国が独善的な言動を続けるなら、「自らを孤立させる『万里の長城』を築く」というカーター氏の警告が現実のものになろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 5, 2016)Speech
[PR]

# by kiyoshimat | 2016-06-06 07:44 | 英字新聞

オバマ岩国演説 自衛隊と米軍の絆が示された

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Obama’s speech at Iwakuni base symbolizes SDF-U.S. forces bond
オバマ岩国演説 自衛隊と米軍の絆が示された

U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech at the Iwakuni base, it can be said, symbolizes the deepening of the Japan-U.S. alliance as well as the strong bond between the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military.
 日米同盟の深化と、自衛隊と米軍の強い絆の象徴と言えよう。

Prior to his recent visit to Hiroshima, Obama visited the Iwakuni Air Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture, which is jointly used by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Maritime Self-Defense Force. He made a speech before an audience of about 3,000 people, including not only U.S. servicemen stationed there but also about 300 SDF members. This was an exceptional audience for a U.S. presidential address.
 オバマ米大統領が広島訪問前に、米海兵隊と海上自衛隊が共同使用する山口県の岩国基地で演説した。約3000人の聴衆には、駐留米兵のほか、自衛官約300人も加わった。異例の形式だ。

Obama stressed the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance, saying, “It’s an indispensable source of stability and a foundation for prosperity in this region and around the world.”
 オバマ氏は「日米同盟は、地域と世界に不可欠な安定の源であり、繁栄の土台だ」と強調した。

Noting that “this base is a powerful example of the trust and the cooperation and the friendship between the United States and Japan,” Obama expressed gratitude to SDF personnel and local residents, saying “arigato” in Japanese.
 「岩国基地は両国の信頼と協力、友情の力強い実例だ」と指摘し、日本語で「ありがとう」と自衛官や地元市民らをねぎらった。

We should never forget that the bilateral alliance is sustained not simply by what is defined by treaty but by the accumulation of persistent joint activities of many members of the SDF and U.S. forces.
 日米同盟が単なる条約上の関係でなく、多くの自衛官や米兵の共同活動の積み重ねに支えられていることを忘れてはなるまい。

With the new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, compiled in April last year, the effectiveness of joint actions by the SDF and U.S. forces has been enhanced steadily.
 昨年4月に策定された新たな日米防衛協力指針(ガイドライン)によって、自衛隊と米軍の共同対処の実効性は着実に高まった。

In the aftermath of the Kumamoto earthquakes, a Japan-U.S. joint coordination center was set up in Kumamoto Prefecture. U.S. Osprey transport aircraft flying from the Iwakuni base transported water and food supplies from an MSDF destroyer off Yatsushiro port to disaster-hit areas.
 熊本地震では、現地に日米共同調整所が設置された。岩国基地を飛び立った米軍輸送機オスプレイが、八代港沖の海自護衛艦から水や食料を被災地に輸送した。

Essence of alliance

One family in the prefecture, who received relief goods, is said to be planning to name a baby girl whom it is expecting this month after a female Osprey pilot who led her squadron’s mission to bring humanitarian aid and supplies to those in need, as a token of the family’s respect and gratitude.
 支援物資を受け取った熊本県のある被災者一家は、飛行隊長の女性パイロットへの感謝と敬意から今月生まれる女の子に、隊長にちなんだ名前を付けるという。

Obama introduced the pilot, who was in the audience. He praised her squadron’s mission, saying it is “an incredible story that captures the essence of our alliance.” Indeed, the anecdote can be taken as proof that the new defense cooperation guidelines function properly.
 オバマ氏は、聴衆の中にいた女性隊長を紹介し、「日米同盟の本質を如実に示す逸話だ」と称賛した。新ガイドラインが適切に機能していることの証しだろう。

Of concern is that the “free ride argument,” which was once seen, has shown signs of emerging again in the United States. The argument is based on the thinking that U.S. allies benefit unilaterally from the U.S. forces.
 気がかりなのは、米国内で、一昔前の「安保ただ乗り論」が復活する兆しがあることだ。同盟国が米軍の恩恵を一方的に享受しているという考え方である。

Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee in the November presidential election, has called on Japan to bear the entire cost of stationing U.S. forces in Japan and referred even to the possibility of withdrawing U.S. forces.
 11月の大統領選で共和党の指名候補に確定したドナルド・トランプ氏は、在日米軍駐留経費の全額負担を日本に要求し、米軍の撤退にも言及している。

Japan’s expenditures in fiscal 2015 to host U.S. forces amounted to about ¥725 billion, including funds to help cover personnel costs and to carry out measures for the residents around U.S. bases. Japan’s burden of expenditures once topped 70 percent of the total cost.
 2015年度の在日米軍関連経費に対する日本の支出は、労務費負担や周辺対策費などで約7250億円に上る。過去には、負担割合が7割を超えたこともある。

Indeed, Japan bears its fair share of the costs. U.S. bases in Japan serve as a core stronghold in the U.S. forces’ forward deployment strategy and thus serve the national interest of the United States, too.
 日本が応分の負担をしているのは間違いない。在日米軍基地は、米軍の前方展開戦略の重要拠点であり、米国の国益にもかなう。

U.S. administrations to date have had such understanding. But it is uncertain to what extent Trump is informed in this regard.
 歴代米政権は、この認識を共有してきたが、トランプ氏がどこまで理解しているかは不透明だ。

As U.S. military and economic power has declined in relative terms, it may be inevitable for the country to incline increasingly toward “looking inward.” While assuming various developments, Japan must push ahead with proactive international contributions without neglecting efforts to build up its own defense capabilities.
 米国の軍事・経済力が相対的に低下する中、「内向き志向」の高まりは避けられまい。日本は、今後の様々な展開を想定して、防衛力整備を怠らず、積極的な国際貢献を進めることが重要である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 4, 2016)
[PR]

# by kiyoshimat | 2016-06-05 08:55 | 英字新聞

参院選 論戦スタートへ 語られざる「改憲」を問う

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 3
EDITORIAL: Amending the Constitution is hidden focus of Upper House poll
(社説)参院選 論戦スタートへ 語られざる「改憲」を問う

The focus of attention in the political community has shifted to the July 10 Upper House election as the brouhaha over the consumption tax hike and the possibility of simultaneous Upper and Lower House elections has blown over.
Debate on key policy issues at the Diet was drowned out in the political noise in the final days of this year’s regular session.
 消費増税と衆参同日選の行方が注目された会期末の喧噪(けんそう)が去り、政界は7月10日投票の参院選に向け一斉に走り出した。

What topics will Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other politicians address during their election campaigns?
 この選挙で、安倍首相はじめ政治家たちは何を語るのか。

Abe has cast his economic policy, or Abenomics, as the central issue of the election and expressed his intention to seek a public mandate for his recent decision to postpone the scheduled consumption tax increase.
 首相は「アベノミクス」を最大の争点とし、消費増税先送りの判断について国民の信を問いたいという。

Voters will naturally consider these issues at the polls. But they don’t have to focus only on the issues played up by the administration.
 投票にあたってそれを考慮に入れるにしても、政権の一方的な争点設定に縛られる必要はない。

One important topic requires careful attention by voters although politicians are not eager to discuss it. That is constitutional amendments.
むしろ政治家があまり語ろうとしないことにこそ、細心の注意を払うべき論点がある。
 憲法改正である。

Abe has said his key target for the Upper House election is securing a two-thirds majority for his Liberal Democratic Party, its junior coalition partner, Komeito, and other parties willing to support his initiative to amend the Constitution.
 安倍首相は、参院選で自民、公明だけでなく改憲に前向きな政党を含めて3分の2の議席獲得をめざすと語っている。

If the target is reached, Abe will have a much better chance of proceeding with his plan to get the Diet to initiate constitutional amendments, through a concurring two-thirds vote of all the members of each chamber, for a national referendum on the proposed changes.
 実現すれば、衆参両院で憲法改正案を発議し、国民投票にかけることが、現実の政治日程にのぼる可能性が高まる。

That will, of course, be the first actual attempt to rewrite the postwar Constitution under the formal procedures for amendments.
 そうなればもちろん、戦後初めてのことだ。

The question of whether to hand an overwhelming two-thirds majority in both chambers to the Abe administration and its political allies is the biggest issue of the upcoming election, even though it is overshadowed by debate on the economy.
 安倍政権とその補完勢力に、衆参そろって3分の2の圧倒的な多数を与えるのかどうか。これが、経済に隠された参院選最大の焦点である。

The results of the election could put the nation at a major turning point in its postwar history.
 その結果は、戦後日本の分岐点となる重みを持つ。

FRESH DEBATE ON SECURITY LEGISLATION NEEDED
 ■安保法を問い直す

Let us look back on what happened in the Upper House, which is called “the Seat of Common Sense,” eight months ago.
 「良識の府」とも呼ばれる参議院。そこで8カ月前に起きたことを振り返ってみる。

At a Sept. 17 session of the special committee on the new national security legislation, committee members suddenly made a dash for the chairman’s seat, triggering a scuffle amid angry roars. From time to time, ruling camp lawmakers stood with both hands raised in response to cues. People watching the session on TV were clueless to what was occurring.
 安全保障関連法案を審議した昨年9月17日の特別委員会でのことだ。議員たちが突然、委員長席に駆け寄り、怒号の中でもみ合いが続く。合図を受けた与党議員が時折、両手を上げて立ちあがる。何が起こったのか、国民にはわからない。

This ugly scene was how the package of security bills, which effectively revises the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, was actually enacted.
 これが9条の実質的な改正に等しい安保法案の採決だった。

In June last year, three constitutional scholars told the Lower House Commission on the Constitution that the legislation is unconstitutional. Their comments led many lawmakers to subscribe to the view that the legislation violates the Constitution, causing a bitter division among the public.
 安保法案については、6月に3人の憲法学者が衆院憲法審査会で「違憲である」と表明。違憲論が国会の内外に広まり、世論は二分された。

The bills should have been carried over to the next Diet session for further debate. Instead of resorting to persuasion by reason, however, the Abe administration extended the session and used the power of a majority to engineer the forceful passage of the bills through the Diet in the face of strong opposition due to doubts about their constitutionality.
 本来は、次の国会に持ち越して議論を尽くすべきだった。なのに、会期延長の末に違憲論をねじ伏せたのは、理による説得でなく、数による強行だった。

The July Upper House poll will offer a great opportunity for fresh debate on the legislation.
 参院選は、この安保法制定を問い直す機会である。

CHANGES IN STANCE BEFORE AND AFTER ELECTIONS
 ■選挙の前後で違う顔

Since the beginning of this year, Abe has made clear his desire to embark on amending the Constitution after the Upper House election.
 安倍首相は年明けから、参院選後に明文改正に踏み込みたい意向を明らかにしてきた。

In January, he pledged in a Diet session to “create a new Constitution with our own hands.” The initiative “has entered the stage of a realistic possibility where discussions are to be held on which provisions should be amended,” he added.
 1月には「自らの手で新たな憲法をつくる。いよいよどの条項について改正すべきか、現実的な段階に移ってきた」と国会で答弁。

In the recent one-on-one Diet debate with Katsuya Okada, president of the Democratic Party, Abe challenged the largest opposition bloc to come up with its own draft amendments to the Constitution, saying there could be no meaningful debate on the topic unless the opposition party did so.
先の党首討論では民進党の岡田代表に「民進党も改正草案を出さなければ、議論のしようがない」と挑発した。

Abe spoke as if changing the Constitution was a given.
 まるで、憲法を変えるのは既定路線だと言わんばかりだ。

In contrast, other senior LDP politicians are not eager to pursue constitutional amendments.
 一方で、首相以外の自民党幹部の熱は低い。

The LDP’s headquarters to promote constitutional amendments has yet to start considering which provisions should be revised. The Lower House Commission on the Constitution didn’t begin substantial debate on the question in the latest Diet session.
 党の憲法改正推進本部は、どの条項を改正すべきかの議論には手をつけていない。衆院の憲法審査会も、先の国会での実質審議を見送った。

Behind its reluctance to wade into debate on the issue is the lack of solid public support to the initiative.
In an Asahi Shimbun survey, 55 percent of the respondents said there was no need to change the Constitution.
 なぜか。朝日新聞の世論調査では、憲法を「変える必要はない」という人は55%に達する。

Toshihiro Nikai, chairman of the LDP’s General Council, pretty much summed up the dominant sentiment within the ruling party when he said a single-minded pursuit of constitutional amendments would make it difficult for the party to win in the election.
「しゃにむに憲法改正の旗を振る姿勢を示したならば、選挙に勝てない」(二階総務会長)というのが党内の空気なのだ。

In the past two national elections, the Abe administration focused its campaign on economic issues that have a direct bearing on people’s livelihoods. The administration is adopting the same campaign strategy for this poll.
 安倍政権は、過去2回の国政選では国民生活に密接にかかわる経済を前面に掲げた。今回も同様だ。

But the administration drastically changed its political posturing after each of the past two elections.
 だが、これまでは選挙が終わると、安倍政権は顔を一変させてきた。

We should not forget the fact that the administration forged ahead with the passage of the state secrets protection law and the security legislation, which both directly concern such basic principles of the Constitution as the people’s right to know and pacifism, after these past elections.
特定秘密保護法に安保法。国民の知る権利や平和主義という憲法の根幹にかかわる法の制定に、一気に進んできたことを忘れてはならない。

THE REAL AIM OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT INITIATIVE?
 ■改憲の狙いはどこに

The Constitution, of course, will not be the only element voters will consider when they make their decisions at the polls in July. Policy issues that affect their daily lives are important factors for their choices that need to be weighed carefully.
 もちろん、有権者が参院選で投票する際の評価軸は、憲法ばかりではない。日々の暮らしにかかわる政策は重要な論点であり、十分な吟味が必要だ。

Let us then examine the economic planks on the parties’ campaign platforms. There aren’t radical differences between the LDP’s vision of a society where 100 million people will play active roles and the Democratic Party’s vision of a “society of symbiosis.” Many parties are proposing more or less similar policies concerning such issues as growth and redistribution, the same wage for same work principle and reducing the number of children on waiting lists for day-care centers.
 ただ、各党の主張をみてみよう。自民党の「1億総活躍」と民進党の「共生社会」、成長と分配、同一労働・同一賃金、待機児童の解消。多くの党が掲げる方向は同じだ。

Given the massive budget deficit and the contraction of the working population, there cannot be wide differences between the ruling and opposition parties in these policies.
財政赤字や労働人口の減少を考えれば、これらの政策に与野党の大きな違いを見いだすのは難しい。

On the other hand, the LDP’s constitutional amendment agenda could radically affect certain values we have enjoyed in the postwar era, such as peace and freedom.
 一方で、いま自民党内で語られている憲法改正論は、私たちが戦後、その恩恵を受けてきた平和や自由といった価値を変質させる可能性をはらむ。

The LDP’s draft constitutional amendments are based on views that place the interests of the state before the freedom of individuals. Lurking at the heart of these views is a sentiment that is close to antipathy toward the human rights and individualism espoused by the current Constitution.
 自民党の憲法改正草案を貫いているのは、国民一人ひとりの自由より、国家を優先させる考え方だ。その根っこには、現憲法の人権や個人主義に対する、敵意に近い感情がうかがえる。

In referring to the LDP’s draft constitutional amendments in a June 1 news conference, Abe toned down his usual rhetoric.
“We are not seeking support from two-thirds (of the members of both chambers) for the initiative by promising to make these amendments,” he said.
 首相はおとといの記者会見で党の草案にふれ、「『これをやりますから賛成する人はだれですか』と3分の2を募っているわけではない」と、抑えた言いぶりにとどめた。

If he secures an electoral victory, however, Abe may start saying the party has won a public mandate to promote the drafts.
If so, which provisions will he try to change for whatever reasons?
 だが、参院選の結果、「草案は信任を得た」と言い出す可能性はないか。そして、どの条文をどのように変えようとしているのか。そこに理はあるか。

Even if Abe doesn’t talk about these questions, voters should ask, as many times as necessary, vital questions about his real stance toward the Constitution.
 首相らが語ろうとはしなくても、有権者として憲法への姿勢を何度でも問い続けたい。
[PR]

# by kiyoshimat | 2016-06-04 12:00 | 英字新聞

首相の会見 納得できぬ責任転嫁

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 2
EDITORIAL: Abe shifts blame from himself for his decision to delay tax hike
(社説)首相の会見 納得できぬ責任転嫁

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s explanation about why he decided to delay the scheduled consumption tax hike again is far from convincing.
In a June 1 news conference, Abe tried--but failed--to make his case that there is a compelling case to delay the increase in the consumption tax rate to 10 percent, slated for April 2017.
 とても納得できる説明ではない。安倍首相のきのうの記者会見はそう評価せざるを得ない。

The long and short of what he said at the news conference is this:

 アベノミクスは順調だ。しかし新興国の経済が陰っている。だから来年春の10%への消費増税は延期し、この秋に大胆な経済対策をまとめる。財政再建の旗は降ろさない――。発言を要約すればこうなる。

Far from being convincing, his call for “revving up the engine of Abenomics as much as possible” raises concerns about heightened risks involved in his expansionary economic policy program.
 納得どころか、「アベノミクスのエンジンを最大にふかす」と強調されては、その危うさがさらに膨らみかねないと不安が募る。

This will be the second delay in the tax increase. It was originally scheduled for October 2015, but Abe in November 2014 announced the postponement of the step to April 2017.
Since that announcement, Abe had reiterated that he would go ahead with the plan to raise the tax rate to 10 percent unless Japan is hit by serious economic tumult, like the global crisis triggered by the 2008 collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers or the downturn following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
 リーマン・ショックや東日本大震災のような経済混乱が生じない限り、10%への消費増税は必ず実施する。前回、消費増税の延期を表明した14年11月の記者会見以来、首相はこう繰り返してきた。

In the June 1 news conference, Abe admitted that nothing like the “Lehman shock” crisis is taking shape. He also denied that his change of mind had been caused by the series of strong earthquakes that have rocked Kumamoto Prefecture and surrounding areas since mid-April.
 きのう首相は「リーマン・ショック級の事態は発生していない」と認め、熊本地震を理由にするつもりもないと述べた。

On the other hand, Abe contended that Abenomics had produced notable results, pointing to job and income growth.
一方で、雇用の増加や所得の上昇を挙げ、アベノミクスの成果に自信を見せた。

If that’s his view about the economy, he should raise the consumption tax as planned to cure the government’s fiscal ills and enhance the financial standing of the social security system.
 ならば、財政再建と社会保障財源充実のために、消費増税を予定通り実施するのが筋だ。

In trying to justify his move, Abe mentioned concerns about the economic health of key emerging countries, including China.
 首相が引き合いに出したのが、中国をはじめとする新興国経済の不安である。

During the recent Ise-Shima summit of the Group of Seven major industrial nations, Abe repeatedly referred to the global recession caused by the failure of Lehman Brothers. But the leaders of Britain and Germany refused to buy his argument.
 先の伊勢志摩サミットでは何度もリーマン・ショックに触れ、英独両国の首脳らから異議が出た。

While Abe admitted that the current situation is not similar to the aftermath of Lehman Brothers’ demise, he pointed to overseas economic uncertainties as the reason behind his policy decision. By doing so, he has effectively shifted the responsibility to emerging countries.
今回はリーマン・ショックとは異なることを認めたものの、海外経済の不透明感を増税延期の理由にするのは、新興国への責任転嫁に等しい。

As for pushing back the tax increase by two-and-a-half years to October 2019, Abe claimed that is the maximum possible delay that can be made without giving up the government’s target of restoring fiscal health by fiscal 2020.
 首相は2年半の先送りについて「20年度の財政健全化目標を堅持するギリギリのタイミングにした」と言う。

The fiscal rehabilitation target is an extremely ambitious one that will not be achieved even if the consumption tax is raised as planned and the Japanese economy grows at rates over 3 percent annually.
 健全化目標は、消費増税を実施し、毎年度3%を超える経済成長を達成してもなお及ばない遠い目標だ。

Reaching the target requires constant efforts to review and reform the budget for substantial spending cuts. But Abe’s approach is totally dependent on revenue growth expected from economic stimulus, which is no more than a shot in the arm. Is this the right way to tackle the formidable challenge?
不断に予算を見直し、地道な努力を積み重ねることが不可欠なのに、経済対策というカンフル剤による税収増を当て込むばかりでよいのか。

Abe also said he will seek a public mandate for this policy decision in the upcoming Upper House election.
 首相はこの新たな判断について「参院選を通して国民の信を問う」という。

Few people would welcome a tax hike even if they understand the need for the step.
 増税の必要性は理解してもそれを歓迎する国民は少ない。

In a recent Asahi Shimbun poll, 59 percent of the respondents said the tax increase should be postponed, compared with 29 percent who said the step should not be delayed.
朝日新聞の世論調査でも、10%への引き上げを「延期すべきだ」とした人は59%で「すべきではない」の29%を上回っている。

Abe’s request for voters to support his decision to delay an unpopular measure is tantamount to pushing the pretext that the public has approved his broken policy promise.
 不人気な政策の先送りを問うことで自らの公約違反にお墨付きを得ようとする。

It is actually a scheme to take advantage of public sentiment about the tax hike to shunt his responsibility for the controversial move to the voting public.
これは、国民感情を逆手にとった有権者への責任転嫁でもある。

Voters need to express their views about the prime minister’s self-centered political maneuver in the Upper House election.
 参院選で問われるべきは、むしろこうした首相の身勝手さではないか。
[PR]

# by kiyoshimat | 2016-06-03 11:03 | 英字新聞

増税再延期 議論なき決定の異様さ

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 1
EDITORIAL: Abe’s decision to delay tax hike made without proper debate
(社説)増税再延期 議論なき決定の異様さ

Raising the consumption tax rate to 10 percent is a decision that would affect the lives of Japanese people, present and future. A matter of such import must never be left to the discretion of the prime minister alone, nor be settled in the absence of scrutiny by the government and the ruling coalition and thorough Diet deliberations.
 消費増税をどうするかは、将来世代を含む国民の暮らしを左右する重要テーマだ。政府与党内の事前の検討も、国会の議論もないまま、首相の一存で押し切っていいものではない。

But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced yet another postponement of the tax hike, this time for two-and-a-half years, scrapping the scheduled increase in April next year.
 来年4月に予定されていた消費税率10%への引き上げを2年半、再延期する。

Abe dropped this bombshell just days before the June 1 adjournment of the current Diet session. Throughout the past 150-day session, Abe talked of the planned tax hike as a foregone conclusion, saying it will happen “unless the nation is impacted drastically by something like the ‘Lehman shock’ or a catastrophic earthquake.”
 安倍首相のこの方針は、国会会期末間際になって、いきなり持ち出された。それまで150日間の国会審議を通して、首相は「リーマン・ショックあるいは大震災級の影響のある出来事が起こらない限り、引き上げを行っていく」と語っていたはずである。

The process leading up to Abe’s decision on the postponement was definitely irregular. Not one debate was held within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party or the government or the Diet to examine Abe’s proposal. Instead, Abe summoned his senior Cabinet ministers and party executives in person and sought their approval.
 持ち出し方も異様だった。自民党内でも、政府内でも、ましてや国会でも、首相方針をめぐる議論をまったく経ないまま、有力閣僚や与党幹部を個別に呼び、同調を求めていった。

Finance Minister Taro Aso was practically the only Cabinet member who firmly opposed the postponement, reminding Abe that the last time the tax hike was delayed, the administration had promised that the increase would be effected for certain in April 2017.
 「前回延期を決めた時、17年4月に引き上げると約束した」と明確に反対したのは麻生財務相くらい。

But even Aso readily backed off in the end. He was quoted as saying, “If the prime minister says so.”
その麻生氏にしても最後は「総理がそういうなら」とあっさり折れた。

This whole affair is quite symbolic of the distorted nature of the Abe administration’s power structure. With Abe holding and exercising extraordinary power and authority, all the ruling coalition could do was to endorse whatever policy he decided, with no questions asked.
 あまりにも強い首相の力と、その方針を議論なく追認するしかない与党の姿――。安倍政権のいびつな権力行使のあり方が象徴的に表れたと言える。

The Diet adjourns on June 1, having rejected a no-confidence motion against the Abe Cabinet, filed on May 31 by four opposition parties.
 野党4党がきのう提出した内閣不信任案は否決され、国会はきょう閉会する。

Abe's arbitrary decision to postpone the consumption tax hike is such a huge issue that the normal thing to do now is to extend the Diet session for serious discussions among the ruling and opposition camps. Numerous points require scrutiny.
 だが本来なら、国会を延長して与野党で十分に議論すべき大問題である。論点は数多い。

For instance, how appropriate was Abe’s assertion, made abruptly during the Ise-Shima Group of Seven summit, that the global economy is at risk of falling into a crisis?
 伊勢志摩サミットで首相が唐突に言及した「世界経済が危機に陥るリスクに直面している」という主張に妥当性はあるか。

How will the postponement of the consumption tax hike affect the nation’s social security system and fiscal rehabilitation program, and what countermeasures should be taken? Where should the funding for the countermeasures come from?
 増税延期で社会保障や財政再建にどんな影響があり、どんな手立てを打つべきなのか。その財源はどう捻出するのか。

Another question that must be raised is whether the postponement is part of the ruling coalition’s campaign strategy for the upcoming Upper House election.
 近づく参院選をにらんだ選挙対策ではないのか。

Questions must also be posed to the opposition Democratic Party.
 民進党にも問いたい。

During a debate between party leaders in mid-May, Democratic Party President Katsuya Okada pointed out the inevitability of postponing the tax hike because of anemic consumption. In other words, it was the Democratic Party that opened the doors for the delay.
 5月半ばの党首討論で、岡田代表が「消費が力強さを欠くなか、先送りせざるをえない状況だ」と述べ、増税延期論の先鞭(せんべん)をつけたのは民進党だった。

But let us recall the concept of “integrated reform of tax and social security systems,” initiated four years ago by the then-Democratic Party of Japan administration of Yoshihiko Noda and endorsed by the LDP and Komeito.
 4年前、当時の野田民主党政権が主導して自民、公明両党と合意した「税と社会保障の一体改革」を思い起こすべきだ。

The basic purpose of these simultaneous reforms was to raise the consumption tax and use the tax revenue to deal with the nation’s bloating social security costs. This was going to cause pain to the current generation of taxpayers, but the point was to minimize the debt burden of the next generation. We must remember this spirit.
 消費税を引き上げて、膨らむ社会保障の財源に充てる。今を生きる世代に痛みはあっても、将来世代へのつけ回しは極力避ける。そんな一体改革の精神を忘れてはいないか。

Abe is scheduled to explain the tax hike postponement at a news conference after the conclusion of the current Diet session today.
 首相はきょう国会閉幕の記者会見で増税再延期について説明する。

We also expect a clear explanation from Okada when he and Abe present their arguments during the Upper House election campaign.
民進党の岡田代表もあわせ、参院選の論戦を通じて国民への十分な説明を求める。
[PR]

# by kiyoshimat | 2016-06-02 11:00 | 英字新聞

消費増税の再延期 首相はまたも逃げるのか

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 31
EDITORIAL: Abe must stop ducking his responsibilities over tax hike
(社説)消費増税の再延期 首相はまたも逃げるのか

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told top government and ruling coalition officials that he has decided to postpone the scheduled consumption tax hike again.
The planned raise in the tax rate from 8 percent to 10 percent will be pushed back by two-and-a-half years from April 2017 to October 2019.
 来年4月の予定だった10%への消費増税を2年半先送りし、実施は19年10月とする。

This will be the second delay in the tax increase. It was originally slated for October 2015, but Abe put it off to April next year.
 安倍首相が、政府・与党幹部に増税延期の方針を伝えた。もともと15年10月と決まっていたのを17年4月に延ばしたのに続き、2度目の先送りである。

But why October 2019?
 なぜ19年10月なのか。

Here’s an explanation circulating within the ruling camp.
Abe’s term as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will expire in autumn 2018, and he wants to avoid a tax hike during his tenure as prime minister. Moreover, unified local elections and an Upper House poll are scheduled for spring and summer, respectively, in 2019. The unpopular measure to increase the tax burden on the public could badly damage the ruling coalition’s performances in these elections. So the step would be best delayed until after the elections.
 首相の自民党総裁としての任期は18年秋まで。首相在任中は増税を避けたい。そして19年春~夏に統一地方選と参院選がある。国民に負担増を求める政策は選挙で不利になりかねない。だから選挙後にしよう――。
 そんな見方が、与党内でもささやかれている。

PROMISED INTEGRATED REFORM
 ■「一体改革」はどこへ

The current generation of Japanese depends, to a considerable extent, on government borrowing to finance social security programs that are supporting them. That means shifting the burden to future generations.
 私たち今を生きる世代は、社会保障財源の相当部分を国債発行という将来世代へのつけ回しに頼っている。

This structural debt financing of social security spending has left state finances in tatters, with government debt now surpassing a staggering 1,000 trillion yen ($9.01 trillion).
その構造が、1千兆円を超えて国の借金が増え続ける財政難を招いている。

In 2012, the then ruling Democratic Party of Japan (now the Democratic Party), the LDP and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, reached an agreement on so-called integrated reform of tax and social security systems as a way to solve this structural fiscal problem.
だから、税収が景気に左右されにくい消費税を増税し、借金返済に充てる分も含めすべて社会保障に回す。これが自民、公明、民主(当時)3党による「税と社会保障の一体改革」だ。

The reform blueprint calls for raising the consumption tax and using all of the revenue from the levy, which is less vulnerable to changes in economic conditions, to fund social security outlays, including debt repayments.
The integrated reform was designed to ensure that the three parties would be solidly committed to implementing the tax increase, which would force the public to shoulder a heavier financial burden to support the safety net while insulating the measure from election battles and power struggles.
 国民に負担を求める増税を、選挙や政局から切り離しつつ、3党が責任をもって実施する。それが一体改革の意味だった。

Abe’s decision to postpone the step for a second time, apparently motivated by concerns about elections, deserves to be criticized as a petty political maneuver that tramples on the spirit of the integrated reform.
選挙に絡めて増税を2度も延期しようとする首相の判断は、一体改革の精神をないがしろにすると言われても仕方がない。

In his November 2014 news conference to announce his first decision to postpone the tax raise, Abe stressed his commitment to fiscal reform.
 首相は1度目の増税延期を表明した14年11月の記者会見で、次のように語っていた。

“I will never back down from my vow to carry out fiscal rehabilitation,” he said. “The Abe Cabinet will never waver in its determination to secure the international community’s confidence in Japan and pass a (sustainable) social security system to the next generation.”
 「財政再建の旗を降ろすことは決してない。国際社会で我が国への信頼を確保し、社会保障を次世代に引き渡していく安倍内閣の立場は一切揺らがない」

He also said, “I promise that there won’t be another delay (in the consumption tax hike).”
 「(増税を)再び延期することはないと断言する」

Has he forgotten these promises he made to the people?
 この国民との約束はどこへ行ったのか。

FAR FROM ‘LEHMAN SHOCK’
 ■「リーマン」とは異なる

As Abe has repeatedly said, any major economic upheaval like the ones that were triggered by the 2008 collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers or the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake would justify putting off the tax increase.
 首相が繰り返す通り、リーマン・ショック級や東日本大震災並みの経済混乱に見舞われた時は、増税の延期は当然だ。

Indeed, the Japanese economy is not in good shape. Japan’s real economic growth rates in recent quarters have been hovering between minus 2 percent and 2 percent.
 足元の景気は確かにさえない。四半期ごとの実質経済成長率は、年率換算でプラスマイナス1%台の一進一退が続く。

But that is not as bad as the 15-percent economic contraction that occurred immediately after the failure of Lehman Brothers or the shrinkage by more than 7 percent following the devastating quake and tsunami in March 2011.
一方、リーマン直後の成長率はマイナス15%に達した。大震災時の7%を超えるマイナス成長と比べても明らかに異なる。

As a plot to clear the way for delaying the tax increase again, Abe, at the recent Ise-Shima Group of Seven summit of major industrial nations, tried to promote the narrative that the world economy is now at risk of falling into a crisis that cannot be seen as an ordinary downward phase of the economic cycle.
 それでも消費増税を延期したい首相が、伊勢志摩サミットで持ち出したのが「世界経済が通常の景気循環を超えて危機に陥る大きなリスクに直面している」というストーリーだ。

Abe probably wants to convince people that economic concerns in other parts of the world, especially in some key emerging countries, argue against a tax hike now even though his economic program, or Abenomics, is working well.
 アベノミクスは順調だ、だが新興国を中心に海外経済が不安だから増税できない、そう言いたいのだろう。

Given objective economic data, however, it is not at all surprising that some of Japan’s G-7 colleagues, such as Germany and Britain, refused to support his argument.
これに対し、独英両国などから異論が出たのは、客観的な経済データを見れば当然のことだ。

Opposition parties are demanding Abe’s resignation, saying his decision to delay the tax hike again proves that Abenomics has failed.
 一方、野党は増税延期について「アベノミクスが失敗した証拠だ」と首相に退陣を求める。

Before debating whether Abenomics has been successful or not, however, we need to consider afresh whether these policies are an appropriate prescription for Japan’s economic problems.
だがアベノミクスの成否を論じる前に、それが日本経済への処方箋(せん)として誤っていないか、改めて考える必要がある。

One important indicator of a nation’s economic health is its potential growth rate. The government has admitted that Japan’s potential growth rate is less than 1 percent.
 一国の経済の実力を示す指標に「潜在成長率」がある。日本経済のそれはゼロパーセント台にすぎないと政府も認める。

What kind of policy efforts are needed to increase Japan’s growth potential?
 潜在成長率を高めるには、どんな施策に力を注ぐべきか。

First of all, key social security programs, such as child-care and nursing-care support, should be enhanced.
 まず保育や介護など社会保障分野だ。

It is vital to make it easier for people to receive the support they need in these areas through redistribution based on the tax and budget policy.
税制と予算による再分配を通じて、支えが必要な人が給付を受けられるようにする。

It is also crucial to improve the working conditions of child-care and nursing-care workers to expand the nation’s ability to provide these services. Expanding and strengthening the social safety net through increased burdens and benefits would help accelerate the flow of money within the economy and create new jobs.
保育士や介護職員の待遇を改善し、サービス提供力を高めていく。負担と給付を通じた充実が、おカネを循環させて雇用を生むことにつながる。

Also important is deregulation to promote investment in promising areas, such as those related to global warming, energy conservation and artificial intelligence.
 温暖化対策や省エネ、人工知能開発など、有望な分野への投資を促す規制改革も大切だ。

ABENOMICS NEEDS FIXING
 ■アベノミクス修正を

Since these policy measures are unlikely to quickly produce the expected results, it is necessary to prop up the economy with monetary easing and fiscal expansion. But the government needs to take steps to mitigate the negative side effects of this approach as a basic principle of economic management.
 これらの施策は短期間では成果が出にくいから、金融緩和や財政で下支えする。その際に副作用への目配りを怠らない。それが経済運営の王道だろう。

Under Abenomics, the Abe administration has been seeking to raise inflationary expectations among people and businesses through the Bank of Japan’s aggressive “different dimension” credit expansion, or the “first arrow” of Abenomics, as the main incentive for consumer spending and business investment.
 だがアベノミクスは「第1の矢」の異次元金融緩和で物価上昇への「期待」を高め、それをてこに消費や投資を促そうとしてきた。

As for the second arrow--government spending--the administration has stressed “flexible” fiscal policy management, as embodied by a series of large-scale supplementary budgets.
金融緩和を後押しする「第2の矢」である財政では、大型補正予算の編成など「機動的な運営」を強調する。

In the news conference at the end of the G-7 summit, Abe declared, “We will again rev up the engine of Abenomics as much as possible.”
 首相はサミットを締めくくる記者会見で「アベノミクスのエンジンをもう一度、最大限ふかしていく」と強調した。

The BOJ keeps purchasing enormous amounts of government bonds under its unprecedented monetary expansion program. This situation could undermine the government’s fiscal discipline.
 しかし金融緩和の手段として日本銀行が多額の国債を買い続ける現状は、政府の財政規律をゆるめる危うさがつきまとう。

Extra budgets focused on public works expenditures and measures to stimulate consumer spending may shore up the economy temporarily but would cause further deterioration of the nation’s fiscal health, making the people even more worried about their future.
補正予算も公共事業積み増しや消費喚起策が中心では、一時的に景気を支えても財政悪化を招き、将来への不安につながる。

What Abe should do now is not “rev up” his government’s monetary and fiscal expansion drives. Instead, he should confront the limits and negative effects of Abenomics and correct the course of his economic policies. Then, he should deliver on his promise to carry through the integrated tax and social security reform to allay people’s anxiety about their future.
 首相がいまなすべきは金融緩和や財政出動を再び「ふかす」ことではない。アベノミクスの限界と弊害を直視し、軌道修正すること。そして、一体改革という公約を守り、国民の将来不安を減らしていくことだ。

If the prime minister runs away from implementing a necessary policy measure that requires the people to accept pain before an election, he is effectively running away from his fundamental responsibility as the nation’s leader.
 選挙を前に、国民に痛みを求める政策から逃げることは、一国を率いる政治家としての責任から逃げることに等しい。
[PR]

# by kiyoshimat | 2016-06-01 12:42 | 英字新聞