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2008年5月20日 (火)

スラチャイと英語を勉強しましょう!

(May. 20, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Fukuda must be decisive to win voter approval

内閣支持率低迷 「何をなすか」を鮮明に示せ(5月20日付・読売社説)

The approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has dropped to the 20 percent range, and unless it tackles policy issues head on and achieves results, it will be difficult for it to recover support.

 福田内閣の支持率が2割台に転落した。政策課題に果敢に取り組み、実績を上げていかなければ挽回は難しくなろう。

head on=前向きに、果敢に)

In a Yomiuri Shimbun survey conducted last weekend, respondents who said they support the Fukuda Cabinet fell to 26.1 percent from 30 percent in the previous month, while those who did not climbed to 64.7 percent.

 読売新聞の5月世論調査で福田内閣を「支持する」は26・1%に下落し、「支持しない」は64・7%に達した。

The Cabinet's current low approval rating may be attributable to public opposition to the restoration of the provisional gasoline tax rate and the start of the new medical insurance system for people aged 75 and older. Disapproval of the Cabinet increased across all age ranges.

 ガソリン税の暫定税率復活や、後期高齢者医療制度に対する反発が主因といえる。全世代で「不支持」の人が増加した。

opposition=反対、抵抗、抗争)

===

Scandals and apologies

(汚職そして謝罪)

The approval ratings have been falling fairly consistently since the formation of the Fukuda Cabinet in September. There are several reasons for the decline.

 支持率は、昨年9月の内閣発足以来、ほぼ一貫して落ち続けている。何が原因なのか。

The Cabinet mishandled problems such as the pension record-keeping fiasco; poisonings caused by Chinese-made dumplings; and a collision between a Maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis-equipped destroyer and a fishing boat. It also was hit by scandals, including a bribery case involving a former administrative vice defense minister.

In addition, the government has been prevented from acting decisively on important issues due to the divided Diet, in which the ruling parties have a majority in the House of Representatives and the opposition bloc controls the House of Councillors.

 年金の記録漏れ問題、前防衛次官の汚職事件、中国製冷凍ギョーザの中毒事件、イージス艦と漁船との衝突事故など、不祥事や不手際が続いた。これに衆参ねじれ国会の下、国の意思決定ができない状況が重なった。

mishandle=取り扱いを誤る)(fiasco=大失敗、完敗)

Whenever scandals have occurred or poor handling of problems has surfaced, Fukuda has been forced to apologize or explain himself to the public, and his Cabinet's approval ratings have dived each time.

 その都度、首相は、謝罪や釈明に追い込まれ、支持率が低下するという悪循環に陥っている。

dive=急落する)

It can be said that the pension record-keeping fiasco and problems with the new medical insurance system for people aged 75 and older are to some extent the legacy of the cabinets of former Prime Ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Shinzo Abe.

The uncompromising attitude of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan also muddied the waters regarding the provisional gasoline tax rate and the selection of a new Bank of Japan governor.

 年金記録問題の処理や高齢者医療の問題は、もともと小泉、安倍両内閣以降の“負の遺産”といってよい。ガソリン税や日銀総裁人事での混迷は、民主党の硬直的な姿勢に大きな原因があった。

legacy=遺産、遺物)(uncompromising=妥協しない、譲歩しない)(muddy the water=かき乱す、混乱させる)

However, there are many reasons for the Cabinet's low approval ratings that are solely attributable to Fukuda.

しかし、福田首相の側にも、支持率の低下を招いている理由が数多くある。

Speaking on the pension record-keeping fiasco, Fukuda carelessly remarked "Is this as serious as breaking a promise to the public [made by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the upper house election campaign in the summer of 2007]?"

 年金記録問題で、首相は、「公約違反と言うほどおおげさなものなのかどうか」と不用意な発言をしている。

Commenting on commodity price hikes, Fukuda offended many voters when he said "It can't be helped"--a remark one might expect from a social commentator, and which was interpreted by some as implying he had washed his hands of the issue.

 物価上昇は、「しょうがないこと」と、責任放棄ともとれる“評論家”のようなことを言って、国民感情を逆撫でにした。

offend=人の感情を害する)(social commentator=評論家)(imply=意味する、暗示する)(wash one’s hands of the issue=責任を逃れる)

Regarding the appointment of a new central bank chief, Fukuda did not make careful preparations and failed to work hard to find a solution until the end. In doing so, he simply compounded his problems.

 日銀総裁人事では、周到な準備と詰めを怠り、二転三転の混乱に自ら輪をかけた面もあった。

Compound=造る、組み立てる)

He made a political decision when he decided to free up the use of road-related tax revenues, allowing such funds to be transferred to general expenditure. But a combination of late timing of the decision and a lack of explanation, meant it did not lead to an increase in the approval rating for his Cabinet.

 道路特定財源問題では、一般財源化という大きな政治決断をした。だが、タイミングの遅れと、有権者への説明不足から、支持率アップに結びついていない。

The bulk of those who said they did not support Fukuda's Cabinet said they could not understand his political direction--no doubt a reflection of public dissatisfaction with the prime minister's unclear political philosophy and attitude.

 福田内閣を支持しない理由では、「政治姿勢が評価できない」が、依然として最も多い。はっきりしない首相の政治理念や態度に対する不満の反映だろう。

===

Clear message needed

What Fukuda should do now is to send a clear message to voters--who are concerned about their future--about what his administration stands for.

 首相が今なすべきは、将来不安を抱える有権者に、この政権は何をなすか、という明確なメッセージを発することだ。

stand for=意味する)

To gain higher approval ratings for his Cabinet, Fukuda must swiftly implement drastic reform of the tax system, including the consumption tax, to build a solid social security system; create a consumer agency with people-oriented policies; and introduce strong measures against global warming before the Group of Eight summit meeting in Hokkaido in July.

 社会保障制度を確立するための消費税を含む税体系の抜本改革、消費者本位の消費者庁の創設、サミットへ向けての地球温暖化対策――。首相が支持率を盛り返したいのなら、これらテーマの具体的政策を、迅速に実行していくしかあるまい。

consumer agency with people-oriented policies=消費者本位の消費者庁)

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 20, 2008)

20085200139  読売新聞)

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