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2008年6月21日 (土)

通常国会閉幕

(Jun. 21, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Political parties must end tug-of-war

通常国会閉幕 政争ばかりの国会はご免だ(6月21日付・読売社説)

tug-of-war=権力争い)

An ordinary Diet session without precedent in the postwar period effectively came to an end Friday.

戦後政治にほとんど類例をみない通常国会が、事実上、閉幕した。

Under a divided Diet--with the House of Representatives dominated by ruling parties and the House of Councillors controlled by opposition parties--ruling and opposition camps battled fiercely over such issues as road-related tax revenues, the appointment of the Bank of Japan governor and a new health insurance system for people aged 75 and older. Infighting over such issues left the Diet in chaos.

衆参ねじれの下、道路特定財源問題、日銀総裁人事、後期高齢者医療制度などをめぐり、与野党は激しく対立し、国会は混乱した。

(infighting=内輪もめ、うちゲバ)

The next Diet session is likely to be convened as early as late August. The question is whether an excessively confrontational Diet can mutate into a policy-focused Diet.

8月下旬にも、次の国会が召集される。過剰な政争の国会から、政策本位の論争の国会へと、切り替えていくことができるのかどうか。

(mutate=変化させる、変える)

Both ruling and opposition lawmakers were groping for a way to handle the unusual situation when the Diet session opened.

この国会は、与野党ともに手探り状態で始まった。

(groping=手探りしている)

In late January, the ruling and opposition camps accepted a deal brokered by the lower house speaker and the upper house president that stipulated that a conclusion be reached on the budget and a set of tax bills by the end of fiscal 2007. But this agreement was broken when the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan started employing delaying tactics in Diet deliberations.

1月末、与野党は予算案と税制関連法案について、「年度内に一定の結論を得る」との衆参両院議長の斡旋を受け入れた。だが、この合意は、民主党の審議引き延ばし戦術によって反故(ほご)になった。

Regarding the nomination of a new Bank of Japan governor, which requires Diet approval, government proposals were rejected twice by the upper house.

日銀総裁の同意人事は、政府が提示した人事案が、参院で2度にわたって、否決された。

The budget and tax systems, which have a very direct impact on people's daily lives, and the appointment of a position that is key to the nation's international credibility all became subject to a political tug-of-war.

国民生活に影響する予算や税制、国際的威信にかかわる人事が、政争の具にされた形だ。

Under the initiative of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, the government and ruling parties moved to integrate road-related special tax revenues into the general account from fiscal 2009. But they failed to obtain agreement from the opposition camp.

政府・与党は、福田首相が主導し道路特定財源の2009年度からの一般財源化に踏み込んだ。だが、野党と合意できなかった。

===

Bills forced through

(強行採決された議案)

The ruling parties took to forcing through bills, including one to reinstate the provisionally raised gasoline tax rate, twice resorting to a second vote using their two-thirds majority in the lower house. Including the passage of the law to allow the Maritime Self-Defense Force to resume its refueling operations in the Indian Ocean, which was passed in the previous extraordinary Diet session on a second vote in the lower house, marking the first time this procedure had been used in 57 years, there have thus been three laws passed with a second vote in the lower house under the Fukuda administration.

与党は、ガソリン税の暫定税率の復活などで2度、衆院の3分の2以上の多数で再可決した。前国会で新テロ対策特別措置法を57年ぶりに再可決してから、再可決は福田政権下、計3例になった。

(resorting=~の力をかりて)

This way of passing legislation is unproblematic, as it is in line with constitutional provisions. It is the ruling parties' prerogative to exercise the right to such votes whenever necessary.

憲法上の規定に基づくもので、これ自体、何の問題もない。必要とあれば、断固としてこのルールを行使するのが与党の責務だ。

(unproblematic=問題をはらんでいない、何の問題もない)  (prerogative=特権)

===

Poor management

(稚拙な管理手法)

But it is undeniable that Fukuda and others in his administration caused confusion to grow by letting the opposition make all the running over the road-related tax bills and the appointment of the Bank of Japan chief.

ただ、道路問題でも、日銀人事でも、福田首相らの後手の対応が混乱を広げた面は否めない。

On June 11, the upper house passed a motion to censure the prime minister for the first time in postwar Diet history. The DPJ had considered submitting such a censure motion several times in the past, but always decided not to for fear that it would draw public criticism for being obstructive. In the end, the censure motion was seen as little more than a ritual gesture at the end of the Diet session.

6月11日、参院で首相の問責決議が、戦後初めて可決された。民主党は、何度も提出を検討しながら、「審議拒否」戦術の批判を恐れて見送っていた。結局、問責決議は、会期末の単なる「儀式」で終わった。

(ritual=儀式、式典、式次第)

Even in these circumstances, the ruling and opposition camps made some concessions to pass important bills, such as one on civil service reform and another to allow the use of space for defense purposes. These developments did not result in the formation of a framework of the ruling and opposition camps for policy promotion, but such budding signs of policy cooperation should be encouraged.

こうした中、与野党が歩み寄り、国家公務員制度改革基本法、宇宙基本法などの重要法案も成立した。これらは、政策推進のための与野党の枠組みには結びつかなかったが、こうした政策協調の芽は、さらに伸ばしたい。

(budding=芽を吹きかけた)

A one-on-one debate between Fukuda and DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa was held only once in the Diet session, even though it is the duty of the leaders of the two main parties to frankly exchange views.

首相と民主党の小沢代表による党首討論は、会期中、わずか1回しか開かれなかった。率直に意見を戦わせることが、2大政党の党首の務めだろう。

There will be general election some time before lower house members see their term expire in September next year. The ruling and opposition camps must show that they are not overly focused on the next election and avoid further tugs-of-war in the Diet.

衆院議員の任期が切れる来年9月までには総選挙がある。それを意識するあまり、与野党が、再び、政争まみれの国会を繰り返すことがあってはなるまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 21, 2008)

20086210128  読売新聞)

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