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2008年10月29日 (水)

市場パニック、どこまで落ちる?

2008/10/29--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 28(IHT/Asahi: October 29,2008)

EDITORIAL: Mayhem in the markets

市場パニックと総選挙―安定化策を総動員せよ

How long will the yen's rise against other major currencies and the stock market's free fall continue to deepen anxiety about the Japanese economy? Tokyo stocks fell through the post-bubble low on Monday, driving down the benchmark Nikkei 225 index close to the 7,000 level. (The index dipped below 7,000 on Tuesday.)

 日本を襲う円高と株安の連鎖はどこまで続くのか。株式市場は不安心理に覆われてバブル後の最安値を突破し、日経平均が7000円の大台さえ割りかねない水準まで売られた。 

In response to the market mayhem, Prime Minister Taro Aso pledged to "take every possible measure to stabilize the markets and facilitate smooth functioning of the financial system."

 こうしたなか、麻生首相が市場安定化策をまとめるよう指示した。「あらゆる手段を講じ、市場の安定化と金融機能の円滑化を図る」という。 

The package will be designed to achieve two aims. To stop the stock market fall, the measures include a resumption of purchases of shareholdings from banks by the Banks' Shareholdings Purchase Corp., tighter regulations on short selling, which adds to the downward pressure on the stock market, and an extension of tax breaks for securities investments.

 指示には二つの狙いがある。第一が株価暴落の防止である。銀行等保有株式取得機構による銀行保有株の買い取り再開や、株の空売り規制の強化、証券優遇税制の延長などの策だ。 

The Banks' Shareholdings Purchase Corp. was established in 2002 amid the nation's financial crisis. The public entity's mission is to buy depressed shares from banks so that banks don't dump them in the market and thereby accelerate the stock market's decline. The Bank of Japan also bought shares from commercial banks between 2002 and 2004. The government plans to ask the central bank to join the corporation again in the share-purchasing operation.

 株式取得機構は、日本が金融危機に見舞われた02年に発足した。含み損が膨らんだ株を銀行が投げ売りすると、株安に拍車がかかる。銀行保有株の買い取りは日本銀行も02~04年に行っており、今回も同調を要請する。 

The second aim will be to prevent falling stock prices from undermining banks' capital adequacy and making them excessively reluctant to extend new loans, which would further depress the economy. The expected steps include a new version of an expired law on strengthening financial functions, on which the Diet will start deliberations shortly, and relaxing part of the capital adequacy requirements for banks.

 第二の狙いは、株安が銀行経営を圧迫して貸し渋りを招き、経済を冷え込ませるのを防ぐことだ。国会で審議が始まる新・金融機能強化法案や、銀行の自己資本比率規制を弾力的に運用することが含まれる。 

The envisioned new law would allow the government to quickly inject public capital into banks and other lenders, such as shinkin banks and credit cooperatives, whose capital bases have been eroded by sinking stock prices and other reasons. This plan should avert a credit contraction due to banks' capital inadequacy.

The government is reportedly considering expanding the fund for capital injections to 10 trillion yen. It is certainly important to secure more than enough money for this plan.

 新・金融法により、株安などで自己資本が目減りした銀行や信金・信組などに対して素早く公的資本を注入し、自己資本不足による信用収縮を食い止める。注入できる資金枠を10兆円へ拡大するともいわれるが、枠に余裕をもたせておくことは大切だ。 

Another measure would be a temporary freeze on an accounting standard that requires banks and companies to evaluate their holdings of securitized financial products based on actual market prices when they close their books. The mark-to-market accounting rule can prompt businesses to sell battered securities products before their prices fall further, thereby accelerating the market downslide.

 加えて、決算時に証券化商品を時価で評価する会計制度も見直す。商品がさらに下落する前に手放そうとすると暴落を加速する。時価評価でなくなれば決算に悪影響を与えないので、売らずに済む。証券化商品を多くもつ銀行は自己資本が傷つかずに済むので、貸し渋りの防止にもなる。 

A suspension of the rule would help stop businesses from resorting to the sell-offs to limit damage to their balance sheets. The step will also ease pressure on banks to cut off credit lines by allowing them to avoid damage to their capital bases from declining values of their massive holdings of such securitized products.

The United States and Europe are now moving to suspend the market-price accounting rule. Bending an accounting principle is undesirable. To stop the contagion of panic, however, Japan may have no choice but to follow suit.

 時価評価を進めてきた欧米自身が、時価会計の一部凍結に動いている。会計原則を曲げるのは望ましくないが、パニックの連鎖を防ぐためには同調もやむを得ないだろう。 

All potentially useful measures should be legislated swiftly. Enacting a measure after it becomes necessary is too late.

Apparently, there are few disagreements between the ruling and opposition camps over what kind of action should be taken to restore market stability.

The two sides are expected to agree, for example, on such proposals as reviving the financial rehabilitation law, which would enable the government to swiftly put troubled financial institutions under state control, and providing full protection of deposits.

 また、法律で定めるべき制度は、考えられる方策をすべて立法しておいた方がよい。必要になったときに立法するのでは遅い。

あらかじめ制度を整えておき、発動するかどうかは状況に応じ判断するのが賢明だ。直面する市場安定化策の内容については、与野党で意見の違いも少ないだろう。 

 金融機関の一時国有化を機動的に行えるようにする金融再生法の復活や、預金の全額保護がそれに当たる。 

Speedy responses hold the key to restoring stability in the markets. While the effects of each individual measure may be limited, the government should start with things it can do immediately.

 市場対策はスピードが命である。個々の策の効果は限られるが、できることからすぐ実行することだ。 

The issue of how to strengthen the economy over the long term, on the other hand, requires a long and informed discussion.

 一方で、日本経済を力強くしていく中長期的な方策については、じっくり議論する必要があろう。 

As for the currency market, a joint statement by major economic powers is no longer enough to arrest the yen's relentless rise. It is high time for coordinated market intervention by the leading industrial nations.

 為替対策では、異常な円高を抑えるため、主要国の共同声明だけでなく、協調介入へ踏み出すべき段階だ。 

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