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2008年10月13日 (月)

株価暴落

2008/10/13 --The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 11(IHT/Asahi: October 13,2008)

EDITORIAL: Stock markets on ropes

株価暴落―不安の連鎖を断ち切れ

Stock markets around the world appear to be trapped in a downward spiral. On Friday in Tokyo, the Nikkei Stock Average temporarily fell by more than 1,000 points, approaching a level only about 500 points above the post-bubble low of 7,607. The benchmark index plunged by more than 3,000 points in seven trading days.

 株価暴落の世界的な連鎖が止まらない。きのうの東京では日経平均株価が一時1000円以上も安くなり、バブル後の最安値7607円まであと500円ほどに迫った。7日間の取引で3000円以上も下落した。 

Among major stock markets, the Japanese market has suffered an especially steep fall in the latest round of global sell-offs.

 主要国のなかでも、日本株の落ち込みが激しい。

The explanation lies partly in the very factor that drove the economy's six-plus years of continued growth and partly in a problem that has been left unaddressed.

6年余の景気回復を支えた日本経済の強みと、陰で温存された弱みが同時に売られている。 

Strong exports served as the main engine of Japan's economic growth during the past several years. However, a resurgent yen--to about 97 yen to the dollar--combined with a global economic downturn has clouded earnings prospects of leading exporters. This has led investors to dump shares of blue-chip companies in such key export industries as automotive and electronics.

 強みは輸出だった。しかし、一時1ドル=97円台に突入する円高と世界不況による業績悪化の予想で、自動車や電機など主力株が売り込まれた。 

One major problem with the Japanese economy has been been that its securities markets are overly dependent on foreign investors. The financial crisis has triggered a rush of U.S. and European investors to dump their investments in overseas markets. And the Tokyo stock market has taken it on the chin.

 弱みは、証券市場が海外からの投資に頼りすぎていたことだ。欧米の投資家は金融危機を受け、海外での資金運用を縮小し引き揚げている。そのあおりを東京がもろに受けた。 

Similarly, the rolling crisis is depressing the Japanese real estate market, which has also been growing on the back of inflows of foreign capital. The downturn recently caused the first failure of an exchange-listed Japanese real estate investment trust (J-REIT).

 株と同様に外資依存で膨張してきた不動産市場でも収縮が止まらず、上場されている不動産投資信託(Jリート)が初めて破綻(はたん)した。 

Adding to this unpleasant economic news, Yamato Life Insurance Co., a midsize firm that invested heavily in REIT and other high-risk U.S. financial instruments, was forced into bankruptcy.

Yamato Life attracted customers by offering high returns on policies and tried to meet its liabilities by making high-return, high-risk investments. The financial crisis has made this hazardous strategy unsustainable.

 さらに、このリートや米国のハイリスク金融商品での資産運用が多かった中堅生保の大和(やまと)生命が破綻に追い込まれた。高利回りの保険で資金を集め、高リスクで運用する無理な経営が、金融危機に直撃された。 

Until now, the general perception has been that Japanese financial institutions should escape relatively unscathed and in basically good shape.

As a country that experienced its own banking crisis, the standard argument is that Japan can and should teach other countries how to respond to the current crisis.

But a fire has broken out in the financial sector in Japan. Taken off guard, the Tokyo stock market is now in deep distress.

The government and the financial authorities must first make an all-out effort to stop this wave of fear from growing and spreading.

 日本の金融機関は傷が浅いから大丈夫。日本は金融危機の経験者として、対応策を外国へ伝授する役だ。これまでそう思いがちだったが、足元から火が噴き出した。不意を突かれた株式市場は不安感が頂点に達している。 

 政府・金融当局は、まず不安の連鎖と増幅に歯止めをかけるよう、全力をあげなければならない。 

Yamato Life's collapse is certainly an exceptional case. If stocks keep plunging, however, some financial institutions may fall into serious trouble. Regulators should take a fresh look at the health of all financial institutions.

 大和生命の破綻は特殊なケースではあるが、株安がさらに進めば、苦境に陥る金融機関が出るかもしれない。当局は金融機関の経営内容を、いまいちど総点検してほしい。 

At the same time, the government should reinforce the safety net to make the financial system better prepared for their possible failures.

 同時に、破綻に備えて安全網を整備し直さないといけない。

A law authorizing the government to inject taxpayer money into smaller lenders to boost their capital bases expired at the end of March this year.

中小金融機関へ公的資金を注入するための「金融機能強化法」は、今年3月に期限が切れ失効している。

A program for public support to life insurance firms will also expire next spring.

生保への公的支援制度も来春で切れる。 

Both the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and main opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) are considering measures to deal with the crisis, including the revival of the law and an extension of the program.

 これらの復活・延長などを盛り込んだ対応策を自民、民主両党が検討している。

With local economies in the doldrums in many parts of the nation, some small- and medium-sized lenders are facing rough going.

地方経済の不振もあって、経営が苦しくなってきた中小金融機関もある。

All measures that can help improve the situation should be put together and implemented as quickly as possible.

取るべき対策を総まとめにして早急に実現させるべきだ。 

The finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of Seven (G-7) leading industrial countries met in Washington on Friday and agreed to a plan to rescue the financial industry.

 主要7カ国財務相・中央銀行総裁会議(G7)が開かれる。

An emergency meeting of the leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) major powers to discuss responses to the financial crisis is also being considered.

金融危機に対する主要国首脳会議(G8サミット)の開催も検討されている。

As the country holding the G-8 presidency this year, Japan should lead international cooperation to untangle this crisis.

日本はサミットの議長国として国際協調を主導しなければならない。 

We also have a request for Japan's leading companies. The global recession is indeed creating a tough business environment, but top Japanese companies have accumulated significant resource reserves during the years of economic expansion. They should now tap them to kick-start renewed growth in these difficult economic times.

 また、日本の主要企業にも注文したい。たしかに世界不況は逆風だが、これまでの好況でため込んだ蓄積も各企業にはある。逆境のときこそ、それを次の成長のために使ってほしい。

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