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2008年10月12日 (日)

世界金融危機の中の麻生首相

(Mainichi Japan) October 11, 2008

Prime Minister Aso's 'Inchworm Cabinet' stalling in face of international financial crisis

記者の目:世界金融危機の中の麻生首相=倉重篤郎

Prime Minister Taro Aso's administration has been aptly described as the "Inchworm Cabinet" for postponing the dissolution of the Diet an inch at a time. But I would like to make two requests of our dilatory prime minister. First, I hope that he, in responding to the global financial crisis, will manifest greater political leadership by applying Japan's experience in overcoming the bursting of the financial bubble. At the same time, I urge him to not make light of the fact that two consecutive prime ministers from the Liberal Democratic Party have walked away from power, and to take rapid steps to restore legitimacy to his Cabinet by holding elections.

 「尺取り虫政局」とはうまいことを言ったものだが、衆院解散時期を少しずつ先送りする麻生太郎首相に二つ注文したい。まずは、世界金融危機対応として、バブル崩壊を克服した日本の経験を役立てるべく政治的指導力をもっと発揮してほしい。同時に、二度にわたる政権投げ出しを甘く見ず、選挙を経た政権の正統性回復を急いでほしい。

"The LDP has fulfilled its mission," say several high-ranking LDP members, some of whom have even served in the party's top three executive posts. The LDP's accomplishments were to make Japan into a member of the liberal democratic camp during the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union, and into a prosperous nation focused on its economy. These goals were miraculously attained. These LDP elders now insist that the party's only remaining raison d'etre is its governing ability, which enabled it to use bureaucrats, and quasi-changes of government, to deftly hang onto power. Former LDP Secretary General Koichi Kato asserts, "For two (prime ministers) in a row we did something (walked away from power) to cast doubt on our governing ability."

 「もはや自民党は使命を終えた」。三役まで務めた複数の自民党幹部からこんな声が出始めた。自民党の功績は、米ソ冷戦下で自由主義陣営の一員を選択し、経済重視路線で豊かな日本をつくり上げたこと。それは見事達成された。残された唯一の存在理由は、官僚を使いこなし疑似政権交代により権力を上手に維持する統治能力にあった、という。元幹事長、加藤紘一氏によると「にもかかわらず、この統治能力に疑念を抱かせること(政権投げ出し)を二度続けてやってしまった」。

By rights, the LDP should have at that time given up power and received its baptism in the general election. The basic playbook remains the same even now. However, the global financial crisis that has emanated from the U.S. has changed the political environment. The Dow Jones average plunged below 10,000 in the U.S., and the Nikkei fell below 10,000 yen on Thursday, and Asian and European markets have fallen like dominoes, driven downward by a negative globalism. Underlying economies have also begun to suffer, and the cutback in consumption by Americans has led to steep declines in exports and production of Japanese cars, South Korean personal computers, and Chinese textiles.

 本来はその時点で下野して総選挙の洗礼を受けるべきだった。今もその基本構図は変わらない。ただし、ここに新たな環境変化が加わった。米国発の世界金融危機だ。平均株価は米で1万ドル割れ、日本で1万円を切り、アジア、欧州でも下げ、ドミノ式、負のグローバリズムに陥った。実体経済も傷み出した。米国民の消費控えは日本車、韓国パソコン、中国繊維の輸出・生産量を急落させている。

This is a time for politics, even if Prime Minister Aso will not be the one to step to the fore. Aside from the political drama over dissolution, one could say that something has arisen that requires the administration of the moment to take emergency action, exercising its crisis management obligations. To borrow Kato's turn of phrase, "this will be a supplementary examination of the Cabinet's governing ability." To respond to the vicious cycle in the markets, a nation must implement rapid and decisive public interventions. The passage of the supplementary budget aimed at the domestic economy is within sight. But what is essential is the adoption of resolute and radical measures to respond to the ailing U.S. economy, which is the epicenter of the crisis.

 麻生首相ならずとも、ここは政治の出番である。解散政局とは別に政治の危機管理として、時の政権が緊急になすべきことが生じた、といえる。加藤氏流に言えば「統治能力に対する追試」である。市場の悪循環に対し、各国が政府レベルで迅速、かつ決然たる公的介入を実施することが求められる。国内経済向けに補正予算は成立のめどが立った。肝心なのは危機の震源地である米国経済の病巣に対し、果断で抜本的な対策を講じることである。

What needs to be recalled is the experience of Japan, which went through the bursting of the bubble in the 1990s, the lost decade, and the recovery of its financial system from 2003. How did Japan get through plummeting stock prices and real estate prices, which led to asset deflation on the scale of several hundred trillion yen? The numbers make you want to cry. In order to rescue the broken financial system, Japan adopted a low interest rate policy that, according to Bank of Japan estimates transferred 304 trillion yen in interest income away from households over 14 years, and ultimately funneled 13 trillion yen in taxes (public funds) directly into the financial industry, with 20 major banks being consolidated into three large banking groups to halt the negative chain reaction.

 思い出してほしいのは、1990年代のバブル崩壊と失われた10年、そして、03年以降の金融システムの復活、という日本の体験だ。株価、地価の暴落による数百兆円単位の資産デフレを日本はどう乗り切ってきたか。涙ぐましい数字が残っている。機能不全になっていた金融システム救済のため、低金利政策により14年間で304兆円(日銀試算)の利子所得を家計から移転、最後は税金(公的資金)を13兆円直接投入し20行近くあった主要銀行を3大グループなどに再編、ようやく負の連鎖を止めた。

The Japanese people, who had boogied with the bubble, learned a hard lesson -- that the tab for the bubble would be paid with their blood, sweat, and tears. What is happening in the U.S. today closely resembles what transpired in Japan. The starting point is the same -- the shattering of the myth that the price of real estate, which had soared, would never fall. The U.S. passed a financial stabilization bill the other day, but is still, as the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper pointed out in its Oct. 5 morning edition, "not even halfway through the crisis." While deciding on the method and timing of the ultimate trump card -- using public funds to infuse capital into the banks -- is difficult, one could even say that the fate of the global economy rests on the certainty and speed of such measures.

 バブルのツケは、それに踊った当該国民の血のにじむような努力と負担でしか償われない、ということを日本人は思い知らされた。今米国内で起きていることは日本のこの経過に酷似している。下がるはずがないという不動産の右肩上がり神話が崩れた、という原点が同じだからだ。ただ米国ではこれからが本番で、先日上下両院で成立した金融安定化法も「日本と比べればまだ3合目」(日本経済新聞5日朝刊)に過ぎない。最終手段である公的資金による資本注入の手法、時期が難題だが、その確実性と速度が世界経済の運命を背負っている、といってもいい。

( 週末開かれる先進7カ国財務相・中央銀行総裁会議(G7)で、日本は米に対し公的資金投入を要請する段取りのようだが、それだけでは物足りない。首相自らが世界の首脳に働きかけ、ブッシュ米大統領にひざ詰め談判でもする覚悟で説得すべきではなかろうか。日本しか経験していないこと、しかも、対応が遅れるほど世界経済が壊されていく。日本の出方がこんな国際貢献につながる舞台はめったにない。 no English equivalent part

I recall President Bush's fondness for citing the U.S. occupation of Japan as a success story in order to legitimate the Iraq War. His argument was that Iraq, like postwar Japan, would under U.S. occupation become a Western-style democracy. However, this cheap historical analogy ignores the special characteristics of Japan's Imperial system, and I felt at the time that then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had abdicated his responsibility as the leader of a U.S. ally when he failed to point out the president's misunderstanding.

 イラク戦争を正当化する際に、ブッシュ大統領が好んで対日占領を成功体験として引用したことを思い出す。イラクも戦後日本のように米による占領統治で西欧型の民主主義国家になる、という論法だった。しかし、これは天皇制という日本の特殊性を無視した安直な歴史類推に過ぎず、当時の小泉純一郎首相が大統領の認識の誤りを指摘できなかったことに、同盟国としての責務放棄ではないか、と感じたことがあった。

How to handle the Japan-U.S. relationship will be one of the major issues to be contested in the coming election. While the Japan-U.S. alliance should be considered a given, Japan must not simply follow the lead of the U.S., for it does seem that the time has arrived for the leaders of both countries to say what must be said, as the U.S. does make mistakes.

 日米関係をどう扱うか、も今度の選挙の主要な争点である。日米基軸は当然ながら、米の方針に追随するだけでなく、米国も間違えることがあることを前提に首脳同士で言うべきことは言う、という時代になってきた、と実感する。

So let me return to the issue of governing ability. The current financial measures are merely temporizing attempts at crisis management, but a genuine manifestation of governing ability is only possible after the administration is bestowed legitimacy. The prime minister surely would not object to the assertion that the only way that this will happen is by dissolving the Diet and having the popular will render judgment via elections. I hope that he bears in mind the fact that if he needlessly extends the Diet, he will diminish Japanese politics. ("As I See It," by Atsuro Kurashige, Deputy General Manager of the Editorial Division of the Mainichi Shimbun)

 さて、ここで統治能力論に戻る。今回の金融対応はあくまでも一時的な危機管理であって、本格的な統治能力の発揮は、政権の正統性を付与されて初めて可能になる。その唯一の道が解散・総選挙により民意の審判を受けることであることに首相も異論はあるまい。いたずらな引き延ばしは日本政治を劣化させることを肝に銘じてほしい。(東京編集局)

毎日新聞 2008109日 005

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