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2008年10月11日 (土)

金融危機日本へ

(Oct. 11, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Expedite efforts to rebuild safety net

金融危機波及 安全網の立て直しを急げ(1011日付・読売社説)

The financial crisis engulfing the United States and European nations has finally spilled over into this nation.

 欧米で火勢を強めている金融危機が、とうとう日本に飛び火した。

Yamato Life Insurance Co., a midsize life insurer, went belly-up Friday, while the Nikkei Stock Average, which had just dropped below the 10,000 mark, nosedived to below 9,000.

 中堅生命保険会社の大和(やまと)生命保険が10日、経営破綻(はたん)に追い込まれ、東京市場では1万円の大台を割ったばかりの平均株価が、一気に9000円を割り込んだ。

The situation surrounding the Japanese economy has suddenly grown tense due to the first bankruptcy of a Japanese life insurance company in seven years and the stock market free fall. To prevent an open seam in the Japanese financial system from developing into a major rupture, it is essential for the government to implement additional economic stimulus measures and expedite work to build a safety net to support the financial system.

 7年ぶりの生保破綻と株価急落で、日本経済の緊迫感は一気に高まった。日本の金融システムのほころびを大きな裂け目に広げないため、追加的な景気対策と金融システムを支える「安全網」の整備を急がねばならない。

To minimize adverse effects from the financial crisis on the nation's economy, efforts must be made to grasp what the recent seemingly bewildering spate of developments means, and concrete steps must be taken calmly to deal with the situation.

 事態を必要以上に悪化させないためには、正確に現状を認識し、浮足立たないことも大切だ。

Yamato Life collapsed due to its aggressive asset-management strategy, geared to seek high returns. But many of Japan's life insurance companies and banks learned bitter lessons from the bubble economy of the late 1980s and early '90s and have since made solid investments.

 大和生命は、高収益を狙った強気の資産運用が命取りとなったが、生保や銀行の多くは、バブルの教訓から運用は手堅い。

The wounds that the Japanese economy has suffered are superficial in comparison with those inflicted on the United States and European nations. Japan is by no means facing a serious crisis.

 日本の金融システムが受けている傷は欧米より浅く、重大な危機に瀕(ひん)しているわけではない。

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Wrong time to drop guard

It is true, however, that Japan's economy has entered a cautious phase. Beefing up the nation's crisis preparedness again is essential because the guard raised against a possible financial meltdown during a financial sector-triggered recession several years ago has been lifted, and crisis preparedness has returned to a normal level.

 ただし、「警戒モード」に入ったことは確かだ。金融不況時の厳戒態勢から平常レベルに戻った危機への備えを、もう一度固め直す必要はあろう。

The use of taxpayers' money by the Life Insurance Policyholders Protection Corporation of Japan, which helps holders of life insurance policies sold by bankrupt companies to protect their assets, will be terminated at the end of March. The Financial Function Early Strengthening Law, which enables the injection of public funds into small and midsize financial institutions, expired at the end of March this year.

 破綻した生保の加入者の財産を守る「生命保険契約者保護機構」への公的資金活用は、2009年3月末で期限が切れる。今年3月末には、中小金融機関に公的資金を注入して支える金融機能強化法が打ち切られた。

Their terminations were decided after it was judged that they were no longer necessary because fears over the nation's financial system had subsided.

 どちらも、金融システム不安が沈静化して、必要性が薄れたとの判断からだ。

But the situation has changed, as evidenced by the collapse of Yamato Life, which came on the heels of the virtual nationalization of the biggest U.S. insurance company, AIG, and the deteriorated financial health of regional banks in Japan. Given the situation, scaling back the safety net is not appropriate and should be reconsidered.

 だが、米保険最大手の実質国有化に続いて国内生保が倒産し、地方銀行などの財務も悪化した。状況が変化した以上、安全網の縮小は適切でない。再考すべきだ。

Urgent steps must be taken to deal with ominous signs in the real economy as well. The appreciation of the yen has pushed exports downward, slashing corporate profits. Plummeting stock prices have reduced financial assets held by individuals, thereby damping consumption. Due to the cooled real estate market, New City Residence Investment Corp., a real estate investment trust, went bankrupt Thursday, becoming the first such company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange to go bust.

 実体経済への手当ても急がれる。円高で輸出が低迷し、企業の収益は急激に悪化した。株安で個人の金融資産が目減りして消費は冷え込んでいる。不動産市況の悪化で、東京証券取引所上場の不動産投資信託が初めて破綻した。

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U.S. key to overcoming crisis

Following drops in demand overseas due to the slowing global economy, the Japanese economy has been hit by declines in domestic demand in the fields of capital investment, consumption and housing.

 海外経済の減速による外需の落ち込みに続き、設備投資、消費、住宅の内需も総崩れだ。

Tax incentives for investment and corporate tax cuts would help the private sector regain vitality. To stimulate the stock market, the preferential tax system for securities, due to expire at the end of this year, should be extended and expanded.

 民間の活力を引き出すため、投資減税や法人税率の引き下げなどが有効だろう。株式市場をてこ入れするため、今年末で期限切れとなる証券優遇税制の延長や拡充が求められる。

Of course, when it comes to dealing with this financial fiasco, the key is whether the United States--the epicenter of the financial crisis--can adequately respond to the situation.

(アメリカの出方がこれからの世界経済の行方を左右する by srachai

At Friday's meeting in Washington of Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank governors, the government should press the United States to take sweeping measures, including the injection of taxpayers' money into financial institutions, so it can ride out this financial crisis.

 ブッシュ米大統領は10日、金融機関への公的資金注入の可能性に言及したが、内容はあいまいだ。先進7か国財務相・中央銀行総裁会議(G7)で各国は、米国に具体策の提示を求めるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 11, 2008)

200810110204  読売新聞)

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