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2008年12月

2008年12月31日 (水)

反ドーピング―草の根レベルへも啓発を

2008/12/31

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 30(IHT/Asahi: December 31,2008)

EDITORIAL: Steroids in sports

反ドーピング―草の根レベルへも啓発を

How should the sports world deal with the problem of doping, a problem that continued to mar events during 2008?

 ドーピング(禁止薬物の使用)問題にどう向き合うのか。スポーツにかかわる人にとって、その姿勢を改めて問いかけられた年だった。 

In January, Marion Jones, the U.S. track and field star who won five medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was sentenced to six months in prison for committing perjury during an investigation into alleged steroid use. And Major League Baseball is still reeling from a series of steroids scandals that have implicated home run king Barry Bonds and others.

 1月には、シドニー五輪陸上の女王マリオン・ジョーンズが偽証で禁固6カ月の実刑判決を受けた。本塁打王バリー・ボンズ外野手らをめぐる米大リーグの激震も続いている。 

Earlier this month, the silver and bronze medalists of the men's hammer throw at the Beijing Olympics were officially disqualified. Japan's Koji Murofushi, who finished fifth, was belatedly awarded the bronze by default.

 そして北京五輪の男子ハンマー投げで、薬物違反の銀、銅メダリストが失格したのは今月のことだ。5位の室伏広治選手が3位へ繰り上がった。 

Murofushi's second straight Olympic medal is an impressive achievement. But the gold medal he gained in Athens four years ago was also won by default due to the disqualification of the original winner for doping.

 アテネ五輪の金に続く2大会連続のメダルは大きな名誉だが、思えば4年前もドーピングによる繰り上がりだった。

Unpleasant as it must be for Murofushi, his situation underscores how deeply doping has taken root in the sporting world.

室伏選手は不愉快だろうが、薬物汚染の闇の深さを実感する。 

For the first time in six years, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has substantially revised its rules and regulations, which will take effect in January. With the exception of drug tests during competitions in which athletes are forewarned, the revised World Anti-Doping Code allows sports organizations to conduct surprise tests at any time.

 ドーピングを取り締まる検査方法や基準が新年から変わる。大幅な改訂は6年ぶりだ。新規定では競技大会以外での検査は事前に通告する必要がなく、すべて抜き打ちとなる。 

Under the current code, top-level athletes are already required to report on their daily whereabouts up to three months in advance. But the requirements will become more stringent from January.

 トップレベルの選手は、日々の居場所を3カ月先まで届けるよう義務づけられてきたが、これも強化される。 

For instance, athletes will be required to provide a specific place where they can meet with anti-doping officials for 60 minutes at an arranged time per day.

 例えば、1日のうち60分間は確実に面会できる場所と時間を決めて報告しなければならない。

If they miss three drug tests over an 18-month period even because of illness or other emergencies, they will be suspended from competition or face other punishment.

病気など急用で検査を受けられない場合も、それが18カ月間で3回重なれば違反として選手資格停止などの処分となる。 

Because athletes' performances and medal counts are directly linked to their income levels nowadays, world records and other spectacular feats are automatically scrutinized with some suspicion. This is unfortunate, but it is a fact that athletes today have no choice but to prove they are clean.

 現在では、メダルや成績が選手の収入や生活に直結する。そこで、突出した記録や成績に対して疑念が向けられる。なんとも息苦しい規定だが、選手は身の潔白を自ら証明せざるを得ない時代に入ったということだ。 

However, some Japanese don't seem to really know why these changes are needed.

 こうした変化に、日本の意識は追いついていないように見える。 

Anti-doping regulations in Japan are administered by the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA), and almost all athletic organizations for Olympic events are JADA members. However, Japan's professional soccer and baseball leagues still act independently of JADA.

 国内の反ドーピング活動は日本アンチ・ドーピング機構(JADA)が統括している。五輪競技はほとんどがJADAに加わっている。 

 ところが、サッカーと野球のプロリーグは別行動なのだ。 

In soccer, a former Japanese national team player appealed his doping suspension at the Court of Arbitration for Sport about a year ago.

 サッカーは今春、日本代表の経験者がドーピング処分を巡ってスポーツ仲裁裁判所に訴える騒ぎが起きた。

And in Japanese baseball, some drug violations by foreign players have come to light.

プロ野球でも外国出身選手の薬物違反が相次いだ。

Professional sports have a considerable influence on society. Their governing bodies must collaborate with JADA and take active steps to prevent doping violations.

プロスポーツは社会への影響も大きい。JADAと協調し、積極的に違反を防止すべきだろう。 

We would like to see awareness-raising campaigns spread at the grass-roots level to make people, especially younger ones, understand why doping is wrong, what it does to the body, and how it can be stopped.

 何が悪いことで、どうすればいいのか。体にどんな影響があるのか。きちんとした啓発活動を、若い人を中心に草の根レベルにも広げてほしい。 

A few years ago, doping tests became mandatory for participants in Kokutai national sports festival events. Some athletes have been disqualified for "inadvertent doping"--taking common over-the-counter medicine without realizing they contained banned substances.

 近年は国体にも検査が導入されている。成分を確認せず市販薬を飲むといった「うっかりドーピング」で、出場できない例も出ている。 

JADA will tie up with the Japan Pharmaceutical Association to introduce a "sports pharmacist system" next fiscal year. The purpose is to use the knowledge of pharmacists to prevent athletes from taking performance-enhancing drugs. We hope this system will prove effective.

 JADAは新年度から日本薬剤師会と連携し、スポーツファーマシスト制度を導入する。薬剤師の医科学的知識をドーピング防止に役立てるものだ。効果があがるよう期待したい。

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国会図書館―知の基盤を厚く、強く

2008/12/31

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 30(IHT/Asahi: December 31,2008)

EDITORIAL: National Diet Library

国会図書館―知の基盤を厚く、強く

Sixty years have passed since the founding of the National Diet Library, the only national library in Japan.

 唯一の国立の図書館である国立国会図書館ができて、60年たった。 

"Truth sets us free," says the preamble to the National Diet Library Law, defining the ethos of this important institution. This passage can be found engraved at the counter of the library's main building in Tokyo's Nagatacho district.

 「真理がわれらを自由にする」 

 創立の精神を表す国立国会図書館法の前文の一節だ。東京・永田町の本館カウンターの上に刻まれている。 

The library was established in 1948, just a few years after the end of World War II, as part of efforts to create a democratic society in Japan where people gather, understand and discuss a wide spectrum of information without bias.

The institution was entrusted with the task of collecting and analyzing necessary materials as a basis for this process.

 多くの情報を偏りなく集め、理解し、議論することで、新しい民主社会を築く。その基盤となる資料収集と分析が、ここに託された。戦後間もない1948年のことだ。 

The library builds and preserves a comprehensive collection of books, newspapers, magazines and audio and visual recordings published and created in Japan. It also collects various materials from overseas.

 国内で出版された図書や新聞、雑誌、音楽や映像資料などを網羅的に集め、保存する。海外の様々な資料も収集する。それらを使って国会の活動を助けるのが第一の仕事だ。 

The library's primary task is to support legislative activities through the use of these resources. Another important role of the institution is to preserve these resources as cultural assets and make them available to people to help support their lives and research activities.

 資料を文化財として守り、利用してもらうことで、人々の暮らしや研究に役立てるのも大事な役割だ。 

The National Diet Library has changed its operations dramatically in recent years. Its electronic functions have been enhanced so that anybody with Internet access can now search the library's vast bibliographic database and read minutes of Diet sessions online.

 その国会図書館が近年、大きく変わっている。 

 「電子図書館」機能が充実し、インターネットで、誰でもどこからでも膨大な書誌データを検索したり、国会議事録を読んだりできるようになった。 

Users can even read about 150,000 books published in the Meiji and Taisho eras (1868-1926) on their computer screens.

 明治・大正期に出版された約15万冊の本もパソコン画面で読める。

The library also offers a service that allows users to search for materials at the National Archives of Japan and other libraries.

国立公文書館や他の図書館などの資料を横断的に探すことも可能になった。

In addition, the National Diet Library publicizes reports on key public policy issues, providing various arguments, historical facts and the situations in other countries related to the issues.

国政の課題について、その論点や経緯、外国の事情などをまとめたリポート類も公開している。

The already-huge amount of materials available at the library is growing rapidly.

利用できる資料が飛躍的に増えている。 

Makoto Nagao, a former president of Kyoto University who last year became the first chief librarian without a Diet background, has been actively promoting these programs and projects.

 昨年、初めて国会の外から館長に就任した元京大総長の長尾真氏は、こうした事業を積極的に進めている。 

But new challenges for the library have emerged.

 一方、新たな課題も見えてきた。 

The library's work to support legislators has rapidly grown in scale. In fiscal 2007, which ended in March 2008, the library handled about 45,000 requests for materials and analyses made by Diet members, more than double that of fiscal 1995. The rise was due mainly to the sharp increase in legislative initiatives by lawmakers.

 国会を助ける仕事の重みが増している。07年度に議員が依頼した資料集めや分析は4万5千件。議員の立法活動が活発になり、95年度の2倍以上だ。

But the library's work force has not grown at the same pace, with only about 190 employees dealing with the heavier workload.

しかし対応する職員は約190人。あまり増えていない。

The library clearly needs greater manpower to accomplish its vital mission of providing information and advice for lawmakers from a position different from that of bureaucrats.

省庁の役人とは違う立場でのブレーン機能を果たすのは、この図書館の使命なのだから、もっと手厚い態勢がほしい。 

The library also lacks certain capabilities in gathering materials.

 資料収集の態勢も十分ではない。

The amount of administrative and academic information published only on the Internet is increasing, and the Web pages of local governments can disappear at any time. But the library must gain permission each time to collect and preserve such data because it has no legal authority to do so freely.

最近は、ネット上だけで発表される行政や学術の情報が増えているが、それを集める法的な根拠がない。放っておくと消えかねない自治体などのホームページを、今はいちいち許諾を得て保存している。

Legal revisions are needed to allow the library to gather and preserve materials published by public organizations without obtaining permission. The range of materials for such operations should also be widened.

公共性の高い機関のものは許諾なしで保存できるよう法律を改正し、収集の幅も広げてほしい。 

Another challenge facing the institution is the preservation of manga comic magazines, which attract the interest of many overseas researchers.

 海外の研究者も関心を寄せるマンガ雑誌の保存も悩みだ。

The ink on manga magazines tends to smudge rather quickly, causing the pictures to blur. Under current copyright rules, preserving manga publications in digital form for wide availability requires permission from various parties concerned. It would be a tall order and require tremendous clerical costs.

インクがにじみやすく、短期間で絵がぼやける。デジタル化して保存・活用しようにも、現状では多くの関係者の許可が必要で事務コストが重く、手がつけられない。

We hope a system can be created to deal with this problem flexibly while paying due attention to the copyright issue.

著作権に配慮しながら柔軟に対応できる仕組みが作れないだろうか。 

The National Diet Library is an intellectual asset of the people. We have a duty to expand and bolster the functions of the institution for future generations.

 国会図書館は国民の知の財産だ。その基盤を厚く強くして、次代に渡す責任がある。

Necessary measures should be taken as soon as possible.

必要な手当てを急ぎたい。

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発信箱:ペラペラよりも=玉木研二(論説室)

(Mainichi Japan) December 30, 2008

English education in Japan isn't all about fluency

発信箱:ペラペラよりも=玉木研二(論説室)


It was in the spring of 2003 that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology put forward a plan to foster English skills in Japanese children. The ministry envisaged junior high and high school graduates being able to communicate in English and university graduates being able to use English in their jobs.

The aim was to have junior high school students reach grade 3 of the Test in Practical English Proficiency, and high school students reach grade pre-2. But that goal is still a long way off.

 <「英語が使える日本人」の育成のための行動計画>を文部科学省が掲げたのは03年春だ。中学・高校を出たら英語でコミュニケーションができ、大学卒は仕事で英語が使える--を目標に、目安は中学で英語検定3級、高校は準2級以上と。ああ、その道はるか。

Recently, plans were unveiled to teach English at elementary schools and to teach high school English classes in English. We hear that teachers are perplexed over the move.

そして今度は小学校に英語、続いて高校は英語の授業を英語で、となった。先生は困惑しているという。

In the autumn of Japan's defeat in World War II, famed Japanese author Osamu Dazai penned a letter saying, "I'm utterly depressed. I can't do interpreting or anything of the sort. It's obvious that I'll be made to look foolish." As someone who attended Tokyo Imperial University -- albeit briefly -- and made a living out of writing, it seemed inevitable that locals would ask him, "Teacher, what are the Americans saying?" He shuddered at the thought.

 <ユウウツの限りです。私には通訳も何も出来やしないのですからね。大恥をかくのは明白な事です>。敗戦の秋、疎開先で太宰治は手紙に書いた。中退であれ元帝大生、文筆で飯食っていれば、地元民に「先生、アメリカさん何言ってんだ」と頼られよう。彼はおびえた。

Apparently, it was actually the English teachers who faced a tough situation. During the war there had been no lessons in the "language of the enemy" and the teachers had no contact with Americans. It was only natural that they couldn't make themselves understood straight away, but it must have been hard for them to endure the stares of those around them, particularly their pupils.

 実際英語教師には災難だったらしい。戦時中は「敵性語」で授業はなく、米国人に接したこともない。すぐ通じなくて当然だが、周囲の目、とりわけ教え子の視線はつらかったろう。

But in the 60 years since then, what has been missing in English education?

 それから60年以上、何が足りなかったのだろう。

Tadaichi Hirakawa, who was a pioneer in English conversation teaching through his postwar radio program, never received a specialized English education. He was born into a farming family in Okayama, and at the age of 16 followed his father to America, where he had gone to work. As a railway worker, he studied English to survive. He returned to Japan before the war and joined NHK. Following Japan's defeat, he broadcast the Emperor's official announcement in English.

 戦後「カム・カム・エブリバディ」のテーマ曲でラジオ英会話の草分けとなった平川唯一氏は、特に専門教育を受けた人ではない。岡山の農家に生まれ、16歳で出稼ぎの父を追い渡米。鉄道工員などをし、生きるための英語を学ぶ。戦前帰国、NHKに入り、敗戦時は天皇の詔勅を英語で放送した。

The first half of Hirakawa's life was marked by chops and changes, and earnestness with respect to English. Lying behind his warm and witty English conversation lessons, no doubt, was an accumulation of tough experiences. I think the true value of language study linked with a person's way of living lies within a lifestyle like this.

英語を巡る懸命、変転の半生。人々を引きつけた温かく軽妙な会話指南の裏地はその積み重ねた苦労だろう。生き方と結びついた語学の真骨頂がそこにあると思う。

If the purpose of the government's action plan is only to make people fluent in English -- which, by the way, is a difficult thing to do -- it is of no use at all. (By Kenji Tamaki, Editorial Writer, Mainichi Shimbun)

 単に(といっても大変なことだが)ペラペラになるだけが目標では、国の<行動計画>は絵に描いた餅になるほかない。

毎日新聞 20081230日 002

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「普天間」移設 日米合意案通りに進めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 31, 2008)

Don't stray from accord on Futenma relocation

「普天間」移設 日米合意案通りに進めよ(1231日付・読売社説)

The realignment of U.S. forces stationed in Okinawa Prefecture is finally about to enter the implementation phase. It is important that an agreement made between Japan and the United States be steadily implemented so that breakthrough measures to reduce burdens borne by local communities hosting U.S. bases can be taken.

 在沖縄米軍の再編がいよいよ実行段階に入る。画期的な地元負担の軽減策を現実のものにするため、日米合意を着実に実行することが肝要だ。

The government in its draft budget for fiscal 2009 earmarked 83.9 billion yen for the realignment as part of defense-related spending. This is more than triple the figure from the previous year.

 2009年度政府予算案では、防衛関係費に839億円の米軍再編経費が計上された。前年の3倍以上に一気に増えた。

The draft budget set aside 34.6 billion yen for the transfer of U.S. Marine Corps units in Okinawa Prefecture to Guam, including site preparation work for its headquarters and accommodation facilities. The relocation of Futenma Air Station in Ginowan in the prefecture to Camp Schwab in Nago comes with a price tag of 9.4 billion yen.

 在沖縄海兵隊のグアム移転では司令部や隊舎の敷地造成費などに346億円が盛り込まれた。普天間飛行場のキャンプ・シュワブへの移設関連費も94億円に上る。

Tokyo and Washington have agreed that the relocation of Futenma Air Station and the transfer of 8,000 marines to Guam will be completed by the end of 2014 and that the sites of six U.S. military facilities, including Futenma, be returned to Japan.

 日米両政府は、2014年に普天間飛行場の県内移設と海兵隊8000人のグアム移転を実現し、普天間など6米軍施設を日本に返還することで合意している。

These plans are well balanced in that the deterrent capability of the U.S. forces will be maintained while the burdens on Okinawa Prefecture will be eased.

 米軍の抑止力を維持しつつ、沖縄の負担を軽減するという点で、バランスのとれた計画だ。

===

Negotiations deadlocked

It is important that the plans are carried out in unison. If the planned transfer of Futenma Air Station does not progress, the overall plan will stall. This would spell failure for measures aimed at lessening local burdens.

 重要なのは、これが一体の計画である、ということだ。仮に普天間飛行場の移設が進まなければ、計画全体が頓挫し、肝心の負担軽減策も水泡に帰しかねない。

The Okinawa prefectural government has yet to agree to a plan to construct alternative facilities to Futenma Air Station on a waterfront area of Camp Schwab. The prefectural government has demanded the facilities be built far off the shore from the camp. However, the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush has refused to accept the offshore plan. The negotiations thus have been deadlocked.

 沖縄県は、キャンプ・シュワブ沿岸部に建設する普天間飛行場の代替施設案に同意せず、施設の沖合移動を求めている。ブッシュ米政権は沖合移動を拒否しており、事態は膠着(こうちゃく)状態にある。

Some Japanese officials had hopes that the administration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama will accept the prefecture's demand on the relocation site. But the possibility of that happening significantly diminished when Obama decided to retain U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. This could have serious implications.

 オバマ米次期政権は沖合移動を容認するのではないか、という期待が日本側の一部にあった。だが、ゲーツ国防長官の留任が決まり、その可能性は極めて小さくなった。この事実は重い。

After all, proceeding with the plans agreed by the two governments offers the shortest path to making the return of Futenma Air Station site a reality. Twelve years have passed since the agreement on the return of the air station was made. Any further delay in the plan could erode the credibility of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

 今後は、やはり日米が合意した案通りに移設を進めるのが、普天間飛行場の返還を実現する近道だろう。1996年の返還合意から既に12年余が経過している。さらに先送りするようでは、日米同盟の信頼性にもかかわる。

===

Govt must do more

Under the cabinet of former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura and some other officials in the Prime Minister's Office were actively involved in the relocation issue. But the Cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso has lacked a "control tower" on this matter. The Aso Cabinet needs to give more attention to the relocation and spare no effort in coordination efforts with the Okinawa prefectural government and other concerned local governments.

 福田前内閣では、町村信孝前官房長官ら首相官邸が積極的に取り組んでいたが、麻生内閣では「司令塔不在」の状態が続いている。早急に態勢を立て直し、沖縄県など地元との調整に力を入れる必要がある。

The defense budget planned for fiscal 2009 totals 4.77 trillion yen, 0.1 percent less than the previous year's initial budget. This will mark a decline in defense spending for seven consecutive years. In fiscal 2010 and beyond, the cost of realigning U.S. forces may increase further, which would squeeze the budget available for other defense projects.

 09年度の防衛費は、前年比0・1%減の4兆7741億円となった。防衛費の減少は7年連続である。10年度以降は、米軍再編経費がさらに増加し、それ以外の防衛費を圧迫しかねない。

Among neighboring nations, however, not only China and Russia but also South Korea, India, Australia and the United States have sharply increased their defense spending in recent years.

 だが、近隣諸国を見渡せば、中国、ロシアは無論、米国、韓国、インド、豪州も近年、そろって国防費を大幅に伸ばしている。

The government must be careful not to give the impression that only Japan is reducing its defense spending and attaches little importance to security issues.

 日本だけが防衛費を大幅に削減し、安全保障を軽視しているという誤ったメッセージを送るのは避けねばなるまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 31, 2008)

200812310136  読売新聞)

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2008年12月30日 (火)

失職者急増―切実な声に応えるために

2008/12/30

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 29(IHT/Asahi: December 30,2008)

EDITORIAL: Surging unemployment

失職者急増―切実な声に応えるために

They have only a bag, some clothes and a few coins in their wallet. A growing number of people like this can be seen on the streets as the year nears its end. They are dispatch workers and other laborers who have suddenly lost their jobs and been forced out of their company dormitories.

 かばん一つに少しの着替え。財布には小銭だけ。そんな姿が師走の街に広がりだした。突然の解雇や派遣切りで社員寮を追われた人たちだ。 

After perhaps just a few nights of restless sleep in Internet cafes, they run out of money. Their wallets are empty, but they can't bring themselves to sleep in a park, so they wander aimlessly through the streets all night.

 ネットカフェで浅い眠りにつけるのも、初めのうちだけ。財布が空になったあとは、公園で寝る決意も出来ず一晩中あてもなく街をさまよう。 

Even in normal times, there are few job offers for day workers in the holiday season between the year's end and early January.

 もともと年末年始は、日雇い労働者らが仕事にあぶれやすい時期だった。 

However, this year, things will be worse. In times past, once the New Year holidays ended and the nation got moving again, temp workers could expect to find new jobs. This winter, that is not likely to happen.

 しかし、今年の年の瀬は違う。いつもなら年が明けて世の中が回り出せばまた仕事につけた。この冬はそれが期待できない。 

Moreover, a significant number of people have just recently lost jobs in factories and other places. These people are spending nights on the streets for the very first time.

 その上、ついこの間まで工場などで働いていて、初めて路上で夜を過ごすという人たちが目立っているのだ。 

In late November, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare estimated that about 30,000 nonregular employees would lose their jobs by next spring. Within a month, that estimate nearly tripled to 85,000.

 「来春までに職を失う非正社員は3万人」と厚生労働省が発表したのは11月末のことだ。その後、わずかひと月で8万5千人にはね上がった。 

Some people have killed themselves in despair. Others, falling ill, cannot afford to see a doctor. Some have gone so hungry that they've turned to stealing money for food. The situation is critical. How can things have come to this pass?

 途方に暮れて自ら命を絶つ人が出てきた。体調を崩しても医者にかかれない。食べるものに困って金を奪おうとした。そんな事態が起きるほど、深刻さは増している。 

Citizens groups and labor unions have jumped into action, prompted to somehow support people driven into such dire straits. They are offering consultation services, providing meals on the streets and helping displaced workers negotiate with their former employers over compensation.

 追いつめられた人たちをなんとか支えたい。そんな思いに突き動かされるように動き出した民間団体や労働組合もある。失職者への生活相談や、路上での炊き出し。解雇した企業との交渉。

Some groups are strongly urging the central government ministries and local governments to take countermeasures. Such moves all offer much-needed help to those in need.

霞が関や自治体への働きかけ。当事者には大きな助けとなる。 

Meanwhile, the operators of izakaya pub chains and of a Tokyo-based cram school have both offered to hire people who have lost their jobs. Some local governments have moved quickly ahead of the central government to temporarily offer public housing to desperate jobless workers.

 失職者を新たに雇おうという外食産業や学習塾も現れた。政府より早く公営住宅を提供し始めた自治体もある。 

Much more can be done. Local community halls could be used as shelters. Temples, gymnasiums and corporate facilities that are not in use could also become temporary refuges. We urge local communities to go ahead and use their resources to help the unemployed.

 公民館を開放する。寺や体育館、空いている企業の施設などをしばらく使わせてもらう。そんな工夫も地域ごとに、どんどん進めてもらいたい。 

But in sharp contrast, the central government and the Diet appear lethargic. Why are they so slow to act?

 それにしても、政府や国会の動きの鈍さはどうしたことなのか。 

Here's a proposal for Prime Minister Taro Aso: Why don't you walk around the capital city in the dark, freezing night, and listen directly to the earnest voices of those who have suddenly lost their jobs and homes?

 麻生首相に提案したい。冷え込む夜の街を歩き、職と住まいを失った人の切実な声をまず直接聞いてはどうか。 

Employment security has virtually collapsed. To prevent more people from becoming homeless, the government must create a new social safety net that will save people from joblessness, bankruptcy or other calamities.

 雇用崩壊というべき事態である。新たなホームレスを生まないために、失業や倒産でつまずいた時の安全網を今こそ張り直さなければならない。 

It can happen to anyone at any time, even tomorrow. If one was fired today, it would not take long for one to realize that the existing systems to help the jobless are extremely frail and unreliable.

 明日はわが身かもしれない。もしいま解雇されたら、自分はどんな手だてや制度で身を守れるか。支えの弱さを実感する人も少なくないはずだ。 

If workers are not covered by unemployment insurance, then they have no financial support to fall back on when they lose their job. Next year, larger numbers of jobless people will end up relying on social welfare.

 雇用保険に入っていなければ、職を失った時が心配だ。来年は生活保護に頼る人もいっそう増えるだろう。

Previously, some local governments around the nation had refused to accept welfare applications from young people, instead just telling such applicants to get a job.

Such welfare offices must change their attitudes immediately.

「働きなさい」と若い世代を門前払いにしてきた一部の自治体の対応も、早急に改めてほしい。 

We also need to review the way the nation's workforce is treated. Many observers previously feared that nonregular workers, with their weak position in the labor pool, could be too easily jettisoned by companies adjusting staffing levels. That prediction has come true.

 働き方も見直したい。立場の弱い非正社員が雇用の調整弁となる。恐れていた事態はいとも簡単に現実のものとなった。

So what kind of a labor system is needed to prevent this from happening and protect workers from being discarded at will? How should the worker dispatch law be revised?

どんな仕組みがあれば、労働者が使い捨てられずにすむのか。労働者派遣法はどう変えるべきか。 

As this year draws to a close, with its expanding waves of economic recession, we must again think about these problems and find solutions.

 不況の年の瀬にもう一度考えたい。

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ガザ空爆―まずイスラエルが自制を

2008/12/30

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 29(IHT/Asahi: December 30,2008)

EDITORIAL: Israeli airstrikes on Gaza

ガザ空爆―まずイスラエルが自制を

Israel's airstrikes that started Saturday on Gaza, a strip of Palestinian territory, killed more than 200 people on its first day alone, a horribly high death toll for just one day of raids.

 1日の空爆としては恐るべき死者の数である。イスラエル軍によるパレスチナ自治区ガザへの攻撃で、初日の27日に200人以上が犠牲となった。 

The Israeli military says it is only targeting bases and facilities of the radical Islamist group Hamas. But it is virtually impossible to launch attacks against the militants while avoiding civilian casualties in this densely populated area.

 イスラエル軍はイスラム過激派のハマスの拠点が標的だとするが、人口密集地のガザでは民間人と武装勢力を選別して攻撃することは不可能だ。 

Israel describes the military campaign as an anti-terrorist war against extremists, but it is an action that outrageously makes light of human lives.

 イスラエルは「過激派に対する対テロ戦争」と主張するが、あまりにも人命を軽視した行為ではないか。 

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and the European Union called for an immediate cease-fire, while an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council was convened. The international community must first put strong pressure on Israel to stop its military operations.

 国連の潘基文(パン・ギムン)事務総長や欧州連合(EU)は「即時停戦」を求めた。国連緊急安保理も招集された。国際社会は何よりもイスラエルに対して軍事行動の自制を強く迫る必要がある。 

Since summer last year, Israel has been imposing a tough economic blockade on Gaza, which is effectively ruled by Hamas. In response, Hamas started firing handmade rockets into southern Israeli cities. Israel and Hamas agreed on a cease-fire in June, but it expired on Dec. 18. Hamas then resumed its rocket attacks, triggering the large-scale Israeli aid raids.

 イスラエルは昨年夏以来、ハマスが実効統治するガザ自治区の封鎖を続けている。これに対してハマスはイスラエル南部の都市に向けて手製のロケット弾を撃ち込んだ。6カ月前に停戦が成立したが、それが今月18日に切れた。ハマスが攻撃を再開し、今回のイスラエルの大規模空爆となった。 

Hamas' rocket attacks should be denounced. Although the rockets are neither very powerful nor accurate, it is easy to imagine how their unpredictable trajectories can terrorize Israeli citizens.

 ハマスのロケット攻撃は非難されるべきだ。威力や命中精度が低いとはいえ、いつ飛来するかも知れないロケット弾へのイスラエル市民の恐怖は理解できる。

Still, Israel's military response, said to be the country's most lethal air attack since the 1967 Middle East War, is too rash an act and should be criticized as an "excessive use of force," as U.N. Secretary-General Ban has described it.

だが、67年の第3次中東戦争以降最も激しいとされる今回の空爆はあまりに唐突で「過剰な武器使用」(潘事務総長)と言わざるを得ない。 

There are internal and external political factors behind Israel's tough action at this juncture.

 イスラエルがこの時期にこうした強硬な行動に出た理由として、国内外の政治的な背景を指摘できるだろう。 

Domestically, Israel will hold a general election in February. Recent opinion polls have shown the ruling coalition of the Kadima and Labor parties trailing Likud, which is known for its hard-line stance toward the Palestinians. The ruling alliance may be trying to regain public support by taking tough military action against Hamas.

 国内的には、総選挙が来年2月に控えていることだ。世論調査などによると、現在のカディマと労働党の与党連立は、対パレスチナ強硬派のリクードに対して劣勢と伝えられる。軍事的な強硬姿勢を示して、国民の支持を盛り返そうという狙いではないか。 

An external political factor is the change of the U.S. administration next month. The current administration of President George W. Bush, who launched a war against terrorism, will be replaced by the new administration of Barack Obama, who has been stressing the importance of dialogue and cooperation in foreign policy.

 外的な要因は来月の米政権の交代だ。対テロ戦争を進めたブッシュ政権から、対話や協調を掲げるオバマ政権になる。

It is conceivable that Israel is trying to discourage Obama from adopting too conciliatory a posture toward the Palestinians.

次期大統領の和平攻勢をあらかじめ牽制(けん・せい)しておこうとしているのではないかという見方が可能だ。 

Israel has said it will continue its attacks on Hamas targets in Gaza, while Hamas has vowed retaliation. A wave of anger against Israel's airstrikes is spreading in the Arab world. This conflict must not be allowed to expand and escalate further.

 イスラエルは攻撃の継続を掲げ、ハマスは報復を宣言した。アラブ世界にも攻撃への怒りが広がっている。紛争を拡大させてはならない。

In the summer of 2006, Israel launched airstrikes against Hezbollah in Lebanon and then invaded the country. The war, which was also triggered by armed clashes in Gaza, left more than 1,000 Lebanese dead.

レバノン人1千人以上が死んだ06年夏のイスラエル軍の侵攻と空爆も、ガザでの衝突が原因だった。 

Containing the crisis requires the U.S. government to exercise strong diplomatic leadership. Washington needs to get Israel to end its attacks on Gaza and then persuade Arab nations to use their influence over Hamas to engineer a new truce.

 危機を抑え込むには、米国の指導力が必要だ。イスラエルを説得して攻撃を停止させ、さらにアラブ諸国のハマスへの影響力を生かして新たな停戦合意をつくるしかない。 

The United States has consistently sided with Israel in the U.N. Security Council and other diplomatic venues. But a continued bloody conflict in the Middle East will result in continued suffering for Israel. If the United States considers itself a real friend of Israel, it should make all-out efforts to persuade the country to end the military campaign.

 米国はこれまで安保理などで常にイスラエル擁護の姿勢をとってきた。しかし、中東で流血が続くことはイスラエル自身がいつまでも苦しみ続けることでもある。真の友人を自任するなら全力で説得にかかってほしい。

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余録:凍える年末年始

(Mainichi Japan) December 30, 2008

Linking sympathy with action amid hard times

余録:凍える年末年始

Around the time of the Great Tenmei Famine, when people were starving to death and riots were breaking out in various areas, about 100 people arrived at Kyoto Imperial Palace as if they were making a group shrine visit. After this, the number of people walking around the perimeter of the palace -- men and women, young and old -- began to increase day by day. It is said that eventually, the number of people who gathered, including those from Omi and Kawachi provinces, numbered 70,000.

 天明の飢饉(ききん)による餓死や打ちこわしが各地に広がっていたころだ。最初100人ほどが神社に参詣するように京都御所にやってきた。それを機に御所の周囲をめぐり歩く老若男女は日に日に増え、やがて近江や河内からも集まった人々は7万に達したという

The group activity that came to be called "1,000-time Imperial palace visits," started because the people who sought relief from poverty from the Kyoto magistrate's office were ignored. Retired emperors and court nobles, who began to hand out apples and rice balls to commoners, and Emperor Kokaku, through the Kyoto Shoshidai administrative office, asked the shogunate to provide relief for the poor -- an act unheard of in the history of the shogunate government. It was an event that was said to lead to the downfall of the shogunate's control of the Imperial Court and the rise of debate on reverence of the emperor.

▲「御所千度参り」と呼ばれるおかげ参りのような群衆行動は、窮民救済を京都奉行所に求めた民衆が相手にされなかったために始まったものだった。上皇や公家は人々にリンゴや握り飯をふるまい、光格天皇が京都所司代を通じ幕府に窮民救済を求める幕政史上異例の事態になった


The despair of people at a government that would not help starving people ended up leading to a historical movement, and sympathy over the suffering and sadness of those facing hard times can sometimes exert tremendous force.

▲幕府の朝廷統制のほころびと、幕末の尊皇論台頭のきっかけとされる事件である。飢える人を救えない政治への民衆の絶望はやがて歴史の地殻変動につながった。困窮する人の苦しみや悲しみへの人々の共感は時にすさまじい力をあらわす

In modern times, Japan was said to have a safety net for the poor. But with the economic downturn sweeping the globe, it has become a tough year-end period for many people, who could literally end up out in the cold. For those without a roof over their heads, the week around Jan. 1 -- when the functions of society all but come to a halt -- is a particularly tough time.

▲さて窮乏へのセーフティーネット(安全網)ならあるといわれていた現代日本だ。だが、いざ世界不況の波を受ければ、多くの人が凍えかねない試練の年末年始になった。とりわけ住む場所を失った人には社会機能の止まる1週間は厳しい

As expected, Hello Work employment counters were due to be open until Dec. 30 and talk with those who had lost their jobs and were seeking employment and housing. However, in politics, where we often hear that the type of financial crisis we are seeing happens only "once in 100 years," can we say that measures to meet the year-end and new-year period are also at a once in 100 year high?

▲さすがに各地の主要なハローワークは30日まで窓口を開き、職や住居を探す失業者の相談に応じるという。しかし「100年に一度の経済危機」と繰り返す政治にあって、100年に一度の年末年始に見合う対策は尽くされたといえるのか

The circumstances of both those preparing to greet the new year as usual, and those displaced workers left out in the cold, stabs at our consciences. And while there is plenty of sympathy for those freezing, action is a lot harder to come by. ("Yoroku," a front-page column in the Mainichi Shimbun)

▲普段の年のように新年を迎える準備にあわただしい人も、寒風の中の離職者の境遇が心に突きささる年の瀬である。凍えるつらさへの共感が、凍える人々への実のある支援に容易に結びつかぬこの間の成り行きがもどかしい。

毎日新聞 20081228日 006

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公的資金注入 融資力回復のため積極活用を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 30, 2008)

Use govt safety net to keep credit flowing

公的資金注入 融資力回復のため積極活用を(1230日付・読売社説)

There is a growing concern that regional financial institutions will make little use of a system to inject public funds into them after the revised Financial Function Strengthening Law came into effect this month.

 地域金融機関に対する公的資金注入が、ほとんど活用されない心配が強まっている。

In Japan's financial circles, there is a strong sentiment that smaller regional institutions can lend sufficiently without the injection of public funds. This may stem from fear of intervention by the Financial Services Agency after the injection of public funds and the management of such institutions being held responsible by the FSA for any problems.

 金融界には公的資金なしでも十分な融資ができるとの声が強い。注入後に金融庁が介入し、責任を問われるのを恐れているからだろう。

The financial picture in provincial areas should not be thrown into disarray by the defensiveness of the management of regional lenders. Financial crisis should be avoided by effectively using the safety net.

 金融機関の経営陣の保身で地域金融に機能不全を起こしてはなるまい。「安全網」を有効に使い、金融不況を防がねばならない。

The original provisions of the Financial Function Strengthening Law that enabled the central government to inject public funds into small and midsize financial institutions as a preventive measure to bolster capital strength, expired in March. But with the enactment of the revised law, the system for providing public funds to banks has been revived temporarily, and will be in effect until March 2012. The limit on the amount of money that can be given to financial institutions was raised from 2 trillion yen to 12 trillion yen, an amount almost equal to that injected into financial institutions in the past, including the bailout of the major banks after the burst of the bubble economy.

 改正金融機能強化法が今月に施行され、今年3月末で期限が切れた地方銀行などへの公的資金注入が、2012年3月末までの期限付きで復活した。注入枠も10兆円を追加して12兆円とした。これは、大手行への一斉注入など過去の全注入額に匹敵する。

===

Cutting off the credit flow

Firms in rural areas and small and midsize companies complain the financial faucet suddenly has been turned off. Many bankruptcies have resulted from the financing provided by regional institutions drying up.

 地方や中小企業からは、融資の蛇口が急速に絞られてきたとの声が上がっている。融資打ち切りが引き金となった倒産も多い。

According to half-year earning reports ending in September, about one-third of regional banks were in the red. The economic downturn has been accelerating further in the latter half of the fiscal year. Doubtless their equity capital decreased due to an increase in nonperforming loans and losses caused by falling stock prices, and as a result, they have further lost their reserve power for financing.

 9月中間決算で地方銀行の3分の1が赤字だった。下半期はさらに景気悪化が加速している。不良債権の増加や株安の損失で自己資本が目減りし、融資余力がさらに落ちたのは間違いあるまい。

Although small and midsize financial institutions have an increased need for capital reinforcement, it is currently difficult for them to raise capital by themselves. It is under precisely such circumstances that public funds have a role to play.

 資本増強の必要性が高まっているのに、中小金融機関が自力で資本調達をするのは難しい状況だ。こうした時こそ、公的資金の出番と言えよう。

However, no financial institutions have yet applied for public funds. Even under the expired Financial Function Strengthening Law that limited such use of public funds to 2 trillion yen, there were only two applications totaling 40 billion yen.

 ところが、公的資金の注入を表明した金融機関はまだない。3月までの制度でも、2兆円の注入枠を用意したのに、利用は2件、計400億円と低調だった。

In the draft of the revised law, the clarification of the management's responsibility was excluded to try to promote the use of the system, but later, the content of the draft was changed to allow authorities to hold management responsible for mistakes.

 改正法は当初、経営責任明確化の条件を外し、利用促進を図る内容だったが、経営ミスについては責任を問えるよう改めた。

===

Errors have consequences

Some claim that such a provision in the law discourages institutions from seeking help. But the program is not intended to rescue failed financial institutions, such as Shinginko Tokyo, a bank primarily owned by the Tokyo metropolitan government.

 これでは利用が減ってしまうとの見方もある。だが、公的資金は新銀行東京など経営に失敗した金融機関を救済するために投入するのではない。

Financial institutions indispensable to an area's economy are responsible for supporting the local economy by providing credit. If their financial wherewithal becomes insufficient to fulfill this responsibility, they should seek public funds without hesitation to enable them to recover their power for financing.

 地域経済に欠かせぬ金融機関には、金融で地元経済を支える責務がある。それを十分に果たせぬ財務内容になった場合には、迷わず公的資金の受け入れを決断し、融資余力を回復させるべきだ。

There are many financial institutions that deny there is a credit crunch, saying that they are making necessary loans. If so, they should voluntarily make public how they contribute to the local economy, including their provision of finances to small and midsize companies and future plans to make such loans.

 「必要な融資はしている」などと、貸し渋りを否定する金融機関は多い。そうであれば、中小企業向け融資の実績や今後の計画など、地元経済への貢献度について、進んで開示すべきであろう。

With the revision of the law, even in the case of a merger that integrates a financial institution in a bad shape with another financial institution, the resulting entity can avoid lowering its capital adequacy ratio with the injection of public funds.

 今回の改正で、財務内容の悪い金融機関と合併・統合した場合でも、公的資金で自己資本比率の低下を防げるようになった。

We hope that the revised law will add momentum to the reorganization of the financial community in a bid to drastically reinforce sound management.

 抜本的な経営強化に向け、再編機運が高まるよう期待する。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 30, 2008)

200812300133  読売新聞)

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2008年12月29日 (月)

学力調査―勇気ある撤退を求める

2008/12/29

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 27(IHT/Asahi: December 29,2008)

EDITORIAL: Testing academic ability

学力調査―勇気ある撤退を求める

In defiance of education ministry policy, Akita Governor Sukeshiro Terata publicly disclosed average scores by students of each city, town and village within the prefecture in controversial achievement tests taken nationwide. His decision came against growing confusion over whether to reveal the results of the annual tests for sixth-graders at elementary schools and the third-year students at junior high schools, which resumed in 2007.

 秋田県の寺田知事が、文部科学省の意向に反して全市町村別の平均正答率を公表した。 

 全国学力調査の結果公開をめぐる混乱がいっそう広がっている。 

It is the policy of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for prefectures to refrain from releasing a list of the test results for each municipality. It fears that doing so could create an unfair hierarchy in which municipalities are ranked on the basis of the scores. That, it says, could trigger excessive competition among schools and regions. The ministry says it should be up to municipalities to determine whether to release the data, and when doing so, they should announce not just the test results but also steps that may be needed to address the outcome.

 都道府県が市町村別の結果を一覧できる形で公開するのは、序列化や過度の競争を招く恐れがあるので控える。公表するかどうかは市町村が判断し、公表する際は結果だけではなく対策も合わせて明らかにする。これが文科省が決めたルールである。 

In going against the ministry's policy, Terata said, "Basically, all information on public education should be disclosed, except for that regarding personal privacy." He also argued that "valuable information is being monopolized by just a handful of people involved in education."

 これに対し、寺田知事は「公教育はプライバシーを除いて公開が基本」「有益な情報がごく一部の教育関係者に独占されている」などとして公開に踏み切った。 

Terata had repeatedly said in news conferences and on other occasions that he would release the data. However, it seems the actual announcement of the data caught everyone by surprise, not just municipal education boards but even the head of the prefectural board of education.

 寺田知事は、以前から記者会見などで公表の意向を明らかにしていた。とはいえ、突然の発表は各市町村の教育委員会どころか県の教育委員長らにも寝耳に水だったようだ。 

Terata also ignored the intentions of municipalities, which had all planned to withhold the test results. The situation in Akita Prefecture is different from that in Osaka Prefecture, where Governor Toru Hashimoto urges municipal education boards to voluntarily disclose their data.

 しかも、大阪府の橋下知事の場合とは違い、どの市町村も自らは公表しない意向だったにもかかわらず頭越しに強行した。 

We believe that Terata went too far. It is no wonder that more than half of the cities, towns and villages in Akita Prefecture said in reply to an Asahi Shimbun survey that they would reconsider whether to participate in the national achievement test next year.

 このやり方は乱暴にすぎる。朝日新聞の調査に秋田県内の市町村の約半数が、来年度からの参加について見合わせを含め検討する意向を示したのも当然だろう。 

However, we do understand why the governor decided to publicly disclose the test data. It is also natural from a viewpoint of information disclosure. Other local governments may well follow suit. What we find contemptible is the education ministry's dithering in trying to deal with the situation.

 ただ、知事が公表に踏み切った理由そのものについては、同意できないわけではない。情報公開の観点からみても当然だ。追随する自治体が出てくるかも知れない。 

 何よりあきれるのは、この流れに右往左往している文科省の姿である。 

For its part, the ministry says it tried to ensure that reinstating the national achievement tests after a 40-year hiatus would not set off a new round of excessive competition and hierarchy among schools and districts. This was why the ministry discouraged prefectural governments from releasing the results of individual municipalities.

 文科省は、全国学力調査を40年ぶりに復活するにあたって、かつての教訓から過度の競争や序列化を再燃させないように配慮したという。都道府県による市町村別結果の公表をひかえさせたことも、そのためだった。 

Apparently, the ministry had not expected a case like Akita to arise. Yet, the ministry could have expected that the data would have to be released if ever an official request was made for disclosure of the information. It hardly makes any sense for the ministry to prohibit prefectural governments from disclosing the data for each municipality when the ministry itself has made public the results for each prefecture.

 確かに知事が発表するという秋田の例は想定外だったかもしれない。しかし、情報公開請求があれば公開せざるを得ない事態に陥ることは十分に予想されたことだ。文科省が県別の成績は自ら公表しておきながら、都道府県には市町村別の公開を禁じるというのは何とも筋が通らない。 

There was a flaw in the original design. It is too late for education minister Ryu Shionoya to bemoan the mess, which is what he did in a recent Asahi Shimbun interview.

 そもそも制度設計に無理があったのだ。今頃になって文科相に「悩ましい」と嘆かれても困る。 

At this point, we feel that the education ministry should review whether it is worth continuing with the achievement tests at the cost of causing so much confusion.

 ここで考えるべきは、こんな混乱を招きながら調査を続ける必要があるのか、ということだ。 

The ministry began the tests as a means to grasp the nationwide state of students' scholastic prowess as a way to improve instruction methods. Because the ministry dictated that every single child should participate, it costs more than 5 billion yen each year to hold the tests.

 文科省は、学力の状況を全国的に把握し、指導に生かすためとして調査を始めた。全員参加としたため、毎年50億円以上にのぼる予算と膨大な手間がかかる。

Similar data could have been gleaned just as well by sampling surveys.

しかし、そこで得られる結果は抽出調査でも十分可能だ。 

Just think how much could be done to enhance teaching staff and school facilities with the amount of money spent for the nationwide tests.

 この費用があれば、どれだけ教員や学校施設の充実に回せるだろうか。

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海賊対策―事前に明確なルールを

2008/12/29

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 27(IHT/Asahi: December 29,2008)

EDITORIAL: Anti-piracy mission

海賊対策―事前に明確なルールを

The government is considering whether to deploy Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers and other vessels to waters off Somalia in support of international efforts to rein in rampant piracy in the region. In response to a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for international cooperation to tackle the problem, a host of countries, including the United States, parts of Europe, China, Iran and India, have already decided to dispatch warships.

 アフリカのソマリア沖で頻発する海賊の問題で、政府は海上自衛隊の護衛艦の派遣を検討することになった。 

 国際社会に協力を呼びかけた国連安保理の決議を受けて、欧米や中国、イラン、インドなどが相次いで艦船の派遣を決めている。 

The pirate-infested Gulf of Aden connecting Europe with the Middle East and Asia is of huge strategic importance. About 20,000 tankers, cargo vessels and other ships pass annually through the gulf. Of the total, 2,100 vessels have business with Japan. In fact, several have been hijacked by pirates operating off Somalia in the past year or so.

 海賊の被害が集中しているアデン湾は、欧州と中東・アジアをつなぐ要路で、タンカーや輸送船など年間2万隻が通過する。そのうち2100隻が日本に関係する船舶だ。実際に海賊に乗っ取られた事件も起きている。 

Clearly, Japan must consider what level of cooperation it should offer to help counter this threat. On Friday, Prime Minister Taro Aso instructed Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada to devise a way to deploy MSDF vessels on an anti-piracy mission.

 日本政府としても、何らかの対策、協力を考えるのは当然のことだ。麻生首相はきのう、浜田防衛相に海上自衛隊の艦船を出せないか、具体的な検討を指示した。 

The government has been studying a new law to allow the MSDF to carry out anti-piracy operations. But the prospect of early passage of such legislation through the Diet is dismal, given the current legislative gridlock due to opposition control of the Upper House.

 政府は、新規立法で海賊対策に乗り出すための法的な枠組みをつくるべく研究しているが、国会で法律を通すとなるといつ実現できるか、まったくメドが立たない。 

As an alternative, the government is considering resorting to a provision in the Self-Defense Forces Law to order a maritime policing action by the MSDF in the area. This approach would enable the government to deploy MSDF vessels swiftly. From the viewpoint of jurisdiction, the Japan Coast Guard should primarily deal with the problem of piracy, which is a criminal activity. But the law authorizes the government to mobilize SDF troops to cope with a situation that demands higher capability than what the coast guard can offer.

 そこで、自衛隊法に定める「海上警備行動」を発動し、自衛艦の派遣を急ぐ案が浮上した。海賊行為は犯罪であり、本来は海上保安庁が扱う問題だが、その能力を超える事態には自衛隊が出動できる仕組みになっている。 

Under the plan being considered, MSDF ships would escort Japanese commercial vessels off the Somali coast. There are, however, problems to be sorted out.

 具体的には、ソマリア沖を航行する日本の船舶に護衛艦が並走し、海賊の襲撃を防ぐことが検討されている。 

 だが、問題がないわけではない。 

First, there are no clear rules for the MSDF to use weapons during such operations. The MSDF can fire warning shots during a sea policing mission but its members are not allowed to launch a damaging attack unless it is for legitimate self-defense or averting imminent danger. Somali pirates are armed with rocket launchers and other heavy weapons and could attack MSDF vessels. Clear rules of engagement should be established to protect the safety of MSDF personnel.

 まず、武器使用基準。海上警備行動の場合、威嚇射撃は可能だが、相手を攻撃できるのは正当防衛か緊急避難に限られている。海賊はロケット砲などの重火器を備え、護衛艦を攻撃してくる可能性もある。隊員の安全をどう確保するか、具体的に定めておかないといけない。 

Another important question is whether the MSDF should provide protection only to ships with Japanese registry or operated by Japanese companies. It is possible, for instance, that MSDF ships could escort international flotillas, including Japanese vessels. A realistic formula for anti-piracy operations based on the local situation should be developed.

 また、守る対象はあくまで日本関係の船舶に限るのか。例えば、日本船が他国の船と船団を組み、それを護衛艦が守るケースも考えられる。現場の事情を踏まえて、現実的な方法を視野に入れる必要もあろう。 

Details of the MSDF ships' responsibilities should also be specified. If their mandate includes cracking down on pirates in addition to protecting commercial ships, the question of how they should treat any pirates they capture would need to be answered. The countries that have already dispatched ships to fight piracy face the same problems and are struggling to deal with them.

 自衛艦の任務はどこまでなのか。海賊の取り締まりまで含めるとなると、捕まえた海賊をどう処罰するのかという問題も出てくる。すでに艦船を派遣した国々も同じ問題に直面し、対応に苦慮している。 

In light of these sticky problems, it is not surprising that there is strong skepticism about an anti-piracy mission within the Defense Ministry. If MSDF ships are deployed before all these issues are clearly worked out, there will undoubtedly be serious confusion among personnel involved in the operations.

 そう考えると、防衛省内に慎重論が強いのも分からないではない。あいまいなまま派遣すれば、現場での混乱は避けられないからだ。

What is critical is to lay down clear rules of engagement in advance.

大事なのは、事前にルールを詰めておくことだ。 

There are also other ways for Japan to support international efforts to stop piracy. The Japan Coast Guard cooperated with the maritime security authorities of other countries in dealing with piracy in the Strait of Malacca. The government should also consider drawing on the experience.

 日本ができる協力は他にもある。マラッカ海峡の海賊対策で国際協力の実績がある海上保安庁の経験を生かすことも考えるべきだろう。 

At the heart of the problem is the chaotic situation in Somalia. It should not be forgotten that there can be no fundamental solution to the problem of piracy without effective international aid to clean up the situation in Somalia.

 問題の根本はソマリア情勢の混迷にある。そこに国際的な支援の手をどう差し伸べるか。それ抜きに海賊問題の解決はないことも忘れてはならない。

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記者の目:職員会議で挙手・採決禁止した都教委=木村健二(東京社会部)

(Mainichi Japan) December 28, 2008

Tokyo Education Board's ban on votes, show of hands goes too far

記者の目:職員会議で挙手・採決禁止した都教委=木村健二(東京社会部)


 ◇行き過ぎ通知が自由を抑圧--協調・活性化、環境整備を

The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education's blanket ban on showings of hands and votes in staff meetings at metropolitan high schools, announced in an April 2006 notice, is causing a stir in Japan.

 東京都の教育委員会による1通の通知が波紋を広げている。都立校の職員会議で「挙手」と「採決」を全面的に禁止した06年4月の通知だ。

No such notice has been issued in any other prefecture, and educators are complaining that the move is resulting in a loss of freedom of speech.

他の道府県にこうした通知はなく「言論の自由が失われている」との声も学校現場から上がる。

As I see it, the notice is a prime example of the Tokyo Board of Education's hard line which, under the leadership of Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, pursued things like widespread punishment for teachers who didn't stand for the singing of Japan's national anthem, "Kimigayo." I think it goes too far. The education board should rethink the notice, which is stifling for educators, and devote itself to its role of providing an environment that revitalizes schools with cooperation between school workers and administrators.

私は、この通知は石原慎太郎知事の下で「君が代」斉唱時に起立しない教職員の大量処分などを推し進めてきた都教委の強硬路線が極まったもので、行き過ぎた施策だと考える。都教委は現場を窒息させるような通知を見直し、校長ら管理職と教職員が協調しながら学校を活性化させる環境を整える役割に徹すべきだ。

The education board's notice was sent out under the name of then director for education Masahiko Nakamura, under the title "Making school management appropriate." It said that planning and coordination meetings held by principals and vice principals -- not staff meetings -- served as the nerve center of school administration.

"Management by means of holding a show of hands, votes and so on at staff meetings is inappropriate, and is not to be carried out," the notice said.

In the past staff meetings at some schools had turned into decision-making bodies that overrode school principals' views with majority votes. The notice was designed to promote the type of school development that principals were seeking.

 通知は「学校経営の適正化について」と題され、当時の中村正彦教育長名で出された。学校経営の中枢機関を職員会議ではなく校長や副校長らが開く「企画調整会議」と位置づけ、「職員会議において『挙手』、『採決』等の方法を用いて職員の意向を確認するような運営は不適切であり、行わない」とした。かつて職員会議は、教職員側が多数決で校長を押し切って実質的な議決機関と化していた学校もあり、校長の目指す学校づくりを促進する狙いがあった。

In 2000, before the notice was sent out, the former Ministry of Education revised an ordinance in order to boost the authority of principals, and designated staff meetings as "subsidiary organs" to facilitate the work of school principals. Prefectural education boards across Japan revised their regulations accordingly. However, a Mainichi poll carried out in August showed that only the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education went as far as to send out a written ban on a show of hands and votes.

 通知に先立つ00年、旧文部省は校長の権限強化のために省令を改正し、職員会議を校長の職務を円滑化する「補助機関」と明確化。各都道府県教委も同様の規則改正をした。ただし、毎日新聞が8月に実施したアンケートでは、挙手・採決の禁止まで明文化して通知したのは都教委だけだ。

Nobuo Dohi, 60, principal of Tokyo Metropolitan Mitaka High School, is seeking a withdrawal of the ban. At a meeting of school principals in November last year, he stressed that the measure was having a negative effect at schools. He had presented his claims to the media in May, saying a mood was spreading among school workers that whatever they said was pointless. He had asked the metropolitan education board to hold an open discussion on the issue.

 通知撤回を求めて声を上げたのが、都立三鷹高(三鷹市)の土肥信雄校長(60)だ。昨年11月の校長会で、学校現場に悪影響が及んでいると主張し、今年5月には「何を言っても意味がないという空気が教員に広がっている」とメディアを通じて訴え、都教委に公開討論を開くよう求めた。

In response, between June and September the education board asked principals and vice principals at 260 metropolitan high schools -- excluding Dohi's high school -- what they thought about the situation. Altogether, 245 schools (94 percent) replied that the measure had no effect on freedom of speech. No schools answered that the measure did affect free speech.

On Nov. 13, the metropolitan education board compiled the results of the survey. It concluded that the measure "is not depriving people of freedom of speech."

 これに対し都教委は6~9月に三鷹高を除く都立校260校の校長と副校長から状況を聞き取った。言論の自由への影響について245校(94%)が「ない」と回答し「ある」はゼロだったとして、「言論の自由を奪っているものではない」と結論付けた調査結果を11月13日にまとめた。

Educational analyst Naoki Ogi, who sides with Dohi, writes off the results of the survey.

"It's like a pistol-armed robber making a victim raise both hands and asking, 'Are you scared?' It's not worthy to be called a survey," he says.

 だが、この調査結果を、土肥校長の意見に賛同する教育評論家の尾木直樹氏は「まるでピストルを持った強盗が被害者に両手を上げさせて『怖いか』と聞くようなもの。調査の名に値しない」と切り捨てる。

Opinions on the issue are divided. At a meeting of the education board on Nov. 27, Yutaka Takehana, former Tokyo vice governor, said, "The notice is not something that's making orders like 'Don't hold staff meetings,' or, 'Don't listen to the opinions of school workers.'"

 11月27日の都教委では、元副知事の竹花豊氏が「通知は『職員会議を開くな』とか『教職員の意見を聞くな』ということを指示しているものではない」と指摘。

Screenwriter Makiko Uchidate says," It's mistaken to think that not being able to hold votes or a show of hand is the equivalent of a crackdown on opinions."

脚本家の内館牧子氏も「採決・挙手できないことがイコール言論の弾圧というふうにとらえるのは間違っている」と述べた。

"There are hundreds of ways to establish communication (between principals and school workers)," adds Tsutomu Kimura, president of the National Institution for Academic Degrees and University Evaluation, who chairs the education board.

委員長の木村孟・独立行政法人大学評価・学位授与機構長は「(校長と教職員との間には)何百通りもコミュニケーションをとる方法はある」と言った。

But I want people to stop and think about this. Are there any other organizations that make a point of spelling out bans on a show of hands and votes? The metropolitan education board meeting regulations actually go the opposite way, stating that a show of hands and votes are conceivable procedures.

 でも、ちょっと待ってほしい。わざわざ「挙手」や「採決」を明記して禁じている組織がほかにあるだろうか。当の都教委の会議規則の中には、逆に挙手や採決をありうる手続きとして記している。

I don't think the feelings of Dohi are that far removed from society in general. Even in the metropolitan education board's survey, opinions matching those of Dohi could be seen -- five schools admitted, "An atmosphere has emerged that there isn't any point in staff presenting their opinions, and they've stopped speaking out." The stance of teachers managing by themselves had also disappeared, according to another report.

土肥校長の感覚が、世間一般からそんなにかけ離れているとは思えない。都教委の調査でも、土肥校長に同調する声が皆無だったわけではない。「職員が意見を言っても仕方がないという雰囲気になり、発言しなくなった」と認めた答えが5校あった。「教員が自分たちでやっていく姿勢がなくなった」などの声もあったという。

A teacher in his 40s from a metropolitan high school, whom I met during my coverage of the issue, said that atmosphere of meetings had changed because of the notice.

"In staff meetings, the atmosphere of free debate has disappeared, and the meetings have basically become outlets for announcements and reports. It has spurred autocratic management by the principal," the teacher said.

 私の取材でも、ある都立高の40代男性教諭は「職員会議で自由に議論する空気がなくなり、単なる連絡と報告の場になった。校長のワンマン運営に拍車が掛かった」と話した。

Masaaki Katsuno, an associate professor in educational administration at the University of Tokyo, says such a notice is unusual.

"Even from a perspective of general organizational management, the notice is extremely unusual," he says. "Staff aren't infringing on the leadership of principals in any way (by holding votes and a show of hands). Officials should seriously take to heart the significance of what is being pointed out by an incumbent principal," he adds, showing his support for the open forum requested by Dohi.

 勝野正章・東京大大学院准教授(教育行政学)は「一般的な組織運営を考えても通知は極めて異常。(挙手・採決をしても)校長のリーダーシップに何ら抵触することではない。現職校長が指摘する意味を重く受け止めるべきだ」と、土肥校長の求める公開討論の開催に賛意を示す。

School principals hold the final responsibility and authority in school administration and management. Shows of hands and votes could serve as points of reference for their decisions, and there are probably cases when doing so is more effective. And from the viewpoint of teachers, there are likely some who will lose their motivation when faced with a procedure that shuts off a way for them to express their opinions from the outset.

 校長は、学校の管理運営に最終的な責任と権限を持つ。判断の参考にするため挙手や採決を活用すればいいし、その方が効率的なケースもあるはずだ。逆に教職員側の立場で言えば、自分の意思を表す手段を最初から封じるようなやり方に、意欲をなくす人もいるだろう。

I don't think staff meetings that produce unproductive discussions from start to finish as people focus on putting forward their ideas are desirable. But placing notices that dwell on standardized operations above everything else only brings discouragement to the education scene, and isn't good for the children, either. The metropolitan education board should open its ears to different opinions from within and without. ("As I See It," by Kenji Kimura, City News Dept. of the Mainichi Shimbun)

持論ばかりを主張して不毛な議論に終始する職員会議が望ましいとは思わないが、画一的な運用にこだわる通知至上主義は現場のやる気をそぐだけで、子供のためにもならない。都教委は内外の異論に耳を澄ませるべきだ。

毎日新聞 20081225日 東京朝刊

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介護報酬改定 職員の賃金アップを確実に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 29, 2008)

Govt must push for better caregivers' pay

介護報酬改定 職員の賃金アップを確実に(1229日付・読売社説)

The nation's nursing care insurance system seems to face a crucial stage.

 介護保険制度にとって正念場だろう。

Government-set fees for nursing care services, which are revised every three years in principle, will be raised by 3 percent overall in fiscal 2009 in an effort to secure adequate human resources and to improve the quality of nursing care services.

 3年に1度の介護報酬改定が決着した。人材を確保し、介護の質を向上させるため、報酬全体を3%引き上げる。

The latest increase mainly targets burdensome work, including services for dementia sufferers. In addition, the revision includes a raise in payments to operators of nursing homes that hire a high percentage of caregivers as permanent staff.

 認知症の介護など、負担が大きい分野に報酬を重点配分した。常勤職員の割合が高い介護施設などにも報酬を上乗せする。

The increase in payments for nursing care providers comes as no surprise. Since the nursing care insurance system was launched in 2000, the payments for nursing care providers had been slashed in the past two revisions due to the government's policy on curbing the social security spending.

 介護報酬の引き上げは当然の措置だ。2000年にスタートした介護保険制度は、社会保障費の抑制路線の中で過去2回、マイナス改定が続いていた。

Accordingly, the financial health of many nursing care providers is deteriorating. Caregivers are suffering low wages while a serious shortage of human resources is apparent. This situation must be improved.

 その結果、介護事業者の経営は悪化している。職員は低賃金にあえぎ、人材不足が深刻だ。この状況を改善しなければならない。

A policy of raising the payment had already been announced in an economic stimulus package unveiled by the government at the end of October in response to the economy's rapid deterioration. The nursing care service industry is seen as a likely source of an increasing number of job opportunities.

 今回の改定作業は、景気の急速な悪化を受けて政府が10月末に打ち出した景気対策の中で、早々と報酬引き上げの方針が決まっていた。介護業界が雇用拡大の受け皿としても期待されたからだ。

===

Pay increase

With the latest increase in payments for nursing care providers, the government estimates that a caregiver's wage will be raised by 20,000 yen per month and the number of caregivers will increase by about 100,000.

 政府は今回の報酬引き上げなどで、介護職員の賃金は月約2万円上昇し、人数も10万人程度増えると目算している。

Of course, we cannot feel delighted about the worsening economy. But, at least, nursing care providers will be able to secure personnel more easily.

 無論、不況を喜ぶわけにはいかないが、介護事業者が人材を確保しやすくはなるだろう。

The current situation is similar to when the nursing care insurance system was launched. Since many people were looking for jobs due to the sluggish economy, the nursing care industry had no problem finding workers.

 介護保険が始まった当初も似た状況にあった。不況で仕事を探す人が多く、介護産業は人材集めに苦労しなかった。

Owing to that, a business model predicated on low wages for caregivers was established in the industry. But once the economy recovered and the employment situation improved, valuable personnel flowed out to other industries.

 このため、低賃金を前提とするビジネスモデルが出来た。だが、景気が回復して雇用情勢が好転すると、貴重な人材は次々と流出してしまった。

We should not allow the pattern to be repeated.

 同じ轍(てつ)を踏んではならない。

According to an estimate by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the number of people certified as being in need of care will be about 6 million in five years time, an increase of 1.5 million from the present figure. Along with that, the number of caregivers has to increase by between 300,000 and 500,000 from the currently figure of about 1.1 million.

 厚生労働省の推計では、5年後の要介護認定者数は今より150万人増えて約600万人となる。これに伴い、現在約110万人いる介護職員を、さらに30万~50万人増やす必要がある。

===

Attracting, keeping workers

To tackle this situation, it is important to retrieve workers that once left the industry by taking advantage of the current deteriorating economy, as well as convincing caregivers to stay in the industry by improving the working conditions.

 この状況に対応するには、報酬引き上げを契機に人材を取り戻すとともに、待遇を確実に改善して、定着してもらうことが大切だ。

The problem is whether the increase in payment for nursing care providers will be reflected on caregivers' wages. If nursing care providers--acting on the idea that securing personnel will be easy due to the declining economy--used the increase only to improve a company's financial situation, working conditions for caregivers will not change.

 問題は、介護報酬の引き上げが職員の給与にきちんと反映されるかどうかだ。不況で人を集めやすくなると考えて、介護施設の経営者がプラス改定分を収支の改善のみに費やせば、職員の待遇は変わらない。

From now on, the health ministry needs to research whether caregivers' working conditions improve. The ministry also should obligate nursing care providers to disclose caregivers' wage level.

 厚労省は今後、介護職員の労働条件が向上しているかについて調査する必要がある。介護事業者にも職員の賃金水準などを公開するよう義務づけるべきだ。

The government should make the profession of caregiver a financially rewarding job, then nurture the nursing care service industry as one of the key industries in the age of a declining birthrate and aging society.

 「介護」を働きがいのある仕事にし、超少子高齢時代の基幹産業に育てなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 29, 2008)

200812290153  読売新聞)

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発信箱:大きすぎて…=福本容子

(Mainichi Japan) December 27, 2008

So what other industries are 'too big to fail'? Cheese? Chocolate? Church?

発信箱:大きすぎて…=福本容子

It's not only big banks and auto companies that get bailed out with taxpayers' money. The Italian government has announced that it will rescue the Parmesan cheese industry. The Ministry of Agriculture made the decision as a rise in production costs has forced one-third of Parmesan producers to the brink of bankruptcy, vowing to spend 50 million euros (approximately 6.4 billion yen) to save the King of Cheese. And major real estate developers in the United States have begun to ask the government to bail them out.

 公的資金で救済されるのは、大手の銀行や自動車メーカーばかりではない。

 イタリア政府は、パルメザンチーズの救済に乗り出した。生産コストの上昇で業者の3分の1が廃業寸前に追い詰められたため、「チーズの王様を守れ」と、公的資金5000万ユーロ(約64億円)を投入するそうだ。

 アメリカでは、自動車に続き、大手の不動産開発業者が政府に救済の要求を始めている。

In a satiric piece in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), an article takes a stab at the current bailout craze, saying that the U.S. government has announced that Santa Claus, who faces difficulties with "securitized products," will also be granted a rescue package. The Treasury Department initially harbored concerns about the possible nationalization of Santa Claus, but decided on the bailout on the basis that he is "too big to fail."

 米ウォールストリート・ジャーナル紙によると、米政府は証券化商品で問題を抱えたサンタクロースを新たに公的資金の対象とした。財務省内にはサンタ国有化への懸念もあったようだが、サンタの破綻(はたん)は影響が大きすぎると救済が決まった。オバマ次期大統領も了承している。

Back to reality and weren't we told just a little while ago that financial institutions were an exception? That even if it irked us to provide them with public funding, if we didn't, panic would break out, leading to a chain reaction of bank failures, wreaking havoc on the lives of common folk?

 これはジャーナル紙の作り話。でも世の中、何でもかんでも救済のムードになってきた。

Now that government money has been doled out to auto manufacturers, it's almost impossible to draw a line between what's too big to fail and what's not. It's pretty difficult to come up with a logical explanation for why it's OK for the government to save the auto industry and not the chocolate industry.

 少し前まで、大手金融機関は特別、という話ではなかった? 腹が立っても税金で救わないと、信用不安が広がって、金融破綻の連鎖が起き、一般の人までみんなが大迷惑するから--という説明だった気がする。それが、自動車業界も救済となり、「大きすぎてつぶせない」の線引きがほとんど不可能になった。自動車は救済OKでチョコレート業界はダメ、とか論理的に説明するのは相当苦しい。

In the U.S., even churches face the threat of collapse. An increasing number of churches, who underwent construction during the real estate boom, are being seized for inability to make loan payments. The headline, "U.S. government pumps 80 billion dollars into God," may be plastered across papers sometime next year. Obviously, he's too big to fail.

 アメリカでは、教会も倒産の危機にある。不動産ブームの中で施設を建てた教会がローンの返済に困り、差し押さえられる事例が増えているそうだ。来年あたり「米政府、神様に800億ドルの資本注入」もありうる。大きすぎてつぶせない。

But who in the world can claim to keep an eye on the management of those who are given a second chance? (By Yoko Fukumoto, Economic News Department, Mainichi Shimbun)

 だけど救済先の経営をしっかり見張れる人ってどこにいる?(経済部)

毎日新聞 20081226日 東京朝刊

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2008年12月28日 (日)

08回顧・国際 世界を揺さぶった同時不況

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 28, 2008)

2008 saw a recession that rocked the world

08回顧・国際 世界を揺さぶった同時不況(1228日付・読売社説)

The year is drawing to an unusually depressing end.

 これまでにない重苦しい年の瀬になった。

2008 will be remembered as a year that witnessed a world recession akin to the Great Depression of 1929.

 今年は、1929年に始まった世界大恐慌を思わせる世界同時不況に見舞われた年として、記憶に残るのではないか。

The collapse of major U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which marked the spread of the U.S. financial crisis across the globe, came third in the list of top-ranking international news stories picked by Yomiuri Shimbun readers.

 本紙読者が選ぶ「海外10大ニュース」で「米証券大手リーマンが破綻(はたん)、米国発の金融危機が世界に波及」が3位になった。

Following the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the world was caught up in the throes of a recession in the blink of an eye. Who could have foreseen such a rapid turn of events?

 リーマン破綻に伴い、世界中が一気に不況の渦に巻きこまれた。一体誰がこんな急展開を、予測できただろうか。

Oil prices, which had been surging since the beginning of the year, hit a record-high 147 dollars per barrel in July--the story that ranked fifth on the list--before plunging, partly due to the global economic slowdown, and had fallen to the lower 30 dollars level around the end of the year.

 年初来、高騰を続けた原油は、7月に史上最高値の1バレル=147ドルを記録した(5位)。その後は、世界経済の減速などで急落し、年末に30ドル台前半まで下落した。

In June, a world food summit, the first of its kind to address global food security, was held in Rome to tackle the issue of rising grain prices (the story ranking 18th on the list). Grain prices, however, began to drop in autumn as fast as oil prices because of abundant harvests and the withdrawal of speculative money from the market.

 穀物価格の高騰に対応しようと、6月にローマで初めての食糧サミットが開催された(18位)。ところが、秋以降は世界的な豊作と投機マネーの逃避で、価格は原油同様、値下がりした。

===

1st black U.S. president

 ◆米史上初の黒人大統領◆ 

This year also saw a series of changes of leaders.

 指導者が相次いで代わった。

Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama won the U.S. presidential election in November, paving the way for him to become the first black president in U.S. history. This news story topped the list.

 11月の米大統領選で、民主党のバラク・オバマ上院議員が当選し、米国史上初めて黒人大統領が誕生することになった(1位)。

In addition to criticism of the Iraq policy of the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, the unprecedented financial crisis dealt a fatal blow to the Republican government, resulting in wide support for Obama. A burning task for the next administration will be financial and economic reconstruction, for which there is no time to waste, and the issue of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

 ブッシュ共和党政権の対イラク政策への批判に加え、未曽有の金融危機がダメ押しとなり、オバマ氏は幅広く国民の支持を集めた。次期政権の焦眉(しょうび)の課題は、待ったなしの金融・経済の立て直しと、イラク撤退問題となろう。

In March, Ma Ying-jeou of the Nationalist Party was elected president of Taiwan, leading his party back into power for the first time in eight years (25th on the list). Ma launched regular direct flights with China, establishing three direct links--trade, transport and communications--for the first time since Taiwan and the mainland split amid civil war in 1949. The Taiwan Strait likely will remain calm for the time being.

 台湾では3月、国民党の馬英九氏が総統に当選し、8年ぶりに国民党政権が復活した(25位)。馬総統は、中国との直行便の開設などを断行し、1949年に中台に分裂して以降、「3通(通商、通航、通信)」が初めて実現した。台湾海峡はしばらく凪(なぎ)の状態が続くことになろう。

In Russia, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was endorsed by then President Vladimir Putin as his successor, was elected president (11th on the list). The new president appointed Putin as prime minister, transforming the administration into a Medvedev-Putin tandem system.

 ロシアでは3月、プーチン大統領(当時)の後継指名を受けたメドベージェフ第1副首相が大統領に当選した(11位)。新大統領はプーチン氏を首相に指名し、「タンデム(2人乗り自転車)体制」へ移行した。

Russian forces invaded Georgia in August after Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia, which is seeking independence from Georgia. The fighting between Russia and Georgia then became a full-fledged battle (17th on the list).

 そのロシアとの関連では、グルジア軍が8月、分離独立を求める南オセチア自治州を攻撃したことをきっかけに、ロシア軍がグルジアに侵攻し、本格的な戦闘に発展した(17位)。

Russia's military action drew a backlash from the United States and some European countries, and the dispute contributed to deepening tension between the United States and Russia.

 ロシアの行動に対して、グルジアを支持する欧米が反発し、紛争は米露関係の緊張が深まる一因にもなった。

Meanwhile, rumors that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was incapacitated spread following a report that he suffered a stroke in summer (16th on the list).

 北朝鮮の金正日総書記が夏に脳梗塞(こうそく)などで倒れたと伝えられ、健康不安説が広がった(16位)。

In October, the United States removed North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, although verification of Pyongyang's nuclear declaration was not fully guaranteed in the six-party talks on the North's denuclearization (13th on the list). Such incaution during negotiations with North Korea may create problems in the future.

 非核化を巡る6か国協議で、北の核申告の検証を十分に担保しないまま、米国は10月、北朝鮮のテロ支援国指定を解除した(13位)。その詰めの甘さが、禍根を残すことになるのではないか。

In Thailand, antigovernment protesters occupied the prime minister's office compound and two airports in Bangkok, stranding Japanese and other foreign tourists (14th on the list). Two prime ministers supporting ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra were stripped of their posts by the Constitutional Court. The opposition Democrat Party leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva, was elected prime minister this month.

 タイでは反政府勢力団体が首相府や首都空港などを占拠し、邦人はじめ外国人観光客が足止めされ、混乱が続いた(14位)。

 憲法裁判所の判決でタクシン元首相派の首相2人が相次いで失職し、野党・民主党のアピシット氏が12月、後継首相に選ばれた。

===

Olympics, disaster in China

 ◆北京五輪と自然災害も◆

This year's top 10 international new stories are conspicuous in that four events related to China were included. Whether it is a good or bad thing, China came under the spotlight this year.

 国際ニュース上位10位の中に中国関連が4項目も入ったのも目立った。良きにつけ悪()しきにつけ、中国が主役となった年だった。

Before the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympics in August, protests in Tibet against Chinese rule developed into large-scale riots by Buddhist monks and other citizens. The Beijing Olympics ranked fourth on the list, while the Tibetan riots came eighth.

 8月の北京五輪開催(4位)を前に、チベット自治区などで僧侶や市民による大規模な暴動が発生した(8位)。

The security authorities quelled the riots, but the Olympic torch relay turned into a farce as it was blocked by protesters in many cities along the way, including London and Paris (ninth on the list).

 治安当局によって暴動は鎮圧されたが、ロンドン、パリなど各地で行われた聖火リレーは、抗議の人々によって妨害され大混乱した(9位)。

In May, a massive earthquake measuring 8 on the Richter scale hit Sichuan Province in China, leaving more than 10 million people homeless (second on the list). Efforts by Japanese rescue teams sent to quake-stricken areas seemed to help ease deep-rooted anti-Japanese sentiment in China.

 四川省で5月、マグニチュード8の地震が発生、被災者1000万人を超える大災害に見舞われた(2位)。日本の緊急援助隊が活躍し、中国の根強い反日感情が和らいだと伝えられた。

Also in May, powerful Cyclone Nargis battered Myanmar, leaving more than 130,000 people dead or missing (sixth on the list). The military junta initially refused emergency humanitarian aid from overseas, causing a delay in rescue operations that compounded damages.

 自然災害といえば、ミャンマーも5月、サイクロンに襲われ、死者・行方不明者は13万人を超えた(6位)。軍事政権は海外緊急支援の受け入れを渋り、結果的に救援が遅れ、被災は拡大した。

===

Terrorist attacks in South Asia

◆南アジアでテロ頻発◆

This year also left a deep impression as a result of the series of terrorist attacks that occurred in South Asia.

 南アジアでテロが頻発した年としても印象が深い。

Mumbai, India's commercial center, was rocked in November, when terrorists launched simultaneous attacks that killed about 170 people, including one Japanese (seventh on the list). Indian security authorities arrested the suspected mastermind of the attacks, which are believed to have been carried out by Pakistan-based Islamic extremists.

 インドの商業都市ムンバイで11月、同時テロが発生、邦人1人を含む約170人が死亡した(7位)。パキスタンに根拠地を持つイスラム過激派の犯行と見られ、治安当局が首謀者を逮捕した。

For the sake of regional stability, India and Pakistan, which have nuclear arms and which have fought each other in three wars in the past, need to maintain self-restraint.

 核保有国のインドとパキスタンは過去3回、戦火を交えており、双方が自制を保つことが地域の安定に必要だろう。

In Islamabad, a suicide truck bomb attack on a luxury hotel that is part of a U.S. chain killed 53 people in September (20th on the list).

 そのパキスタンでも9月、米系高級ホテルに爆弾を積んだトラックが突っ込む自爆テロが発生し、53人が死亡した(20位)。

There is no sign that terrorism will cease in Afghanistan or Iraq, either. The war against terrorism needs continuing patient efforts.

 アフガニスタンやイラクでも、テロが終息する気配は見えない。テロとの戦いには、息の長い、忍耐強い対応が必要だろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 28, 2008)

200812280139  読売新聞)

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2008年12月27日 (土)

学校ケータイ―家族と共にルール作りを

2008/12/27

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 26(IHT/Asahi: December 27,2008)

EDITORIAL: Cellphone ban in schools

学校ケータイ―家族と共にルール作りを


The Osaka prefectural board of education is calling on public elementary and junior high schools to ban pupils and students from bringing cellphones into school as a general rule. The Meeting on Education Rebuilding, a government panel, also put together a draft report to the same effect. The problem of children and cellphones has become a major issue.

 子どもたちが学校に携帯電話を持ち込むのは原則ノー。大阪府教育委員会が公立小中学校向けにこんなメッセージを発信した。政府の教育再生懇談会も「原則持ち込み禁止」の素案を取りまとめた。子どもと携帯電話の問題が大きく浮上している。 

The prefectural board's decision is also in line with Osaka Governor Toru Hashimoto's policy. Already, most public elementary and junior high schools in the prefecture prohibit pupils and students from bringing cellphones to school and as such, the actual impact of the ban will not be that great.

 府教委の方針は橋下徹知事の意向でもある。府内ではすでに小中学校ごとの持ち込み禁止が広まっており、実質上の影響はさほど大きくない。 

The governor stated clearly that "excessive dependence (on cellphones) stands in the way of studies and health." Indeed, a survey by the prefectural board that looked into how children actually use cellphones showed that many of them are virtually addicted to their handsets. Fifteen percent of first-year junior high school students surveyed said they use their cellphones for three hours or more each day and one in 10 said they send more than 50 text messages daily.

 とはいえ、知事は「過度の依存は学習、健康の妨げになる」と言い切った。確かに、府教委の実態調査から浮かび上がる「子どもの1日」はケータイ漬けそのものだ。中1では携帯電話を「3時間以上使用する」が全体の15%、10人に1人が「51回以上メールを送信する」と答えていた。 

Fifteen percent of junior high school students said that when they receive text messages, they answer them within three minutes. According to teachers, there seems to be a tacit rule among pupils and students that one must answer messages within three minutes. They are apparently gauging their closeness to each other with the quickness in which they reply.

 メールが届いたら3分以内に返信するという中学生は15%。現場の教師に聞くと、3分以内で打ち返すという暗黙のルールもあるらしい。返信の早さで互いの親密度を測る。そんな人間関係が広がっているのだろうか。 

The survey also revealed that children who reply on their cellphones tend to spend less time studying at home and their lives are more irregular than those who are not.

 調査では、ケータイ漬けの著しい子ほど家庭での学習時間が短く、生活習慣が乱れていることもわかった。 

This trend is thought to be more or less common throughout the nation. According to the National Congress of Parents and Teachers Association of Japan, one in five fifth-graders at elementary schools carries a cellphone.

 こうしたことは、多かれ少なかれ全国共通の傾向だろう。日本PTA全国協議会によると、小5の5人に1人が携帯電話を持つ時代なのである。 

When we think of the seriousness of the situation, we believe the decision to ban cellphones from school is reasonable.

 事態の深刻さを考えると、学校からのケータイ追放は妥当といえよう。

At the same time, however, cellphones can also be effective in protecting children from crime. The Osaka prefectural board of education also said it plans to leave it to the discretion of principals whether to individually allow children to bring cellphones to school, depending on the circumstances. Another idea is to have schools keep handsets during school hours and return them to children when they leave.

 ただ、携帯電話には子どもを犯罪から守る効能もある。大阪府教委も事情に応じて校長判断で持ち込みを認める方針という。登校後に学校で預かり、下校時に返すという方法もある。 

Of course, banning cellphones from school does not solve all problems.

 もちろん、携帯電話が学校生活から消えただけでは問題は解決しない。 

What we are concerned about is the rise in cases of bullying that use e-mail and the Internet. According to a Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology survey covering elementary, junior and senior high school students, cases of harassment that used personal computers and cellphones in the 2007 school year through March amounted to about 5,900. The figure represents an increase of about 1,000 from the previous year. The negative effects of harmful websites are another worrisome factor.

 気になるのは、メールやネットを使ったいじめの増加だ。小中高生を対象にした文部科学省調査によると、昨年度、パソコンや携帯電話などを使った嫌がらせは約5900件にのぼり、前年度に比べて約1千件増えた。有害サイトの悪影響も心配されている。 

It is time for society as a whole to deal with the situation. One idea that is being mooted is to promote the use of cellphones with limited functions for verbal communication and the global positioning system so parents, guardians and family members will know the location of the carrier at all times. There is also a service called filtering that limits access to harmful websites. We need to seriously think, together with cellphone-related businesses, about creating handset models and services designed exclusively for children.

 もはや、世の中全体で対策に乗り出すべきときだ。たとえば居場所を知らせる全地球測位システム(GPS)や通話機能に限定したものを広める方法もある。有害サイトの閲覧を制限するフィルタリングというサービスもある。携帯電話にかかわる企業を巻き込んで、子ども向けの機種やサービスを広めることを真剣に考えたい。 

But homes play the most important role. If parents establish rules such as not allowing the use of cellphones during mealtimes and turning them off at night, school rules would also be more effective.

 そして、最も重要なのは家庭の役割だ。「食卓で使わない」「夜は電源を切る」など使用のルールをつくれば、学校のルールも生きてこよう。 

 なにより、子どもたちをケータイ漬けから救い出し、顔と顔を見合わせて意思を交わす本来のコミュニケーション能力を高めてやりたい。教室も家庭も、そんな場であるべきだ。 

Above all, we need to save children from addiction to cellphones and help them enhance real communication skills to exchange ideas with others face to face. Both classrooms and homes should serve for such a purpose.

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裁判員制度―裁判官も公判には白紙で

2008/12/27

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 26(IHT/Asahi: December 27,2008)

EDITORIAL: Citizen judge system

裁判員制度―裁判官も公判には白紙で

Criminal trials are often described as attempts to "find the truth" about crimes. During the process, prosecutors and defense lawyers present their respective cases and offer evidence to support their claims so that the truth can be established.

 刑事裁判は「真実発見の場」といわれる。それは当事者である検察、被告・弁護側の双方が証拠を出しあって、お互いの言い分をぶつけ合いながら真相の解明に努めるからだ。 

But if important evidence for either the defense or the prosecution is excluded without good reason, it is impossible to uncover the truth.

 だが、肝心の証拠を十分出せずに審理が尽くされないなら、真実を見つけることなど出来るはずもない。 

In a recent ruling over the killing of a 7-year-old girl three years ago in the city of Hiroshima, the Hiroshima High Court criticized the lower court's handling of the case as inappropriate.

 そうした審理不足を指摘したのが、3年前に広島市で起きた女児殺害事件で、先ごろ言い渡された広島高裁の判決だ。

The high court reversed the Hiroshima District Court's decision, which had sentenced the accused to life imprisonment, and remanded the case to the lower court.

Why did the high court criticize the lower court's handling of the case?

無期懲役とした一審判決を破棄し、広島地裁に審理のやり直しを命じたのだが、高裁判決が地裁の審理を批判するようなことがなぜ起きたのか。 

The district court trial was conducted as a model for the new citizen judge system, which will be introduced in spring next year. To ensure a verdict could be reached in a short and intensive trial, pre-trial conferences were held among the presiding judge, the prosecution and the defense to sort out key issues and presentable evidence.

 一審は、来春から導入される裁判員裁判のモデルケースとされた。公判前整理手続きで裁判所と検察、弁護側が事前に争点や証拠を整理し、短期間で集中的に審理する方式がとられた。 

During the pre-trial conference, the defense refused to allow as evidence an investigator's record of oral statements by the accused. But the district court terminated the pre-trial process without learning how the prosecution would try to prove the guilt of the accused.

 公判前整理手続きでは、被告の捜査段階の供述調書を証拠とすることに弁護側が同意しなかった。だが、地裁は検察側に立証の方針などを確かめないまま整理手続きを打ち切った。

During the trial, the two sides debated over whether the accused was forced to make those statements. Without investigating the issue, the district court rejected the prosecution's request to use the defendant's statements as evidence.

公判では供述調書の任意性が争いになったが、地裁は何の取り調べもせずに検察側の証拠請求を却下した。 

The interrogation record contained the suspect's remarks concerning a blanket found in his apartment that contained hair and blood of the victim.

The remarks suggested the accused didn't bring the blanket out of his room on the day the girl was killed. If his statement had been regarded as credible, prosecutors could have shown that the girl was killed in his apartment.

 その調書には「事件当日、毛布を部屋から外へ出していない」と受け取れる被告の供述があった。アパートの被告の部屋から押収された毛布には被害女児の毛髪や血が付いていた。供述が信用できるなら、犯行現場は被告の部屋と認定できたはずだ。 

Pointing out this procedural lapse, the high court said the lower court ruling contained factual mistakes. The lower court failed to make clear the location of the crime, only saying the girl was killed in the apartment or somewhere around it. The high court criticized the district court's failure to make sufficient efforts to identify the location of the crime.

 高裁はそう指摘して、犯行現場を「アパート及びその周辺」とあいまいにした一審判決を事実誤認と批判した。犯行場所について真相を解明する努力を怠ったという理由からだ。 

The high court also said the lower court terminated the pre-trial process prematurely in a rush to ensure the trial would be held according to schedule.

 さらに高裁は一審の訴訟手続きについても言及し、「裁判の日程を優先するあまり、公判前整理手続きを十分しないまま終結させた」と指摘した。 

The objective of pre-trial conferences is to lay out a plan for the trial by sorting out key arguments and possible evidence. The process is essential to ensure a short and intensive trial. It is also a prerequisite for the new lay-judge system because citizens cannot be bound to their judge-duty obligations for a prolonged period.

 公判前整理手続きの目的は、争点と証拠を整理して公判を進める計画をつくることだ。裁判に参加する市民を長期間拘束できないため、それが集中審理の実現に欠かせないからだ。 

In the Hiroshima murder case, however, the district court judge apparently narrowed down the arguments and evidence too much during the pre-trial process in an attempt to establish a route to the verdict.

 だが今回の事件で一審の裁判官は、公判前整理手続きの段階で判決に至る道筋まで決めようとして、争点や証拠を絞り込みすぎたのではないか。 

The lay-judge system is designed to have diverse views of ordinary citizens reflected in the determination of facts and appropriate punishment.

 裁判員制度は、事実認定や量刑判断に市民の多様な意見を反映させるのがねらいだ。 

All issues and evidence that ordinary citizens would regard as relevant to the trial should be presented to the court. Judges should not narrow down evidence at their discretion so that the trial will run in line with their specific position on the case.

 裁判員には、市民なら審理に必要と考えるような争点や証拠も提示すべきだ。公判前の段階で裁判官が事件について一定の見方に沿って証拠を絞るべきではない。

The professional judge's role should be limited to ensuring that the trial will proceed in an orderly manner by controlling how the defense and prosecution present their cases.

裁判官の役割は当事者の主張のいわば交通整理であるはずだ。 

Unless both the professional judges and citizen judges are free from any prejudgment when they attend the first hearing of the trial, the new lay-judge system cannot achieve its purpose.

 裁判官は初公判に、裁判員とともに白紙の状態で臨む。そうした心構えがなくては、裁判員制度は絵に描いた餅になってしまう。

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社説:09年度予算案 これでは生活防衛できない

(Mainichi Japan) December 26, 2008

Budget draft lacks concrete measures to protect people's livelihoods

社説:09年度予算案 これでは生活防衛できない


The government approved a state budget draft for fiscal 2009 on Wednesday. At a news conference following the decision, Prime Minister Taro Aso praised the budget as a bold measure to protect people's livelihoods. The prime minister apparently wanted to emphasize that social security outlays, which include 77.5 billion yen from the 333 billion yen in funds for priority policy measures that he allocated at his own discretion, will increase by 14 percent and that he also places priority on regional vitalization measures and support for smaller businesses.

 09年度予算の政府案が24日決定された。これを受けた記者会見で、麻生太郎首相は「生活防衛の大胆実行予算」と自賛した。財務省原案内示後、首相が自ら配分を決めた重要課題推進枠(3330億円)からの775億円を含めて、社会保障関係費が14%増、地域活性化対策や中小企業対策にも配慮したと言いたいのだろう。

However, one cannot help but wonder whether the budget will provide relief for people plagued by a chain of concerns.

 では、これで国民は不安の連鎖から抜け出すことができるのか。

The government's compilation of the fiscal 2009 budget draft was affected by international economic conditions and political maneuvering. Amid the rapid economic slowdown, numerous emergency issues have emerged.

 09年度予算編成は、国際経済情勢や政治の動きに翻弄(ほんろう)された。経済状況が急速に悪化する中で、緊急課題が数多く出てきた。

The government has decided to carry out 75 trillion yen worth of projects in three economic stimulus packages and also has plans for 12 trillion yen in fiscal measures.

政府の3次にわたる景気対策の事業規模は75兆円、財政措置も12兆円に達する。

The stimulus packages appear to be on par with those in other major countries in terms of their scale and ratio to gross domestic product, but the public does not appear to expect them to produce far-reaching results.

規模や国内総生産比率では国際的にも見劣りしないが、国民の期待は高くない。

Moreover, the government is basically going to rely on loans to finance these measures in the face of a large tax revenue shortfall.

 しかも、税収が大幅に減少しているためその財源は基本的に借金頼みだ。

The budget draft calls for the issuance of deficit-covering bonds totaling 25.71 trillion yen, up 5.6 trillion yen from the initial budget of the current fiscal year. Moreover, 4.23 trillion yen will be diverted to part of these projects from reserves in the special account of the government's fiscal investment and loan program, which will require funding from deficit-covering bonds in the future.

 09年度の赤字国債発行は前年度当初比5兆6000億円増の25兆7100億円だ。将来の赤字国債発行につながる財政投融資特別会計の準備金からの流用も4兆2300億円に達する。

If the budget can reassure people and improve economic conditions, it will lead to an increase in tax revenue and help the country erase its chronic deficit. How 1 trillion yen set aside in the fiscal 2009 budget draft for emergency economic measures will be used remains to be seen. However, the allocations of funds for medical, nursing care and employment security projects are insufficient. The budget does not show how Japan can transform its economic structure to stimulate its economy and expand job opportunities.

 赤字財政もそれにより国民の安心が増し、経済の体質も強化されれば、税収増加をもたらし、赤字体質からの脱却も展望できる。09年度予算では、経済緊急対応予備費1兆円の使途は今後のことにしても、医療、介護、雇用のいずれをとっても、当初の予算配分は十分とはいえない。経済活性化や雇用拡大に不可欠な経済構造転換などが展望できる予算にもなっていない。

If the government really thinks Japan is facing an economic crisis that occurs once every 100 years, it should have drastically reviewed the budget appropriations. Financial resources exclusively set aside for road construction will be incorporated in the general budget as the government has pledged. Nevertheless, road construction and maintenance spending will be cut by only 8.8 percent.

 100年に一度の経済危機というのならば、予算配分は全面的に見直せばいいが、それができないのだ。

 道路特定財源の一般財源化は実施されるが、道路整備費は地域活力基盤創造交付金分などを含めて8.8%減に過ぎない。これでは看板倒れだ。

The government will increase its contribution to the basic pension fund, but it has not secured stable sources of funding to carry this out.

基礎年金の国庫負担割合引き上げも安定財源手当ての明確な保証があるわけではない。

The government has also not sufficiently reduced its waste of taxpayers' money or restructured its outlays. Instead of efficiently allocating funds to various projects, it has pondered over how to provide enough funds for a wide variety of projects by expanding the scale of the budget.

 一方で、無駄の徹底した排除や歳出改革は道半ばのままだ。歳出にメリハリを付けるよりも、財政規模の拡大で要求に幅広く予算を付けていくことに腐心したと言わざるを得ない手法も使われた。

The goal of the fiscal 2009 budget draft is to protect people's livelihoods and Japan's economy. However, it does not appear that the government will achieve this goal.

 「国民生活と日本経済を守る」ことが09年度予算の課題であるという。正論であるが、なぜ、それができそうにないのか。

Ruling coalition politicians are trying to avoid mentioning a consumption tax hike and other sensitive issues that would require taxpayers to shoulder a heavier financial burden as part of a mid-term program to achieve a sustainable social security system. The tendency of politicians to avoid difficult topics and attempt to cover up the need for a tax hike has become evident.

 持続可能な社会保障のための「中期プログラム」の与党内協議でも、消費税引き上げなど国民に負担増を求めることはできる限り避ける、逃げの姿勢や増税隠しの体質が鮮明になった。これでは、財政がその役割を果たすことはできない。

To ensure sustainable economic growth, it is urgent that Japan's fiscal capability, which has been considerably weakened, be rebuilt. Both the ruling coalition and opposition parties must recognize the importance of this task and offer specific measures to achieve it.

 日本経済が持続的な発展をしていくためには、衰弱した財政力の立て直しは急務だ。与野党ともこのことを認識し、具体策を国民に提示することこそが求められているのだ。

毎日新聞 20081225日 017

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ソマリア沖海賊 迅速な海自派遣を目指せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 27, 2008)

Send MSDF to fight piracy off Somalia soon

ソマリア沖海賊 迅速な海自派遣を目指せ(1227日付・読売社説)

It may be unavoidable for Japan to send Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels to fight piracy off Somalia in accordance with existing law, if a new law for this purpose cannot be enacted on time.

 新法制定が当面、間に合わない場合、現行法に基づいて海上自衛隊を派遣することもやむを得ないのではないか。

Prime Minister Taro Aso on Friday instructed Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada to study the dispatch of MSDF ships on antipiracy missions under the Self-Defense Forces Law.

 麻生首相は、ソマリア沖の海賊対策として自衛隊法に基づく海自艦船の派遣の検討を浜田防衛相に指示した。

There are two proposals within the government for sending MSDF vessels. One urges the enactment of a new law for this purpose, while the other calls for invoking the maritime policing activity clause of the SDF Law.

 政府内では、海自派遣の方法として、海賊対策の新法を整備する案と、自衛隊法の海上警備行動を発令する案の両論がある。

It is desirable to enact a new law, but it will take time to do so. If the Diet starts deliberating on a bill for the law after passing the fiscal 2009 budget in the next ordinary session, the law's enactment will come in April at the earliest.

 本来望ましいのは新法制定だが、時間がかかる。来年の通常国会で、来年度予算案成立後に新法の審議を始める場合、その成立は早くても4月以降となる。

===

Existing law poses 2 problems

But dealing with antipiracy missions within the framework of the existing law would create two problems.

 一方で、現行法で対応する場合は、二つの問題点がある。

One is that the MSDF vessels would be able to escort only Japanese-registered vessels, ships operated by Japanese companies and foreign ships with Japanese on board. Japan's relationship of trust with other countries would be compromised if MSDF vessels were powerless to protect foreign ships at a time when Japanese ships were being protected by other countries' military vessels.

 一つは、警護の対象が、日本船籍船と、日本企業が運航するか、日本人の乗る外国船に限られることだ。日本の船は他国軍の艦船に守ってもらうが、海自は他国の船は守らない。そんな対応では、各国との信頼が損なわれよう。

The other problem is that the use of arms by MSDF sailors would be restricted. The sailors would be able to fire warning shots or launch counterattacks in self-defense, but prohibited from firing shots for the purpose of inflicting damage on pirate ships. A number of situations might arise in which MSDF commanders in charge would waver in making judgments.

 もう一つは、武器使用が制限されることだ。正当防衛目的の反撃や警告射撃はできるが、相手に危害を与えるような船体射撃はできない。現場で海自の指揮官が判断に迷うケースもあるだろう。

It would be difficult to effectively crack down on pirates, who are armed with heavy weaponry, including rocket launchers, in this situation. Under no circumstances should the safety of MSDF personnel be put in jeopardy because of restrictions imposed on them by law.

 ロケット砲など重火器で武装する海賊を相手に、これでは効果的な取り締まりはできない。法律の制約で海自隊員が危険にさらされることが、あってはなるまい。

===

Preparations should start now

If an antipiracy law was enacted, it would enable MSDF vessels to escort foreign ships and fire at pirate ships in the course of carrying out their missions.

 海賊対策の新法を整備すれば、他国の船の警護や、任務遂行目的の船体射撃も可能になる。

The government and ruling parties should begin negotiations with the opposition camp so the Diet can commence work to legislate such a law at an early stage of the next ordinary session.

 政府・与党は、野党と早急に協議を開始し、通常国会の早い段階で立法作業に取り組むべきだ。

Damages from piracy in the waters off Somalia have increased in number and scale, posing a serious problem.

 現地海域では、海賊被害が一段と深刻化している。

As of Wednesday, 109 piracy cases had been reported this year, a 2.5-fold increase from last year. Among the 42 ships hijacked in 2008, 14 are still in the hands of pirates, with 269 crew members being held hostage.

今年の被害は24日現在109件で、昨年の2・5倍に上る。このうち、42隻の船が乗っ取られたうえ、現在も14隻が抑留され、269人が人質になっているという。

There have only been three cases this year in which Japanese-related ships were attacked by pirates. But it would come as no surprise to hear news of such ships having suffered serious damage.

 日本関係の船の被害は3件にとどまるが、今後、いつ重大な被害が生じても不思議ではない。

Naval ships from about 20 nations are already engaged in escort and patrol activities in the pirate-infested sea zone. China has dispatched three warships to the area.

 現地海域では、既に20か国前後の海軍艦船が警護・警戒活動を実施している。中国も艦船3隻を派遣した。

As it stands now, it is essential for the government to act speedily. The government should expedite necessary preparations--such as the dispatch of personnel on a fact-finding mission and the training of MSDF troops for antipiracy missions--for sending MSDF vessels in accordance with the SDF Law as a stopgap measure for several months until new legislation is in place.

 こうした状況下では、迅速性が重要だ。新法制定までの数か月間の応急措置として、自衛隊法による海自艦船の派遣に向けて、現地調査や隊員の訓練など、準備を急ぐ必要がある。

The MSDF has the option of sending P-3C reconnaissance planes in addition to vessels for antipiracy operations. To fulfill its international responsibilities, Japan must consider various possible measures.

 海自の海賊対策では、艦船以外に、P3C哨戒機の派遣も選択肢となる。国際責務を果たすため、あらゆる方策を検討すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 27, 2008)

200812270137  読売新聞)

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2008年12月26日 (金)

佐藤首相発言―核をめぐる政治の責任

2008/12/26

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 24(IHT/Asahi: December 26,2008)

EDITORIAL: Sato's nuclear request

佐藤首相発言―核をめぐる政治の責任

Former Prime Minister Eisaku Sato (1901-1975), who set Japan's three non-nuclear principles and was awarded the 1974 Nobel Peace Prize, was actually a tough negotiator who sought a U.S. nuclear attack against China in the event of an outbreak of war between Japan and China, according to Foreign Ministry documents that were declassified on Monday.

 首相として「非核三原則」を定め、ノーベル平和賞を受賞した佐藤栄作氏が、米国に対して有事の際に核兵器を使う保障を求めていた――外務省が公開した外交文書で、こんな意外な事実が明らかになった。 

A month before Sato became prime minister in November 1964, China jolted the world by conducting its first nuclear test while Tokyo was hosting that year's Summer Olympics. Japan's shock was profound.

 佐藤氏が首相に就任したのは1964年11月。その1カ月前、東京五輪のさなかに中国が初めての核実験をし、日本や世界に衝撃を与えていた。 

It was previously revealed that Sato hinted at Japan's readiness to arm itself with nuclear weapons when he met with U.S. Ambassador Edwin O. Reischauer immediately upon taking office. He said to the effect: "If the other side (China) has nuclear weapons, we should have them, too. That's common sense."

 首相就任直後、佐藤氏がライシャワー駐日米大使に「相手が核を持っているのなら、自分で核を持つのも常識だ」と、核保有を示唆したことはすでに明らかになっている。

But during his visit to the United States one month later in January 1965, Sato denied Japan's nuclear ambitions. "Japan is unequivocally opposed to the possession and use of nuclear weapons," he asserted, according to the newly declassified documents.

だが、その1カ月後の訪米で一転、「日本は核の保有、使用はあくまで反対」と、核武装の意図を明確に否定した。

"Should a war break out (between Japan and China), we expect the United States to immediately launch a retaliatory nuclear strike (against China)," he said.

In short, Sato sought protection under the U.S. nuclear umbrella, and Washington agreed to comply.

さらに「(日中が)戦争になれば、米国が直ちに核による報復を行うことを期待している」と、核の傘による抑止力を求め、米政府の了解を得ていたのだ。 

The public was not informed of any of this. The horrors of the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were still fresh in the nation's collective memory at the time, and the government presumably decided the public was not yet ready to deal with this sort of thing.

 こうしたやりとりは、一切表に出されなかった。広島、長崎の被爆の記憶が生々しい国内世論に配慮し、刺激的すぎるとの判断からだろう。

But China's nuclear armament was a real threat, and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) had yet to come into being. From the declassified documents, we can imagine how these circumstances must have compelled Sato to take upon himself the role of a tough diplomatic negotiator who would drive a hard bargain with Washington.

中国の核武装は現実的な脅威だった。核不拡散条約(NPT)もなかった。そんな中、佐藤氏が米国を相手にしたたかな外交を展開していた姿がうかがえる。 

More than four decades have since passed. How is Japan handling the nuke issue now?

 それから40年余り。日本は核とどう向き合っているだろうか。 

India and Pakistan have gone nuclear, and the NPT regime itself is now shaky at best. For the Japanese people, North Korea's nuclear test in 2006 was as terrifying as the 1964 Chinese test. The United Nations adopts nuclear disarmament resolutions every year at the Japanese government's initiative, but when the United States inked a nuclear accord with India that effectively acknowledges the latter as a nuclear power, Japan had no choice but to recognize this agreement.

 インド、パキスタンなどへ核兵器は拡散し、NPT体制は極めて厳しい状況に直面している。2006年の北朝鮮の核実験は中国の実験と同様、日本社会を揺さぶった。日本政府の主導で毎年、国連で核軍縮決議が採択されているが、米国はインドの核保有を事実上受け入れる原子力協定を結び、日本なども容認せざるを得なかった。 

On the other hand, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and other prominent nuclear deterrence theorists called for "a world free of nuclear weapons" last year. This means nuclear proliferation has come to be recognized as a real threat to the world.

 その一方で、米国務長官を務めたキッシンジャー氏らかつての核抑止論者が昨年、「核兵器のない世界を」と提言した。核拡散の危うさが現実のものだと認識されてきたのだ。 

Yet, the Japanese people seem to be growing less concerned, not more. The six-party talks for ending North Korea's nuclear program are stalling over the verification issue, but Japan's approach to this situation is not as hot a subject of public interest as the abduction issue.

 それなのに、日本国内の関心はむしろ薄れていないか。北朝鮮の核放棄は検証の段階で足踏みしている。しかし、拉致問題に比べると、核放棄を迫る日本の対応についての議論はいまひとつ盛り上がらない。

On the contrary, even some politicians are now voicing arguments in favor of Japan's nuclear armament that are tenuous at best.

逆に、核保有論のような合理性に乏しい主張が政治家の間からさえ飛び出す。 

Three years after his U.S. trip, Sato announced his three non-nuclear principles in his speech before the Diet, having concluded that possessing nuclear weapons would neither contribute to the national security nor benefit the Japan-U.S. security alliance. He also took into account the fact that public opinion at the time was overwhelmingly anti-nuclear.

 佐藤氏は訪米から3年後、国会演説で「非核三原則」を打ち出す。核兵器を持つことが、日本の安全にも日米安保にも寄与しないという結論に達したためだ。国民の強い反核感情も背景にあった。 

Times have changed, and the world is more complex. Today, we need to debate and deal with the nuclear issue more objectively and realistically than in Sato's time.

 時代は移り、世界は複雑さを増した。当時以上に冷静で現実的な議論と対応が求められる。

It is foolish to discuss this issue on an emotional level. Sato's remarks in the declassified documents remind us of the responsibility of politicians.

情緒で核を語るのは愚かしいことだ。佐藤首相の発言に関する資料は、政治に課せられたそんな責任を思い起こさせてくれる。

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NHK新委員長―公共放送の責務を体して

2008/12/26

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 24(IHT/Asahi: December 26,2008)

EDITORIAL: New broom at NHK

NHK新委員長―公共放送の責務を体して

Shigehiro Komaru, president of Fukuyama Transporting Co., has been named chairman of the board of governors at scandal-tainted Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK). As head of the public broadcaster's decision-making body, Komaru will be responsible for steering the board in a way that reflects a clear and viable vision for the television and radio network's future.

 NHK経営委員会の新しい委員長に、福山通運社長の小丸成洋(しげひろ)氏が決まった。NHKの最高意思決定機関のトップとして、公共放送のあるべき姿を見据えた委員会運営がその肩にかかっている。 

The board of governors determines NHK's basic management policies, budget allocations and business plans while supervising the executive board headed by the president. The power of the board was enhanced significantly this spring through a revision to the Broadcast Law. This was done in response to a series of scandals that had plagued NHK that included cases of employees embezzling funds for program productions.

 経営委員会はNHKの経営の基本方針や予算、事業計画を決め、会長以下の執行部を監督する。制作費着服など不祥事が相次いだことで放送法が改正され、春から権限が大幅に強まった。 

Komaru's predecessor, Shigetaka Komori, pushed hard to transform the board from an organization that simply rubber-stamps decisions by the executive board into a vocal watchdog to oversee management operations. In a move that symbolized his reform campaign, Komori ensured that NHK's new medium-term business plan included a 10 percent cut in viewer fees starting in fiscal 2012. The decision was made in the face of strong opposition from the executive board.

 古森重隆前委員長は、執行部の決定を追認する組織から、「もの言う委員会」への転換を強く推し進めた。執行部の抵抗を押し切って、12年度からの受信料10%値下げを中期経営計画に盛り込んだことは象徴的だった。 

Komaru must be willing to disagree and even fight with the executive board if he is to continue his predecessor's efforts to slim down the bloated organization.

 肥大化したNHKを一層スリムにするために、小丸氏にも執行部との緊張関係を引き続き維持してもらいたい。 

Still, Komori made some troubling moves that Komaru should not emulate. The former chief of the board of governors made unwarranted attempts to influence the public network's news reporting and content of other programs. Komori also stirred controversy by saying NHK's broadcast for overseas audiences should be designed to promote Japan's national interests. In addition, he made remarks that could be interpreted as intervention in the network's programs.

 ただ前任者を見習ってもらっては困る点もある。公共放送としての報道や番組の内容に、不当に口を出したことだ。古森氏は海外向け放送について「国益を主張すべきだ」と述べたり、番組への政治介入ともとれる発言をしたりして問題になっていた。 

Since its budget and some key management decisions must be approved by the Diet, NHK constantly faces the challenge of how to maintain its political independence. The new chairman of the board of governors should have a renewed awareness of NHK's delicate position.

 予算などの決定に国会承認が必要なため、NHKは常に政治との距離が問われている。そのことを改めて強く意識してもらいたい。 

NHK has been hit by a string of scandals that betrayed the public's confidence, including insider trading by reporters and others. On the other hand, some NHK programs are topping prime-time ratings. With commercial broadcasters struggling with the deepening recession, the role of NHK, which secures a stable revenue from viewer fees, is assuming greater importance.

 NHKではこのところ、記者らによる株のインサイダー取引など視聴者の信頼を裏切る問題が次々に起きている。一方で、ゴールデンタイムの視聴率が首位になるなど、番組は好調だ。不況で民放が経営に苦しむ中、受信料で安定した運営ができるNHKが担うべき責任はますます重くなっている。 

Komaru comes to his new position after having spent four and a half years as a member of the board of governors. In the news conference announcing his appointment as chairman of the board, Komaru repeatedly said his immediate priority is to implement the medium-term business plan. Asked about NHK's future stance, however, he only talked vaguely about such principles as "fairness" and "independence and discipline."

 小丸氏はすでに経営委員を4年半、務めている。委員長就任の記者会見では、中期経営計画の実行が当面の目的だと繰り返したが、NHKのあり方を問われると「公平公正」「自主自律」といった言葉を並べただけだった。 

Komaru needs to give viewers and listeners a better idea of how he intends to support NHK's management so that the public network can live up to public expectations.

 視聴者の信頼に応える公共放送の経営をどう支えようとしているのか、もっと明確な考えを聞きたい。 

The enhancement of the board's power requires a review of the way the panel operates. The governors are selected from well-informed and experienced people in various walks of life, including education, culture, science and industry. They are appointed by the prime minister with approval by the Diet. The board is supposed to be composed of 12 governors. But only nine took part in the selection of the new chairman. That's because three of the government's appointees for the position were rejected by the opposition-controlled Upper House.

 権限が強まったことで、経営委員会のあり方も見直す必要がある。 

 委員は、教育、文化、科学、産業などの各界と各地方から選ばれた有識者が、国会の同意を得て首相から任命される仕組みになっている。本来は12人いるはずだが、今回の委員長選出に参加したのは9人だけだった。政府提出の人事案が参院で不同意になり、3人欠員のままだったためだ。 

This unusual situation has drawn fresh public attention to the problem of the selections of governor nominees behind closed doors. One former governor said, "I received no explanation from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications about why I had been picked for the post, and I felt a lack of transparency in the process."

 この異例の事態で、経営委員が密室で選ばれているという問題が改めて注目された。ある委員経験者は「なぜ自分が選ばれたのか総務省から説明もない。不明朗に感じた」と言う。 

NHK is a public broadcaster that depends on support from the public at large. The ministry should figure out a way to make the selection process more transparent.

 みんなで支える公共放送である。総務省は、委員の選考過程が視聴者にも見える仕組みをぜひ検討してほしい。

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香山リカのココロの万華鏡:なぜマイナス思考に /東京

(Mainichi Japan) December 25, 2008

Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Why do people think negatively?

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:なぜマイナス思考に /東京

The year of 2008 was an eventful one, in both good and bad ways. Somehow, however, only the bad, such as stabbing rampage in Akihabara or the global credit crunch, has remained in my mind.

 2008年、いろいろなことがあった年のはずなのに、振り返ってみれば「通り魔殺人」とか「世界的金融危機」とか、よくないことばかりが印象に残っている。

I wonder if many people are saying, "The Beijing Olympic Games was the most impressive event this year!" or "Of course, the Nobel Prize rush in Japanese science was the biggest news of the year." I doubt it.

 「今年はなんといってもオリンピック!」「日本人のノーベル賞ラッシュがなんといっても最大のトピック」と明るい話題をあげる人は、そう多くないのではないだろうか。

At any bookstores, there are dozens of titles along the lines of "Encouraging positive thinking" and "Live positive." But why can't we help stop looking at the negative side?

 書店に行けば「プラス思考のすすめ」「前向きに生きよう」といった本が、あふれんばかりに並んでいる。それなのに、どうして私たちは暗い方、不安な方に目が向いてしまうのか。

When I am counseling my clients, sometimes I think the nature of human beings is negativity. Take auditory hallucination, a symptom of mental disorder, and which causes sufferers to hear voices or other noises generated unconsciously by their own minds -- so I wouldn't be surprised if they heard good things. However, most of these messages are bad things about themselves. I wonder why they don't hear compliments, such as "You're a genius" or "You're the most beautiful woman in the world." My guess is that it's probably because human beings are conditioned to think negatively.

 精神科の診察室に座っていると、ときどき、「人間の本質はネガティブなのか」と思う。

 たとえば、ある種の精神病のときに出現する「幻聴」という症状。脳のちょっとしたトラブルで「声が聞こえた感じ」が体験されるものであって、どこかからか本当の音や声がやって来ているわけではない。つまり、あくまで自分の脳が作り出した声なのだ。だとしたら、楽しいことやよいことが聞こえた気になってもよいはずなのだが、そのほとんどがなぜか、悪口や嫌がらせなのだ。自分を非難する声が頭の中で鳴り響くわけだから、本人はとてもつらい。

 なぜ、「天才」「世界一の美人」といった声が聞こえないのだろう。もしかすると、もともと、人間はマイナス思考が得意だからなのではないか。ちなみに、前向きといわれるアメリカ人も、幻聴の内容はネガティブなことのようだ。

Hypothetically, if our brain is intrinsically disposed towards thinking negatively, remembering darker news more clearly among others does make sense to me. That would also explain other things, like the way memories of mistakes I made or bad things people said about me remain clear, while good memories fade away so quickly.

 もともと私たちの思考回路はマイナスに傾きがちに設計されているのだとしたら、一年を振り返ったときについ、暗いニュースや事件に目が向くのも無理はない。そういえば、日常の生活を考えても、楽しい思い出はすぐ忘れ、失敗や人に怒られたことばかりを鮮明に覚えているような気がする。

However, the bright side of the hypothetical fact would be that we could say there is nothing wrong with being depressed. Even if you are, just think: "This is the nature of human beings." Thinking this way might help to prevent the depression from becoming worse.

 しかし、もし本当に人間の心の本質がマイナスだとしたら、うつなどもそう恐れることはないとも言える。

 たとえクヨクヨ落ち込んでも、「来た来た、これが人間の本来の姿なのかも」と思えば、それ以上ひどくならずにすむのではないか。

Of course, I hope the next year will be one filled with many enjoyable events. But I won't hold my breath for it: it's not necessary to force myself into thinking positive.

 もちろん、来たるべき年は明るい一年になってほしいが、たとえすぐにはそうならなくても、恐れるに足らず。無理してプラス思考に自分を持っていくこともない。

Well, I'm just going to relax for a moment and go through the negative feelings I have now. Having room in our hearts for this kind of thing might be valuable for all of us. (By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)

 まあ、ゆっくりと、このマイナス気分を味わうか。そんな心の余裕も必要なのではないだろうか。

毎日新聞 20081223日 地方版

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雇用機構廃止 「看板掛け替え」で済ませるな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 26, 2008)

Organizational reform must not be cosmetic

雇用機構廃止 「看板掛け替え」で済ませるな(1226日付・読売社説)

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso on Wednesday endorsed the abolition of the Employment and Human Resources Development Organization of Japan, which has been criticized for wasting taxpayers' money in various ways.

Some of its services are to be transferred to two different entities.

However, it will be a mere cosmetic change if the independent administrative agency for job support is eliminated but its services live on through other institutions. The organization's services and facilities must be thoroughly streamlined and transferred to local governments.

 組織を廃止しても、業務を別の組織に移すだけでは「看板の掛け替え」にすぎない。施設・業務の地方移管とスリム化を徹底せねばならない。

 様々な無駄遣いが指摘されていた独立行政法人「雇用・能力開発機構」を廃止し、別の2法人と統合することが決まった。

===

Let the prefectures decide

According to the government, the organization's 61 centers providing vocational training for job seekers and a total of 22 polytechnic colleges and junior colleges for job training for high school graduates will be transferred to the authority of prefectural governments, if they wish to take them on.

 求職者らに職業訓練を行う61の職業能力開発促進センターと、学卒者らを訓練する計22の職業能力開発大学校・短大は、都道府県の希望に応じて地方に移管する。

With employment conditions deteriorating, the central government is expected to play a leading role in building employment safety nets. However, the provision of vocational training is one of the public services that needs to be transferred to local governments in the medium- and long-term.

 雇用情勢が悪化した今、安全網づくりで国が主導的役割を果たすことが期待されている。だが、中長期的には、職業訓練は地方分権を大胆に進めるべき分野だ。

As many facilities as possible under the organization should be transferred to the auspices of local governments, to avoid redundancy in occupational training, which also is provided by local governments. Employment policy in accordance with the need of respective localities also should be promoted.

 都道府県の職業訓練との二重行政を解消し、地域の実情に応じた雇用政策を後押しする観点からも、できるだけ多くの施設を地方に移すことが望ましい。

While nearly half of prefectural governments have expressed a willingness to accept such facilities, provided that conditions are right, there are still many that are ambivalent about the idea.

 半数近い都道府県は、移管の条件さえ整えば施設を引き受ける意向を示すが、態度を決めかねている自治体も少なくない。

Local governments want to know how much financing and how many workers will be made available for them after such facilities are transferred to them. To answer such a question and respond to the anxieties of local governments, the central government needs to discuss and clarify the mechanism for this as soon as possible.

 地方移管に合わせて、必要な財源や職員をどれだけ移すのか。政府は、その仕組みを早急に詰め、明確に示すことで、自治体の疑問や不安にこたえる必要がある。

If prefectural governors already advocate the decentralization of power, they also should be expected to have the fortitude to agree with the transfer of occupational training services provided by the organization.

 都道府県の知事も、地方分権を唱える以上、積極的に業務を引き受ける気概が求められる。

===

Retool vocational school

The central government also finally decided that the Polytechnic University, which had once been on the chopping block, will continue to exist, but only after a drastic review is undertaken of the university's curriculum for training vocational instructors and its cost-effectiveness.

 廃止の方向だった職業能力開発総合大学校は、職業訓練指導員の養成のあり方や費用対効果を抜本的に見直したうえ、存続することになった。

The latest decision regarding the school reflects the opinion of Akira Amari, state minister in charge of administrative reform, that the university should become a central base of manufacturing talent.

「ものづくりの中核拠点とすべきだ」との甘利行政改革相の意向を反映したものだ。

The university has been criticized for straying from the original purpose of its founding, as a majority of its graduates do not become vocational instructors, but instead find jobs in the private sector.

 現在の大学校は、卒業生の大多数が指導員にならずに一般企業に就職するなど、「設置目的に合致していない」との批判がある。

If the government insists on the school's continuation, the university will have to be transformed into an institute that can assess social needs correctly and contribute to employment and industrial policy.

 あくまで存続させるなら、社会的ニーズをしっかり見極め、雇用・産業政策に貢献する施設に作り替えることが条件となろう。

The organization's loss-laden Vocational Museum, which offers schoolchildren chances to learn about and try various jobs, will be abolished by August 2010 when the contract with a private company running the museum expires.

 多額の赤字を計上している職業体験施設「私のしごと館」は、運営の民間委託の期限である2010年8月までに廃止される。

The facility will be sold eventually, but the organization should not attempt to be as irresponsible as to sell it off at a bargain-basement price as long as there are those still interested in buying it.

 施設は、いずれ売却されるが、どんな安値でも売れればいいという無責任な対応は許されない。

The organization has a history of selling off troubled welfare facilities at prices equivalent to only 3 percent of respective construction costs. It is important to study ways to minimize losses in selling off the facility by tapping private sector know-how.

 雇用・能力開発機構は、運営が行き詰まった多くの勤労者福祉施設を総工費の3%程度で売却した“前歴”がある。民間のノウハウも活用し、損失を最小限にする方策を検討することが重要だ。

An independent organization also should be assigned to closely monitor whether this reform is done appropriately.

 今回の改革が適切に進むかどうか、第三者機関などが厳しく監視を続けることも必要だろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 26, 2008)

200812260138  読売新聞)

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2008年12月25日 (木)

がんを生きる:寄り添いびと/5止 結び直した父との絆

(Mainichi Japan) December 23, 2008

Living with cancer: a volunteer forges a bond with her father (Pt 6)

がんを生きる:寄り添いびと/5止 結び直した父との絆

 ◇いつか故郷で人の痛みに

At the Tokyo Suicide Prevention Center in Shinjuku-ku, a three-month volunteer training course comes to an end, and the 10 trainees now join the ranks of "befrienders," or volunteer telephone counselors.

 東京・新宿の自殺防止センターで、3カ月間にわたって開かれたボランティア研修が終わった。10人の研修生が、新たにビフレンダー(相談員)の仲間に加わった。

"This is just the beginning," warns the founder of the Center, Akira Nishihara, 79, who has been diagnosed with terminal intestinal cancer himself.

 「これからが本番ですよ」。17日夜。末期の大腸がんと宣告されつつセンターを引っ張ってきた西原明さん(79)が言葉をかけると、新人たちは居住まいを正した。

Naomi, 38, is among the 10 volunteers. Her father, 69, passed away in her hometown in Akita this March.

 その中に直美さん(38)の姿もあった。3月に故郷の秋田に住む父親(69)を亡くしている。

The news of her father's cancer came in the form of a phone call from her mother last September: "Your father has terminal stomach cancer and only has six months to live." The news was all the more painful for the strained relationship between the two.

 「お父さん、末期の胃がんであと半年だって」

 母親(63)から電話があったのは昨年9月。「私にはお父さんとの思い出がない……」。切ない知らせだった。

Since Naomi was young, her parents had been on bad terms, separating when she was in high school. She lived with her mother and younger sister, and became estranged from her father. After moving to Tokyo for work, she only saw him on her rare visits to Akita.

 物心ついたころから、両親は不仲で、高校生の時に別居した。直美さんは母や妹と暮らした。父とは疎遠になり、東京で働き始めてからは、帰省した時、たまに顔を見せる程度になった。

"We still have time," she thought, hoping to reforge the bond that she had lost with her father. She began a weekend schedule of catching the bullet train every Friday night, returning to Tokyo on the final train on Sunday evening.

 「まだ間に合う」。絆(きずな)を結び直そうと思った。毎週金曜の夜に東京駅から新幹線に飛び乗り、日曜の最終で帰る。そんな週末帰省を続けた。

Though at first, Naomi and her father both had some reservations, eventually, he began eagerly awaiting her visits. "When will you come next?" he would ask, and she would circle the dates on the calendar by his hospital bed. "Train fare adds up, doesn't it?" he would say, and give her some change. They would always part reluctantly with a high-five.

 最初は父娘の間に戸惑いもあったが、いつしか心待ちにしてくれるようになった。「今度は?」と父が尋ね、直美さんが病室のカレンダーの日付を丸で囲んだ。「電車代、大変だろ」と父は時々、小遣いを渡した。いつもハイタッチでつかの間の別れを惜しんだ。

He also told her stories from his childhood: how he loved to run, how he and his younger brother would peddle fish and vegetables stacked on a two-wheel cart that they hauled around. They savored the time they had together.

 少年時代の話もよくしてくれた。かけっこが大好きだったこと。魚や野菜をリヤカーに積んで弟と行商したこと。水入らずの時間だった。

While her father had never complained before, as his cancer progressed and the pain became unbearable, he screamed to her for help. She automatically held him in her arms, and was shocked to find that his body, once muscular from jogging, had wasted away.

 病状が進んだ時、泣き言を口にしなかった父が、あまりの激痛に「助けてくれ」と絶叫した。思わず抱きしめると、ジョギングで鍛えて筋骨隆々だったはずの父は、とても小さく、細かった。

"I'm sorry, I have to go," were Naomi's last words to her father, the day before he died. "Thank ... you ... take ... care ..." he whispered back.

 「ごめんね。一度帰る」。亡くなる前日の日曜日に父親にかけた最後の言葉。唇に耳を寄せたら「あ・り・が・とう。げ・ん・き・で・な」とかすかに聞こえた。

"I wonder if I'll be able to run again in heaven." Remembering the words her father uttered in his hospital bed, Naomi and her mother decided to place a pair of sneakers and running outfit in her father's casket.

 ひつぎには母と相談して運動靴とジャージーを入れた。「天国に行ったらまた走れるかな」。病床でつぶやいた父の言葉を思い出した。

In the fall, Naomi arrived at the Suicide Prevention Center.

 秋。直美さんはセンターにやってきた。

"Through my father's death, I realized I want to contribute in some way," she told the others of her motivation for becoming a counselor. Akita Prefecture, where she is from, has a high suicide rate. "Some day, I want to do a job in Akita that involves empathizing with people in pain."

 <父の死を通して、何か私にもできることがあればと考えました>

 志望動機にはそう記した。故郷の秋田は自殺多発県だ。「いつか故郷で、人の痛みに寄り添う仕事をしたい」と仲間たちに言った。

On the last day of the training course, Nishihara and his wife, Yukiko, 74, visited a hospice in Tokyo for an interview. He wants to have as many options as possible in his final moments.

 研修の最終日、明さんは妻由記子さん(74)と一緒に都内のホスピスに面接に行った。最期の時間の選択肢を増やしておきたいと思ったからだ。

"I want to continue my work at the center for as long as I can, but I may eventually have to trouble you for your help," he told a doctor there. "What is the dying process? I want to reflect upon myself as I confront my remaining days."

 「できるだけセンターの仕事を続け、いずれやっかいになるかもしれません」。明さんは医師に言った。そして「人が死にゆくプロセスはいかなるものか。私自身を見つめながら残りの時間を過ごしたい」と続けた。

It has been 30 years since the Suicide Prevention Center was established in Osaka. The seeds planted by Nishihara and his wife are being passed on to their colleagues, who will continue the work they have begun, helping lives flourish into the future.

 30年前に大阪で産声を上げた自殺防止センター。西原夫妻がまいた種は多くの仲間たちを得て、未来へと命をつなぐ。【萩尾信也】=おわり

毎日新聞 20081220日 東京朝刊

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臨時国会閉幕 解散政局で「政策」が沈んだ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 25, 2008)

Politicking wastes Diet session

臨時国会閉幕 解散政局で「政策」が沈んだ(1225日付・読売社説)

After weighing his options, Prime Minister Taro Aso decided against dissolving the House of Representatives. Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa, for his part, was not able to pressure Aso into dissolving the lower house. And Diet members showed little inclination to settle down for any kind of policy discussions because of a possible snap election.

 麻生首相は衆院解散に踏み切れず、小沢民主党は解散に追い込めなかった。解散含みで議員は落ち着かず、政策論議は置き去りにされた。

So ends the current extraordinary Diet session Thursday, which has been overshadowed by the specter of a possible Diet dissolution.

 臨時国会がきょう閉幕する。

In his first policy speech at the Diet on Sept. 29, Aso fielded a series of questions about DPJ policies and its positions on particular bills--a rare move for a prime minister to undertake in a speech of that kind. This was probably because the prime minister intended at that point to dissolve the lower house at the beginning of the Diet session.

 首相は、初の所信表明演説で、民主党の政策や法案への賛否について、異例の「質問」を連発した。これも首相に、冒頭解散を打つ腹づもりがあったからだろう。

But the approval rating of the Aso Cabinet immediately after its inauguration was not as high as had been expected, while the U.S.-originated financial crisis was spreading in scope and depth. These factors served to give Aso second thoughts about dissolving the lower house as the session wore on.

 しかし、発足早々の麻生内閣の支持率は思いの外伸びず、米国発の金融危機が拡大した。これらが首相に解散を逡巡(しゅんじゅん)させた。

Even so, Liberal Democratic Party executives and New Komeito tried to persuade Aso to dissolve the Diet around the end of October. Aso vacillated for a while, but eventually decided against doing so. Resentment toward Aso, who was chosen as the LDP's face for the next lower house election, began to spread within the ruling parties.

 それでも、自民党執行部や公明党は「10月末解散」で動いた。首相は判断に迷ったあげく、結果としてこれを見送った。「選挙の顔」として選ばれた首相に対する与党内の反発が広がった。

===

Aso inconsistency hurt party

If the prime minister had pushed ahead with measures to boost the economy and employment under the slogan of prioritizing policymaking over political maneuvering, he would have been able to find a way out of this political quagmire. But he did not submit a second supplementary budget for financing additional pump-priming measures to this extended Diet session.

 首相が、「政局より政策」のスローガンの下、景気・雇用対策に邁進(まいしん)すれば活路も開けたろう。

 だが、首相は、追加景気対策を盛り込んだ第2次補正予算案を延長国会に提出しなかった。

It is little wonder then that Aso, who has lacked consistency in both his handling of policies and political maneuvering, has come in for fierce criticism.

 政局でも政策でも、一貫性を欠いた首相の姿勢に、強い批判が出たのは致し方ない。

The prime minister also caused some self-inflicted wounds through his careless remarks. It will not be easy now to boost the Cabinet's approval ratings, which have plummeted to well below the 30 percent mark.

 首相は不用意な発言で、自ら足を引っ張った。2割台に落ち込んだ内閣支持率を今後盛り返していくのは、容易でないだろう。

During this Diet session, discord has emerged between the ruling coalition partnership of the LDP and New Komeito.

 この国会で、自民党と公明党の与党内に軋轢(あつれき)が生じた。

It is fine for New Komeito to assert its positions on the timing of Diet dissolution and the advisability of an increase in the consumption tax rate. But sticking so doggedly to its own partisan interests will make it difficult for New Komeito to carry out its duties as a member of the ruling coalition.

 公明党が、解散日程や消費税率引き上げ問題などをめぐり、自説を主張するのは是としても、党利ばかりにこだわっては、政権与党の責任は果たせまい。

Meanwhile, the DPJ's handling of Diet affairs as an opposition party also has been erratic.

 一方、野党・民主党の国会運営も右往左往した。

===

Political opportunism

The DPJ swiftly dropped its hitherto conciliatory approach toward the ruling parties as soon as it became clear the prime minister was not going to dissolve the lower house anytime soon. The party agreed to pass the bill to revise the new Antiterrorism Law after brief deliberations, but then tried to prolong debate over the bill by reneging on an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties to hold a vote on it in the House of Councillors. The DPJ's opportunism was clear.

 衆院解散が見送られると、一転して協力姿勢を捨て去った。改正新テロ対策特別措置法も、衆院は短時日で通過させたのに、参院では、採決の与野党合意をほごにして引き延ばしを図った。ご都合主義が際立った。

Near the end of the session, the DPJ, with two other opposition parties, submitted four bills for employment-boosting measures to the upper house and had them ostentatiously passed through the chamber after 2-1/2 hours of committee deliberations.

 会期末近くになって、参院に提出した雇用対策4法案では、わずか2時間半の委員会質疑の後、これみよがしに可決した。

It is puzzling why the DPJ decided to ram the bills through the upper house.

何のために採決を強行したのか、首をかしげざるをえない戦術だった。

The four bills submitted by the opposition parties had many points in common with a government plan for boosting employment. The fact that the ruling and opposition parties were unable to coordinate policies over urgent tasks amid the deteriorating economic conditions symbolizes how fruitless this Diet session was.

 雇用法案は政府案との共通点も多かった。景気が後退する中での緊急課題に関し、与野党が政策協調できなかったことが、今国会の不毛ぶりを象徴している。

The DPJ protested the scrapping of the four employment bills at the lower house Wednesday by introducing to the chamber a resolution to dissolve the Diet, which was later voted down.

 民主党は、雇用法案廃案に抗議して衆院解散要求決議案を衆院に提出したが、否決された。

The DPJ was apparently trying to stun the LDP, and the opposition party's prioritizing of political games was a constant feature of the Diet session.

自民党を揺さぶる狙いもあったろう。その政局至上主義は、国会閉幕まで変わらなかった。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 25, 2008)

200812250133  読売新聞)

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2008年12月24日 (水)

浜岡原発―置き換えしかないのか

2008/12/24

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 23(IHT/Asahi: December 24,2008)

EDITORIAL: Hamaoka nuclear plant

浜岡原発―置き換えしかないのか

Chubu Electric Power Co. has decided to retire two old nuclear reactors and build a new state-of-the-art reactor at the same nuclear power plant. The first-ever reactor "replacement" in the nation will be made at the company's Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station in Shizuoka Prefecture.

 古い原発2基を引退させ、代わりに最新の原発1基をつくる。そんな国内初の「原発の置き換え」に中部電力が踏み切る。静岡県の浜岡原発だ。 

The No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the Hamaoka plant, which started operation in the late 1970s, have been shut down since 2001 and 2004, respectively, due to accidents and for repair. Chubu Electric initially planned to retrofit the two reactors to raise their earthquake resistance under new safety standards and reopen them in fiscal 2011.

 70年代後半に営業運転を始めた1号機と2号機は、事故や修理で01年と04年から運転を止めている。耐震強度を最新の水準にする工事の後、11年度の運転再開をめざしていた。 

But it has been estimated that the work to make the reactors more quake resistant will cost about 300 billion yen in total and take more than 10 years. The company decided that decommissioning the two aged reactors and building a new one, the No. 6 reactor, would make better economic sense.

 ところが、耐震補強に計3千億円の巨費と10年以上の歳月がかかる見通しになった。このため、「1、2号機を廃炉にして6号機を新設する方が経済的だ」と判断したのだという。 

The Hamaoka plant is located in the middle of a region that seismologists have warned is likely to be struck by a powerful Tokai earthquake in the not-so-distant future. The probability of this dreadful quake hitting the region within three decades has been estimated at 87 percent.

 浜岡原発は、30年以内に87%の確率で起こるとされる東海地震の想定震源域の真ん中にある。

It is quite sensible to shut down the two reactors with questionable seismic reliability. But is it the right decision to build a new reactor at the same site?

耐震強度が心もとない2基を廃炉にする判断は妥当だ。 

 だが、その代わりに6号機を新設するというのはどうだろうか。 

We understand the need for the utility company, which has a duty to ensure a stable supply of electricity, to build a new power reactor that can compensate for the loss of the combined power output of 1.38 million kilowatts of the two reactors that will be put out of service.

 電力の安定供給を確保しなければならない電力会社にとって、廃炉にする2基の合計出力(138万キロワット)と同じくらいの発電施設を新たにつくるのが責務であることはわかる。

In addition, power utilities are under growing pressure to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. Replacing the two nuclear reactors with thermal power reactors would increase the company's emissions of carbon dioxide. At Chubu Electric, the share of nuclear power generation in its total power output is significantly lower than the national average among power companies.

It is hardly surprising that the company wants to build a new nuclear reactor, which doesn't spew out CO2 into the atmosphere.

 しかも、いま電力業界は地球温暖化を防ぐ努力を迫られている。廃炉分を火力発電で補えば、二酸化炭素(CO2)の排出が増えてしまう。全発電量に占める原子力の比率が全国平均を大きく下回る中部電力が、CO2を出さない原発の新設をめざそうと考えるのは自然ななりゆきではある。 

But building another nuclear reactor in the region that is likely to be rocked by the formidable Tokai earthquake will only add to the safety concerns among residents. Chubu Electric claims there is no reason to worry about the safety of the new reactor as long as it has enough seismic safety margins.

It will be a tall order, however, to win support for the plan from the local community. Some residents are still fighting a battle at an appeal court to suspend operations of the Nos. 1-4 reactors at the Hamaoka plant.

 だが、東海地震で激しく揺れる危険が大きい場所に原発をつくれば周辺住民はさらなる不安の種を抱え込む。中部電力は「耐震性に十分な余裕があれば安全だ」と説明するが、1~4号機の運転差し止め訴訟の控訴審が続くなか、6号機の新設に理解を求めることには無理があるのではないか。 

Chubu Electric should first consider a wide range of alternatives, including increasing purchases of electricity from other power suppliers' nuclear plants and looking for a new location to build a new nuclear plant.

 中部電力はまず、他社の原発から調達する電力量を増やしたり、新たな立地を模索したり、といった代替策を幅広く検討するべきだ。 

The company's decision, meanwhile, underscores the fact that the nation is now entering an era of reactor retirement when a growing number of aging nuclear reactors will have to be shut down. This is a problem that far transcends the closed reactors at the Hamaoka plant.

 一方、今回の決定は「廃炉の時代」が近づいていることをまざまざと見せつけた。これは浜岡原発にとどまる問題ではない。 

Of the 55 reactors operating across the nation, 17 are 30 years or older. While their anticipated maximum life span is 60 years, it may be more economically sensible to decommission an old reactor and build a new one, considering the costs of maintenance and so forth. Replacing aged reactors will become an increasingly common practice for the industry.

 全国の原発55基のうち、運転開始から30年以上のものが17基ある。最長60年間の運転を想定しているものの、維持コストを考え、廃炉にして新しい原発をつくる判断もあろう。今後、原発の置き換えが珍しくなくなるはずだ。 

What is worrisome is that there are no firmly established procedures for shutting down an old reactor.

 気がかりなのは、廃炉の道筋が完全には整っていない点である。 

Decommissioning a 1.1-million-kilowatt reactor produces 500,000 to 550,000 tons of waste. While it contains no high-level radioactive waste, about 3 percent of the matter is polluted with radioactivity. Some sticky questions remain unsolved, such as where the waste materials from the reactor and its peripheral equipment should be buried.

 110万キロワットの原発を廃炉にすると50万~55万トンの廃棄物が出る。高レベル放射性廃棄物こそないものの、放射能で汚れたものが3%ほど出る。このうち、原子炉や周辺設備などの廃棄物をどこに埋設するかといった懸案は解決されていない。 

It is vital to work out a viable plan for decommissioning reactors before the nuclear retirement era comes into full swing.

 「廃炉の時代」の本番までに、その行程表を詰めていかねばならない。

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高校指導要領―英語で授業…really?

2008/12/24

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 23(IHT/Asahi: December 24,2008)

EDITORIAL: Teaching in English

高校指導要領―英語で授業…really?

Many high school English teachers must be shaking their heads over a draft revision to curriculum guidelines for senior high schools, proposed by the education ministry on Monday for implementation in the 2013 scholastic year.

The guidelines call for English classes to be taught only in English as a rule. This is the first time that such a directive has been issued by the education ministry.

 高校の英語の先生たちの中には、頭を抱える人も少なくないだろう。 

 「英語の授業は英語で指導することを基本とする」 

 13年度から全面的に実施される高校の学習指導要領案が公表され、初めてそんな一節が入ったのだ。 

Curriculum guidelines specify required course contents and classroom hours for elementary, junior high and senior high schools. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology revises them every 10 years or so.

 指導要領は、文部科学省が小学校から高校までの学年ごとに教える内容や時間数を定めたものだ。ほぼ10年ごとに改訂されている。 

The new directive has us shaking our heads in doubt, too. Granted, Japanese by and large are notorious for their poor command of English. Perhaps a perfect case in point is Toshihide Maskawa, a recipient of this year's Nobel Prize in Physics, who delivered a speech in Japanese when awarded the prize.

 それにしてもreally(本当)?と、いいたくなるお達しである。 

 たしかに日本人の英語下手はよく知られるところだ。ノーベル賞を受賞した益川敏英さんのスピーチは、その象徴といえるかもしれない。

Six years of junior and senior high school English may give people a passable level of proficiency in written English. But spoken English is an entirely different matter.

中学、高校と6年間学んでも、読み書きはともかく、とんと話せるようにならない。 

With the world becoming "borderless," English has become an indispensable tool of international communication. We agree with the ministry's reasoning that if students are to acquire better conversation skills, the English education system must change.

 ますます国境の垣根が低くなる世界で、英語は必須の伝達手段になってきた。だから英語教育を変え、会話力を育てたい。それはその通りだ。

And we are also in favor of turning English classes into opportunities for students to practice and hone their communication skills.

そのために授業自体を英語での意思疎通の場と位置づける。その発想もいい。 

But our optimism vanishes when we picture a real-life classroom scene.

 ただ現実の授業を想像してみよう。 

Exchanging routine greetings in English should not be difficult even now. But it will be quite a challenge for teachers to explain grammar in simple English so that students can understand, or to answer in English questions asked by the students.

 あいさつや簡単な呼びかけを英語でするだけなら、これまでと大差はない。しかし、文法を英語でわかりやすく説明したり、生徒の質問に英語で答えたりすることは簡単ではないだろう。

And even if teachers do manage somehow, the bigger question is how many students will be able to follow the lessons?

できたとしても、どれほどの生徒が理解できるだろう。 

Some senior high schools are already teaching English in English, but success depends largely on the abilities of both teachers and students. Just forcing the system on everyone will not work. Nobody will benefit from it.

 すでに英語での授業を実施している学校もある。だが、実際は現場の教師や生徒の能力に左右されるところが大きい。無理やり形だけ整えても、効果は乏しいだろう。 

Another concern is that teaching English in English is not a particularly welcome prospect for schools that are strongly oriented toward preparing their students for university entrance examinations. Listening comprehension tests have been introduced into the National Center Test for University Admissions. But with most of the emphasis still being placed on reading comprehension and composition, we doubt that so many senior high schools will be willing to take on the additional burden of teaching English in English.

 もう一つの懸念は、大学入試を意識する進学校などにとっては、利点がそれほど大きくないということだ。大学入試センター試験などでリスニングが導入されているとはいえ、相変わらず読解問題や英作文などが主流では、おいそれと余分な負担を引き受けるわけにもいかないだろう。 

By abruptly telling English teachers to start giving lessons only in English, the education ministry is creating confusion and consternation. The ministry's job should be to determine what needs to be done to help students become functionally fluent in English and how the nation's English education should change for that end. The ministry should then establish a workable system and desirable classroom environment.

 いきなり英語で授業、と言われても現場は混乱するばかりだ。使える英語を身につけるためには、どうすればいいのか。そのために英語教育をどう変えるべきなのか。その道筋と環境作りを大枠で整えることが先決であり、文科省の仕事ではないか。 

The ministry not only needs to examine such matters as teacher training and curriculum planning, but it also must keep university entrance test reforms in perspective. The ministry should consider the whole situation, including its plan to introduce in 2011 compulsory English classes for all upper-grade elementary school children.

 教師の育成やカリキュラムの検討はもちろん、入試問題の改革も視野に入れなければならない。11年度から全面実施される小学校高学年での英語活動も含めて、総合的な検討が必要だ。 

But even with the education ministry issuing uniform directives on all matters, that does not mean the directives could be implemented immediately. Whether they will work will depend largely on the performance levels of teachers and students and the classroom environment at each school.

 ただ文科省が指導方法まで一律に決めても、右から左にできるものではない。実のあるものになるかどうかは、各学校の生徒と教師のレベル、学習環境などによって大きく左右される。 

At the end of the day, the curriculum guidelines should remain just that--guidelines. It should be left up to each school to decide what to do under these guidelines. And that, we believe, is ultimately what will bring out the best in the teachers and their students.

 指導要領は大枠にとどめて、実際の運用は学校に任せる。それが現場の力を引き出すことにつながる。

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社説:視点・未曾有08 核と総書記 「対話と圧力」に…=論説委員・中島哲夫

(Mainichi Japan) December 23, 2008

Turbulent times could let North Korea play both sides

社説:視点・未曾有08 核と総書記 「対話と圧力」に…=論説委員・中島哲夫

 ◇「対話と圧力」に新たな知恵を

Ultimately, there has been no conclusive evidence on whether or not North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is still alive. It was in the midst of this strange situation that North Korea's burning wish to be removed from the U.S. government's black list of state sponsors of terrorism was granted. This was a huge mistake for the U.S., which announced that North Korea had consented to an inspection system for its nuclear programs. As it turns out, the "agreement" was nothing more than an empty promise that the six-party talks failed to even put into writing.

 突き詰めて言えば金正日(キムジョンイル)総書記が生存しているという確証は見当たらない。この奇怪な状況で、北朝鮮は米国によるテロ支援国家指定の解除という悲願を達成した。逆に米側は大失態である。解除の理由に挙げた核計画検証手続きの米朝「合意」は口約束に過ぎず、6カ国協議でも文書化できなかった。

After North Korea denied the aforementioned agreement had ever taken place, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill complained to a group of South Korean legislators visiting the U.S. that the more one negotiates with North Korea, the more difficult the situation becomes. How unprepared was Hill that he was previously unaware of something so obvious?

 ヒル米国務次官補は「合意」を北朝鮮が否定した後、訪米した韓国議員団に嘆いたという。「北朝鮮は交渉すればするほど難しくなる相手だ」。いまさらそう悟るほど予備知識がなかったのかと驚かざるをえない。

U.S. efforts to dismantle North Korea's nuclear program began in 1993 during the Clinton administration. Nearly 16 years have passed, and not only is the issue still unresolved, but the situation has deteriorated. This has been a rare development of events in the history of U.S. foreign diplomacy.

 米国が北朝鮮の核開発を放棄させようと交渉を始めたのはクリントン政権時代の93年。以来16年近くを経て、問題は解決しないどころか悪化した。米外交史上、稀有(けう)なことである。

As for Kim Jong Il's health, there are yet to be any decisive reports.

 さて、金総書記の健康不安説についてだ。確かな現状は今も外部に示されていない。

For 50 days beginning Aug. 15, there were no updates from the government-run media on the North Korean leader's activities. The South Korean intelligence agency claimed that Kim had suffered a stroke or something similar. Among the 10 or so North Korean media reports since November featuring Kim's inspections of military units and visits to various facilities, there are several photographs in which his left hand has an unnatural appearance: possibly the effect of a stroke.

 北朝鮮の官営メディアによる総書記の動静報道は8月15日から50日間途絶えた。脳卒中かそれに近い発作を起こしたというのが韓国情報当局の見立てだ。総書記が軍部隊や各種施設を視察したとする11月以降これまで10件余りの報道を見ると、左手の状態に不自然さの漂う写真が数枚ある。発作の後遺症だとすればつじつまは合う。

Meanwhile, however, there has been some speculation that Kim's brother-in-law has taken over the reigns of power. If so, it casts doubt on the authenticity of these photos.

 ただ、総書記の病状が悪化し義弟が政務を代行しているとの情報もあり、「写真は本物」と太鼓判を押すのがためらわれるのも事実だ。

According to North Korean media reports, Kim Jong Il recently received a new year's card from Chinese President Hu Jintao. Senior North Korean officials were invited to a party at the Chinese embassy in Pyongyang, where both countries promised continued cooperation.

 一方、やはり北朝鮮メディアによると、最近、新年に向けた年賀状が胡錦濤中国国家主席から金総書記に送られてきた。平壌の中国大使館は北朝鮮側の古参幹部を招いて宴会を催し、協調を誓い合った。

In contrast, the same North Korean media has railed daily against Japan -- which has postponed providing energy aid to North Korea due to an impasse over the abductions issue -- and South Korea, which has grown more antagonistic towards the North after a change in its administration. Anti-American sentiments do exist, but these are not as intense.

 これとは対照的に、拉致問題を理由に北朝鮮へのエネルギー支援を見合わせている日本と、政権交代で北朝鮮の希望通りには動かなくなった韓国に対しては、ののしるような非難報道が連日続いている。対米批判もあるが、こちらはさほど激越なトーンではない。

North Korea's intentions are obvious. It plans to continue using China as a safety net, soften South Korea and Japan by creating waves, and get a good deal from the new U.S. administration. It is a typically North Korean approach, regardless of whether it was masterminded by Kim Jong Il.

 込められている意味は明白だろう。北朝鮮は引き続き中国を命綱とし、日韓の軟化を狙って揺さぶりをかけ、米国の新政権とはうまく取引しようと考えている。金総書記その人の戦略かどうかは別にして、いかにも北朝鮮らしい。

What this all means is that it will be imperative for China and the U.S. to take a "dialogue and pressure" line with North Korea. If these two nations do not stand firm, North Korea's nuclear disarmament will remain a mere pipe dream. To achieve an unprecedented outcome, Japan must also play a part by offering its resources and wisdom.

 すると特に中国と米国がしっかりした「対話と圧力」の路線で北朝鮮に向き合うことが重要だ。両国が甘い姿勢で臨めば北朝鮮の核廃棄は実現しない。日本も知恵を出して一翼を担い、未曽有の成果につなげたい。

毎日新聞 20081221日 東京朝刊

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08回顧・日本 政治も経済も波乱の年越し

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 24, 2008)

2008--a year of instability

08回顧・日本 政治も経済も波乱の年越し(1224日付・読売社説)

The 20th year of the Heisei era is drawing to a close. The growing instability in several fields that symbolized the year 2008 featured prominently in the top 10 domestic news stories selected by Yomiuri Shimbun readers.

 平成の世となって20年目が過ぎつつある。様々な分野で不安定さが増した年だった。それを顕著に示す項目が、読者が選んだ本紙の「日本10大ニュース」にも並んだ。

Turmoil in the political world was a topic on many people's lips this year. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's sudden decision to resign and Taro Aso succeeding his post was the second-biggest story chosen by our readers. Fukuda abruptly pulled in his horns and walked away from the administration, saying that the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan was holding up Diet discussions and refusing to negotiate, which delayed decisions on important matters.

 まずは政治である。「福田首相が突然の退陣表明、後継は麻生首相」が2位となった。まさに突然の辞任だった。「民主党が重要案件の対応に応じず、決めるべきことがなかなか決まらない」と弱音を吐いて政権を投げ出し、麻生首相がその後を継いだ。

Shinzo Abe, Fukuda's predecessor, also abruptly resigned as prime minister last year after a crushing defeat in the House of Councillors election. Abe cited health problems as his reason for stepping down. The cabinets of Abe and Fukuda were both short-lived, both staying afloat for about one year.

 前任の安倍首相も参院選の惨敗後、「体調悪化」を理由に突然、退陣している。ともに1年の短命内閣だった。

Fukuda was frustrated by the "split Diet" in which the ruling parties hold a majority in the House of Representatives and opposition parties control the upper house. The provisional gasoline tax rates expired and gas prices began to fall, but the rates were revived after a bill to restore them was passed into law in a revote at the lower house after the upper house voted against it. This story ranked 13th. Public frustration mounted over the snail's pace at which policy decisions were made in this snarled Diet.

 福田前首相は、衆参「ねじれ国会」で対応に苦しんでいた。13位の「ガソリン税暫定税率が失効、値下げ始まるも再可決で復活」に象徴される迷走国会の下、遅々として進まない政策決定に国民の苛(いら)立ちも募った。

The new medical insurance system for people aged 75 and older started this year, but the system, under which premiums are deducted from pension benefits, has come under severe criticism, and ranked sixth overall. A panel investigating the manipulation of corporate pension records concluded in a report that local social insurance offices systematically falsified many records. This story ranked 26th.

 6位に「後期高齢者医療制度スタート、保険料の年金天引きなどに批判」が、26位に「厚生年金記録改ざん、社保事務所『組織的関与』の報告書」が入った。

A barrage of criticism has been leveled at the new insurance system that describes people aged 75 and older as "koki koreisha" (late-stage elderly people). The systematic involvement of the Social Insurance Agency in pension record falsification was just one of a series of scandals that rocked the SIA. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry took the brunt of criticism over several pension and medical problems.

 「後期高齢者」という命名に批判が集中した。社会保険庁の数々の不祥事に、年金記録の組織的な改ざんまで加わった。年金や医療問題で、厚生労働省が矢面に立たされ続けた年でもあった。

===

Food safety woes

 ◆目に余る食品不正◆

The U.S.-triggered financial crisis has battered Japan's economy and turned business conditions on their heads. The eighth-ranked story of 2008 was the plunge of Tokyo stocks to the lowest level since the bubble economy burst. The impact has spread even to the real economy and Japan's signature export industries--auto and electronic manufacturers--are falling on tough times. The employment situation is becoming increasingly unstable.

 米国発の金融危機は日本も直撃し、景気の様相が一変した。「東京株、バブル後最安値を記録」が8位である。影響は実体経済にも及び、代表的な輸出産業の自動車や電機が苦境にあえいでいる。雇用不安も増してきた。

Public interest in food safety remains high. Poisoning cases caused by tainted Chinese-made gyoza and a string of troubles stemming from Chinese-made foods was the top-ranked domestic news story.

 やはり、日々口にする食品への関心は高い。1位は「中国製ギョーザで中毒、中国産食品のトラブル相次ぐ」である。

With consumers already on edge over food safety, it was discovered that rice tainted with pesticide residue or mold that the government sold to dealers was resold for human consumption. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Seiichi Ota resigned to take responsibility for the debacle, which was ranked 11th. The story in 18th spot was a stream of misleading labeling of products' origins, including the labeling of grilled eels from China as being from Japan.

 さらに「『事故米』の食用転売判明、太田農相ら引責辞任」が11位、「中国産ウナギなどで産地偽装相次ぐ」が18位だった。

The gyoza case whipped up consumer distrust of Chinese-made foods. China eventually retracted its initial claim that the dumplings were contaminated with a toxic substance in Japan, not in China. However, China has yet to provide Japan with details of how the investigation there was carried out.

 ギョーザ事件は中国産食品への消費者の不信感を高めた。中国側は、毒物の混入元は日本だとしてきた当初の強弁は撤回したが、その後の捜査がどうなったのか、音沙汰(さた)がない。

The rice tainted with pesticide residue or mold was made into sweets or shochu liquor. This news left many people shaking their heads in disbelief. A raft of irregularities involving food in Japan regularly made the headlines. The resignation of the agriculture minister has done little to resolve these problems.

 農薬汚染の事故米が菓子や焼酎に姿を変えていた。これも耳を疑う事件だった。国内でも食品不正の横行ぶりは目に余る。農相辞任でも一件落着とはいかない。

===

Shocking crimes

 ◆多発した異常な犯罪◆

The year 2008 saw several heinous crimes that hinted at a worrying increase in social instability.

 社会の不安定さを印象づけるような凶悪犯罪も多発した。

Particularly disturbing were random street murder cases committed on a selfish whim by culprits bent on killing whoever happened to be nearby. The fifth-ranked story of 2008 was the indiscriminate stabbing spree by a man in Tokyo's Akihabara district that left seven people dead. In another attack, a man wanted on a separate murder charge killed one person and injured seven in a knife attack at a train station in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture. This story ranked 29th.

 「誰でもいいから人を殺したかった」という身勝手な理由で、通行人らを襲う通り魔事件が相次いだ。「東京・秋葉原で無差別7人殺害」が5位、「殺人事件で手配の男が8人殺傷、茨城・土浦のJR駅で」が29位に入った。

The seventh-ranked story was the shocking knife attacks at the homes of two former administrative vice health and welfare ministers that left two people dead and one seriously injured. An unemployed man later turned himself in and reportedly told police he committed the attacks to avenge the putting down of his pet dog at a public health center 34 years ago. However, many people found this explanation to be dubious, to say the least.

 7位になった「元厚生次官宅襲撃事件で3人死傷、出頭の無職男を逮捕」も常軌を逸している。男の「34年前に保健所で処分された犬の敵を討ちたかった」という供述はどこまで信用できるのか。

Natural disasters also featured prominently among this year's stories. Ranking ninth was the Iwate-Miyagi Inland Earthquake, which killed 13 people and measured upper 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7. Five people, including primary school children, were killed when they were washed away by a Kobe river swollen by sudden torrential rain. This story ranked 17th.

 今年も自然の災害を免れ得なかった。「岩手・宮城で震度6強、13人死亡」が9位、「『ゲリラ豪雨』の河川増水で小学生ら5人死亡、被害相次ぐ」が17位だ。

Devastating earthquakes and torrential rains can occur anywhere at any time. It is important to always be prepared for such an emergency.

 大地震もゲリラ豪雨も、どこで起きるか予測できない。平時からの備えが大切だ。

===

Moments to savor

Amid all this doom and gloom, the top 10 domestic news stories also included stories that brought smiles to our faces.

 もちろん、暗い話題ばかりではない。

Coming in fourth place was Japan's haul of nine gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games and breaststroker Kosuke Kitajima becoming the first swimmer in history to successfully defend Olympic titles in both the 100- and 200-meter events.

「北京五輪で日本は『金』9個、競泳・北島選手ら連覇」が4位に入った。

Kitajima, who made the memorable comment, "I feel incredible!" after winning gold in Athens, left another notable quote after winning in Beijing when he said, "I can't say anything more."

 平泳ぎの北島康介選手は、アテネ五輪での2冠に続く2種目連覇を果たした。アテネでの「チョー気持ちいい」に続き、「何も言えねえ」の“名言”を残した。

Many Japanese people were glued to the TV as they cheered on the Japanese athletes.

日本人選手の活躍を願いつつ、多くの人がテレビの前に釘(くぎ)付けになった。

The women's softball team won the nation's first Olympic gold medal in the sport with a tremendous performance that piqued the interest of many people. The athletes must have made every effort in their quests to accomplish such impressive feats.

 初の金メダルを獲得したソフトボールの女子選手たちの熱闘ぶりも、大きな感動を呼んだ。それぞれの快挙の裏には、大変な努力や工夫があったのだろう。

The third-ranked story of Japan's Nobel Prize winners--Yoichiro Nambu, Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Masukawa, who won the prize in physics, and Osamu Shimomura, who was awarded the chemistry prize--was welcome news that pushed aside the economic gloom for a moment.

 3位の「ノーベル物理学賞に南部、小林、益川氏、化学賞には下村氏」は、閉塞(へいそく)感を一掃するような明るいニュースだった。

 ◆視線を遠くに据えて◆

As this year nears its end, many people are feeling unsettled and anxious. In politics, the future of the Aso Cabinet and the timing of a general election are being closely watched by the public. It also remains unclear when the economy will recover.

 今年は年の瀬になっても、一段落という感じになれない人が多いのではないか。政界では麻生内閣の行方や総選挙の時期に関心が集まっている。景気の回復はいつになるのだろうか。

The news of the Group of Eight summit meeting talks in Toyakocho, Hokkaido, that set a long-term target to halve greenhouse gas emissions ranked 10th. However, challenges lie ahead in achieving this goal because key countries hold different views on the issue.

 10位に「洞爺湖サミット、温室効果ガス排出量半減の長期目標」が入ったが、これも各国の思惑が錯綜(さくそう)して、前途は多難だ。

Nobel laureate Masukawa said he won the prize for work he did 30 years ago. He then asked people whether scholars are conducting studies that could lead to prominent awards in the future.

 物理学賞の益川敏英さんは、受賞したのは「30年前の仕事」だと語った。そして現在、将来の受賞につながるような学問研究がなされているか、と問いかけた。

Dealing with immediate issues is important. But at the same time, looking ahead and taking appropriate steps is essential, particularly at a time when uncertainty and chaos is gripping the nation.

 目先の対応も重要である。同時に、不安定感が募る混迷の時代だからこそ、視線を遠くに向けて、確かな歩みを続けていくことも大切なのかもしれない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 24, 2008)

200812240134  読売新聞)

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2008年12月23日 (火)

配偶者への暴力―加害者の更生に本腰を

2008/12/23

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 22(IHT/Asahi: December 23,2008)

EDITORIAL: Domestic violence

配偶者への暴力―加害者の更生に本腰を

The Nagoya District Court handed a life sentence to a man in Aichi Prefecture who had taken his former wife hostage at his home, shot and killed a police officer attempting a rescue operation, and shot and injured three others.

 元妻を人質に自宅に立てこもり、救出にあたった警官や自らの家族ら4人を銃で死傷させた愛知県の男に、名古屋地裁が無期懲役の判決をくだした。 

The man's violence against the woman was the cause of their divorce. However, he suspected her of having an affair and demanded that they get back together, leading to the tragedy.

 配偶者への暴力(DV)が原因で離婚に至ったのに、男は浮気を疑い、復縁を迫った。それが事件の発端だ。 

As a result of the man's actions, a 23-year-old policeman was killed, leaving behind a daughter who was only 10 months old at the time. A 55-year-old policeman now uses a wheelchair due to paralysis, and the man's own son and daughter have been traumatized by the fact that their father shot them.

 10カ月の娘を残して殉職した23歳の警察官、半身不随になった55歳の警察官、父に撃たれた息子や娘の心に残した深い傷。

The motive for the incident seems to pale in comparison to the serious crimes he committed. The sight of the man with his head down as he listened to the judge hand down the sentence was unbearable.

あまりに重い罪に比べ、その動機は何と思慮に欠けることか。うなだれて判決を聴く男の姿に、やり切れない気持ちになる。 

The case highlighted the problems police face concerning gun control and rescue operations. But we should also look into whether it was possible to make the man think twice before his outburst of violence.

 事件は警察の銃の取り締まりや救出作戦の進め方に教訓を残した。だが、いまもう一度考えたいのは、男が暴発する前に、我が身を省みさせることはできなかったか、ということだ。 

Japan has been slow in tackling the problem of domestic violence. It was only in 2001 that the domestic violence prevention law was created. Since then, courts have issued more than 2,000 orders each year, restraining access to the victims or evicting the perpetrator from the victim's home.

 日本では配偶者間の暴力への取り組みが遅れ、01年にようやくDV防止法ができた。被害者への接近を禁じたり、自宅からの退去を命じたりする裁判所の保護命令は年間2千件を超す。 

But these are only emergency relief measures intended to protect the victim. There is no system in place to re-educate or rehabilitate the abuser. Unless law-enforcement authorities act on a case as an assault or other crime, nothing can be done against the person inflicting the damage.

 しかしそれは被害者の緊急避難策だ。加害者の再教育や更生には何の対策も講じられておらず、傷害罪などで立件されない限り放置されている。 

Victims often suddenly disappear after enduring years of abuse from their spouses. But the abusers unduly become resentful or persistently demand the victims return to them. And in the process, the abusers will often cause serious trouble, like the case of the Aichi man.

 長年見下し、暴力をふるってきた相手が突然姿を消したことで逆恨みしたり、執拗(しつよう)に復縁を迫ったりする。愛知の男のように騒ぎを起こす例も多い。つきまとわれるため、被害者は職や住居探しにも苦労している。 

The United States, Britain and South Korea have systems in place that not only protect the victims but also order abusers to enter rehabilitation programs, where they can discuss their crimes with other offenders and reflect on their actions.

 米国や英国、韓国では、被害者保護と同時に、加害者へ更生プログラムの受講を命じる制度を設けている。加害者同士で話し合わせ、時間をかけて自分を振り返らせている。

In Britain, the rehabilitation program is mandatory for offenders. If the abuser fails to attend, he or she can be sent to prison.

英国は参加を怠れば刑務所に収監するなど、強制力をもたせている。 

Japan should adopt such an approach to oblige abusers to attend rehabilitation programs during their probation period or when they are subject to a court protection order.

 日本でも、刑の執行猶予期間中や裁判所の保護命令時に、そうしたプログラムの受講を加害者に義務づけることはできるだろう。 

Many people argue that if public funds are to be used, then support for the victims should be the top priority. So far, the government has avoided making a decision about such rehabilitation programs because questions remain on their effectiveness. There is also the danger that abusers might use the rehabilitation programs as an excuse to approach their victims.

 公的資金を使うなら被害者支援が先だという意見も根強い。本当に更生するのかという疑問や、受講を隠れみのにして被害者に再接近する危険もあり、政府は結論を先送りしている。 

Some local governments and citizens groups have tested their own rehabilitation programs. The central government should also move to create solid measures to deal with the issue.
 自治体や民間団体では、独自の更生プログラムを試行するところも出てきた。政府も具体化に踏み出すべきだ。 


Noriko Yamaguchi, 58, heads a private group based in Tokyo that offers education programs for perpetrators of domestic violence. She was trained in the United States, and her group has seen more than 100 participants in the rehabilitation programs since it started up in 2002.

 米国で研修し、02年から都内の民間団体で取り組む山口のり子さん(58)は、100人を超す受講生をみてきた。

Yamaguchi says it is difficult to easily determine whether someone who has spent decades abusing his or her partner has really changed through the education programs. But she says the programs are worth trying.

何十年間も暴力をふるってきた人が本当に変わったのか、容易に断言はできないが、やる価値はあるとみる。 

"Domestic violence is a crime. Currently, the only recourse the victim has is to run and hide. That is wrong," she said.

 「DVは犯罪です。被害者が逃げ回るしかない、という現状はおかしい」 

In fiscal 2007, more than 60,000 calls were made to aid centers in Japan seeking help or guidance about domestic violence. If nothing is done, this problem will become a serious burden on society. Even abusers should not be left to ruin. Serious action is needed.

 07年度、全国の支援センターへのDV相談は6万件を超えた。放置すれば、社会のリスクやコストを高める。加害者とて、破滅させていいわけがない。対策に本腰を入れるべきだ。

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増税への道筋―社会保障の中身を語れ

2008/12/23

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 22(IHT/Asahi: December 23,2008)

EDITORIAL: Consumption tax hike

増税への道筋―社会保障の中身を語れ

The government is putting the finishing touches on a medium-term tax reform program that should show how it intends to ensure financing for the social security system so that people can feel secure about their future.

 安心できる社会保障制度のために、財源をどのように確保していくのか。その道筋を示す税制改革の「中期プログラム」づくりが大詰めだ。 

One key question is whether the government and ruling camp will specify in the blueprint when the consumption tax will be raised--a step Prime Minister Taro Aso has promised to take in three years.

 焦点の一つが、麻生首相が「3年後」と明言している消費税増税の時期を、政府・与党の方針としてはっきり打ち出すかどうかである。 

Aso has already decided to increase the ratio of state financing of the basic portion of pension benefits to one-half in April from the current one-third, as originally planned. But it is unclear how the government will find the money needed for this measure beyond "bridge funding" for the first two years.

 首相はすでに、基礎年金の国庫負担割合を来年4月から2分の1へ引き上げることを決めたが、財源は2年分の「つなぎ財源」しかめどがついていない。

To preserve confidence in the system, it will be vital to make the timing of the tax hike clear and lay out the path for stable financing.

制度の信頼のためにも、増税の時期を明示して財源確保の道筋を示すことは、譲れない一線だろう。 

Lawmakers have long been putting off serious debate on any major increase in the public tax burden. As a result, tackling the issue of social security funding has been postponed, saddling the government with a huge mountain of debt.

 これまで、政治は負担増の議論から逃げ続けてきた。その結果、社会保障の財源問題が先送りされ、膨大な借金の山ができた。

A Lower House election must be held by autumn next year. Proposing a tax increase at this time would be a radical departure from such dithering.

来年秋までには総選挙がある。この時期に「増税」を打ち出すとは、一大転換である。 

It is far from certain, however, that Aso, whose political power base is very weak, will be able to stick to his position. But we nevertheless welcome his courage and his apparent sense of responsibility.

 政権基盤の極めて弱い麻生首相がそれを貫けるか、なんとも心もとないが、その勇気と責任感は大いに歓迎したい。 

However, debate on the tax hike should also address other key details, such as the scale of the increase and the use of the added revenue.

 ただそれには、増税の時期だけでなく、中身の議論も深めてもらいたい。何のために、どれだけ増税するのか。お金の規模や使い道の内容だ。 

The government's National Commission on Social Security is calling for measures to bolster the functions of the system, which it describes as seriously frayed.

 政府の社会保障国民会議は、社会保障制度にはほころびが生じているとして、「機能強化」を主張している。

Given the increase in social security spending due to the aging of the population, the consumption tax rate will have to be raised by 3.3 to 3.5 percentage points from the current 5 percent by the end of 2015, according to the panel.

高齢化に伴う社会保障費の増加も考えると、消費税率に換算して2015年時点で3.3~3.5%の引き上げが必要としている。 

But some ruling party politicians regard a tax increase as a means to restore health in state finances. They say that much of the 13.8 trillion yen in social security spending, a portion that cannot be covered by consumption tax revenue, has been financed by debt. The government's Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy stresses the need to end this debt financing. But that would require raising the consumption tax rate by 4.2 percentage points.

 一方、政府与党内には「増税は財政再建のため」という考え方が根強い。今の社会保障費のうち、消費税分を除いた年13.8兆円の多くは借金との見方がある。経済財政諮問会議はこの解消を掲げるが、それには、消費税の4.2%の引き上げが必要だ。 

The ruling camp has yet to make clear whether it will use the fresh revenue from the consumption tax hike to improve fiscal health or bolster social security financing, or both.

 いったい、増税した消費税はどちらに使うつもりなのか、それとも両方なのか。方針がはっきりしないのだ。 

Some government officials are arguing that it would be sufficient for now to set a schedule for the tax hike to be implemented after three years, and that debate on other details can wait.

 政府内には「いまは3年後に増税という方針だけ決めればいい。中身の議論は先のこと」という声もある。

But voters will find it difficult to form an opinion on a tax hike proposal that says nothing specific about how the money will be used, other than it will be spent on social security.

だが、漠然と「社会保障のため」というだけで、使い道のはっきりしない増税をお願いされても、有権者は選挙で判断のしようがないではないか。 

Who would be convinced by a government argument for fiscal rehabilitation when the administration plans to hand out cash to households in a costly giveaway of taxpayer money? There must be many wasteful expenditures that can and should be cut in areas outside social security.

 そもそも定額給付金のようなばらまきをしながら「財政再建を」といわれても、だれが納得できるだろうか。削減できる無駄は、社会保障以外の分野でまだまだあるはずだ。 

The government should tell the public in clear, unequivocal language that the additional consumption tax receipts would be used to expand and enhance the nation's social security system and fund the increase in social security spending.

 まず消費税の増税は、社会保障の充実・強化や、これから増える社会保障費を賄うためのものだ、という考え方をはっきり示すことだ。 

The ruling camp cannot hope to win public support for the tax hike unless it presents a comprehensive vision for reforms while clarifying how they would be financed.

Voters need to know how the proposed tax increase would change public health and nursing-care services as well as the pension program.

増税によって医療・介護のサービスや年金制度はどう変わるのか。改革のメニューと必要な財源の全体像を示さなければ、理解は得られまい。 

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余録:握手のために差し出された手を無視する…

(Mainichi Japan) December 22, 2008

Shoe attack a fitting curtain call for end of Bush's failed presidency

余録:握手のために差し出された手を無視する…

Ignoring someone's attempt to shake your hand, repeatedly stealing glances at your watch, leaning your head backward, and smirking with just one end of your mouth curled up ... These are all gestures that indicate that you have an aversion toward someone's company.

 握手のために差し出された手を無視する。何度も腕時計を見る。頭を後ろへそらす。口の一端だけをゆがめてひきつり笑いをする
▲いずれも相手をさげすむ信号だ。

Ethologist Desmond Morris writes in his book, "Manwatching," that humans possess a much broader range of ways to express contempt than any other animal. Among these behavior patterns, spitting and pinching one's nose are signs that one considers the other party filthy. And filth, explains Morris, suggests vulgarity and indecency.

動物行動学者、デズモンド・モリスによれば「人が他人を軽蔑(けいべつ)する方法はあまりにも多種多様なので、どの動物も人間にはかなわない」(「マンウォッチング」)。中でも、つばをはいたり、鼻をつまむのは軽蔑の「汚物信号」とされる。「不潔は醜さを意味するから」とモリスは説明する

Shoes an Iraqi journalist hurled at U.S. President George W. Bush were also used to convey filth. Being hit by a pair of shoes is considered the ultimate insult in Iraq, since it implies that one is even more unsanitary and repulsive than shoes dirtied from treading on the ground, a U.S. newspaper says.

▲とすれば、あの靴も「汚物信号」に使われたのだろう。イラクを訪問したブッシュ米大統領に記者が投げつけた靴のことだ。米紙によれば、靴は地面を踏んで汚れているので、靴でたたく相手は靴より汚いことになる。イラクでは最大の侮辱とみなされる

In addition to contempt, the journalist expressed rage when he shouted, "This is from the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq!" as he threw the second shoe. The entire world is likely to remember the scene as a symbol of the Bush presidency's curtain fall.

▲二つ目を投げる時「夫を亡くした妻、孤児、イラクで殺された者からだ」と叫んだそうだから、憤激も込められていた。ブッシュ政権の幕切れを象徴する光景として世界中が記憶するだろう

One need not go all the way to Iraq to witness Bush's plummeting authority. In an Internet survey taken by American historians, 98 percent said they consider the Bush presidency a failure, and 61 percent declared Bush the worst president in U.S. history. In a public opinion poll, 58 percent said they see Bush as below average, the worst assessment given to a president among the four recent leaders, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, and "W" himself.

▲イラクまで行かなくても、米国内でもブッシュさんの威信は落ちた。米国の歴史家のネット投票では98%が「失敗した大統領」と認定し、61%が「史上最悪の大統領」と酷評した。世論調査では「平均以下」とみなす人が58%で、レーガン以降の4人の大統領で最低の評価だ

Bush's admission that "The biggest regret of his presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq" was shocking. At the eleventh hour, he laments that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. Why tell us now that he was "unprepared for war?"

▲本人が「任期中で最大の後悔はイラクの情報の誤りだ」とテレビで語ったのにも驚いた。イラク開戦の理由にした大量破壊兵器が存在しなかったことを最後になって悔やむ。「戦争の用意が私にはできていなかった」などと今さら、何をいうのだろう。

The eight-year Bush era comes to an end with a sigh of regret and relief. ("Yoroku," a front-page column in the Mainichi Shimbun)

8年間のブッシュ時代が終わる。ため息とともに。

毎日新聞 20081221日 東京朝刊

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月例経済報告 景気「悪化」はすでに深刻だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 23, 2008)

'Worsening' economy already bad enough

月例経済報告 景気「悪化」はすでに深刻だ(1223日付・読売社説)

The government has, at last, explicitly admitted that the nation's economy is "worsening."

 景気が「悪化」していることを、政府がやっと明確に認めた。

In the monthly economic report for December, the government lowered its assessment of the economy for the third consecutive month, saying it was "worsening," after stating in last month's report that the economy "has weakened further." It was the first time in nearly seven years that such serious language as "worsening" appeared in the government's economic assessment reports.

 12月の月例経済報告は景気認識を前月の「弱まっている」から「悪化している」に下方修正した。「悪化」という厳しい表現が登場するのは、ほぼ7年ぶりである。

The report was the seventh downgrading in monthly assessment this year and indicates nothing less than an accelerating day-to-day deterioration of the economy.

 下方修正は今年7回目で、10月から3か月連続だ。景気の落ち込みが、日を追うごとに加速しているためにほかならない。

Due to large-scale reductions in production in such export industries as automobiles and electrical appliances, many workers are losing their jobs. Even profitable companies are being driven under due to tightened lending.

 自動車や電機など輸出産業の大規模な減産で雇用契約を打ち切られ、職を失う労働者が相次いでいる。金融が目詰まりを起こし、黒字の企業でさえ倒産に追い込まれている。

Following the government's announcement of measures to boost the economy and secure employment, the Bank of Japan lowered its key interest rate to near zero and moved to take what was, in effect, a quantitative monetary easing policy. The government and the central bank finally seem to be taking the crisis seriously and enacting policy measures to address the situation.

 政府の景気・雇用対策に続き、日銀も「ほぼゼロ」に利下げし、実質的な金融の量的緩和に舵(かじ)を切った。政府・日銀の政策対応に、やっと本腰が入ってきた。

===

Further action needed

But that is not enough for us to feel relieved. The government must hurry to enact a second supplementary budget. It also should take whatever steps are necessary in a prompt fashion, closely watching economic trends and shaping effective fiscal and monetary policies.

 だが安心はできない。まずは第2次補正予算の成立を急がねばならない。さらに、景気動向に目をこらして、効果的な財政・金融政策を探り、必要な手を迅速に打つべきだ。

Sluggishness in the corporate sector is serious. In the six monthly reports for the second half of the year, assessment of the three key categories of production, exports and business confidence were each downgraded three times.

 企業部門の不振は深刻だ。下半期の月例報告6回のうち、生産、輸出、業況判断の3項目は、それぞれ3回も下方修正された。

The corporate business slump is having a negative effect on the employment situation. The December report said the situation is "rapidly worsening," a more severe assessment than the previous monthly report that said it was "worsening." Consumer spending, which stayed "flat," likely will begin to decline if things continue on their present course.

 企業の不調は雇用に響き、12月は前月の「悪化しつつある」から「急速に悪化しつつある」へと厳しさを増した。「横ばい」に踏みとどまってきた個人消費も、このままだと減少に転じそうだ。

The Japanese economy, which initially had been seen as being less affected by the financial crisis than the United States and European nations, tumbled suddenly, probably because Japanese companies were not as strong as previously thought.

 欧米より金融危機のキズが浅いとされていた日本経済が、あっという間に腰砕けになったのは、日本企業の基礎体力が、思ったほど強くなかったためだろう。

===

Even mighty have fallen

Toyota Motor Corp., which had seemed invincible and posted more than 2 trillion yen in operating profits last fiscal year, now expects an operating loss of 150 billion yen this fiscal year.

 前年度に2兆円を超える営業利益をあげ、「無敵」と言われたトヨタ自動車が、今年度は1500億円の営業赤字に転落する。

Toyota is not alone in facing the negative effects of a profit structure that relied primarily on external demand--particularly that of the U.S. and European markets.

 外需依存、それも欧米市場に偏った収益構造が裏目に出たのは、トヨタに限った話ではない。

Obviously restoring business performance is the top priority for corporate management, but companies also must gain some perspective on the need to balance profit structure and improve their stamina to cope with changes in circumstances.

 業績回復が経営の最優先課題なのは言うまでもないが、収益のバランスを見直し、環境変化への耐久力を高める視点も必要だ。

Some people may see the government's assessment of the "worsening" economy too late. Many observers in the private sector realized the economy had entered a recession by early in the year.

 政府の景気悪化判断を、「今さら」と感じる向きも少なくないだろう。民間では、今年初めまでに後退していたとの見方が多い。

We wonder if the government was primarily concerned with the political situations in its reluctance to officially declare that the economy is deteriorating for about a year since the beginning of the present economic downturn.

 景気後退から1年近く「悪化」を公言できなかったのは、政治状況に配慮したためなのか。

It was particularly hard to understand the October assessment that said the economy "has weakened further," a downward assessment from just "weakening" in the previous month report. We consider it of little use to have such "monthly literature" that uses vague expressions with subtle differences of language in assessing the economy.

 「弱含んでいる」から「弱まっている」に変更した10月の判断は特にわかりにくかった。微妙な言い回しで認識をあいまいに語る「月例文学」は必要ない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 23, 2008)

200812230141  読売新聞)

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2008年12月22日 (月)

日銀も利下げ―資金が回るよう全力で

2008/12/22

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 20(IHT/Asahi: December 22,2008)

EDITORIAL: BOJ rate cut reasonable

日銀も利下げ―資金が回るよう全力で

The Bank of Japan on Friday lowered its benchmark interest rate from 0.3 percent to 0.1 percent. This is a reasonable policy decision given the current economic situation.

 日本銀行が政策金利を0.3%から0.1%へと引き下げた。この決定はまずは妥当だといえよう。 

The BOJ's latest Tankan quarterly business confidence survey indicated economic conditions are deteriorating faster than at any time since the first oil crisis.

 日銀が先にまとめた企業短期経済観測調査(短観)でも、景気が第1次石油危機以来の急スピードで降下していることがはっきりした。

Moreover, the U.S. Federal Reserve has recently cut its target interest rate to virtually zero and turned to an unconventional approach known as "quantitative easing."

さらに、米国が史上初となる事実上のゼロ金利と量的緩和政策に踏み切った。

The Fed's move, which pushed down interest rates in the United States below those in Japan, increased the risk that the dollar, already trading below 90 yen, could drop further against the yen.

日米金利が逆転して、すでに90円を突破している為替相場がさらに円高へ振れるリスクも膨らんでいる。 

The BOJ's rate cut is unlikely to be a very effective solution to the problem of the yen's unwanted strength. What is happening now is more the weakening of the dollar than the strengthening of the yen.

 円高対策としては、利下げの効果はそう大きいとは思えない。いま起きているのは円高ではなく、ドル安だ。

If speculative sales of the dollar grow uncontrolled to an alarming level, the Japanese government should step into the currency market together with the U.S. and other major economies in a concerted and determined attempt to rein in such speculation.

したがって、無秩序なドル売りが広がるようなら、政府は米国などと協調して為替市場に介入し、投機的な動きを断固として抑える覚悟が必要だ。 

The BOJ was cautious about a further rate cut because of the fear that lowering the target rate for overnight lending to near zero would hinder the money market from functioning properly.

 日銀はこれ以上金利を下げると短期金融市場の機能を低下させ逆効果だとして、慎重だった。

The central bank's concern probably explains why it reduced the rate to 0.1 percent instead of down to zero. Now, the BOJ's policy priority should be on supporting the credit markets where companies raise funds.

それが、いきなりゼロ金利にせず、0.1%ながらプラスを維持した理由だろう。今後は、企業が資金を調達する金融市場へのテコ入れ策がますます重要になる。 

To do so, the BOJ has launched a new, temporary program to buy commercial paper, a critical short-term debt instrument for businesses.

 そこで日銀は、企業が短期の資金繰りのために発行するコマーシャルペーパー(CP)を買い入れることにも時限的に踏み切った。

The bank has also suggested it may expand this program to cover a broader range of financial instruments used for corporate financing.

企業金融にかかわるCP以外の金融商品へも対象を広げる構えだ。

In a way, the BOJ has embarked on de-facto quantitative easing while keeping the interest rate above zero.

プラス金利を維持したまま量的緩和政策に踏み出した、ともいえる。

We applaud this decision, which represents a bold departure from the BOJ's previous refusal to go beyond accepting commercial paper as collateral for lending to commercial banks.

これまではCPなどを担保に銀行へ融資する範囲にとどまっていた。この決定も大いに評価したい。 

It is extremely unusual for the central bank, whose primary mission is to keep the value of the nation's currency stable, to buy debt instruments like commercial paper, a step that exposes the bank to the risk of corporate bankruptcies. Not surprisingly, the BOJ characterized the program as a temporary measure in response to the serious economic crisis.

 通貨価値の安定を最優先しなければならない日銀が、企業の倒産リスクを覚悟する形でCPなどを買い切るのは極めて異例である。深刻な危機を受けた時限措置としたのも当然だ。 

Should the corporate issuers of commercial paper and other debt securities bought by the BOJ actually go under, however, the central bank's balance sheet would be damaged. The kind of risk the BOJ is now taking on became reality when Yamaichi Securities Co. collapsed in 1997 after receiving emergency relief loans from the central bank.

 ただし、万が一にも倒産リスクが現実のものになった場合は、日銀の財務基盤が傷つく。似た例は、97年に破綻(はたん)した山一証券への特別融資でも起きた。

Back then, the BOJ prevented damage to its balance sheet by reducing the money it paid into state coffers from its profits by the amount of the soured loans to Yamaichi.

このときは、日銀が利益から国庫に納付する金額を、焦げ付いた金額だけ減らして解決した。 

The BOJ's plan to buy commercial paper and other debt securities will not produce the expected effects without government cooperation. The government should create a scheme to cover the losses the BOJ suffers from defaults with public funds to preserve confidence in the central bank.

 今回も、政府との協力なくしては、思い切った効果を発揮できない。焦げ付いたら財政で負担し、日銀への信頼性を保つ仕組みを設けるべきだ。 

At the same time, confidence in the BOJ's independence is also a crucial foundation for effective policy efforts.

 同時に、日銀の独立性への信頼も欠かせぬ基盤である。

Some Cabinet members had made remarks apparently intended to put pressure on the BOJ to cut the rate. But the government would be better advised to avoid any act that could undermine the BOJ's independence.

今週、日銀へ利下げを促すような発言が閣僚たちから相次いだが、日銀の独立を傷つけかねない行為は慎んだ方がいい。 

The central banks of Japan and the United States have started moving toward employing all policy tools available to deal with the economic downturn. They have apparently no other choice if they are to make effective policy responses to the ongoing crisis.

 日本と米国の中央銀行はともに、考えられる政策を総動員する方向へ踏み出した。当座の危機をしのぐために避けられない選択といえる。 

That, however, doesn't change the fact that they are taking drastic, potentially risky steps that will plant seeds of excessive liquidity, which could lead to inflation or another financial bubble in the future.

 だが、これにより生み出される過剰流動性の種が、将来のインフレやバブルを生む危険を伴う劇薬であることも事実だ。

The monetary authorities have a duty to map out a viable exit strategy for this unprecedented monetary expansion.

未到の政策の出口をどう構想するか。これも当局の重要な責任だ。

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雇用危機―政治があまりに遠い

2008/12/22

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 20(IHT/Asahi: December 22,2008)

EDITORIAL: Get moving on job crisis

雇用危機―政治があまりに遠い

We are in the middle of a recessionary blizzard as the year approaches the finish line in just over a week. Some people who have suddenly been sacked are now homeless and living on the streets. Once the government and business offices close for the holidays on Dec. 27, they will not open again until Jan. 5. In the meantime, how are these suddenly jobless and homeless people supposed to survive the freezing nights? How are they to feed themselves? There must be more than a few people feeling desperate.

 不況風が吹きすさぶなかで、年末まで残すところ10日あまり。突然の解雇や派遣切りで職と住まいを追われた人々が、街に放り出されている。 

 27日の土曜日から年末年始の休みに入れば、役所や企業などが動き出すのは新年5日の月曜日だ。その間、凍える夜をどう明かし、食いつなげばいいのか。目の前が真っ暗になる思いの人たちも少なくないに違いない。 

With a third of its work force hired as irregular employees, this recession has hit Japan's new labor environment hard. Companies view such employees as adjustment valves, and fire them with little thought. In such an environment, an economic downturn has an immediate and major impact on employment as has never been seen before.

 今回の不況は、働く人の3人に1人が非正規労働者という、新しい雇用環境にある日本社会を直撃した。企業はこうした人々を調整弁と見て、いとも簡単に切る。不景気があっという間に雇用に大きな影響を及ぼす。そのスピードの速さは、これまで経験したことのないものだ。 

This is where politicians have to step in and react quickly. However, the parties are playing out a political farce within the Diet that seems devoid of a sense of crisis.

 政治の機敏な対応が求められている。だが、国会で繰り広げられている与野党のどたばた劇は、そうした切迫感、危機感があまりに乏しい。 

Three opposition parties, including Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), have submitted and passed an emergency employment bill in the Upper House, but amazingly, Prime Minister Taro Aso and the ruling coalition are bent on burying this in the Lower House.

 あきれるのは、民主党など野党3党が出し、参院で可決された緊急の雇用対策法案を、衆院で葬ろうとする首相や与党の姿勢である。 

Many features of the bill are similar to what the government has already proposed, like making public housing and financial aid available to those who've lost their jobs and homes.

 法案の中身は、職と住まいを失った人への公的な住宅の提供や支援金の支給など、政府が発表している案と重なるものが多い。 

The ruling parties brush off the bill as "opposition grandstanding."

 与党は「野党のパフォーマンス」と決めつける。

They probably want to say, why not wait until the new year when the regular session of the Diet is scheduled to pass the second supplementary budget bill that includes employment security measures.

年明けの通常国会で雇用対策などを盛った第2次補正予算案を成立させるのだから、それを待てばいいではないか、と言いたいのだろう。 

Granted, the opposition is indeed maneuvering with tactical objectives in sight, intent on underscoring the ineptness of the Aso administration which has already postponed submission of the second supplementary budget bill to the Diet. The opposition has also been rash in forcing a vote within the Upper House without sufficient debate.

 確かに、2次補正などを先送りした麻生政権の無策ぶりを印象づけようという、戦術的な狙いが野党側にあるのは間違いない。十分な審議をせずに採決を強行した乱暴さもある。 

However, the important thing here is speed and the ability to move with alacrity to implement security measures so that the newly jobless can receive relief quickly. Even if you have a plan, it will not be ready for the holiday season if it needs legislation or budget appropriations. The opposition's criticism is on the mark here.

 それでも、大事なのは対策を実行に移すスピードであり、職を失った人々に早く手当てが届くことだ。いくら案はあっても立法や予算措置が必要なら、年末年始には間に合わない。そんな野党の批判は的を射ている。 

We find it hard to understand why the prime minister refused to accept Minshuto's call for a meeting of the two party's leaders. In a crisis situation of such proportions, shouldn't the leaders of the two major parties meet and talk, and if necessary, revise the bill so as to implement measures quickly? Minshuto leader Ichiro Ozawa also could have demonstrated his determination by holding a news conference to call for a summit meeting.

 民主党の求めた党首会談を首相が拒んだのは解せない。これだけの緊急事態なのだから、2大政党の党首が話し合い、必要なら法案の修正をしてでも対策を急ぐべきではないのか。民主党の小沢代表も、自ら記者会見して党首会談を呼びかけるほどの真剣さをもっと出せなかったか。 

On Friday, Aso visited a public job center "Hello Work" in Shibuya, Tokyo. There he talked to a man looking for a job and said to him, "Unless you know what you want to do, an employer will find it hard to be interested in you."

 首相はきのう東京・渋谷のハローワークを視察し、求職者に「これをやりたいという目的意識がないと、雇う方もなかなかその気にならない」と語りかけた。

The prime minister was probably trying to be helpful and to give sound advice, but we wonder if his words really made a real impression upon the job-seeker. The public is not looking for its prime minister to be a job counselor.

励ましのつもりかもしれないが、求職者の心に本当に響く言葉だっただろうか。国民が首相に期待するのは就職相談員の役割ではあるまい。 

There are still a few more days until the current Diet session closes.

 国会の会期切れまでまだ6日ある。

We urge the prime minister to forego his holidays. He should seek cooperation from the opposition parties and promote whatever legislation is necessary for emergency job security measures.

首相は休日を返上してでも野党に協力を求め、緊急の雇用対策に必要な立法を実現したらどうか。

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発信箱:君の名は=福本容子

(Mainichi Japan) December 22, 2008

Banking blues: What's In a Name?

発信箱:君の名は=福本容子


Collapsing American banks continue to make the news. Just the other day in the Mainichi Shimbun, there was an article about a local bank in Georgia, the 24th bank bankruptcy in the country.

 アメリカでは、まだまだ銀行倒産が続く。先日、本紙にジョージア州の地銀破綻(はたん)の記事があった。全米で今年24件目らしい。

The name of the bank, the article said, was "Hebun torasuto banku," or what looked to me like "Heaven Trust Bank." Heaven?! Then I realized that it's meant to be a transliteration of "Haven."

 その名は「ヘブン・トラスト・バンク」。天国信託銀行? 倒産じゃしゃれにならないよ、と思ったら、Heavenではなく避難所のHavenだった。

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) website posts a list of failed banks, and there are some ironic names in the mix. A few examples include the Freedom Bank, the Integrity Bank, and the Reliance Bank.

 米連邦預金保険公社のホームページには、こうした破綻銀行の一覧がある。皮肉な名前はやはりあった。「フリーダム・バンク(自由銀行)」「インテグリティ・バンク(正直銀行)」「リライアンス・バンク(信頼銀行)」などなどだ。

Japan has a bitter past, too. There was the Kofuku Bank ("Happiness Bank"), and the Anzen Shinyo Kumiai ("Safety Credit Union"), both of which collapsed after the bubble burst. Midori Bank ("Green Bank") sank into the red and flopped. Bank after bank returned to square one, as they were taken over or merged with other banks.

 日本にも悲しい過去がある。幸福銀行に安全信用組合。ともにバブル崩壊後、破綻した。みどり銀行も赤字に転じ、その後、破綻。受け皿銀行に引き継がれたり、どこかと合併したり、で再出発する例が相次いだ。

What troubled these banks in starting over was their name. Fruit and plant names were popular as being familiar and innocuous, but most had already been trademarked. "Apples and strawberries are sold out. The only thing left is Chinese cabbage," some complained.

 その際、結構、悩みの種となったのが新銀行名だ。親しみやすく無難、ということで、果物や植物の人気が高かったけれど、たいていは商標登録済み。「リンゴもイチゴも売り切れ。あとは白菜くらいか」なんてぼやきも聞いた。

With the flagging economy and financial crisis, banks have grown reluctant to issue loans, which poses a huge problem for businesses. "If the current cash-flow problem continues, everyone's going to have to file for black-ink bankruptcy," lamented the president of one small business in a television interview.

 金融危機、景気後退で、貸し渋りがまた深刻になっている。「資金繰りが厳しくて、このままじゃみんな黒字倒産だ」と中小企業の社長さんがテレビのインタビューで訴えていた。

What's the point of a bank or credit union if they are unwilling to lend and unwilling to trust? Rumors are going around that the Financial Services Agency is considering instituting a policy that will force financial institutions failing to fulfill their roles to change their names: Reluctance Bank, Non-Trust Credit Union, Withdrawal Financial Group, Cheap Funds... (By Yoko Fukumoto, Economic News Department)

 銀行とか信用組合の名を掲げるものが、お金を貸さない、誰も信用しない、では存在する意味がない。役目を果たさない金融機関は、強制的に政府が名前を変える。しぶり銀行、信用しない組合、はがし・フィナンシャルグループ、ケッチ・ファンド……。金融庁が検討に入った、とか入らないとか。(経済部)

毎日新聞 20081219日 東京朝刊

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テスト結果公表 学力向上に正面から取り組め

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 22, 2008)

Take direct approach for better schools

テスト結果公表 学力向上に正面から取り組め(1222日付・読売社説)

An Education, Science and Technology Ministry panel of experts has recently concluded that the policy on disclosing the results of nationwide academic achievement tests should remain as it has been for the previous two years.

 全国学力テストの結果公表については、来年以降も過去2年間と同じ方針で臨むべきだ――。

However, we cannot help but harbor reservations about the panel's opinion.

そう結論づけた文部科学省の専門家会議の見解には疑問をぬぐえない。

This year some of the municipal-level comparative data from the examination was disclosed in Osaka and Akita prefectures, while data on individual schools was disclosed in Nanbucho, Tottori Prefecture. In light of such situations, the ministry asked the panel tasked with analyzing the results of the nationwide academic achievement test to reexamine the way the results are disclosed.

 大阪府と秋田県は今年、情報公開請求に市町村別の結果を部分公開し、鳥取県南部町は学校別の結果を開示した。こうした事態を受け、文科省が専門家会議に公表方法の再検討を求めていた。

The ministry will soon compile guidelines for next year's test in line with the panel's suggestions.

 この結論に沿う形で、文科省は近く実施要領をまとめる。

The national academic achievement test was resumed last year for the first time in 43 years, with sixth-grade primary school students and third-year middle school students being tested on arithmetic, math and Japanese.

 テストは昨年、43年ぶりに復活し、全国の小学6年生と中学3年生を対象に、算数・数学と国語で実施されている。

According to the current guidelines, municipal boards of eduction can disclose data from the tests about the board's schools as a group, and primary and middle schools can disclose data about themselves. However, prefectural boards of education should not disclose data comparing municipalities or individual schools, and the municipal boards of education should not disclose school-by-school comparative data.

 これまでの実施要領では、結果については、市町村教育委員会は自らの市町村分を、学校は自校分を公表できるが、都道府県教委は市町村・学校別を、市町村教委は学校別を公表できない。

This measure is intended to prevent excessive competition among students and the ranking of municipalities and schools.

 過度の競争や市町村・学校の序列化を防ぐため、という。

===

Breaking the rules

In the aforementioned cases of data disclosure that violated the guidelines, the intent was to instill a sense of competition and intensity in teachers and schools so that they would try harder to improve students' scholastic performances.

 これに対し、独自公表が相次ぐ背景には教育現場に競争意識と緊張感を持たせ、学力向上に取り組ませようとする狙いがある。


This indicates that some prefectures and municipalities have a sense of crisis about the educational situation and do not trust some teachers and view them as lacking in skills. Building a relationship of trust among teachers, households and communities is vital and to do so it is necessary to share the examination results.

 それだけ教育の現状に危機感があるのだろう。指導力不足の教員などに対する不信感もあろう。教育現場と家庭、地域が信頼関係を築く必要がある。それには、テスト結果の共有が不可欠だ。

However, the ministry's panel of experts recommends giving prefectural boards of education a choice of whether to receive the municipal- and school-level data from the Education, Science and Technology Ministry, out of concern that the prefectural boards of education would have to disclose the results if they are asked to do so through freedom-of-information requests. If such information is provided to the prefectural governments' departments, the panel wants them to strictly adhere to the guidelines.

 ところが、専門家会議は、都道府県教委が情報公開請求を受けても開示せずに済むよう、文科省から市町村・学校別結果を受け取らないこともできることとした。知事部局などに情報を提供する場合も、実施要領の徹底を求めた。

===

Use data responsibly

Special attention should be paid to small schools with few students and municipalities with only one or two primary and middle schools. However, the nationwide academic achievement test may become meaningless if results of a municipality cannot be compared to its neighbors. Also, it may be difficult to motivate students.

 児童生徒数の少ない小規模校や市町村内に小中学校が1、2校しかない市町村には、配慮が必要だろう。だが、近隣市町村とも比較できなくては、全国テストの意義が薄れる。児童生徒の向上心も生まれにくいのではないか。

While obliging schools to be mindful of excessive competition, Tottori Prefecture revised its information disclosure ordinance to allow disclosure of the results of the nationwide achievement tests by schools, except small schools.

 鳥取県は、小規模校を除き、過度の競争などに配慮する義務を課した上で学校別結果も開示できるよう情報公開条例を改正した。

Fundamentally speaking, information disclosure requests about the academic achievement test are not appropriate.

 だが、情報公開請求と学力テストは本来、なじまない問題だ。

Data, including the average percentage of correct answers, are valuable in reflecting the current state of student performance. Such information will be meaningful if prefectural boards of education release it in a responsible way, along with measures to improve performance.

 平均正答率などは学力の現状を映し出す貴重なデータだ。都道府県教委が責任を持って対策とともに公表してこそ、意味を持つ。

Analyzing the causes of poor results at a municipal and school level and seeking understanding and cooperation from parents and community residents is important. At the same time, data disclosure will help improve education policies, through more appropriate budgets and allowances for teachers.

 結果の芳しくない市町村や学校の原因を分析し、保護者や地域住民に理解と協力を求める。同時に、予算や教員の手当てなど教育施策の改善につなげていく。

It is important to tackle head-on the need to improve scholastic performance.

 そうした学力向上に正面から取り組む姿勢が欠かせまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 22, 2008)

200812220120  読売新聞)

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2008年12月21日 (日)

社説:雇用崩壊 一体政治は何をしているんだ

(Mainichi Japan) December 21, 2008

Politicians should not turn deaf ear to desperate cries of unemployed

社説:雇用崩壊 一体政治は何をしているんだ

An unemployment crisis is blowing violently through the Japanese archipelago. Many temporary workers have lost their jobs, their contracts suddenly terminated. Worse still, many have been thrown out into the cold with no place to live. The alarming scramble for personnel cuts by automakers and other large corporations who in the past had been Japanese economic leaders is unprecedented.

 師走の日本列島に雇用破壊の嵐が吹き荒れている。多くの派遣社員や期間従業員が契約を突然打ち切られ、仕事を失っている。職場ばかりか、住む所までも奪われ、寒空に放り出されていく。自動車メーカーをはじめ、日本経済をけん引してきた大企業が一斉に人員削減に走る姿はかつてなかった異様な光景だ。

Nissan Motor Co. announced that it would terminate all contracts with temporary workers by the end of March 2009. Fears have spread among the public as many automakers including Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. have revealed plans to drastically downsize their workforce, and layoffs that initially only swept through the ranks of temporary workers have begun to affect full-time employees. The wave has reached affiliate companies and contractors, and the future course is still unpredictable.

 日産自動車がすべての派遣社員の契約を来年3月末までに打ち切ると発表した。トヨタ自動車やホンダをはじめ多くの自動車メーカーなども大幅な人員削減を打ち出し、社会不安が広がっている。非正規社員から始まったリストラの波は正社員にまで及び始めた。すでに系列や下請けに波及しており、どこまで拡大するかは予断を許さない。

"How am I supposed to live?"

 「暮らしていけない」


"I can't find a job."

「次の仕事がない」。

No politician can be deaf to these desperate voices of the unemployed. It is the role of politics to provide relief to people whose jobs have been taken away from them as a result of their employers' circumstances, but the political response has been slow in coming. Many are angry and distressed: "What in the world are politicians doing at a time like this?"

こうした失業者の悲痛な声が聞こえない政治家はいないはずだ。暮らしの糧としてきた仕事を会社の都合で打ち切られた人たちを救済するのは政治の仕事であるのに、動きは鈍い。「こんな時に政治は何をやっているのか」。多くの人が怒り、そして悲嘆にくれている。

A House of Councillors plenary session has passed an employment related bill submitted by the three opposition parties -- the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the Social Democratic Party, and the People's New Party. Members of the ruling coalition, the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, which plan to submit a supplementary budget at the regular session of the Diet next year opposed the move, saying, "The bill only suggests everything that the government is already trying to do. It's an attempt by the DPJ to create an alibi."

 参院厚生労働委員会では18日、民主、社民、国民新の野党3党が共同提出した雇用対策関連法案が可決された。雇用対策を盛り込んだ2次補正予算案を来年の通常国会に出すことを決めている自民、公明党は「(法案の中身は)すべて政府がやろうとしている。民主党のアリバイ作りだ」などとして採決に反対した。相も変わらぬ光景だが、これを見せられる国民はたまったものではない。

Indeed, parts of the bill drafted by the three opposition parties do overlap with the ruling coalition's plans. What is important in the short time remaining in the current session of the Diet is to reach an agreement on an employment strategy and have it administered. Emergency loans and residential aid for people who have lost their livelihoods should be put into place immediately. The issue should not be left for the next regular Diet session. The lives of the unemployed rest on the shoulders of the ruling coalition and opposition parties.

 野党3党案は与党案と重複した内容もある。国会の会期は残り少ないが、必要なのは早急に雇用対策で合意を形成して実行に移すことだ。与野党の肩には失業者の暮らしがかかっている。直ちに議論を始め、法案の成立を図ってもらいたい。生活ができないという失業者への生活支援金貸与や住宅対策はすぐにでも行うべきだ。雇用対策を来年の通常国会に先送りにしてはならない。

In addition to a response to the immediate employment crisis, there's an urgent need for a fundamental re-examination of the Worker Dispatch Law. Most of the recent payroll cuts have taken place in the manufacturing industry, where a ban on temporary workers was lifted in 2004, leading to a shift of its workforce from full-time employees to temporary workers. As a result, when the economy suffers, temporary workers are dismissed without a second thought. Anyone can see now that non-full-time employees are considered disposable labor.

 当面の雇用対策に加え、労働者派遣法を抜本的に見直すことも緊急の課題だ。今回、人員削減が激しく行われているのは主に製造業だ。派遣法改正によって、04年に製造業派遣が解禁されて以降、もの作りの現場で正社員から派遣への切り替えが進んだ。しかし、不況となれば非正規社員は真っ先に解約され、ポイと捨てられた。非正規社員は「使い捨て」労働者だったことが、だれの目にも明らかになった。

There have been increasing calls to ban temporary workers in manufacturing. Although an amendment to the Worker Dispatch Law banning daily hires has been submitted to the Diet, this is not enough. It is time for a comprehensive reassessment of the Worker Dispatch Law, including the possibility of prohibiting temporary workers in the manufacturing industry and a discussion of the pros and cons of the registration-based worker dispatch system.

 製造業派遣を再び禁止すべきだという意見も強くなっている。現在、国会には日雇い派遣を原則禁止とする派遣法改正案が提出されているが、これでは不十分だ。製造業派遣の禁止や登録型派遣の是非をも含めて、派遣法を全面的に見直す時がきている。


毎日新聞 20081219日 東京朝刊

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09年度予算 埋蔵金と赤字国債が頼りとは

Budget cooked up with buried treasure, bonds

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 21, 2008)

09年度予算 埋蔵金と赤字国債が頼りとは(1221日付・読売社説)

Government spending must increase to prop up the economy and cover swelling social security costs, but tax revenues are forecast to drop substantially. In the teeth of the global financial crisis, the compilation of the fiscal 2009 budget was unusually difficult, given these two situations.

 景気下支えや膨らむ社会保障費の手当てのため出費は増える。一方で税収は大幅に減少する。金融危機の直撃を受けた予算編成は、例年にない厳しいものになった。

The general account budget for fiscal 2009 proposed Saturday by the Finance Ministry totals 88.5 trillion yen, up 5.5 trillion yen from the initial fiscal 2008 budget. The budget has ballooned to a record size as it sets aside 2.3 trillion yen to raise the government's contribution to the nation's basic pension program from the current one-third to half from April and 1 trillion yen in special emergency reserves to cope with any further deterioration of the economy.

 2009年度予算の財務省原案は、一般会計の歳出総額が88・5兆円と、08年度当初予算に比べ5・5兆円増える。基礎年金の国庫負担増加分や、景気対策の予備費1兆円などを計上したことで、過去最大を記録する。

 ◆国債発行額は33兆円◆

By contrast, tax revenues in fiscal 2009 are estimated to fall to about 46 trillion yen, more than 7 trillion yen lower than the amount projected in the initial fiscal 2008 budget, due to a drop in corporate tax revenues resulting from worsening business performances. The fiscal 2008 tax revenues projection was revised downward by 7 trillion yen in the second supplementary budget, and the ministry's draft budget is based on the assumption that this declining trend will continue in fiscal 2009.

 逆に税収は、企業業績の悪化による法人税の落ち込みなどで約46兆円にとどまる。今年度当初予算より7兆円以上も少ない。

 08年度予算の第2次補正で、税収が7兆円減額修正され、その傾向が09年度も続くと想定した。

As a result, new government bond issuances in fiscal 2009 will climb to 33.3 trillion yen, up about 8 trillion yen from the initial fiscal 2008 budget, breaking the 30 trillion yen mark for the first time in four years. Funds raised by the bond issuances will account for nearly 40 percent of total revenues next fiscal year.

 この結果、国債の発行額は、08年度当初予算を約8兆円上回る33・3兆円となり、4年ぶりに30兆円の大台を超える。歳入に占める国債比率は4割に近づいた。

The government has set a goal of achieving a surplus in the primary balance of central and local governments in fiscal 2011. However, the expected sharp increase in the fiscal deficit has made it virtually impossible to attain this goal.

 政府は、国と地方の基礎的財政収支(プライマリーバランス)を11年度に黒字化する目標を立てている。今回、財政赤字が一気に拡大し、目標達成は事実上不可能になったといえよう。

Given this, it is no longer necessary to stick to the goal. The targeted fiscal year should be postponed.

 これ以上、その目標にこだわる必要はあるまい。達成年度を先送りしてしかるべきだ。

However, this does not mean that the massive fiscal deficit should be left unaddressed. It might be admissible to try to muddle through the present difficulties with new bond issuances, but the goal of tackling fiscal reconstruction by securing stable financial sources itself must not be abandoned.

 だが、巨額な財政赤字を放置しておいて構わないということではない。当面は国債発行でしのぐとしても、いずれ安定財源を確保し、財政再建に取り組むとの目標まで失ってはいけない。

===

Sales tax hike inevitable

It is, therefore, obvious that there is no choice but to rely on the consumption tax to stabilize the nation's finances. In light of the current faltering economy, now is not the time to raise the consumption tax. But discussions over doing just that should start now. An environment needs to be created to ensure that the tax can be hiked swiftly when the economy recovers.

 その場合、消費税に頼らざるを得ないのは明白だ。景気の動きを見れば、消費税率を直ちに引き上げる状況にはない。だが、今から議論を進め、景気回復後に速やかに引き上げが実現できるよう環境を整えておく必要がある。

Tax reform proposals for fiscal 2009 that were presented by the ruling coalition earlier this month did not mention when and by how much the consumption tax should be raised. The government and ruling parties should clarify the timing of the tax hike in the midterm program for tax reform that they will soon compile, if not earlier.

 その点、与党の来年度税制改正大綱は消費税率引き上げの時期や幅に触れなかったが、政府・与党が近くまとめる中期プログラムでは、せめて税率引き上げの時期を明確にすべきだ。


 ◆目立つ埋蔵金の流用◆

What is conspicuous in the series of budgets compiled recently is the tapping of surplus funds in special accounts, dubbed "buried treasure." For the second supplementary budget for the current fiscal year, which was approved by the Cabinet on Saturday, 4 trillion yen will be diverted from the reserves. In addition, more than 4 trillion yen from the reserves will be appropriated for the fiscal 2009 budget under the ministry's proposal. It appears the reserves will also be counted on for the fiscal 2010 budget.

 一連の予算編成で目立つのは、「埋蔵金」の流用だ。まず、今年度の第2次補正予算に4兆円投入する。09年度予算にも4兆円以上つぎ込む。さらに10年度予算でもあてにされている。

The reserves will be used to fund the fixed-amount benefit plan, the centerpiece of the government's economic stimulus package, and to offset the increased financial burden the state will shoulder in fiscal 2009 and 2010 as a result of the government's contribution to the nation's basic pension program being raised. They also will be used to increase central government tax revenues allocated to local governments.

 景気対策の目玉とされる定額給付金や、基礎年金の国庫負担増に伴う09、10年度の2年分の財源になる。地方交付税の積み増しなどにも使われる。

Most of the buried treasure is reserve funds and annual surpluses in the Fiscal Investment and Loan Program Special Account. The reserve funds are projected to total about 10 trillion yen as of the end of the current fiscal year. The surpluses arise from the differential between the high interest rate applied to loans extended by the government in the past and the current low interest rate on funds the government procures. The surpluses are expected to total about 2 trillion yen in the current fiscal year and nearly the same amount in the next fiscal year.

 埋蔵金の大半は、財政投融資特別会計の積立金と毎年の余剰分だ。積立金は今年度末で約10兆円とされる。余剰分は、過去の高い貸付金利と現在の低い調達金利の差で生じるもので、今年度に約2兆円、来年度もそれに近い額が見込まれている。

These funds are supposed to be used for funding the redemption of government bonds. Diverting it for other purposes is tantamount to issuing fresh deficit-covering bonds. This is permissible to a certain extent, but it should be stopped once the economy recovers.

 こうしたお金は本来、国債償還に回すべきものだ。流用は赤字国債の増発と変わらない。ある程度の流用は許容範囲だが、景気が回復すればすぐにやめるべきだ。

===

Road tax plan undermined

The ministry's budget proposal has effectively hamstrung a plan to allocate road-related tax revenues for general purposes, a focal point in the fiscal 2009 budget compilation.

 来年度予算の焦点の一つだった道路特定財源の一般財源化は、実質、骨抜きに終わった。

Under the proposal, 700 billion yen earmarked as a "temporary subsidy for regional road improvement" in the fiscal 2008 budget will be transformed into a "subsidy for creating the foundations for regional vitality," and the new subsidy, totaling 940 billion yen, will be distributed to local governments. About 80 percent of the amount will be used for road-related projects.

 今年度予算で7000億円計上された「地方道路整備臨時交付金」を、新設する「地域活力基盤創造交付金」に衣替えし、9400億円に増額して地方に配る。8割が道路整備に使われるという。

At the instruction of Prime Minister Taro Aso, central government tax revenues and other grants allocated to local governments were increased by nearly 1 trillion yen in total, to 16.6 trillion yen. At the local government level, there are still plentiful examples of wasteful expenditures that should be cut, such as the comparatively high salaries that public servants enjoy. Local governments must do more to rein in their spending.

 地方交付税等は、首相の指示で約1兆円近く増額され、16・6兆円となった。地方では公務員の割高な人件費など、まだ無駄な出費も多い。自治体は一段の歳出削減に取り組む必要がある。

In late July, the Cabinet approved budgetary request ceilings for the fiscal 2009 budget, in a bid to keep expenditures down.

 09年度予算では、歳出削減のための概算要求基準(シーリング)が7月末に決められた。

For social security spending, the budgetary request guideline set, as in previous years, a goal of curbing the projected natural increase in related costs by 220 billion yen annually. To achieve this goal, a plan to hike the tobacco tax was broached but shelved. Eventually, the ministry's draft budget managed to make this policy add up by eking out necessary funds from the buried treasure.

 社会保障費については、自然増分を2200億円抑制する例年通りの目標が課せられた。これをクリアするため、たばこ税の増税などが検討されたが、結局、埋蔵金などから財源をひねり出し、なんとかつじつまを合わせた。

However, the actual amount to be held down in the social security costs will only be about 20 billion yen in medical costs, achieved primarily by promoting low-priced generic drugs.

 だが、実際に歳出を抑制するのは、後発医薬品の利用促進による200億円余りにとどまった。

 ◆限界に来たシーリング◆

Problems have also emerged with other expenditure items. It is no longer logical to apply the ceiling system for budgetary requests. The government should consider using a new method for the fiscal 2010 budget compilation.

 そのほかの歳出項目でも、きしみが生じている。これ以上、シーリング方式を続けるのは無理だろう。10年度予算では新しい手法を考えるべきだ。

===

LDP idea worth studying

So what should be done? A set of proposals presented last year by the Liberal Democratic Party group studying fiscal reforms could be of some help. The group proposed that, first of all, the nation's budget be divided into two major categories: "social security" and "others."

 どうすればいいのか。自民党の財政改革研究会が昨年出した提言が参考になる。まず予算を、社会保障部門とその他部門に大きく2分割する。

Under the proposal, in the social security category, necessary increases to relieve concerns over people's livelihood are permissible, and revenues from the consumption tax, which will be transformed into a tax for social security purposes, will be used to secure financial sources for welfare in the future. Utmost efforts should be made to trim spending in the others category, according to the proposal.

 社会保障部門は、国民生活の不安解消のため、必要な伸びを認め、将来的には、社会保障目的税にする消費税で財源を確保する。その他部門は出来るだけスリム化を進めるというものだ。

In the others category, what is vital is a flexible approach--for example, allowing an increase in strategically important budgetary items, including official development assistance.

 その他部門では、政府開発援助(ODA)など、戦略上、重要な予算は増額を認めるなど、柔軟に対応する姿勢が肝要となろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 21, 2008)

200812210132  読売新聞)

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2008年12月20日 (土)

中国開放30年―待ったなしの政治改革

2008/12/20

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 19(IHT/Asahi: December 20,2008)

EDITORIAL: China's economic reform

中国開放30年―待ったなしの政治改革

The Communist Party of China, during a Central Committee plenary session Dec. 18-22, 1978, started a campaign to reform and open up the nation's economy.

 中国共産党が改革開放政策にかじを切ったのは、78年12月18日から22日に開いた第11期中央委員会第3回全体会議(3中全会)でのことだった。 

In the 30 years since then, China's gross domestic product has grown nearly seventyfold, and the country is on track this year to surpass Germany as the world's third-largest economy.

 それから30年。国内総生産(GDP)は70倍近くに増え、今年はドイツを抜いて世界3位になるのが確実だ。 

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday extolled the nation's economic progress during a ceremony held in the Great Hall of People to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the start of the reform. China "has used the reform and opening up as a powerful driving force to push through various undertakings and accomplished great achievements that claim the attention of the world," he said in his speech.

 「改革開放を強大な原動力として、様々な事業を推し進め、世界が注目する偉大な成果をあげた」 

 胡錦濤国家主席は18日、北京の人民大会堂での30周年記念大会で胸をはった。

This year's Beijing Summer Olympics, described as "a 100-year dream of the Chinese people," would not have taken place without the country's amazing economic growth.

「中華民族100年の夢」とされた北京五輪も、経済成長抜きではかなわなかったに違いない。

The Chinese media are also advertising the fruits of the 30 years of reform to audiences both at home and abroad.

中国メディアも30年の成果を内外にアピールする。 

The current economic situation, however, gives the nation little reason to be in a festive mood. The financial crisis that started in the United States is now threatening the well-being of China's 1.3 billion people.

 だが、現実はお祭りムードに浸っている余裕はない。米国に端を発した金融危機の津波が13億人の足元を脅かしているからだ。 

China's exports fell 2.2 percent in November from a year earlier, the first drop since the country joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. China's imports of materials and machinery also plunged during that month, raising concerns of a major downturn in future exports.

 輸出は11月、前年同月比で2.2%減った。01年に世界貿易機関(WTO)に加盟してから初めてのことだ。素材や機械の輸入も大幅に減り、将来の輸出減につながりかねない。 

In Guangdong and other provinces that have been on the leading edge of the country's economic reform, export-oriented companies are collapsing. A growing number of rural migrants working in large cities are losing their jobs and returning home, stoking fears about social unrest.

 改革開放の最先端を歩んできた広東省などでは輸出企業の閉鎖が相次ぐ。失業した出稼ぎ農民が帰郷を迫られ、社会不安の種が広がっている。 

The Chinese government has not been idle in the face of the deteriorating economic picture.

 その状況に、中国当局も手をこまぬいているわけではない。

Last month, the government announced a package of economic stimulus measures worth more than 54 trillion yen. At the annual Central Economic Work Conference early this month, officials reaffirmed the need for aggressive fiscal and monetary efforts to maintain economic growth by increasing domestic demand.

 54兆円を超える景気刺激策を先月、発表した。今月上旬に開かれた中央経済工作会議では、積極的な財政政策と金融緩和策をとり、内需拡大によって成長を保つことを確認している。 

This is the right response to the global economic downturn. Expanding domestic demand is also crucial for tackling the broad array of challenges confronting China, such as low productivity, environmental destruction and the miserable living standards of poverty-stricken farmers.

 世界同時不況のさなか、その判断は適切だろう。低い生産性や自然の荒廃、貧困に苦しむ農民の暮らしの向上のためにも内需の拡大が欠かせない。 

The international community hopes that China leads the world out of the recession as it has a great growth potential that can vastly improve Chinese living standards.

 国際社会もまた中国の国民生活の底上げによる成長の潜在力に、世界不況脱出の先導役を期待している。 

The question is whether the government can smoothly implement proposed measures. There are legitimate concerns that the growth-oriented economic policy will lead to more wasteful investments, environmental destruction and corruption concerning public works projects.

 問題は方針を円滑に実行できるかだ。成長優先策が、むだな投資や環境破壊、事業をめぐる汚職を広げる恐れがある。

In addition, China has yet to establish an effective system for the fair distribution of wealth among the people.

成長の恩恵が広く国民におよぶような公平な分配システムもまだ確立されていない。 

These problems can be explained by the fact that the reform has been carried out under the single-party rule by the Communists, who have not adequately responded to the views and opinions of a wide range of people.

 それもこれも、一党主導で改革開放が進められ、必ずしも幅広い民意をくんできたわけではないからだ。 

On Dec. 10, which marked the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a group of intellectuals and other critics of China's Communist rule published "Charter 08," a public appeal for democracy and human rights in the country, on the Internet.

Among the demands in the document was an end to the one-party rule. A growing number of prominent writers and human rights activists in and outside China are signing the document.

 そんな現状を憂慮した知識人らが世界人権宣言採択60周年にあたる12月10日、一党独裁の放棄などを求めた「2008年憲章」をネット上で発表した。著名な作家や人権活動家らの署名が内外に広がっている。 

Political reform is also vital in the Hu administration's efforts to create a "harmonious society." At the ceremony Thursday, Hu said that the reform-and-open program represents the third great revolution in China, following the Xinhai Revolution of 1911-1912, which overthrew the Qing dynasty, and the socialist revolution.

 胡錦濤体制が目指す、調和のとれた「和諧(わかい)社会」を実現するためにも、政治面での改革はなくてはならない。 

 「改革開放は、辛亥革命、社会主義革命に続く第三の偉大な革命だ」。胡氏は30周年記念大会でこう訴えた。

But the revolution will never be complete without significant progress in political reform.

しかし、政治改革で成果がなければ、革命いまだ成らずである。

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イラク撤収―多彩な外交への転機に

2008/12/20

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 19(IHT/Asahi: December 20,2008)

EDITORIAL: SDF ends mission in Iraq

イラク撤収―多彩な外交への転機に

The Self-Defense Forces completed their five-year mission in Iraq, with the last Air SDF transport plane returning to Japan.

 イラクで活動していた航空自衛隊の輸送機が日本への帰路につき、5年間に及んだ自衛隊派遣が終了した。 

Five years ago, then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who supported the Iraq war, virtually steamrolled the SDF dispatch at a time when public opinion was divided over the dispatch.

 派遣すべきか否か、国論は二分されたなか、イラク戦争を支持する小泉首相の強引ともいえる決断で決行された。

SDF troops devoted themselves to reconstruction work and transportation activities in the war-torn country. From time to time, transport planes sensed danger, prompting them to take emergency moves to escape to safety.

炎熱の地で、自衛隊員たちは復興支援や輸送活動に励んだ。 

 輸送機が危険を察知し、回避行動をとったこともしばしばだった。

Once, a roadside bomb exploded near a Ground SDF vehicle. It was fortunate that the SDF did not lose a single member.

陸上自衛隊の車両のそばで路肩爆弾が破裂したこともあった。隊員に1人の犠牲も出さなかったのは本当に幸いだった。 

Despite the fact that such countries as Germany and France did not take part in the war, and Spain and Italy withdrew their troops with a change in administrations, the SDF continued the mission. The Japanese government must want to stress this point as a great accomplishment.

 独仏などは参加せず、スペインやイタリアが政権交代で部隊を撤収させたにもかかわらず、自衛隊の活動をここまで続けたことが、政府にとっては何よりの成果ということなのだろう。 

But we should reflect on the situation.

 だが、この機に考えたい。 

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Japan has remained close to and followed the United States, including throughout the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 9・11テロに始まり、アフガニスタン戦争、イラク戦争と続いたこの7年余、日本はひたすら米国に寄り添い、付き従ってきた。

The SDF dispatch to Iraq was a symbol of such single-minded Japanese diplomacy.

イラクの自衛隊はそんな単線的な外交の象徴でもあった。 

But the results of the Iraq war were disastrous. Weapons of mass destruction, the supposed reason for starting the war, did not exist. After Iraq's dictatorship was overthrown, violence swept the country. The war, which started out as "a war on terror," had the opposite effect, adding momentum to and spreading terrorism.

 戦争の結果はさんざんだった。開戦の大義だった大量破壊兵器は存在せず、独裁者を打倒した後のイラクでは暴力が吹き荒れた。「テロとの戦い」のはずが、逆にテロを勢いづけ、拡散させてしまった。 


The task force on external relations, an advisory panel to the prime minister during the Koizumi administration, pointed out in a report released in 2002 before the attack on Iraq: "The U.S. spirit of tolerance for opposing views and values different from its own is getting weaker. As a result, the morality of U.S. diplomacy could weaken."

 小泉政権時代の首相の諮問機関である「対外関係タスクフォース」は、イラク攻撃前の02年の報告書で「米国は反対意見や異なる価値体系に対する寛容の精神が弱まりつつある。そのために米外交の道義性が弱まる可能性もある」と指摘した。

Unfortunately, that fear proved right.

その懸念は、残念ながら当たってしまった。 

The Japanese government and leaders of the ruling parties at the time refused to face this fact and have remained silent.

 当時の日本政府や与党首脳はこの事実を直視せず、口をつぐんだままだ。 

Post-World War II Japanese foreign policy is often described as "toeing the U.S. line." But rarely has it been so monochromatic.

 戦後の日本外交はしばしば「対米追随」と形容される。だが、これほど単色だったことも珍しい。 

When we look back at the 1990s, before the Koizumi administration, the governments of Ryutaro Hashimoto and Keizo Obuchi had developed active diplomacy with not only neighboring countries, such as China and South Korea, but also with other Asian countries, the Middle East and Russia.

 小泉政権に先立つ90年代をみても、橋本政権や小渕政権は、中国や韓国などの隣国はもとより、アジア諸国、中東、ロシアなどとも活発な外交を展開していた。

While they positioned the Japan-U.S. alliance as the central pillar of Japan's foreign policy, they also had a flexible mindset to heighten Japan's national interests with diversified diplomatic relations.

そこには日米同盟を基軸としつつも、多彩な外交で国益を増大させようという柔軟な発想があった。 

Now, Japan's relations with neighboring countries that broke under the Koizumi administration are about to be restored. Japan, China and South Korea agreed to hold regular trilateral summit meetings. The U.S. administration of George W. Bush, characterized by unilateralism, will soon be replaced by that of Barack Obama, who advocates international cooperation.

 今、小泉政権時代に破壊された近隣外交は修復されつつあり、日中韓首脳会議も定例化された。単独行動主義と呼ばれたブッシュ政権が終わり、国際協調主義を掲げるオバマ政権もまもなく船出する。 

This is a chance for Japanese diplomacy to recover diversity. Japan should play a positive role in dealing with global issues, such as economic crises and environmental conservation. There must also be unique ways for Japan to make itself useful in reconstructing and stabilizing Afghanistan and Iraq.

 これは日本外交に多彩さを取り戻すチャンスだ。経済危機や環境など世界的な課題に積極的な役割を果たす。アフガン、イラクの復興や安定に日本ならではの役立ち方もあろう。

Japan should also reactivate its participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations--but not just based on the context of the Japan-U.S. alliance alone.

国連平和維持活動への参加も、日米同盟の文脈だけにとらわれず再活性化させる。

We want the SDF withdrawal to be the starting point for Japan to break away from single-track diplomacy intent on pleasing the United States.

 自衛隊の撤収を、米国を上目遣いでうかがいながらの単線的な外交から脱却する出発点にしたいものだ。

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自衛隊イラク派遣:「強者に追従」だけなのか=編集局次長・小松浩

(Mainichi Japan) December 19, 2008

Japan needs to think for itself, instead of blindly following U.S.

自衛隊イラク派遣:「強者に追従」だけなのか=編集局次長・小松浩


The Self-Defense Forces (SDF) safely completed its mission with no losses, giving testament to the Japan-U.S. alliance and winning the appreciation of the United States. I may be so bold as to disagree, however, that this can be held up as a success for Japan, notwithstanding the fact that SDF personnel served with discipline and devotion. I say so because we have come this far with nothing to say about our involvement in the Iraq War, except for the line that following the strong (i.e. the U.S.) is in our national interests.

 日米同盟の証しと米国に感謝され、一人の戦死者も出さず、無事任務を完了した自衛隊イラク派遣。隊員たちの規律と献身があったればこそだが、これを日本の「成功体験」と呼ぶことには、あえて異を唱えたい。「強い者(米国)につくのが国益」という損得勘定のほかに、私たちはイラク戦争とのかかわりを語る言葉を持たぬまま、今日まできてしまったからだ。

Unreasonable arguments have gone unchallenged over these five years. When the Nagoya High Court found the Air Self-Defense Force's (ASDF) airlift missions in Iraq to be unconstitutional, Toshio Tamogami, the ASDF's chief of staff at the time, laughed off the ruling saying, "That has nothing to do with us." Top uniformed officers disdain the administration of justice while the government looks on with indifference as the Diet regards Iraq and Afghanistan as nothing more than props on the political stage. There has never been a time when the security debate was treated this lightly.

 乱暴な理屈がまかり通った5年間だった。航空自衛隊の空輸活動を「憲法違反」と断じた名古屋高裁判決を、当時の田母神俊雄・航空幕僚長は「そんなの関係ねえ」と笑い飛ばした。司法を軽蔑(けいべつ)する制服組トップ、それを傍観する政治、イラクやアフガニスタンを政局の道具立てとしか考えない国会。安全保障論議がこれほど軽く扱われた時代は、かつてなかった。

In a pervasive mood of anything goes, society has slipped out of joint. How many people really took notice of the SDF personnel who were sweating in Samawah and Baghdad?

 「何を言っても許される」。そんな空気がまん延し、社会のタガが外れた。サマワやバグダッドで汗を流す自衛隊員たちを、どれだけの人が心にとめていただろうか。

Japan's political leaders have been closemouthed. There has been no serious discussion about whether anything can justify a military intervention in Iraq that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people. There has been no expression of regret or remorse regarding the mistaken intelligence about weapons of mass destruction. After deciding to flatter the strong, most Japanese took Iraq to be someone else's problem and settled into a state of Iraq amnesia.

 幾万もの死者を出したイラク軍事介入を正当化できるものは果たしてあるか、という真摯(しんし)な議論も、大量破壊兵器情報の誤りに対する悔恨や反省も、日本の政治指導者の口から語られることはなかった。「強い者」への追従を決めた後、多くの日本人にとって、イラクは「人ごと」になってしまった。イラク健忘症である。

Nevertheless, the world has over these five years struggled to overcome the negative legacy of the Iraq War -- namely, how to secure the coexistence of Western society and Islamic society, on top of the spread of terrorism. The U.S., which caused this situation, has learned that problems cannot be solved with military might alone. With the coming of a multipolar age including China, India, Russia and the European Union, the search for a new world order has begun.

 だがこの5年、世界はテロの拡散に加え、欧米社会とイスラム社会の共存をいかに図るか、というイラク戦争の「負の遺産」克服に苦悩してきた。その原因をつくった米国も、軍事力だけで問題は解決しないことをイラク戦争で学んだ。中国やインド、ロシア、欧州連合(EU)などを含む多極化時代が訪れ、新しい世界秩序の模索が始まった。


The half-century long alliance with the land of Uncle Sam is a valuable asset in Japan's diplomacy. More often than not, however, excessive reliance upon the U.S., with no attempt made to learn about the true situation in the outside world except through the prism of the United States, obscures what is really happening in the world. Japan can no longer even determine its place in all the crises -- from finance to energy, the global environment to food -- based solely on the scales of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

 米国との半世紀に及ぶ同盟は、日本外交の貴重な資産である。しかし、米国というプリズムを通してしか外を知ろうとしない過度の対米依存は、世界で何が起きているかをしばしば見えなくする。金融やエネルギー、地球環境、食糧。あらゆる危機はもはや、日米同盟というモノサシだけでは、立ち位置すら決められない。

The form of support in Afghanistan will likely be the next matter to come under question for Japan's diplomacy. The administration of President-elect Barack Obama, which has adopted "new alliances" and the "rebuilding of alliances" as slogans, will certainly start off ready to listen, asking Japan for its ideas. Japan, for its part, needs to start by thinking on its own how it can contribute to peace in the region. The only thing it must not do is to repeat the folly of neglecting to think and simply going along with the narrow-minded theory of national interests that recommends following the strong. (By Hiroshi Komatsu, Deputy Managing Editor, Mainichi Shimbun)

 次はアフガン支援のあり方が、日本外交に問われるだろう。「新しい同盟」「同盟の再構築」を旗印にするオバマ次期米政権は、日本がどんな構想を持っているか、まずは聞き役に回るに違いない。地域の平和に日本は何ができるか、自分たちの頭で考えることから始めよう。「強い者」につく、という狭い国益論で思考停止に陥る愚だけは、繰り返してはならない。

毎日新聞 20081218日 東京朝刊

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金利0・1% 危機モードに戻った金融政策

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 20, 2008)

BOJ policy back in emergency mode

金利0・1% 危機モードに戻った金融政策(1220日付・読売社説)

The global financial crisis and the fast-deteriorating domestic economy have put Japan's monetary policy back in emergency mode.

 世界的な金融危機と国内景気の急速な悪化を受け、金融政策が再び危機対応モードに戻った。

The Bank of Japan decided at its monetary policy meeting Friday to lower its key interest rate by 0.2 percentage point to 0.1 percent.

 日本銀行は19日の金融政策決定会合で、政策金利を0・2%引き下げ、0・1%とした。

This is apparently the de facto resumption of the zero-interest-rate policy that the central bank adopted during the financial doldrums that followed the collapse of the bubble economy.

 バブル崩壊後の金融不況期に採用された「ゼロ金利政策」が事実上、復活したと見てよかろう。

The central bank also announced what is effectively a quantitative-easing policy, including additional purchases of long-term Japanese government bonds and new measures to facilitate lending to companies.

 長期国債の買い取り額の上積みや、企業への新たな資金供給策も打ち出し、実質的な金融の量的緩和政策に踏み込んだ。

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday introduced an effective zero-interest-rate policy and a quantitative-easing policy. The Bank of Japan responded quickly to the Fed's decision, even though it meant cutting the key interest rate for the second time in less than two months.

 ゼロ金利と量的緩和は、米連邦準備制度理事会(FRB)が16日に導入した。日銀は前回の利下げから2か月足らずでこれに呼応した形だ。

The Bank of Japan confirmed in its latest quarterly survey of business sentiment released Monday that the nation's economy is rapidly losing steam. At the same time, market pressure appreciating the yen's value against the dollar has been increasing since the Fed's decision pushed U.S. interest rates lower than those in Japan. The Bank of Japan's quick decision to take additional quantitative-easing measures makes sense.

 12月の企業短期経済観測調査(短観)では急速な景気の落ち込みが確認された。米国が日本より低金利になり、円高圧力も強まっていた。迅速に追加緩和を決断したのは妥当だったと言えよう。

===

Deflation threat looms again

Meanwhile, the government on Friday downgraded its forecast of Japan's real economic growth rate for fiscal 2008 to minus 0.8 percent. The government aims to achieve zero growth in real gross domestic product in fiscal 2009, but in reality, the Japanese economy is likely to register negative growth in two straight years for the first time in 10 years.

 政府は2008年度の実質成長率の見込みをマイナス0・8%に下方修正した。09年度は0%成長の「目標」を掲げたが、実際には約10年ぶりに2年度連続のマイナス成長となりそうだ。

Consumer prices, meanwhile, are expected to fall in fiscal 2009, rising fears of the return of deflation.

 物価上昇率も、09年度はマイナスとなる見通しで、デフレ再来の恐れは一段と強まってきた。


In addition to fiscal and tax measures to stimulate the economy, stabilizing the nation's financial markets by supplying ample liquidity is essential to stop deflation from taking hold.

 財政・税制による景気対策に加えて、潤沢な資金供給による金融市場の安定が、デフレの深刻化を防ぐために欠かせない。

The Bank of Japan decided this time to increase its purchases of long-term JGBs from financial institutions to 1.4 trillion yen a month from the current 1.2 trillion yen to secure sufficient liquidity.

 日銀が今回、金融機関から買い入れる長期国債の規模を、月額1・2兆円から1・4兆円に増額したのも、市場への十分な資金供給を確保するためだ。

In the quantitative-easing policy implemented for five years from 2001, the central bank accumulated funds up to a little over 30 trillion yen in its current account to calm anxieties in financial markets. However, the policy is said to have had only limited effects because most of the funds remained in financial institutions and did not facilitate corporate financing.

 01年から5年間続いた量的緩和政策では、日銀当座預金に最大30兆円超の資金を積み上げ、金融市場の不安を和らげた。しかし資金の多くは金融機関に滞留して企業などに届かず、景気改善の効果は限られたとされる。

===

Companies short of cash

Since it has become difficult to raise operating capital with commercial paper and corporate bonds under the current financial crisis, even major corporations are experiencing cash-flow problems.

 今回の金融危機では、コマーシャルペーパー(CP)や社債での資金調達が困難になり、大企業も資金繰りに苦しんでいる。

To ameliorate this situation, the Bank of Japan announced a new method of purchasing CP under which it will buy the short-term corporate debt outright to facilitate corporate financing. It also will study the possibility of widening the range of securities it purchases.

 このため日銀は、CPを買い取る新制度を打ち出した。自ら「最後の買い手」となり、企業に資金を流すのが狙いだ。買い取る債券などの対象拡大も検討する。

It is extremely unusual for the central bank to assume the risk of its debt assets becoming unrecoverable due to corporate bankruptcies and other contingencies. This shows the central bank's strong determination to normalize the financial system.

 倒産などで資金が回収できなくなるリスクを日銀自身が負うのは異例だ。金融正常化に向けた強い決意がうかがえる。

We hope the Bank of Japan will improve the effectiveness of its easy-money policy by every possible means, while taking care not to compromise its financial strength.

 日銀は、財務の健全性を大きく損なわない範囲でさまざまな工夫を凝らし、金融緩和の実効性を高めてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 20, 2008)

200812200146  読売新聞)

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2008年12月19日 (金)

米ゼロ金利―世界デフレを食い止めよ

2008/12/19

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 18(IHT/Asahi: December 19,2008)

EDITORIAL: Fed's zero rate policy

米ゼロ金利―世界デフレを食い止めよ

To prevent his worst nightmare from becoming reality, U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke has made a gutsy decision. His biggest fear is that a deflationary downturn in the U.S. economy will throw the world economy into an abyss.

 米国のデフレが世界経済を奈落に引きずり込む。そんな悪夢を振り払おうと、米連邦準備制度理事会(FRB)のバーナンキ議長が腹をくくった。 

If the U.S. economy falls into a full-blown deflationary spiral, finance and credit will contract rapidly, forcing businesses to sharply reduce their production and work forces. The downward pressure could become so strong that both monetary and fiscal policies would be powerless to turn the tide.

 米国がもしデフレの悪循環に陥れば、金融が縮小し、生産や雇用は大幅な減退を迫られる。経済の落ち込む力が強すぎて、金融政策でも財政政策でも手に負えなくなるかも知れない。

If that happens, the entire world would be sucked into a deflationary maelstrom.

そうなれば、世界が巻き込まれる悪夢の連鎖が始まる。 

What the Fed announced Tuesday was the so-called zero interest rate policy. For the first time in the history of U.S. monetary policy, the central bank lowered its target range for the federal funds rate to between zero and 0.25 percent. Since interest rates cannot fall below zero, there is no room for further monetary easing through the traditional approach of interest rate cuts.

 FRBが発表したのは、いわゆる「ゼロ金利政策」だ。米国の金融政策史上初めて政策金利を0~0.25%に引き下げた。金利はマイナスにできないので、伝統的な金融政策はこれで打ち止めだ。 

So Bernanke also decided to take bold steps to inject money directly into the economy through the unconventional approach known as quantitative monetary easing policy. That means the Fed will buy huge amounts of bonds of various kinds and mortgage-backed securities to help businesses raise the money necessary for maintaining operations and restore stability in the financial system.

 そこでバーナンキ議長は、市場に大量の資金を供給する「量的緩和政策」にも思い切って踏み込む。各種の債券や住宅ローンを担保とする証券などを大胆に買い入れ、企業の資金繰り支援や金融システムの安定を図る。

By buying long-term Treasury securities, the Fed is also trying to push down long-term interest rates and lift the economy.

長期国債を買い入れることで、長期金利の引き下げと景気刺激も狙う。 

The Bank of Japan adopted the quantitative easing approach to fight deflation between 2001 and 2006. At that time, the BOJ flooded the banking system with liquidity and urged commercial banks to expand lending to companies. That made sense because in Japan domestic companies depended on bank loans for much of their financing.

 量的緩和政策は、日本銀行が01~06年にとったことがある。この時は取引先の銀行に現金をじゃぶじゃぶ供給し、銀行が企業への融資を拡大するよう促した。日本では、企業の資金調達の主要ルートが銀行だからだ。 

In the United States, in contrast, companies raise most of the funds they need in securities markets. The Fed's quantitative easing operations are designed to support corporate financing directly by buying bonds and commercial paper, a kind of unsecured promissory note for short-term financing, issued by companies.

 米国では証券市場での資金調達が中心だ。FRBがしようとしている量的緩和は、企業が発行する債券や手形の一種であるコマーシャルペーパー(CP)などを直接買い取り、資金調達市場を丸ごと支えることだ。 

It effectively means the Fed lends money directly to companies. By using this unusual policy tool, the central bank is running the risk of allowing its balance sheet to be damaged by possible defaults on the bonds and commercial paper it is buying. In such cases, the U.S. government will cover the losses with public funds.

 中央銀行が企業にじかに資金供給するようなもので、焦げ付きや不渡りになれば、中央銀行の財務基盤に傷が付く。その場合は米政府が損失を補う。 

If losses from the operations balloon to an amount that puts a serious strain on public finances, however, confidence in both the U.S. government and central bank could diminish, triggering a crash of the dollar. Even so, the Fed has no choice but to use all available tools to defuse the impending deflationary crisis, which is threatening to send the economy into a downward spin.

 損失があまりにも膨らみ、財政負担が増えすぎると、米政府と中央銀行双方の信認が低下し、ドルが暴落する心配さえある。だからといって、目前のデフレの危機を抑え込まなければ、すべてが失われる。

Apparently, U.S. monetary policy has reached a make-or-break juncture.

そんな、のるかそるかの勝負どころに米金融政策は来た。 

All major central banks are now facing similar policy challenges. The European Central Bank has reduced its target interest rate to 2.5 percent through a series of cuts, while the Bank of England has lowered the key rate down to 2.0 percent, the lowest level since the British central bank was founded in the late 17th century. Yet both central banks are almost certain to be forced to cut interest rates further.

 程度の差はあれ、世界の中央銀行が直面する課題は同じだ。欧州中央銀行(ECB)は2.5%、英イングランド銀行は17世紀末の創設以来最低の2%まで金利を下げているが、今後も追加利下げは不可避だろう。 

The Bank of Japan cut its benchmark interest rate by 0.2 percentage point to 0.3 percent in October and has since taken additional steps to pour money into markets. But the BOJ has so far refused to go beyond accepting commercial paper and corporate bonds as collateral for loans to banks.

 日銀は10月に0.2%利下げして0.3%とした後、市場への資金供給策を拡充してきた。だが、これまではCPなどを担保にして銀行に現金を貸す範囲にとどまっている。

Since domestic companies are finding it harder to raise the funds they need to stay in business, the BOJ should be open to the policy option of buying corporate bonds and commercial paper directly from companies. The BOJ needs to cooperate with the government in guarding itself against possible defaults as the Fed is doing.

 企業は資金繰りに窮しており、日銀もFRBのように債券やCPの買い取りをタブー視すべきではない。焦げ付きや不渡りへの備えは、米国のように政府と協力するしかない。

With the central bank's policy board meeting under way, BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa must make his own gutsy decision.

きょうから金融政策決定会合が始まる。今度は、白川方明総裁が腹をくくる番だ。

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09年春闘―雇用最優先に仕切り直せ

2008/12/19

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 18(IHT/Asahi: December 19,2008)

EDITORIAL: Spring labor talks

09年春闘―雇用最優先に仕切り直せ

The 2009 shunto spring labor negotiations took off with nonregular workers--and now full-time employees--feeling insecure about their jobs.

 雇用危機が正社員へも及び始めたなかで、09年の春闘がスタートした。

Rengo (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) decided on its tactics for the talks in November. Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) put together its guidelines for the annual negotiations on Tuesday. Both labor and management have made their positions clear.

すでに闘争方針を決めた連合に続いて、日本経団連も春闘の指針をまとめ、労使の立場が出そろった。 

The centerpiece of Rengo's strategy is "the first demand for a raise in the basic pay scale in eight years." But under the current economic conditions, securing jobs is an urgent and most important objective. The government should also work with unions and management to stabilize the labor situation.

 連合は「8年ぶりのベースアップ要求」を目玉にした。だがいまは、雇用を守ることが緊急で最大の課題ではないか。労使に政府も加わって、雇用対策に全力で取り組むべきだ。 

This year, year-on-year growth in the core consumer price index temporarily topped 2 percent while wages declined in value. Labor's share in company profits also fell for six straight years.

 今年は消費者物価の上昇率が一時2%を突破し、賃金が目減りした。労働分配率も6年連続で低下している。

The prevailing view among union officials was that a demand for a raise in the basic pay scale would be natural. Rengo maintained its demand for a pay-scale increase even as the financial crisis worsened.

「だからベア要求は当然」という空気の中で春闘の準備が進められた。

Rengo's logic was that higher wages would "support domestic demand to make up for rapidly declining external demand."

金融危機が深まっても、「急減する外需を補うために内需を支える」という論理でベア要求が維持された。 

Rengo apparently feared that switching its emphasis from pay hikes to job security would be taken to mean it weakened its stance, playing into management's hands. And that would undermine Rengo's negotiating power.

 「ベアより雇用」へ切り替えると、要求のハードルを下げて経営側の土俵に乗ることになり、春闘の求心力が失われるとも心配したようだ。 

Of course, Rengo is also paying attention to job security, but it attaches greater importance to demanding government measures in this regard.

 もちろん雇用にも目は配っているものの、政府による対策を求めることに重心が置かれている。 

Nippon Keidanren is set to reject demands for the pay-scale increase. Furthermore, the business group downgraded job security from a "top priority objective" to a "target to reach." The management side is also urging the government to implement measures to secure jobs.

 一方の経営側は、ベア要求は当然のごとく退ける構えだ。さらに雇用の安定についても、初めに検討されていた「最優先の目標」から「努力目標」へ格下げした。こちらも政府による雇用対策を求める大合唱である。

The government's employment support measures are, of course, necessary, but efforts by both labor and management are also indispensable. If the annual negotiations enter the key stage with both sides sticking to their current stances, we fear that efforts to secure employment could be sidelined.

 政府による雇用対策が大切なのは言うまでもないが、労使の取り組みも不可欠だ。このまま春闘が本番を迎えると、労使の主張がかみ合わないまま、雇用への取り組みが二の次になるのではないか、と心配になる。 

At this juncture, Rengo should review its strategy and focus on employment security as a whole, including jobs for nonregular workers. Even if its demand for a hike in the basic pay scale is met for full-time employees, workers will not be able to support domestic demand if jobs for nonregular employees are cut.

 連合はこの際、非正規を含む雇用全体の安定に焦点を絞り直すべきだ。仮に方針通り正社員のベアが実現しても、一方で非正規を中心に雇用がどんどん削られては、内需の下支えにはならない。

The major challenge for Rengo is to prevent the collapse of domestic demand by protecting employment as a whole. It is important to bring management to the table and make job security the top priority.

全体の雇用を守ることで内需の崩壊をどう防ぐかが問われている。経営側を「雇用最優先」の土俵へ引きずり込むことが大事なのだ。 

Amid deregulation and an increase in the number of foreign shareholders, Japanese-style management underwent a change and is now eager to secure immediate profits even at the cost of cutting jobs. Should it carry on this way? The ongoing financial crisis provides a test.

 日本の経営は、規制緩和や外国株主の増加を背景に、目先の業績確保のためには雇用削減もいとわない体質へと変わってきた。このままでいいのか、この金融危機で問い直されている。 

Companies should try to attain growth while striking a balance with shareholders, workers and other stakeholders. It is time to seek such a new management model.

 株主や働き手をはじめとするさまざまな利害関係者のバランスをとりながら成長を図る。そんな新しい経営モデルを模索すべき時代に入った。

In the past, company officials in charge of labor affairs thought about employment in the context of the national economy and society as a whole. Cutting jobs was a last resort and a painful task.

 かつて企業の労務担当には、国民経済や社会全体の中で雇用を考え、人員削減は苦悩しつつ最後に回す伝統があった。

We are not saying that we should go back to the old days. Rather, what is now important is to restore that tradition in a way that meets the new age.

単純に昔に返れとはいわない。新時代に合った形で伝統を復活させることがポイントではないか。 

How should we build a new management philosophy and systems that attach importance to employment? Labor and management should work together to come up with an answer. We need efforts so that, in a few years from now, we can look back and say, "That shunto changed Japanese management."

 雇用を大切にする新しい経営の理念や仕組みをどう再構築するか。労使が徹底的に知恵を出し合う。振り返って「あの春闘で日本の経営は変わった」といわれるような取り組みが必要だ。

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雇用対策法案―この国会で成立させよ

2008/12/18

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 17(IHT/Asahi: December 18,2008)

EDITORIAL: Rising unemployment

雇用対策法案―この国会で成立させよ

More workers are losing their jobs, being forced out of their homes and wondering how they will earn a living from tomorrow. Do the politicians of this country truly understand the pressing sense of crisis and emergency under which people are now living?

 仕事を失い、住まいを追われ、明日からどうやって暮らせばいいのか。 

 そう途方に暮れる人が抱いている危機感や切迫感を、この国の政治家たちはどれだけ分かっているだろうか。 

The three major opposition parties, including Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), submitted an emergency job measures bill to the Upper House on Monday. The legislation seeks to cope with the job losses now sweeping the country amid the global financial crisis.

 世界金融危機に端を発し、みるみるうちに国内へも広がった雇用削減の嵐に対し、民主党など野党3党が緊急の雇用対策法案を参議院へ出した。 

The proposal would: require companies to explain in writing the reasons for withdrawing tentative promises of employment; expand the coverage of the employment adjustment subsidy program for employers to curb dismissals of nonregular employees; allow people who lose their jobs and living quarters access to public housing and livelihood assistance payments; and other steps.

 採用の内定を取り消す場合には書面で理由を示すことを義務づける。非正社員として働く人の解雇を抑えるために、雇用調整助成金の対象を広げる。職とともに住まいを失った人へは、公的な住宅を提供したり生活支援金を給付したり、といった内容である。 

Most of these ideas overlap the employment measures previously announced by Prime Minister Taro Aso. The ruling parties certainly must be aware that the job situation is grave and that there is no time to waste.

 これらは、麻生首相がすでに打ち出した雇用対策と重なる部分も多い。雇用危機は深刻で、早く手を打たねばと与党も考えているはずだ。 

But the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is reluctant to deliberate the opposition bill. If the current situation continues, any lawmaking will be pushed back to the ordinary Diet session early next year. This course of action is difficult to fathom.

 それなのに自民党は、野党の法案の成立には消極的だ。このままでは年明けの通常国会へ先送りされかねない。なんとも理解に苦しむことだ。 

The ruling parties most likely feel that they were the ones to move first in determining job measures.

 与党にしてみれば、雇用対策を先に決めたのは自分たちだという思いがあるのだろう。

Thus, their current attitude is clearly a backlash against Minshuto's tactic of submitting a bill toward the end of the current Diet session in an attempt to underscore the policy vacuum of the Aso administration.

会期末になって法案を出し、麻生政権の無策ぶりを浮き立たせることを狙ったような民主党の作戦に対して反発もあるに違いない。 

Yet the coalition parties were the ones that initially invited the delay in taking action on employment. Despite hammering out details of a second supplementary budget, which includes job stimulation, they deferred on submitting that plan to the Diet until next year because they feared they would be forced to dissolve the Lower House for a snap election in the course of discussing that budget.

 だが、もとはといえば、雇用対策の遅れは政府与党が招いたものである。雇用対策を含んだ第2次補正予算案の内容を決めておきながら、解散へ追い込まれることを恐れて、国会提出を来年へ先送りしたからだ。 

The economy has worsened at a pace unthinkable just a month ago. The wave of downsizing is advancing with fierce momentum. Scenes of tens of thousands of unemployed people overflowing the streets are rapidly becoming a reality.

 景気の悪化は、1カ月前には想像もできなかったような急スピードで進行中だ。人員削減の波がいま、激しい勢いで押し寄せている。何万人もの失業者が街にあふれる事態が、まさに目の前に迫っている。 

Under such dire circumstances, obsessing over the empty honor of being the first to come up with a labor plan is unpardonable.

 どちらが先に考え出したか、などというメンツにこだわることは許されない。

Both the ruling and opposition parties accuse each other of having no viable policies or being uncooperative, resulting in a delay in the passage of the crucial package of job measures. That is tantamount to abandoning all political accountability.

与野党が「無策だ」「非協力だ」と責め合って、肝心の雇用対策が遅れるようなことがあれば、それは政治全体の責任放棄である。 

One municipality, exasperated by the policy foot-dragging by the government and the Diet, is taking matters into its own hand. All political parties should regard the municipality's move as a searing criticism of the parties' administrative impotence.

 政府や国会の対応の遅さにしびれを切らして、独自に手を打つ自治体も出てきた。これは痛烈な批判であると、各党とも受けとめるべきだ。 

With winter setting in, and increasing numbers of people in limbo about how they will muddle through the New Year's season, it is ridiculous to delay action until the ordinary Diet session convenes next month.

 寒空のもと、年を越せるのかと不安を募らせる人がいる時に、年明けの国会まで対策を待つゆとりはない。

The most effective policy steps in the measures drawn up by the ruling parties or the bill submitted by the opposition camp should be introduced immediately.

与党の対策であれ、野党の法案であれ、可能なものから、できるだけ早く進めていかなければならない。 

To break the current deadlock, the LDP must first agree to debate the opposition's draft bill.

 そのためにも自民党は、野党法案の審議にきちんと応じることだ。 

Considering the current situation, the parties can't afford to prolong their confrontation. Instead of bickering, they must quickly pool their ideas and push forward real countermeasures. If there are sections of the bill that require amending, the parties need to get to work and pass the legislation by the end of the current Diet session.

 いまは各党が対決するのではなく、知恵を出し合って危機に取り組み、対策を急いでもらいたい。法案に修正すべき点があるならば手直しして、会期末までに成立させるべきだ。

Politicians must not abandon the public at the height of such painful economic times.
政治は苦しむ国民を放置してはいけない。

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WTO交渉挫折―もう失敗は許されない

2008/12/18

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 17(IHT/Asahi: December 18,2008)

EDITORIAL: Stalled trade talks

WTO交渉挫折―もう失敗は許されない

Faced with a crisis of an unprecedented magnitude, the global economy today is like a boat being tossed around in the rapids with a big waterfall ahead. The boat will surely tumble over the waterfall unless all hands aboard work the oars in unison with all their might.

 いまの世界経済は、未曽有の経済危機という大滝を目の前にして、激流にもまれる船のようだ。すべての乗員が一致団結して力の限りこぎ続けなければ、船は滝底へと落ちてしまう。 

But from the outset, the "oarsmen" in our real world have proved incapable of such a coordinated effort.

 ところが、その最初の一こぎは、息を合わせることさえできなかった。 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) decided last week to cancel a ministerial meeting slated for this month to forge a "framework agreement" in the Doha Round of negotiations before the end of this year. The reason for the cancellation is that the principal members of the WTO could not reconcile their differences.

 「年内の大枠合意」をめざして調整が進められていた世界貿易機関(WTO)の多角的貿易交渉(ドーハ・ラウンド)は、合意のための閣僚会合の年内開催を断念した。主要国間の意見の溝が埋まらなかったからだ。 

The meeting would have represented the first test for the world's leading nations to unite in the face of the current financial crisis and economic downturn. Their failure to unite at this critical juncture is a terrible blow to the world, and the consequences far exceed a mere delay in securing the hoped-for agreement.

 世界経済を揺さぶる金融危機と不況に対し、主要国が一致団結して立ち向かっていく最初の試金石だった。失敗のダメージがどれほど大きいか。単に合意が遅れるだけではない。 

During the G-20 financial summit in November, world leaders were insistent that the framework agreement be hammered out before the end of 2008, aware that a global recession was becoming a real possibility.

 11月の金融サミット(G20)で首脳たちが「年内合意」というメッセージを発したのは、世界同時不況の様相が濃くなったためだ。

Their aim was to curb protectionism to avert a shrinkage in global trade.

保護主義の台頭を排し、貿易の縮小を食い止めようという狙いだった。

But their inability to realize their objective raises questions about their determination itself. In fact, their inaction effectively tells the world how bad things are for the global economy.

それを実現できないのでは、主要国の決意そのものに疑問符がついてしまう。むしろ世界経済の先行きがいかに困難かを、世界に印象づけてしまったのではないか。 

There would be little surprise, then, if some countries decide to protect their own economies by putting up trade barriers or joining forces with like-minded countries to create an exclusive economic bloc.

 これでは、自国経済を優先して貿易規制を設けたり、排他的な経済ブロックを作ったりする国が現れかねない。

In fact, contrary to the G-20 agreement to "refrain from putting up new trade barriers for one year," Russia has already decided to raise its tariff on car imports from January.

事実、G20で「今後1年間は新たな貿易障壁は設けない」と約束したにもかかわらず、ロシアが来年1月から自動車関税を引き上げることを決めた。 

The main cause of the cancellation of the December ministerial meeting stems from disagreements on farm trade between the United States and emerging economic powers, such as China and India.

 挫折の主因は、米国とインド・中国など新興国との対立だ。

The United States is in favor of setting stringent conditions for allowing import restrictions in the event of an import surge, whereas China and India want the conditions to be much more relaxed. The emerging economies are also resisting the demands of their advanced counterparts for substantial tariff cuts for automobiles and industrial products including electronics.

農産物の輸入が急増したときに輸入制限を発動できる条件を巡り、厳しい基準を求める米国と、できるだけ緩くしたい新興国が対立した。先進国が求める自動車や電機など鉱工業品の大幅関税引き下げにも、新興国が抵抗している。 

The administration of George W. Bush will soon be gone, but the United States is still very much responsible for ending the current economic chaos triggered by the financial meltdown of its own making.

 末期の米ブッシュ政権が国内での調整力を失っているとはいえ、米国発の金融危機から始まった経済混乱を止める大きな責任が、米国にはある。 

At the same time, however, we must remind China and India that they, too, bear much heavier responsibilities today because of their vastly increased influence on the global economy. Trade liberalization can be achieved only when each country has accepted sacrifices by its own industries. This means that the longer the Doha Round negotiations are kept on hold, the deeper the world will sink into recession and hurt each nation's industries. This, in turn, will render domestic adjustments even harder to implement.

同時に、世界経済への影響力を格段に増した中国やインドにも、責任が重くなったことへの自覚を求めたい。 

 貿易の自由化は、各国がそれぞれ国内産業の「痛み」を受け入れて初めて実現する。だから交渉を先延ばしすればするほど、世界同時不況が深まって国内産業が苦しくなり、各国内の調整がますます難しくなる。


Should the international community abandon its commitment to maintaining free trade, global trade will inevitably shrink, and this will only accelerate and aggravate the economic crisis. We must not forget the history of trade protectionism leading up to World War II.

 自由貿易を維持しようという世界の合意が消えうせれば、世界貿易は縮小へと逆回転する。それは、経済危機への回転速度を速める結果となろう。保護主義がやがて世界大戦へ発展した戦前の歴史を忘れてはならない。 

This year will end soon, but WTO nations must remain committed to forging their framework agreement. As soon as the Barack Obama administration is sworn in on Jan. 20, we hope the United States will call for the final round of negotiations.

 越年しても、各国は合意へ向けた結束を解いてはいけない。1月に米オバマ政権が発足したら、すみやかに最終交渉を再開してもらいたい。

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記者の目:クラスター爆弾禁止条約締結の意義=中井良則(論説室)

(Mainichi Japan) December 18, 2008

Peace movement has overwhelmed cluster bomb cynicism

記者の目:クラスター爆弾禁止条約締結の意義=中井良則(論説室)

 ◇平和行動が冷笑主義を打倒 「一人一人の歴史」裏付け

 クラスター爆弾禁止条約の意味をどう考えればいいだろう。

"Even if you cry out against weapons, they'll never disappear. There is no point in enacting a convention without the participation of major countries. That's the reality of the world." Some people tend to have such a warped view of global trends, and criticize other people's actions without taking a stand on their own. Such cynicism is prevailing everywhere. However, there are people who have overcome this cynicism, as shown in the signing of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

 いくら兵器反対を叫んでも実現するわけがない。大国が加わらないなら意味はない。世界の現実ってそんなものさ。しょうがない。どうせだめなんだ。

 斜に構え、世の風潮をあざ笑う。安全地帯に潜んで他者の言動をけなし、自分は動こうとしない。そんなシニシズム(冷笑主義)はどこでも幅をきかす。だが、シニシズムを破った人々がいた。この条約の意義を私はそこに見いだす。

There was no progress on restrictions on cluster bombs even after years of negotiations during the Geneva arms reduction talks. It was two years ago that the Oslo Process on cluster bombs was launched after being separated from the Geneva talks.

 ジュネーブの軍縮交渉で何年かけても、クラスター爆弾の規制は進まない。そこから飛び出して新しい枠組みオスロ・プロセスが動きだしたのは2年前だ。

I wonder what progress those involved in the process had initially expected.

 賛同国や国際NGO(非政府組織)は徒手空拳ではなかったにせよ、どれほどの成算があっただろう。

It would have been impossible to ban the use of cluster bombs and the number of victims would have only increased if negotiations had been left to the discretion of diplomats who place priority on their national interests.

しかし国益をかざす外交官に任せていては、爆弾の使用はやまず犠牲者が増えるだけだった。

Those who negotiated the Convention on Cluster Munitions had set a deadline for signing it by the end of 2008, and attempted to persuade politicians from various countries and the public to support the treaty. Their actions, instead of cynical remarks, led to the signing of the convention.

08年末までの署名という締め切りを設定し、各国の政治家と世論を説得する。シニカルな論評に終わらない行動主義が条約実現につながったのだ。

At the signing ceremony held in Oslo on Dec. 3, Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said the two roads joined into one on that day.

 ノルウェー・オスロの署名式(今月3日)で赤十字国際委員会のケレンベルガー総裁が「きょうここで二つの道が一つになった」と表現した。

The two roads referred to the use of cluster bombs and the international humanitarian law calling for a ban on killing civilians. The roads did not only join each other. International law made the road for bombs a dead end.

道の一つは爆弾使用であり、もう一つは「市民を殺すな」という国際人道法だ。単に合流したのではない。国際法が爆弾の道を行き止まりにした。

We must evaluate the claims by those who use such weapons. In March 2003, during the Iraq War, a colonel responsible for the U.S. Air Force's strategy held a press conference at the Department of Defense. When asked to what extent the military will accept civilian casualties, he responded that commanders will consider whether their operations are worthy of the casualties.

 使う側の論理を検証しなければならない。

 イラク戦争中の03年3月、米国防総省で空軍の戦略を担当する大佐が記者会見した。どの程度の民間人の犠牲なら軍は受け入れるのか、との問いに大佐は答えた。「市民の死傷者数と折り合う軍事的な価値があるかを指揮官は考える」

In other words, the U.S. launched attacks after making a compromise between orders to win by all means and demands that civilian casualties should be limited. Balancing between military needs and civilian casualties is a typical excuse made by military commanders.

 「戦闘に勝て」という命令と「市民の犠牲は減らすべきだ」という要請。二つの相反する条件の間で妥協点を見つけ、結局は攻撃したわけだ。軍事の必要性と民間人の人命を比較しバランスをとる。これが軍人のお定まりの言い訳だ。

How can operations that kill civilians be justified? Ibaraki University Professor Emeritus Shinichi Arai, 82, who analyzed the thoughts of those who launch attacks in his book, "Kubaku no Rekishi" ("The history of air strikes"), points to "the mentality of Imperialism" and "the effects of terrorism."

 それにしても、なぜ市民を殺すような作戦に正当性を見つけることができるのだろう。今年「空爆の歴史」(岩波新書)を出版し「加害の思想」を分析した茨城大名誉教授の荒井信一さん(82)は「帝国意識」と「テロ効果」を指摘する。

Aircraft invented by the Wright brothers (Wilbur and Orville) in 1903 were soon used in war in 1911 when an Italian plane dropped hand grenades during a fight over the colonization of Libya, which was part of Turkey's territory. It was the world's first air strike using an aircraft.

 ライト兄弟が1903年に発明した飛行機は早くも11年、実戦に使われる。トルコ領リビアをめぐる植民地戦争でイタリア機が手投げ弾を投下した。世界最初の飛行機による空爆だ。

It had been believed that air strikes by civilized countries on what they considered "uncivilized" countries were effective in the fight for colonization and suppressing uprisings by local residents in areas they attempted to colonize. It was based on racism in which developed countries would not care if what they considered inferior people who lived in uncivilized areas lost their lives in war. And such racism has not died down.

 植民地争奪や「未開」とみなす住民の反乱鎮圧に文明国の空爆は効果があると考えられた。そこには未開の劣った人間は死んでも構わないという人種差別主義があり、いまも消えない。

"Massacres carried out in the name of 'air strikes' will continue as long as there is a framework allowing colonization. The mentality of Imperialism harbored by countries that attack other nations must be eliminated," Arai says.

「植民地的な枠組みがある限り、空爆と大量虐殺は続く。加害者が持つ帝国意識を克服しなければならない」と荒井さんは言う。

"The effects of terrorism" refers to the idea that countries can win war if they destroy civilians' daily lives, terrorize them and cause them to lose their will to fight.

 もう一つの「テロ効果」は、住民の日常生活を破壊し、市民を恐怖にさらして戦意を失わせれば戦争に勝てると考える。

I think that the U.S., which used cluster bombs in attacks on Iraq, harbored the mentality of Imperialism and believed in the effects of terrorism.

 イラク侵攻でクラスター爆弾を使った米国にもこの「帝国意識」と「テロ効果」があったと私は思う。

Everybody hates cruel wars. However, human beings have not yet grown mature enough to realize complete world peace in which no wars are permitted. Although they have managed to agree to set rules on wars. Bans on attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks that do not distinguish between military targets and civilians have been incorporated in international conventions.

 むごい戦争をだれもが憎む。だが、いかなる戦争も一切行わないという世界平和の状態に人類はまだ至っていない。かろうじて戦争にルールを設けることには合意した。「市民を攻撃してはならない」「軍事目標と文民を区別しない無差別攻撃を禁止する」と国際条約に書き込んだ。

Even if politicians or military commanders claim the war they wage is just, they are condemned and held responsible for waging unjustifiable war if they deliberately attack civilians. Human beings have managed to reach this level of maturity.

 いくら政治家や将軍が正しい目的の正義の戦争と主張したとしても、市民を意図して攻撃すれば不正の戦争と非難され責任を問われる。人間はようやくその状態にまでたどりついた。

Unfortunately, these rules are sometimes broken. However, the types of weapons that people have banned have been steadily increasing. They include chemical and biological weapons and anti-personnel landmines. I regard the Convention on Cluster Munitions as the latest results of arm reduction efforts made by human beings.

 残念ながらそうしたルールも時に破られる。だが、禁止を約束した兵器の種類は着実に増えている。化学兵器、生物兵器、対人地雷……。その最新の成果がクラスター爆弾禁止条約だ、と位置づけたい。

A sense of stagnation has been spreading throughout the world since the financial crisis erupted in September. Under such circumstances, people tend to hide in comfortable nutshells of cynicism.

 9月の金融危機以降、トンネルに閉じ込められたような感覚が日本と世界に広がる。こういう時はシニシズムの生ぬるい殻に逃げ込んでしまいそうだ。

"Where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people -- yes, we can," President-elect Barack Obama said in a speech he made shortly after he won the U.S. presidential race in November.

 「シニシズムや疑念にぶつかったり、できっこないという人たちに出会ったら、時を超えた信念で応じよう。イエス・ウィ・キャン(そうだ、私たちはできる)と」。オバマ次期米大統領は11月の当選の夜、勝利演説でそう呼びかけた。

The U.S., which has used the largest number of cluster munitions of all countries that possess such weapons, has obligations to sign the convention and extend assistance to victims.

 最も多くクラスター爆弾を使った米国は条約に加わり、被害者支援の責任を果たす義務があるだろう。

Individuals who can break the barrier of cynicism can change history. It was demonstrated by the singing of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the U.S. presidential election. (By Yoshinori Nakai, Editorial Writer)

シニシズムの壁を破る一人一人の個人が歴史を動かす。その実例を禁止条約制定と大統領選挙が見せてくれたのだから。

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教科書充実 教員の力量も磨かなければ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 19, 2008)

Textbook move could see new chapter in education

教科書充実 教員の力量も磨かなければ(1219日付・読売社説)

Now that a policy to boost the content of school textbooks is certain to be adopted, we hope the move will improve the academic abilities of schoolchildren and spark in them a greater interest in learning.

 教科書の中身が増えることになった。児童生徒の学力や学習意欲の向上に、結びつけていかなければならない。

The government's Education Rebuilding Council on Thursday issued a second report on education reconstruction, urging the government to improve textbooks used in schools. The Textbook Authorization and Research Council, an advisory panel to the education, science and technology minister, plans to issue a similar report shortly.

 政府の教育再生懇談会が、教科書の充実を求める第2次報告をまとめた。文部科学相の諮問機関、教科用図書検定調査審議会も近く同様の報告を出す。

The main point of the Education Rebuilding Council's report is the elimination of the upper limits on advanced materials in textbooks--a move that is in line with changes made this year to teaching guidelines that will be gradually implemented from the 2009 academic year. Currently, about 10 percent of total content for primary and middle school books, and 20 percent for high school books, is allowed to be of an advanced nature. These limits are checked when textbooks are screened.

 主要な点は、今年の学習指導要領改定などを受け、教科書検定の運用上、発展的な学習内容の分量を「小中学校では全体の1割程度、高校では2割程度」としている上限をなくすことだ。

The council also urged the education ministry to review the stipulation in the textbook screening yardsticks that says textbooks should not contain materials deemed "too rudimentary" for each grade. This proposal aims at providing more supplementary materials for students who tend to fall behind.

 学習の遅れがちな児童生徒への補充的な学習内容も手厚くするため、教科書検定基準にある「程度が低すぎないこと」などの規定も見直すよう求めた。

===

Cram-free no more

Under the current teaching guidelines, which stress cram-free education, learning materials have been reduced by about 30 percent compared with the previous guidelines.

 「ゆとり教育」が打ち出された現行の指導要領では、学習内容が約3割減った。

As it has become clear that the academic abilities of Japanese students were dropping in international achievement scores and other tests, the ministry--under the new teaching guidelines--will increase class hours for major subjects at primary and middle schools by more than 10 percent, and reinstate some learning materials dropped in the current guidelines. Total class hours for arithmetic/ mathematics and science will be increased by about 15 percent during the nine years of primary and middle school education.

 国際学力調査などで学力低下が明らかになり、改定後の新指導要領では小中学校とも主要教科の授業時間を1割以上増やし、削減した学習内容の一部も復活させた。算数・数学と理科は、小中9年間で15%程度増える見込みだ。


The new teaching guidelines will be fully implemented in the 2011 academic year for primary schools and in the 2012 academic year for middle schools. The new guidelines will be applied to science subjects ahead of schedule starting from the next academic year.

 新指導要領の全面実施は、小学校が2011年度、中学校では12年度だが、理数については来年度から前倒し実施される。

The latest report aims to bid farewell to cram-free education also by changing textbook content. The textbooks should not only have more content, but also better content.

 今回の報告は、「脱ゆとり教育」を教科書の面でも示すものだ。分量だけではなく、内容の充実にもつなげてもらいたい。

===

Teachers also should hone skills

In particular, as the report pointed out, it is essential for textbooks to contain related materials from other subjects and descriptions about how material in textbooks can apply to daily life and society.

 特に、報告が指摘しているように、関連する他教科の内容を入れたり、実生活や実社会でどう役立つのかという記述を盛り込んだりすることは、大切だ。

According to international math and science tests and related questionnaires--the results of which were released recently--Japanese middle school students came bottom in the percentage of students who answered that math and science "are necessary for studying other subjects" or "are useful in daily life."

 先に公表された理数の国際学力調査では、中学生の場合、理数が「他教科の勉強に必要」「日常生活に役立つ」という答えは、いずれも最下位レベルだった。

Science, for example, can be used in home economics class, where teachers can make students calculate calories, or in health education, where teachers can teach students about the structure of the body. We hope textbook writers and publishers will tax their ingenuity in these regards.

 例えば理科なら、家庭科と関連づけて熱量を計算させたり、保健と絡めて体の構造を教えたりすることもできるだろう。執筆者や教科書会社の工夫を期待したい。

In its report, the council said it was necessary to change the perception that all the contents in textbooks must be taught. An awareness change is essential for parents in particular.

 報告は、「教科書の内容は全部教えなければならない」という認識を変えていく必要があることも提言した。特に、保護者にはそうした意識改革が求められよう。

However, it largely depends on the ability of teachers whether improved textbooks will be able to enhance the academic achievements and motivations of their students.

 教科書がよくなっても、それを生かして学力や意欲の向上につなげられるかどうかは、教員の力量に負うところが大きい。

It is only natural that the report stressed the need for improving training programs for teachers in addition to improved textbooks. Efforts also must be made to devise content-rich training programs to be taken by teachers when they renew their teaching licenses under the new license renewal system to start next academic year.

 報告が、教科書だけでなく、教員研修の充実を求めたのは、もっともだ。来年度から始まる教員免許更新講習の内容も、充実を図らねばなるまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 19, 2008)

200812190207  読売新聞)

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2008年12月18日 (木)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:デートDVの増加 /東京

(Mainichi Japan) December 17, 2008

Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Having no boyfriend better than dating a dominator

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:デートDVの増加 /東京

I had a talk with the National Women's Shelter Net's Director Tomoko Endo about violence on dates. The Law on the Prevention of Spousal Violence covers married and common law couples, so violence while dating is exempt.

 NPO法人全国シェルターネットの遠藤智子事務局長と、デートDVについて語る機会があった。デートDVとは、主に若者のカップルの間で起こる暴力を指す。いわゆるDV防止法は夫婦や内縁関係にある人のためにあり、交際中に起きるデートDVはその対象外となっている。

When we talk of violence, we usually imagine women being kicked and beaten, but date hostility more often than not includes scrutiny and dominance. Such mental violence is not easy to identify from outside.

 暴力といえば「殴る・蹴(け)る」を想像する人が多いだろうが、デートDVでは監視や支配といった外からはわかりにくい形の精神的暴力が起きていることも少なくない。

Endo said that the popularization of the cell phone has helped increase this new form of date aggression. For example, some men force their girlfriends to report each time their lecture at university ends, or order phone numbers and e-mail addresses of male friends to be deleted from their cell phones.

 遠藤事務局長は「携帯電話の普及が新しい形のデートDVを増加させた」と話していた。恋人である女性には大学の講義がひとつ終わるたびに「いま終わりました」と連絡してくるよう強要したり、女性の携帯電話に登録してある異性の電話番号やメールアドレスを全部、消去するよう命じる男性などもいるそうだ。

When such men are in a good mood, they will whisper "I want to monopolize you because I love you. I want to know all about you." Then the woman will start thinking that she is really loved. When you are shut out from the outside world and continually being cursed how stupid you are, you generally start accepting such enslavement, thinking "he is the only man for a stupid person like me." This is another feature of violence among people dating, according to Endo.

 そういう男性たちは、機嫌のよいときには「おまえのことを愛しているからこそ、独り占めしたい、全部知りたいんだ」と囁(ささや)き、女性の側も「本当に愛されているのかもしれない」と思い込んでしまう。周囲との接触を絶つように言われたうえ、「おまえはバカなんだ」とののしられ続けると、女性は次第に「バカな私にはこの人しかいないんだ」と隷属を受け入れていくようになってしまうのもデートDVの特徴だ、と遠藤事務局長は教えてくれた。

You might wonder why such women don't leave these men. They're not married so it should be easy to leave them. Some women do understand that there is no merit in being with such men, but many young girls cannot bear being without a boyfriend.

 ちょっと聞くと、「結婚しているわけでもないんだから、そんな男とはすぐに別れられるはず」と感じるかもしれない。中には、「こんな男性と付き合ってもプラスにならない」とわかっている人もいる。しかし今の若い女性たちの中には、「付き合っている彼氏がいない」という状態にはどうしても耐えられない、という人も少なくない。

Once, a woman visited me for consultation, complaining of violence by her boyfriend, "I know it's not good. But I feel so lonely ... Besides, everyone else has someone. I am ashamed to be alone." The vanity and fear against solitude drives her to the misconception that a violent boyfriend is still better than no man at all.

 かつて、ある女性は診察室を訪れ、デートDVの被害を訴えながら、「このままじゃいけないとわかっている。でも、ひとりは寂しくて寂しくて……。それに、みんなカップルでいるのに、私だけひとりじゃ恥ずかしいし」とうつむいた。周囲への見えと孤独への恐怖から、彼女は「DV男の彼氏でもいないよりマシか」という誤った選択に走ってしまったのだ。

Christmas is approaching, and it might be natural for young women to enthusiastically want a nice boyfriend, but it is much wiser to remain single than to keep seeing a boyfriend that will ruin you. Being alone is not a sin, nor a shame. Young people have to be more confident in themselves. (By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)

 クリスマスも近づき、女性の誰もが「恋人がほしいな」と強く思う時期かもしれないが、自分を破壊してしまうDV男といるくらいだったら、ひとりですごすほうがずっと賢明と言える。恋人がいないことは罪でも恥でもない、と若い人には自信を持ってもらいたいと思う。

毎日新聞 20081216日 地方版

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米ゼロ金利 ついに踏み切った異例の策

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 18, 2008)

Fed entering uncharted territory in crisis fight

米ゼロ金利 ついに踏み切った異例の策(1218日付・読売社説)

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board finally decided Tuesday to adopt a zero-interest-rate policy. It also announced the introduction of a policy of quantitative easing--unprecedented measures for dealing with the current economic turmoil.

 米連邦準備制度理事会(FRB)が、ついにゼロ金利政策に踏み切った。量的緩和策の導入も表明し、前例のない危機対応に乗り出した。

The Fed lowered the target range for the federal funds rate--its benchmark interest rate for short-term interest rates--by 0.75 to one percentage point, to zero to 0.25 percent. This is the first zero percent interest rate in real terms in the history of U.S. financial policy.

 短期金利の指標となるフェデラル・ファンド(FF)金利の誘導目標を0・75%~1%引き下げ、年0・25%~0%とした。米国の金融政策史上、事実上のゼロ金利は初めてだ。

The U.S. economy has been in recession since December last year. The financial crisis has splashed cold water over the real economy and sharply increased unemployment. Many fear the worst recession since the Great Depression, while an increasing number of economists also are concerned about deflation.

 米国は、昨年12月から景気後退局面に入った。金融危機が実体経済を冷え込ませ、失業が急増している。戦前の「大恐慌」以来、最長の景気後退が予想され、デフレ懸念も台頭し始めた。

The Fed's unprecedented action apparently is aimed at preventing the economy from deteriorating further and to stop deflation from taking hold.

 FRBは、異例の政策発動で景気悪化とデフレの阻止も狙ったといえよう。

Expressing strong concern, the Fed said in its statement that it "will employ all available tools to promote the resumption of sustainable economic growth."

「可能な限りのあらゆる手段を用いる」という声明は、強い危機感を示す。

===

Breaking new ground

Some economists argue the effects of interest rate cuts will be limited because interest rates were already extraordinarily low.

 しかし、すでに超低金利状態だったことを考えると、利下げ効果は限定的と見る向きもある。

However, the introduction of a policy of quantitative easing, such as purchasing long-term U.S. Treasury and government-agency securities in substantial quantities to increase financial liquidity, is expected to be effective.

 そこで注目されるのが、FRBの「次の一手」だ。長期国債や政府機関債の大量買い入れによる資金供給など、量的緩和策の導入を明らかにした点である。

This is a dramatic shift in financial policy from its interest rate intervention-based approach so far, and the Fed is entering unknown territory.

 金融政策の手段を金利誘導から転換するもので、未知の領域に踏み込むことを意味する。

The Fed has been actively buying commercial paper issued by private corporations, but is planning to further increase financial liquidity. This is an attempt to support the economy by helping lower interest rates for housing and other long-term interest rates.

 FRBはこれまで、企業が発行するコマーシャルペーパー(CP)などを積極的に買い入れてきたが、今後、市場への資金供給をさらに拡充する考えだ。住宅ローンなどの長期金利の低下を促し、景気を下支えする狙いだ。

The Fed could learn from the quantitative easing policy the Bank of Japan implemented for five years from March 2001. The Bank of Japan tried to snap the Japanese economy out of deflation by purchasing a large quantity of securities from financial institutions.

 FRBにはモデルがある。日銀が2001年3月から5年間実施した量的緩和策だ。金融機関から手形や債券を大量購入し、デフレ脱却を目指した。

This policy is said to have been effective to a certain degree in supporting the economy by supplying sufficient funds to banks and other financial institutions. However, the application of the policy presented challenges, such as knowing when to stop quantitative easing of the money supply.

 この政策は、金融機関などへの潤沢な資金提供を通じて、景気下支えに一定の効果があったとされる。ただ、量的緩和をストップする「出口」の判断など、運用が難しい面もあった。

Of course there are differences between what Japan experienced then and the current situation facing the United States. But the Fed still should heed the lessons Japan has learned as it tries to steer the U.S. economy under extremely difficult conditions.

 当時の日本と、現在の米国の状況は異なるが、FRBは日本の教訓を踏まえつつ、難しいかじ取りを迫られることになる。

===

Coordination essential

It also will become increasingly important for the Fed to coordinate its actions with the White House's fiscal policy if the current economic turmoil is to be overcome. U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is planning to take large-scale action to stimulate the economy. Both Obama and the Fed should work together to turn the U.S. economy around as quickly as possible with every fiscal and monetary policy measure available.

 危機を乗り切るには、財政政策との連携もますます重要になる。オバマ次期米大統領は大型の景気対策を実施する方針だ。財政・金融政策を総動員し、経済の立て直しを急いでもらいたい。

Meanwhile, the appreciation of the yen against the dollar continued Wednesday following the Fed's interest rate cut, which has put rates lower than those of Japan, among other factors.

 一方、日米金利差の逆転などを背景に、円高・ドル安が進んだ。

Japan faces a serious recession, too. The Bank of Japan is scheduled to hold its monetary policy meeting Thursday and Friday. It is expected to consider additional monetary measures there, including interest rate cuts coordinated with the Fed.

日本の景気後退も深刻だ。週末に金融政策を協議する日銀は、米国との協調利下げを含め、追加策の検討を求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 18, 2008)

200812180130  読売新聞)

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2008年12月17日 (水)

温暖化防止―「南北共益」の道はある

2008/12/17

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 16(IHT/Asahi: December 17,2008)

EDITORIAL: Curbing climate change

温暖化防止―「南北共益」の道はある

The Kyoto Protocol of 1997, an international agreement to battle global warming, is due to expire in 2012. Nations are now working to establish a new international framework for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in December next year.

But building a global consensus on the new framework has proved a colossal challenge.

The 14th Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change recently held in Poland failed to produce a major breakthrough and simply left most key issues to be sorted out through negotiations in the coming months.

 地球温暖化を防ぐための京都議定書は、2012年で期限が切れる。その後の枠組みは来年末に決める予定だが、なかなか国際社会の意見が一致しない。ポーランドで開かれた気候変動枠組み条約の締約国会議(COP14)では、多くの課題が先送りになった。 

Just a year is left for the world to hammer out a new climate accord. The world cannot afford to continue pursuing wealthier lifestyles in a way that will leave a seriously damaged global environment to future generations. All countries on this planet share the responsibility to push negotiations forward through intensive efforts to produce an agreement that qualifies as a proud legacy to posterity.

 残り、あと1年。豊かさを追い続けるあまり、将来世代に地球環境の破壊というツケは回せない。集中的に交渉を進め、後世に恥じない合意を生み出す責任が、どの国にもある。 

Industrial nations that have been spewing huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere must bear the largest part of the responsibility for securing a deal. But greenhouse gas emissions from China, India and other emerging economies and developing nations are growing rapidly.

 もちろん、これまで大量の二酸化炭素(CO2)を出してきた先進諸国の責任がもっとも大きい。だが、今後は中国、インドなどの新興経済国や途上国による排出も増える。

The Kyoto Protocol obliges only developed countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. But the post-Kyoto Protocol framework should make sure that the entire world will be committed to reducing global emissions of the heat-trapping gases.

京都議定書は先進諸国だけに排出削減を義務づけたが、ポスト京都では世界全体で削減していかなければならない。 

The biggest challenge confronting the countries is how to deal with North-South problems.

 最大の焦点は、こうした南北問題にどう対処するかである。 

At their summit in July at the Lake Toyako resort in Hokkaido, the leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) industrial nations agreed on a target of halving global emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. But a subsequent meeting of the leaders of 16 major countries, including China and India, failed to reach agreement on any specific emissions reduction target.

 今年の洞爺湖サミットで、主要先進国は「温室効果ガスを50年までに世界全体で半減させる」ことで一致した。だが、中印などの首脳を加えた16カ国会合では物別れに終わった。

Similarly, the recent COP 14 meeting in Poland highlighted a rift between industrialized and developing nations. Many of the developing countries demanded that the rich nations first set their medium-term emissions target for 2020.

COP14も同様で、途上国の多くが、先進国は20年までの中期的な削減目標を先に示すべきだと切り返した。 

Setting medium-term targets is indispensable for persuading emerging and developing countries to join the post-Kyoto Protocol regime. The COP 14 gathering was not meaningless because it at least made this point glaringly evident.

 新興国や途上国をポスト京都の枠組みに引き入れるには、中期的な削減目標の設定が不可避である。そのことが決定的なまでに明らかになった。むしろ、この点がCOP14の成果と考えるべきだろう。 

While the European Union has already set a target of cutting emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, Japan has yet to make any commitment to a medium-term goal. U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has promised to return U.S. emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020. But this is not enough.

 欧州連合は、20年までに1990年水準より20%削減する中期目標をすでに示しているが、日本はまだ示していない。オバマ米次期大統領の公約は20年までに90年水準に戻すというもので、これでは不十分だ。

The United States, Europe and Japan need to come up with a clear medium-term emissions target that can persuade emerging and developing countries to join in.

米欧日がそろって新興国や途上国を説得できる中期目標を明確にする必要がある。 

It is important to ensure that the steps to curb global warming will not hamper efforts to stoke economic growth and reduce poverty in the world. That is especially important in the current global economic crisis. It is hardly surprising that both emerging and developing countries are worried about their futures.

 温暖化防止策が、経済成長と貧困対策の足かせになるのは避けたい。しかも、この世界的な経済危機のさなかである。新興国、途上国とも将来に不安を抱くのは当然だろう。 

One notable move is the Green Economy Initiative started by the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP). This is an ambitious plan for promoting investment in innovative energy technologies and environmental projects in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while creating new jobs.

 そんな中で注目したいのが、国連環境計画(UNEP)の「グリーン経済イニシアチブ」である。革新的なエネルギー技術などへの投資を拡大し、雇用機会を増やしながらCO2の排出削減も進めるビジョンだ。 

President-elect Obama plans to create jobs through massive investments in clean energy development. The UNEP's green new deal is aimed at promoting such eco-friendly investments on a global scale.

 オバマ次期大統領は、クリーンエネルギー投資で新たな雇用を創出する方針だ。UNEPの構想はこうした投資を世界規模で進めることをめざしている。

If economic aid and technology transfer from rich nations to the developing world increase significantly, the long-term target of halving emissions by 2050 can become attainable and beneficial for both sides.

北側から南側への経済支援と技術移転が進めば、「50年までに世界で半減」という目標が双方の利益にかなう現実的なものになるだろう。 

As inhabitants of this planet, we must figure out a way to share a cleaner future. The coming year will be the time for us to make some gutsy decisions.

 ひとつしかない地球の住人として、未来を共有するための接点をさぐる。これからの1年が、決断の時だ。

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タイ新首相―国民和解にまず対話を

2008/12/17

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 16(IHT/Asahi: December 17,2008)

EDITORIAL: New Thai prime minister

タイ新首相―国民和解にまず対話を

Will Thailand now be able to regain stability as an advanced Southeast Asian democracy? The nation's political pendulum on Monday swung against forces loyal to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

 タイはこれで、東南アジアの民主主義の先達として安定を取り戻すことができるだろうか。 

 タクシン派から反タクシン派へ、政治の振り子が大きく振れた。 

After days of political maneuvering that began earlier this month to cobble together a new ruling coalition, the opposition Democrat Party secured enough support to prevail over the pro-Thaksin forces. On Monday, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, 44, was elected the new prime minister of Thailand by the lower house of parliament.

 今月初めから続いた連立政権交渉で、タクシン元首相派と対立してきた野党民主党が多数派工作に成功した。下院は、44歳のアピシット民主党党首を新首相に選んだ。 

This spelled the first comeback in seven years and 10 months for the Democrats, who twice held power during the 1990s.

 90年代に2度政権の座にあった民主党にとっては、7年10カ月ぶりの政権返り咲きである。 

These years have been characterized by a bitter political struggle between the pro-Thaksin and anti-Thaksin forces. The former is supported mainly by farmers and low-income constituents in the rural northeast while the latter represents urban middle-class and wealthier constituents in and around Bangkok as well as the nation's business community with their vested interests.

 この間、東北部を中心に農民や貧困層が支持するタクシン派と、首都を中心とした中間層や富裕層、既得権でつながるビジネス層が支える反タクシン派との激しい政治対立が続いた。 

Two years have already elapsed since Thaksin was ousted in the September 2006 military coup. But the animosity between the two camps has since intensified to the point of creating a deep rift in society. The new prime minister's foremost priority is to try to heal the antagonism and hostility and restore political stability through national reconciliation.

 元首相が軍のクーデターで追放されて2年がたつというのに、互いの敵対心は社会を二分するまでに広がっている。新首相はなによりもまず、この対立と憎悪を解消する手を打ち、国民和解を通じて政治の安定を取り戻さなければならない。 

But Abhisit himself must know better than anyone how daunting a challenge this will be.

 ただ、その使命を実行することがどれほど大変なことか、新首相自身が痛感しているに違いない。 

The military pulled the strings behind the scenes to anoint Abhisit. But since the new administration has not been popularly elected, one can hardly vouch for its legitimacy. Under the basic rules of democracy, Abhisit should dissolve the national assembly and call a general election if he is to seek a mandate from voters.

 新首相の選出には、軍部が背後で動いた。しかも新政権は総選挙の洗礼を受けておらず、十分な正統性があるとは言い難い。新首相が民意の支持を得るためには、国会を解散して総選挙を行うのが民主主義の筋道だろう。 


But few people in Thailand expect Abhisit to dissolve the national assembly immediately, since all general elections over the last few years have been won by the Thaksin camp. The anti-Thaksin parties failed to win a majority even in the general election of last December.

 ところが、新首相がすぐ国会解散に打って出ると見る向きはタイでは少ない。ここ数年、総選挙をやるたびにタクシン派が勝利し、反タクシン派政党は、昨年末の総選挙でも過半数を取れなかったからだ。 


Thailand's credibility has been shattered in the international community. The weeklong siege of Bangkok's two airports from late November by the anti-Thaksin People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) stranded many foreign tourists, including Japanese, and affected foreign companies operating in Thailand.

 国際社会のタイへの信頼はすでに大きく損なわれている。反タクシン派による空港占拠事件では、日本人を含む多くの外国人観光客が足止めを食らい、進出企業にも影響が出た。 

There are also concerns about the health of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has been playing a vital role in keeping the country together. The monarch turned 81 on Dec. 5 but did not give his customary pre-birthday address to the nation this year.

 国民の統合に大きな役割を果たしてきたプミポン国王の健康不安も気がかりだ。今月81歳となった国王は、誕生日前の演説を行わなかった。 

Unless the Thai government is able to regain its trust at home and abroad and reassure everyone, Japanese businesses in Thailand will have to re-examine their long-term strategies. The Japanese government ought to convey this concern to Abhisit.

 タイが内外の信頼を回復し、不安を解消させなければ、日系企業の長期戦略の見直しが必要だ。政府はこうした懸念を新首相に伝えるべきだ。 

We ask the new prime minister to take bold initiatives. We want him to fight poverty in the northeast to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, and to shun favoritism in the appointment of anti-Thaksin people to government posts while advancing dialogue with the Thaksin forces.

 東北部の貧困対策に力を入れ、貧富の格差を是正する。反タクシン派の情実人事を排し、タクシン派との対話を進める。新首相にはこうした政策に果敢に取り組むよう求めたい。 

The government and the people of Thailand also need to engage in open debate on the role of the monarchy in politics to ensure the establishment of their democracy over the long term. The Thais cannot secure political stability if they keep relying on the king to intervene in times of crisis.

 長期的な民主制度の定着のために、王室と政治がどのような役割を果たすのか、国民に開かれた議論も必要だ。王室に依存する体質を改めなければ、政治の安定は得られまい。 

Thailand is a valued diplomatic partner of Japan. We hope Thailand will come out of this confusion as soon as possible.

 タイは日本外交の重要なパートナーでもある。一日も早く混迷から抜け出してほしい。

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韓流ざんまい:ウォン安で売れる日用品=堀山明子

(Mainichi Japan) December 16, 2008

Bargain-hunting Japanese tourists flock to South Korea

韓流ざんまい:ウォン安で売れる日用品=堀山明子

Due to the depreciation of the won against the yen as a result of the current financial crisis, not only has the number of Japanese tourists in South Korea increased by 20 to 30 percent compared to last year, they particularly seem to be hitting the shopping hot spots. When I took a peek at the duty free store on the ninth and 10th floors of the Lotte Department Store in central Seoul, I could've sworn it was a year-end sale in Japan. Japanese tourists packed the place, speaking Japanese as if it were the official language.

 金融危機による円高ウォン安の影響で日本人観光客が前年比で2、3割増え、特に買い物スポットが人気だ。ソウル中心部のロッテ百貨店9、10階にある免税店をのぞいたら、ここは日本の年末バーゲン会場かと思うぐらい、ブランド商品を買いに来る日本人観光客であふれ、日本語が「公用語」になっていた。

So far, this sounds pretty similar to the situation during the financial crisis of late 1997. But what surprised me this time was the fact that I found Japanese people on the eighth floor -- not the duty free section or the traditional crafts section, but the household goods section -- selecting slippers.

 ここまでは97年末の金融危機の時も似たような現象があった。驚いたのは、免税でも伝統工芸品売り場でもない8階リビングフロアで日本人がスリッパを物色していたことだ。

"You can get slippers in Japan, too, can't you?!" I exclaimed, unable to restrain myself. But a 52-year-old housewife from Osaka insisted, "This shade of blue just doesn't exist in Japan." Indeed, it's not the kind of flashy blue often found in traditional Korean gifts, but still, a bright blue. Perhaps everyday products that gently assert their Korean-ness are more easily adapted to life in Japan than crafts that cry out stereotypical Korean-ness.

 「スリッパぐらい日本にもあるでしょう?」。思わず横から突っ込みを入れると、大阪市の主婦(52)は「このブルーは日本にないねん」と力説した。確かに、韓国土産品によくある派手な原色ではないが、明るい青。「いかにも韓国」の工芸品より、「ちょっと韓国」の日用品のほうが使いやすいかもしれない。なかなかの審美眼だ。

With cosmetics, too, it's not only the brand names that have huge followings. Shops that carry Korean herbal remedies, BB cream (a moisturizing foundation with the same ingredients found in creams used for dermatological treatment), and other products in the 1,000 yen range are highly popular.

 化粧品でも高いブランド品ばかりでなく、韓国的な漢方化粧品やBBクリーム(皮膚科の治療クリームが応用された保湿成分のあるファンデーション)を中心に、1000円前後の商品を売るショップの人気が高い。

The Myeong-dong branch of The Face Shop, a South Korean natural cosmetics company, saw 2.5 times more Japanese customers and 2.7 times higher sales in October compared to last year. In the past, the company had had a reputation as an inexpensive brand geared toward young people, but the number of Japanese shoppers in their 40s and older spiked after the popular Japanese hair and makeup artist Ikko introduced the company's anti-aging formula on television. The Face Shop sold over 3,000 packs of the product a day after the show aired, and ran out soon afterwards. Who would've known that the Japanese phenomenon of everything and anything someone says "is good for you" on television immediately selling out, would hit South Korea? The purchasing power of the Japanese is something to be reckoned with.

 自然派化粧品メーカー「ザフェイスショップ」明洞店は10月、日本人観光客が前年比で2・5倍増え、売り上げは2・7倍伸びた。若者向けの低価格ショップのイメージが強かったが、ヘアメーキャップアーティスト、IKKOさんがアンチエージング商品を日本のテレビ番組で勧めてからは40代以上の日本人観光客が急増。お勧め商品は放送直後に1日3000個以上売れ、すぐ品切れに。テレビで「健康にいい」と紹介された野菜がスーパーで売り切れになる突風現象がソウルまで上陸するとは。日本人の購買力は恐ろしい。

A 54-year-old housewife from Okayama Prefecture says that she travels to South Korea at least three times a year because it's much more economical than going to Tokyo. Buying about 40 cosmetic items worth a total of 50,000 yen, she says, "I usually get these products for myself, but because the yen is so strong against the won, I figured this time I'd buy enough to give to friends."

 「地方から東京に出るよりソウルのほうが経済的だから」と年3回は韓国に来る岡山市の主婦(54)は、同店で漢方化粧品など約40個、5万円相当をご購入。「いつも愛用しているけど、今回はウォン安だからお友達に配ろうと思って」

The Japanese tourists who visited South Korea during the won slump 10 years ago enjoyed a different culture. Japanese people who are now more familiar with Korean culture seem to be going there not for a new and stimulating experience, but to brush up on their taste in things Korean. Even if the won regains strength, I see no signs of this "pilgrimage" trend dwindling. (By Akiko Horiyama, Seoul Bureau)

 10年前のウォン安時の日本人観光客は、韓国で「異文化体験」の刺激を楽しんだ。日常生活に韓国文化が深く入り込んだ現在は、自分が好きな「韓国的なもの」をバージョンアップするために、本場で感覚を磨きに来ている感じだ。ウォン高に戻っても、この巡礼儀式は滅びないだろう。(ソウル支局)


毎日新聞 20081215日 東京夕刊

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成年年齢 「18歳」へ議論を深めよう

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 17, 2008)

Deepen debate on cutting majority age

成年年齢 「18歳」へ議論を深めよう(1217日付・読売社説)

Many countries in the world set the legal age of adulthood together with the voting age at 18. This is not to say that young people in Japan are especially immature, compared with the same generations in other countries.

 世界の多くの国が、民事上の成年年齢を、選挙権年齢に合わせて、18歳としている。他国の同じ世代と比べて、日本の若者だけが、とりわけ未熟というわけではあるまい。

With a view to lowering the age of adulthood and the voting age from 20 to 18, we hope the government will positively discuss how to handle the relevant laws and ordinances and take the necessary measures.

 成年年齢、選挙権年齢の20歳から18歳への引き下げに向け、政府は、関係法令の取り扱いや必要となる施策について、前向きに議論を進めてもらいたい。

The merits of lowering the age of majority from the current 20 as stipulated in the Civil Code are being discussed by a subpanel of the Legislative Council, an advisory panel to the justice minister. The subpanel released an interim report Tuesday.

 民法が定める成年年齢を20歳から引き下げることの是非を検討している法制審議会の部会が、中間報告をまとめた。

As opinions are divided as to whether the age of majority should be lowered, the report included both the pros and cons of the idea. According to the subpanel, it also will sound out the public and continue discussing the problem, before reaching a conclusion around next spring.

引き下げの是非などで委員の意見は分かれ、賛否両論を併記した。国民から意見を求めたうえで、さらに検討し、来春をめどに結論を出すという。

The national referendum bill, which sets out procedures for constitutional amendments, was passed into law last year. The law stipulates that those 18 or older have the right to vote in the case of a referendum. In addition, a supplementary provision stipulates that the government should discuss the lowering of the voting age in elections and related laws and ordinances, including the Civil Code, and take the necessary legal measures before the expected enforcement of the referendum law in May 2010.

 昨年成立した憲法改正のための国民投票法は、投票権を18歳以上に与えた。さらに付則で、2010年5月の法施行までに、選挙権年齢の引き下げのほか、民法など関係法令も検討し、「必要な法制上の措置を講じる」とした。

In doing so, the government will consider revising 191 laws and 117 government and ministry ordinances with provisions concerning the age of adulthood and the voting age. Changing the age of majority in the Civil Code will be the main pillar of the revisions.

 これに伴い、政府は、年齢条項のある191の法律、117の政省令の見直しを検討する。民法の成年年齢は、その主要な柱だ。

===

Opinions split on implications

According to the interim report, there are opinions for and against lowering the age of adulthood. For example, some say it would encourage young people to participate in society and become independent, while others say it would not necessarily encourage them to do so or that only lowering the voting age, rather than the age of adulthood, would improve their social participation.

 中間報告によると、成年年齢引き下げについては、「若者の社会参加や自立が促される」との賛成意見がある一方、「そうしたことが促されるとは限らない」「社会参加は選挙権年齢の引き下げで対処すればよい」などの反対論も出て、議論が収れんしなかった。

With the declining birthrate and a growing proportion of elderly people, it is extremely important to give younger generations a sense of participation in society as leaders in a depopulating nation. If young people aged 18 and 19 are also allowed to enter into legal agreements or marry under the Civil Code without parental consent, they might become more keenly aware of the seriousness of the responsibility they bear and develop a greater awareness of being adult.

 少子高齢化が進む中、若い世代に、人口減社会の担い手として参加意識を高めてもらうことは極めて大切だ。18、19歳でも親の同意なしに民法上の契約や結婚ができるようになれば、責任の厳しさを痛感し、「大人」としての自覚を持つようになるのではないか。

It is natural for the age at which people are deemed competent to have the right to vote should be the same as the age they are viewed as capable of taking responsibility in accordance with the Civil Code.

 参政権としての判断能力を測る年齢と、民事上の責任能力を測る年齢とは、一致させるのが自然だ。

===

18, de facto world standard

The age of adulthood and the voting age are set at 18 in many of states in the United States, European countries, China and Russia. As this is the case in many parts of the world, it is a global standard.

米国の多くの州や欧州諸国、中国、ロシアなども、成年年齢、選挙権年齢は18歳だ。それが世界の大勢であり、国際標準である。

In public opinion polls, however, a lot of opposition is expressed to the idea of lowering the age of majority. Many people are afraid to change a legal system they are familiar with.

 世論調査では、成年年齢の引き下げに反対が多い。慣れ親しんだ法制度を変えることへの不安があるのだろう。

To ease such opposition, the report insists that the government make efforts to protect consumer rights and help young people become more independent.

 これを解消するためにも、中間報告が求めた消費者被害の防止や若者の自立支援のための施策の充実に取り組む必要がある。

Even if the age of majority is lowered in the Civil Code, this does not mean all the age provisions in other laws and ordinances will automatically be lowered. Taking the examples of drinking and smoking, the decision on whether to maintain the current minimum age of 20 can be decided separately by taking into consideration the effect on society in each case.

 民法の成年年齢が下がったからといって、他法令の年齢条項がすべて自動的に下がるわけではない。飲酒・喫煙などは社会への影響を踏まえ、20歳に据え置くかどうかを個々に判断すればよい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 17, 2008)

200812170135  読売新聞)

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2008年12月16日 (火)

GMショック―破綻は何としても避けよ

2008/12/16

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 13(IHT/Asahi: December 16,2008)

EDITORIAL: U.S. auto industry bailout package

GMショック―破綻は何としても避けよ


The U.S. Senate has rejected an auto industry rescue bill that would have provided up to $14 billion (about 1.2 trillion yen) in emergency loans to the country's embattled Big Three carmakers.

 米議会の上院が、最大140億ドルのつなぎ融資を柱とする自動車メーカー大手の救済法案を葬り去った。 

In return for providing short-term financing for the cash-strapped automakers, the bill, drafted by the administration of President George W. Bush and Congressional Democrats, would have required each of the companies to develop, by the end of March, a drastic restructuring plan under government supervision. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed the auto bailout bill swiftly, but many Senate Republicans opposed the plan.

 ブッシュ政権と議会民主党がつくった法案は、当座の資金を提供する代わりに、政府の管理下で来年3月末までに抜本的なリストラ計画を立てさせる内容だった。民主党が優勢の下院は早々に可決したが、上院は共和党などに反対派が多い。

Efforts to hammer out a compromise continued until the last moment but failed to produce a deal, causing the bill to be scrapped.

ぎりぎりの説得が続けられたものの、妥協に失敗した。廃案となる見通しだ。 

General Motors Corp., the largest U.S. automaker, has said it would go bankrupt due to a cash squeeze unless it can secure $4 billion of financing by the end of the year. GM's bankruptcy would deliver a heavy blow to the economy by hammering a large network of parts suppliers and local dealerships.

 最大手のゼネラル・モーターズ(GM)は、年内に40億ドルを得られなければ、資金繰りがつかず破綻(はたん)すると自ら説明している。そうなると、部品メーカーや販売網など経済への打撃がきわめて大きい。

The demise of the largest car company could also have devastating repercussions on Chrysler LLC, the third-largest player, and the second-largest Ford Motor Co., which is not in immediate danger of going under.

3位のクライスラーや比較的余裕のある2位のフォード・モーターも余波を受ける可能性がある。

Auto manufacturing is the mainstay U.S. industry, which employs several million workers.

米国の自動車産業は数百万人の雇用を抱える産業の根幹である。 

The Senate rejection of the rescue package sent shockwaves around the globe, triggering selling-pressure on the U.S. currency.

 衝撃は「アメリカ売り」という形でまたたく間に世界へ広がった。 

The news quickly convinced many investors that the U.S. economy will sink deeper into recession, prompting them to sell dollars. In Tokyo, the greenback fell through the 90-yen mark for the first time in 13 years on Friday, temporarily sinking to the 88-yen band.

 市場では「米経済の悪化が一段と加速するのは不可避」という見方が急速に広まり、ドルが売られた。東京では13年ぶりに1ドル=90円の大台を突破して、一時は88円台まで円が買われた。

The yen's climb against the dollar roiled the Japanese stock market, dragging down the benchmark Nikkei 225 index by more than 600 points at one point. Prices also plunged in major stock markets in other Asian countries and Europe.

連動する形で株価は急落し、日経平均が一時600円を超す下げ幅となった。株安はアジアや欧州など主要市場へも広がっている。

As what happened recently made clear, the consequences of simply allowing GM to go bust would be too dire. Already, two shocking events that took place in the United States this autumn worsened the crisis: the collapse of major investment bank Lehman Brothers and the House's initial rejection of the bill to save troubled financial institutions. GM's failure would come as the third and biggest jolt for the world economy. The fate of GM will go a long way toward determining the depth and length of the global recession.

 このように、GMを単純に破綻させるのは影響が大きすぎる。すでにこの秋から、米国発の2大ショックが危機を深めてきた。証券大手リーマン・ブラザーズの破綻と、金融救済法案を下院がいったん否決したことだ。GM破綻は第3で最大のショックになる。世界不況がどこまで深く長くなるかを決定的に左右することになろう。 

There is strong opposition among U.S. voters to the auto industry rescue bill because of the widespread concern that the envisioned tax-funded bailout would allow the automakers to keep on going without radical restructuring to lower labor costs.

 自動車救済法案への反対が根強いのは、世間相場からみれば恵まれた待遇のGMなどの従業員に対するリストラが徹底されないのではないか、という不信感がぬぐえないからだ。

The employees at GM and other big automakers are generally seen as receiving relatively good pay and benefits. In fact, the negotiations for a Senate deal broke down because the United Auto Workers union rejected a Republican compromise proposal containing steep pay cuts for its members.

上院の協議が決裂したのも、賃金の大幅な引き下げを盛り込んだ共和党の修正案を、労組が拒んだのが原因だった。 

That may explain why many Americans believe the only way to ensure radical restructuring of the automakers is to force them to file for Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code--a process that permits reorganization under the law, the U.S. equivalent of Japan's Civil Rehabilitation Law.

 こうした事情から、リストラを徹底させるには、日本の民事再生法に当たる連邦破産法11条を適用し、いったんは破綻処理するしかない、という意見も米国民の間では少なくない。 

If GM files for Chapter 11, the wages of its employees will be inevitably slashed. The labor union should face up to this reality and accept wage cuts now to help revive the auto industry bailout bill.

 GMが破綻となれば、いや応なく賃金は切り下げられる。労組もそれを理解していま賃金カットを受け入れ、救済法の復活に協力すべきだ。 

After Republican senators refused to support a compromise proposal to rescue the automakers, Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, said the administration will consider other options to prevent a collapse of the troubled automakers, including dipping into the $700-billion bailout program for financial institutions. The spokeswoman pointed out that the failures of the companies would deal a serious blow to the economy.

 また大統領報道官は、経済に深刻な打撃を与えるとして、金融救済法を適用して当座の資金を融資することを含め、破綻を回避すると表明した。 

Indeed, the U.S. government and the Congress have the obligation to make every possible effort to minimize the damage to the world economy from the predicament of the U.S. auto industry.

 いずれにせよ米国の政府と議会は、世界経済への打撃を最小限に食い止めるよう万全をつくす責任がある。

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景気対策と税―ただの放漫財政では困る

2008/12/16

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 13(IHT/Asahi: December 16,2008)

EDITORIAL: Can Aso maintain fiscal discipline?

景気対策と税―ただの放漫財政では困る

Prime Minister Taro Aso on Friday announced a 23-trillion-yen economic stimulus package titled "emergency measures for protecting livelihoods." At the same time, he clearly stated the possibility of raising the consumption tax rate in three years and stressed his intent to achieve a balance between overcoming the financial crisis and maintaining fiscal discipline.

 麻生首相が「生活防衛のための緊急対策」と銘打った23兆円規模の政策を発表した。同時に、3年後の消費増税の可能性を明言し、危機克服と財政規律の両立を図る姿勢を強調した。 

This double-pronged approach is a correct one. However, seeing how the prime minister has meandered on tax and fiscal policies, we are deeply concerned about whether he can really function as the command center for such an approach.

 この二刀流の取り組み方は正しい。しかし、これまでの税や財政をめぐる迷走ぶりを見ると、首相が果たして二刀を操る司令塔として機能できるのか、深刻な懸念を抱かざるを得ない。 

The basic economic and fiscal policy guidelines of 2006, which set forth the framework of the government's fiscal administration, stipulate the natural increase in the ever-growing social security spending should be curbed by 220 billion yen each year.

 政府の財政運営の大枠を定めた06年の骨太方針では、増え続ける社会保障予算について、毎年2200億円ずつ伸びを抑制することになっている。

However, those actually working in welfare say this policy is tantamount to throwing away those in need of welfare. The prime minister himself had indicated his intention to review this policy.

しかし、福祉の現場からは「これでは切り捨てだ」と悲鳴が上がり、首相自身が方針見直しの考えを示していた。 

To relax the curb on spending, it is necessary to find another source of revenue. That is why Aso set his sights on raising taxes on tobacco by about 60 yen a pack.

 抑制を緩めるなら、その分の財源を見つけてこなければならない。そこで首相が目を付けたのが、1箱60円程度のたばこ税の増税だった。 

This caused a furor of resistance within the ruling coalition. Opponents argued that there were no guarantees the tax hike would increase revenue because the higher costs could further diminish an already declining demand for tobacco.

 これに与党内から猛反発が起きた。増税はたばこ離れに拍車をかけ、目算通り税収があがるかどうか保証がない。

In addition, the higher taxes would affect tobacco plant farmers. The opponents argued they could not accept anything like that before a Lower House election.

葉タバコ農家などにしわ寄せが及ぶ。総選挙を控え、とても認められない。そんな理屈だ。 

Contrary to the prime minister's wishes, the ruling parties' tax system research commissions decided to postpone the idea of a higher tobacco tax. Now, there are no other options on the table for a new tax revenue source that can ease the pressure on tightening the social security budget.

 首相の期待ははずれ、与党の税制調査会はたばこ増税の見送りを決めた。社会保障費抑制を緩めるための財源探しは、まったくめどが立っていない。 

More confusion erupted concerning the midterm program for tax reform, including an increase in the consumption tax rate to secure a stable revenue source for future social welfare programs.

 さらに混迷したのは、将来の社会福祉の安定財源をどう確保するか、消費増税を含めて税制改革の中期プログラムを明らかにするという問題だ。 

The prime minister instructed Kaoru Yosano, state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, to clearly state in the midterm program that the consumption tax rate would increase "three years from now." But on the same day, the ruling coalition's tax panels decided not to include the timing of the tax increase in their tax reform outlines.

 首相は、与謝野経済財政相に消費増税の時期を「3年後」と明記するよう指示したのに、その日のうちに与党税調は税制改正大綱に時期を盛り込まないことを決めた。

Vague wording was used instead because the Liberal Democratic Party's coalition partner, New Komeito, furiously resisted a specific schedule. There is no denying that lawmakers' knee-jerk reaction against mentioning tax hikes before an election came into play here.

連立相手の公明党が強く抵抗したためだが、やはり選挙を意識して増税には触れたくないという議員心理が働いたのは否めない。 

During his news conference, Aso again referred to his intention to raise the consumption tax rate in three years and expressed an eagerness to persuade the ruling parties to go along with his plan. But it is highly doubtful Aso can win over the parties with his depleted support within the ruling coalition.

 首相は記者会見で、改めて「3年後」に言及した。与党を説得して何とか残したいとの意欲を見せたが、衰えた求心力でそれが可能か疑問だ。 

Given the situation, how far can Aso go in maintaining fiscal discipline during the process of compiling the budget plan for fiscal 2009 and the second supplementary budget bill?

 こんな状態で、今後の09年度予算案や第2次補正予算案づくりを通じて、どこまで財政規律という筋を通すことができるのだろうか。 

Aso will certainly face increased pressure to use the maizokin surplus reserves in special accounts and issue more government bonds for social security costs. Once the threshold of self-restraint is crossed, all sorts of budget requests for pork-barrel programs for road construction and revitalizing local communities will burst forth.

 社会保障の財源手当ては、埋蔵金や国債をあてようという議論が高まるだろう。タガがはずれれば、道路や地方支援に名を借りたバラマキへの要求が堰(せき)を切ったように押し寄せる。 

The writing is already on the wall. Old-fashioned public works programs may well wriggle into the emergency stimulus package, which sets aside 1 trillion yen each in additional tax allocations to local governments and new funds reserved for economic emergencies.

 すでに前兆はある。緊急対策に盛り込まれた地方交付税増額と新設の経済緊急予備費の各1兆円などに旧来型の公共事業費が潜り込んできそうだ。 

Measures must be taken to prop up the economy and enhance employment security. But if those measures are used as an excuse for repeated pork-barreling with an eye on the next election, then it will be nothing more than an undisciplined, lax fiscal policy.

 不景気や雇用への手当ては必要だ。だが、それを口実に、選挙への思惑を絡めてあれもこれもと盛り込めば、それこそ放漫財政そのものではないか。 

The public can never rest assured if politicians continue to carelessly increase this nation's fiscal deficit.

 漫然と財政赤字を膨らませるだけなら、国民はとても安心できまい。

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社説:日中韓首脳会議 東アジアの軸がやっと動いた

(Mainichi Japan) December 15, 2008

Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing agree on vision, responsibility for East Asia region

社説:日中韓首脳会議 東アジアの軸がやっと動いた

The leaders of Japan, China and South Korea recently gathered in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, and issued a joint statement on the promotion of trilateral cooperation. The leaders agreed to make trilateral summits a regular event, deciding to hold the next one in China in 2009.

 日本、中国、韓国の首脳が福岡県太宰府市に集まり、3カ国協力の促進をうたった共同声明を発表した。3首脳はこの会議を定例化することでも合意し、次回会議を来年中国で開催することを決めた。

It was the first time for the leaders of the three countries to gather independently in one place in such a form. In fact, it is unnatural that, while being neighbors, the countries had never held such a summit in the past. It is hoped that the trilateral summit will function as the axis of a stability system in East Asia, overcoming such hurdles as differences in political systems and territorial and history awareness issues.

 日中韓の3首脳が独立した形で一堂に会したのは初めてである。互いに隣国同士でありながら、これまでこうした会議を開けなかったのがむしろ不自然だった。体制の違いや、領土問題、歴史認識問題という障害を乗り越え、3首脳会議が東アジアの安定装置の軸として機能していくことを期待したい。

Since 1999, when then Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji and then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung gathered in a breakfast meeting at the ASEAN summit, meetings between the leaders of Japan, China and South Korea have been held every year, with the exception of 2005. This time was the ninth meeting, but the first time such a meeting was held separate from any international conference.

 日中韓の首脳会議は1999年の東南アジア諸国連合(ASEAN)の会議の際に当時の小渕恵三首相と中国の朱鎔基首相、韓国の金大中大統領が朝食会の形で開催して以来、05年を除いて毎年行われてきた。今回が9回目だが、国際会議と切り離しての開催は初めてとなった。

The joint declaration on a trilateral partnership signed by Prime Minister Taro Aso, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, said that they shared a "vision and responsibility for creating a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future for the region and the international community." The handling of the global financial crisis and a response to the North Korean nuclear issue are pressing issues faced by the three countries in order to fulfill that responsibility.

 麻生太郎首相、温家宝・中国首相、李明博(イミョンバク)・韓国大統領の3首脳が署名した「3国間パートナーシップに関する共同声明」は、「地域および国際社会の平和・繁栄、持続可能な未来を創造するためのビジョンと責任を共有している」との認識を表明した。その責任を果たすために3カ国が目下直面している喫緊の課題が世界的な金融危機への対処と北朝鮮の核問題への対応である。

As a response to the global financial crisis, the three leaders confirmed that they would strengthen regional cooperation, while welcoming the fact that their governments agreed to expand the size of bilateral currency swap agreements between Japan, South Korea and China in order to support South Korea, which is struggling due to the depreciation of its currency.

 金融危機への対応では、3首脳は地域協力を強化することを確認するとともに、ウォン安に苦しむ韓国を支援するため日中韓の2国間通貨交換(スワップ)協定の資金の融通枠を拡大することで3カ国政府が合意したことを歓迎した。

The combined gross domestic products of Japan, China and South Korea exceeds 16 percent of the world total, and accounts for 70 percent of the figure for all of East Asia. Considering the immensity of this economic power, the strengthening of collaboration among the financial authorities of the three countries is vital. The fact that regular meetings are to be convened among the governors of the central banks of the three countries should be applauded.

 日中韓3カ国の国内総生産(GDP)の総計は世界全体の16%を超え、東アジア全体の7割にものぼる。この経済力の大きさを踏まえれば日中韓の金融当局間の連携強化は不可欠である。3カ国の中央銀行総裁による定期会合が開始されることになったことを評価したい。

The six-party talks ended without producing results on the North Korean nuclear issue, but the three leaders confirmed that they would collaborate over this issue in the future. In order to make a breakthrough in the stalled six-party talks, there needs to be a greater extent of coordination among Japan, the United States and South Korea, and leadership from China, as chair of the talks. The cooperation between Japan, China and South Korea that the countries' three leaders agreed upon this time should be used in policies toward North Korea.

 北朝鮮の核問題をめぐる6カ国協議は成果を出せずに終わったが、この問題でも3首脳は今後の連携を確認した。暗礁に乗り上げた6カ国協議を打開するためにはこれまで以上に日米韓の協調と議長国・中国のリーダーシップが必要になる。今回首脳同士が合意した3カ国協力を対北朝鮮政策で生かしてほしい。

Between Japan and China, light remains to be shed on a poisoning incident involving Chinese-made frozen dumplings. In addition, Chinese survey vessels made an intrusion into Japanese waters off the Senkaku Islands earlier this month.

 日中間では、中国製冷凍ギョーザによる中毒事件がまだ解明されていない。加えて、今月には中国の調査船が尖閣諸島沖の日本領海に侵入する事件も起きた。

The fact that over 70 percent of people in a Cabinet Office opinion poll took a negative view of relations between Japan and China is probably not unrelated to such events. The trilateral summit that will be held regularly should provide an opportunity for the leaders to talk frankly about such bilateral issues.

 内閣府の世論調査で日中関係を良好と思わない人が7割を超え過去最高になったことはこれらと無関係ではないだろう。定例化される3首脳会議は、2国間のこうした問題についても首脳同士が率直に話し合える舞台になるはずである。

毎日新聞 20081214日 東京朝刊

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日銀短観 景気の悪化が加速している

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 16, 2008)

Economy's downhill slide picking up speed

日銀短観 景気の悪化が加速している(1216日付・読売社説)

The nation's economy has been deteriorating at surprising speed. The government and the Bank of Japan must employ all available measures to prevent the economy from sinking any further.

 景気が驚くほどのスピードで悪化している。

 政府・日銀は政策を総動員し、景気底割れを食い止めねばならない。

The Bank of Japan's key Tankan quarterly survey for December showed that the diffusion index for business confidence among major manufacturers dropped to minus 24.

 日銀の12月の企業短期経済観測調査(短観)は、景気認識を示す業況判断指数が大企業・製造業でマイナス24となった。

The index fell by 21 points from the previous survey for September. The fall was the second-largest in the survey's history following a 26-point drop in August 1974 in the wake of the first oil shock.

 9月の前回調査から21ポイントも低下した。第1次石油危機の1974年8月調査で記録した26ポイントに次ぐ、過去2番目の悪化幅だ。

The index of all 15 types of industries worsened from the previous survey, also for the first time since the oil shock.

 製造業の全15業種の指数がそろって前回より悪化したのも、石油危機以来のことである。

Regarding major nonmanufacturers, the index fell into the negative territory for the first time in five years. The lack of confidence expressed through the survey by smaller companies--both manufacturers and nonmanufacturers--was more serious than the figures for major companies.

 大企業・非製造業の指数も5年ぶりにマイナスに落ち込み、中小企業の指数は、製造業、非製造業ともに大企業よりも深刻だ。

Sluggish sales caused by slowdowns in foreign economies and weak domestic demand are rapidly cooling business sentiment.

 海外経済の失速と内需低迷による販売不振が、企業心理を急速に冷やしている。

Following export-oriented industries such as automobiles and electrical appliances, signs of the worsening economy have become apparent among such consumption-related sectors as the hospitality industry and retailers as well. The nation's economy is suffering a meltdown.

自動車や電機など輸出産業に続いて、飲食や小売りなど国内消費関連の業種も景気悪化が鮮明だ。まさに、総崩れの状況と言えよう。

===

Sentiment declining further

Seventy to 80 percent of the companies surveyed completed their replies by late November. With a series of reductions in output and job cuts announced after that taken into account, business sentiment now must be even worse. Both major and smaller companies predicted the economy would deteriorate further in March compared to this month.

 7~8割の企業が11月下旬までに回答を終えている。その後の減産や人員削減の広がりを考えると、現在の景況感は、さらに悪いに違いない。大企業も中小企業も、来年3月は、今月より景気が落ち込むと予想している。

It also is a concern that the indexes for employment and production capacity both showed companies felt payrolls and production capacity were excessive, a sentiment that has begun spreading.

 雇用人員や生産設備の過剰感を示す指数が上昇してきたことも気がかりだ。

If companies feel strongly that their payrolls are excessively large, corporate restructuring is likely and the income of corporate workers and others will go down. It is of increasing concern that consumption, a major pillar of domestic demand, may further decline.

 雇用の過剰感が強いと、企業のリストラが加速し、サラリーマンなどの収入が減少する。今後、内需の柱である消費が、一段と冷え込む恐れが強まっている。

Excess production capacity will dampen companies' incentives to invest and make production activity even more sluggish.

 設備が過剰になると、企業が投資意欲を失い、生産活動は一段と停滞する。

The nation cannot expect much from external demand as its future prospects are uncertain. To prevent further acceleration of the deterioration in the economy, it is necessary to pursue policy measures to bolster domestic demand.

 先行きが不透明な外需は頼りにならない。景気の悪化をこれ以上加速させないため、政策による内需の下支えが欠かせない。

===

Swift action needed

First and foremost, the government should hasten to implement its additional economic package, worth 23 trillion yen, to boost the economy and secure employment.

 まずは、政府がまとめた23兆円規模の追加景気・雇用対策の実施を急がねばならない。

The financial situation also is a concern. The index representing the lending attitude of financial institutions now is at a seriously low level, close to that of the financial depression a decade ago.

 金融情勢も懸念される。金融機関の貸し出し態度の指数は10年前の金融不況時に迫る厳しさだ。

With the enactment of a bill to revise the law to strengthen financial functions, safety nets for regional financial services have been created as the legislation again allows injection of public funds into financial institutions. Using measures listed in the stimulus package that are aimed at helping companies' cash flow, financial institutions must make utmost efforts to prevent credit tightening cutting off a lifeline to companies.

 公的資金注入を復活させる改正金融機能強化法が成立し、地域金融の安全網が整備された。景気対策に盛り込まれた資金繰り支援も活用し、金融の目詰まり防止に全力を挙げねばならない。

We also consider it necessary to undertake additional measures to help companies' cash flow, such as the purchasing of corporate bonds by the Bank of Japan.

 日銀による社債の買い上げなど、新たな企業金融支援策も追加すべきではないか。

Monetary easing is a worldwide trend. Although there is little room for the Bank of Japan to lower interest rates further, the central bank should consider additional measures without excluding even a zero interest rate and quantitative easing.

 世界的に金融緩和が進んでいる。日銀の利下げ余地は少ないが、ゼロ金利や量的緩和策も例外とせず、追加策を検討すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 16, 2008)

200812160131  読売新聞)

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