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2008年12月22日 (月)

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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