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2008年12月23日 (火)

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。

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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。

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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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