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2008年12月25日 (木)

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。

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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。

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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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