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2009年1月31日 (土)

刑務所製品:「マル獄」グッズ人気 安くて品質よし

(Mainichi Japan) January 31, 2009

Made in prison: Inmates' hot items a surprise fashion hit

刑務所製品:「マル獄」グッズ人気 安くて品質よし

How do you find cheap, hit products in the middle of a recession? Just look to the prison system.

刑務所作業製品で人気のマル獄グッズ 財布のひもをがっちり締めがちな最近の消費者に人気が出ている商品がある。刑務所で作られた作業製品だ。安価でしかも品質がよいと、ネット販売で数分で売り切れてしまう人気ブランドも出現した。【木村葉子】

Leading the way is Marugoku, a Hakodate Juvenile Prison brand, the first line of prison-made products to be trademarked. Its first run of 100 aprons -- made of dark blue canvas, with a white "goku" (prison) kanji character inside a white circle ("maru") design -- sold out online within a few minutes. In addition to the logo, "Prison" (in English), "Open Today" and "Established in the second year of the Meiji Era", the prison's opening year, are printed on the apron.

 一番人気は、函館少年刑務所の「マル獄」グッズだ。昨年末に、刑務所作業製品として初めて商標登録された。紺色の綿の帆布に、白地で「獄」の字を丸で囲ったデザインが受け、ネット販売では前掛け(1029円)100枚が2、3分で売り切れるほどの人気商品に。前掛けには「マル獄」マークのほか、「PRISON」(刑務所)「本日開監」「創業明治弐年」(同刑務所の設立年)などの文字も入る。

The design was the brainchild of the prison's judicial affairs officer, who unsuccessfully applied for permission to use the Ministry of Justice's paulownia crest before coming up with the Marugoku design.

 デザインは06年に同刑務所の法務技官、川村成昭さんが考案。「五三の桐」と呼ばれる法務省の紋章を入れようとしたが、本省の許可が下りずに断念、苦肉の策で「マル獄」マークにしたという。

Apart from aprons, the line-up contains 13 other items, including a bag made of Japanese-patterned fabric (1,980 yen). In two years, the organization has sold around 10,000 aprons, and has had total sales of 24 million yen.

 前掛け以外に、和風柄のリバーシブル手提げ袋(1980円)など13種類のグッズを製作。前掛けは2年間で計1万枚を売り、グッズは総額で2400万円を売り上げた。

The products themselves are made at the prison's sewing mill, where 100 or so detainees produce work clothes to order for government offices and businesses. The Marugoku project was originally conceived as an off-season project, but prodigious sales mean that stock is currently almost sold out.

 同刑務所の縫製工場では、約100人が官庁や企業の注文を受けて作業服などを作っている。「マル獄」グッズは閑散期対策として考案されたが、予想外の売れ行きで品切れ状態に。「製品が高く評価され、受刑者のモチベーションが上がった」と川村さんは話す。

The idea is not new. Ichihara Prison has been producing additive-free naturally brewed miso since 1972, using domestically-produced soybeans, as well as its own brand of soy sauce. And at Yokohama Prison, inmates have been making udon noodles for the past 15 or so years, using Australian wheat flour to make a hand-kneaded dough.

 市原刑務所(千葉県)では、72年から無添加の天然醸造みそ(1.5キロ、360円)を作っている。国産大豆を使い、年間110トンを製造。しょうゆ(1リットル240円)とともに、各地で開かれる即売会では整理券を配布するほどの人気商品だ。

 横浜刑務所では、15年ほど前から細うどんを製造している。オーストラリア産の小麦粉とを赤穂の塩で作った食塩水でこねたこだわりの品。250グラム130円と手ごろな値段も人気を呼んでいる。


 靴を作っているのは、千葉刑務所。最高級の牛革を使い、手縫いのため型くずれしにくく、出来栄えは職人がうなるほどという。1万3500円と市販品の半値以下だ。

 注文生産で応接セットを作っている甲府刑務所。牛革のソファーが2万円からと、市価の半額ほどのものも。

But according to an official at the Correctional Association Prison Industry Cooperation (CAPIC), the aim isn't to rake in money; prices are particularly low because the project is a not-for-profit endeavor: the aim is simply to instill prisoners with a sense of achievement through regular work. But with hard-working prisoners securing early releases, prisons are starting to pair up new inmates with the more experienced ones in order to maintain product quality.

 矯正協会刑務作業協力事業部の中島昭二部長によると、これらの製品が安価なのは営利目的ではないため。規則正しい労働や製品を根気強く作り上げることで、受刑者に達成感ややりがいを持ってもらうのが狙いだ。

"Even those who hate the idea of prison-made products should change their mind after seeing the quality of their workmanship," says the CAPIC official.

 ただ、まじめに作業をする受刑者ほど出所も早く、良質な製品が作れるようになったかと思うと新人に入れ替わってしまうという“悩み”も。品質保持のため、熟練者と新人をペアにして作業を進めるなど、各刑務所で工夫している。中島部長は「刑務所で作ったものは嫌だと思う人も、品質を見てもらえば納得してもらえるはず」と話す。

 製品は各地で開かれる矯正展で購入できる。刑務所作業製品のホームページはhttp://www.e-capic.com

毎日新聞 2009129日 1541分(最終更新 130日 847分)

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ビザなし交流 ロシアは国際信義を守れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 31, 2009)

Russia must keep pledge on northern territories

ビザなし交流 ロシアは国際信義を守れ(131日付・読売社説)

Moscow has moved to unilaterally cancel an agreement reached between Japan and Russia that allows so-called visaless visits by Japanese nationals to the four northern territories.

 ロシアが、日露両政府が合意して実施している北方領土への「ビザなし交流」の仕組みを、自国の都合で一方的に反故(ほご)にしようとしている。

Japan cannot allow this act by Russia, carried out for Moscow's own convenience, as it constitutes a breach of trust between states.

 国際信義に反しており、日本として到底、受け入れるわけにはいかない。

A Japanese ship carrying humanitarian aid including medicine for residents of the Russian-held islets had to abandon its attempts to dock there and returned to Japan on Thursday after Russian authorities demanded members of the mission submit immigration cards.

 北方4島の住民に医薬品などの人道支援物資を届けようとした日本の訪問団が、ロシア当局から出入国カードの提出を求められ、上陸を断念して帰国した。

===

'Impossible to understand'

Following disembarkation procedures set out by Russia could have resulted in Moscow claiming that Tokyo has admitted that Russia has jurisdiction over the northern territories, which are claimed by both nations.

 ロシアの出入国手続きに従うことは、ロシアの管轄権を認めることにつながる。

It is a matter of course that Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said Russia's action was "impossible to understand" and demanded on behalf of the Japanese government that Russia allow visaless visits to resume.

河村官房長官が「理解できない」と反発し、日本政府として撤回を求めたのは、当然のことだ。

Humanitarian assistance to residents of the four islands is carried out under the same procedures as the visaless exchange system that started in 1992.

 人道支援事業は、1992年に始まった「ビザなし交流」と同じ仕組みで行われている。

Out of consideration for the territorial dispute between Japan and Russia, members of humanitarian missions are allowed to visit the northern territories carrying only identification cards and an attached paper from the Japanese government, which lists intended destinations and other details. Standard immigration procedures such as the presentation of passports and visas are skipped. The same mechanism is applied to former residents and their family members who come to visit graves on the islands.

 領土問題に配慮し、旅券や査証(ビザ)の提示など出入国手続きを経ずに、日本政府が発給する身分証などを示せば入域できる。元島民の墓参も同じ仕組みだ。

However, on this occasion Russia demanded members of the mission submit embarkation/disembarkation cards in line with a revision of its domestic law in 2006. Russian officials said that future visaless exchange visitors also will not be exempted from the law.

 ところが、ロシアは今回、2006年の国内法改正を理由に出入国カードの提出を要求した。今後、ビザなし交流などで訪れる場合も例外は認めないという。

Kunashiri Island, Etorofu Island, the Habomai group of islets and Shikotan Island are inherently Japanese territory. Japanese nationals should be able to visit there freely. The visaless visits system was agreed on to promote mutual understanding between Japanese and Russian people until a peace treaty is signed between Tokyo and Moscow.

 歯舞、色丹、国後、択捉の4島は日本固有の領土だ。本来、日本人が自由に往来できるはずの土地である。「平和条約締結までの間、相互理解の増進を図る」ことがビザなし交流の目的だ。

However, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Russia should not be blamed even if limiting visaless exchange visits harms Japan-Russia relations.

 ロシア外務省は、ビザなし交流の縮小などで日露関係に悪影響が出たとしても、「我々の責任ではない」と居直っている。

The background to this is said to be the fact that the Russian Foreign Ministry is no longer able to control its Federal Migration Service, which advocates tighter immigration controls.

 背景には、出入国管理の厳格化を主張する連邦移民庁を、外務省が抑えきれなくなったという事情もあるようだ。

However, if Russia respects the promises it has made to other countries, it should make operational adjustments among its ministries and agencies, including making visaless visits to the northern territories an exception under its laws.

 だが、国際約束を重んじるなら、北方領土との交流には例外扱いを認めるなど、ロシア内部で制度運用上の調整をすべきだろう。

If nothing is done, visaless exchange visits scheduled for this summer and other programs will not be able to go ahead, in addition to planned humanitarian missions. Both the Japanese and Russian governments should hold talks to break the deadlock as soon as possible, based on the principle of visaless visits that does not undermine either nations' respective claims regarding the territorial dispute.

 このままでは、人道支援事業に加え、今夏に予定されるビザなし交流などもできなくなる。日露両政府は、領土問題での双方の立場を侵害しない、というビザなし交流の原則を踏まえ、事態解決に向けて協議を急いでもらいたい。

===

Development deals may suffer

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called Prime Minister Taro Aso last Saturday and proposed they hold summit talks on Sakhalin in mid-February.

 ロシアのメドベージェフ大統領は24日、麻生首相に電話し、2月中旬のサハリン(樺太)での首脳会談を打診してきた。

Russia is trying to attract Japanese money and technology to assist in the development of Siberia and its Far Eastern regions. But, there will be no boost in economic cooperation from Japan if Moscow fails to act sincerely when dealing with the territorial issue that stands as the biggest stumbling block between Japan and Russia.

 ロシアは極東・シベリア開発に日本の資金や技術を呼び込もうとしている。日露間の最大の懸案である領土問題で不誠実な対応を続けるようでは、経済協力にも弾みはつくまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 31, 2009)

20091310141  読売新聞)

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2009年1月30日 (金)

代表質問 「消費税」論戦をじっくりと

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 30, 2009)

Diet needs to give time to sales tax discussion

代表質問 「消費税」論戦をじっくりと(130日付・読売社説)

It is imperative that the Diet now deepen discussions about a suitable consumption tax rate for the nation, even though the task is thought of as a medium-term challenge.

 中期的課題とはいえ、消費税率のあり方に関する国会の論議を今から深める意味は大きい。

The consumption tax issue was one of the focuses of attention Thursday during questioning from party representatives at the House of Representatives in response to a policy speech delivered Wednesday by Prime Minister Taro Aso.

 麻生首相の施政方針演説に対する代表質問は、消費税が一つの焦点となった。

Yukio Hatoyama, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, lashed out at Aso's pledge to raise the consumption tax rate, saying the tax raise would not win public sympathy "unless amakudari [the practice of bureaucrats landing cushy jobs in the private and public sectors] is eradicated and pork-barreling is completely terminated."

 民主党の鳩山幹事長は、消費税率引き上げについて、「天下りの根絶とばらまき排除を徹底しない限り、国民の理解を得られない」と強く批判した。

In his counterargument, Aso said, "All revenues from the consumption tax will be used for social security benefits and policies to address the declining birthrate, thereby returning it to the people." The prime minister, however, stopped short of clarifying the timing and margin of the consumption tax hike by saying the government will study these issues from now on.

 麻生首相は「消費税の全税収は社会保障給付と少子化対策に充て国民に還元する」と反論した。税率引き上げの時期や幅は「今後検討する」と述べるにとどめた。

===

Welcome all proposals

It is appropriate to consider raising the consumption tax rate to secure a stable financial source to cover snowballing social security costs.

 増大し続ける社会保障費の安定財源として、消費税率を引き上げるという考え方は、妥当なものだ。

Of course, with the economy currently deteriorating, it is difficult to work out details, such as the timing and margin of the tax raise, which will be made on the condition that the economy makes a turnaround.

無論、景気が悪化している現時点で、経済の好転を前提とした税率引き上げの時期や幅など細部を詰めるのは無理がある。

Even so, it is vital for the government to dedicate time to considering the direction in which the nation is heading--toward a hike in the consumption tax rate--and steadily make efforts to win public support.

 それでも、税率引き上げという大きな方向性について、じっくりと議論し、国民の理解を得る努力を着実に続けることが重要だ。

In this regard, a proposal by Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda can be seen as forward-looking. He proposed, among other things, managing revenues from the consumption tax by putting them into an account separate from the general account and that a mechanism be instituted to prevent wasteful spending.

 その意味で、自民党の細田幹事長が「消費税収を区分管理し、無駄遣いさせない仕組みを講じる」などと提言したのは、前向きな姿勢と言えるのではないか。

If the DPJ is so opposed to a consumption tax hike, it should present other ways to secure financial sources. Putting options on the table can only deepen discussions on this issue.

 民主党も、消費税率引き上げに反対するなら、それに代わる財源確保策を明示すべきだ。選択肢を示してこそ、議論は深まる。

===

DPJ dropping ball on piracy

Meanwhile, regarding the government's plan to dispatch Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels to fight piracy off Somalia, Hatoyama asked why the task could not be undertaken by the Japan Coast Guard.

 ソマリア沖の海賊対策に海上自衛隊を派遣することについて、鳩山幹事長は「なぜ海上保安庁で対応できないのか」と質問した。

In principle, maritime policing activities fall within the JCG's jurisdiction. But the pirate-infested area is far removed from Japan, and the pirates are armed with heavy weaponry.

 海上での警察活動は一義的に海上保安庁の所管だ。だが、現場は日本から遠く離れた海域で、海賊は重火器で武装している。

It is in line with accepted international practice to send MSDF with trained members and more powerful equipment now that the mission has been deemed difficult for the JCG. Other countries involved antipiracy missions are sending their navies' ships, not those of coast guards.

 海保による対処が困難である以上、より強力な装備と、訓練された隊員を擁する海自を活用するのは、国際的な常識である。他国が派遣しているのも海軍の艦船で、沿岸警備隊ではない。

Hatoyama argued from the perspective of civilian control that it would be problematic for the Defense Ministry to formulate guidelines on the use of weapons for antipiracy missions, which will not be made public.

This argument is unreasonable. Disclosing guidelines would be tantamount to exposing MSDF's cards to the pirates and could hamper MSDF efforts to carry out missions.

 鳩山幹事長は、防衛省が非公開の武器使用基準を作成するのは文民統制上、問題だと主張したが、これはおかしい。基準を公開すれば、海賊に手の内を知らせ、海自の任務に支障が生じかねない。

What the DPJ needs to do is compile as soon as possible its own policy on fighting piracy.

 民主党が今、早期に取り組むべきなのは、海賊対策に関する党の方針をまとめることだ。

There are arguments within the DPJ both for and against the dispatch of MSDF vessels. One of the reasons for DPJ opposition is its need to act in concert with the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party.

 党内では、海自派遣に賛否両論がある。派遣に反対する理由の一つは、社民、国民新の両党と足並みをそろえることだという。

If the DPJ believes it is more important to put on a united front with those two opposition parties at the expense of leaving unaddressed the threat of piracy against about 2,000 Japanese-related vessels that pass through those waters each year, it can hardly be said to be a responsible action.

 だが、野党共闘を優先し、年約2000隻の日本関係船舶に対する海賊の脅威を放置するのでは、責任ある対応とは言えまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 30, 2009)

20091300210  読売新聞)

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2009年1月29日 (木)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:オバマ氏のメッセージ /東京

(Mainichi Japan) January 29, 2009

Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Obama inspires world to overcome failure

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:オバマ氏のメッセージ /東京

Mr. Barack Obama's inauguration as the president of the United States was held amidst excitement around the world. He may be a member of an elite club, but he showed no air of smugness, and looked like any other pleasant, middle-aged gentleman. Then, when he appeared in front of such a huge audience, I was amazed at how his expression became serious, and he delivered that energetic inaugural address.

 世界が熱狂する中、アメリカ大統領に就任したオバマ氏。

 ふだんはエリートとはいえ気取ったところもなく、どこにでもいる“ナイスな40代”に見える。

 それが大聴衆を前にすると表情も引き締まり、あれだけ力強い演説をするのだからすごい。

Needless to say, Mr. Obama must have experienced many setbacks in life. The accidental death of his father, the second marriage of his mother and moving to Hawaii. He must also have experienced racial barriers.

 もちろん、オバマ氏にもいろいろな挫折はあっただろう。

 父親の事故死、母親の再婚とハワイへの移住、人種の壁を感じたことも、あったはずだ。

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton confessed in his autobiography that he came from a dysfunctional family. It is mistaken to think that a person great enough to become the president of the United States has experienced no setbacks in life.

 かつて、クリントン元大統領は、自伝の中で幼小児期の家庭問題を告白して「私はアダルトチルドレン」と述べたが、アメリカの大統領になるほどの人だから、まったく挫折を知らず、傷ついたこともないのだろう、と考えるのは間違い。

The important thing when you are hurt or get depressed is to have the power to recover and get back into shape.

 大切なのは、落ち込んだり傷ついたりしても、そこから自分を立て直す回復力だ。

When I interview patients in my office talking about the difficulties they face and hear them say "Oh, I got so down in the dumps," I do express sympathy "Oh, that must have been hard," but at the same time, I secretly say to myself, "But as long as we go on with our lives, there's no getting away from difficulties, hardships, or sadness."

 診察室で自分が直面した困難を語り、「ヘコみましたよ」とうなだれる人を見るたびに、「それはつらかったでしょう」と共感を示しながらも、心の中で「でも、生きている限り、苦しさや悲しさから逃れることはできないし」とも思う。

If we were to count the times we say "Great! I did it!" and the times we sigh "Oh how painful," most people would say that there were more of the latter than the former over their lifetime.

 「やった! うれしい」と思う回数と「ああ、つらい」と思う回数を数えることができたら、人生全体では後者のほうが多いのではないだろうか。

Then, instead of spending considerable time and pain trying to avoid setbacks and failure, I believe it is much easier to accept that life is full of trials and tribulations.

 だとしたら、挫折や失敗をなるべく避けることに莫大(ばくだい)な時間と労力を使って暮らすより、「それは生きていれば当然のこと」、と受け入れるほうがずっとラクな気がする。

In case you do get depressed, just cheer yourself up so that you can bounce back as soon as possible.

 そして、落ち込んだらなるべく早くそこから浮上できるように、自分を励ませばよいのだ。

I believe Mr. Obama is not a person who has never been hurt or depressed. However, I believe he knows how to recover and straighten himself out.

 おそらくオバマ氏は、傷ついたり落ち込んだりしない人ではなく、そうなってもその後、また気持ちを上向きにするのが、上手な人なのではないだろうか。

Around the beginning of his inaugural message, the new president talked about the crisis America was facing, and expressed it as "our collective failure."

 就任演説の冒頭近く、新大統領はアメリカの危機に触れ、「私たちみんなの失敗」という言い方をした。

I suppose the straightforward expression "I failed" can only come from those people who know failure and have recovered from it.

 「失敗しました」とはっきり言えるのは、失敗とそこからの再生を経験した人だけだと思う。

People as well as states can experience failure and depression, yet they can also recover from these experiences. Such confidence must be the grounds for Mr. Obama's graceful acceptance of the fact that America "failed."

 人の気持ちも国家も、挫折や落ち込みを経てもまた再生できる。そういう自信があるからこそ、潔く自分たちの非を認めることができるのである。

The most important part is not to avoid failure. It is to accept failure and to gather yourself together once more.

 大切なのは失敗しないことではなく、失敗を認め、その後どうやって立ち直るかということ。

This indeed was the message I picked up from Mr. Obama's inauguration speech. (By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)

 私がオバマ氏の就任演説から受け取ったのは、こういうメッセージだった。


毎日新聞 2009127日 地方版

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施政方針演説 「政府の役割」を着実に果たせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 29, 2009)

Aso should fulfill govt's responsibility

施政方針演説 「政府の役割」を着実に果たせ(129日付・読売社説)

Prime Minister Taro Aso declared in his policy speech Wednesday that he would protect the lives of the Japanese people from the global economic crisis and "return Japan to a nation that is both positive and strong."

 麻生首相は初の施政方針演説で、経済危機から国民生活を守り、「明るくて強い日本」を取り戻すと宣言した。

We agree with his assessment of the current situation and the ideals about nation-building presented in his speech. But what really matters is implementation of specific policy measures using strong political power.

 首相が示した現状認識や国創(づく)りの理念に異論はない。だが、肝心なのは、具体的な政策の実行であり、それを可能にする政治の力である。

The prime minister also stressed in his speech that Japan's role in the world is to contribute to "the creation of a new order," and that the nation itself must build "a society of peace of mind and vitality" at home to "successfully ride the changes in the times."

 首相は、日本が果たすべきは世界の「新しい秩序創りへの貢献」であり、日本自身も「安心と活力ある社会」を築いて時代の変化を乗り越えなければならない、と強調した。

To realize all this, the Japanese economy must be put on a recovery path as soon as possible. Lawmakers must start deliberating on the fiscal 2009 budget as soon as possible to secure its passage by the end of this fiscal year and help the nation climb out of recession.

 それには、まず、日本経済の立て直しが急務だ。2009年度予算案の審議入りを急ぎ、今年度内に確実に成立させ、景気後退を食い止めなければなるまい。

Aso also needs to restore the public confidence in politics. The prime minister surely wants to raise public support for his government by implementing economic stimulus measures so he can decide when to dissolve the House of Representatives. It is vital, therefore, for him to explain his ideals and policies in plain language during Diet deliberations to regain the people's support.

 政治の立て直しも必要だ。首相は、景気対策の実行で政権浮揚をはかり、衆院解散の時期を探りたいところだろう。国会論戦で自らの理念と政策をわかりやすい言葉で訴え、国民の支持を取り戻せるかどうかがカギとなる。

===

Change in tack

The prime minister said in his speech that "catchphrases such as 'shifting from the public sector to the private sector' and a dichotomous mode of thinking such as 'big government or small government' will not alone provide the vision [for the government] we seek." He is quite right.

 首相は演説で、「『官から民へ』というスローガンや、『大きな政府か小さな政府か』といった発想だけでは、政府のあるべき姿は見えない」と指摘した。その通りだろう。

Aso's remark marks a shift from the course of structural reform championed by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

 首相の発言は“小泉改革路線”の修正を意味する。


Reform measures such as deregulation and the introduction of market principles have caused widening income gaps, employment insecurity and other problems. It is natural for the prime minister to have mentioned the need to strengthen social safety nets.

規制緩和や市場原理による改革で、格差の広がりや雇用不安などが起きている。首相が、社会の安全網を整備するとしたのも、当然のことだ。

The negative legacy of restraints on social security expenditure under structural reform since the Koizumi administration is now causing problems in medical and social welfare fields. The Koizumi administration avoided even discussing a hike in the consumption tax rate, although it is obvious that a financial source is needed to rebuild the nation's social security system.

 小泉政権以来の「構造改革」が社会保障予算を抑制してきたツケが、医療や福祉の現場に混乱をもたらしている。社会保障制度再構築のための財源が必要なのに、小泉政権は消費税率引き上げの論議すら避けてきた。

In his speech, Aso said his government "will take necessary legal measures by fiscal 2011" to undertake fundamental tax system reform. We expect Aso to stress the necessity of hiking the consumption tax rate patiently to the Democratic Party of Japan and the other opposition parties during upcoming Diet deliberations.

 首相は、税制抜本改革で「11年度までに必要な法制上の措置を講じる」との方針を示した。今後の論戦では、民主党など野党を相手に、消費税率引き上げの必要性を粘り強く主張してもらいたい。

===

Japan-U.S. ties need a boost

With U.S. President Barack Obama having just taken office, the international situation surrounding Japan is changing dramatically. Japan must strengthen its alliance with the United States and cooperate with it to tackle problems related to North Korea and fight against international terrorism.

 米国でオバマ新政権が発足するなど、日本を取り巻く情勢は変化している。日米同盟を強化し、北朝鮮問題やテロとの戦いに連携して対処していかねばならない。

"Japan will play a proactive role as a responsible member of the international community," the prime minister said in his speech. If he asserts that "Japan should contribute to the creation of a new order," the prime minister must have the nation participate in more international peace cooperation activities than ever.

 首相は演説で「国際社会の責任ある一員」として積極的役割を果たしていくと述べた。「新しい秩序創りへの貢献」を唱えるなら、国際平和協力活動にもこれまで以上に取り組まねばなるまい。

We expect the prime minister and other lawmakers to hold substantive discussions at the Diet on foreign and security affairs, including new legislation to send the Self-Defense Forces to crack down on piracy in waters off Somalia and the expansion of assistance for Afghanistan.

 海賊対策に自衛隊を派遣するための新法や、アフガニスタン支援の拡充など、外交・安保政策でも骨太な国会論戦を期待したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 29, 2009)

20091290128  読売新聞)

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2009年1月21日 (水)

トヨタ社長交代 非常時の「大政奉還」の意味

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 21, 2009)

Embattled Toyota crowns Toyoda scion

トヨタ社長交代 非常時の「大政奉還」の意味(121日付・読売社説)

Having decided to place itself in the hands of the founding family again, Toyota Motor Corp. apparently intends to make a united effort to rebuild the company's management under the family's leadership.

The automaker has picked Executive Vice President Akio Toyoda, 52, a member of the founding family, as president, a move that could be compared to the "taisei hokan," the return of power to the emperor from the Tokugawa shogunate in 1867. It will be the first time in 14 years that a Toyoda family member has taken the helm of the company.

 創業家のもとに、結束して経営の立て直しを急ぐ。14年ぶりの「大政奉還」には、そんな狙いが込められている。

 トヨタ自動車が、豊田章男副社長(52)の社長昇格を内定した。

The business performance of Toyota, which was seen the nation's largest and strongest company, has been deteriorating sharply. This has affected the nation's manufacturers as a whole and has become one of the causes of the serious employment situation.

 日本最大、最強といわれたトヨタの業績は急激に悪化している。その影響は製造業全体に及び、深刻な雇用問題を引き起こす一因にもなっている。

So the nation's economy can recover, it is essential that Toyota regain its strength. The company's new management should get back to basics so it can carry out a drastic overhaul of its business.

 日本経済の回復には、トヨタの復活が欠かせない。新経営陣は原点に戻って、思い切った経営刷新に取り組んでほしい。

Toyoda is a great-grandson of Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of the Toyota group. The family scion became a member of the automaker's board of directors at the age of 44 and has been engaged in such key tasks as domestic sales promotion and projects in China.

 社長に就任する章男氏は、トヨタグループの創業者である豊田佐吉のひ孫にあたる。44歳で取締役に昇格し、国内販売や中国事業などの花形部門を担当してきた。

This "prince" of the Toyoda family will take the helm of the company after three "chief clerks" from outside the founding family reigned in succession, likely out of judgment that the company needs to start from scratch by overhauling its management strategy.

 3代続いた「大番頭」出身の社長に代わり、この時期に「豊田家のプリンス」がトップになるのは、これまでの経営戦略を、原点に返って見直す必要があるとの判断からだろう。

===

Limits to cost-cutting efficacy

The company achieved steady growth by strengthening its overseas production using its technology and profits it obtained through stringent cost-cutting efforts, which were compared to "wringing water out of dry rags." Not only has it become the world's largest automaker in terms of production, it looks set to overtake General Motors Corp. as the world's largest carmaker in terms of sales last year.

 トヨタは「乾いたぞうきんを絞りきる」徹底した効率化で得た利益と技術で海外生産を強化し、順調に成長してきた。生産台数に続き、昨年は販売台数でもゼネラル・モーターズ(GM)を抜き、世界一の座に就いた模様だ。

But as car sales became sluggish in the wake of the global financial crisis, Toyota's performance changed dramatically. Rising prices of raw materials and other factors made it difficult for the company to reduce costs, which had been its chief strength. Exchange rate losses also hit the company hard.

 ところが、世界的な金融危機の影響で車が売れなくなると、業績は一転した。原材料高などで得意の原価低減もままならず、為替差損が業績を直撃した。

Consolidated operating profits, which once exceeded 2 trillion yen for the group as a whole, have been wiped out in only about a year. This leads us to conclude that there must have been major blind spots in the company's management, although it looked very solid.

 グループ全体で2兆円を超えていた営業黒字が、わずか1年で消し飛んでしまった。盤石に見えた経営に、大きな死角があったと言わざるを得ない。

The company may have overreached itself as it hurried to grab the position of the world's top carmaker. Some observers say the company grew conceited, assuming that its brand would always sell well. It certainly cannot be denied that the company was unable to shift from a structure under which it was overdependent on North American markets to raise profits.

 世界一の座を焦って、背伸びをし過ぎたのではないか。トヨタ車なら売れるはず、という慢心を指摘する声もある。米国市場に過度に収益を依存する体質から抜け出せなかったことも否めまい。

===

New strategy needed

Under the new leadership, the company says it intends to shift to a structure under which it could generate profits even if sales declined 20 percent from their peak level. It will be unavoidable for the company to undergo restructuring by scaling down its production and carrying out further job cuts.

 トヨタは新体制のもとで、販売台数がピーク時より2割減っても利益を出せる体質への転換を目指すという。生産体制の縮小やさらなる人員削減といったリストラは避けて通れないだろう。

But only promoting such austerity measures aimed at recovering earnings would soon cast a shadow over the new president's leadership. To lead this global company, it is important for Toyoda to come up with an aggressive management strategy for making a comeback.

 だが、後ろ向きの収益改善策を進めるだけでは、新社長の求心力はすぐに色あせてしまう。世界企業であるトヨタをまとめ上げるには、復活に向けた攻めの経営戦略を示すことも重要だ。

Automakers around the world are facing disaster, which begs the question of whether the auto industry will be able to maintain its place at the top of the manufacturing sector. Toyoda will be tested for his ability to serve at the top of the car industry.

 世界の自動車メーカーの業績は総崩れだ。自動車産業は、今後も製造業の頂点に立ち続けることができるのか。そのトップに就く章男新社長の力量が問われよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 21, 2009)

20091210157  読売新聞)

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2009年1月20日 (火)

参院予算審議 「消費税」を正面から論じ合え

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 20, 2009)

Parties must discuss consumption tax hike

参院予算審議 「消費税」を正面から論じ合え(120日付・読売社説)

The ruling and opposition parties should discuss in concrete term in the Diet budgetary debates how to reform the social security system and where to find the financial resources to do so.

 与野党は予算審議で、社会保障制度の改革と、そのための財源のあり方を、もっと具体的に論じ合うべきだ。

The Diet session, which was stalled due to an earlier boycott of deliberations by the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, is now back on track. Deliberations at the House of Councillors on the government-proposed second supplementary budget for fiscal 2008 began Monday at the upper house's Budget Committee.

 民主党の審議拒否で空転していた国会が正常化し、参院予算委員会で2008年度第2次補正予算案の審議が始まった。

Prime Minister Taro Aso reiterated his intention to raise the consumption tax rate from fiscal 2011 on the assumption of economic recovery and the development of administrative reforms.

 麻生首相は、景気回復や行政改革の進展などを前提に、消費税率を11年度から引き上げる方針を改めて強調した。

Due to the declining birthrate and a growing proportion of elderly people, the social security system is faced with increasing difficulties. It also is urgent to shore up the economy in the near term. Aso said the government would not be able to take economic measures without anxiety unless there was sufficient revenue, and that the government must not act irresponsibly. His stance is quite natural.

 少子高齢化により、社会保障財源はますます窮迫する。当面の景気下支えも急務だ。「しかるべき財政収入がないと安心した財政出動もできない。無責任なことはできない」という首相の姿勢は、当然のことといえる。

The government endorsed a medium-term tax reform program in late December, specifying that "a necessary legislative step is to be taken in advance so that fundamental tax system reform, including the consumption tax rate hike, can be implemented from fiscal 2011 on the assumption that the economy improves." The program also said that "tax reform is to be implemented by the mid-2010s in a phased manner."

 政府は、昨年末に閣議決定した税制の「中期プログラム」に、経済状況の好転などを前提にして、「消費税を含む税制抜本改革を11年度より実施できるよう、必要な法制上の措置をあらかじめ講じ、10年代半ばまでに段階的に行う」と明記した。

===

Enshrine direction in bill

The Cabinet also endorsed specifying the direction of the fundamental tax system reform in an additional clause to a package of bills related to tax system reform for fiscal 2009.

 09年度の税制改正関連法案の付則に、抜本改革の道筋を明記することも、閣議決定済みだ。

However, at this stage, some lawmakers in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party express strong opposition about whether "the implementation of the fundamental tax system reform from fiscal 2011" should be specified in the additional clause. They apparently feared touting tax increases with the next general election coming near.

 ところが、今になって、この付則に「11年度実施」を明記するかどうかを巡り、自民党の一部から強い反対論が出ている。総選挙が近づき、「増税」を掲げることが不安になったようだ。

The LDP proclaims itself to be a "responsible political party" able to manage the government. If so, it should make clear the direction of the consumption tax rate hike in legislation.

 自民党は、「責任政党」を標榜(ひょうぼう)している。それならば、消費税率引き上げの道筋を法律の付則で明確にすべきである。

The DPJ did not touch on the issue of the consumption tax increase in Diet deliberations Monday.

 民主党は19日の質疑で、消費税問題に触れなかった。

===

Change of plan

In the 2005 House of Representatives election, then DPJ President Katsuya Okada asserted that the consumption tax would be increased by three percentage points as a revenue source for the pension program. But after Ichiro Ozawa became president of the DPJ in 2006, the party dropped discussion of hiking the consumption tax.

 民主党は05年衆院選で、当時の岡田克也代表が年金財源として3%の税率アップを主張した。しかし、06年に小沢代表になってから引き上げ論を封印した。

In late December, the DPJ's tax commission put off the decision on the consumption tax hike, saying the party would clarify how much the tax rate should be raised after taking power if it becomes necessary.

 民主党税制調査会は昨年末、消費税の扱いについて、民主党が政権を獲得した後に、引き上げが必要となる場合には、引き上げ幅などを明らかにする、として判断を先送りした。

The DPJ estimated the financial resources for realizing its manifesto at a total of 56.9 trillion yen for four years. But it would be impossible for the DPJ to come up with the financial resources needed only by eradicating wasteful spending of tax payers' money and implementing administrative reforms, without raising the consumption tax rate.

 だが、民主党が4年間で総額56・9兆円と試算している政権公約の実現のための財源を、消費税率を引き上げず、「税金の無駄遣い根絶」や行政改革だけでひねり出すのは無理だろう。

According to sources, the DPJ is considering submitting a revision bill to cut the additional clause in hope of enticing LDP lawmakers to rise in rebellion.

 民主党は、自民党から造反を誘うために、税制関連法案の付則部分を削除する修正案の提出を検討しているという。

If the ruling and opposition parties avoid discussing the "bitter medicine" of the consumption tax rate hike and only try to spin any and all political developments in their favor, they will only undermine public confidence in them.

 消費税率引き上げという苦い薬は避け、こうした政局優先の対応に走るとすれば、国民の信頼を損ねるだけではないか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 20, 2009)

20091200224  読売新聞)

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小沢民主党 信頼できる政策を明示せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 19, 2009)

DPJ must show policies have substance

小沢民主党 信頼できる政策を明示せよ(119日付・読売社説)

If the Democratic Party of Japan is serious about trying to assume the reins of government, it will need to present policies that convince the public of its credentials and widen the party's support base.

 民主党は、政権をうかがう以上、もう少し説得力のある政策を示し、国民の積極的な支持を広げることが重要だ。

On Sunday, the main opposition party held a regular party convention at which DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa expressed his resolve to bring about a change in government. "We'll take the interests of the people to heart and create a new government that will protect people's lives and livelihoods," Ozawa said.

 民主党が18日、定期党大会を開き、小沢代表は「国民とともに歩み、『国民の命と暮らしを守る新しい政権』を樹立する」と政権交代への決意を表明した。

According to several recent opinion surveys, the DPJ has been basking in approval ratings almost on par with those for the Liberal Democratic Party. However, it is still too early to say the DPJ's high approval rating equates to a positive evaluation of the party's political stance and policies by voters.

 民主党への世論調査の支持率は最近、自民党とほぼ拮抗(きっこう)するほど高い。だが、その理由を、民主党の政治姿勢や政策に対する国民の肯定的な評価によるもの、と考えるのは早計だろう。

Rather, the rise in support might be more the result of people becoming disaffected with the LDP and its policies, including its wavering over the controversial fixed-sum cash benefit, and mounting displeasure at a string of verbal gaffes by Prime Minister Taro Aso.

 定額給付金に代表される自民党の迷走や麻生首相の失言に対する批判に起因する消極的支持が多い、と見るべきではないか。

According to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey conducted this month, only 20 percent of respondents said they thought the DPJ had presented proposals that would be effective in stimulating the country's flagging economy. An overwhelming 67 percent answered they did not think the DPJ had offered viable proposals.

 今月の読売新聞調査でも、民主党が景気対策で有効な対案を示している、と考える人は20%にすぎず、そう考えないとの回答が67%と圧倒的に多かった。

===

Trustworthiness is key

If the DPJ aspires to defeat the government in the next House of Representatives election, it needs to prove it has the ability to hold the reins of government, not by playing to the gallery, but by presenting policies of its own that people can trust.

 民主党が次期衆院選で政権交代を目指すなら、単なる人気取りでなく、国民が信頼できる政策を選択肢として明示し、政権担当能力を示す必要がある。

At Sunday's party convention, Ozawa proposed two "New Deals" as fresh economic stimulus measures--namely "environmental measures" such as promoting the wider use of solar panels, and "safety and security measures" such as strengthening the earthquake resistance of primary and middle schools as well as hospitals.

 小沢代表は党大会で、新たな経済対策として、太陽光発電パネルの普及など「環境」と、小中学校校舎や病院の耐震化など「安全・安心」という二つの「ニューディール政策」を提唱した。

The party should immediately start concrete discussions on these proposals and spell them out in a manifesto and other mediums.

 早急に具体的な内容を詰め、政権公約(マニフェスト)などの形にまとめるべきだろう。

In October, the DPJ estimated that implementing its pledges, including child benefits, should it come to power would cost 56.9 trillion yen over four years. Although the party presented a brief breakdown of the estimate, it failed to clarify where the financial resources to fund these promises would come from. We hope the party will deepen discussions on the matter and make its pledges more credible.

 昨年10月には、子ども手当など政権公約の実現に必要な財源を4年間で総額56・9兆円と試算し、その内訳の概要を示したが、財源の根拠は不明確なままだった。今後、さらに議論を深め、説得力を持つ公約に改めてもらいたい。

===

Diplomatic concerns

The DPJ's fiscal 2009 campaign policy, which was approved at the convention, stressed the party would "win the trust and friendship of the international community by employing self-determined and active diplomacy that centers on peace and the environment." However, this leaves some nagging doubts. How does the DPJ plan to handle the Japan-U.S. security alliance, a cornerstone of this nation's diplomacy?

 民主党が採択した2009年度活動方針は、「平和と環境を軸とした主体的・積極的外交の展開により国際社会の信頼と友好を勝ち取る」と強調する。だが、日本外交の基軸である日米関係を一体どうするのか、疑問がある。

The DPJ is demanding the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean be terminated. It also insists that the Japan-U.S. agreement over the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, be reviewed and that the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement be revised. The party also has opposed a special agreement on Japan's host-nation support for the costs of U.S. military forces stationed in Japan.

 民主党は、インド洋での海上自衛隊の給油活動の中止を求めるとともに、海兵隊普天間飛行場の移設合意の見直しや日米地位協定の改定を主張する。在日米軍駐留経費の特別協定にも反対した。

These matters directly concern the foundation of the Japan-U.S. security alliance. Any slip-ups or careless handling of these issues could strain relations between Tokyo and Washington.

 いずれも日米同盟の根幹にかかわる問題だ。対応次第では、日米関係を大きく損ないかねない。

What, precisely, does the DPJ mean by "self-determined and active diplomacy"? The party will need to discuss in detail the finer points of this question.

 活動方針の「主体的・積極的外交」とは何を意味するのか。徹底した党内論議が不可欠だ。

The DPJ will never be considered a responsible party if its main priority remains preventing internal disarray on key policies while continuing to skirt debating these tough questions.

党内の足並みを乱さないことだけを優先し、論議を回避し続けるようでは、責任政党とは言えまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 19, 2009)

20091190137  読売新聞)

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着実に社会保障税の準備を、超党派で取り組む時だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 18, 2009)

Govt should pave way for social security tax

着実に社会保障税の準備を、超党派で取り組む時だ(118日付・読売社説)

The economic crisis that has engulfed the world is instilling anxiety into people's lives.

 世界を覆う経済危機が国民の生活に不安を広げている。

The government obviously has to focus on economic reconstruction and recovery. But at the same time, it is vital to make the social security system unshakable.

 経済の立て直しと景気回復に、力を注ぐべきであることは言うまでもない。だが、同時に社会保障制度を揺るぎないものにする取り組みも重要だ。

If people do not feel secure about the future, consumption will not expand, and the economy will not regain its strength. As we are in the middle of a severe economic downturn, this will be a crucial year for tackling social security system reform.

 将来の安心がなければ、消費は拡大せず、景気も力強さを取り戻せない。厳しい経済情勢にあるからこそ、なおさら社会保障改革が大事な年となるだろう。

2009 is the first year when the generation born in the Heisei era reaches adulthood. The baby boomers born between 1947 and 1949--right after the end of World War II--will all be 60 or older this year, too.

 今年は、平成に生まれた世代が初めて成人になった。そして、戦後間もなく生まれた団塊の世代(1947~49年生まれ)も全員が還暦を越える。

A look at the circumstances surrounding the two generations reveals the problems facing the social security system.

 二つの世代が今、どういう状況にあるのか。それを見れば、現行の社会保障制度が直面している問題は明白だ。

Upon reaching the age of 20, a person must join the national pension scheme, helping to support the pension system. The core of those who support not only the pension scheme, but also medical, nursing care and other services in the social security system will gradually shift to the generation born in the Heisei era in the coming years.

 20歳になると全員が国民年金に加入して、制度の支え手となる。年金だけでなく、医療・介護など社会保障制度の担い手の中核は、年を経るごとに平成世代へ移っていく。

In the not-so-distant future, the baby boomers will become retirees dependent on the social security system.

 団塊世代はまさに大きな塊となって、遠からず現役を離れ、社会保障を頼りとする高齢期を迎えようとしている。

The apex of the nation's demographic pyramid is rapidly expanding, while the Heisei-era generation, which forms the narrow base of the pyramid, looks as if it is being crushed by the weight of the older generation.

 人口ピラミッドの上部は急速に膨らむ。一方で、土台に位置する平成世代は押しつぶされそうなほど少ない。

The nation faces a chronic, rapid aging of the population combined with an extremely low birthrate. In this situation, those who support the social security system will not be able to endure the burden imposed on them if the government tries to maintain social security benefits under the current system, which largely relies on the generations still working.

超少子高齢化は年々進行する。現役世代の負担に大きく頼る現行制度のまま、社会保障給付を維持しようとすれば、支える側は耐えきれないだろう。

The burden of providing financial resources for welfare should be spread widely among both young and old, with each paying a small portion. By doing this, the burden will be spread evenly across every generation, even though the population of the older generation is larger than those of the working generations.

 老いも若きも、広く薄く、福祉財源を負担し合う必要がある。そうすれば、高齢者層が大きく、現役層が小さくとも、負担の重さは分散される。

Financial resources should be properly secured by renaming the current consumption tax the "social security tax," to be solely used for social security purposes, and raising its rate.

 現行の消費税を福祉目的のみに使う「社会保障税」とし、税率を引き上げることによって、きっちりと財源を確保するべきだ。

===

Delay in raising tax costly

◆埋蔵金はすぐ尽きる◆

The nation will have to pay for the delay in increasing the consumption tax rate. The effects of this neglect can be seen in every field of the social security system, including anxiety over pension funding, the shortage of doctors and nurses, the low wages of nursing care workers, the poor implementation of medical care rules for the elderly, and the financial quagmire that health insurance associations are in.

 年金財源の不安、医師や看護師の不足、介護職員の低賃金、高齢者医療の混乱、健保組合財政の苦境――。消費税の引き上げを先送りしてきたツケが、社会保障のあらゆる分野で噴出している。

As society grays, there will be a natural increase of about 800 billion yen a year in social security spending. But the government, which has put priority on fixing the nation's severe fiscal situation, is compiling a budget that slashes 220 billion yen every year from the projected increase in social security costs. This has led to major strains in medical and welfare fields.

 社会の高齢化に伴い、社会保障費は年に約8000億円のペースで自然に膨らむ。しかし、政府は財政再建のために、自然増を毎年2200億円ずつ機械的に削減し続け、医療や福祉の現場に大きな歪(ゆが)みをもたらした。

Furthermore, permanent financial resources for social security have not yet been secured, though the government's share of funding of the basic pension will be raised from the current one-third to half the total from this fiscal year.

 さらに、基礎年金の国庫負担割合を2分の1まで引き上げる措置が2009年度から実施されるというのに、いまだに恒久的な財源を欠いたままだ。

As a quick fix for strains in the medical and welfare fields and to obtain the financial resources to fund the pension system, the government managed to squeeze out financial resources for the fiscal 2009 budget by tapping surplus funds in special accounts, dubbed "buried treasure." But the buried treasure is not inexhaustible.

 政府は医療や福祉の歪みを応急処置し、年金財政の帳尻を合わせるために、09年度の予算編成では特別会計の積立金、いわゆる埋蔵金を取り崩すなどして財源を何とかひねり出した。だが、埋蔵金頼みはすぐに限界が来るだろう。

In its basic policy for overhauling the tax system over the medium term, the government and the ruling parties specified an increase in the consumption tax rate from fiscal 2011 on the premise of economic recovery. The government and the ruling bloc made a political pledge to simultaneously try to realize an economic recovery and stabilize and strengthen the social security system.

 政府・与党は税制抜本改革の中期プログラムで、景気の好転を前提に、11年度からの消費税率引き上げを明記した。景気回復と社会保障の安定強化に同時進行で取り組む、との公約である。

Although some Liberal Democratic Party members have voiced opposition to this policy, the pledge should be carried out as is.

 自民党の一部から異論が出ているが、このまま実行すべきだ。

===

Reform momentum building

Before the temporary financial resources are used up, it is vital to steadily prepare for the introduction of the social security tax.

 一時しのぎの財源が尽きる前に、社会保障税の導入準備を着実に進める必要がある。

To clarify the amount by which the social security tax should be hiked, it is vital to have a reform plan aimed at making each category of the social security system--pension, medical and nursing care--function properly in the rapidly graying society with a declining birthrate.

  社会保障税は何%必要になるのか。それを明確にするには、超少子高齢社会において、年金・医療・介護などの各制度がきちんと社会保障機能を果たすように改革するプランが不可欠だ。

Last year, The Yomiuri Shimbun proposed pension system reforms that included the establishment of minimum guaranteed pension benefits for low-income elderly people and the waiving of pension premiums for parents for three years after they have a child. The Yomiuri also proposed a comprehensive plan to reform medical and nursing care services whose main aim is to distribute doctors systematically and evenly.

 読売新聞は昨年、低所得高齢者向けの最低保障年金の創設や、子育て中の親の保険料無料化などを盛り込んだ年金改革を提言した。さらに、医師を計画的に配置することを主眼とする医療・介護改革案も示している。

2ケタ税率が必要
To realize the plan, the tax rate for daily necessities, such as food, would have to be 5 percent, while the rate for other goods and services should be set at 10 percent. Faced with an ultralow birthrate and the need to care for a growing population of elderly people, it may be necessary to discuss as the next step the adoption of a tax rate on goods and services of about 15 percent--a rate at the lower end of those applied in Europe.

 これらを実現するためには、食料品など生活必需品の税率は5%に据え置いた上で、標準税率を10%にする必要がある。また、高齢化のさらなる進行を見据えれば、次の段階として、欧州の最低水準である15%程度は検討しなければならないだろう。

Various proposals on pension system reform have been volunteered from every sector of society. The government's National Council on Social Security has put forward an array of options for the future course of the nation's social security system, including medical and nursing care services. All the proposals share the basic assumption that the consumption tax will have to have a double-digit rate in the future.

 年金改革は各界から、さまざまな提案が出されている。政府の社会保障国民会議も、医療・介護を含め、社会保障の方向性について複数の選択肢を示した。いずれも、2ケタの税率が必要になるとの認識でおおむね一致している。

An atmosphere conducive to social security system reform has been developing. Politics will be put to the test this year when it comes to the challenge of fusing this energy and applying it.

 改革に向けた機運は醸成しつつある。これをどのように集約し、実行するかが今年、政治に問われることになろう。

The social security system must not be shaken every time the administration changes. To assure the people a secure future, reform of the system must be carried out in a suprapartisan manner.

 社会保障制度は、政権が変わるたびに揺れ動くようなものでは困る。国民が不安のない将来を確信できるように、超党派で取り組まねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 18, 2009)

20091180141  読売新聞)

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経済運営指針 「失われた10年」繰り返すな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 17, 2009)

We must guard against another 'lost decade'

経済運営指針 「失われた10年」繰り返すな(117日付・読売社説)

Does the latest economic report put together by the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy offer a road map that can pull the nation out of turmoil created by the global recession at an early date and bring the domestic economy back on the road to recovery?

 世界同時不況の乱気流から早く脱出し、日本経済を力強い上昇軌道に乗せるための道筋が描けたのだろうか。

The government's key economic panel has compiled a report detailing medium- and long-term economic and fiscal policies and a 10-year outlook on the economy, hoping to set a package of guidelines for achieving economic recovery in the immediate future and improving the nation's growth potential.

 政府の経済財政諮問会議が、当面の景気回復と将来の成長力向上に向けた指針となる「経済財政の中長期方針と10年展望」をまとめた。

We must prevent the next 10 years from becoming another "lost decade"--the term used to describe the years that followed the collapse of the asset-inflated bubble economy in the early 1990s. The government must put its growth strategy to work as soon as possible.

 これからの10年を、再び「失われた10年」にしてはなるまい。政府は緊迫感を持ち、成長戦略の実現を急がねばならない。

The 10-year-outlook section of the report lists policy measures needed to be implemented in three phases--short, medium and long term.

 「10年展望」は、当面、中期、中長期の3段階に分けて、必要な施策を整理した。

The report states efforts aimed at stimulating the economy should be given priority for three years starting this current fiscal year. In the medium term through the mid-2010s, according to the report, stabilization of the social security system and fiscal rehabilitation are most important.

 今年度を含む当面の3年は、景気回復を最優先する。2010年代半ばまでの中期は、安定した社会保障制度の構築と、財政の立て直しを課題に掲げた。

In the medium to long term, ending in fiscal 2018, the council says the nation's economic growth potential should be enhanced by creating new demand and jobs through relaxation of bureaucratic restrictions and development of new industries.

 さらに10年後をにらんだ中長期では、規制改革や新産業の育成で新たな需要と雇用を生み出し、成長力を底上げする戦略だ。

===

Questions left unanswered

We do not see any problems with this strategy, but we are not quite convinced by the contents and of the effectiveness of the actual policy measures.

 こうした手順に問題はないだろう。しかし、具体策の内容や実効性の面で物足りない。

The guideline briefly outlines the government-proposed \75 trillion economic stimulus package aimed at tackling the current recession. However, this does not reassure us that the government is determined to take necessary additional measures to bring about an economic recovery. We feel the government is not full aware of the gravity of the situation.

 当面の景気では、すでに表明した総額75兆円規模の対策を簡単に紹介しただけだ。「景気回復のため追加策も辞さない」という、強い決意が感じられない。危機感が足りないのではないか。

If one looks at the report, the future of the government's finances and the social security system seems to be even more uncertain as a result of the current economic turmoil.

 財政や社会保障の先行きは、一段と不透明になった。

In the report, the government admits that it has become difficult to achieve its target of bringing the primary balances of central and local governments into the black by fiscal 2011, but retains them as nonbinding targets.

 国と地方を合わせた基礎的財政収支を11年度に黒字化するとした政府目標は「達成困難」と認めたが、努力目標として残った。

===

New fiscal targets needed

The government will continue to try to achieve fiscal reconstruction and maintain fiscal discipline, the council said in the guideline. However, the Cabinet Office estimates the national deficit will grow to \13 trillion in fiscal 2011, even under the most optimistic scenario in which the consumption tax rate is raised and the global economy recovers quickly. It will be simply impossible to achieve a primary-balance surplus by that target year.

 財政再建の「旗」を降ろさず、財政規律を守るという。だが、内閣府の試算では、消費税率引き上げや世界経済の急回復を見込む最も楽観的なケースさえ、11年度は13兆円の赤字の見込みだ。黒字化など望むべくもない。

The government would be better placed to alleviate public anxiety over its finances and the social security system if it set a new goal, which might take longer to achieve, rather than sticking to the old unachievable target.

 実現不可能な旗にしがみつくより、時期は遅くなっても達成しうる新たな旗印を掲げた方が、社会保障や財政に対する将来不安は和らぐのではないか。

The council said in the guideline that the government will try to bring about a low-carbon society by tapping the nation's strengths, including its advanced technological capabilities.

 中長期では、技術力など日本の強みを生かし、「低炭素社会」などを実現するとした。

Several similar government plans, such as "the course and strategy of the Japanese economy" and "the economic growth strategy" announced last year, have been presented. So all the "menus" now seem to have been laid out on the table.

 こうした政府の成長プランは、昨年も「日本経済の進路と戦略」や「経済成長戦略」などいくつも打ち出されている。メニューは出尽くした感が強い。

Even with so many wonderful menus on offer, however, delicious meals cannot be made without a good cook.
 立派なメニューがいくらあっても、腕のいい料理人がいないと、おいしい料理は作れない。


Now, more than ever, we need a political leadership that can realize a fruitful decade by serving up those menus.

 メニューを具体化して「実り多い10年」を実現する。こうした政治のリーダーシップが、今ほど必要とされる時はない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 17, 2009)

20091170135  読売新聞)

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2009年1月16日 (金)

春闘スタート 環境激変に労使一体で当たれ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 16, 2009)

Time for management, labor to work together

春闘スタート 環境激変に労使一体で当たれ(116日付・読売社説)

This year's shunto, or spring labor offensive, started Thursday, as the world reels from a recession that has no end in sight.

 世界的な不況の出口が見えない中で、今年の春闘がスタートした。

The leaders of the Japanese Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) held a meeting to spell out their basic stances before launching labor-management negotiations for wages and working conditions.

 日本経団連と連合の首脳懇談会が開かれ、それぞれ交渉に臨む基本的な見解を述べ合った。

Such notable export-oriented industries as automobile and electrical machinery--leading players in shunto negotiations--are caught in the storm of the global recession.

 自動車や電機など春闘のリード役である代表的な輸出産業が、猛烈な逆風下にある。

The major challenge for management and labor is to find ways to sharpen competitive edges of companies without harming employee morale.

職場の士気を落とさず、いかに競争力を蓄えていくか。その方策を探ることが労使の重要な課題となる。

===

Antagonism hurts progress

At the Thursday meeting, Rengo demanded for the first time in eight years for an increase in the basic wage in a bid to push up the wage level. It asserted that real-term wages are decreasing due to rises in commodity prices and that the most effective economic stimulus measure would be to expand consumption through wage increases.

 連合は、8年ぶりに、賃金の底上げを図るベースアップ要求を掲げた。「物価の上昇で実質賃金は低下している。賃上げで消費を拡大させることが最大の景気対策になる」と主張している。

The Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers' Unions and the Japanese Electrical, Electronic and Information Union--both of which operate under the Rengo umbrella--demanded monthly pay increases of more than 4,000 yen and 4,500 yen, respectively.

 これを受けて、傘下の自動車総連は月額4000円以上、電機連合は同4500円以上の賃上げ要求の方針を打ち出した。

These demands are bold. The figures compare with last year's demands of more than 1,000 yen for the automobile unions confederation and more than 2,000 yen for the electrical, electronic and information union.

昨年の自動車が1000円以上、電機は2000円以上という要求に比べても、強気の姿勢が際立つ。

Nippon Keidanren, however, found this year's union demands impossible to accept. It counterargued that it is a general principle to decide wage levels based on each company's ability to pay--not on commodity price fluctuations--and that virtually all companies are unable to raise wages now.

 もちろん、経営側がのめるわけがない。「賃金は自社の支払い能力に応じて決めるのが原則で、物価変動は要素にならない」としたうえで、「賃上げできる企業はほとんどない」と切り返す。

As it is, negotiations could be marked by fruitless antagonism throughout. It is essential for labor and management to cooperate, particularly in a time of crisis. Let us hope that compromises can be hammered out through exhaustive discussions.

 このままでは不毛の対立に終始しかねない。危機の時代ほど、労使の協調が大事だ。徹底的に議論し、着地点を探ってほしい。

===

Results needed from all sides

The state of affairs surrounding labor and management is changing day by day, as exemplified by the decision of some companies to cut wages and at the same time suspend parts of their operations.

 すでに、操業の一部休止と抱き合わせで賃金カットを決めた企業もあるなど、状況は刻々と変わっている。

It is possible that a succession of labor unions will drop Rengo's policy during their negotiations with management.

交渉過程で、連合方針から脱落する労働組合が続出する可能性もあるだろう。

Furthermore, employment issues cannot go unaddressed.

 雇用問題も避けて通れない。

Nippon Keidanren and Rengo have compiled a joint declaration, pledging to cooperate in ensuring employment stability and tackling other pressing issues. At the center of their declaration are demands on the government, such as the expansion of the employment safety net and the swift implementation of measures to create jobs.

経団連と連合は、雇用の安定などに協力して取り組むことを表明した共同宣言をまとめた。主要部分は政府への注文だ。安全網の拡充や雇用の創出策を早急に実施するよう求めている。

At this pressing time, it is important for labor and management to jointly urge that the government implement employment measures. But putting everything on the government's shoulders will not fix the current predicament.

 緊急事態だけに、労使が一致して政府に対策を促していくのは意味がある。だが、何でも政府に丸投げして済む問題ではない。

Their joint declaration stated that Nippon Keidanren and Rengo "reaffirm that the long-term employment system has supported the growth and development of companies and the economy, and that they will make utmost efforts to attain economic recovery."

 共同宣言では「長期雇用システムが企業・経済の成長・発展を支えてきたことを再認識し、雇用の安定、景気回復に向け最大限の努力を行う」とも述べている。

The number of nonregular workers in the manufacturing sector has been drastically slashed in a short period. Such employment adjustments could eventually affect regular workers. Problems also have emerged regarding economic gaps between regular and nonregular workers.

 製造業で非正規労働者の削減が一気に進んだ。今後は、正社員にも雇用調整の動きが広がりかねない。正社員と非正規労働者の格差問題も浮上している。

We hope in-depth discussions will be carried out with the aim of producing tangible measures in line with this declaration.

この宣言文の観点で、ぜひ具体策の論議を深めてもらいたい。

In this spring's labor offensive, both management and the unions will be watched closely on how they act to weather the upheaval in the business environment and attain sustained growth.

 環境の激変をどう乗り切り、持続的成長につなげるか。各労使の対応が問われる春闘でもある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 16, 2009)

20091160137  読売新聞)

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2009年1月15日 (木)

最高裁人事―密室から解き放つとき

2009/1/15

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 14(IHT/Asahi: January 15,2009)

EDITORIAL: Supreme Court seats

最高裁人事―密室から解き放つとき

The true purpose of judicial reform, of which the citizen judge system to be introduced this May is a key pillar, is to open the administration of justice to the public eye. In that sense, there is still one phase of reform that must not be overlooked. Namely, bringing the appointments of the 15 justices on the Supreme Court out from behind closed doors.

 裁判員制度を柱の一つとする司法改革は、司法を国民に開かれたものにするためのものだ。その意味で、もう一つ、忘れてはならない改革がある。 

 最高裁の15人の裁判官を選任する過程を、連綿と続いてきた密室人事から解き放つことだ。 

Under the Constitution, the chief justice of the Supreme Court is designated by the Cabinet and then officially appointed by the emperor. The other 14 justices are appointed directly by the Cabinet. Despite this provision, however, no stipulations are made regarding the specific method of selection.

 日本国憲法では、最高裁長官は内閣の指名に基づいて天皇が任命し、14人の最高裁判事については、内閣が任命することになっている。 

 ところが、選考方法についての規定がないのだ。 

In November, Hironobu Takesaki was appointed to serve as the Supreme Court's 17th chief justice. Again, however, insufficient explanation was given on how he was chosen. Takesaki is the ninth consecutive court judge to be named chief justice over the past 30 years. By all appearances, therefore, some sort of pecking order is at work. Prior to that, judges, scholars, attorneys and public prosecutors were chosen to fill that post.

 昨年11月、最高裁の第17代長官に竹崎博允氏が就任した。この選考経過も十分な説明はされていない。 

 最高裁長官はこの30年、竹崎長官まで裁判官出身が9代続いている。身内の順送りと言われても仕方がない。それ以前には、裁判官、学者、弁護士、検察官と多彩な出身者が任に就いたが、それは遠い過去の話となった。 

The chief justice is not the only post decided in closed-door sessions. The current members of the Supreme Court consist of six who served as judges, four as attorneys, two as prosecutors, two as bureaucrats, and an individual from legal academia. For all practical purposes, these quotas have become fixed.

 密室での人事は長官に限ったことではない。最高裁判事の出身は、裁判官6人、弁護士4人、検察官と官僚各2人、法学者1人となっている。この枠は事実上固定されてきた。 

In principle, the Cabinet pares down the candidate list when appointing bureaucrats to these judicial positions. With those from the legal profession, however, the actual practice is to ratify candidates named by the presiding chief justice.

 官僚を起用する場合は原則として内閣が候補者を絞ってきた。しかし法律家出身者の場合、現長官から提示された候補者を追認してきたのが実態だ。 

In the United States, the president nominates Supreme Court justices. The power to approve the appointments lies with the Senate, which holds nomination hearings to review each candidate.

 米国では、連邦最高裁裁判官は大統領が指名する。承認権は上院が持っており、候補者については公聴会で審査してきた。

This approach stands in sharp contrast to Japan, where the public remains in the dark about the selection procedures.

国民が選考過程で蚊帳の外に置かれている日本とは対照的だ。 

The Judicial System Reform Council addressed this problem in 2001 by calling for more transparency in the appointment process so as to raise the trust of ordinary citizens in Supreme Court justices. However, the judicial system reform promotion headquarters, the government body in charge of bringing such concepts to fruition at the time, failed to compile a proposal for action.

 この問題について、司法制度改革審議会は01年に「最高裁裁判官に対する国民の信頼を高めるため、選任過程に透明性・客観性を持たせることを検討すべきだ」と指摘した。しかし、具体化を担った政府の司法制度改革推進本部では案としてまとまらなかった。 

The citizen judge system, law schools, the Japan Legal Support Center and a steady stream of other institutional reforms have been introduced to better familiarize citizens with the nuts and bolts of how justice is administered.

 司法を市民に身近なものにするため、裁判員制度や法科大学院、法テラスといった制度改革が次々と具体化した。しかし、司法の頂点に立つ最高裁の人事改革だけが、メニューからすっぽり抜け落ちたままなのだ。 

The appointment credentials for Supreme Court justices are stated as being persons age 40 or above possessing high principles and knowledge of the law. Clearly, candidates should be selected from a more diversified personnel pool, using methods clearly visible to the public eye.

 見識が高く、法律の素養のある40歳以上の者。最高裁判事の任命資格は、このように定められている。候補者は、もっと多彩な人材の中から国民の目に触れる方法で選考されるべきだ。 

Throughout the postwar era, there have been only eight instances in which the Supreme Court declared laws unconstitutional. In view of this, more detailed selection criteria could also be expected to help transform the Supreme Court into a body characterized by a more aggressive stance toward constitutional rulings.

 戦後、最高裁が法律を違憲としたのは8件しかない。積極的に憲法判断を行っていく最高裁に変わっていくうえでもプラスに働くのではないか。 

Four times in the past, revisions have been proposed to the Diet to establish an appointment advisory council for the Cabinet comprised of persons from legal circles, Diet members, experts and others. Such a body would select multiple numbers of Supreme Court justice candidates and submit the list to the Cabinet.

 内閣の下に法曹界や国会、学識経験者らで構成する任命諮問委員会を設け、そこで複数の候補者を選んで内閣に答申する、という改正案が過去に4度も国会に提出された。 

With the start of the citizen judge system, this is a year in which judicial reform is moving into full swing. The time is thus truly ripe for lawmakers to embark on serious examinations of the issues at hand, including reconsideration of this legal revision.

 この改正案の再考を含め、司法改革が本格化する今年こそ、国会は検討に着手するべきだ。

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定額給付金―民意が首相に届かない

2009/1/15

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 14(IHT/Asahi: January 15,2009)

EDITORIAL: Feud over cash handouts

定額給付金―民意が首相に届かない

Opinion polls conducted by major news organizations over the weekend showed quite astounding results. The approval ratings for Taro Aso's Cabinet dipped below 20 percent in polls by The Asahi Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun and Kyodo News, while the disapproval ratings topped 70 percent in polls conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK), Sankei and Kyodo.

 この週末、いくつもの報道機関が行った世論調査の結果は衝撃的だった。 

 麻生内閣の支持率は、朝日新聞、産経新聞、共同通信の調査で軒並み2割を割り込んだ。逆に、不支持率は読売新聞、NHK、産経、共同の調査でそろって7割を超えた。

In short, more than two-thirds of voters have turned their backs on the prime minister, including 67 percent of the respondents in the Asahi survey.

67%の朝日を含め、国民の3分の2を上回る人々が首相にNOを突きつけたかたちだ。 

Even worse for Aso is the overwhelming unpopularity of his economic measures.

 深刻なのは、首相の大看板である経済政策に対する厳しい見方だ。 

In the Asahi poll, 70 percent of the respondents said they did not expect much from the prime minister's economic stimulus package. Similarly, the Yomiuri poll showed 64 percent of the respondents giving a thumbs down to the government's economic measures.

 朝日の調査では、首相の景気対策に「期待しない」という人が70%に達した。読売の調査でも64%が政府の対策を「評価しない」と答えた。 

On the much-debated fixed-sum cash handout program, 71 percent considered it "ineffectual as a stimulus measure," and 63 percent said the handouts should not be given, according to the Asahi survey. In the Yomiuri survey, 78 percent favored "spending the money to improve employment and social security, rather than to give it away."

 焦点の定額給付金では、朝日調査で71%が「景気対策として有効ではない」、63%が「支給をやめた方がよい」と答えた。読売調査でも「支給をやめて雇用や社会保障などに使うべきだ」という意見に賛成する人は78%にも達した。 

The government's popularity is bound to suffer when recession continues to seriously affect employment and consumer spending.

 不景気が雇用や消費などに深刻な影響を広げるなかで、政府の評判が悪くなるのは仕方ない面はあろう。

However, the government now finds itself extremely unpopular for wanting to use a whopping 2 trillion yen to give cash handouts to all Japanese citizens. This means people are not just balking at this particular initiative, but they are saying they have lost faith in the government.

だが、そのために2兆円もの巨費を投入し、国民ひとりひとりに現金を配るというアイデアがこれほど不評なのは、政策の是非の問題を超えて、この政権そのものへの不信の表明と見るべきだ。 

Against this background, the ruling coalition railroaded the government's second supplementary budget and related bills through the Lower House on Tuesday.

 そんななか政府与党は衆院で、第2次補正予算案と関連法案を野党の反対を押し切って可決した。 

Naturally, this elicited a strong reaction from opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan). The party's leader, Ichiro Ozawa, said he would "deal positively with other issues" if the prime minister drops the 2-trillion-yen spending plan from the budget bill, indicating that he would cooperate for the swift passage of the supplementary budget bill.

 民主党が反発するのは当然だ。小沢代表が「定額給付金を分離して採決すれば、その他のことには前向きに取り組む」と発言し、定額給付金をはずせば補正予算の成立に協力するとのボールを首相に投げていたからだ。 

Had Aso accepted Ozawa's "offer," he could have made it easier to take swift measures to increase employment and help small and medium-sized businesses with cash flow problems.

 首相が歩み寄れば、雇用対策や中小企業の資金繰り対策などは迅速に実行できるようになったはずだ。

But in Aso's mind, meeting Ozawa even halfway must have been tantamount to conceding defeat. The prime minister appears incapable of understanding just how gloomy the situation has become for society.

それでは敗北に等しいというのが首相の思いなのだろうが、世の中の厳しい空気を読み違っているのではないか。 

Aso also faces critics within his own Liberal Democratic Party. Yoshimi Watanabe, a former state minister in charge of administrative reform, resigned from the party on Tuesday.

And former LDP Secretary-General Koichi Kato noted, "Between 70 and 80 percent of LDP members know in their hearts that the handout program isn't quite right, but they support it because they need New Komeito on their side in the next general election."

 自民党内にも首相への批判がないわけではない。渡辺喜美元行革相がきのう離党に踏み切り、加藤紘一元幹事長は「定額給付金はあまり出来がよくない制度というのが7、8割の自民党議員の心だが、総選挙で公明党にお世話になるから賛成する」と述べている。 

If what Kato said is true, it means the LDP is going along with this "not quite right" program solely because it needs the support of its junior coalition partner and Soka Gakkai. This is pathetic.

 加藤氏の言葉が事実なら、自民党は公明党・創価学会の支援欲しさに「出来のよくない」政策に甘んじるということなのか。何とも情けない政党になってしまったものではないか。 

If the ruling coalition continues to feud with the opposition camp, which will likely reject the legislation in the Upper House, the ruling bloc, which controls the Lower House, would resort to the "60-day rule" to get the program approved by a second vote as it has done in the past.

 このまま与野党がにらみ合っていては「60日ルール」での衆院再議決に頼る政治がまた繰り返されることになる。

This will lead to a repeat of the confusion in the Diet during the Yasuo Fukuda administration over the gasoline tax bill and the bill to resume the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

福田前政権のときの、インド洋での自衛隊の給油支援やガソリン税をめぐる混迷の再現である。 

With life becoming increasingly bleak for its citizens, Japan just does not have the luxury to continue with such inane politics.

 国民の暮らしがますます厳しくなるなかで、そんな愚かな政治を続ける余裕がいまの日本にあるはずがない。

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殺人:45歳中大教授刺され死亡 理工学部のトイレで

(Mainichi Japan) January 14, 2009

Professor fatally stabbed in bathroom at Chuo University in Tokyo

殺人:45歳中大教授刺され死亡 理工学部のトイレで

A 45-year-old professor has died after being found collapsed in a bathroom at Tokyo's Chuo University on Wednesday with multiple stab wounds, police said.

Hajime Takakubo, a professor at the science and engineering faculty of the university in Bunkyo-ku, was found collapsed at around 10:30 a.m. He died about an hour after being rushed to hospital. He had several stab wounds in the back and to other parts of his body.

 14日午前10時半ごろ、東京都文京区春日1の中央大学理工学部の1号館4階トイレ内で、男性が血を流して倒れているのを警備員が見つけ110番した。男性は同大理工学部電気電子情報通信工学科教授の高窪統(はじめ)さん(45)で、病院に搬送されたが約1時間後に死亡が確認された。背中などに刃物のようなもので刺された傷が複数あるという。警視庁捜査1課は、殺人事件とみて現場付近で目撃された不審な男の行方を追っている。

According to police, a student saw a man who looked in his 30s leave the bathroom, and another student said he passed a man dressed in black in a corridor near the bathroom. Police believe the suspect may have bloodstains over his clothes.

 捜査1課によると、高窪さんはトイレ内で背中から血を流しうつぶせに倒れていた。男子留学生がトイレのほうから30歳ぐらいの黒っぽい服を着た男が歩いてくるのを目撃したという。

 また捜査関係者によると、現場から立ち去った男は大量の返り血を浴びている可能性があるという。黒いニット帽をかぶっていたとの情報もある。

Takakubo was scheduled to have a class from 10:40 a.m. on Wednesday. The bathroom was near his research room. No security procedures were in place for entering the university and anyone could enter the campus.

 中央大広報室の話では、高窪さんが倒れていたトイレの近くには高窪さんの研究室があり、14日は午前10時40分(2限目)からの授業を控えていたという。受付がないため、学内には誰でも立ち入りが可能だという。

Takakubo earned a Master's degree at Sophia University in Tokyo. He became associate professor of engineering at Chuo University in 1997 and started serving as a professor there in 2003. His specialty field was analog integrated circuits, according to the university's Web site.

 中央大のホームページによると、高窪さんは都立青山高を経て上智大大学院を修了。専門は電子工学で高機能集積回路の研究をしていたという。97年に中央大理工学部助教授となり、03年に教授に就任した。

 高窪さんの親族によると、高窪さんは亡くなった父親が中央大名誉教授、叔父も青山学院大の名誉教授で「教授一家」だった。

 現場は東京メトロ丸ノ内線・南北線「後楽園」駅の近く。東京ドームから北西約200メートル。

毎日新聞 2009114日 1135分(最終更新 114日 1335分)

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輸出企業不振 北米市場頼みが裏目に出た

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 15, 2009)

Japan Inc. must wean self off N. American market

輸出企業不振 北米市場頼みが裏目に出た(115日付・読売社説)

The business performance of Japanese exporting companies is deteriorating fast due to the simultaneous slowdown of the global economy triggered by the U.S. financial crisis. The situation can now be described as a debacle.

 金融危機に端を発した世界同時不況で、日本の輸出企業の業績が急速に悪化している。今や、「総崩れ」とも言える状況になってきた。

Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. are expecting operating losses on a consolidated basis for the business year ending in March, though both of them had earlier forecast profits. Sony projects that it will fall into the red for the first time in 14 years, while Toshiba anticipates its first loss in seven years.

 ソニーと東芝の2009年3月期連結決算は、従来の黒字予想から一転し、営業赤字になる見通しだ。赤字転落は、ソニーが14年ぶりで、東芝は7年ぶりだ。

Sony's projected loss is due to the fact that sales of liquid crystal display TVs, one of the company's flagship products, and other electronic items have tumbled in the United States and Europe. In addition, the company has suffered from declining export profits due to the yen's sharp appreciation.

Meanwhile, Toshiba has been dealt a blow by the lackluster performance of its semiconductor business.

 ソニーは主力の液晶テレビなどの販売が欧米で急減した。急激な円高で輸出の採算も悪化し、ダブルパンチに直撃された。東芝は半導体事業が不振に陥った。

The slowdown in the manufacturing industry, an engine driving the Japanese economy, was triggered by the downturn in the auto industry.

 日本経済を牽引(けんいん)する製造業の業績不振は、自動車業界の失速から始まった。

Toyota Motor Corp. said in late December that it expected a 150 billion yen operating loss for the business year ending in March 2009. It has taken only a year for Toyota to fall into the red since it reported operating profits of more than 2 trillion yen in the last business year.

 トヨタ自動車は昨年末、今期決算が1500億円の営業赤字になるとの業績見通しを発表した。前期の2兆円超の営業黒字から、わずか1年での転落である。

===

'Toyota shock' makes waves

The shock wave caused by Toyota's poor performance has spread to a wide range of businesses, including manufacturers of electrical appliances and industrial materials.

 「トヨタショック」の波が、電機業界や素材メーカーなどに幅広く及んできたといえよう。

Japanese export companies have been enjoying positive earnings for the last few years, benefiting from thriving markets in North America and other regions, and from the weak yen. But drastic changes in the business climate have exposed the fragility of their profit structures.

 ここ数年、北米などの好調な海外市場と円安を追い風に、輸出企業の好業績が続いた。しかし、経営環境の激変で、収益構造のもろさをさらけ出した形だ。

The total operating profits of listed companies are expected to decline in the business year ending in March for the first time in seven business years. The harsh economic environment is forecast to continue in the next business year.

 上場企業の今期決算は、全体で7期ぶりに減益となる見通しだ。来期も逆風が続くとみられる。

The slowdown in exports has also cut into Japan's current account surplus. The doldrums in the manufacturing industry will impede the recovery of the nation's economy, which has entered a recession phase.

 輸出の鈍化で、日本の経常黒字も激減している。製造業の不振は景気後退局面入りした日本経済の回復の足かせにもなろう。

Exporting companies are working all out to secure profits under the current economic turmoil. Sony will cut 16,000 workers, including 8,000 regular employees, at home and abroad. Toyota and Toshiba have already decided to reduce production drastically after reviewing their manufacturing systems.

 厳しい状況の下、輸出企業各社は収益の確保に躍起だ。ソニーは世界で正社員8000人を含む1万6000人を削減する。トヨタや東芝などは生産体制を見直し、大幅減産に踏み切った。

===

Major rethink needed

But cost reductions through restructuring efforts are just stopgap measures. It is an urgent task for exporters to reform their profit structures from a medium- to long-term viewpoint.

 しかし、リストラ加速などによるコスト削減は、対症療法に過ぎない。中長期的な視野から、収益構造を転換する方策が急務だ。

First, the exporting companies should end their excessive dependence on North America and strengthen structures to glean earnings in countries around the globe, including newly emerging markets with high growth potential, such as China and India.

 まず、北米依存を改め、潜在成長力が高い中国やインドなどの新興市場を含めて、グローバルに稼ぐ体制を強化する必要がある。

It is also important for the firms to pick their business fields carefully and concentrate on priority ones. Sanyo Electric Co. has agreed to be acquired by Panasonic, while Toshiba will take over the hard-disk-drive business of Fujitsu Ltd. Such reorganization within the industry is bound to accelerate. Manufacturing companies must work out aggressive business strategies in response.

 事業の「選択と集中」の徹底も課題だ。パナソニックが三洋電機の買収で合意し、東芝は、富士通のハードディスク駆動装置(HDD)事業を買収する方向だ。業界再編の加速は不可避だろう。各社の攻めの戦略が求められる。

Research and development will become even more important to enable firms to make new products that give them a competitive edge in the future. In the past, the Japanese manufacturing industry has used its high-tech capability as leverage to overcome so-called high-yen recessions and the bursting of the IT bubble. We are confident that the industry has the potential to rise to the latest challenge.

 将来の競争力の源泉になる新製品を生み出すため、研究開発の重要性も一段と増す。

 日本の製造業は、高い技術力をテコにしながら、かつての円高不況や、IT(情報技術)バブル崩壊を克服してきた。今回の苦境を乗り切る底力に期待したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 15, 2009)

20091150209  読売新聞)

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2009年1月14日 (水)

公務員改革―新たな体制で仕切り直せ

2009/1/14

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 13(IHT/Asahi: January 14,2009)

EDITORIAL: Reform of bureaucracy

公務員改革―新たな体制で仕切り直せ

Reform of the nation's calcifying bureaucratic structure remains stalled despite a consensus among many lawmakers in both the ruling and opposition camps that the system badly needs to be revamped.

 現状を改める必要性では与野党の多くの議員が一致しているのに、具体的な動きとなると足踏みしているのが、国家公務員制度の改革である。 

Last year, the government abandoned its plan to set up a new Cabinet bureau in fiscal 2009 that would have allowed the prime minister's office to control all senior bureaucratic appointments. Currently, all such personnel moves are decided by the relevant ministries and agencies. The step has been postponed to April next year, the start of fiscal 2010. The government now says it will shortly decide on a blueprint and a timetable for the entire makeover of the bureaucratic system. This will include expanding the basic labor rights of national public servants.

 政府は昨年、公務員の幹部人事を各省任せにせず、首相官邸で一元的に管理するための「内閣人事局」の09年度中の発足をあきらめ、来年4月へと先送りした。そのうえで、労働基本権の拡大なども含めた改革全体の工程表を近く決めるという。 

Prior to the start of fiscal 2010, however, a Lower House election must be held as the current term for the chamber's members expires in September. The scope of this reform will change the nation's bureaucratic system fundamentally. Therefore, the job should not be rushed just to meet the deadline. We believe it would be better to leave the task to a new administration, which could then confront the challenge with its own ideas.

 来年4月といっても、任期満了を今秋迎える衆議院の総選挙がそれまでに必ずある。ことは日本の官僚制度の基本にメスを入れようという大改革だ。あたふたとスケジュールにこだわることなく、新たな政権のもとで仕切り直すのが賢明だ。 

The creation of the new Cabinet personnel bureau, a step based on an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties, was stipulated in the law to reform the central bureaucracy that was enacted in June last year. The principal objective is integrated management of personnel decisions concerning senior bureaucrats under the chief Cabinet secretary, instead of independently by respective ministries and agencies.

 内閣人事局は、与党と民主党の合意で、昨年6月に成立した国家公務員制度改革基本法に盛り込まれた。各省ごとにやっていた幹部人事の原案づくりを、官房長官のもとに一本化することが柱になっている。 

The nation's central bureaucrats are working in a highly compartmentalized organization steeped in a culture that stresses turf consciousness. That is why they are often described as putting the interests of their ministries ahead of the national good. The bureaucracy cannot function for the benefit of the public unless this mind-set is changed. It was significant that the rival political camps agreed on this point even with a legislative gridlock due to the opposition's control of the Upper House.

 「省益あって国益なし」と言われるほど、中央省庁の官僚には縦割り意識が染みついている。そこに風穴を開けなければ、国民のための行政はできない。ねじれ国会の中、与野党がそういう問題意識で一致したのは意味のあることだった。 

Following enactment of the legislation, an advisory panel of experts published a report on the issue last November. It said the sections in charge of planning and management of the entire personnel system at the National Personnel Authority, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Finance Ministry should be transferred to the new Cabinet personnel bureau. However, the negotiations with these ministries proved tougher than expected, forcing the government to abandon its plan to establish the new bureau in fiscal 2009.

 これを受けて有識者による顧問会議が昨年11月に報告書をまとめた。人事院や総務省、財務省の、公務員人事にかかわる部門を内閣人事局に移すという内容だ。ところが、これらの役所との折衝が難航し、それが09年度内の発足を断念する直接の理由となった。 

The advisory panel didn't spend enough time discussing the key issue of how to give the new bureau the effective authority to make personnel decisions concerning senior bureaucrats at all ministries and agencies. Due partly to the leadership change that handed the reins of power to Prime Minister Taro Aso, the start of the panel's discussions was delayed. The panel had only a month to put together its recommendations.

 ただ、この顧問会議では、人事局に幹部人事の原案をつくるだけの実質的な権限をどうやって持たせるかという中身の議論が極めて不十分だった。麻生首相への政権交代もあって検討開始がずれ込み、実質的な議論の期間が1カ月しかとれなかったからだ。 

Some ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers who campaigned for the legislation warned about acting rashly to set up the new bureau, while some members of the main opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) who were involved in the talks over revisions to the bill were irked at being left out of the process of drafting the plan.

 このため、基本法を推進した自民党議員からは「拙速に形ばかりつくるべきではない」と骨抜きを警戒する声が出たし、基本法案の修正協議に加わった民主党からも、蚊帳の外に置かれた不満が出たりしていた。 

Late last year, the government set up a new center within the Cabinet Office to help retiring bureaucrats find new private-sector jobs--a step adopted by the administration of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as an answer to the problems linked to the traditional practice of amakudari. But there was a problem. The center was established while the appointments of the members of the committee in charge of approving the employment of retiring officials were blocked by the opposition parties. It is still unclear whether former bureaucrats on private payrolls should be allowed to hop from one job to another, a practice known as watari that was originally designated for a ban.

 政府は昨年末、安倍政権下で新設が決まった天下りあっせんのための「官民人材交流センター」を発足させた。だが、天下りを承認する監視委員会の委員が野党の反対で決められないままの見切り発車だった。本来やめることになっている「わたり」と呼ばれる再々就職のあっせんを認めるかどうかもあいまいなままだ。 

All the parties should present their own plans for overhauling the bureaucracy, including measures on the amakudari issue, as part of their campaign platforms. Then, the new administration should push through the reform with support from both the ruling and opposition camps.

 次の衆院選にあたって、各党は、天下り問題も含めた公務員制度全体の改革案を、政権公約として改めて示すべきだ。そのうえで新たな政権のもと、与野党で強力な体制をつくり、実行に移すしかない。

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日本と韓国―国際舞台で協力広げたい

2009/1/14

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 13(IHT/Asahi: January 14,2009)

EDITORIAL: Japan-S. Korea summit

日本と韓国―国際舞台で協力広げたい

Public approval ratings are abysmal for both Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak. But their latest summit in Seoul gave us reason to anticipate new, positive developments in bilateral relations.

 ともに支持率の低迷にあえぐ日本と韓国の政権だが、こと両国関係では新たな可能性が広がりそうだ。そんな期待を抱かせる展開となった。 

For Aso, it was his first state visit to South Korea since he assumed office last September.

 麻生首相が就任後初めて訪韓し、李明博大統領と会談した。 

During the talks Monday, the two leaders confirmed the importance of having their countries and the United States remain on the same page concerning North Korea's nuclear problem. They also agreed to work together to cope with the global financial crisis.

 北朝鮮の核問題で日米韓が結束する大切さを確認した。国際金融危機にも連携して対処することで一致した。 

The summit produced no surprises, but it was significant that the Japanese and South Korean leaders reconfirmed their positions less than 10 days before the U.S. administration of Barack Obama takes off on Jan. 20.

 これらは当然のこととはいえ、米国でオバマ新政権が発足する直前のこの時期に日韓首脳が改めて確かめ合った点に意味があろう。 

Morever, Aso and Lee made it quite clear that the two countries intend to work together in tackling various international challenges. We welcome this new direction, as past summits tended to focus only on bilateral issues.

 より注目すべきは、国際社会のいろいろな課題に対し、日韓が手を取り合って協力していく方針を鮮明に打ち出したことだ。これまでは二国間問題にばかり偏るきらいがあっただけに、新鮮な方向として歓迎したい。 

One matter that was discussed at length this time was how Japan and South Korea can cooperate on Afghan reconstruction.

 とくに話し合われたのは、アフガニスタンの復興へ日韓がどう協力して支援できるかということだった。 

Japanese and South Korean citizens are among the global contingents of aid workers dispatched to Afghanistan, but the situation there is growing progressively worse. As Afghanistan is one of Obama's top foreign policy issues, his administration will most likely call for greater contributions from Tokyo and Seoul.

 各国とともに日本や韓国の人たちも現地で支援活動に汗を流している。 

 だが、アフガンの情勢は混迷の度合いを深めるばかりだ。この問題を重視するオバマ新政権は、日韓にもより多くの貢献を求めてくるだろう。

There is no doubt that this prospect was what prompted Aso and Lee to discuss the Afghan issue.

今度の首脳会談で検討したのも、それを念頭に置いたことは間違いあるまい。 

Nothing specific has been decided on Japan-South Korea cooperation in Afghanistan. But since any form of military contribution will be severely restricted and raise serious problems, we believe Tokyo and Seoul should swiftly work out details of joint civilian assistance plans.

 日韓が協力して何をするのか、まだ具体的には決まっていない。軍事面の貢献には厳しい制約や難問が多いだけに、民生分野でともにできることを早急に詰めていくべきだ。 

Aside from Afghanistan, the two countries ought to work together on many other international issues, such as helping developing countries grow and stabilize themselves. Various environmental challenges, including climate change, need to be addressed, too.

 アフガン以外にも、途上国の開発や安定化への支援をはじめ、地球温暖化や環境問題など、日韓が協力して対応すべき国際問題は少なくない。 

In that sense, we applaud Aso and Lee for agreeing to start "joint research on a new era in Japan-South Korea relations."

 その意味から、「日韓新時代共同研究プロジェクト」の立ち上げを首脳会談で合意したのは評価できる。 

The project will involve experts from both countries and explore bilateral relations to enable the two nations to jointly contribute to the international community. We hope the team will tap all sorts of possibilities and achieve results.

 「国際社会にともに貢献する日韓関係」をテーマに、両国の有識者らが研究していくものだ。さまざまな可能性を探り、成果をあげてもらいたい。 

The Japan-South Korea relationship itself can be strengthened by the partners' efforts to compile a solid track record of cooperation on the international stage, as well as to seek regional stability through summits involving China and other talks.

 国際舞台で協力を積み重ねる。日中韓首脳会議なども生かして地域の安定を目指す。こうした取り組みは日韓関係そのものの強化にもつながる。 

Aso's latest visit to South Korea signified the revival of "summit shuttle diplomacy," which aims to build mutual trust through casual visits and frank exchanges by leaders of the two nations.

 今回の首相訪韓は、隣国の首脳同士が気軽に往来して率直に意見交換し、信頼を築こうという「シャトル外交」の復活と定着をも意味する。 

We must never return to that dismal period in our relationship, when our prime minister's obsessive determination to keep visiting Yasukuni Shrine and excessive nationalism in South Korea resulted in the suspension of mutual visits by the leaders.

 日本の首相の靖国参拝へのこだわりと韓国側の過剰なナショナリズムから首脳往来もできなかった一時期の惨憺(さんたん)たる経験を繰り返してはならない。 

Next year will be exactly a century since Japan annexed and colonized the Korean Peninsula. At every summit, the leaders of Japan and South Korea stress the "importance of facing the past squarely and looking toward the future." But this does not mean that all the lingering ill feelings about history and territorial issues have evaporated.

 朝鮮半島を日本が植民地にした「韓国併合」から来年で100年だ。「過去を直視し、未来を見据える姿勢が重要だ」と、首脳会談のたびに強調されはするが、歴史や領土をめぐるわだかまりが消えたわけではない。 

We hope the latest summit can become the cue for moving in the right direction, even if by a baby step.

 今回の会談がそこから一歩でも踏み出すきっかけになってほしい。

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社説:日韓首脳会談 「成熟した関係」を確かなものに

(Mainichi Japan) January 13, 2009

Japan, South Korea turn to 'shuttle diplomacy' to boost bilateral cooperation

社説:日韓首脳会談 「成熟した関係」を確かなものに

Prime Minister Taro Aso and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak agreed in their summit talks in Seoul on Monday to step up bilateral cooperation to solve problems involving North Korea's nuclear program, extend assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan and respond to the global financial crisis.

 麻生太郎首相と韓国の李明博(イミョンバク)大統領がソウルで会談し、北朝鮮の核問題やアフガニスタンの復興支援、世界的な金融危機への対応などで協力を強化していくことで一致した。

The two leaders should bolster a "mature partnership," which the two countries agreed to build up in April last year, through various activities.

昨年4月に日韓が合意した「成熟したパートナーシップ」関係を今後は実践を通じて確かなものにしてもらいたい。

During the summit, Aso and Lee focused on the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 20. Both leaders placed special emphasis on cooperation between Japan, the U.S. and South Korea in responding to North Korea's nuclear program.

 今回の首脳会談は20日に発足する米国のオバマ新政権を意識したものになった。麻生首相と李大統領がともに、北朝鮮の核問題で日米韓の3カ国連携の必要性を強調したのがそのあらわれといえる。

The six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program have been deadlocked over how to conduct inspections on facilities to verify the program. The new U.S. administration holds the key to breaking the deadlock.

 北朝鮮の核問題をめぐる6カ国協議は核計画の検証方法に関する文書化問題で手詰まり状態が続いている。これをいかに打開するかの大きなカギは米新政権が握っている。

"Cooperation between the three countries is extremely important," Lee told Aso during the summit meeting.

"Following the inauguration of the new U.S. administration, North Korea may attempt to cause a crack in cooperation between Japan, the U.S. and the Republic of Korea. The three countries must maintain their close alliance," Aso said.

 首脳会談で李大統領は「米国を含めた3カ国の協力が非常に重要だ」と述べ、麻生首相は「米新政権発足を受け北朝鮮は日米韓の分断を図り揺さぶりをかけるかもしれない。3カ国の緊密連携が必要だ」と応じた。

It is significant that the leaders of Japan and South Korea confirmed that they will seek cooperation with the U.S. prior to the inauguration of the new Obama administration. The two leaders should demonstrate their determination through actions, not just words.

 米新政権の発足を前に、日韓首脳が歩調を合わせて米国との連携を図っていくことを確認したのは意味がある。両首脳はこの確認を言葉だけでなく実行で示していく必要がある。

Aso and Lee agreed to pursue bilateral cooperation in extending assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, taking into consideration the new U.S. government's policies.

 アフガニスタンの復興支援で日韓協力の方策を検討していくことで合意したのも米新政権をにらんだものといえる。

President-elect Obama has made it clear that he will attach particular importance to the Afghanistan issue. However, Japan has not yet laid the groundwork for enacting legislation aimed at dispatching Self-Defense Force (SDF) personnel to Afghanistan. South Korea had stationed military personnel in Afghanistan to assist in the reconstruction, but has already withdrawn the troops.

 オバマ次期大統領はアフガン問題を重視する方針を示している。しかし、人的貢献の分野で日本は、自衛隊派遣へ向けた新法づくりの環境は整っていない。軍隊を復興支援に当たらせてきた韓国もいまは部隊を撤退させている。

As part of the bilateral cooperation in extending assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, the two countries are apparently considering cooperation between the Japan International Cooperation Agency and its South Korean counterpart, the Korea International Cooperation Agency, and other organizations in the fields of vocational training and agricultural assistance.

 両首脳が検討することで合意した日韓の復興支援協力は、日本の国際協力機構(JICA)と韓国国際協力団(KOICA)などによる職業訓練や農業協力などを想定しているようだ。

Such support appears to be less notable than the deployment of SDF personnel, but it is significant as a way to extend effective assistance to Afghanistan. Japan and South Korea are urged to realize their bilateral cooperation in this field.

自衛隊派遣に比べれば地味かもしれないが、実効あるアフガン支援の一方策として意義があろう。日韓共同の国際協力をぜひ実現させてほしい。

Relations between Japan and South Korea were strained by the description of the Takeshima Islands, which are claimed by both countries, in Japan's school curriculum guidelines -- even after Lee visited Japan in April last year. Nevertheless, the leaders of the two countries have frequently held talks with each other.

 日韓関係は昨年4月の李大統領訪日後も新学習指導要領解説書への竹島問題記載でぎくしゃくしたが、首脳交流はその後も頻繁に行われている。

This was Aso's first visit to South Korea as prime minister, but he has met with Lee five times since October last year in other locations.

麻生首相にとっては今回が首相就任後初の訪韓だったが、李大統領との顔合わせは昨年10月以降すでに5回にのぼる。

At a joint news conference on Monday, Lee described the frequent summits between the two countries as a symbol of the development of bilateral relations -- from nations close to each other geographically but distant politically to nations close to each other both geographically and politically. He then pledged to visit Japan sometime this year.

 李大統領は共同会見で「近くて遠い国から近くて近い国として発展していることを象徴している」と述べ、首脳会談では年内訪日を約束した。

The president did not mention the territorial dispute over the Takeshima Islands apparently because he places priority on building forward-looking relations between the two countries.

今回、大統領が竹島問題などに言及しなかったのも未来志向の両国関係に配意してのことだろう。

Strengthening bilateral ties through so-called "shuttle diplomacy," in which the leaders of the two countries frequently exchange visits, will lead to greater contributions to the international community.

 首脳が相互に訪問し合う「シャトル外交」の定着を通じた関係強化は国際社会への貢献での日韓共同作業にもつながるはずだ。

毎日新聞 2009113日 東京朝刊

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補正衆院通過 予算審議を速やかに進めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 14, 2009)

Budget deliberations should proceed apace

補正衆院通過 予算審議を速やかに進めよ(114日付・読売社説)

A second supplementary budget for fiscal 2008 and its related bills cleared the House of Representatives on Tuesday with majority support from the Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, New Komeito.

Given that economic recovery is the top priority for the nation, a vote on the extra budget must not be delayed, even though it includes a controversial cash handout plan.

 定額給付金という問題の多い政策を含む補正予算だが、景気回復を最優先するなら採決を遅らせるわけにはいかない。

 第2次補正予算案と関連法案が13日、自民、公明両党の賛成多数で衆院を通過した。

Lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan boycotted the vote on the extra budget at the lower house plenary session, saying deliberations on it were insufficient.

 民主党は、審議が尽くされていないとして、補正予算案の採決に抗議し、衆院本会議では採決前に退席した。

With its passage at the lower house, the extra budget could be automatically enacted in 30 days without a vote at the House of Councillors.

 衆院通過により、補正予算は、参院で採決されなくても、30日たてば自然成立する。

But to implement the cash handout and other measures, the related bills will have to be enacted.

ただ、定額給付金支給などを実施するには、関連法案の成立が必要になる。

If opposition parties do not vote on the bills, the ruling parties will have to pass them through a second vote using their two-thirds supermajority in the lower house, in line with the Constitution's so-called 60-day rule.

 与党は、野党が採決に応じない時は、憲法の「60日ルール」に基づき、衆院の3分の2以上の多数による再可決を迫られる。

===

DPJ should push its own ideas

The DPJ intends to continue pressing the ruling camp hard by claiming that the cash handout measure is foolish, with the aim of encouraging as many LDP lawmakers as possible to rebel against their party at the time of the second vote.

 民主党は今後も、定額給付金の「愚策」ぶりを際立たせ、いずれ再可決の際、自民党内から多数の造反を誘う狙いがあるようだ。

But even if the DPJ manages to delay the start of deliberations on the extra budget at the upper house due to its opposition to the cash handout plan, there certainly will be limitations to this tactic.

 だが、定額給付金問題で参院審議入りを遅らせたとしても、それはおのずと限界がある。

This is because it is an urgent task to pass the extra budget and the fiscal 2009 budget as soon as possible, in view of the economic downturn.

 目下の景気後退を考えれば、補正予算と2009年度予算の早期成立は、喫緊の課題だからだ。

It would be a much wiser course of action for the DPJ to call on the government and ruling parties to discuss revisions to the extra budget by coming up with concrete alternatives while continuing to demand the removal of the 2 trillion yen cash handout plan.

 審議を通じ、約2兆円に上る定額給付金予算の削除要求に伴う代替案を明確に示し、政府・与党に修正を迫る。この方が、民主党にとってよほど賢明な策だろう。

If the DPJ refuses to take part in deliberations or delays them, those on the extra budget at the upper house will have to be conducted in parallel with those on the fiscal 2009 budget at the lower house.

 仮に、民主党が、審議拒否・遅延戦術をとるならば、参院の補正審議と同時に、衆院で09年度予算審議も進める「並行審議」も、やむをえないところだ。

For their part, the government and ruling parties need to get their act together before deliberations on the fiscal 2009 budget start.

 政府・与党も、09年度予算審議を前に、いま一度、態勢を立て直すことが求められる。

An opinion poll conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun recently showed that disapproval of Prime Minister Taro Aso's Cabinet exceeded 70 percent. Also, two out of three respondents did not positively evaluate measures to address the economic downturn that were included in the fiscal 2009 budget.

 本紙世論調査で、麻生内閣を「支持しない」人は、7割を超えた。3人に2人は、09年度予算に盛り込まれた景気対策を「評価しない」と答えている。

The government and ruling parties should explain more carefully how they expect the budget to boost the economy.

 予算の景気浮揚効果について、政府・与党は、もっと丁寧に説明を尽くすことが大事だ。

===

LDP must close ranks

Yoshimi Watanabe, former state minister in charge of administrative reform, who had been calling for an early dissolution of the lower house and the dropping of the cash handout proposal, submitted a letter conveying his wish to leave the LDP before the vote at the lower house's plenary session. The party accepted his resignation. It was a natural turn of events for Watanabe to leave the party, considering his arguments.

 早期の衆院解散や定額給付金の撤回などを求めていた渡辺喜美・元行政改革相が採決前、自民党に離党届を出し、受理された。渡辺氏の主張からすれば、離党は当然の帰結である。

Most of the points he made were similar to the DPJ's, and some observers saw his actions as traitorous. Many LDP lawmakers likely were put off by his aggressive anti-Aso rhetoric during his appearances on TV programs.

 渡辺氏の言い分の多くは民主党と重なり、「利敵行為」との受け止め方も少なくなかった。テレビ出演での行き過ぎた「反麻生パフォーマンス」に、辟易(へきえき)した自民党議員も多かったのではないか。

One LDP lawmaker abstained from the voting at the plenary session. The LDP cannot allow any more disruption in party unity. The party's executive bears a grave responsibility in this regard.

 ただ、衆院本会議の採決では自民党議員一人が棄権した。これ以上、党の結束を乱すわけにはいくまい。党執行部の責任は重い。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 14, 2009)

20091140134  読売新聞)

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2009年1月13日 (火)

赤羽さん解放―人道救援の志も救われた

2009/1/13

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 12(IHT/Asahi: January 13,2009)

EDITORIAL: Abducted doctor freed

赤羽さん解放―人道救援の志も救われた

Keiko Akahane, a Japanese doctor who was kidnapped in Ethiopia in September last year, was freed last week after being held captive for 3? months in Somalia.

 アフリカ・エチオピアで昨年9月に誘拐された医師赤羽桂子さんが、3カ月半ぶりに無事解放された。 

"I'm happy to have lived to see this day," Akahane said at a news conference in Paris, where French aid group Medecins du Monde (MDM, Doctors of the World) is based.

Akahane was working as a member of the group when she was abducted.

 「生きてこの日を迎えることができてうれしい」。所属する国際NGO「世界の医療団」本部のあるパリで記者会見した赤羽さんはこう語った。 

Her family and friends must have felt immense relief to find her safe and sound. We share their happiness.

 元気な表情に家族や友人はほっと胸をなでおろしていることだろう。その喜びを分かち合いたい。 

When she went to Ethiopia in April last year, she realized her childhood dream of doing medical work in a developing country.

 途上国の医療協力にたずさわることが小さい頃からの夢だった赤羽さんは昨年4月、現地に入った。 

For a while after she was abducted by an armed group and taken to neighboring Somalia, she thought "This is it" every time she heard the kidnappers touching their guns, according to Akahane's account of her life in captivity.

 武装集団に誘拐され、隣国ソマリアに連行された赤羽さんは当初、犯人の銃の触る音がするたびに「もう終わりかと思った」という。 

She said she could endure the days of living in constant fear of death because of her strong feelings toward her family. It seems she also found solace in daily conversations with a Dutch nurse who was kidnapped with her and by reading books.

 そんな恐怖の日々に耐えられたのは、家族への強い思いからだった。同僚のオランダ人看護師との日々の会話や読書も心の支えになったようだ。 

Somalia is a totally failed nation. A serious deterioration of the public safety situation in the eastern African country has led to rampant kidnappings of foreigners. Pirates operating off Somalia are also posing a nagging maritime security problem for the international community.

 ソマリアは破綻(は・たん)国家の状態にある。治安悪化によって最近は、外国人を狙った身代金目的の誘拐事件が続発している。ソマリア沖に出没する海賊も国際社会を悩ませている。 

We wonder how well MDM understood the seriousness of the security situation in the region.

 そうした状況を「世界の医療団」はどこまでつかんでいたのだろうか。 

The French aid organization, founded in 1980, operates aid work in about 50 countries on an annual budget of more than 10 billion yen. It is a sophisticated, well-experienced humanitarian aid group.

 「世界の医療団」は80年に創設された。年間100億円余りの資金を使って約50カ国で活動している。いわば人道支援のプロ集団といえる。 

While working in Ethiopia, Akahane and her colleagues first gathered security information every morning to ensure their safety. Still, they failed to detect the movement of the armed group, which crossed the border and sneaked up on them. This is the grim reality of a conflict area.

 赤羽さんたちは現地で毎朝一番に情報を集め、安全を確かめていた。そこまでやっても国境を越えて忍び寄る武装集団の動きを察知できなかった。これが紛争地の現実である。 

MDM negotiated with the kidnappers on its own. The Japanese government just monitored the related developments in response to a request from the French aid group.

 犯人グループとの交渉は「世界の医療団」自身が担った。要請を受けて日本政府も事態の推移を見守った。 

There is no functioning government to depend on in Somalia. MDM apparently thought involvement by the Japanese government would only complicate the negotiations. MDM's strategy for dealing with the situation has proved successful.

 ソマリアに頼れる政府はない。かといって日本政府の関与を求めても、かえって交渉が複雑になってしまう。そんな判断が結果的に功を奏した。 

What must not be forgotten is that Japanese nongovernmental organizations operating aid work overseas do not have the ability to conduct similar negotiations with an armed group. If a Japanese aid group becomes embroiled in a similar situation, the Japanese government would have to take action to fulfill its duty to protect Japanese nationals.

 忘れてならないのは、同種の事件が日本のNGOに起きたら、そんな交渉能力を到底望めないことだ。やはりそこは日本政府が自国民保護の責務を果たさねばならないだろう。 

Japanese NGOs began operating large-scale humanitarian aid activities in various parts of the world in the 1980s. Their efforts have contributed greatly to raising Japan's stature in the international community. But their operations are always fraught with danger.

 日本のNGOによる人道支援活動は80年代から本格化し、国際社会での日本の評価を高めるために大きな役割を果たした。だがその活動はいつも危険と隣り合わせだ。 

In a tragic incident in August last year, Japanese aid worker Kazuya Ito, who was working in eastern parts of Afghanistan, was abducted by an armed group and killed immediately afterward.

 昨年8月にはアフガニスタン東部で活動中の伊藤和也さんが武装グループに誘拐され、直後に殺害された。 

But the NGO he belonged to, Peshawar-kai, has continued irrigation and agricultural work in the country in order to build on Ito's legacy.

 しかし彼の属したNGOペシャワール会は彼の遺志を生かそうと、現地での水利や農業事業を続けている。 

Akahane, who said she wanted to rest awhile in Japan, nevertheless expressed hope that she will be able to do aid work in a similar place again.

 まずは帰国して休養を取りたいという赤羽さんは「また、このようなところで活動できたら」とも語った。 

Humanitarian aid activities in developing countries can continue because of contributions by many such dedicated people. We all should give moral support to young people committed to serving the cause of humanity.

 多くの人々に支えられながら人道支援の志が受け継がれていく。後に続く若者をみんなで応援したい。

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社説:ガザ地上侵攻 米国はイスラエルを止めよ

(Mainichi Japan) January 8, 2009

U.S. must stop Israel's invasion of Gaza

社説:ガザ地上侵攻 米国はイスラエルを止めよ


He repeatedly punches his adversary, claiming self-defense. Asserting that his adversary, who is now covered in blood, is resisting, he mounts and continues to pummel him. Finally, he whales away at his adversary not only with his fists but also with a bat and golf club. Passersby look on but do not intervene, and the policeman seems unconcerned, saying only that "it can't be helped because all is being done in self-defense."

 これは自衛のためだと言って殴り続ける。血まみれになった相手が抵抗したと言っては、また馬乗りになって殴る。しまいには、こぶしだけでなくバットやゴルフクラブでも殴り始める。通行人は見守るだけ。警察官は「自衛のためだから仕方がない」と澄ましている--。

Couldn't this be a description of Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip, whose air strikes are now being augmented by a ground campaign? No country or institution, including the United Nations, appears to be capable of bringing Israel's military campaign in Gaza to an immediate halt. Even the U.S., which at times has been looked to as the world's policeman, chooses to defend its ally, and President George Bush has stated that Israel has "decided to protect itself."

 空爆に加え地上作戦が始まったガザ(パレスチナ自治区)で起きているのは、そんな出来事ではないか。国連も含めてイスラエルの軍事行動をすぐに止められる国や機関はありそうにない。時に世界の警察官役が期待される米国も、「イスラエルは自国を守る決断をした」(ブッシュ大統領)と同盟国を擁護する。

But Israel's military operation cannot be condoned from a humanitarian perspective. Since its offensive against the Gaza Strip began in late December, more than 550 Palestinians have died, of whom around 100 were children, according to emergency workers. If Israel's military campaign is a political performance staged with an eye on its general elections scheduled for February, then it can only be described as especially heinous.

 しかし、イスラエルの軍事行動は人道上、容認できない。昨年末からの攻撃で550人以上のパレスチナ人が死に、救急関係者によると、うち約100人が子供だという。この軍事作戦が、2月のイスラエル総選挙をにらんだ政治的パフォーマンスなら、よけい罪深いと言わざるを得ない。

The rockets that Hamas, the Islamic fundamentalist organization that exercises de facto control over Gaza, continues to launch into Israel have reportedly killed several Israelis. While Hamas should cease its rocket attacks, Israel above all must exercise self-restraint and desist from attacking Gaza in order to prevent the death toll from rising substantially.

 ガザを実効支配するイスラム原理主義組織のハマスもロケット弾攻撃を続け、イスラエル側でも数人が死んだという。ハマスは攻撃をやめるべきだ。が、すでにおびただしい数に上る死者の増加を防ぐには、何よりもイスラエルが攻撃を自制しなければならない。

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's efforts to mediate have come to naught, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has dismissed Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' demand to "immediately and unconditionally terminate its invasion" as a call for a compromise that would "condone Hamas' attacks."

 フランスのサルコジ大統領の仲介は不調に終わった。アッバス・パレスチナ自治政府議長が同大統領に「イスラエルの侵略の即時・無条件停止」を求めたのに対し、イスラエルのオルメルト首相は「ハマスの攻撃を許容するような妥協案」を突っぱねたという。

Even under normal conditions, the Gaza Strip suffers from a scarcity of goods, but it is now experiencing shortages of drinking water, fuel, medical supplies, and other commodities, and according to a U.N. official, a "humanitarian crisis" is rapidly unfolding there. The territory covers an area of land equal to only about 60 percent of the land mass of Tokyo's 23 wards, so it has a very high population density, and the inflow of commodities into the territory is strictly controlled.

 一方、ただでさえ物不足のガザでは、飲料水や燃料、医薬品などが不足し、国連の担当者によると「人道危機」が急速に進行している。東京23区の6割ほどの広さしかないガザは人口密度が高く、物資搬入も厳しく規制されている。

Furthermore, the inhabitants of Gaza have nowhere to take refuge. It is easily predictable that when the inhabitants of this narrow sliver of land, who have their backs up against the sea, come under attack, large numbers will come into harm's way. There are also reports that Israel has used cluster bombs in its Gaza offensive. These weapons have been targeted by an international campaign to ban them.

 もともとガザ住民には逃げ場がないのだ。海を背にした狭い土地(ガザ)が攻撃されれば、多数の市民が巻き添えになるのは目に見えている。イスラエルは、国際的に禁止の動きが広がるクラスター爆弾を使ったとの情報もある。

Israel has invaded Gaza in the past, and conducted a large-scale military campaign against the neighboring country of Lebanon in 2006. Israel has described an earlier invasion of Lebanon in 1982 as a peace offensive, but the same operation was cited by Osama bin Laden as justification for the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the U.S.

 イスラエルは過去にもガザに侵攻し、06年には隣国レバノンを舞台に大規模な軍事作戦を行った。ウサマ・ビンラディン容疑者が9・11テロの背景に挙げた82年のレバノン侵攻も、イスラエルは自衛のための「平和作戦」と称していた。

It would be difficult to conclude that Israel's military campaigns have enhanced its peace and security. Protests by Muslims in neighboring countries, who condemn the attack on the Gaza Strip as a massacre, have been spreading. The U.S should persuade its ally Israel to end its military campaign. If President Bush ignores the bloodshed and cries of agony until his term expires on Jan. 20, he may have to leave office with a heavy conscience.

 しかし、こうした軍事行動がイスラエルの平和と安定に寄与したとは言い難い。周辺諸国では、ガザ攻撃を虐殺と非難するイスラム教徒の抗議行動が広がっている。同盟国の米国はイスラエルを説得して軍事行動をやめさせるべきだ。流血と阿鼻叫喚(あびきょうかん)を放置して20日に退任するのでは、ブッシュ大統領も寝覚めが悪かろう。

毎日新聞 200917日 東京朝刊

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日韓首脳会談 北の分断戦術に動じるな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 13, 2009)

Japan, South Korea must strengthen ties

日韓首脳会談 北の分断戦術に動じるな(113日付・読売社説)

It is North Korea's usual tactic to try to divide negotiating partners. Japan and South Korea must maintain strong cooperation with the new U.S. administration without being shaken by such tactics.

 交渉相手の分断を図ろうとするのは北朝鮮の常套(じょうとう)戦術だ。日韓両国は、動じることなく、米新政権との強固な連携を維持せねばなるまい。

In talks in Seoul on Monday, Prime Minister Taro Aso and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak agreed to closely cooperate with the new U.S. administration of Barack Obama that will take office on Jan. 20 in order to realize their basic goal of denuclearizing North Korea through the six-party talks.

 麻生首相と韓国の李明博大統領がソウルで会談し、6か国協議を通じた北朝鮮の核放棄という日韓の基本方針の実現に向けて、20日に発足するオバマ米新政権と緊密に協力することで一致した。

In the six-party talks in December, the participating countries could not agree on stipulating a procedure to verify Pyongyang's nuclear declaration, including sample-taking from the country's nuclear facilities. The next round of six-party talks likely will be held after the new U.S. administration sets its policies regarding North Korea and a new State Department official is appointed to act for the United States at the talks.

 昨年12月の6か国協議は、サンプル(試料)採取など核の検証手続きを明文化できなかった。次回会合の開催は、オバマ新政権の北朝鮮担当高官や北朝鮮政策の大枠が決まった後になる見通しだ。

A joint editorial run on New Year's Day by the three main state-run newspapers in North Korea stressed a confrontational approach against South Korea, but on the other hand, recognized the importance of dialogue with the United States. Meanwhile, North Korea has been postponing its reinvestigation of Japanese nationals abducted to the country and still has not agreed to openly and honestly discuss the abduction issue in a good faith. It is quite an insincere attitude.

 北朝鮮は元日の新聞3紙共同社説で、韓国との対決姿勢を強調する一方、米国とは対話を重視する姿勢を見せた。日本に対しては、拉致被害者の再調査を先送りしたまま、まともな協議に応じていない。極めて不誠実な対応だ。

===

Divide and conquer

Taken as a whole, North Korea's moves can be seen as tactics aimed at driving a wedge between the United States and Japan and South Korea and expediting bilateral negotiations with the United States rather than advancing six-party talks. Aso, in the summit meeting with Lee, pointed out that North Korea might move to split the trilateral security framework of Japan, South Korea and the United States after the new U.S. administration takes office.

 北朝鮮の一連の動きは、日韓両国と米国を離反させ、6か国協議より米朝協議を中心に交渉を進める狙いとも見える。麻生首相も首脳会談で「米新政権発足を受けて、北朝鮮が日韓米の分断を図るかも知れない」と指摘した。

In the final stage of the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, as the administration put priority on the overall success of the six-party talks in denuclearizing North Korea, negotiators were unable to put the finishing touches on the more immediate goal of sorting out the nuclear verification process.

 ブッシュ政権の末期は、核の申告と無能力化について形式的な成果を優先した結果、検証に関する詰めが甘くなった。

It will become important for Japan and South Korea to discuss policies on North Korea in-depth with the Obama administration as early as possible and take concerted action in line with a policy to seek a strict nuclear verification process.

 日韓両国は、北朝鮮政策について、極力早期にオバマ新政権と突っ込んだ意見交換を行い、厳格な検証を求める方針で足並みをそろえることが重要となろう。

In the summit talks, Japan and South Korea welcomed the setting of the foundation for alternating annual visits by the prime minister and the president and also agreed to promote bilateral cooperation to solve the global financial crisis and provide support for Afghanistan.

 日韓首脳会談は、日韓シャトル外交の定着を歓迎するとともに、世界的な金融危機対策やアフガニスタンへの支援などで日韓協力を進めることでも合意した。

===

Overcoming tensions

In 2008, the relationship between Japan and South Korea became tense when the Japanese education ministry issued an instruction manual for new middle school social studies curriculum guidelines that mentioned for the first time that students should be taught that the disputed Takeshima group of islets, which South Korea calls Dokdo and claims as sovereign territory, belong to Japan. Nevertheless, leaders of Japan and South Korea exchanged visits four times over the year. Relations flowered, with the leaders meeting in each of the last three months of the year, including discussions at international gatherings.

 昨年は、日本の学習指導要領解説書に竹島問題を明記したことで日韓関係が一時、悪化した。それでも日韓両首脳は4回相互訪問した。特に10月以降は、国際会議を含め、毎月、会談している。

It is important that leaders of the two countries continue to exchange opinions frankly in spite of difficult problems related to historical and territorial issues and try to find solutions to these issues in a future-oriented manner.

 領土や歴史をめぐる懸案があっても、両首脳が率直に意見交換する機会を絶やさず、未来志向で解決策を見いだす努力が大切だ。

Accumulating concrete achievements, such as bilateral cooperation in financial reforms and macroeconomic policies in battling the financial crisis, and supporting Afghanistan's reconstruction in the fields of job training and agriculture, will help Japan and South Korea strengthen their ties.

 金融危機対策として、金融システム改革やマクロ経済政策で協調する。アフガン復興のため職業訓練や農業支援で協力する。こうした具体的な実績の積み重ねが日韓関係の強化に役立つだろう。

An expert panel to discuss how the two countries should jointly cope with international problems will hold a preparatory meeting this month. We hope the two countries will rack their brains in order to remake their relationship, sometimes described as nations close geographically but distant politically, into one in which the two nations are close geographically and politically.

 国際的課題に関する日韓共同対処のあり方を検討する有識者会議も月内に準備会合を開く。「近くて遠い」と言われた日韓関係を「近くて近い」関係にするため、大いに知恵を絞ってほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 13, 2009)

20091130136  読売新聞)

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ガザ停戦―国連決議を受け入れよ

2009/1/12

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 10(IHT/Asahi: January 12,2009)

EDITORIAL: Cease-fire in Gaza

ガザ停戦―国連決議を受け入れよ

The U.N. Security Council has at long last adopted a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Israel's offensive against the Gaza Strip.

 パレスチナ自治区ガザに対するイスラエルの侵攻について、国連安全保障理事会がようやく即時停戦を求める決議を採択した。 

Israeli airstrikes have killed about 800 people, including civilians. Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza, should immediately accept the resolution and put an end to the bloodshed.

 空爆開始以来、民間人を含む約800人の死者が出ている。イスラエルと、ガザを支配するイスラム過激派ハマス双方は、速やかに決議を受け入れ、流血を終わらせるべきである。 

Yet, even after the adoption of the Security Council resolution, Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket attacks have continued. It seems both sides are trying to provoke the other while keeping an eye on moves by the international community to get them to stop.

 安保理の決議採択の後も、ガザではイスラエルの空爆が続き、ハマスもロケット弾を撃ち込んでいる。国際社会の圧力を横目に見ながら、双方とも相手を挑発しているとしか思えない。 

The hopes and expectations that surged when the resolution was adopted must not be allowed to dissipate. We urge the United States and European nations to exert every effort to persuade Israel and the Arab world to do the same with Hamas. As a nonpermanent member of the Security Council, Japan should also seek ways to work with the parties first-hand so that they will accept the resolution.

 停戦を実現させ、継続させるためには、決議採択でふくらんだ期待をしぼませてはならない。米欧はイスラエルの説得に全力を挙げ、アラブ諸国はハマスに働きかけてもらいたい。日本も安保理の非常任理事国として、決議の受け入れに向けて当事者に直接働きかけるべきだ。 

The United States, which had resisted previous Security Council attempts to call for an immediate cease-fire, abstained rather than vetoed the vote for the resolution. In a way, it can be said that Washington joined the international community's call for a cease-fire.

 即時停戦を呼びかけようという安保理の動きに抵抗してきた米国は、採決を棄権した。拒否権を使わない形で、米国なりに停戦を求める国際社会の大勢に従ったということだろう。 

The resolution calls for an "immediate and durable" cessation of hostilities and continued efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace. To that end, the United States, as the central architect of the Middle East peace process, must take an active role in this process. U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, who is set to take office on Jan. 20, should immediately start working to achieve calm in the region and try to rejuvenate peace negotiations.

 決議は停戦を暴力の一時的な停止に終わらせず、永続化させ、平和の構築につなげるよう求めている。そのためには中東和平プロセスの推進者である米国が、積極的に関与する必要がある。20日に就任するオバマ次期大統領はすぐにも事態の沈静化と和平交渉再開に向けて動くべきだ。 

The Security Council resolution also encourages "intra-Palestinian reconciliation" between the militant Hamas and moderate Fatah, led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. We look forward to a renewal of dialogue between the two Palestinian parties, as Fatah's involvement in controlling post-cease-fire Gaza is imperative.

 決議は、ハマスとアッバス議長が率いる穏健派ファタハとの和解も求めている。停戦後のガザの統治ではファタハの関与は欠かせないのだから、早く対話に乗り出してほしい。 

The situation has reached such a dire point, and claimed so many victims, specifically because it revolves around two antagonists in direct conflict: on one hand, Hamas, which does not recognize Israel's right to exist, and on the other, Israel, which condemns Hamas as a "terrorist organization."

 そもそもイスラエルの生存権を認めないハマスと、ハマスを「テロ組織」と決めつけるイスラエルが直接ぶつかり合う構図になっていることが、ここまで事態を悪化させ、犠牲を増やした原因である。 

To expedite peace with Israel, the Palestinians must build a united front. There will only be more confusion if they continue in their fractured way, with Fatah in the West Bank actively pursuing peace, and Hamas in Gaza refusing to.

 イスラエルとの和平を前進させるには、パレスチナ側が統一した立場を決めなければならない。ヨルダン川西岸のファタハは和平を推進し、ガザのハマスは拒否するという分裂した対応では、混乱するばかりだ。 

To achieve reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt with a history of mediating between the two parties--Saudi Arabia once urged the two to form a coalition government, and Egypt mediated reconciliation meetings between them last year--must exert pressure on them to start talking with each other once again.

 ファタハとハマスの和解のためには、かつて両者による連立政権づくりを仲介したサウジアラビアや、昨年後半、和解協議を仲介したエジプトが両者を招き、改めて和解のテーブルにつくよう強く働きかける必要がある。 

Some 3,200 people have been injured in Gaza so far. After 18 months of economic blockade by Israel, hospitals there are running out of anesthetics and medical supplies. The Security Council resolution "calls for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance." Japan should show a willingness to participate in sending emergency medical teams and other humanitarian assistance, as well as demanding that both Israel and Hamas observe the cease-fire.

 ガザではこれまでに3200人の負傷者が出ている。イスラエルによる1年半にわたる経済封鎖で、病院には麻酔や医薬品が払底している。決議はガザ全域での人道支援の提供を要請している。日本は緊急医療チームの派遣などに積極的に加わる姿勢を示し、停戦受け入れを双方に迫るべきだ。

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オバマ経済演説―険しい道が待ち受ける

2009/1/12

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 10(IHT/Asahi: January 12,2009)

EDITORIAL: Obama addresses crisis

オバマ経済演説―険しい道が待ち受ける

Just 12 days before taking office on Jan. 20, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, in an address on his economic policy, laid out a plan to deal with the economic crisis. It is highly unusual for a president-elect to make such high-profile policy pronouncements before actually being sworn in.

 米国のオバマ次期大統領が経済政策について演説した。就任の10日余り前であり、極めて異例のことだ。 

Since he was elected in November, Obama has acted swiftly and vigorously in preparing for his administration's handling of the crisis, appointing his economic team much earlier than usual.

 11月の当選以来、新政権の経済チーム選任を前倒しするなど、オバマ氏は危機への対処に積極姿勢を際立たせてきた。

Obama's aggressive actions raised hopes of an early economic recovery among the American people, helping to temporarily lift the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 9,000.

国民の期待も高まり、ニューヨーク市場の株価が一時9000ドルを上回った。

But the latest employment data, showing a further deterioration of the job situation, provoked rumblings that it could be too late if Obama waited until his inauguration to announce his plan to tackle the economy.

だが、ここにきて雇用情勢のさらなる悪化が表面化し、20日に就任してから対策を打ち出すのでは遅いとの不満も出始めていた。

The unprecedented speech was apparently his response to a growing sense of crisis among Americans.

前例のない演説は、そんな危機感に背中を押された結果でもあるようだ。 

In the Thursday speech, Obama candidly talked about the nation's perilous economic outlook.

 オバマ氏は、米経済の厳しい見通しを率直に語った。

"If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years," he warned. "The unemployment rate could reach double digits. Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four."

「行動を起こさなければ、フル操業時に比べて活動規模が1兆ドル落ち込み、失業率は2ケタへ上昇する。一家4人の家族で1万2千ドルの減収になりかねない」

"In short, a bad situation could become dramatically worse."

「景気後退は何年も長引く恐れがある」「(経済情勢は)劇的に悪化する可能性がある」――。

Obama was apparently trying to dampen expectations among Americans of an early economic upturn.

安易な期待を今のうちに冷ましておく狙いもありそうだ。 

In the address, Obama reiterated his intention to save or create at least 3 million jobs over the next two years through a fiscal stimulus package worth up to $775 billion. The amount represents more than 5 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

 演説では、2年間で7750億ドルにのぼる財政出動により300万人の雇用を創出する方針を確認した。財政出動は国内総生産(GDP)の5%を上回る。

The centerpieces of the package are tax cuts and public works spending.

柱は減税と公共事業だ。 

The envisioned tax cuts focus on middle-class and low-income households in line with Obama's campaign promises. In addition, the new administration would also cut corporate taxes to stimulate job creation and business investment.

 減税は、オバマ氏の持論である中間層や低所得層を対象としたものが中心。これに加え、雇用や設備投資の上積みを促すために企業減税も行う。

Obama's public spending programs include projects to build and enhance infrastructure like roads and bridges and modernize schools and other public facilities, investments in energy-saving technologies and a program to computerize medical records for better and more efficient health care.

公共事業には、道路・橋といったインフラ整備、学校など公共施設の近代化や省エネ投資、国民医療情報の電子化といったメニューが並ぶ。 

The U.S. government is already in crisis mode, seemingly ready to take all necessary policy measures to save the sinking economy.

 米国はすでに政策総動員の構えになっている。

U.S. policymakers created a $700-billion rescue fund to restore stability in financial markets and made dramatic monetary policy moves. Monetary authorities lowered the benchmark interest rate to virtually zero and launched a quantitative easing program to inject money directly into the economy at the end of last year.

金融システム対策で総額7千億ドルにのぼる金融救済法を用意し、金融政策では昨年暮れに事実上のゼロ金利と量的緩和に踏み切った。 

The proposed fiscal expansion is expected to increase the U.S. budget deficit for fiscal 2009 to a record high of well above $1 trillion.

 財政出動の結果、09年度の財政赤字は1兆ドルを大きく突破し、最悪の水準になる見込みだ。

Obama has warned about the prospect of "trillion-dollar deficits for years to come." To put a floor under the deepening global recession, it is vital to prevent the bottom from falling out of the U.S. economy.

オバマ氏は「向こう数年は1兆ドル規模の赤字が続く可能性がある」という。世界経済の底割れを防ぐためにも、まずは米国経済の底割れを何としても防がねばならない。 

Obama wants to get the bills to implement his economic plan enacted as soon as possible, preferably in early February. But the political climate is not necessarily favorable for the policy prescriptions he believes will get the economy moving again.

 オバマ氏は2月上旬にも関連法案を成立させたい意向だが、政治的な環境は甘くない。

In an apparent effort to win support for his package from Republicans who prefer tax cuts to spending increases, Obama has promised to spend about 40 percent of the amount on tax cuts.

減税重視の共和党に配慮して、総額の約4割を減税とした。

But calls for additional measures and revisions to his plan are growing among both Democrats and Republicans, raising concerns about a delay in getting the legislation passed.

だが、与野党双方から対策の追加や修正を求める声が噴出しており、成立が遅れる恐れもある。

But U.S. lawmakers must avoid any replay of the legislative debacle over the financial rescue bill last autumn, when Congress' initial rejection of the bill triggered a stock market tumble.

採決がずれ込んで株価の暴落を招いた昨秋の金融救済法の繰り返しになってはいけない。 

It is, however, unclear whether Obama's package, even if it is implemented smoothly, will even produce the desired results.

 対策をスムーズに実施しても、期待されている効果を発揮できるか未知数だ。

If Obama fails after expending a great deal of political capital, fears of a mammoth U.S. budget deficit could destroy confidence in the dollar, the world's key currency.

オバマ氏が求心力を失えば、巨額の財政赤字への不安が基軸通貨ドルへの不信につながるかもしれない。

Undoubtedly, Obama has a long and tricky policy challenge ahead of him, much like trying to walk on the the edge of a sword.

剣の刃の上を行くような細くて長い道のりだ。

The world is pinning its hopes on strong, proactive leadership from Obama.

先手先手のリーダーシップに世界の期待がかかる。

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派遣切り拡大の衝撃―雇用を立て直す契機に

2009/1/10

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 9(IHT/Asahi: January 10,2009)

EDITORIAL: Plight of temp workers

派遣切り拡大の衝撃―雇用を立て直す契機に

Amid an alarming surge in the number of dispatched and other temporary workers who lost their jobs and places to live, the Diet has started considering a raft of key economic measures. They include a second supplementary budget plan for the current fiscal year that would finance steps to improve the employment situation.

 仕事も住まいも失った派遣労働者が増え続ける中で、雇用対策を盛り込んだ第2次補正予算案などをめぐる国会論戦が始まった。 

The government and the Diet should act swiftly to take every possible measure to provide relief for dismissed workers and help them find new jobs.

 失業した人たちの生活をどう支え、どんな仕事につなげていくか。できる限りの手だてを急がねばならない。 

Besides short-term responses, one key policy challenge facing lawmakers is to figure out longer-term solutions to the faltering employment structure that has led to growing job insecurity in recent years.

 問題は、こうした短期の対策に加えて、不安定な雇用を生み出す今の仕組み、「働き方」のありようを中・長期的にどう考えるかだ。 

Situation beyond expectation

■政府が想定せぬ事態 

The use of dispatch workers for manufacturing jobs has emerged as the central topic for Diet debate on the deteriorating job front.

 にわかに焦点となってきたのが、製造業への派遣労働を巡る問題だ。 

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has predicted that at least 85,000 nonregular workers will lose their jobs by the end of March, with dispatch workers at manufacturing factories accounting for two-thirds of the total. Factory operations are sensitive to changes in economic conditions. The global recession has hit the most vulnerable sector of the work force particularly hard.

 厚生労働省は3月末までに、少なくとも8万5千人の非正社員が職を失うとみているが、その3分の2が製造業で働く派遣労働者だ。工場の稼働は景気変動の影響を受けやすい。最も弱い立場の人々を世界不況が直撃した。 

Initially, temp staff were limited to specialist jobs like interpreters. But the market began to explode in the late 1990s. In the ever-tough business environment, demand for dispatch workers grew quickly. This is because temp staff are hired only when they are needed. At the time, companies were struggling against intensifying international competition and a domestic economic slump following the burst of asset-inflated economic growth.

 当初は通訳のような専門的な仕事に限られていた派遣という働き方が一気に広がったのは90年代後半。国際競争の荒波とバブル崩壊後の不況が重なった時期に、企業は必要な時だけ雇える働き手をほしがった。

In response, the government loosened its regulations on dispatch hiring under the slogan of promoting "diverse work styles."

「多様な働き方」の名のもとに規制は緩められた。 

The trend was accelerated by the deregulation drive spearheaded by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Five years ago, the government lifted its ban on the use of dispatched workers for manufacturing work.

 その流れを加速したのが小泉政権である。そして5年前に製造業への派遣が解禁された。 

Debate on this picked up steam after the nation's unemployment rate hit its highest postwar rate. Chikara Sakaguchi, who was then the labor minister, later said the move was aimed at creating jobs, no matter what kinds. "We expected these temporary workers to be funneled into full-time jobs when the economy recovered," he said.

 解禁が審議された当時は、失業率が戦後最悪の水準。厚生労働相だった坂口力氏は「とにかくどんな形でもいいから働く場をという考えだった。景気が回復すれば正社員に戻ると期待していた」と後に語っている。 

The jobless rate fell substantially as the economic situation improved in the years that followed. But the ranks of dispatch workers kept growing rapidly, belying the expectations of Sakaguchi and other policymakers. Companies replaced many of their full-time employees with dispatched and other temporary workers.

 失業率はその後、景気回復にも伴いかなり改善した。ただ、坂口氏の言葉とは逆に派遣で働く人々はその後も急速に増え続け、正社員からの置き換えが進んでしまった。

The Japanese corporate tradition of putting great value on job security began to fade as a growing number of companies introduced American-style management systems that focused on pursuing profits and serving the interests of shareholders.

社員を大事にする日本企業の価値観も、利益追求や株主重視という米国型経営に引っ張られて姿を変えた。 

Meanwhile, no serious efforts were made to develop a system to protect the well-being of workers. Various stresses created by these changes are now causing increasingly serious social ripples.

 一方で、肝心な働き手を守るしくみの整備は置き去りにされ、その結果生じた社会のひずみが一気に広がっている。 

Reconsider dispatch of factory workers

■製造業派遣の再検討を 

"The moment dispatch workers face termination of their work contracts, they lose not only their jobs but also find it hard to continue surviving," said Naoto Kan, acting president of the main opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), describing the dire situation of these workers in a Diet session on Thursday.

 「派遣を切られた途端に、単なる失業じゃなくて生活ができなくなる」 

 国会で民主党の菅直人代表代行は、現状の深刻さを強調した。

The opposition parties are now moving toward banning the dispatch of workers to manufacturing jobs. Yoichi Masuzoe, the minister of health, labor and welfare, has also said he is personally sympathetic to the proposal to tighten regulations on temporary work conditions.

野党は、製造業への派遣を禁じる方向で動き出している。舛添厚労相も個人的な見解と断りつつ規制に前向きだ。 

But the business community is opposed to this. Company managers say they need a flexible workforce to make quick labor adjustments in response to demand changes. They also claim flexible hiring is essential to surviving competition with rivals from low-wage countries. A sudden tightening of labor market regulations would rather reduce employment opportunities, they warn. All these arguments raise some important issues.

 経済界は反発する。繁閑に対応できる雇用の調整弁はほしい。賃金の低い国々と競うには、弾力性のある雇用が不可欠だ。急に規制強化をすれば、かえって雇用機会を減らす。そんな理屈だ。いずれも大切な論点ではある。 

The reality facing us makes it hard to deny that deregulation has gone too far and the use of basically vulnerable dispatch workers has spread to a much wider range of areas.

 しかし、目の前の現実を見れば、立場の弱い派遣という働き方をここまで広げたのは、やはり行き過ぎだったと言わざるをえない。 

Prime Minister Taro Aso has already stated that he believes manufacturing jobs should basically be full-time positions.

 製造業は常用雇用が望ましいと麻生首相も認めている。 

The ruling and opposition camps should start working together to figure out the best way to restrict temporary assignments to manufacturing tasks while taking measures to prevent a further spread of job losses among the nearly 500,000 dispatched workers at factories.

 製造業の現場で派遣として働く50万人近い人々に失職の危機が拡大しないよう配慮しつつ、製造業派遣について規制する方向で、最良の策について与野党で検討を始めるべきだろう。 

We should take this opportunity to start a broader deliberation on the temporary work industry as a whole.

 これをきっかけに、派遣労働全般のあり方についても論議を深めたい。 

There is another policy challenge demanding a quick response.

 同時に取り組むべきことがある。 

The wave of layoffs of dispatched and other temporary workers triggered by the economic downturn is due purely to policy failures. While taking steps to promote employment mobility by allowing companies to increase their levels of nonregular workers, the government has failed to make serious efforts to develop a solid safety net that enables displaced workers to seek new jobs without worrying about their immediate livelihoods.

 解雇や派遣切りが、今ほど深刻な事態につながった原因は、非正社員を増やして雇用の流動化を進めながら、失業しても安心して次の職探しが出来るようなセーフティーネット(安全網)の整備を怠ってきたことだ。 

Steps to discourage easy dismissals

■使い捨てぬしくみに 

Generally, the safety net for nonregular workers, including seasonal workers with limited-time contracts, is far less dependable than that for permanent workers.

 たとえば、期間工なども含め非正社員として働く人々は、一般的に失業した時の安全網が正社員よりもろい。 

The employment insurance program, which provides unemployment benefits and job training for the jobless, has been available only for those who are expected to be on the payroll for a year or longer. The government plans to shorten to half a year the period of expected employment required for eligibility. Even so, dispatch workers who frequently switch jobs with very short-term contracts for periods like two or three months will still not be eligible.

 失業手当や職業訓練を受けられる雇用保険は、これまで1年以上雇われる見込みがなければ加入できない仕組みだった。政府は、この要件を半年に短縮する方針を打ち出したが、それでも2~3カ月の契約を繰り返す細切れ派遣の人には適用されない。 

To eliminate workers who slip through the safety net, the employment insurance program should, in principle, cover all nonregular workers. The system is meaningless unless it can support those with insufficient job security.

 安全網からこぼれる人をなくすには、まず非正社員を原則としてすべて雇用保険に入れることだ。立場が不安定な非正社員を支えられる仕組みでなければ意味がない。 

Fujio Mitarai, chairman of Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), has proposed the creation of a fund jointly financed by companies to help jobless workers to find housing and receive job training. Companies that want to use temporary workers should shoulder a fair share of the financial burden of providing livelihood relief to such people when they lose their jobs and support their efforts to find new jobs.

 日本経団連の御手洗冨士夫会長は、失業者の住宅確保や職業訓練の支援のために、企業が出資しあって基金を作る構想を示している。短期の働き手を活用したい企業は、その人たちが失業した時の生活保障や再就職支援に備えて応分の負担をすべきだろう。 

The gaps between full-time employees and nonregular workers in wages and other working conditions should also be narrowed. The principle of the same compensation for similar work should be adopted widely. In an effort to protect jobs, labor and management should have a serious discussion over work-sharing, which means all workers, including full-time employees, accept shorter working hours to avoid job cuts.

 非正社員と正社員との賃金や待遇の格差も縮めていかねばならない。同じような労働に同じ賃金を払うという考え方を広げていきたい。雇用を守るため、正社員も含めて働く時間を短くし、互いに仕事を分け合うワークシェアリングについても労使で議論を始めたい。 

The nation's workforce will shrink in coming years due to the twin problems of population aging and low birthrates. The central and local governments need to work with business circles to find effective ways to promote a shift of labor from areas facing a surplus due to social and economic changes to areas with a labor shortage, such as the nursing-care industry.

 少子高齢化で働き手が減っていく。世の中の変化で人手の余る分野から、不足する介護などへと働き手を移す方法も、政府や自治体、産業界が一体となって考えるときだ。 

Workers are also consumers. Low-wage employment that treats workers like disposable commodities ends up cramping consumer spending and will never help create strong domestic demand.

 働き手は、生活者であり消費者でもある。安い賃金で使い捨てといわれるような雇い方をしていれば結局、消費を冷え込ませ、力強い内需は生まれようがない。 

Reconsidering ways of working and improving the nation's employment structure will contribute to enhancing the fundamentals of the nation's economy. This is a perspective that should not be missing from the debate on policy efforts to improve the job picture.

 働き方を考え直し、雇用の仕組みをよりよいものに作り直すことは、日本経済を強くすることにもつながる。そんな視点を忘れたくない。

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企業とスポーツ―地域と連携し将来像を

2009/1/9

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 8(IHT/Asahi: January 9,2009)

EDITORIAL: Companies and sports

企業とスポーツ―地域と連携し将来像を

Sports cannot remain unaffected by the economic downturn, which has been described as unprecedented. Indeed, companies are increasingly withdrawing their sponsorships or closing down their sports teams.

 未曽有と形容される景気の悪化に、スポーツも無関係ではいられない。チームの運営や、スポンサーから手を引く企業が相次いでいる。 

In the slightly more than a decade since the collapse of the asset-inflated economic boom in the early 1990s, more than 300 corporate teams, including prestigious and powerful ones, have disappeared from such sports as baseball, track and field, rugby and volleyball.

 90年代のバブル経済の崩壊から10年余りの間に、野球、陸上、ラグビー、バレーなどの名門、強豪から300を優に超えるチームが消えた。 

Less than 10 years later, a bleak atmosphere is once again shrouding the corporate sports world.

 それから10年もたたないうちに再び荒涼とした光景が広がり始めている。 

In motor sports, Honda Motor Co. announced its withdrawal from Formula One racing. Suzuki Motor Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the maker of Subaru cars, both announced their withdrawal from the FIA World Rally Championship. As a result, all Japanese cars will disappear from WRC competitions.

 モータースポーツではホンダがF1撤退を表明した。世界ラリー選手権からはスズキと、スバルの富士重工業が撤退を発表し、日本車はこのシリーズからすべて姿を消すことになる。 

Prince Hotels Inc., a Seibu Railway group company, also announced it will fold its distinguished ice hockey team after this season. Onward Holding Co., a major apparel group, will end its American football powerhouse with a nearly 30-year history at the conclusion of this season.

 アイスホッケーの名門、西武も今季限りでの解散を発表。アメリカンフットボールの強豪オンワードも、今季で30年近い歴史に幕を閉じる。 

Honda reportedly spends more than 50 billion yen a year to manage its F1 team. With so much money involved, the decision to withdraw is not unreasonable. On the other hand, some withdrawals and team closures are hard to understand.

 ホンダでいえばF1のチーム運営には年間500億円以上かかるという。撤退との経営側の決断にも無理からぬところはある。その一方、胸にすとんと落ちない撤退や休廃部もある。 

In the postwar era, companies started to support sports activities as part of employee benefit plans with the aim of improving worker morale. With high economic growth, corporate sports expanded and teams competed at the pinnacle of each sport.

 社員の士気高揚や福利厚生を目的に始まった戦後の企業スポーツは、高度経済成長とともに拡大・充実し、各競技の頂点を支える仕組みとなった。 

As a result, corporate sports later played the role of advertisers and promoters.

But the trend also served as the primer to push companies to close down sports teams with the burst of the asset-inflated economic bubble. This time, too, we suspect many companies cut their teams in the same way as they slashed their advertising budgets.

 結果として企業の広告、宣伝の色が強まり、それがバブル経済の崩壊による休廃部ラッシュの導火線にもなった。今回も広告費と同じように削られているケースが多いのではないか。 

Under these circumstances, a new trend is starting to emerge in the field.

 そんな状況のもと、現場では従来と違う流れが見え始めている。 

Bullseyes Tokyo, an American football team that will be promoted to the X League next season, has been calling on fans to become "citizen shareholders" in support of the club team. The citizen shareholders pay an annual membership fee of between several thousand yen and about 100,000 yen.

 アメリカンフットボールで来季のXリーグ昇格を決めたブルザイズ東京は、年間数千円から10万円程度の会費を負担する「市民株主」によるクラブづくりを進めてきた。

In American football in Japan, where the number of purely corporate-run teams continues to decline, the players themselves are starting to look for ways to run their teams.

純粋の企業チームが減り続けるこの競技では、選手側が新しい仕組みを模索し始めている。 

Measures are also emerging to give corporate sports a more amateur-oriented look, as in the past.

All players on the Kumamoto Golden Larks amateur baseball team, which is owned by a Kumamoto-based supermarket operator, work as sales clerks.

 かつてのアマチュア的な企業スポーツを再評価する動きも出てきた。社会人野球の熊本ゴールデンラークスは地元のスーパーマーケットが親会社だ。選手は全員が売り場に立つ。 

The move runs counter to the trend in which athletes employed by companies devote themselves entirely to athletic activities to compete at the higher levels of corporate sports. But members of the Kumamoto team do not have to worry about how to support themselves once they retire from baseball.

 競技のレベルが上がり、企業所属でも競技に専念する選手が増えてきた流れに逆行している。しかし、このチームの選手には現役引退後の不安がない。

In the three years since its establishment, the team has entered the Intercity Baseball Tournament for two straight years. The operator chose not to put the company's name on the uniforms because it wants the team to win over Kumamoto residents. Some shoppers are voluntarily forming fan groups.

創部3年で、すでに2年連続で都市対抗に出場。「県民に愛されるチームに」と企業名は外し、買い物客の勝手連的なファンも生まれている。 

Why not turn the current predicament into an opportunity to rebuild the relationship between sports, businesses and local communities?

 この苦境を、スポーツと企業と地域社会の関係を再構築する契機にしよう。

Cooperation with education should also be advanced to fill the demand for capable personnel. More universities in the last few years have established departments for the study of sports business and management.

人材も必要だろう。大学ではスポーツビジネスやマネジメントを学ぶ学科などが、ここ数年で急増している。教育との連携も大いに深めたい。 

However, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology oversees school and professional sports, while corporate sports come under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. It is time to remove administrative sectionalism and think about promoting sports as a whole.

 ところが行政は、学校・プロスポーツが文部科学省、企業スポーツは経済産業省と担当が分かれている。縦割り構造にメスを入れ、総合的なスポーツ振興を考えるべき時にきている。

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ガザの悲劇―いつまで放置するのだ

2009/1/9

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 8(IHT/Asahi: January 9,2009)

EDITORIAL: Tragedy in Gaza

ガザの悲劇―いつまで放置するのだ

Israeli tank shells slammed into three Gaza Strip schools operated by a United Nations relief agency for refugees on Tuesday, killing nearly 50 people. Many of the victims were Palestinians displaced by Israel's ground offensive against Hamas militants. Heart-wrenching images of killed and injured children emerged from the sites.

 パレスチナ自治区ガザで、国連の難民救済機関が運営する学校3カ所がイスラエルの戦車に砲撃された。避難していた住民ら50人近くが死んだ。現地からは子供たちの痛ましい映像が送られてくる。 

Israel says the shelling of the schools was in response to mortar rounds fired by Hamas militants from these facilities. Even if that is true, the fact remains that Israel targeted public facilities sheltering many civilians and was fully aware of the likely consequences.

 イスラエル側は「学校からハマスの迫撃砲が撃たれたことへの報復」と説明した。それが事実だとしても、一般住民が大勢避難している公共施設を砲撃すればどんな結果になるか、分かっていたはずだ。 

We cannot help but wonder whether such action, which was bound to result in heavy collateral casualties among civilians, falls in the category of indiscriminate attacks on non-combat zones and civilians that are banned by international law. The strikes on the schools are so inhumane as to qualify as massacres. The situation is so serious that it may even raise serious questions about the raison d'etre of the United Nations itself.

 一般人が多数巻き添えになるこうした攻撃は、国際法が禁じる非戦闘地域や民間人への無差別攻撃ではないのか。虐殺と同然の非道さである。国連の存在意義さえ問われる事態だ。 

Forty people died at the Jabaliya refugee camp school, located adjacent to Gaza City. It sits in the middle of an area where more than 100,000 refugees are living within about 1 square kilometer of land. The refugee camp is bustling with four- and five-story concrete-block residential buildings. These buildings will collapse if they are shelled. The U.N. school, which has a schoolyard, is the only place in the area where Palestinian refugees can take shelter from the Israeli onslaught.

 ガザ市に隣接するジャバリヤ難民キャンプの学校では40人が死んだ。1平方キロほどの地域に10万人以上の難民が住む過密地だ。キャンプとはいえブロックを積んだ4、5階建ての住居がひしめく。砲撃を受ければ建物が崩れる。逃げ場となるのは、校庭を持つ国連の学校ぐらいしかない。 

The local representative of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East said the international community has a responsibility to act swiftly to effect a truce to protect civilians and children.

 国連パレスチナ難民救済事業機関の現地代表は、市民や子どもを守るために、早く停戦の実現に動く責務が国際社会にあるはずだと訴えた。 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed a 48-hour emergency cease-fire for relief activities like treating the wounded. But Israel has rejected the proposal, saying it cannot halt the military operations as long as the Muslim extremist group Hamas, which rules Gaza, has the ability to attack Israel with rockets.

 サルコジ仏大統領は、負傷者の救出などのため48時間の緊急停戦を提案した。だがイスラエルは、ガザを支配するイスラム過激派ハマスがロケット弾攻撃の能力を持っている限り妥協できない、として拒否した。 

It is hard not to think that the Israeli military is seeking to annihilate Hamas, which has both political and social welfare arms, and trying to punish the Palestinian people for supporting the group, instead of simply fighting Hamas militants.

 イスラエル軍はハマスの武装部門と戦っているというよりは、政治部門や社会福祉組織も持つハマスの殲滅(せんめつ)を目指し、ハマスを支持した一般のパレスチナ人に懲罰を与えようとしているとしか思えない。 

Unless the conflict comes to an end quickly, civilian casualties will keep mounting, transforming the coastal enclave into scenes from hell. Israel must immediately stop its military campaign in Gaza, instead of halting the operations for just three hours every other day as it promised to do on Wednesday.

 このままでは民間人の犠牲が増え、地獄絵が広がる。イスラエルはきのう表明した1日おき3時間の攻撃中断ではなく、全面停止をせねばならない。 

There has been a serious food shortage in Gaza because of the economic blockade imposed by Israel since summer 2007. Hospitals in the Palestinian territory have run out of anesthetics and other medical products. The Israeli onslaught has brought the situation to a crisis point. This humanitarian crisis cannot be allowed to continue.

 ガザは07年夏からのイスラエルによる経済封鎖で、もともと食料が不足し、病院では麻酔も医薬品も底をついている。今回の攻撃で事態はさらに危機的になっている。これを見過ごすわけにはいかない。 

The good news is that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has clout with both Israel and the Palestinians, has started diplomatic efforts to broker a cease-fire deal. Mubarak has called for an immediate cease-fire for a specific period for humanitarian purposes, including delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza. European countries have welcomed the Egyptian initiative.

 イスラエル、パレスチナ人勢力の双方に影響力を持つエジプトのムバラク大統領が停戦仲介に動き出したのは朗報だ。人道危機に対応するためとりあえず期間限定の即時停戦を呼びかけた。欧州諸国はこれを歓迎している。 

The Japanese government has also called for a halt to the military operations in Gaza. But it should launch more active diplomatic efforts to help defuse this crisis, such as sending envoys to the region to persuade Israel and other parties involved and holding talks with countries supporting Hamas, such as Syria and Iran.

 日本政府も武力行使の停止を求めてはいる。さらに、イスラエルなど当事者たちを説得するための特使を送ったり、ハマスを支援するシリアやイランなどに働きかけたり、もっと積極的な外交を展開すべきだ。 

As of this month, Japan is a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council. It is part of the nation's responsibility to contribute to the international efforts to figure out ways to make the virtually paralyzed United Nations start performing its core functions.

 マヒ状態の国連をどう動かすかは、今月から安全保障理事会の非常任理事国になった日本の責任でもある。

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高齢者住宅―「おひとりさま」を支える

2009/1/8

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 7(IHT/Asahi: January 8,2009)

EDITORIAL: Senior-friendly housing

高齢者住宅―「おひとりさま」を支える

The Japanese people now boast the world's greatest rate of longevity, and their average lifespan continues to grow. The inevitable result of this trend lies in changes in how people spend their twilight years.

 世界一の長寿国、日本の平均寿命はますます延びている。そうなると老後の暮らし方も変わらざるを得ない。 

One example of this is where and how we live. From the era in which people normally dwelled with their children, the trend toward the nuclear family has produced a new generation that prefers to live away from their parents, who themselves prefer to live separately from their offspring. This shift is fueling projections for a steady increase in households comprised solely of senior citizens. The members of such family units will eventually grow old and feeble, with one of the partners passing away. The surviving members will naturally be plagued with doubts about their ability to continue to live as they have done.

 そのひとつが住まい方だ。子ども世帯との同居から、核家族化が進んだうえ親世代も同居を希望しないようになった。高齢者だけの世帯は今後増える一方と予測されている。 

 そんな高齢者世帯で、年をとって体がきかなくなったら、そして連れ合いが先に逝ったら、このまま同じ所に住み続けられるのだろうか。こころは不安に満ちている。 

For pensioners in rental accommodation, the cost of rental fees will emerge as an increasingly heavy burden. Even among those who own their own homes, with suburban and regional areas becoming so dependent on cars for mobility, older folks may come to regret living so inconveniently.

 賃貸アパートに住んでいる人は、年金暮らしのなかで家賃の支払いが一層負担になるだろう。 

 持ち家の人でも、郊外や地方ではすっかり車社会になっていて、不便を感じることがあるかもしれない。 

The bestseller status of the recent book "Ohitorisama no Rogo" (Seniors Living Alone) by sociologist Chizuko Ueno appears to reflect such underlying anxieties.

 社会学者の上野千鶴子さんが書いた「おひとりさまの老後」が最近、ベストセラーになったのも、こんな不安が背景にあるからかもしれない。 

Last October, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, which is in charge of housing policy, instructed its Council for Social Infrastructure to advise it on the best approach to formulate housing policies for the elderly.

 住宅政策担当の国土交通省は、昨年10月、社会資本整備審議会に高齢者の住宅政策のあり方を諮問した。 

The move indicates that interest in homes for the elderly, a genre of dwellings positioned somewhere between conventional housing and institutions, is on the rise at last.

 これまでの住まいと施設の中間にある高齢者住宅への関心が、ようやく高まってきたといえそうだ。 

Key advantages of such senior housing include the monitoring and livelihood support services provided for the residents. Such benefits counter the threat of even minor problems seriously hindering the everyday lives of elderly people.

 高齢者住宅のポイントは見守りや生活支援にある。高齢者だけでは、ちょっとしたことで日々の暮らしが立ちゆかなくなることも多くなるからだ。 

One example would be a situation where elderly people are unable to replace a burned out light bulb. Another would be tripping on a step, breaking a bone and being hospitalized; or in worst-case scenarios, dying alone.

 例えば電球が切れても取り換えられない。段差に足をとられて転び、骨折して入院などということもある。最悪の場合、孤独死もあるかもしれない。 

For many of those still able to live independently without nursing care, senior housing can ensure safety and peace of mind. In fact, such dwellings have been in trial use for more than 20 years.

 生活の自立ができていて介護はまだ必要ではない人に、安全と安心を保障するのが高齢者住宅といえるだろう。 実は高齢者住宅は、20年余り前から試行されている。 

"Silver Housing" public accommodations, modeled after homes for senior citizens in Britain, provide one example of that approach. In this case, housing administrative authorities provide hardware features such as safe, barrier-free designs, while welfare administration furnishes the security benefits of having livelihood support officers stationed on the premises. The result was an epoch-making policy spanning the divisions between different government sectors.

 公営住宅の「シルバーハウジング」がそれだ。英国の高齢者住宅がお手本だった。バリアフリーの安全な住まいというハード面は住宅行政が、生活支援員の配置による安心というソフト面は福祉行政が提供する。行政の壁を超えた画期的な施策だった。 

However, the subsequent economic downturn and other factors have curbed the number of such dwellings being built, with only slightly more than 22,000 such units now available nationwide.

 しかし、その後の景気の低迷などで戸数は伸びず、現在、全国でわずか2万2千戸余りしかない。 

That supply was augmented through legal and other policy measures such as introducing high-grade rental residences for the elderly with subsidized construction and rental costs and enactment of a housing law for senior citizens. Nevertheless, limits remain on the availability of such low-priced and conveniently located housing that are so sought-after.

 その後、建設費や家賃の補助がある高齢者向け優良賃貸住宅や高齢者居住法など、法律や制度の整備は進んできた。だが、多くの利用者が望む安くて便利な立地の住まいは数が少ない。 

Access to safe and comforting senior-friendly homes enables the dwellers to remain self-reliant in their daily lives. This can also be expected to contribute to the nation's fiscal health by lowering nursing care expenses.

 安全、安心の高齢者住宅に住むことで、自立した生活が維持できる。介護費用の抑制につながり、国の財政に寄与することにもなるだろう。 

The home is the foundation of our livelihoods. Yet, there is no reliable model for housing to fully satisfy the needs of the elderly in a country with such unprecedented longevity. We need to confirm the accumulated achievements to date, and then pool our experience and wisdom to devise original and effective means of coming to grips with this pressing issue.

 住まいは暮らしの基本である。 

 未曽有の長寿国での高齢者住宅に、お手本はない。これまでの蓄積を検証して知恵を集め、独自のあり方をつくり出していこう。

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定額給付金―君子は豹変ためらわぬ

2009/1/8

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 7(IHT/Asahi: January 8,2009)

EDITORIAL: Fixed amount handouts

定額給付金―君子は豹変ためらわぬ

Prime Minister Taro Aso described the government's 2-trillion-yen cash handout plan, which has been incorporated into the second supplementary budget bill, as "the best plan we've ever conceived."

In reality, however, it is one of the least favored government plans.

 麻生首相は「われわれのベストの案」と胸を張って見せる。だが、これほど評判の悪い「ベスト」も珍しい。第2次補正予算案に盛り込まれた2兆円の定額給付金のことである。 

"This is about the most foolish stopgap policy ever," thundered Yukio Hatoyama, secretary-general of opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), during Tuesday's Diet interpellations by party representatives. "The (2 trillion yen spending) plan shouldn't be part of the second supplementary budget bill.

"The people's wishes will be best served if local governments are allowed to spend the money on health care, education, social welfare or whatever they see fit," Hatoyama said.

Minshuto and two other opposition parties promptly submitted an amendment bill to delete the 2 trillion yen spending plan from the supplementary budget.

 「その場限りの究極の大愚策。2次補正から切り離し、自治体が自由に使えれば、病院や学校、社会福祉など住民の声が生かされる」。きのうの衆院代表質問で、民主党の鳩山由紀夫幹事長がそう提案した。民主党など野党3党は、2次補正から定額給付金部分を削除する修正案を提出した。 

But Aso stood his ground. "Some people are eagerly waiting for the handouts," he asserted. "I have no intention of removing the plan from the supplementary budget bill."

 だが、首相はかたくなだ。「国民からは給付を待っているとの声もある。切り離しは考えていない」 

The prime minister is obviously aware that even if the opposition-controlled Upper House rejects the related bills needed to activate the cash handout plan, he can still take advantage of the so-called 60-day rule to later railroad the bills through the Lower House.

 給付のために必要な関連法案の成立に参院で野党側が抵抗したとしても、60日ルールを使って衆院再議決で押し通そうという構えらしい。 

The economy is in dismal shape indeed, and, as Aso said, many people must be glad to receive a little extra cash--12,000 yen per person.

 確かにこの不況だ。首相が言うように、ひとり1万2千円の給付金をもらえばありがたいと思う人は多かろう。 

But 63 percent of respondents in an Asahi Shimbun poll said they thought this policy was unnecessary. A Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) survey found that 81 percent of respondents did not think the handouts would help the economy recover.

 だが、朝日新聞の世論調査では63%が「必要な政策と思わない」と答え、NHKの調査では81%もの人が「景気回復に効果はない」と答えている。 

The handouts were initially meant as an election ploy to benefit the ruling coalition. But as things stand now, the plan may actually backfire.

 もともと与党の総選挙対策として考え出されたのに、これでは逆に不利にはたらきかねないではないか。 

Yoshimi Watanabe, a former minister in charge of administrative reform and a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, recently rebelled against the party. "If we are going to spend 2 trillion yen anyway, there are much better ways of using the money," Watanabe said, adding that he is prepared to resign from the LDP unless the prime minister kills the plan.

Watanabe's is not the only voice of dissent within the LDP.

 最近、元行革相の渡辺喜美氏が「同じ2兆円を使うならもっとましな使い方がある」と反対の声をあげた。首相が撤回しないなら、自民党を離党するつもりだという。党内には同じような反対論がくすぶっている。 

Two trillion yen is roughly 10 times the Environment Ministry's annual budget and about the same as Aichi Prefecture's budget.

 2兆円と言えば、環境省の年間予算のざっと10倍である。愛知県の予算にも匹敵しようという巨額だ。 

With the current economic crisis exacerbating the nation's fiscal problems, no amount of money is ever enough.

 財政難の中で経済危機が降りかかり、お金はいくらあっても足りない。

We suggest the government could perhaps distribute the 2 trillion yen among local governments and let them use the money to help jobless and other needy people tide over the situation or find employment.

たとえば2兆円を各自治体に配り、失業者ら困っている人々の生活や再就職の支援に使ってはどうか。

Frankly, we cannot understand why the government is not spending the money to address the urgent needs of society, such as correcting the shortage of obstetricians, improving emergency medical services, and shoring up social welfare, particularly the nursing-care system.

産科医不足や救急医療の整備、介護など社会福祉へのてこ入れといった、本当に必要とされている分野になぜ投入しようとしないのだろう。 

For the government to spend this colossal amount of taxpayer money, the plan must definitely be in the interests of the people, not the prime minister.

 巨額の税金を使うなら「首相のベスト」ではなく、「国民にとってベスト」の使い方をしてもらわねば困る。 

We also must question New Komeito's position. The junior coalition partner pushed for the cash handout plan last summer, when household budgets were being hit hard by soaring prices of gasoline and food. But since the global financial crisis broke out, the situation has changed considerably.

 給付金を主導した公明党も、これでいいのか。そもそもガソリンや食料品が高騰していた昨夏、家計への支援策として考えた構想だった。その後、金融危機で状況は一変している。 

Reinforcing society's safety net is the most urgent task now. As a party that has always focused on welfare, New Komeito must not hesitate to change its course now.

 いま急ぐべきは社会の安全網の強化である。とりわけ福祉を重視してきた公明党なのだから、ここは方針転換をためらうべきではあるまい。 

A leader in a time of crisis is required to react swiftly to the changing circumstances and make bold decisions. Aso should consider the opposition's proposal and eliminate the handout plan from the second supplementary budget bill. This will speed up passage of the bill.

 状況の変化に機敏に対応し、大胆にかじを切る。危機の時代の指導者に求められる資質だ。首相は野党の提案に歩み寄り、定額給付金を削除すべきだ。2次補正の成立も早まる。

After all, there is this old adage: "A wise man changes his mind, a fool never."

君子は豹変(ひょうへん)す、と言うではないか。

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ガザ侵攻―国際社会は停戦に動け

2009/1/7

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 6(IHT/Asahi: January 7,2009)

EDITORIAL: Israel's invasion of Gaza

ガザ侵攻―国際社会は停戦に動け

A bitter new war is raging between Israel and Hamas. After a week of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip that started in late December, the Israeli military recently began sending ground troops and tanks into the coastal enclave.

 パレスチナで戦争が激化している。年末から自治区ガザを空爆していたイスラエル軍が、戦車などで本格的に攻め込んだ。 

More than 500 people have been killed in Israel's bombing campaign. An independent human rights group based in Gaza has reported that children accounted for 20 percent of the death toll to date. Casualties in ground battles are also rising.

 空爆でこれまでに500人以上が死んだ。ガザにある独立系の人権団体は、その2割が子供たちだと報告している。地上戦でも犠牲者が出ている。 

Disturbingly, the international community is completely impotent to make an effective response to the situation. The United Nations Security Council has been unable to adopt even a statement, let alone a resolution, to call for an immediate cease-fire. That's because of opposition from the United States, which backs Israel.

 この事態に、国際社会はまったく無力だ。国連安全保障理事会は即時停戦を求める決議はおろか、声明さえ採択できないでいる。イスラエルを擁護する米国が反対しているからだ。 

Last year, the Muslim extremist group Hamas, which rules Gaza, started firing rockets into southern Israel. Israel cited its right to defend its people against the Hamas rocket attacks for its retaliatory strikes in Gaza. The United States and other allied countries have expressed their understanding of Israel's justification.

 ガザを支配するイスラム過激派ハマスが昨年来、イスラエルへのロケット弾攻撃を始めた。これに対して自国民を守る自衛権がある。これがイスラエル側の攻撃の理由であり、米国なども理解を示している。 

But Israel's airstrikes and invasion have caused such heavy casualties among Palestinians that they can only be described as excessive use of military power. Israel should stop its military operations in Gaza immediately and seek an end to the conflict through negotiations.

 だが、空爆や侵攻はパレスチナ側の犠牲があまりにも大きく、過剰な武力行使というよりない。イスラエルは直ちに侵攻を停止し、交渉による事態の沈静化をはかるべきだ。 

At the root of this fresh flare-up of violence in the region is a rift between the two main Palestinian groups. The mainstream Fatah, which led the Palestinian self-governing authority for decades, has lost the support of many Palestinians mainly because of corruption among its members. In an election in 2006, Fatah lost its majority in the Palestinian parliament to Hamas. Hamas has refused to abandon its armed struggle with Israel, causing the Middle East peace process to bog down.

 今回の対立激化の根底にあるのは、パレスチナ勢力の分裂だ。長く自治政府を担ってきた主流派ファタハは腐敗などから住民の支持を失い、06年の選挙でハマスに敗れた。だが、ハマスはイスラエルに対する武闘路線を捨てず、中東和平は頓挫してしまった。 

Hamas and Fatah briefly formed a coalition government in 2007 as part of their efforts for cooperation. But the alliance collapsed quickly, and in the summer of 2007 Hamas drove Fatah out of Gaza. The result is a divided rule of the Palestinian areas, with Hamas controlling Gaza and Fatah ruling the West Bank.

 ハマスとファタハは一時は連立政権を築くなど連携を模索したが、結局、07年夏にハマスがガザからファタハを追い出し、ヨルダン川西岸を支配するファタハとの間で分裂状態になった。 

Then, Israel started trying to undermine Hamas by clamping an economic blockade on Gaza, while a range of countries including the United States, parts of Europe and Japan criticized Hamas. As a result, Gaza has become increasingly isolated, both politically and economically.

 イスラエルはガザを封鎖して締め付けを強める一方、米欧や日本も含む国際社会もハマスを批判し、政治的にも経済的にもガザは孤立を深めていた。 

Shortly after a six-month truce hammered out between Israel and Hamas expired in mid-December, Hamas resumed rocket attacks against Israel, prompting Israel's invasion of the territory. With a general election in Israel slated for February, many observers believe the Israeli government has decided to take strong military action against Hamas to win public support.

 イスラエルとハマスがようやく合意した半年停戦が先月中旬に終わると、ロケット弾攻撃が再開され、これがイスラエルに武力侵攻の口実を与える結果になった。2月のイスラエル総選挙を控え、政権側は軍事強硬路線に出ることで支持取り付けを狙ったものとも見られている。 

But it is hard to believe Israel has a viable plan for achieving its political goal. It probably intends to restore rule in Gaza by Fatah, led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after battering Hamas. But such heavy casualties in the military operations will ensure a deep and lasting anger against Israel among the residents in Gaza, where Hamas is quite popular. Confusion in Gaza and the West Bank will deepen.

 ただ、今後に展望があるとはとても思えない。イスラエルはハマスをたたいたあと、いずれアッバス議長率いるファタハにガザ統治を委ねるつもりなのだろうが、これだけ多くの犠牲者を出しては、ハマス支持の厚い住民たちの反発は避けられまい。パレスチナの混乱は深まるばかりだ。 

The indignation Israel's military action has aroused among people in Arab and other Islamic nations will eventually be directed at the West and the United Nations, which cannot stop Israel. We fear that this war will increase support within the Muslim community for the international terrorist organization al-Qaida, whose terrorist attacks are targeting the United States and its allies.

 アラブやイスラム世界の民衆の怒りは、イスラエルを制止できない米欧や国連に向かう。米国などを標的にする国際テロ組織アルカイダへの支持が広がらないか心配だ。 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has started touring the Middle East in a diplomatic campaign to broker a cease-fire. Japan, which has become a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council for a two-year term starting in January, should also make more active efforts to stop the bloodshed in Gaza.

 フランスのサルコジ大統領が停戦仲介のため中東入りした。今月から国連安保理の非常任理事国になった日本も、ガザの流血を止めるためにもっと積極的に動くべきだ。

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難民受け入れ―もっと門戸を開けよう

2009/1/7

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 6(IHT/Asahi: January 7,2009)

EDITORIAL: Accepting refugees

難民受け入れ―もっと門戸を開けよう

The time has come for Japan to shed what the world views as its reluctance to accept refugees.

 難民の受け入れに消極的だといわれてきた日本が、変わるべき時に来ている。 

Preparations will start this spring to begin accepting, from fiscal 2010, refugees from Myanmar (Burma) who are currently in Thailand. This is part of a third-country resettlement program for displaced people in foreign refugee camps with no prospects of repatriation.

 帰国のめどがないまま海外の難民キャンプで暮らしている人たちを受け入れる第三国定住に、日本も今年から取り組むことになった。タイにいるミャンマー(ビルマ)難民を対象に、今春から準備を進めて、2010年度から受け入れを始める方針だ。 

Japan will try out this program on a provisional basis for three years, taking a step toward opening its doors wider to refugees. We would very much like this program to become permanent. The United Nations welcomes this move--the first in Asia--and is hoping that Japan will be a model for the region.

 まずは3年間の「試行」という位置づけだが、日本社会の門戸を開く一歩である。ぜひ定着させたい。国連も「アジアで初めてで、日本は地域のモデルになる」と歓迎している。 

There are 11.5 million refugees worldwide who have fled persecution in their home countries. Of these, about 6 million people have been living in refugee camps for five years or longer. Children who have never lived outside refugee camps are increasing in number. There is no question that their prolonged stays in refugee camps aggravate these people's already miserable living conditions.

 迫害を逃れて祖国を後にした難民は、世界で1150万人。そのうち約600万人が、5年以上も避難生活を送っている。生まれてから鉄条網の中しか知らない子供たちも増えている。キャンプ生活の長期化が、難民の生活に悪影響を及ぼすのは明らかだ。 

However, few countries welcome refugees. At present, less than 20 Western and other nations accept refugees under the third-country resettlement program, to which Japan will be the latest addition.

 だが海外の難民に対して、門戸を開いている国は少ない。他国に滞留している難民を引き取る第三国定住を実施している国は、欧米諸国など十数カ国に限られていた。日本もその仲間に加わることになる。 

In Japan's case, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees will provide a list of prospective people hoping to be resettled, and Japanese government representatives will interview these refugees at their camps in Thailand.

 受け入れる難民は、国連難民高等弁務官事務所(UNHCR)が推薦リストを作り、日本政府の担当者がキャンプで面接して決める。 

But only 30 refugees will be accepted a year, which brings the three-year total to 90. Thorough screening is obviously necessary, but we think the number is too small. Ideally, refugees should be accepted in large enough numbers to allow them to establish their own community, so that they can help one another and will not feel isolated from the rest of society as they try to familiarize themselves with their new environment.

 ただし受け入れ数は年に30人、3年間で計90人にすぎない。慎重な審査は当然だが、あまりに少ないのではないか。定住者たちが孤立しないためには、仲間同士で助け合えるコミュニティーを形成できる人数が望ましい。 

Carefully drawn plans are needed to receive people who are from cultures that are different from our own. Cooperation from everyone in the neighborhood community where refugees settle is crucial. Local governments, businesses and schools must join forces to help their new neighbors learn Japanese, find jobs and send their children to school. The economic situation is tough, but they deserve a warm welcome.

 異なる文化で育ってきた人たちを迎えるには、きめ細かい対応が必要だ。受け入れの成否は、地域社会の協力がカギをにぎる。日本語の習得、就職先の確保、子供の就学など、自治体、企業、学校が一体となって態勢をつくる必要がある。経済が厳しい時期だが、温かい配慮を示してほしい。 

Japan became a signatory to the U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1981. As of 2007, however, only 451 people had been recognized as refugees by the Japanese government. Because of the strictness of the screening process, the nation's refugee policy has been criticized as isolationist.

 日本は81年に難民条約に加入したが、難民と認めたのは07年までに451人にすぎない。認定の厳しさから「難民鎖国」という批判も浴びた。 

But the number of applications for refugee status in Japan has surged in the last few years, growing to about 1,500 last year. The number of recognized refugees has risen, too, and in some cases, those who could not be recognized as refugees under the U.N. Refugee Convention were nevertheless permitted to stay in the country out of humanitarian considerations.

 だがこの数年、日本での難民申請者が急増しており、昨年は約1500人に達した。認定数も増えつつあり、条約上の難民とは認められなくても、人道的配慮から在留が認められる例も出ている。 

After the Vietnam War, Japan accepted refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Some of these Indochinese refugees have since become successful doctors and business people.

 日本がベトナム戦争後に受け入れたインドシナ諸国(ベトナム、カンボジア、ラオス)の難民からは、医師や実業家などとして活躍している人たちも出ている。

Like Albert Einstein, who immigrated to the United States for political reasons, refugees can make invaluable contributions to their adopted countries.

亡命先の米国で活躍したアインシュタイン博士のように、難民は貴重な人材になりうるのだ。 

We should welcome refugees from abroad as our new neighbors. We hope this will be the first small step on the way toward Japan's growth into an open society.

 海外の難民も、新たな隣人として迎えよう。開かれた日本社会に向けて、小さな一歩を大きく育てていきたい。

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2009年1月12日 (月)

雇用問題 粗雑すぎる製造業派遣論議

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 12, 2009)

No sweeping statements needed on temp staff

雇用問題 粗雑すぎる製造業派遣論議(112日付・読売社説)

Amid rapidly increasing job cuts among nonregular contract workers, the employment situation has become a lively topic of debate in recent days.

 非正規労働者の解雇の動きが拡大する中で、雇用の在り方を巡る論議が高まっている。

The government, ruling and opposition parties as well as the business community must draw on their combined wisdom to reduce employment insecurity.

 政府、与野党、産業界は知恵を絞り、雇用不安を解消していかねばならない。

In the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2008 and the state budget for fiscal 2009, money has been allocated for various employment-linked emergency measures, including those to assist reemployment and relax the conditions for temp staff to receive employment insurance. As a start, these two budgets should be quickly passed through the Diet.

 今年度の第2次補正予算案と来年度予算案には、再就職支援策や非正規労働者に対する雇用保険の受給要件緩和策など、緊急性を要する様々な雇用対策関連の予算が盛り込まれている。まずは二つの予算案の成立を急ぐべきだ。

Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe has called into question the allowing of nonregular contract workers to be employed in the manufacturing sector.

 派遣労働を巡って、舛添厚生労働相が「製造業にまで派遣労働を適用するのはいかがなものか」と発言した。

The Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties are preparing to submit a bill during the current Diet session to revise the Temporary Staffing Services Law to basically prohibit the dispatching of temp staff to the manufacturing sector.

民主党など野党も、製造業派遣を原則禁止する労働者派遣法改正案を今国会に提出する動きを見せている。

According to a survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, nearly 70 percent of nonregular contract workers who have lost or are about to lose their jobs are temp staff dispatched to the manufacturing sector. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that attention is focused on the issue of dispatching temp staff to this sector.

 厚労省の調査で、失職する非正規労働者の7割近くは製造業の派遣労働者だ。ここに焦点が絞られるのも当然ではある。

===

Manufacturing OK'd in 2004

The dispatching of temp staff to the manufacturing sector was given the go-ahead in 2004, after business community demands in the face of severe international competition. As companies at that time were increasingly shifting their production bases overseas to cut costs, the measure was also aimed at boosting employment.

 製造業派遣は、厳しい国際競争に直面した経済界の要請で、2004年に解禁された。コスト削減のため、生産拠点を海外に移す企業が相次ぐ状況下で、雇用の増加を促す狙いもあった。

But the viewpoint of Masuzoe and the opposition parties is still too rudimentary to be worthy of consideration. The arguments for a total ban and the need for a tightening of the regulations will turn out to be different. It is not a problem for which categorical judgments can be made about its pros and cons.

 舛添厚労相や野党の見解は、検討対象とするには、まだ粗雑すぎる。全面禁止と規制強化とでは議論の中身も違ってくる。一概に是非は論じられない問題だ。

Companies are also in a weak position due to the global recession. If dispatching temp staff to the manufacturing sector is totally banned, business performance will further deteriorate, and the shrinking of employment opportunities will be inevitable. And the knock-on effects could be even more significant.

 世界同時不況で、企業も窮地に立たされている。全面禁止となれば、さらに経営を悪化させ、雇用の場も縮小しかねない。副作用の方が大きいだろう。

We should not jump to conclusions. The task that lies ahead requires the deepening of discussions over the merits and demerits of dispatching temp staff to the manufacturing sector as well as measures to improve the conditions under which this takes place.

 結論を急ぐべきではない。今後の課題として、製造業派遣の功罪や改善策について、議論を深めていくことは意義がある。

===

A time for job sharing?

Fujio Mitarai, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), has frequently said that the idea of job sharing is one option for protecting employment. This system allows companies to shorten working hours and employees to share their workloads.

 日本経団連の御手洗冨士夫会長が、雇用を守るため「ワークシェアリングも選択肢の一つ」と盛んに発言している。労働時間の短縮で仕事を分け合う仕組みだ。

In 2002, at the time of a previous recession, adopting the idea of job sharing became the focus of intense discussion. However, many business leaders were wary of adopting the system, claiming that it would lead to a decline in labor productivity. Fearing that the introduction of job sharing would lead to wage cuts, active support in the labor movement was not evident, either.

 先の不況期の02年にも導入論が高まったが、経営側からも「労働生産性が低下する」といった消極論が相次いだ。賃下げにつながる恐れがあるため、労働側にも積極的な動きは見られなかった。

The possibility of introducing job sharing depends on the different circumstances of each category of business and company. As such, no single uniform arguments can be made with regard to this issue, either. Even with encouragement from business groups, it is still far from clear if the introduction of job sharing would become a major trend.

 ワークシェアリングの導入が可能かどうかは業種や企業によって事情が異なり、これも一律には議論できないだろう。経済団体が旗を振っても、大きな流れとなるか甚だ不透明だ。

To improve the security of employment for nonregular contract workers, it is necessary to overhaul both the safety net for the unemployed and the vocational training system.

 非正規労働者の不安定な雇用の状態を改善するためには、失職時の安全網、職業訓練制度などを総点検する必要がある。

But what is called for above all else is the hammering out of effective economic stimulus measures by the government.

何よりも効果的な景気対策を打っていくことが求められている。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 12, 2009)

20091120128  読売新聞)

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急変する世界 積極的外交を展開する時、アフガン派遣を検討せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 11, 2009)

Japan must adopt active diplomatic stance

急変する世界 積極的外交を展開する時、アフガン派遣を検討せよ(111日付・読売社説)

The world is currently facing a number of crises, including a global recession triggered by U.S. financial turmoil, international terrorism, regional disputes, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, global warming and poverty.

 世界は今、様々な危機に直面している。米国発の金融危機を発端とする同時不況や、国際テロ、地域紛争、大量破壊兵器の拡散、地球温暖化、貧困などである。

Japan should play a proactive role in helping overcome these crises and maintain global peace and prosperity. The nation also must make its voice heard by ensuring its presence is felt on the international stage. The nation's interests can only be protected through such steady and persuasive diplomatic efforts.

 一つひとつの危機を克服し、世界の平和と繁栄を維持するため、日本が積極的に役割を果たす。国際舞台で自らの存在感を示し、発言力を確保する。そうした外交努力の積み重ねによって、初めて日本の国益は守られる。

While conventional consensus-building diplomacy has its limits, the country must draw up medium- and long-term national strategies and employ more active diplomacy.

 従来のような調整型の外交では、限界がある。中長期的な国家戦略を立案し、能動的な外交を展開することが求められている。

===

Boost Japan-U.S. alliance

 ◆オバマ政権と同盟強化◆

The forthcoming change of the U.S. administration provides a good opportunity for Tokyo to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance and increase diplomatic efforts.

 米国の政権交代は、日米同盟を強化し、日本外交を発展させる好機である。

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, whose Democratic administration will be launched on Jan. 20, emphasizes a multilateral foreign policy and is calling on allied nations to share the burden of international missions.

 今月20日に発足するオバマ民主党政権は、多国間外交を重視し、同盟国にも実質的な負担を求める姿勢を示している。

The United States still has a strong influence over international politics, the global economy and the military sphere. While it remains unchanged that Japan's diplomatic stance should be to maintain the Japan-U.S. security alliance as its linchpin, it is important that Japan outgrows its passive diplomacy.

 米国は依然、政治、経済、軍事の各分野で強い影響力を持つ。日本外交が日米同盟を基軸とすべきなのは変わらない。重要なのは受動的外交を脱することだ。

Japan must be prepared to decide by itself what needs to be done in the diplomatic arena, and act appropriately. The nation also should contemplate what kind of actions it should press the United States to take, and lobby Washington in the most efficient manner.

 日本が何をすべきか自ら判断し、実行する。米国にどんな行動を求めるかを熟慮し、最も効果的な方法で働きかける。

To put it another way, we hope for the establishment of a new bilateral framework that allows Japan to do what it feels must be done and say what it feels must be said to the United States.

すなわち、日本がやるべきことをやり、米国にも言うべきことを言う関係を構築したい。

A test the nation faces now is whether it will dispatch Self-Defense Forces personnel to Afghanistan, the country which Obama has stressed must be assisted in the fight against terrorism.

 当面の試金石は、オバマ次期大統領が重視するアフガニスタンへの自衛隊派遣の問題だろう。

In Afghanistan, troops from more than 40 countries are trying to rebuild the country and maintain security, despite the deaths of more than 1,000 soldiers so far. The fight against terrorism has reached a crucial stage.

 アフガンでは、40か国以上の部隊が計1000人以上もの兵士の犠牲に耐え、アフガン復興や治安維持に汗を流している。「テロとの戦い」は正念場にある。

The Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean plays a role in this effort. However, is Japan fulfilling its international responsibilities at a level congruent with its national strength?

 海上自衛隊のインド洋での給油活動は、その一翼を担うが、それだけで日本の国力に見合う国際責務を果たしていると言えるか。

The government should seriously consider whether to dispatch Ground Self-Defense Force transport helicopters and provincial reconstruction teams to Afghanistan.

 政府は、陸上自衛隊の輸送ヘリコプターや地域復興チーム(PRT)のアフガン派遣について、より本格的に検討すべきだ。

Obviously, a certain level of danger would be associated with such dispatches. This is unavoidable. However, the risks could be minimized, as some have pointed out, by upgrading the capabilities of the helicopters to be sent into Afghanistan through modifications and by selecting appropriate dispatch areas.

 無論、一定の危険は避けられない。だが、ヘリコプターを改造して能力を高め、適切な派遣地域を選ぶことで、危険を最小限に抑えられる、との見方もある。

Dispatching GSDF troops to Afghanistan would require new legislation. Such legislation would need to give SDF personnel greater authority to use weapons--currently they are limited to using weapons only in self-defense--to bring defense force rules into line with international standards.

 陸自のアフガン派遣には、新法の制定が必要となる。その際、正当防衛などに限定されている自衛隊の武器使用権限を緩和し、国際標準並みにすることが重要だ。

===

Potential for better intl ties

 ◆日中韓の潜在力の活用◆

According to a joint survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun and Gallup in November, only 34 percent of those polled across the nation said relations between Japan and the United States were "very good" or "good"--the least positive result since 2000.

 昨年11月の日米共同世論調査では、日米関係を良いと思う日本人が34%と、2000年以降で最低を記録した。米国による北朝鮮のテロ支援国指定の解除などが影響したと見られる。

The result is believed to partly reflect dissatisfaction over the U.S. decision to remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. In the latter half of the term of the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, Japan-U.S. relations became strained over North Korea's nuclear development and the abduction issue.

 ブッシュ政権の後半は、北朝鮮の核・拉致問題をめぐり日米関係がぎくしゃくした。

Japan should set out to coordinate policy even more closely with the incoming Obama administration than it did with the outgoing Bush team to reconstruct solid cooperation between the two countries.

オバマ次期政権とは、より緊密に政策調整し、強固な連携を再構築すべきだ。

In handling the many issues related to North Korea, collaboration with China and South Korea also will be important.

 北朝鮮問題では、中国、韓国との協調も大切である。

To make the nation's strategic and mutually beneficial relationship with China more substantial and assured, it is necessary to yield tangible and concrete results in dealing with issues related to North Korea and the ongoing financial crisis.

 中国との「戦略的互恵関係」をより実質的で、確かなものにするためには、北朝鮮問題や金融危機対策で、目に見える具体的な成果を上げることが求められよう。

Today, Prime Minister Taro Aso will visit South Korea as part of the so-called shuttle diplomacy between the leaders of the two countries.

 麻生首相はきょう、シャトル外交の一環で韓国を訪問する。


We hope Tokyo will foster a future-oriented relationship with Seoul through frequent summit meetings.

頻繁な首脳会談を通じて、未来志向の日韓関係を育てたい。

As the leaders of Japan, South Korea and China confirmed during a trilateral summit meeting last month, continuing wide-ranging cooperation among the three major Asian countries is significant.

 先月の日中韓首脳会談で確認したように、アジアの3主要国が幅広く協力を重ねることの意義は大きい。

Closer cooperation between Japan, China and South Korea has great potential and possibilities. Japan must exercise its leadership within the grouping to contribute to regional peace and stability.

 日中韓協力は多大な潜在力と可能性を持つ。地域の平和と安定に貢献する方向で、日本は指導力を発揮せねばなるまい。

===

UNSC role key to diplomacy

On Jan. 1, Japan began a two-year term as a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council for the 10th time. The nonpermanent seat provides Japan with an opportunity to realize a more active diplomatic stance.

 日本は今月1日から2年間、10回目の国連安全保障理事会の非常任理事国を務める。能動的外交を具体化する大事な足場となる。

Japan needs to actively commit to bringing conflicts in the Middle East and other parts of the world to an end and to promote peace.

 中東など世界各地の紛争解決や平和維持に積極的に関与する必要がある。

Japan must also work to bring about reform of the Security Council with a view to obtaining permanent membership of the body--a long-standing goal.

長年の課題である日本の常任理事国入りを視野に入れた安保理改革にも取り組みたい。

To this end, it is indispensable for Japan to expand the SDF's international peace cooperation activities, both in terms of quality and quantity.

 そのためには、自衛隊の国際平和協力活動を質、量ともに拡充することが欠かせない。

It may be the time to increase the government's official development assistance budget, which has shrunk for the past 12 consecutive years.

12年連続で減少している政府開発援助(ODA)予算も、増加に転じさせるべき時だろう。

In the field of international peace cooperation activities, a key immediate task is the introduction of countermeasures to tackle piracy off Somalia.

 国際協力活動の当面の課題は、ソマリア沖の海賊対策だ。

For Japan as a trading nation, the securing of sea lanes is an issue of vital importance. It would not be much of a surprise if a ship related in some way to Japan were attacked in the area at any time.

 通商国家・日本にとって海上交通路の安全確保は死活的問題だ。現場海域では、日本関連船舶がいつ襲われてもおかしくない。

The ruling and opposition parties should cooperate in preparing at an early date new legislation that would enable the dispatch of MSDF vessels and patrol planes to areas off Somalia.

 与野党は、海自の艦船や哨戒機を派遣するための新法を早期に整備するため、協力すべきだ。

Cooperation between the ruling and opposition parties in establishing the needed legislation, if realized, would pave the way for preparation of permanent legislation for all future SDF overseas dispatches. It is desirable that a majority of Diet members unite to support legislation related to national security.

 与野党が新法制定に協力できれば、自衛隊の海外派遣全般に関する恒久法の整備にも弾みがつく。安全保障関連法制は、国会の大多数が賛成するのが望ましい。

To ensure the effectiveness of SDF activities, the government's current interpretation of the nation's right to collective self-defense, which currently states that Japan has the right to collective self-defense but cannot exercise it, must be reviewed as a matter of course.

 自衛隊が実効性のある活動を行うには、「集団的自衛権は行使できない」とする政府解釈も当然、見直さなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 11, 2009)

20091110128  読売新聞)

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2009年1月11日 (日)

ガザ停戦決議 実効性をどう担保するか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 10, 2009)

U.N. call for ceasefire in Gaza must be heeded

ガザ停戦決議 実効性をどう担保するか(110日付・読売社説)

It is time to immediately put an end to the calamity in the Gaza Strip.

 惨劇にただちに終止符を打つときだ。

In connection with the ongoing conflict in Gaza, a part of the Palestinian autonomous territories, the U.N. Security Council on Thursday adopted a resolution calling for "an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza."

 パレスチナ自治区ガザ紛争について、国連安全保障理事会が、「イスラエル軍のガザ全面撤退につながる即時かつ永続的な停戦」を求める決議を採択した。

Israel and Hamas, the actors in this battle, should accept the resolution and lay down their arms.

 交戦中のイスラエルとイスラム原理主義組織ハマスは、決議を受け入れて、停戦すべきである。

Israeli forces launched armed attacks on Hamas-ruled Gaza on Dec. 27. Since then, intensive air raids by Israeli warplanes and a subsequent ground offensive have claimed the lives of more than 750 Palestinians, a third of them children.

 イスラエル軍が、ハマス支配下のガザへ攻撃を開始したのは昨年12月27日。以来、激しい空爆に続く地上軍の侵攻作戦で、パレスチナ側には750人を超す死者が出た。うち3分の1は子供だ。

Even aid activities conducted by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross have been thwarted by the Israeli forces in Gaza, which has been turned into a battlefield.

 戦闘地域と化したガザでは、国連や赤十字国際委員会による救援、支援活動すら、イスラエル軍に阻まれている。

On humanitarian grounds alone, this state of affairs should never be permitted to continue.

 人道上、看過できない事態だ。

===

Is U.N resolution toothless?

The humanitarian situation was the major factor that prompted the U.N. Security Council--which has hitherto been slow to respond to the Gaza situation--to agree to adopt a ceasefire resolution.

動きが鈍かった安保理が、ここへきてようやく停戦決議でまとまったのも、それが大きな原因だ。

It is essential for the international community to proactively provide support to realize the ceasefire and improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

国際社会は、停戦の実現と、ガザの人道的状況の改善に向け、積極的に支援する必要がある。

However, it remains to be seen if the resolution has the teeth to bring about such a result.

 決議は採択されても、その実効性にはなお疑問符がつく。

The United States was the sole member to abstain from the U.N. Security Council vote. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this was because Washington wanted "to see the outcomes of the Egyptian mediation efforts."

 米国は唯一、棄権票を投じたが、ライス国務長官は、その理由について、「エジプトによる調停結果を見極めたい」としている。

Under what conditions would Israel and Hamas agree to a ceasefire? Even if they did agree, how could a framework for monitoring such a ceasefire be worked out?

 イスラエルとハマスは、いかなる条件のもとで停戦に応じるのか。合意できたとして、停戦を監視する仕組みをどう作るのか。

===

No room for optimism

Israel vehemently objects to the smuggling of arms and munitions into Gaza. But how could it be stopped?

 イスラエルが問題にするガザへの武器・弾薬流入防止を、いかに担保するのか。

Hamas, for its part, is urging Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza, including tight restrictions on the movement of people and goods crossing the territorial border. How will Israel respond to this demand?

ハマスは、人の出入りと流通を厳しく制限するガザ封鎖の解除を求めているが、イスラエルはどう応えるのか。

The resolution has effectively left Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas to address the key issues at Egyptian-mediated talks. There is no room for optimism regarding these talks.

 核心的な問題は、エジプトの調停によるイスラエル、パレスチナ自治政府、ハマスの当事者協議に委ねられた形だ。協議の行方は楽観できない。

Israeli general elections are scheduled for Feb. 10. If the opposition Likud party, which takes a hard-line stance against Hamas, retakes the reins of government, it is possible the Middle East situation will become more fluid.

 来月10日には、イスラエル総選挙が予定されている。ハマスへの強硬姿勢をとる野党リクードが政権復帰すれば、今後の展開がさらに流動的になる可能性もある。

What is even more problematic is Hamas' confrontation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas due to its rejection of peaceful coexistence with Israel. It is indispensable for the Palestinian side to overcome internal strife so it can present a clear vision of the future to the territories' residents.

 何よりハマスは、イスラエルとの平和共存を拒否してアッバス自治政府議長と対立している。住民に将来への確かな展望を示せるよう、内部対立を解消するパレスチナ側の努力が不可欠だ。

Japan, a nonpermanent Security Council member from this month, voted for the resolution. Next month, Japan will assume heavy responsibility as chair of the council.

 今月から非常任理事国として安保理メンバーとなった日本は、決議に賛成した。来月は安保理議長の重責を担う。

It is important that Japan play a proactive role in reviving the Middle East peace process aimed at a lasting and peaceful coexistence between the Israelis and Palestinians.

 イスラエルとパレスチナの永続的な共存を目指す中東和平プロセスの再生へ、日本としても積極的な役割を果たすことが重要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 10, 2009)

20091100149  読売新聞)

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衆院予算委 民主党は積極的に対案を示せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 9, 2009)

Time for DPJ to offer alternative budget plan

衆院予算委 民主党は積極的に対案を示せ(19日付・読売社説)

Discussions on the government-proposed secondary supplementary budget for fiscal 2008 started Thursday at the House of Representatives Budget Committee.

Lawmakers of both the ruling and opposition parties should actively discuss not only interim economic stimulus measures, but also policies on a wide variety of domestic and global issues in order to present options to the public, as this year will see a general election.

 総選挙が行われる年の国会論戦である。与野党は、当面の景気対策はもちろん、内外の諸課題について幅広く政策を競い合い、国民に選択肢を示してもらいたい。

 衆院予算委員会で、政府の2008年度第2次補正予算案に対する各党の質疑が始まった。

The supplementary budget should originally have been enacted during the extraordinary Diet session that wrapped up late last year. The schedule for its passage cannot be delayed any further.

 第2次補正予算案は、本来ならば昨年末の臨時国会で成立を目指すべきものだった。これ以上、対応が後手に回ってはなるまい。

===

Turn good ideas into bills

Lawmakers must not only enact the secondary supplementary budget as early as possible, but also swiftly advance deliberations on the fiscal 2009 budget, which is tied to the supplementary budget.

 第2次補正予算案の早期成立はもとより、それと一体の09年度予算案についても審議を急がねばならない。

Discussions at the budget committee are focused mostly on the 2-trillion yen flat-sum cash benefit program included in the supplementary budget.

 衆院予算委での最大の論点は、第2次補正予算案に盛り込まれた2兆円の定額給付金の扱いだ。

The Democratic Party of Japan and two other opposition parties jointly proposed a bill to remove the program from the supplementary budget. This bill also was discussed at the committee.

 民主党など野党3党は定額給付金を削除する修正案を提出し、これも併せて審議された。

Naoto Kan, acting president of the DPJ, said the 2 trillion yen earmarked for the program could be used more efficiently by adding it to next fiscal year's budget. According to Kan, of this money, 1 trillion yen could be added to expenses earmarked for the seismic reinforcement of school buildings, 700 billion yen added to expenses for securing nursing care workers and 300 billion yen added to employment measures

 民主党の菅直人代表代行は質疑で、2兆円のより効果的な使い道として、09年度予算案で、学校耐震化に1兆円、介護人材の確保に7000億円、雇用対策に3000億円をそれぞれ積み増す案を初めて示した。

Kan's constructive arguments could be positively evaluated as not only a demand on the government to remove the program from the supplementary budget, but also as a proposal of an alternative plan. What Kan proposed should be made more concrete through swift discussions within the DPJ so it can be proposed as a bill.

 単なる削除要求だけでなく、対案を示そうとしたことは、建設的な姿勢として評価できる。党内論議を急いでより具体化し、法案として提出することが望まれる。

Employment measures are another focus of discussions at the budget committee. During the committee's discussions, Nobuteru Ishihara, acting secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, demanded the quick implementation of economic measures. Ishihara quoted people running small- and medium-sized companies as saying that government measures have solved their cash-flow problems, but that orders, which are more important, are disappearing in the current economic turmoil.

 雇用対策も大きな論点だ。

 自民党の石原伸晃・幹事長代理は、「政府の対策で資金繰りはついたが、今度は肝心の仕事がなくなった」という中小企業経営者の悲鳴を紹介しつつ、迅速な経済対策の実行を求めた。

Lawmakers of both the ruling and opposition parties at the committee recognized that the economic and employment situations are deteriorating faster than that of government actions.

 実体経済と雇用情勢の悪化が、政府の対応を上回る速度で進んでいることについて、与野党とも同じ認識が示された。

The four employment bills submitted jointly by the DPJ and other opposition parties were scrapped at the extraordinary Diet session last month. The DPJ should submit a new version of its own employment bill after clarifying differences between employment measures of the DPJ and those of the government.

 昨年末の臨時国会では、民主党などが提出した雇用関連法案が否決された。民主党は雇用対策について政府案との違いを整理し、改めて対案を示してはどうか。

===

Both sides need compromise

The ruling camp also will have to make some concessions with the opposition parties through policy consultations.

 与党も政策協議を通じ、歩み寄ることも必要だろう。

Lawmakers are currently considering restrictions on dispatching temporary workers to the manufacturing industry, but depending on the level of restrictions, this could affect Japan's international competitiveness and job security. Some business leaders are considering the introduction of job sharing, a method to have one job shared by more than one worker by shortening work hours per person.

 製造業への派遣規制は、やり方によっては、国際競争力や雇用確保にも影響する。経済界には、1人当たりの労働時間を縮めて仕事を分け合うワークシェアリングを検討する動きも出ている。

From a medium- to long-term viewpoint, lawmakers should also discuss how the nation's employment system should be changed and how new industries and new jobs can be created.

 日本の雇用体系をどうしていくのか。新たな産業、新たな雇用をどう創出するのか。中長期的観点からも論じ合うべきだ。

Both sides also should further deepen discussions on other issues, including the enactment of a bill to crack down piracy in waters off Somalia and a consumption tax hike.

 ソマリア沖の海賊被害に対応するための新法の制定や、消費税率引き上げ問題などについても、議論をさらに深めてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 9, 2009)

2009190149  読売新聞)

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2009年1月10日 (土)

ITの安全 「事故前提」の備えが大切だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 8, 2009)

To secure IT systems, prepare for accidents

ITの安全 「事故前提」の備えが大切だ(18日付・読売社説)

A society that runs on information technology cannot expect to run without a hitch as long as humans are involved.

 IT(情報技術)社会も、人の営みである以上完璧(かんぺき)はあり得ない。

The government's Information Security Policy Council has decided to beef up steps to ensure the safe utilization of information technology by assuming that accidents affecting providers and users are bound to occur.

 政府の情報セキュリティ政策会議が、IT活用の安全策について、事故が起きることを前提として、対策を強化する方針を打ち出した。

The measures are included in the council's second basic plan for information security, which sets out policies to be tackled by the government, related enterprises and other parties concerned for three years beginning in fiscal 2009.

 来年度から3年間、政府と関連事業者などが取り組む施策「第2次情報セキュリティ基本計画」に盛り込んでいる。

Even if safety measures are taken, problems can occur. The basic plan, therefore, calls for instituting mechanisms in various fields to minimize damage by grasping the causes and effects of a problem as well as to restore the trouble-hit IT system to normalcy.

 事前の対策を講じていてもトラブルは起き得る。だから、トラブルの影響や原因を把握して被害拡大を防ぎ、復旧できる体制を様々な分野で整えさせる、という。

This is in stark contrast to the first basic plan covering the three years through fiscal 2008, which set a goal of eliminating accidents involving IT usage. "IT system glitches should be eliminated" and "The number of individuals who are anxious about using IT should be reduced as much as possible" were two of the goals enshrined in the basic plan.

 今年度まで3年間の「第1次計画」では、「IT障害の発生を限りなくゼロにする」「『IT利用に不安を感じる』とする個人を限りなくゼロにする」などと、“事故ゼロ”を目標に掲げていた。

But the reality speaks for itself.

 だが、実態はほど遠い。

There have been a large number of system failures in key societal infrastructure, such as a securities trading computer system, ATMs at financial institutions and automated fare collection systems, causing far-reaching confusion that affected the public.

 証券取引システムや金融機関の現金自動預け払い機、自動改札システムなど重要なインフラで障害が起き、混乱を広げた。

We also hear of one incident after another in which personal credit card information was stolen through the Internet, and of key information being leaked through computers. Cyber-attacks on government and corporate computers, meanwhile, are not about to disappear.

 個人のカード情報がインターネット経由で盗まれたり、パソコンから重要情報が漏洩(ろうえい)したりする例も後を絶たない。政府や企業のコンピューターに対するネット経由の攻撃もなくならない。

===

Damage limitation vital

Precautionary steps alone will not lessen damage from IT problems. To build a robust society in which IT is a blessing, consistent responses are necessary to deal with the situation right after an accident occurs.

 事前対策だけでは被害を減らせない。強固なIT社会を実現するには、事故発生後をにらんだ一貫した対応が必要になる。

To prod the government and companies to work toward formulating such emergency responses, the second basic plan calls on service providers in each of 10 essential infrastructure fields to define the maximum damage they aim to allow to result from an IT-related problem so the problem does not spin out of control. The essential infrastructure fields include public administration, information and telecommunications, and financial and medical services.

 第2次計画では、この取り組みを促すため、「重要インフラ」に位置づけている行政サービス、情報通信、金融、医療などの10分野に属する事業者ごとに、どの程度のトラブルなら問題がないか、目安を設けるよう求める。

At the same time, the basic plan urges each industry group related to the 10 fields to make efforts to improve information security. The basic plan cites as an example the safety target set by gas suppliers that aims to prevent the disruption of gas supply to more than 30 households in the event of an IT glitch.

 同時に、各分野に関連する業界全体の安全性を向上させる努力もしてもらう。具体的には、ガス事業者はIT障害で30戸以上に供給の支障が生じない、といった安全目標の例を挙げている。

===

New plan realistic

Although the latest basic plan may appear to have lowered safety standards, it takes a far more realistic approach that will facilitate effective responses.

 前の計画より、安全の水準を切り下げたかに見える。だが、こちらの方がはるかに現実的だ。実効性のある対応にもつながる。

Measures seeking "perfect" information security can serve as roadblocks to IT utilization. In particular, it has been pointed out that moves taken by the government and related institutions in this regard are problematic in many ways.

 完璧な安全性を求める対策はIT活用の足かせにもなる。特に政府関連の取り組みは、多くの問題が指摘されている。

For example, the Education, Science and Technology Ministry has provided electronic services for the filing of 696 types of documents, including one for requesting permission to physically alter a registered historic site. But 60 percent of the 696 document-filing services have not been used because, many say, the procedure for obtaining online certification to ensure information security is cumbersome.

 例えば、文部科学省は史跡の変更許可申請など696の手続きを電子化したが、安全性を確保するための証明書取得が面倒といった理由で、6割は利用がない。

Furthermore, it is indispensable to develop safer and more convenient technology and to encourage individual users to deepen their knowledge about IT. We believe such endeavors should be supported and other necessary steps spelled out in the second basic plan.

 より安全で便利な技術の開発も必要だ。個々の利用者のIT理解も向上させねばならない。併せて後押しして行きたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 8, 2009)

2009180132  読売新聞)

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代表質問 対決だけでなく協調も必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 7, 2009)

At Diet, heads together, not loggerheads, please

代表質問 対決だけでなく協調も必要だ(17日付・読売社説)

Japan's politics will be thrown into disarray again if the ruling and opposition parties continue to face off under the "divided Diet," in which the ruling parties hold a majority in the House of Representatives and the opposition bloc controls the House of Councillors. In the face of the unprecedented global financial crisis, such a situation should be avoided at all costs.

 衆参ねじれ国会で、与野党が対決するばかりでは、日本政治はまたも機能不全に陥る。未曽有の経済危機の下、そんな事態は回避すべきだ。

Interpellations in the Diet by party representatives over the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2008 started Tuesday. Yukio Hatoyama, secretary general of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, criticized a government plan for a flat-sum cash handout totaling \2 trillion as "the last word in massively stupid plans" and demanded that it be removed from the extra budget.

 2008年度第2次補正予算案に関する各党の代表質問が始まった。民主党の鳩山幹事長は、2兆円の定額給付金を「究極の大愚策」と批判し、補正予算案からの削除を要求した。

Prime Minister Taro Aso countered Hatoyama head-on, saying, "The plan is intended to provide emergency assistance to each household in the current economic downturn, and it also will benefit the economy by boosting consumption."

 麻生首相は、定額給付金は「景気後退下での家計への緊急支援であり、消費を増やす経済効果もある」と正面から反論した。

It cannot be denied that the handout will have a limited effect in stimulating the economy. But Hatoyama, who described the plan as "the most wasteful use of taxpayers' money," should spell out, in the form of a constructive counterproposal, a more effective way to pump-prime the economy.

 定額給付金の景気刺激効果が限定的なのは否めない。ただ、鳩山幹事長が「浪費の最たるもの」と主張するなら、より「有効な使い道」を建設的な対案の形で具体的に明示する必要がある。

Three opposition parties, including the DPJ, on Tuesday submitted to the lower house a bill to amend the government-proposed second extra budget. But the bill merely seeks to scrap the cash benefit plan. It does not contain alternative economic measures.

 民主など野党3党が衆院に提出した予算修正案は、定額給付金を削除するだけで、代わりの経済対策を盛り込んだものではない。

===

Tactical move by opposition

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this move by the opposition parties is a strategy to gain political advantage and undermine the ruling parties by urging ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers who are critical of the cash benefit payments, including Yoshimi Watanabe, a former state minister in charge of administrative reform, to rise up in rebellion by voting against important government-proposed bills or for opposition-proposed ones.

 結局、渡辺喜美・元行政改革相ら、定額給付金に批判的な自民党議員に採決時の“造反”を促し、与党を揺さぶる政局的思惑によるものと見られても仕方がない。


If the government and ruling parties insist on taking a hard-line approach to passing budget-related bills that the opposition parties reject by resorting to a second vote in the lower house, where the LDP-New Komeito coalition has a two-thirds majority, the passage of the bills into law would be greatly delayed.

 政府・与党も、野党が反対する予算関連法案は衆院で再可決するという強硬路線一辺倒では、法案成立が大幅に遅れてしまう。

That would deal a blow to the economy and people's livelihoods. It would be a rerun of the ordinary Diet session last year, in which ruling and opposition parties were at loggerheads over the issue of whether the provisional gasoline tax rates should be maintained.

 その場合、日本経済や国民生活に悪影響が出かねない。ガソリン税の暫定税率維持などをめぐり、与野党が激突した昨年の通常国会の二の舞いである。

Taking into account the current global financial crisis, the ruling and opposition parties should put their heads together and come up with ways to deal with the Diet impasse.

 現在の経済危機の深刻さを踏まえれば、与野党は国会対応での協調を探るべきではないか。

Hatoyama asserted that the tough employment situation is "a human disaster politically generated by the Aso Cabinet." He urged Aso to back an emergency resolution jointly submitted by the opposition bloc for employment measures.

 雇用情勢の悪化について、鳩山幹事長は「麻生内閣による人災、政治災害だ」などと非難した。さらに、野党が共同提出した雇用対策の緊急決議案に賛成するよう麻生首相に求めた。

The opposition-proposed resolution merely seeks the "securement of public employment and residence" and the "flexible management of the welfare benefits system."

 決議案は、「国民の雇用と住まいの確保」と「生活保護の弾力的運用」を求めるだけの内容だ。

===

No time for grandstanding

What is needed from the Diet now is not political performances that play to the gallery, but the immediate passage of a new law for effective employment policies. There are many pressing problems to tackle, such as the creation of new jobs, support for reemployment for those who have lost their jobs and measures to discourage the withdrawal of job offers.

 国会に今求められているのは、政治的パフォーマンスではない。実効性のある雇用政策を迅速に立法することだ。新たな雇用創出、失業者の再就職支援、内定取り消し対策など、取り組むべき課題は多く、いずれも急を要する。

The government-proposed bill to revise the Temporary Staffing Services Law includes a clause to basically prohibit dispatching registered workers on a daily-wage basis. But the opposition parties are considering submitting another bill to amend the law to prohibit dispatching temp staff to the manufacturing industry itself.

 日雇い派遣を原則禁止する労働者派遣法改正案に関し、野党内では、製造業への派遣自体を禁止する修正案も検討されている。

Careful consideration needs to be given to maintaining the international competitiveness of Japanese companies as well as temp workers' employment and working conditions. The ruling and opposition parties should rack their brains and try to hammer out a better approach to Diet business.

 派遣労働者の雇用・待遇に加えて、日本企業の国際競争力確保にも目配りが必要だ。与野党が知恵を出し合い、より良い合意をまとめる努力が重要となろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 7, 2009)

2009170150  読売新聞)

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2009年1月 6日 (火)

お酒と高齢者―静かに広がる依存症

2009/1/6

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 5(IHT/Asahi: January 6,2009)

EDITORIAL: Elderly alcoholics

お酒と高齢者―静かに広がる依存症

The number of elderly alcoholics is on the rise. Here is one example: a man, 68 years old, who lives with his wife in Osaka Prefecture. Within five years of his elderly parents passing away, he found himself in hospital being treated for alcohol addiction.

 大阪府に住むAさん(68)が両親を亡くしたあと、アルコール依存症で入院するまで5年もかからなかった。 

He had worked for a company for many years and retired at the usual age. His parents had lived with his family, and he had seen them through their final days. His two children were grown. He was left with not much to do. Out of boredom, he started to drink, even during the daytime.

 長年勤めた会社を定年退職し、同居の両親を相次いで見送った。2人の子どもは成人している。退屈しのぎに昼間もつい酒に手が伸びた。 

In no time at all, he was drinking more and more. Soon he was passing out in front of railway stations or in shopping streets. His wife consulted their family doctor, and the diagnosis was alcoholism.

 みるみる酒量が増えた。気がつくと駅前で寝ていたり、商店街で倒れていたり。妻がかかりつけ医に相談し、アルコール依存症と診断された。 

He entered a rehab program in hospital, and thought he had beaten his addiction. But after leaving the hospital, he thought, "Just a little can't hurt," and reached for the bottle again. Within a month, he was back to square one. He returned again to rehab and now attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings regularly.

 入院治療で酒は断ったはずなのに、退院後に「少しくらいなら」と、また酒を口にし、1カ月ほどで元の状態に戻ってしまった。再び入院して治療し、現在は断酒会に参加している。 

According to a survey by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, around 800,000 people are being treated for alcohol addiction nationwide. The situation is especially serious among people in their 70s.

 アルコール依存症になる高齢者が増えている。厚生労働省の調査によると、アルコール依存症の患者は推計で約80万人いる。

An estimated 3 percent of the population in their 70s are alcoholic, the highest rate among all the age groups. More elderly people are joining the All Nippon Abstinence Association for alcoholics. In fiscal 2001, only 41 percent of its members were 60 or older, but by fiscal 2007, that rate had risen to 51 percent.

なかでも70歳代は同世代人口の3%を占めると見られ、割合では世代別のトップだ。全日本断酒連盟に入会する人も年々、高齢化している。01年度に41%だった60歳以上の会員が、07年度には51%に達している。 

Recently, addictions have worsened rapidly in the immediate years after retirement.

 ここ数年で目立つのは、定年後の数年で急速に依存症が進行する例だ。 

"People who worked hard all their lives find it difficult to rebuild their lives after retirement and unconsciously turn to drink," says Ryuzo Wake, honorary director of Shinseikai Hospital in Izumi, Osaka Prefecture. Wake has spent many years treating alcoholic patients.

 「まじめに働いて定年を迎えた人が、定年後の生活設計を描けず、知らず知らずお酒にすがっている」。長年にわたってアルコール依存症の治療にあたってきた大阪府和泉市の新生会病院名誉院長、和気隆三さんは話す。 

The rise in number of rehab patients is overtaxing alcoholism treatment facilities and home nursing care services.

 依存症患者の増加は施設や在宅介護の現場にも深刻な影を落としている。 

Drinking curbs a patient's appetite, and so they refuse to eat meals prepared by their care workers. Alcoholism thus leads to secondary health problems such as malnutrition, memory loss and depression. There is also a higher risk of falling and breaking bones.

 飲酒のせいで食欲がわかず、ホームヘルパーの作った食事を食べようとしない。アルコール依存症が栄養失調や記憶障害、うつ病など、二次的な健康被害を引き起こしている。転倒して骨折する危険性も高い。 

Some alcoholic patients try to force their home care workers to buy alcohol for them. According to a survey on alcohol-related problems conducted by a Kansai academic society on about 500 care managers and home-care workers, 80 percent of respondents had clients with drinking problems and 30 percent said that they found it difficult to provide care.

 ヘルパーにお酒を買ってくるよう強要してトラブルになるケースも発生している。関西アルコール関連問題学会がケアマネジャーとホームヘルパーら500人あまりを対象に調査したところ、8割がサービス利用者の飲酒問題にぶつかり、3割がサービスの提供が困難になったと答えている。 

Alcoholism is a disease in which a person cannot control their alcohol intake. It should not be dismissed as merely someone "enjoying a drink" or being a "big boozer." If the patient receives proper treatment and quits drinking, recovery is certainly possible. The elderly, especially, are easier to treat than other age groups.

 アルコール依存症は、お酒の量を自分ではコントロールできない病気である。「酒好き」や「大酒飲み」と放っておいてはいけない。きちんと治療を受けてお酒を断てば、十分に回復できる。なかでも高齢者は回復率が高い。 

Home caregivers who have daily contact with their patients need to be trained to better understand alcohol addiction.

 ふだん高齢者と接しているヘルパーたちには、アルコール依存症について認識を深める研修が必要だ。 

What is needed is local networks that can enhance cooperation among care workers, town doctors, public health centers, hospitals specializing in the treatment of alcoholism and others.

 また、介護を担う職員と地域の開業医、保健所、依存症専門病院などが連携して高齢者を支えるネットワークを日頃から築いておくと心強い。 

The remaining days of elderly citizens are precious ones. We hope that as many elderly patients as possible can be helped and supported so they can overcome their addiction and live out their last days in fulfillment.

 残された、かけがえのない日々。依存症を克服し、ひとりでも多くの高齢者が、ほんとうの自分を生きられるよう応援したい。

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不況と総選挙―政治のリセットを急げ

2009/1/6

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 5(IHT/Asahi: January 6,2009)

EDITORIAL: Recession and election

不況と総選挙―政治のリセットを急げ

A Lower House election must be held by September, finally giving voters the chance to pass judgment on the confused and stagnant state of the nation's politics.

 総選挙の年が明けた。混迷と停滞が続く政治に、ようやく民意をぶつける機会がやってくる。 

The choice will be whether to allow the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito to continue governing or elect a new government led by the main opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan). Voters will have to think long and hard about their vision for the future of the country.

 引き続き自民、公明両党に政権を委ねるか、民主党中心の政権に交代させるか。「国のかたち」について、有権者の側も真剣に考える年になる。 

On Sunday, the day before the regular Diet session convened, Prime Minister Taro Aso and Minshuto President Ichiro Ozawa raised the curtain on the political battle they intend to wage in this crucial election year.

 そんな決戦の年の幕開けとなる通常国会の開会を前に、麻生首相、小沢民主党代表がきのう、来るべき総選挙への決意を語った。 

"It is the LDP that can implement effective economic measures swiftly," Aso said with confidence. Ozawa retorted that the "LDP-Komeito government cannot lead the nation through this crisis."

 「効果的な経済対策を迅速に打てるのは自民党だ」。首相がそう胸を張れば、小沢氏は「自公政権では危機を克服できない」と切り返す。対決ムードは高まるばかりだ。 

The primary mission of this Diet session, however, is to figure out ways to protect the public from the fallout of the economic and employment crises that have been rapidly gaining ground since last year.

 だが、この国会の最大の使命は、何と言っても昨年来、急激に深刻化する景気と雇用の危機の中で国民の生活をどう守っていくかにある。 

The second supplementary budget bill for the current fiscal year that the government plans to submit to the Diet session will include a program to increase loan guarantees and the line of credit to small and medium-sized companies. The initial budget plan for the new fiscal year starting in April will finance fiscal spending to stimulate the economy as well as social security measures that would make nonregular workers eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. A delay in the implementation of these vital policy measures due to partisan animosity must be avoided at all costs.

 政府が出す2次補正予算案には、中小企業への保証・貸出枠の拡大、09年度当初予算案には財政出動による景気対策や非正規労働者への雇用保険適用などが盛られている。与野党の突っ張り合いで実現が遅れてしまうのは、何としても避けねばならない。 


Aso has maintained a confrontational political posture toward the opposition camp despite his promise to put a higher priority on policy responses to the economic downturn than on political warfare. This understandably makes it difficult for the opposition parties to seek political compromise. The decision by Aso and his ruling coalition to delay submission of the second supplementary budget until the regular Diet session was apparently a political maneuver to avoid being forced to dissolve the Lower House for a snap election.

 首相が「政局より政策」と言いつつ、対決姿勢を崩さない以上、野党側も簡単には譲れないというのはその通りだろう。2次補正の提出をここまで遅らせたのも、衆院解散に追い込まれるのを恐れる首相や与党の、政局への思惑あってのことではなかったか。 

In the meantime, companies are expecting to face an increasingly hard time raising funds as the current fiscal year winds down to a close at the end of March. It is the shared responsibility of both the ruling and opposition parties to make sure that effective measures will be in place in time to help companies ride out the expected cash squeeze. The opposition camp must do more than just block policy proposals by the government and the ruling coalition.

 一方で、3月の年度末に向けて、企業の資金繰りはますます厳しくなる。それに間に合わせるのは与野党共通の責任だ。野党の側も、単に政府与党の足を引っ張るだけでは済まされない。 

We urge both camps to fulfill their political responsibility. This means they must both make concessions and put priority on enacting the budget plans quickly. It is the public that will suffer most from any major delay in the passage of the budget bills.

 その責任を果たすために、与野党に提案したい。予算の成立が遅れていちばん困るのは国民なのだから、早期成立を最優先に譲り合うことだ。 

First, Aso needs to drop his planned 2 trillion yen cash handout to households, which has been criticized by all the opposition parties, from the second supplementary budget. In exchange, Minshuto and the other opposition parties should accept the remainder of the spending package.

 まず首相は、野党がこぞって反対する定額給付金を2次補正から除く。引き換えに、民主党など野党はそれ以外の2次補正を速やかに受け入れる。 

Similar mutual concessions are also needed to enact the initial fiscal 2009 budget bill swiftly. That will require Aso to promise to dissolve the Lower House for a snap poll immediately after the Diet passes the budget and related bills.

 当初予算についても、同じように双方の歩み寄りが必要だ。そのためには、首相が予算や関連法案の成立後ただちに衆院を解散すると約束することが欠かせまい。 

At Sunday's news conference, however, Aso clearly ruled out any possibility of such a political deal with the opposition bloc. Aso appears to be intent on bulldozing these bills through the Diet by invoking the so-called 60-day rule, which allows the Lower House to enact bills through a second vote if the Upper House does not vote on them in 60 days. But this approach will inevitably prolong the political gridlock. Aso's confrontational strategy is a disturbingly irresponsible way to deal with the current political situation.

 だが、首相はきのうの記者会見で、野党との「話し合い解散」の可能性を明確に否定した。60日ルールによる衆院の再議決で押し通す構えのようだが、それでは混迷は長引く。対決一辺倒では政治の無責任というほかない。 

Aso may be fearing that a promise to call an election would torpedo the last of his fragile power base within the ruling camp and cause his government to collapse. But this political paralysis has its roots in the postponement of a Lower House election to seek a public mandate by the three LDP administrations since the party's disastrous defeat in the Upper House election two years ago.

 首相には解散を口にした途端、与党内の求心力が失われ、政権が失速する恐怖があるのかもしれない。しかし、いまの政治の機能不全は、2年前の参院選での惨敗以後、3代の自民党政権が総選挙の洗礼を先延ばししてきたことに起因する。

It is no longer possible for the ruling party to keep escaping the inevitable political reset.

政治のリセットから逃げ続けることはもう許されない。

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社説:09年チェンジ オバマ政権 のびやかな日米関係に 近現代史の知識を広げよう

(Mainichi Japan) January 5, 2009

Looking to the past to boost Japan-U.S. alliance for future

社説:09年チェンジ オバマ政権 のびやかな日米関係に 近現代史の知識を広げよう


"I hate talking about the past," are the words of a Japanese student in Seoul. After a year of language study in South Korea, the student had become capable of communicating fairly well with the friendly Korean students that she had met. Once in a while, talk turns to Japanese-Korean tensions over differing perspectives on history.

 「昔の話がいちばんキライ!」。ソウルで会った日本人女子学生の言葉である。少し説明を要する。

 1年近い語学留学の結果、彼女は地元の親切な男子学生たちとかなり意思疎通できるようになった。すると時々、歴史認識をめぐる日韓摩擦の話題が出る。

The student can't help but feel that the arguments of the Korean students who feverishly defend their views are one-sided, but she doesn't have the tools necessary to refute them.

興奮気味に話す韓国人学生の主張は一方的だと思えるのだが、反論できない。

"I didn't learn about it in school, and I don't know much history," the student said in her defense.

 「だって学校でも習わなかったし、昔のこと、あまり知らないから……」

She has grown increasingly frustrated, as her language skills are insufficient for her to throw any conversational curveballs. She feels her anger escalating toward Korean students who don't hold back in venting their side of the story but later act as nothing has happened. While this is not enough for her to fall out with her friends, recalling such incidents leaves her with a bad taste in her mouth. And her story is not an uncommon one.

 変化球で議論をかわすには会話能力が不足なので、もどかしいばかり。言いたいことを言って再び友好的な笑顔に戻る韓国人学生に怒りが募り、仲たがいはしないものの思い出すと嫌な気分になるという。実はかなり頻繁にあるケースだ。

Japanese youth -- or rather, the majority of the post-war generation -- is lacking in an understanding of Japanese history from the Meiji period through Japan's defeat in the Pacific War. And at the core of this phenomenon lies the relationship between Japan and the U.S. Let us take a look at this issue in light of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration on Jan. 20 (early on Jan. 21, Japan time).

 日本の若者、いや戦後世代の多くが、明治から太平洋戦争敗戦までの歴史知識に乏しい。あえて言えば根底には日米関係がある。米国で今月20日(日本時間21日未明)、オバマ新大統領が就任するのに向けて、この問題を考えてみたい。

 ◇同盟の懸念材料

First, with regards to international affairs, Obama has quite a bit of work cut out for him. In addition to the economic crisis, various challenges await him: acts of terrorism as well as conflicts in the Middle East that are causing unending bloodshed; the alarming possibility of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as exemplified by North Korea; and the world's scramble for food and energy resources.

 国際情勢から始めよう。オバマ氏の使命は重い。世界を揺るがしている経済危機だけでなく、テロや中東紛争での果てしない流血、北朝鮮に象徴される大量破壊兵器拡散の恐怖、食糧やエネルギー資源の争奪戦など、極めて深刻な課題が待ち受けている。

Of course, expectations are high, too. While President George W. Bush lost the world's trust through selfish diplomacy and an unjustified war in Iraq, there is hope that Obama, who knocked down the barriers of race on a platform of "change," will bring about a shift, that he will effectively use America's cultural and spiritual soft power to strike a chord of international cooperation with people around the world.

 もちろん期待も高い。ブッシュ大統領は身勝手な外交や大義なきイラク戦争で世界の信頼を失ってしまったが、「チェンジ」を叫んで人種の壁を破ったオバマ氏なら流れを変えられるのではないか。米国の文化的、精神的なソフトパワーを発揮して、心に響く国際協調のハーモニーを奏でてくれるのではないか。


Yet, there are mounting fears in Japan. As the fight against terrorism shifts its focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, there is no doubt that Obama will be asking allies for support. And when he does, will Japan be able to respond?

 だが日本では懸念も広がっている。イラクからアフガニスタンに軸足を移す予定の対テロ戦で、オバマ政権が同盟国に支援を求めるのは確実だろう。この要請に日本は応えられるか。

Public order in Afghanistan has declined enormously. And some predict that, unlike when it sent the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, if Japan decides against sending its SDF troops to Afghanistan, the U.S. will request vast sums of financial support instead.

 アフガンの治安はひどく悪化している。イラクのような自衛隊派遣はできないとなった場合、米国は巨額の費用負担を求めるという見方がある。

Japanese citizens suffering from the recession will be appalled by the amount, and if Obama also shows a lack of sensitivity to Japan regarding North Korea's nuclear program and the abduction issue, worsening Japanese sentiment toward the U.S. is inevitable.

 その金額に、不況に苦しむ日本国民が驚き、さらにオバマ政権が北朝鮮の核問題や日本人拉致問題で日本への配慮を欠いたりすると、対米感情が悪化するのは避けられまい。

From the start, the Japan-U.S. alliance has been somewhat shaky. The Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is an alliance between a country that came out victorious in the Pacific War and another that was defeated. The unique set-up, in which the U.S. is entrusted with the core elements of the alliance while Japan allows the U.S. to operate large scale military bases on its land, has been maintained within a backdrop of resignation that such an arrangement is unavoidable because Japan lost the war, and the argument that being able to develop economically without having to spend money on a military is ideal.

 もともと日米同盟には危うい側面がある。安保条約は太平洋戦争の勝者と敗者の同盟だ。安全保障の根幹を米国に任せ、日本国内で広大な米軍基地の運用を認めるという特殊な状況は、戦争に負けたのだから仕方がないというあきらめや、軍備にカネをかけず経済発展できるのは結構なことだといった主張も背景に維持されてきた。

Meanwhile, however, ill will regarding the events leading up to the war, the dropping of the atomic bombs, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, and conflicts within Japan still linger and occasionally resurface. The incident last year in which a top official in the Air Self-Defense Force released an essay that included a sloppy theory of an American conspiracy is just one example of such enduring tensions.

 しかし、開戦に至る経緯や原爆投下、東京裁判などをめぐって、米国へのわだかまりや日本内部の対立が今も残り、時には表面化する。航空自衛隊のトップが、粗雑な米国陰謀説を含む論文を発表した昨年の事件は、その一例だろう。

There are also cases in which such antagonism is not expressed openly. President Bush has made repeated statements in which he equates the bombing of Pearl Harbor with the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. While many Japanese have been offended by the suggestion, most have kept quiet. This troubling relationship between Japan and the U.S. is what makes teaching history in our schools such a difficult task.

 表に出ない場合もある。ブッシュ大統領は日本の真珠湾攻撃と9・11テロを同列に扱う発言を続けた。不快に思っても日本人はおおむね沈黙した。学校での近現代史教育を難しくしている重要な一因は日米関係のこういう悩ましさである。

From the U.S. perspective, too, however, the Japan-U.S. Alliance is not rock-solid. In his recent book, "Pacific Alliance: Reviving U.S.-Japan Relations," Kent E. Calder, a student of Edwin O. Reischauer, who was a Japan scholar and a former U.S. ambassador to Japan, points out that as military integration was furthered via the alliance, the network of politicians, businesspeople, and intellectuals who supported the alliance languished. The number of Chinese Americans has grown to over three times the number of Japanese Americans, and Japanese influence in the world and American interest in Japan has diminished.

 一方、米側から見ても日米同盟は盤石ではない。安保条約による軍事面での統合が深まる一方、同盟を支える政治、経済、文化の人的ネットワークはひどく劣化した。中国系米国人が日系の3倍以上に増えた。日本の影響力も米国からの関心も希薄化している。日本研究でライシャワー元駐日大使の弟子にあたるケント・E・カルダー氏の近著「日米同盟の静かなる危機」(渡辺将人訳、ウェッジ刊)の指摘である。

A young American man who is fluent in Japanese said that he was having trouble finding work in Washington that meets his criteria. He says that there are countless good job openings for China specialists as a result of China's explosive economic growth and the rapidly intensifying ties between China and the U.S. "It was a mistake to study Japan," he said in Japanese, smiling wryly. "I lacked foresight."

 そういえば、ワシントンで会った日本語に堪能な米国人青年は、希望するレベルの就職先が少なくて困っていた。中国の爆発的な経済成長と米中交流の急拡大を背景に、中国専門家なら良い条件のポストがいくらでもあるという。「日本研究を専攻したのは失敗でした。先見の明がありませんでしたね」。日本語でそう言って、苦笑いした。

 ◇まず知ることから

The bottom line is this. In spite of some troubling aspects in the relationship between Japan and the U.S., the Japan-U.S. Alliance is extremely important. This is especially true now, a time when North Korea refuses to abandon its nuclear program and Russia and China's proclivity for ambition is becoming increasingly evident. However, there is not enough interest in the Japan-U.S. Alliance among the public. Our relationship with the Obama administration is an ideal opportunity to develop a better awareness and understanding of our history and relationships.

 結論を述べよう。悩ましい側面があっても日米同盟は重要である。北朝鮮が核計画を放棄せず、ロシアや中国の野心的な動向が目立つ現状ではなおさらだ。ところが日米同盟の実態と意味について一般国民の関心は十分でない。オバマ政権との付き合いを機に認識を深めることが望ましい。

At the same time, it is crucial that we teach the fundamentals of modern Japanese and world history in our schools, and for adults to gain an accurate understanding of Japan's dog-eat-dog imperialist era, how the country flourished, and eventually suffered defeat. Without this knowledge, we run the risk of being consumed with misinformed fury and lapsing into the kind of nationalism that once ruined Japan.

 同時に進めるべきは、日本と世界の近現代史の基礎を学校でしっかり教え、大人も学ぶことだ。弱肉強食の帝国主義時代、日本がどのように興隆し、敗亡したのかを正しく把握しておきたい。その知識がないと、偏った情報を根拠に怒りをたぎらせ、かつて日本を滅ぼしたようなナショナリズムに陥る危険がある。

One hopes for a more open, unconstrained relationship with the U.S. To achieve this, we must let go of any lingering grievances. It will probably take a long time. But first, let us learn about the past.

 米国との関係を、もっとのびやかなものにしたい。そのためには、わだかまりを解かねばならない。おそらく長い年月がかかる。まずは「昔の話」をきちんと知ろうという提言である。

毎日新聞 200914日 東京朝刊

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急変する世界 国政遂行の枠組みを作れ、予算を早期に成立させよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 6, 2009)

Nation in need of new political framework

急変する世界 国政遂行の枠組みを作れ、予算を早期に成立させよ(16日付・読売社説)

With the nation facing a worldwide simultaneous economic downturn, political leadership is needed now more than ever.

 世界同時不況の大波が押し寄せている。政治の指導力が、今ほど必要とされている時はない。

The term of House of Representatives members expires Sept. 10. A lower house election must be held by the autumn.

 衆院議員の任期は、今年9月10日で切れる。秋までには、確実に総選挙が行われる。

How can the nation form a political framework to promptly and vigorously pursue policy goals?

 政策を迅速かつ強力に推進できる日本政治の枠組みを、どう構築していくのか。

Both political parties and individual politicians now must take to heart their grave responsibility and act with prudence.

政党も、個々の政治家も、責任の重さを噛()みしめ、熟慮して行動すべき時である。

At his first press conference this year, Prime Minister Taro Aso stressed the urgent need for economic stimulus measures. He said he would not consider dissolving the lower house until the vital fiscal 2009 budget and related bills had been passed by the Diet.

 麻生首相は年頭の記者会見で、「急ぐべきは景気対策。予算と関連法案を早急に成立させることが重要で、それまで衆院解散を考えることはない」と強調した。

Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa said doubts about the current administration's ability to continue would grow beyond the prime minister's intention and urged the swift dissolution of the lower house.

 小沢民主党代表は「首相の意図を超え、『主権者の意思を問え』という声は大きくなる」と述べ、早期解散を要求している。

===

Mindful of election

The ordinary Diet session, which was convened Monday despite the matsunouchi New Year period, is likely to be tense as lawmakers are keenly aware of the possibility of dissolution of the lower house.

 「松の内」の5日に召集された通常国会は、衆院解散含みの緊迫した国会になるだろう。

The government and ruling parties hastened to open the Diet session early because they need to pass a second supplementary budget for fiscal 2008 and the fiscal 2009 budget as soon as possible to address the rapidly deteriorating economy and the increasingly serious employment situation.

 政府・与党が、これほど開会を急いだのは、急速な景気の悪化や雇用問題の深刻化に直面し、2008年度第2次補正予算案と09年度予算案を早期に成立させる必要に迫られているからだ。

The Aso Cabinet has been shaken by its rapidly declining approval rate. Yoshimi Watanabe, former state minister in charge of administrative reform, has indicated he may leave the Liberal Democratic Party. The fate of the Aso administration will depend on its ability to get through this Diet session.

 麻生内閣は支持率が急落し、渡辺喜美元行政改革相が自民党離党の動きを見せている。この国会を切り抜けられるかどうかが、政権の命運を左右する。

The ruling parties intend to pass the second supplementary budget, which includes flat-sum cash benefits, and its related bills in the lower house in mid-January.

 与党は、定額給付金などを盛り込んだ第2次補正予算案と関連法案について、1月中旬に衆院を通過させる日程を描いている。

But the DPJ has decided to submit to the lower house a revised budget that dropped the cash benefit and related plans. The leading opposition party is set to urge thorough deliberations on the extra budget at the House of Councillors. The ruling camp thus has little prospect of swift passage of the extra budget.

 しかし、民主党は、定額給付金の関連部分を削除する修正案を衆院に提出する方針を決めた。参院でも徹底審議を求める構えで、早期成立の目算は立っていない。

===

Pointless payoff

The cash benefit plan is unlikely to generate much economic effect, despite its 2-trillion yen price tag.

 定額給付金は、総額約2兆円もの巨費を投じながら、経済効果はあまり期待できない。

But if the DPJ unnecessarily delays Diet deliberations, it would go against its own election campaign slogan--"the people's livelihood is a top priority."

 だが、民主党も、審議をいたずらに引き延ばせば、「生活が第一」という党の選挙スローガンと矛盾してしまうだろう。

Delay in passing the budgets due to turbulent Diet deliberations would result in further economic decline. The ruling and opposition parties should avoid a power struggle and instead join hands to quickly pass the budgets.

 国会審議が難航し、予算の成立が遅れると、景気の足をさらに引っ張る。与野党は、政局次元の争いを避け、予算の早期成立に向け協力すべきだ。

 ◆将来構想を競え◆

The next lower house election will be a battle for power between the two major parties--the LDP and the DPJ.

 衆院選は、自民、民主の2大政党が、政権の座をかけてぶつかり合う選挙になる。

They will be tested strictly by voters over whether the LDP still has the capacity to remain in power and whether the DPJ is responsible enough to take power.

 自民党は、政権を維持する余力が残っているのか。民主党は、責任を持って政権を担えるのか。これを、有権者から厳しく吟味されることになる。

Another question to be asked in the election is what the party that takes power intends to do with it. What kind of nation do they intend to make Japan? Each party must show detailed plans for the nation's future.

 同時に問われるのが、政権を取って何をなすか、である。一体、日本をどんな国にするのか。各党は、国造りの将来構想を具体的に提示しなければならない。

How can economic and social vigor be maintained as the nation's population shrinks with a declining birthrate and graying society? How can the social security system, including pensions, medical services and nursing care, be reorganized in a way that restores people's trust?

 少子高齢化で人口減少が進む日本にあって、経済、社会の活力をどう維持していくか。安心できる年金、医療、介護などの社会保障制度をいかに再構築するか。

What roles should the nation play to foster global stability? How can the nation's security be protected?

 国際社会の安定に、日本はどんな役割を果たし、日本の安全をどう守っていくのか。

===

Squabbling won't serve

If the ruling and opposition parties stick to fighting each other over dole-out policies such as the LDP's cash benefit plan and the DPJ's child allowance plan, they will not be able to win voters' hearts.

 与党の定額給付金や民主党の子ども手当などのバラマキ的な政策を競い合うばかりでは、有権者の心をとらえることはできまい。

Aso clearly referred to a hike in the consumption tax rate in fiscal 2011 in the government's medium-term program for drastic tax reform likely out of a sense of responsibility as one in power.

 麻生首相が、政府の税制抜本改革の「中期プログラム」に、2011年度からの消費税率引き上げを明記したのは、政権政党としての責任感からだろう。

The DPJ is set to fight the next general election on the same policy platform it had in the 2007 upper house election, including the creation of minimum pension guarantees and the provision of income guarantees to farmers in some cases.

 民主党は、最低保障年金の創設や農家への戸別所得補償など07年夏の参院選以来の公約を中心に、総選挙に臨む方針だ。

But as much as 20.5 trillion yen will be needed to implement those policy measures. The question arises of whether this amount could be allocated through reform of the administrative and fiscal system alone without raising the consumption tax rate. The DPJ should be clear on the source of revenue needed to carry out the measures.

 だが、これらの公約を実現するには、20・5兆円もの財源が必要だ。消費税率を引き上げず、行財政改革で本当に捻出(ねんしゅつ)できるのか。財源を明確に示すべきだ。

We hope each party actively engages in debate in the current Diet session to clarify points of contention in the upcoming election.

 今国会で、各党は、活発に論戦を展開し、総選挙の争点を明確にしてもらいたい。

Voters are increasingly frustrated with the current political situation in which a divided Diet hinders speedy decision-making.

 有権者は、衆参ねじれの下で迅速な意思決定ができない政治の現状に、いら立ちを強めている。

===

Split legislature

 ◆政界再編は不可避か◆

Even if the LDP and its coalition partner New Komeito secure a majority of lower house seats in the next election, the Diet will remain divided with the upper house controlled by the opposition camp.

 総選挙で自民、公明の与党が衆院の過半数を確保し、政権を維持しても、衆参のねじれは残る。

In addition, it seems certain that the ruling parties will fail to retain two-thirds or more of the lower house seats needed to pass bills through a second vote. This means that the nation's legislative process will not function if opposition parties defeat bills in the upper house.

 加えて、与党は衆院での再可決に必要な「3分の2以上」の議席を失うのは必至だ。となると、参院で野党が反対すれば、国としての意思決定ができない異常な事態に陥ってしまう。

If opposition parties, including the DPJ, win a majority of lower house seats in the election, the problem of a divided Diet will disappear.

 民主党など野党が、総選挙で過半数を獲得すれば、ねじれは一応、解消する。

But it also will be difficult for the DPJ to secure a majority in both chambers on its own. The DPJ will have to seek the cooperation of other opposition parties such as the Social Democratic Party despite differences in policy.

 だが、民主党も単独で衆参の過半数を確保することは難しい。政策に違いがある社民党などの協力を得る必要に迫られる。

Regardless of which party takes power, it is necessary to have a framework to carry out state affairs without delay. To secure a majority in both chambers, it seems unavoidable for the political circles to form a coalition with different partners and undergo political realignment.

 自民、民主のいずれが政権をとろうとも、国政を遅滞なく遂行する枠組みが必要だ。衆参両院で過半数を押さえるために、新たな組み合わせの連立政権や政界再編が避けられないのではないか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 6, 2009)

2009160135  読売新聞)

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2009年1月 5日 (月)

主要企業アンケート:「景気悪化」急増83% 今年「改善」ゼロ--主要121社

(Mainichi Japan) January 5, 2009

83 percent of surveyed major firms say business conditions are worsening

主要企業アンケート:「景気悪化」急増83% 今年「改善」ゼロ--主要121社

 ◇毎日新聞社アンケート

Over 80 percent of major companies surveyed by the Mainichi Shimbun late last year said that business conditions are worsening.

 毎日新聞が08年末、全国の主要企業121社を対象に行ったアンケートで、景気の現状について83%(100社)が「悪化している」と回答した。

In the survey conducted just a year earlier, none of the respondents felt business conditions were deteriorating and only 4 percent gave the same answer in the July 2008 survey.

The latest survey has demonstrated that the global financial crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September last year has cast a shadow over Japanese companies' business confidence.

1年前の07年末の調査では「悪化」はゼロ、08年7月の調査でも4%にとどまっており、昨年9月の米大手証券リーマン・ブラザーズ破綻(はたん)に端を発した世界金融危機が、企業の景況感に大きな影を落としたことが浮かび上がった。

The Mainichi Shimbun surveyed 121 major companies across the country between early and mid-December last year about their business confidence.

 アンケートは12月上~中旬に実施した。

Just 100, or 83 percent, replied that they felt that business conditions were deteriorating. All the other companies but one said they felt that business conditions were gradually declining.

景気の現状については、残る17%も1社を除いて「緩やかに悪化」と答えており、ほぼすべての企業が厳しい現状認識を示した。

An overwhelming majority of respondents are pessimistic about the prospects of the economy this year, with 85 percent saying it will worsen in 2009 and 13 percent replying it will remain at the current level. None of the respondents forecast that the economy will improve this year.

09年の経済見通しも「悪くなる」が85%に達した。「現状並み」は13%で、「良くなる」と回答した企業はなかった。

In the poll at the end of 2007, 27 percent of companies predicted that the economy would improve in 2008, well above 11 percent who forecast it would worsen.

These two surveys show that companies' business confidence has sharply declined over the past year.

07年末の調査では、08年の景気見通しについて27%が「良くなる」と回答、「悪くなる」の11%を上回っており、この1年間での景況感の急速な悪化ぶりをうかがわせた。

In the poll, 121 firms were asked to cite up to three main causes of concern for Japan's economy.

The largest number -- 98 firms -- cited the U.S. economic outlook apparently because there is no sign that the financial crisis will be settled in the foreseeable future and that the prospects for rehabilitating Big Three U.S. automakers are uncertain.

 日本経済の懸念材料を三つまで挙げてもらったところ、「米国経済の先行き」が98社と最も多かった。金融危機収束の兆しがないうえ、米自動車大手3社(ビッグ3)の再建の行方が不透明なことも響いたとみられる。

The next reason was the sluggish consumer spending cited by 73 firms, followed by the yen's appreciation as named by 48 companies, and the prospects of emerging economies such as China, which was listed by 35 firms.

「個人消費の停滞」73社、「円高」48社、「中国など新興国経済の先行き」35社が続いた。

The largest ratio of the respondents, 41 percent, said they predict that Japan's economy will begin to pick up in the first half of 2010, followed by 24 percent who answered the latter half of the same year, 22 percent who forecast in late 2009. No company predicted that conditions would improve in the first half of this year.

 景気の回復時期については「10年上半期」が41%と最多。次いで「10年下半期」の24%、「09年下半期」の22%。「09年上半期」はゼロで、「景気の反転は当面、難しい」というのがほぼ共通認識になっている。【田畑悦郎】

毎日新聞 200914日 東京朝刊

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職業訓練―人材立国のために充実を

2009/1/5

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 3(IHT/Asahi: January 5,2009)

EDITORIAL: Job training important

職業訓練―人材立国のために充実を

In the final days of 2008, job seekers rushed to temporary counters at government Hello Work employment centers set up on an emergency basis. We suspect there were many desperate people, seeking any job they could find to make it through another day.

 ハローワークの臨時窓口に昨年末、職を求める人々が殺到した。明日の生活の糧を得るためにはどんな仕事でもかまわない。そんな切迫した気持ちの人が多かったに違いない。 

However, it would be better if there were more options for job seekers so people who lost their jobs could learn new vocational skills. This would help them embark on a new path with their futures in sight.

 しかしより将来を考えて、失業を機に新しい職業能力を身につけ、新たな道に進む。そんな選択肢がもっと広がらないものだろうか。 

In recent years, European countries have placed job training at the center of their employment policies. The aim is to reduce dependence on the dole while building a skilled labor force to help expand the job market.

 欧州諸国は近年、職業訓練を雇用政策の軸にすえている。失業手当への依存を減らす一方で、雇用拡大につながる良質な人材を育てるためだ。 

If unemployment benefits funded by employment insurance are like a safety net that catches and saves people that fall off a rope, then job training might be called a trampoline that helps people jump back onto the rope after they fall.

 雇用保険による失業手当が、綱から落ちてきた人を受け止めるセーフティーネットなのに対して、職業訓練は、落ちてきた人が再び綱に跳び上がるためのトランポリンと言えようか。 

In Japan, however, the safety net is torn, and job training, which should serve as a trampoline, does not fully work.

 ところが日本では、雇用の安全網が大きく破れ、トランポリン役の職業訓練も十分には機能していない。 

On the frontline of Japan's manufacturing industry, the skills to make things have been handed down at each individual company.

 日本の製造業の現場では、企業内でものづくりの技術が受け継がれてきた。

However, those companies do not offer training to their temporary workers. Non-regular workers in the service industries are given only simple tasks, and there is little opportunity to acquire sufficient skills.

だが企業内の訓練から派遣労働者ははずされている。サービス産業で働く非正規労働者は単純労働がほとんどで、十分な技術は身につかない。 

On the other hand, there are about 150,000 people that receive public job training each year. There are job training courses that teach mold-making, welding, housing improvement, bookkeeping and others.

In recent years, there are also training courses that teach nursing care services. Only 30 percent of the courses are provided at facilities owned by the central or local governments themselves, and the rest are being increasingly outsourced to the private sector.

 一方、公的な職業訓練を受ける人は毎年15万人前後いる。金型製作や溶接、住宅リフォーム、簿記などのほか、最近は介護サービスを学ぶコースも設けられている。国や自治体の自前の施設での訓練は3割で、最近は民間への委託訓練が増えている。 

The problem is how to support oneself during training. There are about 17 million nonregular workers now, as many as a third of the entire workforce. Yet, a majority of these nonregular workers are not eligible for unemployment insurance. So, they must be concerned with living expenses from the day they start their job training.

 問題は訓練期間中の生活だ。非正規労働者は1700万人にのぼり、全労働者の3分の1に増えたが、その過半数が雇用保険に加入できていない。だから職業訓練を始めたその日から生活資金を心配しなければならない。 

Many of these nonregular workers have no chance to improve their job skills, and have no choice but to flit from job to job, always anxious about their future. Japan's economy will lose enormous potential for years ahead if this continues.

 非正規労働者らの多くは、職業能力を向上させることもできず、心の不安を抱えたまま職を転々とせざるをえない。これでは将来にわたって、日本経済の潜在力を奪ってしまう。 

To overcome these difficult times and for society to regain its peace of mind, the hole in the employment safety net must be mended and a system must be created to provide job training to anyone who wants it.

 この難局を乗り越え、社会が安心を取り戻すためには、雇用のネットの破れ目を繕うとともに、希望者全員が職業訓練を受けられる態勢を整えねばならない。 

Measures should also be taken to make it easier for nonregular workers to join the employment insurance scheme.

 雇用保険に非正規労働者が入りやすくする。

While much broader opportunities for job training are a must, there must also be a system to provide trainees with living expenses during training. We urge the government to implement these policies without fail.

職業訓練の枠を大幅に広げる。訓練中に十分な生活資金が得られるようにする。政府はそうした雇用対策を確実に実現してもらいたい。 

The government earlier decided to merge the Employment and Human Resources Development Organization of Japan (EHDO), an independent administrative agency, with another independent administrative agency after EHDO was roundly criticized for building expensive leisure resorts. The combined entity will specialize in providing job training for the manufacturing sector.

 豪華な保養施設を次々に造り、批判を浴びた独立行政法人「雇用・能力開発機構」について、政府は他の独法に統合し、今後はものづくり技術の職業訓練に専念させることを決めた。 

The organization wasted vast amounts of money. Continued reform is necessary while removing superfluous, overlapping central and local government activities.

 あれだけの無駄遣いを続けた組織である。国と都道府県との業務の重複を減らしつつ、引き続き改革が必要だ。 

Since Japan is a country with few natural resources, it has no choice but to become a country built on skilled labor. The country should try to turn this recession into an opportunity for the future.

 資源のない日本は人材立国をめざすしかない。この不況が次への大きなステップとなるようにしたい。v

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不況と保護主義―過ちの歴史を繰り返すな

2009/1/5

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 3(IHT/Asahi: January 5,2009)

EDITORIAL: The global recession

不況と保護主義―過ちの歴史を繰り返すな

This is going to be a hugely challenging year for the world economy. It faces a critical choice: Will it turn its back on globalization and move toward protectionism, or will it reject protectionism and maintain free trade?

 経済のグローバル化に背を向けて保護主義へ向かうのか、それを許さずあくまでも自由貿易を守るのか。今年は世界経済にとって、重い選択を迫られる試練の年となりそうだ。 

The world has been caught up in a full-blown financial crisis since last autumn and is now sinking deeper into synchronized recession. To mitigate the painful effects of the global downturn on their economies, many countries are making moves that smack of protectionism. Symbolizing this trend are responses by key economic powers to the predicament of their domestic auto industries.

 昨秋から世界は金融危機に見舞われ、同時不況が深まりつつある。この衝撃をやわらげようと、世界中で保護主義的な動きが出ている。その象徴が自動車をめぐる各国の対応である。 

Last month, the U.S. government decided to provide $17.4 billion (about 1.5 trillion yen) in emergency loans to General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC., which are on the verge of bankruptcy.

 米政府は先月、経営危機に陥っているゼネラル・モーターズ(GM)とクライスラーに対し、約1兆5千億円のつなぎ融資を決めた。

The European Union, Britain, Sweden and China have also started providing public aid to their troubled auto industries. Russia is set to raise tariffs on car imports this month to protect its own industry.

欧州連合(EU)や英国、スウェーデン、中国などでも、政府が自動車産業への支援を始めた。ロシアは自動車産業を守るため今月から関税を引き上げる。 

It is difficult to criticize a country that feels it cannot allow its auto industry, which provides so many jobs, to collapse amid this harsh recession.

 多くの雇用を抱える自動車産業を不況のさなかにつぶすことはできない。各国がそう考えてもやむを得ない面はある。

But what should be borne in mind is that protecting domestic industries could lead to even more serious problems in the long run.

ただそこには、長い目でみればもっと大きな問題を生む要素があることも忘れてはならない。 

By providing financial assistance to car manufacturers, governments in effect are offering export subsidies that help bolster the competitiveness of their exports.

But countries targeted in export drives by carmakers that are receiving government support tend to adopt defensive measures, such as subsidies to domestic makers and hikes in car import tariffs.

Such policy actions, coupled with tit-for-tat responses, could eventually escalate into a global wave of protectionism.

 自動車メーカーへの金融支援は輸出競争力を増すだろうから、輸出補助金のようなものといえる。輸出攻勢を受ける側の国も、国内メーカーへの補助や関税引き上げといった対抗策に走りやすい。その応酬が、やがて保護主義のうねりと化しかねないのだ。 

That is exactly what happened during the Great Depression, which started in 1929 in the United States.

 1929年に米国で始まった大恐慌がまさにそうだった。


At the time, the U.S. government moved to protect domestic industries amid surging unemployment by raising tariffs on a wide range of imports. This triggered similar tariff increases by countries in Europe and elsewhere.

大量の失業に苦しむ米国が国内産業保護のために関税を引き上げると、それが欧州各国や周辺国へも飛び火した。 

The wave of protectionist moves caused all the countries involved to enter a long and damaging recession, ushering in the gloomy era that led to a devastating world war.

 この連鎖により、結局はどの国も長く深刻な不況へ突入し、世界大戦へとつながる暗い時代の幕開けとなった。

There was no winner in the trade war. Nations should not repeat this mistake. They should not allow the world economy to fall into the same abyss by succumbing to the temptation to retreat behind the protective walls of trade barriers.

「勝ち組」は生まれなかった。この失敗を繰り返し、内に引きこもった世界経済にしてはならない。 

It will take at least several years for the world economy to regain health. Preventing protectionism from raising its ugly head requires strong political will on the part of world leaders.

 世界景気の回復に数年はかかる。保護主義の台頭を食い止めるには、何より首脳たちの強い意思が必要だ。

The leaders of the Group of 20 major countries sent an encouraging signal in their emergency meeting on the financial crisis in November, when they pledged to work out by year-end an outline of a new trade agreement under the Doha Round of global trade talks that are still continuing.

昨年11月の金融サミットで、多角的貿易交渉(ドーハ・ラウンド)を年末までに大枠合意する、と公約したまでは良かった。

But they failed to strike a deal by the end of the year, dimming the prospect for a successful conclusion of the negotiations.

だが合意に失敗し、交渉の先行きには悲観論が広がっている。 

Japan should strongly urge major trade powers such as the United States, Europe, China and India to reopen the trade talks as quickly as possible.

 日本はラウンドの早期再開を米欧や中国、インドなどに強く働きかけるべきだ。

As a resource-poor nation with a shrinking population, Japan will have no choice but to continue to rely on global trade for its economic well-being. Japan can contribute to the welfare of the world as a whole while protecting its own interest by working to keep global trade flowing freely.

資源に乏しく人口減少社会となった日本は、今後も貿易立国の道を歩まざるを得ない。自由貿易を守ることは国際貢献であり国益でもある。 

But it will take a lot of time to forge consensus among the 150 or so countries taking part in the Doha Round. It might be a good idea for the government to first try to establish an idealistic model for free trade agreements.

 ただ、150もの国が参加するラウンドの合意には時間がかかるだろう。まずは自由貿易協定の理想的なモデルを実現させる努力をしてはどうか。 

One potential candidate for such a model is the U.S.-proposed free trade zone encompassing the countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

 米国が提唱するアジア太平洋経済協力会議(APEC)の自由貿易圏は候補の一つだろう。

As a first step in such efforts, the Japanese government should start negotiations for participation in the economic partnership agreement envisioned by countries in the region, including the United States, Singapore and New Zealand.

足がかりに、米国やシンガポール、ニュージーランドなどが検討している経済連携協定に、日本も参加する方向で交渉すべきだ。

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急変する世界 「トヨタショック」克服の道は、不況のツナミに襲われた日本

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 5, 2009)

Fundamental change needed to lift economy

急変する世界 「トヨタショック」克服の道は、不況のツナミに襲われた日本(15日付・読売社説)

The traces of sunlight that only a short while ago greeted Japan's economy have disappeared behind dark clouds that have gathered in little more than the blink of an eye, and which are now battering the nation's economy with stormy conditions as it sets sail in the turbulent seas of 2009.

 少し前まで薄日が差していた空に、あっという間に真っ黒な暗雲がたれ込め、横なぐりの雨と大波が荒れ狂う……。

 2009年の日本経済は、激しい時化(しけ)の海への船出となった。

If Japan is to reach the port of recovery, it will need a well-devised map to help it navigate this once-in-a-century tempest.

 「100年に1度」とも言われる嵐の海をどのように乗り越え、「経済再生」の港に到着するか。しっかりとした航海計画を立てねばならない。

First, the government must establish what the weaknesses are in the nation's economy and consider countermeasures.

 まずは、日本経済の弱点を探り、対策を練る必要がある。

A major problem is that domestic and foreign demand, the two engines powering Japan's economic growth, are out of kilter.

 第一に、成長を引っ張る「外需」と「内需」という、二つのエンジンのバランスが悪い。

Through processing trade, in which imported raw materials are manufactured into goods that are then sold to foreign countries, Japan realized rapid economic growth after World War II.

 日本は、原材料を輸入して製品に仕上げ、それを海外に売る「加工貿易」で、戦後の高度成長を実現した。

This model depends heavily on foreign demand, especially from the United States and advanced nations in Europe. But although efforts have been made to expand the operations of Japanese firms through overseas factories, there have been no substantial changes in the fundamental reliance on overseas markets.

このため、今も外需への依存度が高く、それも欧米の先進国に偏りがちだ。

 工場の海外展開など工夫もしたが、海外に販路を求める構造に大きな変化は見られない。

===

Finding new markets

The financial crisis has been growing in the United States and European markets--the main drivers of foreign demand--which has caused a dramatic slowing in one of the two engines of demand.

 主力の欧米市場で金融危機が拡大し、外需のエンジンが急激にスローダウンしてしまった。

Toyota Motor Corp., which enjoyed an operating profit of more than 2 trillion yen in the last business year, is struggling this year, forecasting operating profits will fall into the red by 150 billion yen.

 前年度に2兆円を超える営業利益を誇ったトヨタ自動車は今年度、一転して1500億円の赤字に落ち込む見通しだ。

This "Toyota shock" highlights the unprecedented woes facing Japan's export industry as it is engulfed by the global economic downturn.

 「トヨタショック」は、日本経済を引っ張ってきた輸出産業が、ツナミのような世界同時不況にのみ込まれ、かつてない苦境にあえいでいる象徴といえる。

 ◆新たな市場の開拓を◆

And although they had enjoyed high growth, emerging markets in Asia, particularly China and India, are seeing their growth prospects cloud over, too. Japanese companies must now actively seek major new markets in an effort to secure more balanced foreign demand.

 中国やインドをはじめとしたアジアの新興市場も、高成長にかげりが出てきた。さらに幅広く新規市場を求め、外需の地域バランスを取る必要がある。

However, it is a tall order selling high-end, expensive Japanese products on a large scale to developing countries. A new business model should therefore be developed that allows the country to profit from passing on the benefits and know-how of its production technology.

 ただ、高性能で価格の高い日本製品を、途上国で大量に売るのは難しい。生産技術などの「知恵」を供与し、その成果を配当などの形で受け取るなど、新たな事業モデルも育てたい。

Because Japanese firms depend so heavily on foreign demand, the nation's economy is vulnerable to foreign exchange fluctuations. The yen has, for example, risen to about 90 yen per U.S. dollar, slashing the profits of export-dependent companies.

 外需依存の結果、為替相場の影響を受けやすいことも弱みとなっている。1ドル=90円台前後まで円高が進み、輸出産業の利益は大幅に圧縮された。

===

New opportunities

However, the yen's rising value could open up new strategies for Japanese firms, such as making it possible to acquire healthy foreign companies. The strengthening yen should therefore be seen not as a jam, but as an opportunity to take advantage of the current turmoil.

 一方で、円の価値が高まれば、優良な海外企業の買収など経営戦略の幅は広がる。円高をピンチと考えるだけでなく、メリットを活用する視点もあっていい。

From a medium- to long-term perspective, the country's aging society, with its declining birthrate and falling population, also will make it difficult to chart an effective economic course.

 中長期的には、日本の針路の先にある少子高齢化と人口減社会の到来という潮流も、航海を一段と難しくしている。

 ◆デフレの深刻化防げ◆

A shift to domestic demand-led economic growth has long been called for. But in the long run, the size of the domestic economy is tending to shrink.

 内需主導への転換が叫ばれて久しいが、長い目で見れば、国内の経済規模は縮小の方向にある。

Under these circumstances, the key to activating domestic demand lays in Japan's savings ratio--one of the highest in the world, and a point of pride for the country.

An estimated 1.5 yen quadrillion is effectively kept under mattresses. Boosting domestic demand and preparing for future generations can both be realized if this huge supply of money is utilized for investment in social infrastructure.

 こうした中で、内需を活性化するカギは、約1500兆円という、世界的にも高水準な貯蓄が握っている。タンスなどに眠る巨額の資金を社会基盤投資などに活用すれば、内需拡大と将来への備えを同時に実現できよう。

===

Beating negative growth

The government downgraded its forecast for the nation's real gross domestic product in fiscal 2008 to minus territory--the first negative growth in seven years.

 政府は、08年度の実質国内総生産(GDP)が7年ぶりのマイナス成長になると見込む。

The government is aiming for zero growth in real GDP in fiscal 2009, a goal it has set in order to try and prevent negative growth. But many analysts in the private sector expect the economy to register negative growth for two straight years.

The government also has predicted that consumer prices will drop by 0.4 points in the next fiscal year, sparking concerns of deflation.

 09年度の政府経済見通しは「ゼロ成長」としたが、マイナスだけは回避したいという「努力目標」の意味合いが強い。民間は2年連続でマイナス成長の予想が大勢だ。消費者物価も09年度は下落する見通しで、日本は「デフレ」に逆戻りする。

With it becoming increasingly difficult to secure loans, even some companies turning a profit have gone bankrupt because of cash flow problems. To avoid deflation being exacerbated by tighter constraints on credit as happened 10 years ago, the government should implement policies that will be effective in preventing such aggravated deflation.

 融資が絞られ、黒字の会社も資金繰り難で倒産している。金融収縮によるデフレの悪化は10年前に経験済みである。政策で先手を打って、深刻化を防がねばならない。

The government will implement economic stimulus measures worth 75 trillion yen through two supplementary budgets and the fiscal 2009 budget. The Bank of Japan, meanwhile, lowered its key interest rate by 0.2 percentage points to 0.1 percent.

 政府は、2回の補正予算と来年度予算で総額75兆円規模の景気対策を実施する。日銀も政策金利を「ほぼゼロ」に下げた。

===

Stimulus might not suffice

This may not be enough. The state's finances now face a further crisis as tax revenues fall due to the recession. But this is not the time to hesitate in increasing public spending on necessary measures to boost the economy.

 しかし、これで十分とは限らない。不況で税収が減り、財政は一段と危機的になったが、景気下支えに必要な財政出動をためらう時ではない。

Without first restructuring the economy, the conditions necessary for a hike in the consumption tax rate, which is aimed at securing the stable financial resources for social security, will remain elusive.

 経済を立て直さないと、安定した社会保障財源を確保するための、消費税率引き上げへの道筋も見えてこない。

However, a boost in public spending should not merely be an excuse for pork-barrel spending.

 ただし、財政投入が単なる「ばらまき」では効果が乏しい。

What is initially necessary are measures to ease the pain caused by the economic downturn, such as properly addressing unemployment. Also, the government should be quick to plug damaging holes left by social security expenditure cuts, such as to emergency medical services.

 まず必要なのは、失業対策の充実など景気悪化の痛みを和らげる措置だ。救急医療など、社会保障予算削減の弊害が出てきたところへの手当ても急ぎたい。

The number of public works projects, meanwhile, should be narrowed to areas linked to public safety and improving the quality of the nation's infrastructure, such as increasing earthquake resistance.

 公共事業も、耐震化など国民の安全や社会資本の質向上につながる分野に絞るべきだ。

Toward the end of last year, automakers and other major companies decided one after another to reduce production. As a result, many people have lost their jobs and accommodation simultaneously, and have been left homeless.

 昨年末にかけ、自動車など大手企業の減産が加速した。このあおりを受け、年の瀬に「職」と「住」を同時に失い、ホームレスになった人も少なくない。

Yet measures to boost employment submitted separately by the ruling and opposition blocs were uncoordinated, meaning they could not be realized before the new year.

 ところが、与野党はバラバラに雇用対策を出して、実現を越年させてしまった。

If the ruling and opposition parties want to nail their colors to the mast of prioritizing the economy they should cooperate in an effort to speed up the realization of appropriate policies.

 「経済最優先」をともに掲げるのなら、与野党は政策実現のスピードアップで協力すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 5, 2009)

2009150131  読売新聞)

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2009年1月 4日 (日)

余録:忠犬ハチ公がハリウッド映画になるという…

(Mainichi Japan) January 3, 2009

Learning lessons from the animal world

余録:忠犬ハチ公がハリウッド映画になるという…

The famous Japanese story of a faithful dog called Hachiko, who waited for its deceased owner's return in vain, is to be made into a Hollywood movie. The film will be set in the United States, not in Tokyo, and feature American actors, but the dog in the title role will be an Akita-inu breed, true to the original story. Amid these turbulent times of financial crisis and employment insecurity, ingenuous actions by animals strike a chord among people the world over.

 忠犬ハチ公がハリウッド映画になるという。舞台を東京から米国に変え、俳優も米国人になるが、ハチ公役は秋田犬で名前もハチコーだそうだ。金融危機だの雇用不安だのすさみがちなとき、動物の純真な行動に励まされるのは世界共通だろう

Dogs were also the talk of the town in Chongqing, China; a pair of white dogs, to be exact, who settled in the town after being swept away by a flash flood. Since the female was unable to walk due to leg injury, the male dog was busy bringing food to her, earning himself the nickname Goat.

▲中国の重慶では2匹の犬が話題を集めた。おすとめすの白いむく犬だ。鉄砲水に押し流されて町に来た。めすは後ろ脚のけがで歩けない。おすがせっせとエサを運んでいた。子ヤギのようにかわいいのでおすはヤギと呼ばれた

One day, a local resident took Goat home, but he managed to escape from the house and returned to his partner. The resident forcibly took the male dog back home, but the result was the same, as it was when another resident tried the same thing.

▲ある人がヤギを自宅に連れ帰った。だがヤギは家を抜け出してめすのもとに帰ってきた。連れ戻したが結果は同じだった。別の人が飼おうとした。ヤギはまた逃げ帰った。どうしてもめすのそばを離れようとしない

Locals were struck by learning how strongly the two dogs were bonded, and they chipped in to feed the pair in turn. The story became popular on the Internet, and Goat was ranked the 10th in an online vote for China's most moving animals.

▲2匹のきずなの強さを知った近所の人たちは心を打たれた。お金を出し合い交代でエサやりをしている。この話がネットで広まり、ヤギはネット投票で「中国感動動物」ベストテン第10位に選ばれた

Topping the ranking was a pig that was buried under a house in Chengdu after the Sichuan earthquake, and survived 36 days by nibbling charcoal. Its 200-kilogram weight was reduced to a mere 50 kilograms by the time it was rescued, but the pig's strong survival instinct encouraged people who were devastated by the quake disaster. The pig was nicknamed Tenacity, and is currently kept at a local museum as a living witness to the quake.

▲第1位は、四川大地震で家屋の下敷きになりながら木炭をかじって耐え続け、36日ぶりに救出された成都のブタだった。200キロあった体重は掘り出されたとき50キロに落ちていたが、強じんな生命力が震災で打ちひしがれた人々の心を励ました。ガンバリとニックネームが付けられ、震災の生き証人として地元の博物館が飼育している

Now the pig has got fatter than before the quake and is walked every morning to lose weight. Individual investors whose asset values were reduced due to the sharp fall in stock prices and entrepreneurs struggling with the recession are reportedly waiting for the economic recovery by telling each other that they will make their day again if they persevere like the pig. ("Yoroku," a front-page column in the Mainichi Shimbun)

▲いまでは地震の前より太ってしまった。減量のために毎朝散歩させられるありさまだが、株価の暴落で資産を減らした個人投資家や不況にあえぐ企業家たちは、ガンバリのように忍耐強ければまた太る日も来ると励まし合って景気回復を待っているそうだ。

毎日新聞 200913日 東京朝刊

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急変する世界 国際秩序安定をどう図るか、米新政権が背負う重い課題

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 4, 2009)

Ensuring global stability rests with Obama

急変する世界 国際秩序安定をどう図るか、米新政権が背負う重い課題(14日付・読売社説)

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, advocating "change," will take the oath of office on Jan. 20 against a backdrop of a rapidly deteriorating global economy.

 世界全体の景気が急速に冷え込む中、「チェンジ(変化、変革)」を掲げるバラク・オバマ氏が20日、米国新大統領に就任する。

The most pressing task he faces is to reconstruct the shattered U.S. economy. He also needs to tackle a number of difficult issues, including the two wars that the United States is engaged in--in Iraq and Afghanistan--while preventing nuclear proliferation and trying to secure peace in the Middle East.

 最優先の課題は米国経済の再生だ。イラクとアフガニスタンの二つの戦争、核拡散防止、中東和平問題などの難題も待ち構えている。

The policies to be adopted by the Obama administration in its bid to reestablish the U.S.-led global order will have a decisive impact on the course of world events this year.

 オバマ次期政権が、米国主導の世界秩序の立て直しに向け、いかなる取り組みを見せるのか。その政策が、2009年の世界の行方を左右することになる。

Under the eight-year administration of President George W. Bush, U.S. credibility and prestige have been badly tarnished by turmoil in Iraq and the ongoing financial crisis. The unipolar world of U.S. domination that seemed to have been ushered in after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union is now looking decidedly shaky.

 8年間続いたブッシュ政権のもと、イラクの混迷や金融危機で、米国の威信は大きく傷ついた。「ベルリンの壁」とソ連が崩壊したあと、到来したかに見えていた米国の一極支配体制は、足元から揺らいでいる。

New players have been emerging and remerging on the world stage. These include Russia, which hopes to regain its status as a major power; China, which is boosting its international presence with its increasing economic and military clout; and India and Brazil, which have the potential to become major regional powers.

 大国復活を目指すロシア、経済力と軍事力の増大を背景に存在感を強める中国、地域の大国として大きな潜在力を持ったインド、ブラジルなど、新たなプレーヤーが台頭している。

Meanwhile, new frameworks have begun to settle into place to deal with global problems. The Group of 20 nations, comprised of the Group of Eight major nations plus China, India, South Africa, South Korea and others, is tackling the ongoing financial crisis, while a meeting of the biggest 16 emitters of global warming gases is working to combat climate change.

 金融危機への対応では、G8(主要8か国)に中国やインド、南アフリカ、韓国などを加えたG20が、また地球温暖化対策では、主要排出国16か国会合が、新たな枠組みとして定着してきた。

However, all these countries are hamstrung by recessions brought on by the financial crisis that began last year. As a result, there have been growing conflicts of interest between leading and emerging countries, which is making it difficult for them to reach consensus on pending issues.

 しかし、各国とも昨年来の金融危機と景気後退で、苦境の中にある。このため、先進国と新興国との利害対立も深まっており、懸案の合意形成を難しくしている。

Obama has said he will tackle important and pressing issues by making full use of the range of U.S. powers--its incomparable military strength, as well as its economic and diplomatic prowess--to revive U.S. leadership in the world.

 オバマ次期大統領は、米国のリーダーシップを再生するため、世界に比類のない軍事力、経済力、外交力など米国が有するパワーを総動員し、重大かつ喫緊の課題に取り組む、と宣言している。

Indeed, there apparently is no other major and responsible country capable of assuming a leading role and guiding the world to stability and prosperity.

 実際、世界をとりまとめ、安定と繁栄へ導いていく能力を有する責任ある大国は、米国以外にはあるまい。

Obama is responsible for delivering on his various pledges by crafting appropriate policies and implementing them decisively.

 オバマ氏には、その言葉の通り、諸政策を具体化し、果敢に遂行していく責務があろう。

===

Attention on China, Russia

The world is currently in flux, economically and politically, with the situation apparently becoming ever more fluid.

 現在、世界情勢は急激に変化し、流動化している。

 ◆中国もロシアも難局◆

China has been boosting its military might and indicated its desire to fulfill its international responsibilities by dispatching naval vessels for an antipiracy mission off Somalia late last year. Beijing's decision appears to have been aimed at showcasing its ability to deploy naval vessels on the high seas.

 軍事的な膨張を続ける中国は、昨年末、ソマリア沖の海賊対策で軍艦を派遣し、国際責任を果たす意思を鮮明にした。外洋展開能力を誇示する狙いもあろう。

At home, however, there seems to be growing social unrest. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of modern China. It also marks the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan revolt and the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident in which the Chinese government forcibly suppressed the democratization movement.

 だが、国内では、社会不安が増大しつつある。建国60年の今年は、チベット動乱から50年、民主化運動を弾圧した天安門事件から20年の節目でもある。

Chinese have become increasingly frustrated with the hardships they face as the U.S.-triggered economic slowdown bites following the successful 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Some believe there is increasing potential for mass action demanding the government correct social disparities.

 北京五輪成功直後の米国発金融危機に伴う景気減速で、生活への不満は高まっている。格差是正を要求する大衆行動が広がる恐れが指摘されている。

Meanwhile, Russia's once healthy economy has deteriorated on the back of plunging oil prices. Russia was forced to tap its foreign currency reserves, and the vulnerabilities in its economy, which is heavily dependent on the country's natural resources, have been laid bare.

 ロシアも、好調だった経済が、原油価格の暴落で暗転した。外貨準備の取り崩しを余儀なくされるなど、資源偏重の経済構造の脆弱(ぜいじゃく)性を露呈した。

Russia also remains unchanged in its vehement opposition to the United States and European Union extending their influence eastward.

 一方で、欧米の東方拡大路線に対する強烈な対抗意識は変わるところがない。

As permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China and Russia must establish a cooperative relationship with the next U.S. administration and act responsibly for the sake of global stability.

 中露には、国連安全保障理事会の常任理事国の立場から、オバマ次期米政権と協力体制を築き、世界の安定のために、責任を持って行動してもらう必要がある。

===

Terrorism fight continues

 ◆テロとの戦いは続く◆


The fight against terrorism also remains an important issue for the international community to address this year.

 「テロとの戦い」も、引き続き国際社会の重大な課題だ。

Obama has pledged to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq while sending more troops to Afghanistan, arguing that the front line in the fight against terrorism is not Iraq, but Afghanistan.

 オバマ次期大統領は、テロとの戦いの最前線は、イラクではなく、アフガニスタンだとして、イラクから米軍を撤退させ、アフガンへの増派を進める方針だ。

Is it possible to ensure stability in Iraq with U.S. troops being withdrawn as currently envisioned? It will be important to step up support for Iraq's reconstruction so that intensifying religious strife in the country does not escalate into civil war.

 米軍を早期に撤退させつつ、イラクの安定を確保できるのかどうか。宗派対立の激化で内戦に陥らないようにするには、復興支援を強化していくことが重要だ。

A number of important questions also remain to be answered, such as the degree to which North Atlantic Treaty Organization member countries, including Britain, Germany and France, would accept a request by the United States to boost their troop levels in Afghanistan. And is it possible to eliminate terrorist strongholds in Pakistan in cooperation with the Pakistani government?

 アフガンでは、米国から増派要請を受けている英独仏など北大西洋条約機構(NATO)メンバー国は、これにどこまで積極的に応じるのか。パキスタン領内にあるテロ集団の拠点を、パキスタン政府の協力で壊滅できるか、という難題もある。

Another concern is the deep-rooted animosity between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, which is being rekindled following a series of indiscriminate terrorist attacks in both countries last year.

 核兵器保有国であるパキスタンとインドの根深い対立が、昨年、両国で相次いだ無差別テロを契機に、再燃しようとしているのも懸念材料だ。

Getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions and halting Iran's nuclear development also are pressing issues.

 北朝鮮の核廃棄や、イランの核開発の阻止も、焦眉(しょうび)の急だ。

With the ultimate goal of abolishing nuclear weapons, Obama has stressed a diplomatic strategy based on "unconditional dialogue," even with autocratic regimes. However, there remains some doubt over whether he will be able to achieve much in nuclear negotiations without resorting to the sticks of economic and military power.

 オバマ氏は、核廃絶を目標に掲げ、専制的な独裁政権とも「無条件で対話する」外交戦略に力点を置いている。だが、経済力や軍事力のテコなしに、核交渉で成果をあげられるか、疑問も残る。

Meanwhile, there is increasing uncertainty surrounding North Korea, including questions over who will succeed Kim Jong Il as leader following speculation about his health.

 健康不安が伝えられる金正日総書記の後継問題など、北朝鮮情勢の不透明感が強まっている。

Japan, which must quickly settle the abduction issue and help realize a nuclear-free North Korea, needs to more actively deal with these issues as it negotiates with Pyongyang, while still maintaining close cooperation with the United States.

 核廃棄や拉致問題の解決を早急に図らなければならない日本は、米国と緊密に連携しつつ、対北朝鮮交渉ではより能動的な対応が求められる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 4, 2009)

2009140134  読売新聞)

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2009年1月 3日 (土)

公益法人改革―「民の力」が育つように

2009/1/3

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 31(IHT/Asahi: January 3,2009)

EDITORIAL: Nonprofit activities

公益法人改革―「民の力」が育つように

Nippon Pro Baseball, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Amnesty International Japan and the Japan Parking Facilities Promotion Organization have one thing in common: They are all koeki hojin or public interest corporations overseen by government authorities.

 日本野球機構、NHK交響楽団、アムネスティ・インターナショナル日本、駐車場整備推進機構。これらの団体に共通するのは何か。いずれも役所が所管する公益法人という点だ。 

The basic legal framework for the operation of koeki hojin entities, including shadan hojin (incorporated associations) and zaidan hojin (incorporated foundations), was reformed in December for the first time in about 110 years.

 社団・財団法人の公益法人制度が今月、約110年ぶりに改められた。

Also in 2008, the NPO Law (law to promote specific nonprofit activities) turned 10 years old. Although the two systems involving private-sector public interest activities have reached milestones, there is still much room for improvement.

もうひとつ、NPO法人も根拠となる法律の施行から丸10年がたった。民間の公益活動をめぐる二つの制度がともに大きな節目を迎えたが、まだまだ使い勝手のいい制度とは言い難い。 

This past spring, a corporation under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Land, Transport, Infrastructure and Tourism was found to have squandered its road-related budget on wasteful projects, such as building little-needed parking lots. However, most of the nation's 25,000 koeki hojin entities are doing fine work in the fields of culture, sports, international exchanges and others.

 この春、利用者の少ない駐車場づくりなど、国土交通省所管の法人による道路予算の無駄遣いが問題になった。だが、約2万5千の公益法人の多くは文化、スポーツ、国際交流などの分野でまっとうな活動をしている。 

Under the former system, which had continued from the Meiji Era (1868-1912), public interest corporations could not be established unless they were approved by the central or prefectural governments. The authorities also had jurisdiction over the entities after their establishment.

 明治から続いてきた旧制度の根幹は、主務官庁制だ。中央官庁や都道府県が公益性を認めなければ設立できない。その後も役所が監督する。 

This system stood in the way of cross-ministerial activities, and even turned some corporations into "depositories" of government subsidies or destinations for retired bureaucrats.

 こんな関係が省庁の縦割りを越えた活動をやりにくくし、さらに天下りやそれを養う補助金の受け皿となる「官益法人」も生んできた。

The 2000 bribery scandal involving mutual aid society KSD, an incorporated entity, prompted the latest reforms that aim to eliminate political-bureaucratic collusion.

財団法人のKSDを舞台にした00年の汚職事件を機に、政官界との癒着を改めようとしたのが今回の新制度である。 

The reformed system does away with the need to obtain government approval to start a public interest corporation. As a rule, all one needs to do is register the incorporation.

 新制度では主務官庁制をやめ、登記だけで設立できる原則にした。

If a planned new third-party committee recognizes the public service nature of the intended activities, the corporation will be eligible for generous tax breaks, such as tax exemptions on donations received.

そのうえで、新設する第三者委員会が公益性を認めれば、寄付金控除など手厚い税優遇を受けられる新しい「公益社団・財団法人」になれる。 

The architects of the reformed system boast that this will eliminate bureaucratic red tape and bring greater freedom to public interest activities. However, the system is being given the thumbs down by the corporations.

 役所の制約を離れ、自由な活動を促すというのが、うたい文句だ。だが、法人側からの評判は悪い。 

They argue that the conditions are too strict and that registration requires a huge amount of paperwork. While they agree that entities of dubious nature should obviously not be approved, they say the system could result in proverbial cases of the cure being worse than the disease.

 公益性の認定条件が厳しく、申請などの事務作業も膨大だ。いい加減なものを認めてはならないのは当然だが、角を矯めて牛を殺すことにならないかという懸念が根強いのだ。 

Meanwhile, the NPO Law was initiated by Diet members with support from citizens groups. Under this law, as many as 36,000 NPOs have been established over the last decade. But many are now struggling financially, and some dubious ones have emerged.

 一方、市民も加わった議員立法で生まれたのがNPO法人の制度だ。この10年で3万6千もの法人ができたが、運営に苦しむところも多く、怪しげな法人もちらほらする。 

The establishment of NPOs is subject to approval from the Cabinet Office and other authorities. If they meet National Tax Agency requirements, they become "designated NPOs" eligible for tax breaks, such as tax-free donations.

 こちらも内閣府などの認証で設立された後、さらに国税庁に認められれば寄付金控除などの優遇がある「認定NPO法人」になれる。

Although the pertinent legislative provisions are revised every year, the hurdle is still high for designation as an NPO eligible for favorable treatment. Only about 90 have received that status so far.

年ごとに改善されているとはいえ、やはりハードルが高い。これまでに認定法人になったのはたった90ほどだ。 

The government insists that public interest corporations and NPOs alike must meet strict standards to qualify for tax breaks. While this argument is understandable, setting too high a hurdle would defeat the purpose of the law and will not help nurture a culture that encourages citizens to donate to public interest activities.

 公益法人にせよ、NPO法人にせよ、税の優遇を受けるには厳しい条件を満たす必要がある。官のそんな言い分は理解できるが、あまり厳しくては制度の意義が薄れるし、公益活動に市民が寄付する文化も育たない。 

Both the reformed system and the NPO Law place too heavy a burden on public service corporations.

 二つの制度とも法人側の負担が大きすぎる。

Private nonprofit activities are growing in importance. To support and encourage such activities, further reviews of the system are urgently needed, including easing the conditions under which those corporations will be able to receive tax-free donations.

ますます重要性が高まっていく民間の公益活動を育てていくには、寄付金控除を受けられる要件の緩和など、制度の見直しは急務だ。

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チベット問題―いまこそ対話の好機だ

2009/1/3

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 31(IHT/Asahi: January 3,2009)

EDITORIAL: China-Tibet dialogue

チベット問題―いまこそ対話の好機だ

The year 2008 was shaken by turmoil in Tibet, where riots erupted last March and protests targeting the torch relay for the Beijing Olympic Games spread around the world.

 チベットで揺れた年だった。3月の騒乱に始まり、五輪の聖火リレーを巡る混乱は世界に広がった。

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the current national chair of the European Union's rotating presidency, enraged Beijing in December when he had talks for the first time with the 14th Dalai Lama, the top leader of Tibetan Buddhism.

今月には、欧州連合(EU)議長国・フランスのサルコジ大統領が、チベット仏教の最高指導者ダライ・ラマ14世と初めて会談し、中国の猛反発をかった。 

A Chinese Foreign Ministry press secretary said Sarkozy's meeting with a political exile determined to break up the homeland is an outrageous interference in China's internal affairs and has deeply hurt the people's feelings.

 中国の外務省報道官は「祖国分裂をはかる政治亡命者と会ったのは、内政への乱暴な干渉で、人民の感情を大きく傷つけた」と言った。

Some among the Chinese public criticized Sarkozy's meeting as tantamount to former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to war-related Yasukuni Shrine.

「靖国参拝を繰り返した小泉元首相と同じだ」という批判も中国国民から噴出した。 

The Chinese, who issued repeated warnings against a meeting with the Dalai Lama, postponed a summit with the EU scheduled in Lyon, France.

 ダライ・ラマと会談しないよう再三にわたり警告していた中国側は、フランスのリヨンで開かれるはずだったEUとの首脳会談を延期した。 

With the impact of the global financial crisis extending into the real economy, the failure to hold the summit between China and the EU, two powers expected to play key roles in getting the world economy back on track, is extremely regrettable.

 金融危機が実体経済にも及ぶなか、世界経済の立て直しに役割が期待される中国とEUのサミットが実現しなかったのは、極めて残念だ。 

Sarkozy's decision to proceed with the meeting over Beijing's protests reflected not only the French public's concerns about human rights but also France's aim to again appeal to Beijing for the importance of talking with the Dalai Lama.

 サルコジ氏が中国の強い反対にもかかわらず会談に踏み切ったのは、人権重視の国内世論に配慮しただけでなく、中国側にダライ・ラマとの対話の重要性を改めてアピールする狙いがあったに違いない。 

Since the turmoil in March, talks between the Dalai Lama's envoy and Chinese authorities, which began under prodding from international opinion, remain stalled.

 3月の騒乱後、国際世論におされて始まったダライ・ラマの特使と中国当局者の対話は行き詰まったままだ。 

The Dalai Lama has not shifted his moderate policy line that reportedly favors a higher degree of autonomy, but not independence, for Tibet.

 「独立ではなく高度の自治」というダライ・ラマの「中道路線」には変わりがない。

Yet Beijing refuses to accept that line, claiming that the religious leader has his sights set on virtual independence. China's stance was so rigid that we believe its resumption of dialogue was a pose intended to avoid undermining the buildup to the Summer Olympics.

だが、中国当局は「事実上の独立を目指している」と受け付けない。対話再開は、北京五輪に悪影響を与えないためのポーズだった。そう思わせるほどのかたくなさだ。 

Reacting to such a stance from China, an increasing number of hard-liners in Tibet, primarily young people, are demanding independence.

 そんな中国の姿勢に、チベット社会では若者を中心に「独立」を求める強硬路線が勢いを増している。

At a conference of exiled Tibetans convened in November, participants agreed to maintain the middle-of-the-road path. But the prevailing view was that Beijing's failure to take positive steps would leave no choice but to push for independence.

先月の亡命チベット人会議でも、中道路線継続は確認したものの、中国側が前向きに対応しなければ、独立を要求する以外に道はないとの声が大きかった。 

Beijing bureaucrats may doubt the true extent of "autonomy" sought by the Dalai Lama because of the Tibetans who live outside the autonomous region and non-Tibetans who follow the Tibetan Buddhism faith.

 チベット人はチベット自治区以外にも暮らし、チベット仏教を信仰するのもチベット人に限らない。このため、ダライ・ラマの求める「自治」の範囲への疑念が、中国当局の頭から消えないのかもしれない。 

Nonetheless, Chinese authorities would be well advised to proceed with talks with the Dalai Lama, who is widely supported in Tibetan society.

 しかし、中国はやはり、チベット社会で幅広い支持を得ているダライ・ラマとの対話を進めるべきだ。 

Some Chinese officials appear intent on delaying discourse in light of the Dalai Lama's age, 73. But actions based on such motives would block the existing lines of communication between the two sides, running the risk of sparking another round of riots.

 ダライ・ラマの73歳という年齢を考えて、対話を先送りするという思惑も一部にある。だが、それでは両者をつなぐパイプがつまり、強硬派を勢いづかせて再び騒乱を招きかねない。

2009 is also a sensitive milestone--the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan Revolt.

来年はチベット動乱から50年という敏感な時期でもある。 

Following the turmoil in March, the Japanese government, in a quiet and resilient fashion, urged Beijing to agree to dialogue. Japan was not as loud as Western countries in this regard.

 日本政府はチベット騒乱後、欧米のように大声ではなく、静かにねばり強く中国に対話路線を説得した。

This approach resulted in some Chinese saying that Japanese diplomacy valuing face bore fruit. This Japanese-style approach should be carried on.

「メンツを大切にした日本外交が功を奏した」という声が中国内で出たほどだ。日本流の働きかけを続けるべきだ。

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余録:「水仙いちりんのお正月です」…

(Mainichi Japan) January 2, 2009

Hope in a winter daffodil

余録:「水仙いちりんのお正月です」…

On New Year's Day in 1931, during the Showa Depression, the wandering haiku poet Santoka Taneda composed a verse describing his impoverished situation: "New Year, with a single daffodil." He wrote the verse after spending his last 4 sen (hundredths of a yen) on a bath the previous day.

 「水仙いちりんのお正月です」。放浪の俳人、種田山頭火の昭和6(1931)年元日の日記にある句だ。前日の大みそか、手元の4銭を入浴に使い無一文になった彼は知人に金を借り、ささやかな正月準備をした

After running out of cash, the poet borrowed some money from an acquaintance and prepared for a modest New Year: "10 sen for a cut-price pair of socks, 2 sen for a single daffodil, and one yen for a bottle of sake -- OK New Year, I'm ready for you!"

▲「見切(みきり)の白足袋一足十銭、水仙一本弐銭(にせん)、酒一升一円也(なり)--これで私の正月支度はできた、さあ正月よ、やってこい!」。

During that New Year, Santoka composed haiku about daffodils almost every day: "Daffodil flower, praying for the souls of ancestors," "When I return, the daffodil is in full bloom," he wrote.

この正月、山頭火は毎日のようにスイセンを詠んだ。「先祖代々菩提(ぼだい)とぶらふ水仙の花」「戻れば水仙咲ききつてゐる」……スイセンが好きだとも書いている

"I think that the daffodil as a flowering grass plant is truly Japanese. The flower, the leaves and the smell are all simple, neat and elegant. It possesses modesty, familiarity and beauty, and is one of my favorite grass flowers."

▲「水仙は全く日本的な草花だと思ふ、花も葉も匂(にお)ひも、すべてが単純で清楚(せいそ)で気品が高い。しとやかさ、したしさ、そしてうるはしさを持つてゐる、私の最も好きな草花の一つである」。ちなみにこの年、昭和恐慌さなかの日本は、満州事変へと歴史の迷路にはまり込んでしまった

At this cold time of the year, when the hills and fields lose their hues, some people may celebrate New Year with a single daffodil, which can capture one's heart with its lonely beauty. But even though we are past 2008 -- which saw the greatest economic downturn since the Second World War -- the prospects for the start of this year are so bleak that it is difficult to celebrate with any conviction.

▲野山が色彩を失うこの季節、孤高の美で人の心をとらえるスイセンの一輪で祝う正月もある。ただ戦後かつてない経済の暗転に見舞われた年は去っても、改まった年を素直にことほぐにはあまりにも厳しい見通しが取りざたされる年明けだ

An alternative name for the daffodil in Japanese translates as "flower in the snow." Daffodil flowers do not lose their dignified appearance even when it is bitterly cold, and they are often held up as a symbol of hope. No matter how difficult the situation is at New Year, like the daffodil, we should always hold a stem of hope in our hearts.

▲「雪中花」の異名の通り、厳寒の空の下でも凜(りん)としたたたずまいを失わぬスイセンの花は、しばしば希望にたとえられる。どんな厳しい境遇で迎えるお正月であれ、誰もが一輪の希望をそれぞれ心に抱ける新年であってほしい。そう切に願う

Amid the bleak winter scenery, there is a place somewhere where daffodils are blooming. Can we say that our society, like that clump of flowers, has maintained its dignity when faced with an icy wind, and that it is steadily heading on a path toward spring?

▲この冬景色でも、どこかにはスイセンの群れ咲く場所は必ずある。その群落のように私たちの社会は凍(い)てつく風の中でも気品を失わず、春への道を誤りなくたどっていけるだろうか。

Another one of Santoka's haiku comes to mind.

"With a thought, daffodils start to bloom." ("Yoroku," a front-page column in the Mainichi Shimbun)

「考へてをる水仙ほころびる」(山頭火)

毎日新聞 200911日 東京朝刊

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急変する世界 カギ握る米国経済の再生

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 3, 2009)

Global economic revival hinges on U.S. recovery

急変する世界 カギ握る米国経済の再生(13日付・読売社説)

 ◆深刻な世界同時不況の中で◆

As if rolling down a steep hill, the global economy has deteriorated rapidly since being hit by the financial crisis that started in the United States.

 米国発の金融危機の直撃を受けた世界経済は、急坂を転げ落ちるように悪化している。

Trying times will no doubt continue in 2009.

 2009年も、厳しい試練の時が続くのは避けられまい。

Developed countries, including the United States, European nations and Japan, entered into economic recessions last year, while the four big newly emerging countries, including China and India, saw their booming economies slow down significantly.

 昨年は米国、欧州、日本の先進国が景気後退局面に入り、中国、インドなど新興4か国の景気も急減速した。

The International Monetary Fund predicts that the global economy will further slow this year, with global economic growth rate in real terms to be only about 2 percent. It is the first time since the end of World War II that Japan, the United States and European countries will all register negative economic growth at the same time. China meanwhile is expected to see single-digit economic growth for the second consecutive year.

 国際通貨基金(IMF)の予想では、今年は景気が一段と落ち込み、世界全体で実質2%程度の成長にとどまる。日米欧がそろってマイナス成長に落ち込むのは戦後初めてだ。中国も2年連続で1ケタ成長となる見通しである。

===

Rise together, fall together

The so-called decoupling theory, which posits that the economic doldrums of developed countries can be covered by the high growth of the newly emerging economies, has crumbled like cookies. The world cannot find a way out of simultaneous recessions in the absence of an economic engine. When will recovery of the global economy come? Even optimistic economists say the latter half of 2010 or later.

 先進国経済が低迷しても、新興国の高成長が補うという「デカップリング(非連動)論」は、もろくも崩れた。牽引(けんいん)役が不在で、世界経済は同時不況から抜け出す道筋が見えない。

 世界経済は、いつになったら回復するのか。楽観的な見方でも2010年半ば以降とされる。

The key factor is the recovery of the U.S. economy. In the United States, housing market conditions continue to deteriorate and the number of unemployed is sharply increasing. Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, also remains sluggish.

 カギを握るのは、米国経済だ。米国では、住宅市況の悪化が続き、失業が急増している。国内総生産(GDP)の7割を占める個人消費も冷え込んだままだ。

Taking such situations into consideration, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board introduced an essentially zero-interest-rate policy at the end of December. It also has taken quantitative easing measures such as the outright purchase of long-term government bonds.

 こうした状況を受け、米連邦準備制度理事会(FRB)は昨年12月末、ゼロ金利政策を導入した。長期国債などを買い入れる量的緩和策にも踏み込んだ。

 ◆米の大規模な財政出動◆

The Fed has shown its determination to prevent the economy from weakening further and to stop deflation by taking unconventional crisis response measures. However, the Fed's monetary measures alone are not enough. The Fed must coordinate its actions with fiscal measures from the federal government.

 異例の危機対応を取ることで、景気悪化を食い止め、デフレを阻止する決意を示した。しかし、FRBの金融政策だけでは不十分だ。連邦政府の財政政策と連携した両面作戦が重要になる。

===

Will Obama's stimulus deliver?

Barack Obama, who becomes U.S. president on Jan. 20, is planning to take large economic stimulus measures worth more than 800 billion dollars (72 trillion yen), including tax reductions and public investments such as the maintenance and repair of roads and bridges. He also plans employment measures aimed at creating jobs for 3 million people over two years.

 今月20日に就任するオバマ次期大統領は、道路や橋の補修などの公共投資と、減税を柱にした8000億ドル(約72兆円)超の大型の景気対策を実施する考えだ。雇用対策では、「2年間で300万人の雇用創出」を目標に掲げる。

The future 44th president is said to have taken a cue from the New Deal program implemented by the 32nd president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to tackle the Great Depression that started in 1929. Immediately after he takes office, Obama will be tested on whether he can revive the U.S. economy.

 次期大統領は、ルーズベルト大統領が大恐慌時に実施したニューディール政策を意識しているとされる。米国経済を再生させることができるか、就任早々、その手腕が問われることになろう。

The first challenge for the new president is the rehabilitation of the Big Three automakers--General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co.

 次期大統領が最初に直面するのは、米自動車大手3社(ビッグスリー)の再建問題だ。

U.S. President George W. Bush decided last month to offer huge emergency loans for GM and Chrysler to save them, at least temporarily, from bankruptcy.

 ブッシュ大統領は、ゼネラル・モーターズ(GM)とクライスラーへの巨額のつなぎ融資を決め、当面の経営破綻(はたん)を回避した。

The two automakers are required to come up with restructuring plans by the end of March. But, if the plans are found insufficient to make them viable, there will be a possibility that the automakers will have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

 両社は3月末までにリストラ策を提出するが、それが不十分であれば、連邦破産法による破綻処理の可能性がでてくる。

If the automakers go bankrupt, its impact on the global financial market and the world economy will be enormous. The next president will have to make very difficult decisions regarding this.

 実際に破綻すれば、世界の金融市場や景気に及ぼす影響は甚大だ。次期大統領は極めて難しい判断を迫られよう。

Measures to deal with the global financial crisis, including a bailout plan for the auto industry and a major economic stimulus package, are expected to inflate the U.S. budget deficit to more than 1 trillion dollars in fiscal 2009. This fiscal deficit will be a heavy burden on the U.S. economy.

 自動車業界への支援を含む金融危機対策と、大型の景気対策により、2009年度の米財政赤字は1兆ドル超に膨らむ見通しだ。これも米国経済に重しとなって、のしかかることになる。

===

Dollar needs to be supported

Major countries must enhance cooperation and act quickly with the United States to rehabilitate the global economy.

 世界経済を立て直すには、主要国が米国と連携を強め、迅速に行動することが肝要だ。

European countries, Japan and newly emerging countries such as China are already coordinating fiscal and monetary policy measures in accordance with an agreement reached at the financial summit meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 major industrialized and developing economies in November.

 すでに欧州、日本や、中国などの新興国が、財政・金融政策の発動で足並みをそろえつつある。昨秋に開かれた世界20か国・地域(G20)の金融サミットの合意に沿ったものだ。

The G-20 leaders are required at the second financial summit to be held in Britain in April to reach agreements on more concrete measures such as restrictions on globally operating financial institutions. They also will focus on the present key currency system based on the U.S. dollar as an increasing number of economists believe the rapid inflation of the U.S. fiscal deficit could undermine confidence in the greenback.

 4月に英国で開催される第2回金融サミットでは、国際的に活動する金融機関の規制強化など、より具体的な成果が求められる。

 ドル基軸体制の在り方も焦点の一つになろう。米国の財政赤字の急拡大で、ドルの信認が揺らぐとの見方が強まっているからだ。

However, it is a fact that there is no other currency that can fill the U.S. dollar's shoes. The presence of the euro, the single European currency, has been increasing since it was first introduced in 1999, but it is still not as strong as the dollar. Discussions at the summit will probably focus on how G-20 countries can help support the U.S. dollar.

 しかし、ドルに代わる通貨が見当たらないのが現実だ。誕生から10年を迎えた欧州単一通貨ユーロも存在感を増したが、ドルほどの力はない。サミットでは、ドルをいかに支えるかが焦点になるのではないか。

===

Keep protectionism at bay

 ◆保護主義の台頭を防げ◆

While the world economy is becoming increasingly jittery, there is an alarming amount of pressure for more trade protectionism.

 世界経済が動揺するなか、保護貿易主義の高まりが、要警戒段階に入ってきた。

As if responding to the U.S. government's rescue plan for the Big Three automakers, Russia has raised its import tariffs on automobiles and European countries and China have begun to assist their respective auto industries. Some economists are concerned that if nothing is done the countries could slip into protectionist wars to defend their industries.

 米国政府によるビッグスリー救済に対抗するかのように、ロシアが自動車輸入関税を引き上げ、欧州や中国なども自動車業界の支援に乗り出した。このままでは、自国産業の保護合戦に発展しかねないとの懸念もある。

The promotion of free trade is needed more than ever in times like today. But, members of the World Trade Organization failed to reach a broad agreement in the Doha Round of trade liberalization talks, which was initially targeted for completion by the end of the year. Japan, the United States, European countries and developing nations failed to resolve their differences.

 こうした時こそ必要なのが自由貿易の促進だ。世界貿易機関(WTO)の新多角的貿易交渉(ドーハ・ラウンド)は、日米欧と途上国の対立が解けず、目標だった「昨年末の大枠合意」を達成することができなかった。

A bitter lesson can be drawn from the Great Depression, in which bad situations were made worse by many countries turning to protectionism.

 大恐慌は、世界各国が保護主義に走ったために、事態が深刻化した苦い教訓がある。

WTO members must try hard to reach an agreement in this round of multilateral trade talks as early as possible. In the process, Japan also must voluntarily fulfill its responsibilities.

 各国は、新ラウンドの早期合意を目指すべきだ。日本も、率先して責任を果たさねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 3, 2008)

2009130223  読売新聞)

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2009年1月 1日 (木)

混迷の中で考える―人間主役に大きな絵を

2009/1/1

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 1(IHT/Asahi: January 1,2009)

EDITORIAL: A stormy start for 2009

混迷の中で考える―人間主役に大きな絵を

What a gloomy start to the new year.

 何という年明けだろう。 

The financial earthquake that first rocked Wall Street, the glittering symbol of American prosperity, 100 days ago continues to shake the world. The effects of the financial crisis could be greater than even the Sept. 11 terror attacks, which felled the twin towers of the World Trade Center in the same city in 2001.

 100日余り前に米国の繁栄の象徴ウォール街を襲った激震は、同じニューヨークの世界貿易センタービルを崩落させた9・11テロをしのぐ破壊力で、地球を揺さぶり続ける。 

With credit tightening in the global financial system, consumer spending, investment and trade are all shrinking around the world. The world economy is sinking at an unprecedented speed. Stock prices in most major countries have been sliced in half.

 お金の流れが滞って、消費も投資も貿易も縮む。経験したことのない経済の急降下。主要国の株は半値になった。

■市場の失敗の大きさ 

Anxiety about the future is crushing consumer and business confidence. The bottom is nowhere in sight, which makes the situation even more frightening. The world is now shuddering at what appears to be shaping up as a deflationary spiral.

先行きへの心配が企業や消費者の心理を凍らせ、デフレ不況へのおののきが世界に広がる。 

But we must not be too upset. To help us weather this economic downturn, we should take a deep breath, ponder the meaning of the crisis and learn the lessons it offers for ushering in a new era.

 だが、ここはあわてずに深呼吸してみよう。この危機の意味を考え、それを次の時代への手がかりにできれば、不況を乗り越える力ともなる。 

Free markets that are supposed to make people wealthier can, at times, cause economic disasters. This risk inherent in the capitalist economic system exploded accidentally in the U.S. market under the administration of President George W. Bush, who brought financial deregulation to extremes. The resultant crisis has quickly engulfed the globalized world. That's the long and short of this crisis. Market failures

 人々を豊かにするはずの自由な市場が、ときにひどい災禍をもたらす。資本主義が本来もっているそうした不安定性が、金融規制を極限まで緩めたブッシュ政権の米国で暴発し、グローバル化した世界を瞬く間に巻き込んだ。それがこの危機だ。 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which graphically symbolized the collapse of the world order during the Cold War era of East-West rivalry. Since that time, the world has been turned into a huge integrated market. A liberalized flow of capital and goods as well as information, which was accelerated by progress in information technology, has greatly increased wealth and convenience.

 今年は、ベルリンの壁とともに東西の冷戦秩序が消滅してから20年になる。地球は一つの市場となり、お金、モノ、そしてITによる情報の流れが豊かさと便利さをもたらした。 

The United States has been the principal driving force of this globalization. Its economic creed has placed the highest importance on the interests of shareholders and investors. It views the ability to generate profits efficiently as more important than workers' well-being and corporate social responsibility.

 このグローバル化を牽引(けんいん)したのが米国だ。株主や投資家の利益を何より重視する。働く人の暮らしや企業の責任よりも、お金を生み出す効率を優先する。

The market-oriented system has been supported by neo-liberalism, which started in the 1970s and was the guiding principle for former President Ronald Reagan's economic revolution in the 1980s. The system has now spread all over the world.

1970年代からレーガン革命を貫いて今日に至る「新自由主義」の考え方に支えられた市場のあり方は、世界にも広がった。 

But this doctrine--the free market can act as an infallible guide for economic activity--created the excesses that have resulted in this catastrophe.

 それが行き着くところまで行っての大破局だ。

The dramatic economic downturn has caused tremendous numbers of Americans to lose their jobs or homes, widened the economic gap in society and devastated the country's key manufacturing industries, especially the auto industry, which was once the icon of America's economic might.

気づいてみれば膨大な数の米国民が仕事や家を失い、社会の格差は広がり、国の象徴だった自動車をはじめ、製造業は見る影もない。 

The situation in the United States is a natural consequence of an economic system that puts more importance on the profit-generating market itself than on individuals and social harmony. Gap widens between rich and poor

 人間や社会の調和よりも、利益をかせぎ出す市場そのものを大事にするシステムの一つの帰結である。

■格差と貧困の広がり 

What has happened in Japan in the meantime?

 この間、日本では何が起きたか。 

About 10 years ago, the nation started a sweeping deregulation campaign based on U.S.-style market principles as part of efforts to pull the economy out of the prolonged slump following the collapse of speculative bubbles. The structural reform driven by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi accelerated the process.

 バブル崩壊後の不況脱出をめざし、米国流の市場原理を重視した規制緩和が本格化してほぼ10年。小泉構造改革がそれを加速した。

The reform enhanced the efficiency of the old Japanese-style economic structure to some extent, leading to the longest economic expansion in the postwar era and record corporate profits.

その結果、古い日本型の経済社会の構造がそれなりに効率化され、戦後最長の好景気と史上最高水準の企業収益が実現した。 

At the same time, the decade of reforms has produced some totally unexpected disastrous social effects. The gap between the rich and the poor has widened markedly amid the loud chorus of calls for self-responsibility. The ranks of the "working poor," or low-wage workers who can barely make a living, have grown rapidly.

 だが、同時に現れたのは思いもしなかった現実だ。声高な自己責任論にあおられるように貧富の差が拡大し、働いてもまともな暮らしができないワーキングプアが急速に広がった。

Temporary, part-time and other nonregular workers now account for 30 percent of the nation's work force, a consequence of labor market deregulation. More than 10 million workers are earning less than 2 million yen a year.

労働市場の規制緩和で、非正規労働者が働く人の実に3割にまで膨れ上がり、年収200万円に満たない人が1千万人を超えてしまった。 

The middle class that was once the backbone of stable society has all but disappeared.

 かつて日本社会の安定を支えた分厚い中間層はもはやない。 

Broad spending cuts made under the banner of fiscal rehabilitation have significantly weakened the social safety net, including such vital social security services as unemployment insurance benefits, health care and public financial aid.

 しかも、財政再建の下で雇用保険をはじめ、医療や公的扶助といった「安全網」は細るばかり。

People who become stuck in the trap of poverty cannot easily escape the hole. This grim reality has become a familiar part of life in this nation. The economic crisis has hit Japan just as it is struggling to deal with these problems.

いったん貧困の罠(わな)にはまると抜け出せない。それがありふれた現実になった。そこを今度の危機が直撃した。 

We have to look squarely at the reality and no optimism is warranted under the current circumstances. However, excessive pessimism would cloud our vision for the future.

 こうした現実はしっかりと直視しなければならない。楽観は禁物である。しかし、いたずらに悲観論に陥ることも未来を見る目を曇らせる。 

Former U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan described the current financial crisis as a "once-in-a-century credit tsunami." Many people now quote that phrase.

 「100年に1度の津波」。グリーンスパン前米連邦準備制度理事会議長の言葉を多くの人が引用する。

But we must not shrink back. Japan successfully rode two other serious crises during the past nearly 150 years that could have ruined the nation.

だが、たじろぐ必要はない。なぜなら、私たちの国は過去1世紀半近い間に、それこそ国がひっくり返る危機に2度も直面し、克服してきたからだ。 

Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901), an author and political theorist, said he felt as if he had lived two different lives, referring to the turbulence he experienced when the feudal reign of the Tokugawa Shogunate ended to usher in the cultural enlightenment in the Meiji Era (1868-1912).

 「一身にして二生を経るが如(ごと)し」と言ったのは、封建の徳川の世と、明治の文明開化とを生きた福沢諭吉だった。

The nation overcame another crisis only 60 years ago when its defeat in World War II brought an end to militarist Japan and paved the way for a restart as a democratic nation.

軍国主義の帝国日本が滅び、民主主義の新生日本を築いたのは、わずか60年余り前のことである。

In both crises, the nation survived by achieving fundamental reforms. Drastic overhaul needed

いずれの場合も、私たちは大規模な変革を通して危機を乗り越えた。 

■たくましい政治が要る 

The situation now facing the nation is a multiple crisis caused by a mixture of the global-scale credit crunch and the stalling domestic economic and fiscal system, which is plagued with problems.

 いま直面しているのは、世界的な金融システムの行き詰まりと、様々な矛盾を抱えて立ち往生している国内の経済財政システムの行き詰まりとが重なった、複合的な危機だ。

Overcoming the current crisis will be a formidable challenge, requiring huge efforts to drastically overhaul the nation. In addition, Japan must fulfill the task with its own wisdom and abilities, instead of caving in to outside pressure for the nation to introduce Western technologies and democracy in the two previous crises.

その克服は、もういちど日本を作り直すくらいの大仕事になる。しかも、黒船や敗戦といった外からの力によることなく、みずから知恵と力で、この荷を背負わなければならない。 

Japanese people long for a bold policy vision that transcends simple short-term measures to stimulate job creation and economic growth. They also want strong political leadership that will realize the vision.

 国民が望んでいるのは、小手先の雇用や景気対策を超えた大胆なビジョンと、それを実行する政治の力だ。 

The age when economic growth was the top priority has ended. Japan should be rebuilt in line with a drastic change to our sense of values.

 ひたすら成長優先できた時代がとうに終わり、価値観が大きく変化するなかで、どんな国をつくっていくか。

Such a grand vision could focus on the environment, education or welfare. It should be designed to concentrate resources on crafting a decent future for the nation and job creation. Again, strong political leadership is essential to realize this grand vision.

それは「環境大国」でも「教育大国」でも「福祉大国」でもありうるだろう。将来を見すえた国づくりに集中して資源を投下し、雇用も創出する。そうしたたくましい政治が要るのだ。 

The unipolar world dominated by the United States is now being replaced by a multipolar world where countries like China and India are gaining increasing clout. Given the growing importance of international cooperation to overcome the crisis and protect the environment of the planet, political leadership has a crucial role to play.

 世界の秩序も、これまでの米国一極支配が終わり、中国やインドを含む「多頭世界」が現れつつある。経済危機に対処し、地球環境を守るための国際連携がますます重要になる。政治はおちおちとしていられない。 

American people have entrusted President-elect Barack Obama with the task of correcting the imbalances created by market fundamentalism and financial bubbles. They are trying to ride out the crisis under a new leadership.

 米国民は、市場原理主義と金融バブルで生じたゆがみを是正する役目をオバマ次期大統領に託し、彼と肩を組んで危機を乗り越えようとしている。 

Will the upcoming Lower House election in Japan, which must be held this year, shape up as a similar sea change for the nation? The 20 years since the end of the Cold War have led the nation from the heyday of the bubble economy to this glum new year, a period of constant turmoil.

 日本でも、今年の総選挙がそうした場になるだろうか。冷戦後の20年間、バブルの絶頂からこの不穏な年明けまで翻弄(ほんろう)され続けた日本。


Voters must now be more critical of the nation's politics than ever before.

有権者の視線はかつてなく厳しいはずだ。

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社説:08年を振り返る 国家のきしみが聞こえる 内向き姿勢、薄れた日本の存在感

(Mainichi Japan) December 31, 2008

Is Japan undergoing a downhill slide like ancient Rome?

社説:08年を振り返る 国家のきしみが聞こえる 内向き姿勢、薄れた日本の存在感


Invisible wild waves appear to be hitting Japan. An economic tsunami emanating from the United States is making the furious inland sea even rougher. As 2008 nears an end, one cannot help but wonder whether Japan can ride out the rough waves that hit the country one after another.

 見えない荒波が押し寄せているようだ。内海の時化(しけ)に米国発の津波が重なる。次々に襲う山のような波を「日本丸」は乗り切れるか、それとも激しい風雨にもまれて黒い波の谷間に落ち込んでいくのか--。

The financial crisis that started in the United States has struck Japan, and is complicating the already serious economic situation here. Numerous people are obviously feeling uneasy as if they were aboard a ship in rough seas and hear the vessel creaking.

 そんな不安を覚える年の瀬だ。米国の金融危機は日本を巻き込み、国内事情と絡んで危機が深まる。多くの国民は、荒海の真っただ中で船体のきしみを聞くような心細さを味わっているに違いない。

The Nobel prizes awarded to four Japanese researchers was encouraging news, but some people point out that they were awarded for their past research achievements and that it is highly doubtful if more Japanese scientists will win Nobel prizes in the future. The four laureates' feats highlight the dismal situation in Japan's academic circles.

 明るい材料は4氏へのノーベル賞だが、「昔の研究が認められただけ。日本は将来ノーベル賞学者を出せるか」と危ぶむ声もあり、快挙は「知の現場」のお寒い現状を意識させた。

Japan's system as a state is showing signs of cracks. Replacing parts and fresh paint is not enough. We must consider a drastic overhaul of the entire ship and replacing its skipper.

 日本という国のシステムがあちこちできしんでいる。ネジの締め直しや部品交換では済まず、船体の大幅改修やかじ取りらの交代も検討せざるを得まい。

 ◇静かな「一揆」

In September, then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda suddenly stepped down, and the approval rating for his successor, Taro Aso, remains low. The dismissal of administrations by Fukuda and his predecessor Shinzo Abe has heightened the public's distrust in politics, particularly the ruling coalition.

 まずは政治である。福田康夫前首相が9月に突然辞任し、後を受けた麻生太郎首相も低支持率にあえぐ。安倍晋三元首相に加えて2代続けての政権投げ出しは、政治への、とりわけ与党への信頼を失墜させた。

Moreover, Aso, who was expected to dissolve the House of Representatives for a snap general election shortly after taking office, has been unable to do so because the ruling coalition remains unpopular. He is barely staying afloat, like a boat without a rudder, hoping to increase his popularity by implementing economic stimulus measures.

 しかも、早期に衆院を解散するはずだった麻生首相は、与党が不人気をかこつ折、伝家の宝刀を抜くに抜けない。経済対策などを通じた人気浮揚に希望をつなぎ、海図を失った船のようにとにかく浮かんでいる格好だろう。庶民から見れば漂流とも迷走とも映る。

What has gone wrong with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)? Novelist Nanami Shiono has pointed out that Japan, in which the LDP picks the nation's prime minister, is similar to ancient Rome, in which its consul was named by the Roman Senate. Such a system in which a small number of people are involved in the leadership functions may work if a country is growing, but if the environment changes, its mechanism of utilizing human resources goes out of order. Shiono's comment in her book, "Roma kara Nihon ga Mieru" ("Japan viewed from Rome") that "even though the leader believes he is doing well, he is only impeding governance" is noteworthy. Is Japan undergoing a downhill slide like ancient Rome?

 自民党は何がおかしくなったのか。作家の塩野七生氏によると、もっぱら自民党が首相を決めてきた日本と「執政官は元老院が決める」とした共和政全盛期の古代ローマはよく似ている。こうした少数指導体制は成長期には機能するが、環境が変わると人材活用のメカニズムが狂う。「自分ではうまくやっているつもりなのに、それがかえって足を引っ張る結果になってしまう」(「ローマから日本が見える」)という指摘は興味深い。日本は、古代ローマのような衰退を経験しているのだろうか。

The scandal-tainted Social Insurance Agency has come under fire for falsifying numerous pension premium payment records as an entity, and the corrosion of Japan's function as a state is unbearable to watch.

 数々の不祥事を抱える社会保険庁では年金記録の組織的改ざんが発覚し、国家機能の「腐食」は目を覆わんばかりになった。

The new medical system has also angered people. Senior citizens' protest at the phrase, "late-stage elderly people," is their quiet uprising, so to speak.

庶民感情を逆なでした点では、新しい医療制度もそうだ。「後期高齢者」という言葉などに対するお年寄りの反発は、静かな「一揆」ともいえるものだった。

A "grass-root uprising" also occurred in the labor field. The number of temporary workers dispatched by employment agencies to various firms hit a record high this year. In the face of the economic downturn, many employers unilaterally terminated their employment contracts with such workers or cancelled their job offers to those who are expected to graduate this coming spring. Strikes staged by temporary workers and others who are trapped in an insecure employment situation are a major expression of resistance in Japan, where labor movements are not generally active.

 草の根的な「一揆」は他の分野でも起きた。派遣労働者は過去最多となり、「派遣切り」や新卒者の「内定取り消し」も横行した。頻発する非正規雇用労働者らのデモは、労働運動が低調な日本にあって、精いっぱいの抵抗ともいえよう。

Problems involving the employment and social security situations have become serious as the social divide into "winners" and "losers" is expanding. This year saw a spate of heinous crimes, such as a stabbing rampage in Tokyo's Akihabara district that left seven people dead and 10 others injured and attacks on the homes of two retired top bureaucrats in the Health and Welfare Ministry.

 「勝ち組」「負け組」といわれた階層分化が拡大し、日本が実質二つの「くに」に分かれつつある。そう思えるほど雇用や福祉をめぐる問題が深刻化した。秋葉原17人殺傷や元厚生事務次官宅連続殺傷に見るように凶悪事件も続発した。

Japan's national security system also appears to have become fragile. Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff Toshio Tamogami was forced to step down after he released a controversial essay that denied Japan was an aggressor in World War II, raising serious questions about Japan's civilian control on the Self-Defense Forces (SDF). Even if he exercised the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution, his freedom of thought and his responsibility relating his official duties are completely different matters, as National Defense Academy President Makoto Iokibe points out. Japan is in a bind as a top-ranking uniformed SDF officer, who is in a position to control SDF personnel and equipment, publicly disagrees with the government's official position.

 安全保障のシステムもきしんだ。田母神(たもがみ)俊雄航空幕僚長(更迭・定年退職)の論文問題は、日本の文民統制(シビリアンコントロール)に重大な懸念を抱かせた。田母神氏がいくら「表現の自由」を主張しようと、五百旗頭真・防衛大学校長が言うように個人の思想信条の自由と、職責に伴う義務とは別問題だ。国家の意思として兵員・装備を最終的に動かす制服組幹部が、政府方針に公然と異を唱えるようでは国が危うい。

Japan's actual security situation has also worsened. Even though the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush cannot solve problems involving North Korea's nuclear program, it removed Pyongyang from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. Nuclear weapons and missiles that pose a direct threat to Japan remain intact, and there has been no progress on the issue of abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents. Many Japanese people do not appear fully aware of the danger.

 現実の日本の安全保障も悪化した。米ブッシュ政権は北朝鮮の核問題を解決できない上、北朝鮮へのテロ支援国家指定も解除した。日本への直接的な脅威(核兵器とミサイル)は手つかずで残り、拉致問題も進展しない。そんな危うい現状を多くの日本人が十分認識しているとは言い難い。

There have not been in-depth discussions on Japan's role in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Japan has not adopted a specific response to the Palestinian issue, where bloodshed continues. Even though Japan was busy responding to numerous domestic issues, Japan apparently stuck to its inward-looking stance and refused to look at what it didn't want to see.

 イラクやアフガニスタンをめぐる論議も低調だった。流血が続くパレスチナへの対応策も見えない。山積する国内問題への対処に忙しかったとしても、特に国際分野について「考えたくな