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2009年1月 6日 (火)

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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