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2009年2月 1日 (日)

かんぽの宿 「入札」経緯をすべて公開せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 1, 2009)

Japan Post must explain reason for asset fire-sale

かんぽの宿 「入札」経緯をすべて公開せよ(21日付・読売社説)

When disposing of valuable national assets, there should never be a rush to sell if unresolved questions remain. Japan Post Holdings Co. should, therefore, clearly and convincingly explain why it planned to press ahead with a controversial sale of properties.

 貴重な国有資産を処分する以上、疑問点を残したまま売り急ぐ必要はない。日本郵政は、国民が納得できる説明をすべきであろう。

The issue involves Japan Post's decision to sell as a batch most of its Kampo no Yado inns and its nine housing facilities for employees across the country to an Orix Corp. group company. The planned sale drew strong objection from Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kunio Hatoyama.

 日本郵政が、保養宿泊施設「かんぽの宿」と職員の社宅9か所をオリックスに一括して売却することを決定し、それに鳩山総務相が強く反対している問題である。

In October 2007, when the then Japan Post was privatized creating the Japan Post Group, the firm decided to either close or sell off its Kampo no Yado inns within five years because the businesses, which it had inherited from Japan Post, had posted hefty combined annual losses of about 5 billion yen.

 ことの経過はこうだ。旧郵政公社から引き継いだ「かんぽの宿」は、年間約50億円もの赤字を出すことから、2007年10月の郵政民営化の際、5年以内に廃止するか売却することが決められた。

Last year, Japan Post decided that selling the Kampo no Yado inns and the housing facilities was the best option, and it valued them at about 9.3 billion yen.

 日本郵政は昨年、売却の方針を打ち出し、まず、かんぽの宿と社宅を合わせた資産価値を、約93億円と査定した。

Japan Post then put them out to tender, but many companies withdrew their bids amid the deteriorating economy. Eventually, it was decided in December that they would be sold to Orix Real Estate Corp. for about 10.9 billion yen.

 その上で入札にかけたが、景気悪化で撤退する企業が相次ぐなど、波乱の展開の末、昨年12月、109億円でオリックスに売却することが決まった。

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Price tag too cheap

Hatoyama, who oversees Japan Post, called a stop to the planned sale. Many of his reasons for doing so are convincing.

 これに待ったをかけたのが、日本郵政を監督する立場の鳩山総務相だ。その指摘には、うなずける点も少なくない。

First, Hatoyama pointed out the price is too cheap. It cost about 240 billion yen to buy the land and construct the facilities, which were offered for sale. They include a profitable facility in Saitama that cost as much as 30 billion yen to build and attracts more than 50,000 guests a year.

 まず「売却価格が安すぎる」とした点だ。売却対象の土地・建物には、約2400億円の費用がかかっている。中には300億円をつぎ込んで建設し、年5万人以上が宿泊するさいたま市内の優良物件も含まれている。

Some housing facilities for employees, which are situated on large plots of land, could be sold for a substantial price if they were redeveloped as condominium sites.

 広大な敷地を持ち、再開発してマンション用地などにすれば、相当な価格で売れるとされる社宅もある。

Despite these points, could the price tag of 10.9 billion yen still be considered reasonable? Obviously, Hatoyama is not the only one who would like a full explanation about how this figure was reached.

それなのに、売却価格は109億円でいいのか。総務相でなくても、詳しく聞いてみたくなるところだ。

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A fixed race?

Hatoyama said that instead of grouping the properties together for sale, selling them separately after taking into consideration regional disparities would have resulted in a higher price tag and also would help revitalize regional communities.

 総務相は、一括売却ではなく、地域の実情に合わせて個別に売却した方が高く売れるし地方再生に役立つ、とも強調する。

He also noted that because Orix Chairman Yoshihiko Miyauchi was involved in discussions regarding postal privatization, people might suspect that the proposed sale of facilities to Orix was the result of a "fixed race." He said the process of selecting a purchaser appeared shady, and called for full disclosure of information pertaining to the bidding.

 さらに、オリックスの宮内義彦会長は郵政民営化の議論に関与しており、そこへの売却は「出来レース」と受け取られかねない、とする。そのうえで、選考過程に不透明な点があるとして、入札情報の徹底した開示を求めた。

Japan Post Holdings President Yoshifumi Nishikawa, who had previously said there were no problems with its procedures regarding the planned sale, said at a press conference Thursday the company would temporarily freeze the bundled sale.

 日本郵政の西川善文社長は、「手続きに問題はない」としていたが、批判を受け、一括売却の一時凍結を表明した。

Nishikawa added that Japan Post would shortly set up an expert third-party committee, which will include lawyers, certified public accountants and real estate appraisers, to examine the appropriateness of the asset evaluation and review the bidding process.

 弁護士や公認会計士、不動産鑑定士らを入れた第三者委員会を設け、資産査定の妥当性や入札の経緯を洗い直すという。

The announced measures are appropriate. More than three years remain before the assets have to be disposed of, so Japan Post can afford to wait for the third-party committee to hold in-depth discussions on the matter and reach a conclusion before it decides how to move ahead.

 適切な措置だ。物件を処分する期限まで3年以上ある。第三者委員会にじっくり検討してもらい、その結論を待って日本郵政が対応を決めても遅くはない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 1, 2009)

2009210136  読売新聞)

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