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2009年2月18日 (水)

中川財務相辞任 予算成立へ態勢を立て直せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 18, 2009)

Aso must work all out to get budget passed

中川財務相辞任 予算成立へ態勢を立て直せ(218日付・読売社説)

Just when the nation is faced with its worst economic crisis since the end of World War II, Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa, who was a pivotal member of the Cabinet, has stepped down from his post. This surely is a strange state of affairs.

 「戦後最大の経済危機」に立ち向かうべきこの時に、内閣の中枢にあった中川昭一財務・金融相が辞任した。異常な事態である。

Prime Minister Taro Aso has decided to appoint Kaoru Yosano, state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, as Nakagawa's successor, so Yosano will double as finance minister. Aso's decision seems to have been based on his evaluation of Yosano's policymaking competence. It is an urgent task to pull the Cabinet together to realize the early passage of the budget for fiscal 2009 and other bills.

 麻生首相は、与謝野馨経済財政相に、財務・金融相を兼務させた。与謝野氏の政策的な力量を評価したものだろう。2009年度予算案などの早期成立に向け、態勢の立て直しが急務だ。

Nakagawa slurred his words at a press conference following a meeting of Group of Seven financial leaders in Rome last week. His resignation Tuesday was inevitable as his behavior drew criticism and caused an uproar at home and abroad.

 中川氏は、先にローマで開かれた先進7か国財務相・中央銀行総裁会議(G7)の閉幕後、ろれつが回らない状態で記者会見した。国内外に批判と混乱を招いた以上、辞任はやむを得まい。

He is the second minister to step down in the Aso Cabinet, following former Construction and Transport Minister Nariaki Nakayama. Aso, who is struggling in the face of slumping approval ratings for his Cabinet, will have further difficulty staying in control of the government.

 麻生内閣の閣僚辞任は、中山成彬・前国土交通相に続き、2人目だ。内閣支持率の低迷に苦しむ首相は、一段と厳しい政権運営を迫られる。

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Resignation poorly handled

Shortly after noon on Tuesday, Nakagawa said at a press conference that he would step down after the House of Representatives passed the fiscal 2009 budget and related bills to take responsibility for the commotion he caused.

 中川氏は17日昼に緊急記者会見し、いったんは、09年度予算案と関連法案の衆院通過を待って辞任する意向を表明した。

He may have wanted to carry out his duties to the last.

 自らの職責を果たすことにこだわったのだろう。

But all the opposition parties--the Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party--insisted that they would not be able to deliberate bills with a cabinet minister who had already announced his intention to resign. The opposition camp then submitted a censure motion against Nakagawa to the opposition-controlled House of Councillors.

 しかし、民主、共産、社民、国民新など野党各党は、「辞意を表明した閣僚を相手に審議はできない」とし、野党多数の参院に中川氏の問責決議案を提出した。

A censure motion itself has no legally binding power. But had it passed, it would inevitably have impeded Diet deliberations, including those on the fiscal 2008 second supplementary budget under way at the upper house.

 問責決議には、法的な効力はない。だが、可決されれば、参院で審議中の08年度第2次補正予算の関連法案を含め、国会審議の混乱は避けられない。

In addition, even lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, New Komeito, openly called for Nakagawa's immediate resignation from the Cabinet.

 加えて、自民、公明の与党内からも、中川氏の即時辞任を求める声が出た。

In the end, Nakagawa presented his resignation to Aso in an effort to prevent further confusion in the Diet. The incident highlights the Aso administration's lax crisis management.

 結局、中川氏は、この日、国会の混乱を避けるため、辞表を提出することになった。麻生政権の危機管理の甘さが露呈した形だ。

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Markets want clear messages

The G-7 press conference is an important place for financial and monetary authorities of each participating country to send a clear message to the markets. This time, how Japan intends to deal with the economic crisis had attracted attention.

 G7での記者会見は、各国の財政金融当局者が市場に明確なメッセージを発信する大切な場だ。今回は、経済危機への日本の対応が注目されていた。

Footage showing what appeared to be a drunk Nakagawa mumbling incoherent responses to reporters' questions during the press conference that followed the G-7 financial leaders meeting was repeatedly aired around the world on television and the Internet.

 中川氏のG7後の記者会見での酩酊(めいてい)したかのような表情や、ちぐはぐな受け答えぶりは、テレビやネットで繰り返し流された。

Nakagawa blamed his shambolic performance on his having consumed too much medicine for a cold and backache. But we wonder if he has self-control issues.

 中川氏は、風邪薬や腰痛の薬を多めに飲んだのが原因と説明したが、自己管理に問題があったのではないか。

Diet deliberations on the fiscal 2009 budget have entered the final stage in the lower house. Deliberations on bills related to the budget, including one to revise the Income Tax Law, also are under way. In the upper house, voting on related bills for the fiscal 2008 second supplementary budget has been put off.

 衆院では、09年度予算案の審議が大詰めを迎えている。所得税法改正案など予算関連法案の審議も始まっている。参院では、定額給付金などを盛り込んだ第2次補正予算の関連法案の採決も先送りされたままだ。

The Aso administration should make every effort to pass them into law.

 麻生政権は、これらの成立に全力を傾注しなくてはならない。

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

20092180134  読売新聞)

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