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2009年2月 1日 (日)

代表質問―民主党の顔はどうした

2009/1/31

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 30(IHT/Asahi: January 31,2009)

EDITORIAL: Questioning in the Diet

代表質問―民主党の顔はどうした

Is Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) seriously prepared to take over the administration? We could not help but ask this question after watching Minshuto Secretary-General Yukio Hatoyama take the floor of the Lower House on Thursday. Once again, Minshuto President Ichiro Ozawa had Hatoyama stand in for Diet questioning by party representatives.

 民主党は本気で政権を担う覚悟があるのか。そう疑いたくなるような議場の光景だった。小沢代表がまたしても衆院の代表質問に立たず、鳩山由紀夫幹事長に代役をゆだねた。 

In the extraordinary Diet session in October, Ozawa was the first to take the floor. Instead of questioning the prime minister, Ozawa virtually delivered a speech on what Minshuto intends to do when it comes to power. Although it was somewhat unusual, it was effective in shedding light on the difference between ruling and opposition parties before a Lower House election.

 昨年10月の臨時国会では一番手に立った。首相への質問というより民主党の政権構想を説く異例の形だったが、総選挙に向けて対立軸のようなものを浮かび上がらせる効果があった。 

But this year, Ozawa has left the interpellation to Hatoyama two straight times, first in a session to discuss the second supplementary budget after the New Year holidays and for the second time on Thursday.

 しかし今年は、年明けの2次補正に対する代表質問、そしてきのうと2回続けて鳩山氏にまかせきりである。 

It is true that unlike one-on-one Diet debate between party leaders, they are not always obliged to ask questions in representative's questioning.

 たしかに代表質問は党首討論とは違い、いつも党首が立つ義務はない。 

But Thursday's question-and-answer session in connection with Prime Minister Taro Aso's policy speech delivered the previous day was like a starter's gun to mark the opening of a showdown between the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Minshuto leading up to the Lower House election that must be held by autumn.

 だが、麻生首相の施政方針演説に対するきのうの代表質問は、遅くとも秋までには必ずある総選挙に向けた2大政党の激突の、いわば号砲の意味合いをもっていたはずだ。 

In this time of crisis amid a worldwide recession, who should the public entrust to lead the nation: Prime Minister Aso or Minshuto President Ozawa? We wanted to see the two party leaders play hardball.

 この危機的な世界同時不況に際し、日本のかじ取りをゆだねるにふさわしいリーダーは麻生首相なのか、それとも小沢代表なのか。両党首の真剣勝負を、ぜひ聞いてみたかった。 

There are many points on which to question Aso's government, including: pressing measures to improve the economy and the employment situation; the proposed consumption tax hike, which ended with elusive wording; and the watered-down policy to incorporate road-specific tax revenues into the general account budget.

 政府を追及するテーマには事欠かない。喫緊の課題である経済対策や雇用対策、玉虫色の文言修正に終わった消費増税、骨抜きになった道路特定財源の一般財源化……。

In a way, the questions posed by Hatoyama, who also explained Minshuto's policies, were worth listening to. But the ace pitcher of the main opposition party refused to take the mound. Under such circumstances, how can Minshuto expect the mood for a change in government to spread among the public?

民主党の政策も紹介しながらの鳩山氏の質問は、それなりに聞き応えがあった。 

 それでも、一方のエースが自らマウンドに上がろうとしないなら、政権交代への国民の期待は広がるまい。 

Ozawa is eager to travel across the nation to support would-be candidates preparing for a Lower House election. It is hard to understand why the same man is so reluctant to appear on center stage to take part in Diet debates.

 選挙応援の地方行脚にはあれほど熱心な小沢氏なのに、表舞台の国会論戦にはなぜこんなにも及び腰なのか。 

If Minshuto wins the next Lower House election and Ozawa becomes prime minister, can he really handle questions in the Diet and lead diplomatic negotiations?

 これで総選挙で民主党が勝ち、小沢氏が首相になれば、国会答弁や外交交渉は本当に大丈夫なのか。

In order to create and implement policies, political leaders today are required to show strong initiative to get their messages across.

政策をつくり、実行していくためにも政治指導者の発信力が大事な時代だ。 

We also object to Minshuto's decision to have Makiko Tanaka as its second representative to ask questions.

 民主党が二番手の質問者に田中真紀子氏を立てたことにも異議がある。 

Although Tanaka belongs to a Minshuto parliamentary group, she is an independent and is not exactly the party's "poster girl" to deliver its messages.

 田中氏は民主党の会派に入ってはいるが、無所属の議員だ。民主党の主張を訴える「顔」とは言いにくい。 

When former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi appointed Tanaka as foreign minister and threw foreign policy into confusion, Minshuto said Koizumi had made the appointment merely because she was popular with the public. This time, it appears Minshuto is making the same mistake.

 小泉元首相が田中氏を外相に就けて外交の混乱を招いたとき、人気目当ての起用を批判したのは民主党だった。今度は、その民主党が同じ轍(てつ)を踏んではいまいか。 

We also do not understand why Minshuto is late in putting together its new manifesto, which will serve a major role in helping voters make their choice in the election.

 総選挙に向けたもう一つの「顔」である最新版のマニフェストづくりが進んでいないことも解せない。 

As a result of the economic crisis, tax revenues have dropped sharply and pump-priming fiscal spending is going up. It is clear that Minshuto needs to drastically change the manifesto it released for the 2007 Upper House election.

 経済危機のあおりで税収は激減し、財政出動は増えている。07年の参院選のマニフェストを大幅に組みかえる必要があるのは明らかだろう。 

Approval ratings for Minshuto and Ozawa are rising in public opinion polls. But their popularity owes much to shortcomings on the side of the Aso-led LDP.

 世論調査で民主党や小沢代表の支持が高まっているのは、麻生自民党のふがいなさという「敵失」によるところが大きい。

Unless Ozawa squarely faces Aso to initiate a policy debate, his voice calling for an "early Lower House dissolution" from the bleachers, will ring hollow.

真正面から政策論争を仕掛ける構えなしに外野席から「早期解散」を叫んでも迫力を欠く。

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