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2009年2月13日 (金)

発信箱:言い訳するほど…=与良正男

(Mainichi Japan) February 13, 2009

Prime Minister Aso playing dodgeball with policy responsibilities

発信箱:言い訳するほど…=与良正男

"What? I never heard that decision was made!" I heard these words almost 20 years ago. When it came to Japan Socialist Party meetings, such expressions of indignation bounced back and forth all year round. "We made that decision at the party meeting last week," the party official explained. "But I was back in my district, campaigning hard for the next election. Don't make such decisions without me!" the aggrieved member retorted, confirming his own lack of responsibility in the process.

I suspect that the "hard campaigner" simply wished to leave a record of opposition to a party policy when its backers came up for criticism. How easy it is to be a member of an opposition party, free of real responsibilities! Us reporters couldn't help but let slip a laugh at times like those.

 「そんな決定、聞いていないぞ」。もう20年近く前の話。かつて社会党の会合といえば、年中こんな発言が飛び交った。執行部が「先週の会議で決めた」と説明すると、「私は懸命に地元で選挙運動していたのに勝手に決めるな」などとおよそ当事者意識のない反論をする。

 要するに将来、その党決定が支持者らに批判された時、自分は反対したという記録を残しておきたかったのだと思う。野党議員は何て無責任でお気楽なのか。私たち取材記者からも失笑が漏れたものだった。

When Prime Minister Taro Aso said recently that he "didn't approve" of the plan to privatize Japan Post, I found myself recalling that scene in the meeting of the Socialist Party (currently the Social Democratic Party). The intention behind Aso's comment were pretty straightforward. As the awkward situation over the controversial sale of Japan Post's inns came up, the prime minister probably just wished to explain that he was not the driving force behind postal privatization, or the subsequent division of the agency into four companies.

 郵政民営化に「賛成でなかった」という麻生太郎首相の話を聞いて思い出したのはこの光景だ。首相の思いは多分単純。かんぽの宿問題なども浮上する中、自分は民営化、まして4分社化の推進役でなかったと弁明したかっただけではないか。

However, not only is Prime Minister Aso not in an opposition party, he's at the very heart of the ruling party, having had a direct hand in the privatization planning as the minister for internal affairs and communications.

When his recent denial came under criticism, he pulled an about-face, saying that after "studying" the plan while serving as minister, he did support postal privatization after all. This verbal tap dance has some truly impossible steps.

 だが、首相は野党どころか政権与党の中枢にあり、民営化議論に総務相として参画し続けたのだからもっと無責任だ。しかも、それを批判されたら今度は総務相時代の「勉強」の結果、最後は民営化に賛成したなどと無理な修正をする。

The prime minister could have possibly got away with his apparent flip-flopping if he had responded to such criticisms in a manner like, "I was a member of the governing LDP-Komeito Cabinet involved in the privatization plans. Thus, to make the private companies even better, it is my responsibility to re-examine aspects that deserve re-examination."

 「自・公政権は継続しており、何より私は閣僚として決定にかかわった。だから、よりよい民営会社にするため見直すべき点は見直す責任がある」と答えれば済む話。

However, what is most serious here is that, the more Aso piles on his excuses, one cannot help but feel that the prime minister lacks conviction in his policies. All joking aside, I would not put it past Aso to say next: "I was really against the recent cash handout to Japanese households. But, everyone kept saying 'Do it! Do it!' To say that I was the driving force behind that plan is a frame-up, and I'm not amused, I can tell you." (By Masao Yora, Editorial Writer)

深刻なのは釈明を重ねるたびに、どうやら首相は政策には信念がなさそうだと感じさせてしまうことだ。

 冗談ではなく次はこう言い出しかねないと私は疑っている。

 「定額給付金も本当は反対だった。でも、みんながやれと言うんで。おれが推進役と言われるのはぬれぎぬで、はなはだ面白くないから」(論説室)

毎日新聞 2009212日 東京朝刊

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