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2009年3月10日 (火)

西松違法献金 厳しさ増す小沢氏の責任問題

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 10, 2009)

Pressure on Ozawa builds over donations

西松違法献金 厳しさ増す小沢氏の責任問題(310日付・読売社説)

Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa is facing an increasingly tough situation over his responsibility in an alleged Political Funds Control Law violation involving his state-funded secretary.

 公設秘書の政治資金規正法違反事件をめぐる民主党の小沢代表の責任問題が、一段と厳しさを増している。

A recent Yomiuri Shimbun opinion poll found that 81 percent of respondents said they were not satisfied with Ozawa's explanation of the matter. More than 50 percent believed that he should step down as party leader. These figures should be of great concern to Ozawa.

 読売新聞の全国世論調査で、小沢代表による説明が「納得できない」と答えた人が8割に達した。小沢代表が「辞任すべきだ」との回答も5割を超している。極めて重い数字だ。

Explaining about how donations from two political associations related to Nishimatsu Construction Co. were provided, Ozawa repeatedly said he had left the matter to his secretary and that he did not know anything about specifics. As for where the money for the donations in question came from, he only said that there was no way for him to know about it and that he would never inquire into it.

 小沢代表は、西松建設関連の2政治団体からの献金の経緯について「秘書に任せており、具体的なことは分からない」と繰り返す。献金の出所に関しても、「知るすべもないし、詮索(せんさく)することはあり得ない」と言うばかりだ。

According to sources, however, his arrested secretary held direct negotiations with a former Nishimatsu executive to decide the size of donations the firm would make as well as how much each of the three Ozawa-related political organizations would get from the two dummy political associations.

 しかし、逮捕された秘書は、西松建設幹部と相談し、2政治団体からの献金額や献金先の割り振りを決めていたことが、関係者の証言などで判明している。

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Mistake or malfeasance?

This indicates that Ozawa's secretary was actively involved in disguising the donations from Nishimatsu as those from the political associations. If this is true, such an excuse--that the alleged misconduct is merely an unintentional minor technical violation of the law--will no longer hold water.

 西松建設の企業献金を関連団体の献金と偽る行為に秘書が積極的に関与したことを示すものだ。事実ならば、「単なる形式犯」という言い訳は通用しない。

Ozawa has so far given no explanation about the nitty-gritty of the scandal. It is therefore quite natural that the public are not satisfied with what he said. Ozawa is responsible for investigating the matter himself and clarifying the truth.

 この事件の核心部分に関する小沢代表の説明は一切ない。国民が納得できないのは当然だろう。小沢代表は自ら調査し、真相を明らかにする責任がある。

The atmosphere within the DPJ has apparently changed. Initially, most party members appeared to have faith in Ozawa, but criticism of the leader and questions over his responsibility are spreading.

 民主党内の空気も明らかに変化してきた。当初は、小沢代表の説明を信用するとの声が大勢だったが、最近は小沢代表への批判や責任論が広がっている。

How will the DPJ handle this problem? The party's ability to manage a crisis will be tested ahead of the next House of Representatives election. Although the main opposition party saw a relatively minor fall in its support rate in the latest Yomiuri poll, the DPJ is expected to suffer more serious damage if it continues to deal with the matter in a way that deviates from common sense.

 民主党は、この問題にどう対応するのか。次期衆院選に向けて危機管理能力が試される。今回の世論調査では、民主党の支持率低下は比較的軽微だったが、国民の常識とずれた対応を続ければ、より大きな影響が出るだろう。

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Bad news for both parties

On the other hand, the government and Liberal Democratic Party also need to take the results of the Yomiuri poll seriously.

 一方で、政府・自民党も、今回の世論調査を深刻に受け止める必要がある。

The support rate for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso and for the LDP dropped again from the previous poll last month. Asked which is more suitable for the position of prime minister, more people still favored Ozawa over Aso, although the difference between the preferences narrowed from the previous poll.

 麻生内閣と自民党の支持率はそろって続落した。麻生首相と小沢代表のどちらが首相にふさわしいか、という質問でも、両者の差は縮まったものの、依然、小沢代表の方が上回っている。

This implies that the government and LDP are under heavy public scrutiny.

 政府・自民党に対する国民の視線の厳しさがうかがえる。

The prosecutors' probe into donations by Nishimatsu likely will widen to reach political organizations tied to Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai. However, Nikai has said only that donations were properly reported based on the Political Funds Control Law. Nikai's way of dealing with the matter is just about the same as Ozawa's.

 二階経済産業相の政治団体も、西松事件の捜査対象とされる。だが、二階経産相は「きっちりと政治資金規正法に基づいて報告している」などと語るだけだ。小沢代表の対応とあまり変わらない。

The Yomiuri poll also found that about 43 percent of the respondents, up about seven percentage points from the previous poll, said they did not support any party. Public distrust in politics will only grow if the LDP and DPJ fail to take action to purify themselves over politics and money.

 世論調査では、無党派層が前月比7ポイント増の43%となった。「政治とカネ」をめぐる問題に、自民、民主両党がこのまま自浄能力を発揮できないようでは、国民の政治不信は募るばかりだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 10, 2009)

20093100152  読売新聞)

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