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2009年5月18日 (月)

小沢代表辞任―政権選択に向け再起動を

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 12(IHT/Asahi: May 13,2009)
EDITORIAL: Ozawa steps down
小沢代表辞任―政権選択に向け再起動を

Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) President Ichiro Ozawa finally announced his resignation on Monday. Had he acted sooner, we believe, his party would have been better able to cut its losses.
 民主党の小沢代表がようやく辞意を表明した。妥当な判断だ。もっと早く踏み切っていれば、民主党が被った損失は小さくて済んだろう。

During the two months since Ozawa's state-paid aide was arrested in early March in connection with suspected illegal donations from Nishimatsu Construction Co., public opinion demanding Ozawa's resignation grew increasingly severe. This situation even helped raise the approval ratings for the abysmally unpopular Cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso.
 西松建設の違法献金事件で公設第1秘書が逮捕されてから2カ月余。代表の職にとどまった小沢氏に対する世論の逆風は強まる一方だった。それが、超低空飛行だった麻生内閣の支持率を上向かせることにもなった。

Recouping will not be easy
■容易でない党勢回復

The next Lower House election must take place by September. But with Ozawa staying on as Minshuto leader, the party could suffer a defeat in the election and lose its chance to attain its long-held goal of seizing the reins of government. We believe it was this sense of crisis that ultimately made Ozawa decide to step down.
 このままでは、秋までに必ずある総選挙での勝利、つまり年来の目標である政権交代の実現が遠のく。そんな危機感からの決断なのだろう。

At his news conference Monday evening, Ozawa said, "In order to bring about a change of government, I am willingly sacrificing myself and resigning from my post." He also said, "By burning my own bridges, I am making absolutely sure that my party will triumph (in the next election)."
 昨夕、記者会見した小沢氏は「政権交代の実現に向け、あえてこの身をなげうち、職を辞する」「身を捨て、必ず勝利する」などと述べた。

Another factor that must have precipitated Ozawa's decision to step down was the recent emergence of moves within Minshuto to force him out. Until then, most party members had remained silent or noncommittal, at least on the surface.
 もう一つ、これまで小沢氏批判が大きな声にはならなかった党内に、辞任を促す動きが表面化してきたことも、決断を後押ししたに違いない。

Since his aide's arrest, Ozawa has remained openly defiant of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, vowing to take them on. During Monday's news conference, too, Ozawa stressed that his conscience was "completely clear." It is possible that one reason why Ozawa dug in his heels for as long as two months was that he feared his resignation could be seen as an admission of defeat to the prosecutors.
 秘書の逮捕以来、小沢氏は全面的に検察と争う姿勢をあらわにしてきた。昨夕の記者会見でも「一点もやましいことはない」と強調した。辞任すれば検察への屈服ととられかねない。そうした思いが、小沢氏の身を固くさせていた面もあろう。

The prosecutors have not yet declared an end to the investigation, but people's attention is now beginning to turn to the first court hearing of Ozawa's aide, which will be held shortly.
 検察はまだ捜査終結を宣言してはいないが、焦点は近く開かれる事件の初公判に向き始めている。

We believe Ozawa is now prepared to use the trial to challenge the manner in which prosecutors investigated the case and arrested his aide. We also expect Ozawa to take issue with prosecutors over the illegality of Nishimatsu's donations.
小沢氏とすれば、公設秘書の逮捕という強制捜査の手法や、献金の違法性などについて、今後は裁判の場で争っていくということなのだろう。

Minshuto is wasting no time in proceeding with the selection of Ozawa's successor, but it will not be easy for the party to regroup.
 民主党はただちに新代表選びの作業にとりかかるが、党勢の回復は容易なことではない。

Before the Nishimatsu scandal came to light, Minshuto was on a roll and looked as if it was poised to seize power any day. But the party has since stalled. It revealed its inner turmoil in its inability to take a clear-cut position on many of the bills presented to the Diet, including budget bills. As well, the work of preparing its manifesto for the next Lower House election has been put on hold.
 この事件が表面化する前、民主党の勢いには政権交代前夜のおもむきさえあった。それが一気に失速しただけではない。この2カ月というもの、国会に提出された多くの法案や予算案について、すっきりとした対応が定まらず、総選挙向けのマニフェストづくりの作業はほぼストップしていた。

Explaining policies to voters
■開かれた代表選びを

Why did Ozawa keep receiving huge donations from the general contractor for many years? Minshuto has vehemently denounced collusion involving politicians, bureaucrats and businesses in connection with public works projects and promised to radically change the "structure of the nation." Was Ozawa not the very antipode of what the party stood for?
 小沢氏がなぜゼネコンから長年にわたって巨額の献金を受けていたのか。公共事業をめぐる政官業の癒着を厳しく指弾し、「国のかたち」を抜本的に変えると主張してきた民主党なのに、その基本姿勢と矛盾するのではないのか。

Not only Ozawa, but also the rest of the party failed to address these obvious questions that many voters were asking.
そうした世間の批判に、小沢氏本人だけでなく、民主党もほおかむりしてきた。

Now the party has to undo all the damage caused by letting voters' mistrust fester and grow.
 この不信感の集積を、ぬぐわねばならないのだ。

If Minshuto thinks it can automatically regain the public's trust once a new president is in place, it could not be more mistaken.
新代表になればまた自動的に支持が取り戻せると思っているのなら、大きな間違いだ。

The election of the new president ought to take the form of multiple candidates competing on their policies. While the election's effects on Diet deliberations should be kept minimal, the party nevertheless needs to take innovative, proactive steps to take policy debates outside its walls so that the voting public can judge the party's principles and goals.
 代表選挙は、複数の候補者が政見を競い合う形にすべきだろう。国会審議への影響は最小限にしなければならないが、民主党が目指す政策や理念についての論争を党外に積極的にさらし、有権者にもその是非を考えてもらえる工夫をする必要がある。

Another thing the party must do is outgrow its habitual reliance on Ozawa as the "problem fixer" and establish a new party persona under the new leader.
 そして、何かといえば「小沢氏頼み」になりがちだった党の体質を、新代表のもとで刷新することだ。

Ozawa was elected president three years ago to get Minshuto out of the mess over the fake e-mail fiasco. Ozawa then went on to prove his competence by leading the party to a historic victory in the 2007 Upper House election that brought the chamber under opposition control.
 偽メール騒動で混迷した党の苦境を引き受け、小沢氏が代表に選ばれたのは3年前。その真骨頂は07年の参院選での与野党逆転だった。

A former member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and a brilliant election strategist, Ozawa is thoroughly familiar with the ins and outs of LDP-style campaigning. And having held a series of key LDP posts, Ozawa has remained one of the biggest names in Japanese politics.
 自民党の手の内を知り尽くし、選挙戦術にたけた老練さ。抜群の知名度。

His background and personality have sometimes made a good number of voters and Minshuto members uneasy. Yet for Minshuto, which appeared weak, Ozawa was seen as a potent strongman indispensable in the party's quest for power.
民主党内にも有権者の側にも、かつて自民党の中枢にいた小沢氏の過去や体質への懸念がなかったわけではない。それでも、どこかひ弱な民主党にとって、その腕力は政権につくのに欠かせない「劇薬」と受け止められた。

Ozawa was likened to a strong but potentially lethal medicine for Minshuto. And sure enough, he caused some "side effects." For instance, since Ozawa became president, some of the party's signature policies disappeared from the campaign platform. They included a plan to raise the consumption tax to finance social security spending, and a promise to ban political donations from companies awarded contracts for public works projects.
 副作用もあった。小沢代表になってから、社会保障財源のための消費税引き上げ、公共事業受注企業からの献金禁止といった民主党独自の政策が、いつの間にか政権公約から姿を消した。

As for Minshuto's policies concerning the introduction of child-support allowance and the elimination of tolls for expressways, the ruling coalition and others attacked them as "lacking in viable funding plans."
高速道路の無料化や子ども手当などの政策には「財源の裏付けがない」という与党などの批判が浴びせられた。

In diplomacy, Ozawa made a series of eyebrow-raising comments that deviated from the party's basic position. For example, he caused a stir when he told reporters in February, "The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet is enough to secure the U.S. military presence in the Far East."
 外交面でも、例えば「第7艦隊で米国の極東におけるプレゼンスは十分」などといった、小沢氏の迷走発言が続いた。

LDP also accountable
■自民も問われる責任

In 2007, Ozawa tried to pull an arbitrary stunt by negotiating with then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to form a grand coalition with the LDP. The attempt backfired, and Ozawa expressed his intention to resign, which he retracted a couple of days later.
But as this episode illustrated, our impression of Minshuto under Ozawa's leadership was that it was overtly and almost shamelessly ambitious in its quest for the reins of government, and that the party's policies were secondary to political jockeying.
 小沢氏がトップダウンで進めようとした自民党との大連立構想こそ頓挫したものの、小沢時代の民主党は「政策より政局」「何はともあれ政権に」の権力志向があまりにも前面に出ていなかったか。

Minshuto must now rush to reshape its foreign and domestic policies.
 内政、外交の両面で、政策を練り直す作業を急がねばなるまい。

Should Minshuto succeed in recovering from the mess, it will be the Aso administration's turn to face the public's scrutiny.
 民主党が態勢を立て直すことになれば、今度は麻生政権が改めて問われることになるだろう。

Although the Cabinet's approval ratings have risen after plunging to an abysmal 13 percent, opinion polls still show that nearly 60 percent of the respondents do not support the Cabinet. This is certainly not a figure that Aso can take lightly.
 一時は10%台前半に落ち込んだ内閣支持率こそ上向きだしたものの、世論調査では相変わらず6割の人が麻生内閣を「支持しない」と答えている。軽く見ていい数字ではない。

Whether the LDP can win the next election under Aso has been a nagging concern among LDP members, and their voices may grow louder in the coming days.
 麻生首相で本当に選挙に勝てるのか、そんな不安の声が再び自民党内で大きくなる場面もあるかもしれない。

It is now the responsibility of our elected representatives, especially members of the nation's two major political parties--the LDP and Minshuto--to make sure that the next Lower House election will truly enable voters to elect a government of their choice.
 次の総選挙を、真の意味で国民による政権選択の選挙にすること。それが政治、とりわけ2大政党の自民、民主両党に課せられた責任だ。

Faced with the serious economic downturn and other problems, such as the aging of society, low birthrate and declining population, the nation is undergoing a period of major transition.
 深刻な不況をはじめ、少子高齢化、人口減少などさまざまな面で、日本は大転換期にある。

In fighting a Lower House election at such a time, the LDP and Minshuto alike must compete on the persuasiveness of their respective policies and the personal appeal of their respective leaders.
そんな中で迎える総選挙だ。両党とも指導者の魅力と政策の説得力を競わねばならない。

Which party will shape up first to gain campaigning advantage? There is not much time left.
どちらが先に態勢を整えられるか。残された時間は少ない。

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