« イラン選挙―現職圧勝でも見えた変化 | トップページ | 16年夏季五輪:東京開催「賛成」62% 全国世論調査 »

2009年6月17日 (水)

厚労省局長逮捕―「政治案件」とは何だった

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 16(IHT/Asahi: June 17,2009)
EDITORIAL: Deepening postage scam
厚労省局長逮捕―「政治案件」とは何だった

Atsuko Muraki, a "rising star" at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, was arrested Sunday over her alleged involvement in a scam involving postal services. The Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office suspects she falsified and illegally issued a document that led to systematic abuse of a postage discount system for disability support groups.
 障害者団体向け郵便の不正事件で、厚生労働省の村木厚子局長が大阪地検特捜部に逮捕された。郵便の割引制度の適用団体と認める偽の証明書をつくり、不正に発行したという容疑だ。

The fake certificate was issued to Rin no Kai, a group that was not involved in any activity to help disabled people. The certificate enabled the group to save nearly 2 billion yen in postage costs. Without the certificate, the scam would have gone awry.
 偽証明書は障害者団体としての活動実態のない「凛(りん)の会」に発行され、同会は制度を悪用して20億円近い郵送料を免れていた。証明書がなければこの事件は起きなかった。

Muraki, director-general of the ministry's Equal Employment, Children and Families Bureau, has denied the allegations. Still, it is a matter of grave concern that a senior welfare ministry official responsible for promoting the well-being of the disabled is alleged to have taken part in an unlawful moneymaking scheme.
 村木局長は容疑を否認しているという。だが、障害者を守るべき立場の厚労省幹部が違法な金もうけに加担した疑いをもたれてしまった事実は重い。

After the earlier arrest of a lower-ranking official, the ministry mounted an in-house investigation into the scandal. Sunday's arrest of the career-track bureaucrat indicates the rot at the ministry is widespread. What we don't understand is why ministry officials resorted to breaking the law to grant such a favor to the organization.
 厚労省は係長の逮捕後に内部調査を進めているが、キャリア官僚の逮捕にまで発展し、事件は組織ぐるみの様相を見せている。なぜ不正までして便宜を図ったのか。何より知りたいのはそのことだ。

The system allows organizations supporting the disabled to mail periodicals at deeply discounted rates. But organizations must meet certain criteria to be eligible for the discount, which is intended exclusively for groups that support people with disabilities.
 悪用された制度では、障害者団体が定期刊行物を郵送するときに格安の料金が適用される。それには一定の条件が必要で、そもそも障害者団体でなければ適用されない。

The fabricated certificate in question was issued in June 2004, when Muraki headed the Policy Planning Division of the Department of Health and Welfare for Persons with Disabilities. Tsutomu Kamimura, Muraki's subordinate at that time, was rearrested on Sunday for allegedly conspiring with Muraki to falsify the certificate. Kamimura had been arrested for forging an internal document of approval.
 偽証明書は04年6月、村木局長が障害保健福祉部の企画課長のときに発行された。部下だった係長が部内の決裁文書などを偽造した容疑で特捜部に逮捕され、今回の偽証明書作成では村木局長の共犯容疑で再逮捕された。

Rin no Kai apparently existed in name only. The certificate was issued even though insufficient documentation was submitted. It seems that Kamimura acted alone in fabricating the internal approval document. But the falsified certificate in question not only was in the format of an official ministry document; it also bore the official seal of the chief of the Policy Planning Division. If other officials in the ministry failed to detect the forgery, the ministry's document checking system can only be described as slipshod.
 「凛の会」には活動実態がなく、申請に必要な書類も整っていなかった。決裁文書の偽造は係長の独断のようだが、問題の証明書には企画課長の公印が押され、厚労省発行の体裁が整っていた。ほかのだれも気づかなかったというのなら、あまりにもずさんな審査態勢といわざるを得ない。

What must not be overlooked is the fact that issuance of the certificate was treated as a political matter.
 見逃せないのは、この証明書が「政治案件」として扱われていたことだ。

Apparently, Muraki's supervisor at that time, who formerly headed the department, told prosecutors during questioning on a voluntary basis that the former chief was asked to grant a favor to Rin no Kai by a lawmaker and senior member of Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan). The individual said the request was conveyed to officials in charge of screening applications for the discount system. The group's head, who was once an aid of the Minshuto lawmaker, later visited the ministry to meet those officials.
 村木局長の上司だった当時の障害保健福祉部長は特捜部の任意の聴取に対し、民主党幹部の国会議員から「凛の会」への対応を依頼され、審査を担当する部下らに伝えたと証言したという。この民主党議員のかつての秘書だった「凛の会」会長がその後、厚労省を訪れ、担当者に面会していた。

When Kamimura took over the Rin no Kai case upon being transferred to the position, he was told by his predecessor that it was a "matter concerning a politician."
 再逮捕された係長は、異動にともなって「凛の会」の案件を引き継いだ際、前任者から「政治絡み」であると伝えられたという。

A string of scandals involving government employees prompted the Diet in June 2008 to pass a basic law to reform the civil servants system. One key feature of the law is a provision requiring government employees to keep records of their contacts with politicians. This provision was aimed to inject more transparency in response to public criticism about cozy ties between politicians and bureaucrats.
 公務員の不祥事が相次ぎ、昨年6月に国家公務員制度改革基本法ができた。その柱の一つは、政治家と官僚の癒着が批判される中で、双方が接触した際の記録を残し、透明性を高めることだ。

It would be really outrageous if it turns out the discount system was abused at the behest of a politician.
政治家の理不尽な働きかけで、制度がゆがめられることがあったならもってのほかだ。

If what the former chief of the Department of Health and Welfare for Persons with Disabilities has told investigators is true, the scandal will take on an even more serious hue. The politician involved has an obligation to explain his involvement in a scandal that has implicated senior bureaucrats.
 元障害保健福祉部長らの証言が事実なら、事件の構図はいよいよ深刻だ。政と官はどうかかわり合ったのか。その疑惑について、政治家側にも十分に説明する責任がある。

|

« イラン選挙―現職圧勝でも見えた変化 | トップページ | 16年夏季五輪:東京開催「賛成」62% 全国世論調査 »

04-英字新聞(朝日2)」カテゴリの記事

コメント

コメントを書く



(ウェブ上には掲載しません)




« イラン選挙―現職圧勝でも見えた変化 | トップページ | 16年夏季五輪:東京開催「賛成」62% 全国世論調査 »