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2009年7月 8日 (水)

自民「静岡」敗北 首相はさらに窮地に立った

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 7, 2009)
Defeat in Shizuoka poll pushes Aso to the wall
自民「静岡」敗北 首相はさらに窮地に立った(7月6日付・読売社説)

The Shizuoka gubernatorial election on Sunday--a bellwether for the House of Representatives election--was won by former university president Heita Kawakatsu, who defeated Yukiko Sakamoto, a former House of Councillors lawmaker backed by the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, and two other contenders.
 衆院選の前哨戦と位置づけられた静岡県知事選は、民主党など推薦の前大学学長・川勝平太氏が自民、公明両党推薦の前参院議員・坂本由紀子氏らを破って当選した。

The victory of the candidate supported by opposition parties, including the Democratic Party of Japan, dealt a stinging defeat for Prime Minister Taro Aso, who wants to dissolve the lower house for a general election at his own discretion. He is now in an even more difficult situation.
 自らの手で衆院解散・総選挙に打って出たい麻生首相には、手痛い敗北である。首相は、一段と窮地に追い込まれた形だ。

The gubernatorial election, which was called after Gov. Yoshinobu Ishikawa resigned amid a dispute over the opening of Shizuoka Airport, was a head-on battle between the LDP and the main opposition DPJ ahead of the looming lower house election.
 静岡空港の開港問題で前知事が辞任したことに伴う知事選は、衆院選を目前に控え、自民・民主対決型の選挙となった。

During the election campaign, the LDP was in turmoil over Aso's abortive attempt to reshuffle its top cadre while suspected fictitious donations to DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama came to light. Voters' attention centered on how all this would affect each party throughout its campaign.
しかも、選挙期間中、自民党は人事をめぐって混乱する一方、民主党は鳩山代表の架空献金疑惑が表面化し、選挙戦への影響が注目された。

The DPJ failed to form a consensus between Kawakatsu and former DPJ upper house member Toru Unno over whom the party should field as the DPJ-backed candidate--in what amounted to a split in DPJ supporters' votes in Sunday's race.
However, Kawakatsu left Sakamoto behind in the race, capitalizing on his name recognition as a scholar, coupled with public criticism against the LDP that acted as a tailwind.
 民主党陣営は、元参院議員・海野徹氏との候補者一本化調整に失敗し、事実上の分裂選挙に追い込まれたが、川勝氏は、学者としての知名度と、自民党批判を追い風に坂本氏を振り切った。

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External factors

It is undeniable that Sakamoto's defeat was attributable to negative consequences of Japan Post Holdings Co. President Yoshifumi Nishikawa keeping his post and the Aso Cabinet's approval rate slipping amid turmoil over a minor Cabinet shuffle.
 坂本氏の敗北には、日本郵政の社長続投や自民党の閣僚補充騒動で、麻生内閣の支持率が低落していることなどがマイナスに働いたのは否めない。

The LDP is striving to secure a majority in the upcoming Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election--the next electoral battle--by combining its gains with those of its coalition partner, New Komeito. However, a Yomiuri Shimbun opinion poll indicated that the LDP is facing an uphill battle.
 次の主戦場である東京都議選で、自民党は、公明党と合わせて過半数の議席確保をめざしている。だが、本紙の世論調査では自民党は苦戦を強いられている。

If the ruling parties fail to obtain a majority or allow the DPJ to emerge as the largest party in the assembly, it could encourage LDP members to unhesitatingly press a demand for Aso to step down, insisting they will be unable to fight the lower house election under his leadership as party president.
 仮に与党が過半数を割ったり、民主党に第1党の座を明け渡したりすることがあれば、「麻生首相では衆院選が戦えない」として、自民党内から退陣要求が一気に噴き出しかねない。

Aso is still considering the possibility of dissolving the lower house immediately after the Tokyo assembly election with voting in early August, but New Komeito strongly opposes such a schedule. Also, calls within the LDP for postponing the lower house dissolution are becoming louder.
 首相はなお、都議選直後の衆院解散―8月上旬の衆院選投開票を模索しているが、公明党が強く反対している。自民党内でも、解散の時期を先延ばしすべきだという声が広がっている。

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Tokyo poll will set tone

Whether Aso can take the initiative in the current political situation hinges solely on the outcome of the Tokyo assembly election.
 首相が政局の主導権を取れるかどうかは、都議選の結果にすべてがかかっている。

At the moment, Aso has to step up efforts for quick passage through the Diet of important bills, including a bill to revise the Organ Transplant Law and another that would expand the list of people eligible for financial relief as Minamata disease sufferers. He also has to accelerate drawing up the party's manifesto ahead of the lower house election.
 当面、首相は、臓器移植法改正案や水俣病患者救済法案など残る重要法案の成立や、衆院選に向けた政権公約の策定を急がなければならない。

The DPJ, for its part, cannot sit idly by.
 一方、民主党も、決して安閑としてはいられない。

Hatoyama admitted his political fund management organization had made false statements in its fund reports, listing fictitious individual donations, and offered a public apology. DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada has said Hatoyama has fulfilled his accountability over the case. However, a Yomiuri Shimbun opinion poll found as many as about 80 percent of respondents considered his explanation insufficient.
 鳩山代表は、自らの資金管理団体に架空の個人献金があったことを認めて謝罪した。説明責任は果たしたとしているが、本紙の世論調査で「説明が不十分」と答えた人は8割に上る。

Following the case involving his predecessor Ichiro Ozawa, Hatoyama's case highlights again the problem of "politics and money." The DPJ needs to dispel suspicion if it is to try to stave off the negative impact of the scandal on its fortunes in the Tokyo assembly and lower house elections.
 小沢一郎前代表に続く鳩山代表の「政治とカネ」の問題だ。民主党は、都議選や衆院選への悪影響を回避するためにも、疑惑の払拭(ふっしょく)に努めることが必要だ。

(From the final edition of The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 6, 2009)
(2009年7月6日01時32分  読売新聞)

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