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2009年9月13日 (日)

財界―政治とともに変わる時だ

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 11(IHT/Asahi: September 12,2009)
EDITORIAL: Down to business
財界―政治とともに変わる時だ

The business world, traditionally a staunch supporter of administrations led by the Liberal Democratic Party, is being pressed to alter its stance toward politics.
 自民党政権を支え続けてきた財界が、政治との関係について転換を迫られようとしている。

This begs the question: What role will it play after the inauguration of the coalition government led by Yukio Hatoyama of the Democratic Party of Japan?
 民主党中心の鳩山連立政権の誕生後どういう役割を果たしていくのか。問われているのはそのことだ。

Under the outgoing coalition setup of the LDP and its junior partner New Komeito, business leaders, such as the chairman of Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), were closely involved in policymaking as private-sector members of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy.
 自公政権下では日本経団連会長らが経済財政諮問会議の民間議員として政策づくりに深くかかわった。

The new administration plans to abolish the council and formulate policy under the proposed National Strategy Bureau. Some business leaders have expressed concern that their voices would no longer be heard.
新政権は諮問会議を廃止し、新設の国家戦略局で政策の骨格を決めるという。財界幹部からは「意見を聞いてくれなくなるだろう」との嘆きが漏れる。

However, with a change of government, we are entering a new age. The business world needs to review its role and have the courage to push for change in response to the political upheaval.
 だが、政権交代は新しい時代の始まりである。財界は自らの役割を見直し、政治の大変動に対応して変化の道を探る勇気を持つべきだ。

The LDP-New Komeito government formed in the late 1990s put priority on economic reconstruction. To grapple with the so-called lost decade, it had to promote policies to enhance industrial competitiveness.
 90年代後半からの自公政権の最優先課題は「経済の再生」だった。「失われた10年」のまっただ中で産業競争力を強める政策が求められた。

Thus, the voices of industry were heard when the government came up with various policy measures. These included revisions to the Commercial Law to give more freedom to corporate activities as well as the law governing dispatched workers. The business community became more influential as industrial sectors spoke with one voice.
 企業活動の自由度を高めた商法改正や派遣社員を拡大した労働者派遣法改正など、産業界が求める政策が実行された。財界の声も力も一丸となり、発言力も強まった。

Up to now, it was common for business circles to act as a monolithic body to press the ruling parties for favorable economic policies. But this structure now seems consigned to the past. One example will revolve around policies to curb global warming.
 しかし、今後は一枚岩の財界が政権与党に経済政策を求めるという構図ではなくなるだろう。その具体例が地球温暖化対策だ。

DPJ President Hatoyama has announced a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from the 1990 level by 2020. While the steel and electric power industries, which are major emitters, are digging their heels in, some sectors welcome the proposal because they expect it to boost demand for green products. The business community will likely find itself divided over the new administration's environmental policies.
 民主党の鳩山代表は温室効果ガスについて「2020年に90年比25%削減」という目標を打ち出した。経営への影響が大きい鉄鋼や電力などの業界は反発を強めているが、エコ商品などの需要拡大を期待する業界では評価する声もある。新政権の環境政策を巡って財界内部での意見の相違が目立つ場面も増えるのではないか。

Looking back, the business world and LDP governments have not always been in harmony. During the period of high economic growth, the business world tried to cold-shoulder government efforts to intervene in the way companies are run. It was also unhappy with the LDP's agricultural policy, which for a long time kept the nation's rice market closed.
 過去を振り返っても、財界と自民党政府の息が常に合ったわけではない。高度成長期には政府による経営への関与を財界がはねつけようとしたし、コメ開放を長らく拒んだ自民党の農業政策にも財界は不満だった。

In the past, the chairman of what was then Keidanren (Japan Federation of Economic Organizations) used to be dubbed the "prime minister of the business world." Taizo Ishizaka (1886-1975), who served as Keidanren's second chairman, is said to have argued violently with Cabinet ministers, telling them, "It's no use asking you any more."
経団連会長が「財界総理」と呼ばれたころの石坂泰三氏は閣僚らに「もう君には頼まない」と啖呵(たんか)を切り、丁々発止の関係だったとされる。

While the new administration is calling for the abolition of political donations by companies and other organizations, the business world should take it upon itself to stop the practice. It should sever monetary ties with governing parties and restrict itself to exchanging views with the government on policy matters. Building such a relationship between business and political circles will be important for the development of democracy in this country.
 新政権は企業・団体献金廃止を掲げるが、経済界は自発的に献金をやめるべきである。与党とのお金を通じた関係を絶ち、そのうえで政策を巡って政府と意見を交わすことがこの国の民主主義の発展にとって重要だ。

As long as companies are making a positive contribution to society through business activities, paying taxes and securing employment, they are entitled to a voice. It shouldn't depend on making political donations.
 企業がその活動や納税、雇用などで社会に貢献している限り、献金などしなくても発言の資格はある。

Economic analyses and policy proposals from the standpoint of the business world are significant to any administration. The vitality of companies is also indispensable to the improvement of national life. We want the business circle to also speak freely about the future of industries and employment.
 産業界からみた経済分析や政策提言はどのような政権にも有意義だろう。国民生活の向上に企業活力は不可欠だ。産業と雇用の将来像についても、自由に意見を言ってもらいたい。

We hope the business community will voluntarily transform into an organization that makes policy proposals not only for commercial profit but also for a broad range of "public interests."
 企業の利益だけでなく、幅広い「国民益」のための政策提言組織に財界が自ら脱皮していくことを期待したい。

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