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2009年10月 1日 (木)

予算編成―さあ、大胆な組み替えを

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 30(IHT/Asahi: October 1,2009)
EDITORIAL: Recompiling the budget
予算編成―さあ、大胆な組み替えを

The administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has officially decided to rework from scratch the fiscal 2010 budget plan, which the previous ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito had started working on.
 自公政権下で編成作業が始まっていた来年度予算を白紙から見直すことを、鳩山政権が正式に決めた。

The Hatoyama administration's stated aim is to stop the nation from getting deeper into debt and boldly slash wasteful spending to secure fiscal resources for the betterment of the lives of citizens.
新たな借金を増やさず、無駄な予算を大胆に削って「くらしを守る方向」に使うための財源を生み出すという。

We hope the government will stick to this basic policy. But since the public is not without concerns about some of the administration's specific initiatives, Hatoyama should make every effort to explain them, including the procedures by which policy decisions are made.
 その基本方針を徹底するよう期待したいが、具体的なやり方については国民に不安もあるだけに、政策の決定過程を含めて説明に努めてほしい。

Setting its basic policy for budget compilation, the Hatoyama Cabinet decided Tuesday to scrap budget ceilings, marking the administration's first big step toward budgetary reforms.
 鳩山政権はきのうの閣議で、予算編成の基本方針として概算要求基準(シーリング)の廃止を決めた。予算改革の大きな第一歩となる。

The ceilings were exactly what perpetuated the nation's traditional, bureaucracy-led budget planning pattern of coordinating the interests of the parties concerned--a pattern that became firmly entrenched because the ceilings allowed budget planners to only micro-adjust the preceding year's budget.
シーリングこそが、前年度予算の踏襲と微修正を繰り返すことしかできない官僚主導の利害調整型予算を形作ってきたからだ。

Small wonder that the previous administrations lacked the mobility needed to compile realistic budgets in keeping with changes in society and policy.
社会が大きく変化したり政策目的が変わったりしても機動的に対応できなかったのはそのせいだ。

The administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi introduced measures to curb public investment and discretionary spending, but stopped short of reorganizing the budget compilation procedure itself. Only a regime change could do that, which is what is happening now.
 小泉政権は公共投資や裁量的経費を削減する手法を導入した。だが予算の内容を思い切って組み替えるところまではいかなかった。予算づくりそのものを転換できるのは、やはり政権交代の威力である。

The Hatoyama administration plans to conduct a strict review of budgetary priorities by putting them back on the drawing board. It would be a real coup if the administration could pull this off. But obviously, compiling a budget completely from scratch without following precedents will be a tremendously tough challenge.
 鳩山政権は「既存の予算はゼロベースで厳しく優先順位を見直す」という。これを実際にやってみせるのは画期的だ。しかし、前例を踏襲せずに白地から予算を組む作業は相当な困難が予想される。

The DPJ used the slogan "the people's daily lives first" to sum up its core policy. This raised the public's hopes for a regime change. The crucial test now is whether the party will be able to follow this through in budget planning.
 民主党は「生活第一」という政策の基軸を掲げてきた。それが政権交代への期待を生んだ。これを予算編成で貫けるかどうか、が鍵になる。

The party needs to be especially careful and resourceful when allocating funding for the programs promised on its campaign platform.
 政権公約でうたった政策を予算に盛り込むに当たり、制度づくりにきめ細かい工夫をこらすことが求められる。

Regarding programs meant to benefit the younger generation, such as child allowances and tuition-free public senior high schools, we hope the party will heed the voices of the people and proceed as planned.
子ども手当や高校無償化など、若い世代を育てる政策は国民の声に耳を傾け、しっかりと進めてほしい。

But given the funding restraints, it is also vital that the programs are sound enough to win the acceptance of taxpayers.
 同時に大切なのは、財源の制約のもとで、厳しい選択だが合理的だと納税者に納得される内容にすることだ。

Allocating generous funding to every promised program is an extremely tall order. The DPJ must figure out what to prioritize, scrap or downsize.
 公約した事業すべてに十分な予算をつけるのは至難の業だ。何を優先し、何を切るか、減らすか。

In that sense, we believe the DPJ should reconsider its promises to make all highways toll-free (annual fiscal resources of 1.3 trillion yen are needed) and abolish temporary tax surcharges on gasoline (2.5 trillion yen).
 その点で高速道路無料化(財源は毎年度1.3兆円)とガソリン税などの暫定税率廃止(同2.5兆円)は再考を求めたい。

We question the wisdom of spending trillions of yen every year on these initiatives that conflict with what we should be doing to curb climate change. Surely, there are other pressing needs on which to spend that amount of money.
温暖化対策とも矛盾するこれらの政策に毎年度数兆円を投じることが妥当だろうか。もっと優先すべき使い道が考えられないか。

The Hatoyama administration is now being tested on its decisiveness and accountability on many fronts, including overhauling the current supplementary budget implemented by the previous LDP-led administration to deal with the economic crisis.
 自公政権が経済危機への対策として編成し執行中の補正予算の組み替えも含め、新政権の決断力と説明責任を果たす能力が問われる。

The administration is also considering a budget-management system spanning several years to eliminate wasteful spending caused by the practice of using up any leftover budget before the fiscal year ends.
 年度内に予算を使い切ろうとして生じる無駄をなくすため、複数年度の予算管理も検討するという。

The administration has set a timetable that requires budget requests to be filed by Oct. 15 and the budget plan to be completed before the end of this year. This is an extremely tight schedule, but the economic crisis allows no delay in budget compilation. Speed is indispensable.
 「10月15日までに概算要求、年内編成」という日程はかなりきつい。それでも経済危機のもとで予算編成の遅れは許されない。スピードも不可欠だ。

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