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2009年11月20日 (金)

事業仕分け―大なた効果を次につなげ

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 19(IHT/Asahi: November 20,2009)
EDITORIAL: Budget spending cuts.
事業仕分け―大なた効果を次につなげ

Never before has the process of drafting a state budget come under such close scrutiny by so many people.
 国の予算案づくりの過程が、これほど多くの国民の監視の目にさらされたことは、かつてなかった。

The Government Revitalization Unit, tasked with scouring the budget requests for savings, has finished the first half of its work. Its operations have been covered daily and extensively by the media, and a webcast of the team at work received an incredible 24,000 hits at its peak.
 歳出の無駄を洗い出す行政刷新会議の事業仕分けの前半が終わった。マスメディアを通じて作業の様子が連日伝えられ、ウェブ中継へのアクセスはピーク時で2万4千件に及んだ。

All this reflects growing interest among taxpayers over how their money is used by the government. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama must respect the results of the budget review process and do his utmost to eliminate unnecessary spending so that public money is efficiently used in compiling the budget for the next fiscal year. He should also make sure that spending on similar programs not subject to the current review is also cut.
 税金の使途に対する世論の視線が、それだけ厳しいことの反映でもあろう。鳩山由紀夫首相は仕分けを尊重し、対象外の類似事業にもメスを入れるなど、予算案決定に向けて無駄の排除と効率化を徹底してほしい。

The task force's work so far has made it clear that spending cuts alone will not be sufficient to finance all the programs the Democratic Party of Japan had pledged in its election manifesto.
 今回の経験で、民主党のマニフェストの実行に必要な予算を事業仕分けだけでひねり出すのは難しいということも、明らかになった。

In total, 46 programs have been identified that will be scrapped or dropped from the fiscal 2010 budget, representing a saving of about 150 billion yen. The first round of the review process resulted in putting aside about 1 trillion yen, including the 150 billion yen, by discovering surplus reserves that should be returned to state coffers and downsizing other projects.
 「廃止」「来年度の計上見送り」とされたのは46事業計1500億円。埋蔵金の国庫返納や予算規模縮減を含めた総額は1兆円規模となる。

The government aims to cut about 3 trillion yen from the budget requests, which exceeded 95 trillion yen. This target will be hard to achieve even if the task force identifies additional budget cuts during the second half of its work next week. In addition, the surplus reserves can be spent only once and cannot be counted on as a permanent revenue source.
 95兆円に膨らんだ概算要求の削減目標は約3兆円である。来週行われる仕分け後半の成果を見込んでも、達成は容易ではない。しかも、埋蔵金は一度使えば次年度からは当てにできず、恒久財源にはなりえない。

The question facing the Hatoyama administration is which of its election promises should be carried out and to what extent during its first year in office. It must now make a crucial decision on policy priorities.
 マニフェストを初年度に、どこまで実現するのか。鳩山政権はいよいよその優先順位を決めなければならない局面にきたといえる。

The budget-cutting team has been criticized for making hasty rough-and-ready decisions. Critics also said members of the Government Revitalization Unit were not fully briefed on details of how the programs and projects were supposed to work and that decisions on reductions and terminations were actually made before the team started its review.
 事業仕分けに対しては、「短時間の議論で結論を出すのは乱暴だ」「仕分け人は現場を知らない」「廃止や見直しの結論ありきではないか」といった批判がある。

The team decided to scrap a program intended to help young people having difficulty in adjusting to society, like those who hide away at home, and find jobs for them. But those who are working for the program are calling for its continuation. In the same vein, there are calls to maintain funding for projects that give children opportunities to read books and experience nature.
 とりわけ、引きこもりなどの若者の就職を支援する「若者自立塾」や、子どもに読書や自然体験をさせる「子どもゆめ基金」の廃止には、現場の関係者から存続を求める声が出ている。

Indeed, education, welfare and science and technology are policy areas where government expenditures should not be evaluated simply on the basis of cost effectiveness.
 確かに、教育や福祉、科学技術などは、費用対効果の物差しだけでは単純に割り切れない分野である。

The task force's proposals indicate that drastic measures, which could cause unwanted effects, are needed to uproot the vested interests accumulated during the long grip on power by the Liberal Democratic Party.
 多少の副作用もあろうが、そのくらいの大なたをふるわないと、自民党の長期政権時代のしがらみを断ち切るのは難しいということでもあろう。

In assessing the programs, the team sought to ascertain whether they really required the involvement of the central government or could be entrusted to local governments or private-sector entities. The review is significant in that it involved a fundamental rethinking of how administrative services should be provided. If the review process determines that certain programs are necessary, the government should keep them alive by figuring out effective ways to finance them.
 本当に政府が面倒をみなければいけないのか。自治体や民間に任せられないか。行政サービスのあり方を根本から考えようとした事業仕分けの意義は大きい。そのうえで、なお必要だというなら、効果的な手法を工夫して存続させる道はあってもいい。

Hatoyama has suggested that the budget review is a one-off event. But given the fact that the projects examined by the team represent only 15 percent of the total, it is clear that the work should continue until all of them have been scrutinized.
 首相は今回のような事業仕分けは今年限りとする考えを示している。今回の対象が国の全事業の約15%に過ぎないことを考えれば、一度はすべての事業の総ざらえが必要ではないか。

Above all, such a budget review fully open to the public is certain to change the mind-set of bureaucrats in the Kasumigaseki district and strengthen the sense of participation in the policymaking process among taxpayers. We hope the government will continue this work in some form in future budget compilation work.
 何より、全面公開で行われる事業仕分けは、霞が関の官僚の意識改革や納税者の参加意識の向上にもつながるに違いない。来年以降の予算編成にも、何らかの形で生かしてもらいたい。

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