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2009年11月20日 (金)

党首討論―情けない首相の逃げ腰

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 19(IHT/Asahi: November 20,2009)
EDITORIAL: One-on-one Diet debate.
党首討論―情けない首相の逃げ腰

Since it took power in mid-September, the administration led by Yukio Hatoyama has been busy re-examining the policies implemented by the former coalition government before it starts work on compiling the fiscal 2010 budget.
 政権交代から2カ月あまり。鳩山政権は10年度予算編成に向けて、自公政権下でとられてきた政策を次々に見直そうとしている。

The new government totally reviewed the supplementary budget put together by Taro Aso's team, called a halt to the construction of the Yanba Dam in Gunma Prefecture and instructed the Government Revitalization Unit to scrutinize projects included in budget requests for the next fiscal year. The government is also studying whether the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture can be relocated elsewhere. This amounts to a total re-examination of the plan previously agreed to by Tokyo and Washington.
 麻生政権による補正予算の全面見直し。八ツ場ダムの建設中止。行政刷新会議の事業仕分け。米軍普天間飛行場の移設についても、日米で合意した計画の見直しを含めて「検証」を進めている。

Why is the administration drastically changing policies? How does it plan to realize them? Hatoyama has a duty to provide a satisfactory explanation.
 なぜ、政策の大規模な変更なのか。どう実現するのか。鳩山由紀夫首相は説明責任を負っている。

How will Sadakazu Tanigaki, president of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, respond? How does he evaluate his party's past policies? What is the LDP's new course? Now, more than ever, voters are eager to hear a heated verbal battle between the two leaders.
 下野した自民党の谷垣禎一総裁はどう反論するのだろうか。過去の党の政策をどう評価するのか。自民党の新しい道は何か。今ほど、有権者が両氏の主張のぶつけ合いを聞きたいと思っている時はないだろう。

However, it now appears doubtful that the two leaders will hold a one-on-one debate during the current Diet session. Initially, the ruling and opposition parties had aimed to do so on Wednesday, but on Nov. 13 the government and the Democratic Party of Japan squelched the idea.
 ところが、両氏による党首討論がこの国会で開かれるのかどうか、怪しい状況になってきた。当初、与野党は初の討論をきのう開く方向で話してきたが、結局、政府与党が応じなかった。谷垣氏の自転車事故の前から、きのうの党首討論の可能性は消えていた。

The government says it put the damper on the idea because some members of the Cabinet would not be able to attend it due to official business. True, there is a general understanding between the ruling and opposition parties that requires the attendance of all Cabinet ministers at such a debate, but the explanation offered is a little hard to swallow.
 一部の閣僚が公務で出席できないから、というのが言い分だ。確かに、討論には全閣僚の出席を原則とするという与野党の申し合わせがあるが、拒む理由としては納得しがたい。

Why must all Cabinet ministers be present when it is the party leaders who are going head to head? The government and the DPJ cannot avoid criticism that they used the agreement as an excuse to avoid the debate.
 党首同士がやりあうのに、なぜ全閣僚の出席が必要なのか。与党は申し合わせをたてに討論を避けた、と言われても仕方あるまい。

In principle, debates between the party leaders are held on a Wednesday. In that case, the next chance would be Nov. 25, but the DPJ-led government has not yet responded to the LDP's request to hold one on that day. Does the government seriously think there is no need to hold a debate before the Diet session winds up on Nov. 30?
 討論は原則として水曜日に開くという申し合わせもある。そうすると次の機会は25日だが、自民党の開催要求に政府与党はまだ応えていない。政府与党は30日までの会期中に開かなくてよいと考えているのだろうか。

Even if some Cabinet ministers are absent, it shouldn't pose a problem. Surely, the debate doesn't have to be held on a Wednesday, either. When it was in opposition, the DPJ persistently demanded that a one-on-one debate be held. But now that it is a ruling party, it has made an about-face.
 閣僚が欠席したとしても何の不都合もないし、開催日をずらす手もある。野党時代、民主党は討論の開催を強く要求してきた。与党になったとたんのこの不熱心さは、なんとも説得力を欠く。

We find the party's stance anything but convincing. We urge the government and the DPJ to arrange a one-on-one debate without delay.
政府与党は速やかに党首討論を実現させるべきだ。

The government wants to avoid extending the Diet session so it can concentrate on compiling the budget. It says there is no time for the debate since its priority is to pass various bills. But this explanation doesn't hold water, for the simple reason that such debates customarily last only 45 minutes.
 予算編成に集中するため国会の会期延長は避けたい。法案処理が最優先なので時間がとれない。そんな解説は理由にならない。討論はわずか45分間という慣行なのだから。

Is it because Hatoyama doesn't want to face opposition questioning about his political donation scandal and discord within the government? The more he puts off the debate, the more he must be prepared to be exposed to such criticism.
 自らの政治資金疑惑や政府内の足並みの乱れを突かれたくないからではないか。討論を避ければ避けるほど、そう言われるのを首相は覚悟しなければならない。

In his policy speech, the prime minister called on fellow Diet members: "Let us exchange in hearty debate here at the Diet ...truly for the people to the utmost extent of our ability."
 所信表明演説で「真に国民のためになる議論を力の限り、この国会でぶつけ合っていこうではありませんか」と呼びかけたのは首相だ。

If the debate is not held during this Diet session, the next opportunity will only arise next year. The lackadaisical attitude shown by this administration is pathetic given that it achieved a historic regime change.
 この国会を逃すと、党首討論の機会は来年の通常国会までなくなる。歴史的な政権交代を果たしたというのに、そんな怠慢は情けない。

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