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2010年8月18日 (水)

社説:GDP伸び鈍化 経営者まで草食系では

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herbivorous 発音注意 アービヴォラス 草食の
proactively=anticipatory=acting in advance to deal with an expected difficulty=起こり得る困難を想定し前もって対策をたてるような…
(スラチャイ)

(Mainichi Japan) August 17, 2010
Corporate executives' lack of aggression may be behind slowdown in economic growth
社説:GDP伸び鈍化 経営者まで草食系では

Japan's economic growth slowed down in the April-June period. Preliminary figures announced by the Cabinet Office show that Japan's real-term gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of this year managed to post positive growth from the previous quarter. Even though it represented an expansion for the third consecutive quarter, the growth rate declined more sharply from the January-March period than market insiders had expected.
 経済成長率の伸びが4~6月期に鈍化した。内閣府が発表した国内総生産(GDP)の速報値によると、物価変動の影響を除いた実質GDPの対前期伸び率は、3四半期連続のプラスとなったが、1~3月期に比べ、市場の予想以上に縮小した。

Figures in each quarter tend to be volatile. Moreover, the slowdown is largely a repercussion from a sharp surge in the purchase of electric appliances in March in anticipation of the narrowing down of items subject to the eco-point incentive program aimed at encouraging consumers to switch to eco-friendly appliances. Therefore, it would be unwise for the government to take additional economic stimulus measures in reaction to the short-term fluctuation.
 四半期の数値はブレやすいうえ、今回は家電のエコポイント対象商品の絞り込みを見越した3月の駆け込み購入の反動が影響している。短期的な変動に動揺して追加の景気対策に走るのは賢明ではない。

The slowdown appears to be rooted in fundamental problems involving Japanese corporate management. Many companies have been shying away from taking risks and have opted for overly cautious approaches. In other words, corporate executives are becoming "herbivorous," a term often used in Japan to refer to men who are not aggressive toward women. Japanese companies obviously cannot compete with their Chinese and South Korean counterparts in aggressiveness.
 問題は目先の数値より、根源的なところにありそうだ。多くの企業が極端にリスクを敬遠し、守りの経営を続けていることである。経営者の草食系化と呼んでもよさそうだ。成長への貪欲(どんよく)さ、“アニマル・スピリッツ”で中国や韓国の企業に負けていないだろうか。

The government's stimulus measures such as those aimed at stimulating demand for eco-friendly products should be discontinued as they have fulfilled their roles. It is now the private sector's turn to play a leading role in spurring economic recovery. To fulfill their role, companies are urged to increase their investments in plants and equipment. An increase in such investments will result in a rise in orders for machinery and construction materials for factories, and help create jobs. It is difficult to ensure a sustainable recovery in consumer spending unless the employment situation improves and wages increase.
 エコ需要刺激策など政府による景気の後押しは、一定の役目を果たしたら打ち切るのが筋だ。回復のけん引役は民間にバトンタッチされなければいけない。そこで期待されるのが企業の設備投資である。設備投資が盛んになれば機械や工場の建設資材などへの注文が増え、雇用にも貢献する。雇用や賃金が改善しない限り、持続的な消費の回復は難しい。

However, investments in plants and equipment, which should be the driving force behind the economic recovery chain, have shown almost no signs of improvement. It is true that growing uncertainty in the world economy as well as destabilizing factors such as the yen's rapid appreciation have discouraged corporate executives from aggressively investing their capital. In an era of uncertainty, however, those who proactively take risks and are successful in stimulating demand will reap the benefits. Companies cannot improve the situation if they remain on the defensive.
 ところが、改善の連鎖の原動力となるべき設備投資がなかなか勢いづかない。確かに、世界経済の先行きが不透明になってきたことや、円高など不安な要素が経営者を慎重にさせている面はあろう。とはいえ、不確実な時こそ、率先してリスクをとり新しい需要を掘り起こした者が大きな報いの切符を手にする。守り一辺倒では事態を好転させられまい。

It is not true that companies have no money to invest. Statistics by the Bank of Japan show that the amount of cash reserves that companies across the country possess had risen to 202 trillion yen by the end of March. Unlike Western companies that need to set aside a certain amount of money to repay debts and prepare for possible financial unrest, many Japanese companies have improved their financial standing and face no imminent financial turmoil.
 投資に回す資金が足りないわけではない。日銀の統計によると、企業の手元資金は3月末で202兆円と過去最大に膨らんだ。米欧でも似た現象が見られるが、借金返済のための資金確保や金融不安への備えが必要な米欧企業に対し、多くの日本企業の財務体質はすでに改善済みで、差し迫った金融不安もない。

In other words, many Japanese firms have massive amounts of reserve funds that they could divert to new investments and human resources, but have failed to utilize them for their own growth. The appreciation of the yen has made it easier for Japanese firms to take over foreign companies. Nonetheless, Japanese companies only complain that they have been hit hard by the strong yen, but have failed to take advantage of it to aggressively expand their businesses.
 新たな投資や人材に振り向けられる余裕資金を大量に抱えながら、それを成長のために活用しないでいる。円高にも海外企業を買収しやすくする利点があるが、悲鳴が聞こえるばかりで、攻めの追い風にしようという積極性は見えてこない。

Amid such circumstances, it has emerged that China's gross domestic product surpassed Japan's GDP for the April-June quarter. The news did not come as a surprise because it had been regarded as only a matter of time before China would overtake Japan as the world's No. 2 economy. Rather, the stable growth of China, whose population is 10 times that of Japan, will bring advantages to Japan.
 そんな中、4~6月期のGDPがドル換算で中国に抜かれた。「世界2位」のタイトルを渡すのは時間の問題だっただけに、驚きはない。むしろ、人口が日本の約10倍もある国が隣で安定成長を遂げることは、日本にとってメリットといえよう。

To turn that advantage into profits, Japanese companies should be prepared to take risks. They have entered a crucial period.
 そのメリットを実現するうえでも、企業にはリスクに挑む経営と創意が必要だ。頑張りどころである。

毎日新聞 2010年8月17日 2時35分

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