« タイ株式投資 | トップページ | 君が代判決―少数者守る司法はどこへ »

2011年1月31日 (月)

国債格下げ―「疎い政治」への重い警告

2011/01/31
--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 29
EDITORIAL: Downgraded bonds
国債格下げ―「疎い政治」への重い警告

Just as the Diet was beginning debate on the government's draft budget for new fiscal year and tax reform, a dire warning about Japan's fiscal health came from outside.
 新年度予算案や税制改革について国会論戦が始まりつつある時に、場外から強烈な警鐘が響いた。

Standard & Poor's, a U.S. credit rating agency, downgraded Japanese government bonds to a rating one notch below that for Spain, whose fiscal woes have been arousing international concerns. The move has underscored the fragility of international confidence in Japan's public finances.
 米格付け会社のスタンダード・アンド・プアーズ(S&P)が日本国債の格付けを引き下げた。財政懸念が高まるスペインよりもひとつ下というランクは、日本の財政に対する国際的信用の危うさを示すものだ。

Credit rating agencies were roundly criticized after they failed to issue an appropriate warning about the global financial crisis.
 格付け会社は世界金融危機に適切な警告を発せられず、批判を浴びた。

Unfortunately, there is little room for disputing the downgrading of Japan's sovereign debt. The combined central and local government debt load now equals 200 percent of gross domestic product, which means Japan's public finances are in the worst shape among industrial countries.
だが残念ながらこの格下げに異論をはさむ余地は少ない。日本の国と地方の借金総額は国内総生産(GDP)の2倍にのぼり、先進国で最悪。

The fiscal crunch is evidenced by the fact that the government will have to borrow more money than its tax revenue to finance the budget for next fiscal year.
政府は税収より多額の借金に頼らねば、毎年度の予算さえ組めないのだから。

The situation is that the government could have found it difficult to issue new bonds due to a sharp drop in confidence in its creditworthiness.
 市場の信認低下で国債発行が難しくなってもおかしくない。

Yet Japan has so far been able to keep issuing huge amounts of new bonds because it has more foreign assets than any other country and is running a current-account surplus. It has also helped that most government bonds have been bought by domestic investors.
にもかかわらず、日本が巨額の国債発行を続けてこられたのは世界最大の対外資産をもち、経常黒字国だという事情もある。国債の引き受け手の大半が国内投資家だというのも強みだ。

The savings rate and current-account surplus could drop significantly, however, as its working population shrinks due to rapid demographic aging.
 しかし超高齢化で現役世代が減れば貯蓄率の低下や経常黒字の縮小もありえよう。

Japanese investors may eventually start getting out of government bonds. There is no guarantee that the government will be able to keep piling on fresh debt.
国内投資家が日本国債を見限るようになるかもしれない。巨額発行を続けられる保証はない。

What is especially disturbing is the fact that S&P cited the political situation in Japan in its reasons for lowering the debt rating.
 とりわけ深刻なのは、S&Pの格下げ理由に日本の政治状況があげられたことだ。

The opposition parties, which control the Upper House, are taking an increasingly confrontational posture, making the outlook for bipartisan talks on integrated tax and social security reform bleak. There is even the possibility that bills related to the government's spending plan for the year starting in April may not be enacted.
ねじれ国会のもとで野党が対決色を強め、税と社会保障の一体改革は協議入りもかなり難しい。新年度予算案の関連法案が成立しない可能性さえある。

There is considerable room for Japan to raise its consumption tax rate, which is the lowest in the developed world. Markets have been acting with the expectation that the government would eventually raise the tax, but Japan's leaders have failed to pluck up the courage to tackle this policy challenge.
その懸念が国債の格付けに響いているのである。
 日本の消費税率は先進国で最も低く、まだ引き上げ余地がある。日本政府はいずれ増税に踏み切るだろう。市場にはそういう期待と確信があった。だが日本の政治は重い腰を上げられないでいる。いまや市場から不信感が突きつけられたのだ。

Prime Minister Naoto Kan pledged to stake his political life on his initiative to push through integrated tax and social security reform. So it was deeply disheartening to hear him say, "I'm not familiar with that kind of things," when he was asked about the debt downgrade.
 一体改革に「政治生命をかける」と言った菅直人首相が格下げについて聞かれ、「そういうことに疎い」と答えたのは情けない。

Instead, he should have emphatically said, "I will achieve without fail both fiscal rehabilitation and economic growth through reforms."
「改革で、財政再建も経済成長も必ず成し遂げます」と、力強く言うべきだった。

Criticizing his remarks would not be of much help. What lies at the heart of the problems that have led to the cut in the debt rating of Japan is the overall political paralysis.
Part of the blame falls on the opposition Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, which is apparently more interested in pressuring the Kan administration into dissolving the Lower House for a general election than in responding to the fiscal crisis and is showing no willingness to hold talks with the ruling camp over the proposed integrated reform.
 だが、首相の言葉尻を問うことが本質的な問題ではない。財政危機への対処よりも政権を解散・総選挙に追い込むことにこだわり、一体改革についての協議に応じる姿勢を見せない自民党などを含む政治全体の機能不全が、今回の格下げの根底に横たわる。

It seems lawmakers of both camps who are not willing to start discussing a tax hike are acting irresponsibly on the unreasonably optimistic view that it will still be a while before Japan's public finances reach a tipping point.
 「財政はまだ当分は大丈夫だろう」という無責任な楽観論が、増税論議に入ろうとしない与野党議員たちの胸の内にあるのではないか。

The ruling and opposition parties should go beyond their political interests and launch nonpartisan talks on measures needed to secure long-term fiscal sustainability for the sake of the public.
 与野党は打算を超えて国民の利益のため、持続可能な財政へ向け超党派の議論を始めるべきだ。

Unless Japanese political leaders demonstrate a strong commitment to addressing the problem, both international confidence in government bonds and expectations for Japanese politics will only keep sinking.
その強い意思を内外に示さない限り、日本国債の信用も政治への期待も沈むばかりだ。

|

« タイ株式投資 | トップページ | 君が代判決―少数者守る司法はどこへ »

04-英字新聞(朝日2)」カテゴリの記事

コメント

コメントを書く



(ウェブ上には掲載しません)




« タイ株式投資 | トップページ | 君が代判決―少数者守る司法はどこへ »