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2011年6月26日 (日)

楽天脱退―財界は「進取の精神」を

2011/06/26
--The Asahi Shimbun, June 25
EDITORIAL: Business community lacking a sense of 'enterprise'楽天脱退―財界は「進取の精神」を

Rakuten Inc., operator of Japan's leading online shopping mall, has submitted a notice of withdrawal to Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), the nation's most powerful business lobby.
 楽天が、経団連に退会届を出した。

Rakuten says it decided to leave the body because of clear differences of opinion over such issues as the future of Japan's electric power industry.
電力事業のあり方などをめぐり、方向性の違いが明らかになったためだという。

Rakuten President and Chairman Hiroshi Mikitani is a go-getting entrepreneur who has nurtured the dot.com startup he founded into one of the nation's most successful Internet companies.
 会長兼社長の三木谷浩史氏は、楽天をネット業界を代表する企業に育て上げた起業家だ。

Mikitani has made some controversial moves, including his bid to merge with Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. by accumulating a major stake in the TV broadcaster.
However, unlike Takafumi Horie, the disgraced former president of Web portal operator Livedoor Co., who was known for his nonconformist attitude and contempt for the traditional management style, Mikitani has been in the good books of older business leaders.
TBS株の買収などで物議をかもしたりもしたが、破天荒で従来の経営スタイルを壊すイメージが強い旧ライブドア時代の堀江貴文氏らと比べると、財界人の受けもよかった。

It appears that even this down-to-earth businessman has found the Japanese business community of today to be something he has no time for.
 その三木谷氏でも、今の財界は見切りをつけざるをえない対象ということらしい。

Indeed, Keidanren's response to the Great East Japan Earthquake has been ruefully slow and weak.
 確かに、東日本大震災後の経団連の動きは、ずいぶん鈍い。

While it has been vocal in expressing its grievances and criticisms against the government led by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, the organization's own proposals and actions related to the disaster have shown little creativity or originality.
民主党政権への不満や批判こそ目立つものの、自らの提言や行動に新味はない。

In particular, Keidanren has failed to make any significant contribution to the efforts to deal with the nuclear disaster or to the debate on ideas to reform the electric power industry, such as separating power generation from transmission and distribution.
Keidanren Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Sumitomo Chemical Co., has made a series of remarks that support the status quo and serve the interests of the power industry.
とりわけ、原発事故への対応や発電と送電の分離をはじめとする電力改革問題については、米倉弘昌会長による現状追認、電力業界寄りの発言が繰り返されている。

Electric utilities have been acting as the unchallenged leader in the Japanese business community in terms of both financial and political power.
 電力会社は、財力の面でも政治力の面でも、財界の中心的な存在として君臨してきた。

Protected by their regional monopolies and stable, highly regulated electricity rates, these companies have been good customers for other industries.
They are willing to buy products and services at the asked prices.
 他の産業にとって、地域独占と安定した料金体系に守られた電力業界は、言い値で素材やサービスを買ってくれる上客でもある。

Some business leaders in other sectors admit that it is difficult for them to openly criticize the electric power industry or propose power market reforms.
表だって電力業界を批判したり、電力改革を打ち出したりはしにくいとの本音も聞く。

It is ridiculous if such self-restraint on the part of other members of Japan Inc. in criticizing the electric power industry is hampering efforts for change in this important sector.
 だが、そうした遠慮が変革への動きを鈍らせているのだとしたら、おかしな話だ。

The March 11 disaster and the nuclear crisis it triggered have drastically changed the business environment for electric utilities.
 震災や原発事故を機に、電力を取り巻く環境は大きく変わった。

The possibility of a serious power shortage is a big source of worry for the Japanese economy as a whole.
But emerging new trends, such as a shift toward renewable energy sources, efforts to create a more efficient and transparent power supply system and demand-side reforms for higher energy efficiency and power conservation, offer many great business opportunities.
電力供給不足は経済活動にとって大きな懸念材料だが、一方で、再生可能エネルギーへのシフト、効率的で透明性の高い電力供給の再整備、省エネ化や節電といった需要側の改革などには、新しいビジネスの芽があふれている。

In the West, a bevy of new businesses have come into being in these areas.
 欧米ではこうした分野で新しい企業が次々に生まれている。

In Japan as well, there are some notable moves by individual companies. Softbank Corp., for instance, has joined hands with more than 30 local governments to promote the use of renewable energy. Panasonic Corp. has unveiled a plan to build a "smart city," a community of houses powered by green energy technologies, while Sharp Corp. has embarked on operating solar power plants.
国内でも、自治体と組んで自然エネルギーの普及を目指すソフトバンクや、スマートシティーの開発に取り組むパナソニック、太陽光発電所の経営へと乗り出すシャープなど、個別企業の動きはある。

A nation's economy derives its vitality from businesses and individuals who find opportunities in changes, make quick and timely moves based on innovative thinking and technology, and create new values.
 本来、経済とは変化をチャンスととらえ、自由な発想と技術を生かして機敏に動き、新しい価値を創造することにエネルギーの源泉があるはずだ。

Such economic vitality is one of the crucial factors for Japan's recovery and reconstruction from the calamity.
それは震災からの復興に、最も必要なパワーの一つでもある。

The English word "enterprise" means both a business organization and willingness to engage in daring or difficult action.
 英語で企業を示す「エンタープライズ」は「進取の精神」の意味も持つ。

If the business community, a collection of enterprises, has lost its enterprising spirit and is hindering the nation's economic regeneration, it cannot hope to win the hearts of Mikitani or any other ambitious entrepreneurs.
その集合体であるはずの財界が本旨を見失って、新陳代謝を阻害しているなら、三木谷氏でなくとも魅力は感じまい。

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