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2011年7月 3日 (日)

復興と景気―回復軌道をしっかりと

2011/07/03
--The Asahi Shimbun, July 2
EDITORIAL: Japan needs focused economic policy to lay foundation for growth
復興と景気―回復軌道をしっかりと

A glimmer of hope appears to be growing in Japan's economic outlook, with growing signs of faster-than-expected recovery from the massive damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the ongoing nuclear crisis.
 大震災と原発事故に直撃された日本経済だが、景気の先行きには幸い、明るさが広がっているようだ。

The Bank of Japan's latest quarterly Tankan business confidence survey, conducted in June, showed that Japanese corporate sentiment had worsened sharply since the previous survey in March, especially in the auto and electronics industries, which had severe disruptions of parts supplies because of the March 11 disaster.
 日銀短観の6月調査で、企業が抱く足元の景況感は3月に比べて落ち込んだ。部品の供給網を寸断された自動車や電機などで大幅に悪化したためだ。

But by June, many Japanese companies were expecting economic conditions to improve significantly during the next three months, according to the survey.
 しかし、3カ月後の見通しでは、持ち直すとの見方が強い。

Manufacturing and distribution is rapidly returning to pre-quake levels, thanks to desperate efforts by workers.
企業現場の必死の努力で、生産や物流は完全復旧ペースを速めている。

Moreover, the widespread drop in consumer spending in the wake of the disaster started fading after about a month or so.
消費の自粛ムードも1カ月余りで峠を越えた。

People and businesses have started responding to possible power shortages with greater calmness.
 電力不足への対応も冷静さを取り戻している。

Changes in consumer lifestyles to help reduce electricity consumption could give birth to new businesses.
節電に伴う消費者のライフスタイルの変化は新しいビジネスを生む。

It is encouraging to see many Japanese companies regarding the situation as a positive opportunity for change.
そんな前向きの発想で動き出す企業が多いのも心強い。

There is, however, growing uncertainty about the global economic outlook amid swelling government debt and rising inflation in many parts of the world.
 ただ、世界を見渡せば、政府債務の膨張とインフレの加速により、不透明感が増している。

In the United States, the Federal Reserve Board terminated its bond-buying program, known as QE2, at the end of June as scheduled after eight months of pumping money directly into the economy.
 米国では、「QE2」と呼ばれた超金融緩和策が8カ月の期限通り、6月で打ち切られた。

The U.S. economy, however, is beginning to look wobbly as it is getting hit by soaring energy prices and parts shortages in the manufacturing sector due to the disaster in Japan.
エネルギーの高騰や、製造業の部品調達などで日本の震災の影響も受け、経済がふらつき始めている。

Ongoing partisan battles in Congress over what to do about the swollen federal government debt is making it difficult for the White House to provide fresh fiscal stimulus to the economy.
議会では財政再建をめぐって与野党の対立が続いており、新たな財政政策を打つのは困難な情勢だ。

For emerging countries, the biggest economic problem is inflation.
 新興国が抱える最大の問題はインフレだ。

In China, prices keep rising despite a series of interest rate hikes, stirring up social unrest, as indicated by rampant riots.
中国では、度重なる利上げでもはかばかしい効果が出ず、暴動などの社会不安も頻発している。

Some international attempts have been made to push down commodity and energy prices.
The International Energy Agency, for instance, has released a huge amount of oil from strategic government petroleum stockpiles.
 国際エネルギー機関(IEA)が備蓄原油を放出するなど、商品・エネルギー相場の沈静化も試みられている。

Since the principal driver of inflation is extremely easy money policy in major industrial countries, the Bank for International Settlements is calling for global monetary tightening.
インフレの主因は主要国の超金融緩和政策であることから、国際決済銀行(BIS)は世界的な金融引き締めを求めた。

But higher interest rates would increase the already-heavy debt burdens on many governments.
 金利が上がれば大きな借金を抱える政府も苦しくなる。

This dilemma is encapsulated in the lingering sovereign debt crisis in Europe.
このジレンマの縮図が欧州だ。

In Greece, in the midst of a full-blown debt crisis, the parliament narrowly passed a bill to implement a drastic package of austerity measures demanded by international creditors as a condition of a fresh bailout.
 国家の危機に直面するギリシャでは、追加支援を受ける条件である緊縮財政法が辛くも成立したが、

But many observers say the package will provide little more than temporary relief.
一時しのぎとの見方が強い。

The challenge for European policymakers is to figure out a plan to reduce the country's debt load while supporting the commercial banks bound to be hurt by such a debt workout program.
債務の減免などをいつ行い、打撃を受ける民間銀行をどう支えるのか。

Europe is likely to face a crucial decision before long. A Greek debt workout would deepen concerns about other debt-riddled European countries.
欧州は遠からず決断を迫られそうだが、減免が現実になれば、他の巨額赤字国にも不安が広がる。

Japan is facing its own litany of economic and fiscal woes.
 日本もひとごとではない。

If lawmakers use the crucial bill to allow the government to issue deficit-financing bonds as a tool for political maneuvering or cause the economic recovery to lose steam by dragging their feet on policy efforts for reconstruction, they would be doing a serious disservice to the world economy.
特例公債法案を政争の駆け引きに使ったり、復興策の遅れで景気が腰折れしたりすることは、世界経済にとってもマイナスだ。

Unlike other major industrial nations, Japan still needs to maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy.
 他の主要国とは違い金融緩和がまだ必要だが、

But it is imperative that Japan use the ample funds created by monetary easing effectively to promote new growth industries related to energy conservation and renewable energy, instead of allowing the funds to become idle money.
潤沢な資金を空回りさせず、省エネや新エネなど新たな成長産業の拡大に生かす。

Putting its economy firmly on the comeback trail is part of Japan's responsibility to the world, which has provided huge support for its efforts to deal with the aftermath of the disaster.
回復軌道への歩みを確実にすることが、震災で支援してくれた世界への責任でもある。

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