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2012年5月 6日 (日)

こどもの日 次世代の「重荷」を減らしたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 6, 2012)
Redouble efforts to lessen burden of future generations
こどもの日 次世代の「重荷」を減らしたい(5月5日付・読売社説)

My bright smile

Signals a wish

To be friendly with you!

 〈ニコニコは 「なかよくしよう」の あいずだよ〉。

This is the slogan selected for this year's Child Welfare Week starting today, Children's Day. The haiku-style slogan was composed by a 7-year-old boy in Saitama Prefecture.
きょう「こどもの日」から始まる児童福祉週間の標語である。
 埼玉県の7歳男児が作った。

Children's carefree smiles feed our happiness. Efforts to enhance children's well-being in the future are a primary responsibility of adults.
屈託のない子どもの笑顔は幸せの糧だ。将来にわたって子どもたちの幸福を図ることは、大人世代の責務と言える。

As long as nothing effective is done to realize this, it can hardly be possible to paint a bright picture for the future of small children.
 だが、手をこまぬいていれば、幼子たちの未来は、あまり明るいものにならない。

The outstanding balance of government bonds and other forms of government borrowing amounted to 958 trillion yen at the end of 2011. The figure is equivalent to about 7.5 million yen per capita, including newborn babies.
 国債や借入金など「国の借金」は昨年末で958兆円に上り、赤ちゃんを含めた国民1人当たりで約750万円にもなる。

Japan's demographic structure is certain to include a rapidly rising percentage of elderly in the future.
 日本の人口構成は今後、高齢者層がどんどん大きくなる。

As a result, government spending on social welfare programs is certain to snowball by 1 trillion yen every year just to maintain the status quo of the quality of social security.
その結果、福祉の水準を現状維持するだけでも、社会保障予算は毎年1兆円ずつ自然に膨らむ。

===

No option but tax hike

On the other hand, the population of young and seasoned workers, who provide much of the revenue necessary for funding social welfare, has been shrinking. Today's children are sure to join the generations heavily burdened with the cost of maintaining the social welfare system.
 一方で、必要な財源の多くを負担する中堅・若年層は減少していく。今の子どもたちも、苦しい支え手の世代に、やがて加わることになる。

Diet deliberations on the government-proposed comprehensive reform of the social security and tax systems will begin after the Golden Week holidays.
 「社会保障と税の一体改革」の国会審議が、大型連休明けに始まる。

For the sake of the whole nation, including children, adults in the political arena--both in the ruling and opposition camps--should renew their awareness of the necessity of the reform and join hands to make it a reality.
子どもたちのためにも、与野党の大人たちは改革の必要性を改めて認識し、協力し合って実現をめざすべきだ。

One major objective of the envisioned reform is to relieve today's children, and those born in the future, of an excessive financial burden related to social welfare services.
 一体改革には、今の、そしてこれから生まれる子どもたちを、将来の重すぎる負担から救うという大きな目的がある。

To lessen such burdens, it is imperative to raise the consumption tax rate and use the resulting rise in revenue to fund social security programs. The only option is to have the burden shared by all generations on the widest possible basis.
 重荷を減らすには消費税率を引き上げ、これを社会保障の財源とすることが不可欠だ。全世代で広く負担を分かち合うしかない。

The government and the ruling parties must provide more persuasive explanations to the public on this subject.
 政府・与党は、その点をもっと強く国民に説かねばならない。

Regarding the planned increase of the consumption tax rate by five percentage points, the government and the ruling parties say revenue increases from one of the five points are to be used to improve social security services, while the remaining four points will be applied to maintaining existing social security programs.
 消費税率の5%引き上げについて政府・与党は、1%を社会保障制度の充実に、4%を制度の維持に使う、としている。

This should not be interpreted, however, as meaning social security services would only be improved by one percentage point.
 これも、「1%分しか社会保障は良くならない」と考えるべきではなかろう。

===

Maintaining vigor of society

Revenue sources for maintaining existing social welfare programs must be properly covered by tax revenues, rather than government debts, or bonds, which will end up passing the bills on to today's children in their future adulthood.
制度を維持するための財源は、子どもたちにツケを回す借金(国債)ではなく、きちんと税金で手当てすることの方が重要である。

One of the pillars of the social security and tax system reform is to earmark for upgrading child-rearing administrative services 700 billion yen of about 2.7 trillion yen in additional revenue projected to result from one percentage point of the five-point consumption tax hike.
 1%分約2・7兆円のうち7000億円を子育て支援の拡充にあてることも一体改革の柱だ。

Many details of government initiatives, such as the idea of merging kindergartens and day care centers, have yet to be discussed. However, the basic policy of making social welfare services--which have so far been lopsided in favor of the elderly--"better suited to all generations" is reasonable, just like the envisioned step to raise tax revenues.
 「総合こども園」構想など細部に議論すべき点は多いが、高齢者に集中していた施策を、財源同様に「全世代型」へと広げる方向は妥当と言えよう。

Efforts to address the current stagnation in the birthrate are key to maintaining the vigor of society and alleviating the burden that must be shared by the public.
 少子化の進行をできるだけ食い止めることで、社会の活力は維持され、分かち合う負担感も小さくなる。

The reform of social security and tax systems is a challenge that must be addressed to prevent society from deteriorating into one in which future generations will want to cry out for help.
次世代が悲鳴を上げるような社会にしないために、避けては通れない改革である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 5, 2012)
(2012年5月5日01時39分  読売新聞)

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