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2012年6月10日 (日)

消費税修正協議 日本再建の大局を忘れるな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jun. 10, 2012)
Ruling, opposition parties must cooperate on needed reforms
消費税修正協議 日本再建の大局を忘れるな(6月9日付・読売社説)

It is of utmost importance for the three major parties--the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito--to do their best to reach a consensus by making reciprocal concessions to rebuild the nation's social security and tax systems.
 民主、自民、公明の3党は、日本の社会保障と税制を再建するという大局を忘れずに、互いに譲り合い、合意形成を図ることが肝要だ。

Working-level negotiations between the three parties have started on modifications of a government-sponsored set of bills for social security and tax reforms.
 民自公3党の実務者による社会保障・税一体改革関連法案の修正協議が始まった。

The three parties have agreed to make their best efforts to reach an agreement on changes to the bills no later than Friday.
15日までに修正内容に合意するよう最大限努力することで一致した。

The accord can be called a step toward achieving the goal set by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of putting the set of seven bills to a vote in the House of Representatives by the end of the current Diet session on June 21.
 野田首相が目指す今国会会期末の21日までの法案の衆院採決に向けて、一定の前進と言える。

Achieving sustainability in the country's social security system, increasingly strained by an aging population and chronically low birthrate, and turning around government finances saddled with debts as high as 1 yen quadrillion are two essential goals.
 少子高齢化に伴って歪(ひず)みの目立つ社会保障制度を持続可能なものにする。約1000兆円もの借金を抱える国家財政を健全化する。

The government-envisioned integrated reform for solving these challenges is a top-priority task that will be decisive to the future of the nation.
一体改革は、日本の将来を大きく左右する重要課題である。

A subcommittee for discussing social security issues as part of the three-party consultations is said to be holding discussions even on Sunday. It is no easy task, however, for the three parties to agree on all modifications in a single week.
 社会保障の分科会は、日曜も議論するというが、わずか1週間ですべての修正内容に合意するのは、決して簡単ではない。

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DPJ concessions needed first

A window of opportunity has appeared in which the three parties may be able to reach common ground on key policy issues. They should sincerely try to do so.
 3党は、足並みがそろってきた今の機運を大切にして、積極的に接点を探ってもらいたい。

The DPJ, LDP and Komeito are at odds with each other over a number of points regarding the social security system.
 社会保障分野では、民主、自民両党の対立点が多い。

For one thing, the LDP has opposed the DPJ's aims of creating a minimum pension guarantee system and abolishing the medical insurance system for those aged 75 or older. The LDP also opposes the DPJ's policies on additional pension benefits for low-income earners and expanding measures for child-rearing assistance.
民主党の主張する最低保障年金制度の創設や後期高齢者医療制度の廃止、低所得者への年金加算、子育て支援策などに自民党が反対している。

The subcommittee's debate on Friday ended inconclusively. To produce an accord at an early date, it is first of all essential for the DPJ to make a bold, major concession to the LDP.
 8日の分科会の議論は、平行線だった。早期に合意を得るには、民主党がまず、自民党に大胆に譲歩することが欠かせない。

The LDP, for its part, should refrain from taking a hard-line approach in which it demands the DPJ back down on its manifesto pledges from the 2009 general election, under which it came to power, in a bid to make the ruling party "swallow" LDP policies.
 自民党も、「民主党は政権公約(マニフェスト)を撤回し、自民党案を丸のみせよ」という強硬姿勢一辺倒ではいけない。

The DPJ's manifesto pledges do include problematic elements. But under the current circumstances, the LDP should show a willingness to compromise instead of making a point of lashing out at the DPJ.
民主党のマニフェストに問題が多いのは事実だが、今の局面は、批判だけでなく、歩み寄りが求められる。

Even if the executives of the three parties concur on modifications of the bills, a vote on them in the Diet can only come after procedures within the respective parties to endorse revisions to the bills.
 仮に3党が法案修正で合意しても、法案採決に至るには、各党が修正を了承する手続きが要る。

In the DPJ, in particular, there has been a strong body of opinion that opposes or is wary of raising the consumption tax. Modifications in the form of unilateral concessions by the DPJ will not win endorsement by a majority of party members, which would eventually lead to failure to enact the bills.
 特に、民主党内には、増税への反対・慎重勢力が多い。民主党だけが一方的に譲る修正内容では、了承が得られず、結果的に法案が成立しない恐れがある。

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Ease burden on low-income earners

To avoid such a stalemate, it would be realistic for the parties to agree to defer discussion of highly controversial issues, such as minimum pension guarantees and medical insurance arrangements for the aged, to a national council to be created in the future, as proposed by the LDP.
 最低保障年金や後期高齢者医療制度の部分は、自民党の提案する国民会議の議論に委ねるなどの妥協を図るのが現実的である。

As far as taxes are concerned, there are no major policy differences between the DPJ and the LDP, as shown by the fact that the LDP has thrown its support behind the government's plan to raise the consumption tax rate to 10 percent in two stages.
 税制分野は、自民党が、消費税率を2段階で10%に引き上げる政府案を容認するなど、民自両党の主張の違いは大きくない。

The focus is on what steps should be taken to ease the burden of the tax hike on people in low income brackets.
焦点は、低所得者対策だろう。

The DPJ has come out with such proposals as introduction of a system of earned income tax credits, or refundable tax credits for lower-income working families and individuals. If cash payments from the government swell under such a system, the dangers of dole-out policies will arise again.
 民主党は、給付つき税額控除などを提案しているが、現金支給が膨らめば、新たなバラマキ政策に陥ることが懸念される。

It may be advisable for the three parties to deepen discussions about the wisdom of introducing lower consumption tax rates for such daily necessities as food, as the opposition has been calling for.
むしろ、野党が提起する食料品などの軽減税率の導入について、より真剣に議論を深めてはどうか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 9, 2012)
(2012年6月9日01時31分  読売新聞)

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