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2012年8月 5日 (日)

閣議の議事録 後世の検証が可能な制度築け

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 5, 2012)
Minutes of cabinet meetings needed for posterity
閣議の議事録 後世の検証が可能な制度築け(8月4日付・読売社説)

It is extremely important to preserve documentation of the government's decision-making processes so they can be verified for posterity.
 政府の意思決定の過程を文書として保存し、後世の検証ができるようにする意義は大きい。

The government has embarked on studies of the feasibility of taking minutes of cabinet meetings and other processes, and disclosing them to the public. A study team comprising members of the current Cabinet and intellectuals is scheduled to work out a set of rules on the matter around October.
 政府は、閣議などの議事録作成とその公開の検討に着手した。関係閣僚や有識者らの検討チームが、新ルールを10月をめどにまとめる方針だ。

At cabinet meetings, cabinet decisions are finalized on such issues as the government's personnel affairs, government-sponsored bills to be submitted to the Diet and state budgets.
 閣議は、政府の主要人事や国会に提出する法案、予算案などを内閣が最終的に決定する場である。

However, no minutes of cabinet meetings have been taken since the Meiji era (1868-1912).
にもかかわらず、明治以来、議事録を残してこなかった。

One of the reasons given by the government for this is that matters involving gravely important state secrets and issues of a highly political nature are discussed in cabinet meetings. Another is that the revelation of disagreements between cabinet members could mar the unity of the cabinet.
 その理由として、政府はこれまで「重大な国家機密や高度に政治性を有する事柄」が議論されることや、閣僚の意見の違いが露呈すれば内閣の一体性が損なわれることを挙げてきた。

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Okada takes initiative

However, Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada, who is in charge of administering government documents, has stated that minutes of cabinet meetings are necessary, "since it is highly important to be able to review specific discussions" in the future.
 公文書管理を所管する岡田副総理は「どういう議論があったかを振り返ることは重要だ」として、閣議こそ記録が必要と言明している。

The government stance of reviewing the long-standing practice of not taking minutes of cabinet meetings should be highly praised.
閣議の議事録を残さないという長年の慣行を、政府が見直すことは評価したい。

If minutes are made public after a set period of time has passed, the confidentiality of many documents will have lessened by that time and there will be no problems such as cabinet members feeling reluctant to express their opinions freely at meetings.
 公開まで一定の期間を設ければ、機密情報の価値は薄れ、閣僚が自由に発言しにくくなるといった弊害はなくなるだろう。

The newly launched study team is reportedly poised to examine ways of making cabinet minutes public by taking into account that documents related to matters of diplomacy have been made public, in principle, after 30 years.
 検討チームは、外交文書が原則30年後に公開されることを念頭に閣議の議事録公開を検討するという。

There is little need, however, to keep documents secret for so many years.
だが、そんなに長期間非公開にする必要はなかろう。

One idea is that the government should judge whether certain information is highly sensitive and make public as much information as possible at the earliest possible date through procedures stipulated by the Freedom of Information Law, as long as doing so is considered not problematic.
 情報公開法の手続きにならい、政府が機微に触れる内容かどうか判断し、問題がなければ早期に公開することも一案だ。

More than minutes of cabinet meetings--which are often little more than perfunctory discussions between cabinet members--minutes of informal meetings of cabinet ministers, in which they are supposed to exchange views freely, and meetings of cabinet ministers such as those belonging to the National Security Council, should be taken and preserved for the future.
 形式的な議論に終始しがちな閣議より、むしろ閣僚同士が自由に意見交換する閣僚懇談会や、安全保障会議といった閣僚会議こそ議事録を残すべきだ。

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'Culture' of belittling records

The government's move comes amid severe public criticism over the government's "negligence in its duty to preserve records" in connection with the failure to take minutes of government meetings related to the Great East Japan Earthquake.
 今回の取り組みは、東日本大震災関連の会議録が作成されていなかった問題で、政府の「記録軽視」の姿勢が厳しく批判されたことがきっかけとなっている。

Another relevant factor may be the fact that the administration of the Democratic Party of Japan, under the banner of "the leadership of politicians over the bureaucracy," has excluded bureaucrats from the making of key policy decisions.
 民主党が、政治主導の名の下に官僚を政策決定の場から排除したことも一因だろう。

The party's decision-making processes have created imbroglios more than once with policies that were finalized but then brought back for discussions again, as shown in the process of deciding on the consumption tax raise.
 党の政策決定過程でも、消費税率引き上げなど、いったん決めたはずのことが何度も蒸し返され、混乱を招いてきた。

At the root of this propensity of the DPJ may be its "culture" of paying little heed to the need for documentation.
 こうした体質の根底には、記録を重視しないという“文化”があるのではないか。

Minutes should be mandatory not just for cabinet meetings, but also for such meetings as the government-DPJ leadership talks comprising the prime minister and DPJ executives including the secretary general, as well as meetings at each ministry of the minister, senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries.
 閣議はもとより、首相や民主党幹事長らでつくる「政府・民主三役会議」や、各府省の政務三役会議についても、議事録の作成を義務づける必要がある。

These gatherings are all important decision-making venues for the DPJ administration and they should not be excluded from the list of meetings for which minutes must be taken and preserved.
 いずれも、民主党政権にとって重要な意思決定の場であり、除外すべきではない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 4, 2012)
(2012年8月4日01時57分  読売新聞)

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