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2012年8月20日 (月)

社会保障会議 終盤国会で設置の道筋つけよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 20, 2012)
Social security council must be launched swiftly
社会保障会議 終盤国会で設置の道筋つけよ(8月19日付・読売社説)

To ensure the long-term sustainability of the nation's social security system, constructive discussions must be held on the matter.
 持続可能な社会保障制度に改善するため、現実的な論議を速やかに始めるべきだろう。

The Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito have agreed on the establishment of a "national council to revamp the social security system."
 民主、自民、公明3党が合意した「社会保障制度改革国民会議」のことだ。

Under the Social Security System Reform Promotion Law, which will go into force shortly, the council will not exist longer than one year from the date of the enforcement of the law.
近く施行される社会保障制度改革推進法の規定は、会議の設置期間を施行日から1年以内としている。

However, some LDP lawmakers argue that the council should be launched by the new government that will be created after the next House of Representatives election.
 ところが、自民党内から、会議設置は衆院選後に新政権が行うべきだ、との声が出ている。

No decision has been made concerning the composition of the council: whether it should exclusively comprise scholars and other intellectuals from outside the Diet or whether representatives from political parties should be included.
 会議の構成という入り口を巡っても、学者ら有識者だけの組織とするのか、政党代表者も加わるのか、決まっていない。

Ironing out the differences in views will likely face rough going.
調整は難しいだろう。

To allow sufficient time to discuss the specifics of the envisioned reform, the timetable to launch the council should be set before the current Diet session ends on Sept. 8.
中身の議論の時間を確保するためにも、今国会中に発足への道筋をつけるべきだ。

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3 parties closer in opinion

High on the agenda of the new council will be the handling of two items the DPJ set forth in its policy pledges for the 2009 general election. They are creation of a new pension system and scrapping the health care system for the so-called latter-stage elderly--individuals aged 75 and older.
 国民会議で議論になるのは、政府・民主党が先の衆院選で政権公約(マニフェスト)に掲げた「新年金制度の創設」と「後期高齢者医療制度の廃止」の扱いだ。

Although the DPJ's argument leaves something to be desired, the party's stance may lead to constructive debate following its agreement with the LDP and Komeito on the need for reform.
 民主党の主張には無理があるものの、自公両党との一致点を足掛かりにすれば、建設的な議論につなげることは可能ではないか。

Earlier, the DPJ insisted that the social security system should be financed entirely by tax revenues. The DPJ has since modified its position in favor of making individuals' pension insurance premiums the main revenue source for the new system, which the party calls a "common pension plan" that would integrate government and private-sector employee pension schemes.
 新年金制度については、民主党はかつて「全額税方式」と喧伝(けんでん)していたが、今は「保険料を財源とする共通年金が制度の主役」と修正した。

This means the DPJ's position is now closer to that favored by the LDP and Komeito, which seek to apply a premium-levying formula to improve the current pension system.
保険料方式の現行制度を改良すべきだと主張する自公両党と基本線は一致してきた。

The DPJ, however, insists on creating a minimum-guaranteed pension system under which 70,000 yen per month would be paid to every beneficiary in addition to the common pension plan.
 ただし、共通年金を補完する月7万円の「最低保障年金」を提唱している。

If the minimum pension program was funded entirely by tax revenues, the consumption tax rate would have to be raised by a maximum of 7.1 percentage points above the planned doubling of the rate to 10 percent.
これを税財源で賄うと消費税率をさらに最大7・1%引き上げる必要がある。

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Focus on boosting efficiency

Given the increasingly stringent government finances, the DPJ's idea is hardly feasible.
 厳しい財政事情を踏まえれば、その実現性は極めて乏しい。

Discussions on the national council should center around improving the current premium-based pension system.
国民会議では、現行制度を改善する議論に集中すべきではないか。

The DPJ also wants latter-stage elderly health care replaced by a system designed to put medical expenses for these senior citizens into a separate fiscal category. This is aimed at pressing prefectural and other local entities to address the task of reducing burgeoning medical costs for the aged, a line of thought much in common with the current system.
 後期高齢者医療制度について民主党は、「廃止して新制度を作る」と主張している。その「新制度」は、後期高齢者の医療費を財政上は別枠とし、都道府県単位で膨張抑制に取り組む、とする。現行制度と共通した考え方だ。

Considering that the emotional reaction the public earlier showed to the term "latter-stage elderly" has ameliorated markedly recently, there seems to be no need to do away with the system in the review of health care arrangements for the elderly. What is important is to have debates truly conducive to improving the existing system.
 「後期高齢者」という名称への感情的反発が和らいだことも勘案すれば、あえて廃止してまで制度を見直す必要はあるまい。求められているのは、より良い改善策を探る議論である。

A focal point in discussions on the national council should be how to make the health care system for the elderly more efficient.
 国民会議の重要な検討課題はむしろ、制度の効率化だろう。

Government funding for health care expenses must be prevented from ballooning by having the elderly shoulder more of the financial burden, such as by raising the amount the latter-stage elderly should pay when they seek medical treatment from the current 10 percent to 20 percent, the rate that was in place before the current system was introduced.
1割に据え置いている70~74歳の医療費窓口負担を本来の2割に戻すなど、適正な負担を求めて、費用の膨張を抑える必要がある。

The DPJ, the LDP and Komeito should never forget they are all responsible for ensuring that public trust in the social security system remains unshakable.
 社会保障制度への信頼を揺るぎないものにする責任は、民自公3党が共同で負っていることを忘れてはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 19, 2012)
(2012年8月19日01時05分  読売新聞)

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