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2012年10月31日 (水)

首相所信表明 戦略見えない「明日への責任」

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 31, 2012)
Noda's 'responsibility speech' lacks clear strategy
首相所信表明 戦略見えない「明日への責任」(10月30日付・読売社説)

Since Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda touts "responsibility for tomorrow," he needs to present a policy commensurate with this phrase and a strategy to realize it.
 「明日への責任」を掲げる以上、その言葉に見合う政策と実現への戦略を示す必要がある。

An extraordinary Diet session was convened Monday, and Noda delivered a policy speech in the plenary session of the House of Representatives.
 臨時国会が召集され、野田首相は衆院本会議で所信表明演説を行った。

From his speech, however, we cannot see what political challenges, following integrated reform of the social security and tax systems, he will place priority on to tackle.
 だが、社会保障・税一体改革に続く政治課題として何を最優先に取り組むのかが見えてこない。

Noda stressed he will realize "a system that would enable effective political decisions" and said revitalizing the economy to end deflation and overcome the current superstrong yen is "the biggest challenge now."
 首相は、「決断する政治」の実現を強調し、デフレ脱却と超円高を克服する経済再生を「現下最大の課題」と位置づけた。

To achieve those goals, it is indispensable for the nation to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework, which would enable Japan to harness the growth of other Asian countries through expansion of free trade.
 そうであれば、自由貿易の拡大でアジアの成長を取り込む環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への参加が、手段として欠かせない。

===

Why so vague on TPP?

In Monday's policy speech, Noda again failed to officially declare that Japan will participate in the TPP negotiations, but instead only said he will "promote" the accord. Why is that?
今回の演説でも「推進する」と言うだけで、交渉参加を正式に表明していないのはなぜなのか。

Noda is probably concerned about the possibility of Democratic Party of Japan members leaving the party and opposition from agricultural organizations. However, such an inward-looking and defensive attitude will not help Japan find a way out of the economic doldrums.
 民主党から離党者が出ることや農業団体の反発を懸念しているのだろうが、内向きの守りの姿勢では、日本の活路は開けまい。

After the Nov. 6 U.S. presidential election, full-fledged TPP negotiations will start among 11 countries, including the United States and Australia. It is possible that trade and investment rules will be decided next year without Japan's involvement. It is an urgent task for Japan to announce that it will participate in the TPP negotiations.
 来月6日の米大統領選後、米豪など11か国による交渉が本格化する。来年にかけて、日本抜きで貿易と投資のルールが決まることになりかねない。日本が交渉に参加を表明することは急務である。

Doing so would stress the contrast between the DPJ and the Liberal Democratic Party, which is cautious toward the TPP, when it compiles a manifesto for the next lower house election.
 次期衆院選の政権公約(マニフェスト)作成に向けて、TPPに慎重な自民党との違いを打ち出すことにもなるはずだ。

Meanwhile, Noda insisted he will implement an energy policy based on the Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment, which sets a target of zero nuclear power plants operating in the 2030s.
 エネルギー政策について首相は、2030年代に原子力発電所の「稼働ゼロ」を目指す「革新的エネルギー・環境戦略」を踏まえて遂行すると主張した。

===

Path to zero N-energy unclear

However, the path to achieving zero nuclear power is unclear. It is expected that seeking zero nuclear power would not only destabilize the supply of electricity but also deal a serious blow to people's livelihoods in the form of higher electricity rates and the hollowing-out of domestic industries. Also, it would become difficult to secure excellent human resources in the field of nuclear power.
 しかし、「原発ゼロ」への具体的な道筋は不透明だ。電力の安定供給が揺らぐだけでなく、電気料金値上げや産業空洞化など国民生活への深刻な打撃が予想される。原子力の分野で優秀な人材を確保することも困難となろう。

The government therefore should withdraw its zero nuclear power policy and work out a realistic nuclear and energy policy instead.
 政府は「原発ゼロ」方針を撤回し、現実的な原発・エネルギー政策を策定し直すべきである。

Concerning sovereignty and territory issues, Noda only said he will carry out "the natural duty of a nation with unflagging resolve." We want to hear concrete measures from him on how to rebuild Japan's diplomacy toward China, South Korea and Russia.
 主権・領土の問題に関しては、「国家として当然の責務を不退転の決意で果たす」と述べただけだ。対中・韓・露外交をどう立て直すのか、具体策を聞きたい。

It is problematic that the Diet session began while the prime minister is still unable to obtain cooperation from leaders of the LDP and New Komeito and he lacks a strategy to break the deadlock.
 問題なのは、首相が自民、公明両党の党首から協力を得られず、状況打開への戦略を欠いたまま、国会が始まったことである。

There is no prospect for passage of a bill that would enable the government to issue deficit-covering bonds and bills related to an electoral reform of the lower house.
 赤字国債の発行を可能にする特例公債法案や衆院選挙制度改革の関連法案の成立には、何ら見通しが立っていない。

Politics will not make any progress by simply blaming opposition parties for "politics of unproductive partisan confrontations with a priority placed on political gamesmanship." The government and ruling parties should make responsible proposals and seek common ground with opposition parties.
 「政局第一の不毛な党派対立の政治」と野党を批判するだけでは、政治は前に動かない。政府・与党が責任ある提案を行い、野党との接点を探るのが筋だろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 30, 2012)
(2012年10月30日01時18分  読売新聞)

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演説拒否の参院 不要論を加速させる愚行だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 31, 2012)
After turning Noda away, can upper house justify existence?
演説拒否の参院 不要論を加速させる愚行だ(10月30日付・読売社説)

For the first time in the postwar era, a prime minister has not made a policy speech in the House of Councillors. This leaves an indelible stain on the history of constitutional government.
 戦後初の事態である。
 憲政史上に汚点を残す愚行と言うほかない。

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda delivered his policy speech only in the House of the Representatives plenary session on the opening day of an extraordinary Diet session Monday. He could not do so in the upper house because the opposition parties controlling the chamber refused to comply with a request to hold a plenary session.
 野田首相の所信表明演説が衆院本会議だけで行われた。参院では、多数を占める野党が、本会議開会に応じなかったためだ。

Making a policy speech during a plenary session provides an important opportunity for a prime minister to present basic policies on international and domestic issues. In response to the speech, representatives from the ruling and opposition parties interpellate the government as full-scale parliamentary debate is launched. This procedure has been customarily observed in the Diet.
 所信表明演説は、首相が外交、内政にわたって基本方針を示す重要な機会だ。これを受けて与野党の代表質問で論戦が本格化するのが国会の慣例となっている。

The upper house caucuses of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, two major opposition parties, insist they refused to have Noda appear in the upper house plenary session because a censure motion against him had been approved in the same chamber during the previous ordinary session of the Diet.
 参院の自民、公明両党などは、先の通常国会で野田首相問責決議を可決した以上、首相を本会議場に迎えられないと主張する。

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Unreasonable excuse

"It was the desire of the upper house caususes not to invite him to make a policy speech," they said. "This does not mean we refuse to enter deliberations." Such sophistry is inexcusable.
「参院の意思で所信表明を求めなかった。審議拒否ではない」と釈明するが、こんな詭弁(きべん)は通らない。

Upper house censure motions against former Prime Ministers Yasuo Fukuda and Taro Aso were approved and they stepped down as a result. But they did so before the next Diet session convened. So Noda is the first prime minister to enter a Diet session after a censure motion had been approved.
 過去に問責された福田、麻生両首相は結果的に次の国会審議前に退陣した。問責された首相が次の国会に臨むのは初めてとなる。

The opposition camp must discontinue its pernicious tactics of refusing to enter Diet deliberations following approval of the censure motion and bring to an end its fruitless struggle with the ruling parties.
 野党は、問責決議に伴う審議拒否戦術という悪弊を断ち、不毛な応酬に終止符を打つべきだ。

In the first place, a censure motion in the upper house is not legally binding, unlike a no-confidence motion against the cabinet in the lower house. This is because a prime minister is not permitted to take any counteraction in the upper house, while a no-confidence motion in the lower house can lead to dissolution of that chamber. It also runs counter to the constitutional principle that gives the lower house precedence over the upper chamber.
 そもそも、参院の問責決議は、衆院の内閣不信任決議と違って、法的な拘束力はない。首相は参院に対し、衆院解散のような対抗手段がなく、衆院の優越を定めた憲法の理念にも反するからだ。

It is natural for the upper house not to be given the means to make a prime minister resign because members of that house serve six-year terms.
 6年間の安定した任期がある参院に首相を辞任させる手立てが認められないのは当然である。

===

LDP's move baffling

The LDP's behavior on the matter is incomprehensible.
 理解し難いのは自民党だ。

As a reason for submitting the censure motion in question, the opposition parties cited the bill to increase the consumption tax rate as "betraying the will of the people." But the LDP, based on an agreement with the Democratic Party of Japan and Komeito, voted for the bill in the Diet. It is appalling that the LDP is brandishing the censure motion approved in the previous Diet session as a political tool in the current extraordinary session to attack the government.
 この問責決議は、消費増税法が「国民の声に背く」ことを理由に挙げたが、自民党は民自公3党合意に基づいて法案に賛成し、成立させた当事者である。自己否定する決議を今国会でも振りかざす理不尽さには唖然(あぜん)とさせられる。

Under the divided Diet, the opposition-controlled upper house has abused its powers repeatedly, throwing Diet business into chaos. It is lamentable for the LDP and Komeito to apparently take revenge on the DPJ-led government for the hardships they suffered in the upper house when they formed a coalition government.
 衆参ねじれ国会では、野党の制する参院が再三、権限を乱用し、国会を混乱させてきた。与党として参院に苦しめられた自民、公明両党が野党転落後、意趣返しを繰り返しているのは嘆かわしい。

An upper house Budget Committee session is scheduled to be held. This is because the opposition parties want to question the government on scandals involving Cabinet ministers. They plan to ask Noda to attend the session to take him to task for appointing Keishu Tanaka, who resigned as justice minister before the extraordinary Diet session convened.
 一方で、参院は予算委員会を開催する方向だ。閣僚の不祥事を追及するとともに、首相の出席を求めて田中慶秋前法相を起用した任命責任をただすためだという。

If they do this, how will the LDP and Komeito explain their inconsistency between refusing to allow the prime minister to deliver a policy speech in the upper house and holding a Budget Committee session with Noda in attendance?
 それが事実ならば、本会議での首相演説を拒否したこととの整合性をどう説明するのか。

Moreover, the LDP and Komeito upper house caucuses said they would refuse in principle to enter deliberations on government-proposed bills in other upper house committees. We wonder why the LDP is adopting such an opportunistic and inconsistent policy toward Diet business while it is trying to regain power?
 しかも、参院は、他の委員会での政府提出法案審議は原則、拒否するとしている。政権復帰を目指す自民党までが、このようなご都合主義で、ちぐはぐな国会対応を採用するつもりなのか。

If the upper chamber becomes a political football, it will inevitably inflame the smoldering argument under the divided Diet that the upper house is unnecessary.
 参院が「政争の府」に堕するようでは、ねじれ国会の下でくすぶる「不要論」が加速するのは避けられないだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 30, 2012)
(2012年10月30日01時18分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月30日 (火)

鹿児島3区補選 自民を後押しした政権不信

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 30, 2012)
Distrust in govt helped LDP win Kagoshima by-election
鹿児島3区補選 自民を後押しした政権不信(10月29日付・読売社説)

Victory in a House of Representatives by-election in Kagoshima Constituency No. 3 has given a boost to the opposition Liberal Democratic Party led by Shinzo Abe, which wants to regain the reins of power from the Democratic Party of Japan as soon as possible.
 早期の政権交代を目指す安倍自民党に追い風となろう。

However, the LDP should not take too much pride in the election result. It should instead play a constructive role in the extraordinary Diet session to be convened Monday.
だが、自民党はこれにおごることなく、臨時国会で建設的な役割を果たすべきである。

Kazuaki Miyaji, a former lower house member of the LDP, defeated Takeshi Noma, a first-time candidate of the People's New Party who was also backed by the DPJ, and the two other first-time candidates in Sunday's by-election to fill a lower house seat in Kagoshima Prefecture. The seat had been held by Tadahiro Matsushita, former state minister for postal reform and financial services, who died last month.
 松下忠洋前金融相の死去に伴う衆院鹿児島3区補欠選挙は、自民党元議員の宮路和明氏が民主党の推薦する国民新党新人の野間健氏らを破って当選した。

It was the first national election for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's administration. The by-election, a prelude to the next general election, was actually a joust between Miyaji and Noma.
 野田政権初の国政選挙だ。次期衆院選の前哨戦ともなった補選は宮路、野間両氏による事実上の一騎打ちだった。

With New Komeito also endorsing Miyaji, the LDP waged an all-out war against the DPJ, sending Abe and LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba to campaign for their candidate.
 自民党は公明党の推薦を取り付け、安倍総裁、石破幹事長ら幹部を投入する総力戦を展開した。

The constituency has serious economic and employment problems. A factory in the constituency, for example, is to close down. The LDP stressed it would help bring about an economic revival.
 鹿児島3区では地元に進出した工場の撤退が明らかになるなど、経済・雇用が深刻な問題だ。自民党はこれを踏まえ、経済再生に取り組む姿勢を強調した。

===

Good start for Abe

The LDP also considered the by-election an opportunity to question the three years of DPJ-led government and marked the first step in its march back to power. The by-election victory represents a good start for the new LDP leadership under Abe.
 民主党政権の3年間を問う選挙と位置付け、「政権奪還」への第一歩になるとも訴えた。今回の勝利は、安倍新体制にとって幸先の良いスタートである。

Meanwhile, Noma said he was a natural successor to Matsushita and his campaign stressed a generation change. The DPJ, which did not want the ruling coalition to lose even one Diet seat, established a campaign support system equivalent to that for a candidate on the DPJ ticket. Government ministers and leaders of the PNP and the DPJ stressed to voters that the ruling coalition parties would keep working for political reform.
 一方、野間氏は、「松下氏の後継」を前面に掲げ、世代交代を訴えた。民主党も与党議席を一つでも失いたくないとして、「公認候補並み」の支援態勢を敷いた。閣僚や党幹部は「政権与党として改革に取り組む」などと訴えた。

Nonetheless, the support for Noma did not significantly increase, apparently due to public distrust in the Noda government. The resignation of Keishu Tanaka as justice minister following revelations that he received donations from a foreign national and had past ties with criminal organizations worked to Noma's disadvantage.
 支持が広がらなかったのは、政権への不信感があったからだろう。外国人献金問題や過去の暴力団関係者との交際で田中慶秋前法相が辞任したことも、野間氏への逆風となったようだ。

Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Sendai nuclear power plant is located in the constituency.
 鹿児島3区には、九州電力川内原子力発電所がある。

Both candidates indicated they would approve reactivation of the plant's idled reactors on condition that the national government guarantees their safety. A Japanese Communist Party candidate stressed that all nuclear reactors in the country should be abolished now and forever, but his view did not resonate with the voters.
 ただ、宮路、野間両氏とも「国による安全性の担保」を前提に、再稼働を容認する姿勢を示した。共産党候補は「即時原発ゼロ」を訴えたが、有権者には浸透しなかったと言える。

===

Voters want decisive politics

With the by-election defeat, more members of the ruling coalition parties are likely to raise their voices to demand a lower house dissolution be delayed as long as possible because they believe they will suffer a crushing defeat if a general election was held now.
 補選敗北を受け、与党内では、「衆院選を行えば惨敗必至だ」として、衆院解散の先送りを求める声が一層強まるだろう。

However, we think the ruling coalition parties must not stagnate the nation's politics any longer by trying to extend the life of the current government unnecessarily.
 しかし、いたずらに政権の延命を図って、政治をこれ以上停滞させてはなるまい。

The LDP intends to adopt a more confrontational approach toward the government and the ruling coalition parties, demanding dissolution of the lower house for a general election by the end of this year.
 自民党は、年内の衆院解散を求め、政府・与党との対決姿勢を一層強める方針だ。

As for the extraordinary Diet session, the LDP and other opposition parties said they would not even allow the opening of the plenary session of the House of Councillors for the prime minister to deliver his policy speech. We think this is going too far.
 自民党など野党は、29日に召集される臨時国会で野田首相の所信表明演説のための参院本会議開会さえ認めないという。これは明らかに行き過ぎである。

Rather than a futile confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties, the voters want the kind of politics in which decisions can be made. The LDP should not misunderstand this.
 有権者は、与野党の不毛な対決ではなく、「決められる政治」の実現を望んでいる。自民党は勘違いをしてはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 29, 2012)
(2012年10月29日01時53分  読売新聞)

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電気自動車 不毛な規格争いは混乱を招く

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 30, 2012)
Carmakers shouldn't fight over EV charging systems
電気自動車 不毛な規格争いは混乱を招く(10月29日付・読売社説)

It now seems inevitable that conflict will emerge between Japanese and Western automakers over charging systems for electric vehicles.
 電気自動車(EV)の充電規格を巡り、日本と欧米メーカーの対立が決定的になった。

The difficulties are a blow to the Japanese auto industry, which had aimed to make its battery charging system a global standard. Domestic carmakers are now being urged to review their strategy so they can further promote their electric models.
 日本方式の国際標準化を狙った日本勢には痛手だ。EVの本格的な普及を目指し、戦略の見直しを迫られよう。

EVs are regarded as the ultimate eco-friendly vehicle because they emit no carbon dioxide, while their major disadvantage is a range of only about 200 kilometers per charge.
 EVは走行中に二酸化炭素(CO2)を出さない究極のエコカーとして期待される。ただ、1回のフル充電で走行できる距離が約200キロ・メートルと短いのが難点だ。

Automakers have been competing over improvements in the quality of the lithium-ion batteries EVs run on, as well as over fast-charging technology.
 搭載するリチウムイオン電池の性能と、急速に充電できる技術を各社が競っている。

The Japanese auto industry--including Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Co., both of which mass-produce EVs--has successfully implemented its CHAdeMo system and has called for European and U.S. automakers to adopt it.
 「チャデモ方式」と言われるEVの急速充電器を実用化したのはEVを量産している日産自動車や三菱自動車など日本の業界だ。欧米にも採用を呼びかけた。

===

Incompatible systems

However, the U.S. auto industry has decided on a different system, called Combo, which is being promoted mainly by General Motors Co. of the United States and Germany's Volkswagen AG.
 しかし、米国の業界団体は、米ゼネラル・モーターズ(GM)や独フォルクスワーゲン(VW)などが推進する「コンボ方式」という別の規格の採用を決めた。

The two schemes use different charging connectors and are incompatible with each other.
 双方で使われる充電コネクタは異なり、互換性がない。

Although Combo is still in development (it is expected to be ready in 2013 or later), the U.S. auto industry rejected a proposal from the Japanese auto industry apparently out of fear the EV market would come to be dominated by Japanese firms.
 コンボはまだ机上プランに過ぎず、実用化は2013年以降とされる。にもかかわらず、米業界が日本の提案を退けたのは、EV市場で日本に主導権を握られることを警戒したからだろう。

If the Combo system becomes standard in the West and other markets, Japanese automakers, despite currently being ahead in developing a charging system, would instead find themselves isolated.
 将来、欧米市場などでコンボが標準化されると、先行していた日本勢が逆に孤立化する。

Automakers should make customer convenience their top priority. Having two different systems would confuse people, which could negatively effect EV sales.
 自動車業界が最優先すべきは、ユーザーの利便性向上である。二つの規格が併存すれば、混乱を招き、EVの販売にもブレーキがかかりかねない。

In sales terms, EVs are less popular than hybrid vehicles, which use both gasoline and electric motors. Thus a global tussle over a vital EV technology is highly unwelcome.
 エコカー競争では、ガソリンと電気モーターで走るハイブリッド車が人気を集め、EVの普及は遅れている。それだけに世界の業界が基盤技術の規格で対立することは好ましくない。

===

Adopt flexible approach

We believe Japanese automakers should not only try to promote CHAdeMo, but should undertake initiatives to develop technology to make the two systems compatible.
 日本メーカーは、チャデモの利用拡大を狙うとともに、二つの規格に互換性をもたせる技術開発も主導すべきではないか。

It is also important for Japanese makers to accommodate China--the world's largest auto market--which is developing its own EV charging system.
 独自規格を作ろうとする動きが出ている世界最大の市場である中国を取り込むことも重要だ。

Further, installing many more charging stations and other necessary EV facilities both in Japan and abroad is important to make EVs more popular.
 EV普及に弾みをつけるためには、急速充電できるスタンドなどを国内外で急増させるべきだ。

Despite its technological prowess, Japan has sometimes failed to make its technologies the global standard--typical examples being its analog high-definition broadcasting system and mobile phone technology. No more such failures should be allowed.
 これまでも日本は、アナログハイビジョン放送や携帯電話などの技術開発で先行したのに、世界標準化できなかった。こうした失敗を繰り返してはなるまい。

It is reasonable that the government decided in its strategy for promoting intellectual property to prioritize making Japanese technologies into global standards. The government and the private sector should work together to find ways to achieve this goal so Japanese companies can increase their industrial competitiveness.
 政府が知的財産推進計画で国際標準化を重視する方針を掲げているのは妥当だ。産業競争力を強化するには、標準化を獲得する方策を官民で検討する必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 29, 2012)
(2012年10月29日01時53分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月29日 (月)

公取委員長不在 「市場の番人」務めが果たせぬ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 29, 2012)
FTC chairman's empty seat must be filled--now
公取委員長不在 「市場の番人」務めが果たせぬ(10月28日付・読売社説)

The Fair Trade Commission chairman's seat has been empty for more than a month.
 公正取引委員会の委員長ポストの空席が、1か月以上に及んでいる。

The government must submit a proposal to fill this vacancy in the coming extraordinary Diet session and obtain approval from both houses of the Diet to resolve this irregularity.
 政府は臨時国会で人事案を示し、衆参両院の同意を得て、異常事態を解消せねばならない。

Kazuhiko Takeshima retired as FTC chairman on Sept. 26 after completing his second five-year term. However, the government did not submit a proposal to fill the vacancy to the ordinary Diet session.
 竹島一彦前委員長は9月26日、2期10年の任期を満了し、退任した。だが、政府は通常国会で後任の人事案を提示しなかった。

The five-member FTC board now lacks two members as one of the members died before Takeshima retired. It is the first time since the FTC was inaugurated for the board to have only three members.
 急逝した別の委員と合わせて2人の欠員が生じ、5人で構成する公取委は初の3人体制を余儀なくされている。

This means that if a single member is unable to attend a meeting, the FTC will lack a quorum. If this situation continues, it may affect the operations of the commission.
委員が1人欠けても委員会は開くことができず、このままでは、公取委の業務に支障をきたしかねない。

The FTC plays a leading role in keeping competition fair through such activities as clamping down on price cartels, bid rigging and illicit activities of administrative organizations as well as by approving corporate mergers.
 公取委は、企業のカルテルや談合、行政組織の不正などにメスを入れ、企業合併にお墨付きを与える競争政策の司令塔である。

Needless to say, the responsibility of the chairman is especially heavy. It is extremely problematic to leave the seat vacant for a prolonged period.
 委員長の責任は特に重い。そのポストを長期間、不在のまま放置するのは問題だ。

Democratic Party of Japan-led administrations have a bad habit of lightheartedly shelving decisions on important policies and personnel appointments and placing the blame squarely on the divided Diet, in which opposition parties control the House of Councillors. The party should break this habit immediately.
 衆参ねじれ国会を言い訳に重要な政策や人事の決定を安易に先送りするのは、民主党政権の悪癖である。早急に改めるべきだ。

===

Commission's functions stronger

Recently, the FTC has been steadily strengthening its functions as a "guardian of the market."
 公取委はこのところ、「市場の番人」としての機能強化を着々と進めている。

Drastic revisions to the Antimonopoly Law gave the FTC authority to launch legally binding investigations. Financial penalties for companies violating the Antimonopoly Law were raised, while a system was adopted to reduce or exempt surcharges on companies voluntarily reporting bid rigging.
 独占禁止法の抜本改正で、強制調査権を手にした。違反企業への課徴金を引き上げる一方、談合を自己申告した企業の課徴金を減免する制度も取り入れた。

Such changes enabled the FTC board to take a more effective carrot-and-stick approach, leading to a number of serious violations being uncovered. The amount of financial penalties imposed on companies reached a record 72 billion yen in fiscal 2010.
 こうした「アメとムチ」を駆使する執行体制の下で、大型事件を相次いで摘発した。2010年度の課徴金総額は、過去最高の720億円に達した。

Still, illegal business practices show no sign of declining significantly. Bid rigging involving officials of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry and the Defense Ministry were revealed recently.
 それでも、不正取引は後を絶たない。最近は、国土交通省や防衛省の官製談合が表面化した。

Also noteworthy is the practice of companies abusing their status to "oppress" subcontractors, such as by demanding lower prices or delaying payment. The public places high hopes on the FTC as a watchdog to prevent illegal practices.
 親会社が優先的地位を乱用し、代金の値下げや支払いを遅らせるといった「下請けいじめ」も目立つ。不正に目を光らせる公取委への期待は大きい。

===

Bigger role in corporate mergers

The FTC's role of approving corporate mergers is also gaining weight as the number of mergers that influence the global market is increasing, due to the rapid globalization of the economy.
 グローバル経済の進展で世界的な企業統合が相次ぎ、合併審査も重要度を増している。

The commission recently revised its methods in approving corporate mergers, such as by paying more attention to the global market share of the merging companies as well as simplifying the approval process.
 最近では、世界の市場占有率を重視し、時間がかかると不評だった手続きを迅速化するなど、新たな手法を取り入れた。

The revision has enabled the FTC to more rapidly complete its examination of huge mergers, such as that between Nippon Steel Corp. and Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd. and the management integration of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Osaka Securities Exchange.
 新日本製鉄と住友金属工業の合併、東京証券取引所と大阪証券取引所の経営統合といった大型案件で、従来よりスピード審査ができたのもこのためだ。

Considering the importance of the FTC role, its leadership must be returned to good working order as soon as possible.
 やはり、公取委の体制を早急に整えるべきである。

The Diet also has not yet approved the government's personnel appointments for the Nuclear Regulation Authority and the NHK Board of Governors. It is time to put an end to the prolonged turmoil caused by the Diet's failure to approve the government's appointments, which is the result of political maneuvering.
 原子力規制委員やNHK経営委員などの国会同意も遅れている。政局が招く国会同意人事の混乱を長引かせてはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 28, 2012)
(2012年10月28日01時25分  読売新聞)

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読書週間 本との出会いを大切にしたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 29, 2012)
Book Week a wonderful chance to delve into books
読書週間 本との出会いを大切にしたい(10月28日付・読売社説)

Book Week 2012 started Saturday.
 27日から読書週間が始まった。

The theme for this year's Book Week is "Foster true ties with books." We believe it is important to cherish ties with the books we encounter.
 今年の標語は「ホントノキズナ」だ。巡り合った本との絆を大切にしたい。

How about looking over your bookcase during a day off this autumn and cracking open a favorite book again?
秋の休日、書棚に手を伸ばし、かつての愛読書をひもといてみてはどうだろうか。

This year's Characters and Print Culture Promotion Grand Prize has been awarded to the board of education of the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture. The prize, which is sponsored by the All Japan Magazine and Book Publishers and Editors Association, recognized the board's years of effort in encouraging townspeople to read books.
 全国出版協会が主催する今年の「文字・活字文化推進大賞」には、長年にわたり読書の町づくりに取り組んできた福島県大熊町の教育委員会が選ばれた。

Primary and middle school students of Okuma now study at a temporary school building in Aizu-Wakamatsu in the prefecture, where they evacuated due to the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. These children still read books and do similar activities for 10 minutes every morning.
 この町では、小中学生が東京電力福島第一原発事故後に避難した会津若松市の仮校舎で、朝の10分間読書などを続けている。

Their activities have been assisted by more than 10,000 books sent from all corners of the country. Spending time reading may provide these children with food for the mind.
全国から届いた1万冊以上の書籍が活動の支えだ。子供たちにとって読書は心の糧となるにちがいない。

===

Books can have lifelong impact

Writer Keigo Higashino, who was awarded the Chuokoron Literary Prize on Oct. 19 for his novel "Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki" (The Miracles of the Namiya General Store), said the pleasure of reading dawned on him when he was a high school student.
 小説「ナミヤ雑貨店の奇蹟(きせき)」で中央公論文芸賞を先日受賞した作家の東野圭吾さんは、高校時代に読書の楽しさを知ったという。

Before that, he reportedly detested reading, much to the annoyance of his mother and teachers.
 それまでは大の読書嫌いで母親や先生を困らせたが、

One day, he began reading a detective story authored by Seicho Matsumoto, which belonged to his sister. Higashino found the book so fascinating that he could not put it down. This encounter with books marked the starting line for Higashino, who is now one of Japan's most esteemed mystery novel writers.
姉が持っていた松本清張の推理小説を読み始めたところ、面白くてやめられなくなったそうだ。今や最も人気の高いミステリー作家の原点には、こんな本との出会いがある。

A single book can have a great impact on a person's entire life. We hope an environment more conducive to making children familiar with reading will be established.
 一冊の本が人生に大きな影響を与えることがある。子供たちが読書に親しめる環境を整えたい。

For example, no more than half of the nation's primary and middle schools have libraries that meet the government-set standards for book numbers. In addition, school libraries have many old books, while some have stacks of books in some fields but few in others. The number of school librarians is still insufficient.
 例えば、学校図書館の標準蔵書数を満たす小中学校は、まだ全体の約半数に過ぎない。本が古かったり、傾向が偏っていたりすることも少なくない。学校司書もまだまだ不足している。

Local governments should step up efforts to make their libraries more attractive so children can have chances to encounter books well suited to their individual preferences.
 自治体は、子供たち一人ひとりがその個性に見合った本と巡り合えるよう魅力ある図書館作りを進めて行く必要があるだろう。

===

E-books expand reading styles

Places where people can come across books have diversified in recent years. The Hibiya Library & Museum that the Chiyoda Ward government recently established in the heart of Tokyo, for instance, holds exhibitions that regular museums would be proud of. These exhibitions are on timely themes such as "a history of reconstruction from disasters" and display books relevant to the topics.
 本と出会う場は、多様化しつつある。東京都心に千代田区が開設した日比谷図書文化館は、「復興の歴史」など時々のテーマに応じて博物館さながらの展示を行い、関連する書籍を紹介している。

A major bookstore in Tokyo has set up an in-house cafe at which customers have space to freely bury their noses in books. A small bookstore plays the role of "a culture hall," sponsoring seminars at which invited writers and editors give lectures just about every evening.
 都内のある大型書店では、店内にカフェを設け、本を自由に読める読書空間を提供している。作家や編集者らを招いてセミナーを毎晩のように開き、文化サロンの役割を果たす小さな書店もある。

Meanwhile, electronic books are likely to spread at an accelerated pace.
 一方、電子書籍は一段と普及しそうだ。

A major U.S. online shopping service company recently announced it will start marketing e-books in Japan in the near future, a move that will expand people's reading style options.
米国のインターネット通販大手が電子書籍端末を日本でも近く発売するなど、読書スタイルの選択肢も広がっている。

A recent Yomiuri Shimbun survey showed about 30 percent of people are enthusiastic about using e-books.
読売新聞の世論調査では、3割の人が電子書籍の利用に積極的だった。

Some analysts have pointed out people who purchase e-readers also tend to buy paper books. E-books should be accepted as one way to stimulate people's familiarity with books and help nurture a rich print culture.
 電子書籍端末を買った人は、紙の本も買っている、という指摘もある。電子書籍を一つの刺激として受け止め、豊かな活字文化を築いていくべきだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 28, 2012)
(2012年10月28日01時25分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月27日 (土)

石原都知事辞任 国政復帰に何が期待できるか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 27, 2012)
Ishihara's dramatic move: What does it portend?
石原都知事辞任 国政復帰に何が期待できるか(10月26日付・読売社説)

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara announced at a hastily arranged press conference Thursday that he would resign as governor.
 東京都の石原慎太郎知事が急きょ記者会見し、辞任を表明した。

He also said he would form a new political party and run in the next House of Representatives election.
 新党を結成し、次期衆院選に出馬するという。

Five members of both houses of the Diet from the Sunrise Party of Japan will join his new party.
新党には、たちあがれ日本に所属する衆参両院議員の5人らが参加する。

While denying his party plans to cooperation with Ichiro Ozawa, leader of the People's Life First party, Ishihara indicated his intention of joining hands with other political forces, such as Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), led by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto.
 石原氏は、国民の生活が第一の小沢一郎代表との連携は否定し、橋下徹大阪市長の率いる日本維新の会などと連携していく考えを示した。

With a new party, Ishihara aims to create a third major political force to unite conservatives, drawing a line between his party and the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan.
自民、民主両党とは一線を画し、保守勢力の結集による「第3極」を狙っている。

Will Ishihara's action, which he calls his "last service to the country," jolt national politics out of the smothering sense of helplessness brought on by unproductive conflict between the ruling and opposition parties?
 「最後のご奉公」という石原氏の行動が、与野党の不毛な対立で閉塞感の漂う国政に一石を投じることになるだろうか。

===

Factors behind his decision

Regarding the scheme of forming a new party, something he had reportedly decided not to do in the past, Ishihara said in April that he would "start it all over." His turnabout in forming a new party is believed to have much to do with the fact that the issue of the purchase of part of the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, which he had sought persistently as governor, was settled with the recent purchase by the national government.
 今回の新党構想について、石原氏は4月、「白紙に戻す」と語っていた。一転して新党結成へ動いたのは、執念を見せていた尖閣諸島の購入問題が国有化で決着したからだと見られている。

Ishihara's decision may also have been influenced by the defeat of his eldest son, former LDP secretary general Nobuteru Ishihara, in the LDP's recent presidential election, which removes a major obstacle to Ishihara's forming a new party that would compete with the LDP.
 自民党総裁選で長男の石原伸晃前幹事長が敗北したため、自民党と対抗する新党の結成に支障がなくなったとの判断もあろう。

Yet it isn't entirely clear what Ishihara, now 80, intends to achieve by returning to the national political fray, especially at an age when he should be concerned about his health.
 80歳の石原氏が健康面も気遣いながら、国政で何を実現したいのかは、必ずしも明確ではない。

At the press conference, Ishihara fiercely criticized the way the nation's bureaucratic system operates, saying, "We must change the rigid system controlled by bureaucrats of the central government."
 石原氏は記者会見で、「硬直した中央官僚の支配する制度を変えなければ駄目だ」と官僚制度の在り方を激しく批判した。

He also emphasized the need to amend the Constitution, his cherished idea, and to work out measures to reinforce the nation's control of the Senkaku Islands.
持論の憲法改正や沖縄県・尖閣諸島の実効支配の強化策なども力説した。

We can agree, to a certain extent, on his awareness of problems concerning the current situation of national politics.
 国政の現状に対する問題意識には、うなずける点もある。

===

Clearer vision needed

However, we want Ishihara to spell out his policies in more concrete detail and lay out his strategies to realize them. As Ishihara, who assumed the governorship following 25-plus years of service as a Diet member, quit his job without completing his fourth term--to which he was elected just last year--to return to national politics, we would like to know more about his thinking.
 ただ、かつて25年余も国会議員を務めた石原氏が、昨年4選を果たした知事を途中で辞め、国政復帰を目指すと言う以上、もっと具体的な政策と、それを実現する戦略を語ってもらいたい。

Takeo Hiranuma, leader of the Sunrise Party, apparently hopes to see a new wind start blowing in politics with "the two leading figures" of "Hashimoto from western Japan and Ishihara from eastern Japan." But things won't be so simple.
 たちあがれ日本の平沼代表は「西は橋下、東は石原」の“二枚看板”で風を起こしたいようだが、そう簡単な話ではない。

While Hashimoto said he has many policies that are in accord with those of Ishihara, he has also said some of Ishihara's statements on nuclear power and energy policies are out of line with his own. Clearly, it is vital to reconcile their policies.
 橋下氏は、石原氏と一致する政策が多いとしながらも原発・エネルギー政策などで「軸がずれている」との見解を示した。やはり、政策のすりあわせが不可欠だ。

A new party led by a popular head of a local government, such as Ishihara or Hashimoto, is drawing a certain amount of expectation from the public.
 石原、橋下両氏ら人気の高い首長をトップに据える新党が、国民から一定の期待を集めている。

This is made possible by the people's strong distrust and discontent with the existing political parties, which have been mired in "politics incapable of making decisions."
 これは、「決められない政治」に陥っている既成政党に対する不信や不満が強いことの裏返しでもあろう。

Within the DPJ, there is a sense of danger that Ishihara's new party may prompt more members to leave the party. And in the LDP, there is concern that conservative voters may become divided.
民主党内には、石原新党がさらに離党を誘発することに警戒感がある。自民党にも、保守票の分散への懸念があるという。

We would like to see what sort of ripples of "political reorganization" Ishihara's new party will set in motion.
 石原新党が今後仕掛ける「政界再編」が、果たしてどんな波紋を広げるか見定めたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 26, 2012)
(2012年10月26日01時41分  読売新聞)

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再生エネ発電 電気利用者に重いツケ回すな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 27, 2012)
Don't overcharge users for feed-in tariff system
再生エネ発電 電気利用者に重いツケ回すな(10月26日付・読売社説)

Although it is definitely important to help spread the use of renewable energy such as solar and wind power, passing excessive fees for renewables on to companies and households should not be permissible.
 太陽光や風力など再生可能エネルギーの普及は大切だが、家計や企業に過大なコストを押しつけるようでは困る。

The "feed-in tariff system," under which power utilities are obliged to purchase electricity generated by renewable energy sources, was launched in July. The system has led to a sharp rise in the number of companies entering solar power and other renewable energy markets.
 再生エネで発電した電気の買い取りを電力会社に義務づける「固定価格買い取り制度」が7月にスタートし、太陽光発電などの参入が急増している。

The increase in the number of firms entering the renewables market is progressing quickly. In the three-month period to the end of September, the figure reached 70 percent of the government-set goal of expediting companies into the market.
9月末までの3か月で、今年度目標の7割に達するハイペースだ。

The feed-in tariff program has utilities pay above-market rates for electricity generated from renewable energy sources for up to 20 years.
 買い取り制は、再生エネで発電した電気を最長20年間、通常より高い価格で電力会社が買う。

The idea of encouraging the use of renewable energy, in which it is possible to be domestically self-sufficient without discharging greenhouse gases, as a government policy is laudable.
温室効果ガスを出さず、国内自給できる再生エネの普及を、政策で後押しする狙いはいい。

The problem, however, is that the framework of the feed-in tariff system is designed to have the utilities' costs of purchasing renewables added to electricity charges paid by electricity users.
 問題なのは、買い取り費用が電気料金に上乗せされ、電気利用者が負担する仕組みである。

===

Draw lessons from abroad

The current payments by utilities are 42 yen per kilowatt-hour for solar power and 23 yen for wind power, about double the rates in Germany, where the system has been in place longer.
 現行の買い取り価格は、太陽光が1キロ・ワット時あたり42円、風力は23円で、先行して導入されたドイツより約2倍も高い。

While the high margins may be highly attractive for new entrant firms, the fees paid by electricity users also become higher with the high margins.
 参入する会社にとって利幅の大きさは魅力だが、電気利用者の払うツケは重くなる。

We cannot help but feel the situation is not ideal for spreading the use of renewables. It is an urgent challenge for the government to find an appropriate balance between expanding renewables and user fees from a long-range point of view.
再生エネの普及が進んだなどと手放しで喜んではいられない。長期間に及ぶ利用者負担とのバランスを、どう取るかが課題だ。

Good lessons on this subject can be seen in examples of failures overseas.
 教訓とすべきは、海外の失敗例である。

In Germany, additional fees to electricity bills because of utilities' purchasing power from renewable sources are over 1,000 yen a month for an average household.
ドイツでは、再生エネの買い取りにあてる電気料金の上乗せ額が、標準家庭で月1000円を超えている。

With the German renewable energy market rapidly progressing on inexpensive solar panels from China, purchasing costs have continued to increase.
 さらに、中国製の安い太陽光パネルを使った太陽光発電の参入が相次いでいるため、買い取り費用の増大が止まらない。

Under these circumstances, the German government is reportedly planning to increase the charges to be added to electricity bills. It is estimated the additional power charges levied on households will be in excess of 10,000 yen a year on average.
来年からは電気料金への上乗せ率を高める予定で、家庭の電気料金負担は、年1万円も増える見込みという。

German consumers have reacted strongly to the proposal, with one critic saying solar power generation should be deemed the "most costly mistake in the history of German environment policy."
 ドイツの消費者らは猛反発し、「太陽光発電は、環境政策の歴史で最も高くついた誤りだ」などという批判も出ている。

The increase in monthly fees due to the introduction of the feed-in tariff system in Japan is set at 87 yen for average households for this fiscal year.
 日本の買い取り制による今年度の電気料金上乗せ額は、標準家庭で月87円だ。

===

Never be too optimistic

The extra charges are not yet as high as in Germany. If power generation from renewables continues to increase with the high purchasing costs remaining unchanged, however, this country is bound to follow the same path as Germany.
ドイツほど高くないが、買い取り単価が高いまま再生エネ発電が増えれば、「ドイツの来た道」をたどりかねない。

The government should be vigilant enough not to allow a profit-first "renewable rush" to take place, and be flexible and efficient in reviewing purchasing prices of electricity from renewable sources.
 政府は利益目当ての「再生エネラッシュ」が起きないよう目を光らせ、買い取り価格を機動的に見直してもらいたい。

Expectations are high in Japan for positive effects on the economy resulting from the promotion of new industries through the spread of renewable energy.
 日本では再生エネ普及に伴う産業振興など、経済効果への期待も大きい。

In light of the German situation, there is no room to be overly optimistic.
だが、ドイツの例を見ると楽観は禁物だろう。

This is because a German company, which was ranked first in the world in solar panel production, went bankrupt in April because of heavy competition from Chinese rivals.
今年4月には、太陽光パネルで世界トップだった独企業が、中国企業との競争に敗れて倒産したからだ。

It is important for this country to carefully examine cases abroad and work out and implement necessary measures early in order not to duplicate the mistakes of Germany and others.
 こうした海外の事例を冷静に分析し、同じ轍(てつ)を踏まぬよう早めに手を打つことが肝要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 26, 2012)
(2012年10月26日01時41分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月26日 (金)

おめでとう人生デビュー お宮参りの記念写真なら評判のスタジオシモムラで!

愛するお父さん、お母さんに囲まれて、この世に生を得た赤ちゃんが、一番最初に参加する大切な行事がお宮参りです。

お宮参りは各地でそのやり方が多少違うようですが、厳格な決まりはありません。
子供が生まれたら、大抵一年以内に子供の健やかな成長を見極めてから、両親が行います。核家族化が進んだのでこうなっていますが、私の子供の頃は、おじいちゃん、おばあちゃんもお宮参りに同行する習わしがありました。

出生地には大抵数カ所の神社がありますので、その中から評判の良い神社を選んでお参りするわけです。有名な神社だと、お宮参りをする人たちで常時溢れかえっていますので予約が必要でしょう。でも、突然思い立って、予約なしで訪問しても大抵許してもらえるのが日本の神社のやさしさです。

おめでとう人生デビュー。
お宮参り写真は結婚写真の撮影で評判のスタジオシモムラで撮りませんか。

以下、スタジオシモムラの特長を列記いたします。

スタジオシモムラは、撮影衣裳総数700着以上をほこる、結婚写真の撮影を専門とするスタジオです。
お宮参り掛け着だって男女別に豊富な品揃えです。
スタジオシモムラは創業72年の老舗らしいです。これは大変な長さですね。
スタジオで使われる撮影機器や設備は現代最高水準らしい。
極め付けの撮影機材は世界一と言われる機材を使用しているそうです。
印画紙も銀園写真でプリントしていて写真のクオリティーに一流のこだわりがあります。
これなら、まさに一生ものですね。

スタジオシモムラは、東京だけではなくて、横浜でも営業されています。
あなたのご都合の良い場所を選択できるのが便利ではないでしょうか。

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防衛予算 将来見据えて削減に歯止めを

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 26, 2012)
Stop defense budget cuts, keep eye on future
防衛予算 将来見据えて削減に歯止めを(10月25日付・読売社説)

Improvement of defense capabilities cannot be achieved overnight. It is time to stop slashing defense-related spending and start strengthening the Self-Defense Forces in earnest with an eye to Japan's security environment five to 10 years from now.
 防衛力の整備は一朝一夕にはできない。5年後、10年後の日本の安全保障環境を見据えて、防衛関係費の削減に歯止めをかけ、自衛隊の態勢強化に本格的に着手する時である。

The Defense Ministry has requested 4,585.1 billion yen in budget appropriations for next fiscal year, down 1.3 percent from the previous fiscal year. Is it all right for the defense budget in fiscal 2013 to fall for the 11th year in a row?
 2013年度予算の防衛費の概算要求は前年度比1・3%減の4兆5851億円となった。このまま来年度予算が11年連続のマイナスになっても良いのだろうか。

If part of a request for budget appropriations from the special account for reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake is included, the defense budget will mark an increase from the previous fiscal year. However, that includes funds to restore damaged defense-related facilities and equipment.
 東日本大震災の復興特別会計の分を含めれば、前年度比プラスだが、それには被災した施設や装備の復旧分も含まれている。

The defense budget in the initial fiscal 2012 budget dropped by about 300 billion yen from its peak in fiscal 2002. The total decline over the past 10 years comes to as much as 1.8 trillion yen.
 防衛費は今年度当初予算で、ピークの02年度から約3000億円減少し、10年間の減少額は累積約1兆8000億円にも上る。

Defense spending cuts have caused many problems. The maintenance costs currently necessary to extend the life of ships and aircraft exceed the cost of procuring new equipment, causing equipment procurement to be delayed and the defense industry to decline. Twenty percent of SDF facilities are obsolete, aged 50 years or older.
 防衛費削減は数々の弊害を生んでいる。艦船や航空機の寿命を延ばすため、装備の整備維持費が新規調達費を上回る事態となり、調達の遅延や、防衛産業の衰退を招いている。築50年以上の老朽施設も全施設の2割を占める。

===

Russia and China bulking up

The fact that Russia and China increased their defense spending by 5.3 times and 3.4 times, respectively, over the past 10 years cannot be overlooked. While countries such as the United States, South Korea and Australia have increased their defense spending substantially, only Japan has cut it, due to financial difficulty and other reasons.
 見過ごせないのは、この10年間、ロシアが国防費を5・3倍、中国が3・4倍に伸ばしたことだ。米国、韓国、豪州などもこぞって大幅に増やす中、日本だけが財政難などを理由に減らしてきた。

In particular, vigilance must be exercised regarding the Chinese military's buildup of its equipment and expansion of its activities.
 特に、中国軍の装備増強と活動範囲の拡大は警戒を要する。

In September, an aircraft carrier was commissioned into the navy of the People's Liberation Army. On Oct. 16, seven Chinese naval vessels passed through the contiguous zone near Yonagunijima island. On Oct. 19, Chinese naval ships staged joint exercises with vessels from the State Oceanic Administration and other organizations in the East China Sea on the premise of trouble around the Senkaku Islands.
 海軍は9月、空母を就役させた。艦船7隻が今月16日、与那国島近くの接続水域を通過した。19日には東シナ海で、尖閣諸島周辺でのトラブルを想定した国家海洋局などとの合同演習を実施した。

In light of China's recent high-handed attitude over the Senkakus, the nation must be prepared for Beijing to expand its activities to make its presence felt in the medium and long terms.
 尖閣諸島をめぐる中国の最近の高圧的な姿勢を見れば、中国軍の示威活動は中長期的に拡大していくと覚悟せざるを得ない。

The Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Air Self-Defense Force have strengthened their vigilance and surveillance activities against the Chinese military. However, because patrol planes stationed in Okinawa Prefecture are insufficient, the MSDF and ASDF are only able to engage in those activities by redeploying resources from other parts of the country.
 海上・航空自衛隊は中国軍への警戒監視活動を強化しているが、沖縄駐在の哨戒機では足りず、全国からの応援で対応している。

China's defense spending is currently more than 50 percent greater than that of Japan. If its defense spending continues to increase at the current pace, this gap will widen to 500 percent 10 years from now. The situation is extremely grave.
 中国の国防費は現在、日本の1・5倍強だ。今の増額ペースが続けば、10年後にはその差が5倍に広がる。極めて深刻な事態だ。

===

Make SDF bigger, more dynamic

It is essential to use the defense budget efficiently and review the SDF's current setup. To prioritize a buildup of "dynamic defense capabilities" in the southwestern region of the country, it is necessary to further reduce the number of Ground Self-Defense Force personnel, garrisons, tanks and artillery in other areas, mainly Hokkaido.
 防衛予算を効率的に使い、自衛隊の態勢を見直すことが大切だ。海自や空自など、南西方面の「動的防衛力」の強化を優先するには、北海道を中心に、陸上自衛隊の定数や駐屯地、戦車・火砲の削減を一層進める必要がある。

Since the end of the Cold War, Japan has beefed up Japan-U.S. defense cooperation by continually improving defense capabilities with a focus on quality rather than quantity. But from now on, Japan must seriously consider reinforcing the SDF while giving consideration to its quantity as well.
 日本は冷戦終結後、量より質を重視した防衛力整備を続け、日米の防衛協力を強化してきた。今後は、量にも配慮した自衛隊の拡充を真剣に考えねばなるまい。

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said he will protect the nation's territorial land and sea "with unwavering resolve." He should reflect that resolve in the budget.
 野田首相は「不退転の覚悟で」領土・領海を守ると言う以上、その覚悟を予算に反映すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 25, 2012)
(2012年10月25日02時03分  読売新聞)

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放射能拡散予測 原発で最悪の事故防ぐ一助に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 26, 2012)
N-disaster simulations should help prevent the worst from occurring
放射能拡散予測 原発で最悪の事故防ぐ一助に(10月25日付・読売社説)

How might radioactive substances spread from the nation's 16 nuclear power plants should they be hit by serious accidents? The Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday released maps based on its diffusion simulation results.
 全国16の原子力発電所で重大事故が起きた場合に、放射性物質がどう拡散するか。政府の原子力規制委員会が、その予測地図を公表した。

The government has refrained from conducting this kind of simulation on its own for fear of heightening anxiety among residents around the plants.
 政府はこれまで、住民の不安を煽(あお)ることを恐れ、こうした予測を実施していなかった。

However, it is surely necessary to simulate worst-case scenarios in the course of preparing disaster management measures.
だが、防災対策で最悪事態を想定するのは必要なことだろう。

Local governments around these facilities have to compile disaster management plans by March next year. They should refer to the new data as they make steady efforts on those plans.
 原発の周辺自治体は、来年3月までに防災計画を策定することになっている。関係自治体は、予測結果を参考に、作業を着実に進めねばならない。

The NRA regards its simulations only as rough estimates because geographical features were not taken into account and the data did not reflect the constantly changing direction of the wind.
 規制委は、今回の予測が現実の地形を考慮しておらず、複雑な風向変化を反映していないため、あくまで目安と位置づけている。

The NRA should provide the affected local governments with detailed explanations of the simulations to minimize uncertainty among residents. We urge the organization to help those municipalities in compiling their plans.
 予測結果が無用な不安を広げぬよう、規制委は関係自治体に丁寧に説明し、防災計画作りを後押ししてもらいたい。

However, there is cause for concern regarding the simulation results for four facilities, including Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture and Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture.
 気がかりなのは、東京電力柏崎刈羽原発と関西電力大飯原発など4原発に関する予測結果だ。

===

30-km standard is reasonable

The NRA has said it will designate a 30-kilometer-radius zone around each plant as a priority area under the new disaster management guidelines it is now drafting. Governments in these areas will be urged to take safety measures to be prepared for an emergency.
 規制委は、策定作業中の新防災指針案で、事前の対策を求める重点区域を、原発から半径30キロ圏とする方針を示している。

However, the simulations showed that there could be some areas more than 30 kilometers from the plants where accumulated radiation readings could reach 100 millisieverts--the level at which international standards consider it necessary for residents to evacuate--in seven days. According to the results for the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, for example, such high levels of radioactive substances could reach as far as Uonuma, about 40 kilometers away.
 だが、事故後1週間の積算被曝(ひばく)線量が避難の国際基準とされる計100ミリ・シーベルトに達する地域を見ると、4原発では30キロ圏の外側にも広がっている。柏崎刈羽では、約40キロ離れた新潟県魚沼市にまで影響が及ぶ、と予測された。

"It's good enough to designate the 30-kilometer-radius zones as priority areas," NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said during a press conference Wednesday. "In case of an accident, areas beyond the zones should respond to it by measuring [levels of radiation in their areas]."
 田中俊一規制委員長は、「重点区域は30キロ圏で足りる。それ以上は事故時に(放射線量を)実測して対応すればいい」との見解を示している。

We believe his approach is reasonable to avoid unnecessary confusion.
混乱を避ける意味で、妥当な考え方と言えよう。

Nonetheless, it is up to local governments to decide how to respond to a disaster. If prefectural and other local governments wish to expand the scope of priority areas, they would have to make arrangements beyond prefectural borders--such as how to evacuate residents, deliver necessary goods and secure enough shelters. It will be necessary for the central government to support coordination among local governments involved.
 とはいえ、防災対策は自治体が主体的に決めるものだ。県などが区域を広げれば、県境をまたぐ避難や物資輸送、避難地確保も問題となる。政府も関係自治体間の調整を支援する必要があろう。

===

NRA should refine its projections

Regarding its skill at predicting the diffusion of radioactive substances from nuclear power plants, the NRA should aim at enhancing efficiency.
 拡散の予測技術自体についても、規制委は今後、さらに性能の向上を目指すべきだ。

A more refined level of simulations could help local governments prepare better disaster management measures, as well as plans on how to evacuate residents safely following the outbreak of an accident.
 高度な予測が可能になれば、防災対策の一層の充実につながるうえ、事故時の避難対策にも役立つのではないか。

First and foremost, it is important to prevent such a serious nuclear accident from taking place.
 もとより、こうした事故を起こさないことが大切だ。

Nuclear power plants nationwide have already implemented emergency safety measures, such as increasing their capacity to withstand tsunami and securing more reliable sources of emergency power.
 すでに各地の原発で、津波対策や非常用電源の強化など緊急安全対策が施されており、

As a result, safety at these facilities is better now than it was prior to the outbreak of the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.
東電福島第一原発事故の発生前に比べ、当面の安全性は向上している。

They have also started other measures, including investigations to find out if there are any active faults near plant premises.
活断層の確認なども始まっている。

The NRA has been working on new safety standards for nuclear power plants. It should compile them as soon as possible so they can be used in making decisions on whether idle nuclear reactors can be reactivated.
 規制委は、再稼働の判断材料とするためにも、検討中の新たな安全基準を早急に整備すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 25, 2012)
(2012年10月25日02時03分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月25日 (木)

FX究極のテクニカル分析 しろふくろうのEA(自動売買プログラム)

長引く円高傾向と景気の低迷が続く日本ですが、皆様如何お過ごしでしょうか。
私は日本の銀行に円とドルの二つの口座を保有しております。
状況を見ながら、円からドルへ、あるいは、ドルから円へ資金を移動して為替による損失を最小限に押さえるのです。FX取引も重要な選択肢となっています。

FX取引の極意は、やはりテクニカル分析にあると思います。
ですが、その技術(わざ)を会得するのは容易なことではありません。
私のブログ上のお友達ですが、テクニカル分析主体で飯を食っている人がおります。
ファンダメンタル分析に惑わされずに、いかに冷静にポジション取りをしていくかが大切だということです。

ここはFX取引では実績があり有名なメタトレーダーの売買ソフトを開発した「しろふくろう」氏の力を借りるのが良いのです。「しろふくろう」氏が独自に開発したFX自動販売プログラムEAを使うことにいたします。
その特長を列記すると次のようになります。

1) しろふくろう氏のロジックが無料で利用できる
2) 利用する為の基本料金は無料ですが、運用で利益が出た場合には手数料が発生いたします
3) 取引内容は取引口座内で全て閲覧可能

あれこれ悩むよりは、ここはしろふくろうのEAにあなたのお宝(資金)を託してみませんか。

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米大統領選 対中圧力で一致した外交討論

Obama, Romney agree on applying pressure on China
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 25, 2012)
米大統領選 対中圧力で一致した外交討論(10月24日付・読売社説)

Which candidate will win the closely contested U.S. presidential election?
 接戦の米大統領選を制するのはどちらか。

President Barack Obama, a Democratic candidate seeking reelection, and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, crossed swords in a heated third and final nationally televised debate Monday.
 再選に挑む民主党のオバマ大統領と、政権奪還を目指す共和党候補のロムニー前マサチューセッツ州知事が、最後のテレビ討論会で熱の入った論戦を展開した。

Polls taken immediately after the debate suggested Obama won the verbal joust. This, combined with the unemployment rate's recent fall to 7.8 percent, could provide Obama with a tailwind.
 終了直後の世論調査ではオバマ勝利と見る結果が出た。失業率が7・8%に改善されたのと合わせオバマ氏に追い風となろう。

But the two candidates remain locked in a dead heat in public support rates. The fierce battle will certainly continue until Election Day on Nov. 6.
 だが、支持率は拮抗(きっこう)している。11月6日の投開票まで、激しい競り合いが続くのは間違いない。

The topics for the final debate were diplomatic and security issues.
 討論会のテーマは、外交・安全保障問題だった。

The Middle East situation has become chaotic in the aftermath of the Arab Spring revolutionary movement and as the civil war in Syria intensifies. In Asia, North Korea forges ahead with its development of nuclear weapons and China has expanded its military presence in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. How will the next U.S. president handle these issues? The attention of Japan and many other countries was focused on the debate in this respect.
 「アラブの春」やシリア内戦で混沌(こんとん)とする中東情勢、北朝鮮の核武装問題、東シナ海や南シナ海における中国の軍事的膨張などに、超大国・米国の次期大統領はどう対処していくのか。日本はじめ世界中が注目した。

===

Is U.S. power ebbing?

Romney criticized Obama's diplomacy as weak-kneed, saying that "nowhere in the world is America's influence greater today than it was four years ago."
 ロムニー氏は「この4年間に米国の影響力は世界で弱体化した」と“弱腰”外交を攻撃した。

Obama, who gave a lackluster performance in the first debate on the economy, was more eloquent as he discussed diplomatic issues.
 オバマ氏は、経済をテーマとした討論会では精彩を欠いたが、外交問題では雄弁だった。

The president boasted of his diplomatic achievements such as ending the war in Iraq, paving the way for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan and listing the effects of tough sanctions imposed on Iran to check its nuclear development program. Citing these points to refute Romney's contention, Obama said the United States "is stronger now than when I came into office."
 イラクでの戦争を終わらせ、アフガニスタンでも米軍撤収に道筋をつけた。イラン核開発の阻止へ制裁強化が効果をあげている。こうした実績を示しながら、「米国は強くなった」と反論した。

However, Romney was correct in the sense that U.S. influence has declined in relative terms due to the rise of China and other newly emerging countries.
 だが、中国など新興国の台頭によって相対的に米国の影響力が弱まっているという意味では、ロムニー氏の指摘は正しい。

Obama said China is "both an adversary, but also a potential partner in the international community if it's following the rules."
 その中国を巡り、オバマ氏は、「敵であると同時に、ルールに従うなら国際社会でのパートナーになり得る」と述べた。

Beijing is a principal trade partner for Washington. The United States is running the biggest trade deficit with that country among its trade partners. China is now the nation holding the most U.S. Treasury bonds after it overtook Japan. Therefore, China must be closely watched by the United States, but at the same time their relationship is interdependent.
 米国にとって中国は、主要な貿易相手国であり最大の貿易赤字相手国である。米国債の保有残高では日本を抜き世界最大の債権国となった。警戒すべき相手であると同時に相互依存の関係にある。

===

Compliance with rules

Obama stressed his policy line of pressuring Beijing to conduct economic activities based on international standards and bolstering cooperation with allies in carrying out security policies.
 オバマ氏は、経済では国際基準に従うよう圧力をかけ、安全保障政策では同盟国などと連携を強化する路線を強調したと言える。

Romney, for his part, stated he would deal with China strictly if it violated international rules, declaring he would label China "a currency manipulator" on his first day in office. He displayed a harder line toward Beijing than Obama did.
 ロムニー氏も、中国のルール違反には厳しく対処し、「就任当日に為替操作国に指定する」と明言した。オバマ政権より強硬な対中姿勢を示したものだ。

Obama reconfirmed that the United States, as a Pacific Rim nation, would attach importance to Asia. Romney basically shared this stance. This was welcome news to Japan.
 オバマ氏は、米国が太平洋国家としてアジアを重視することを再確認した。ロムニー氏も基本的な認識は一致している。日本としては、歓迎できる。

Japan, together with the United States, should urge China to comply with international rules. Japan needs to make all-out efforts to maintain its territorial integrity and ensure the freedom of navigation and trade.
 日本は、米国と共に、中国に国際ルールを順守するよう求め、領土の保全や、航海、貿易の自由の確保に万全を期す必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 24, 2012)
(2012年10月24日01時33分  読売新聞)

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臨時国会召集へ 年内解散へ「懸案」を処理せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 25, 2012)
Diet should clear key issues, then dissolve before year-end
臨時国会召集へ 年内解散へ「懸案」を処理せよ(10月24日付・読売社説)

Even if an extraordinary Diet session is convened, nothing will come of it as the prime minister's talks with the leaders of the two main opposition parties failed.
 党首会談が物別れに終わったままで臨時国会を開いても、空転するだけではないのか。

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda should hold further talks with leaders of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito to enable the Diet to deal with pending issues.
 野田首相は国会で懸案を処理できるよう自民、公明両党党首との協議に再度臨むべきである。

During a meeting of Diet affairs officials from the ruling and opposition parties, the Democratic Party of Japan said it planned to set the term of the extraordinary session, which is expected to be convened next Monday, at 33 days through the end of next month.
 民主党は与野党国会対策委員長会談で29日に召集する予定の臨時国会について、会期を11月末までの33日間とする考えを伝えた。

The main purpose of the extraordinary Diet session is to address three pending issues--passing a bill to enable the government to issue deficit-covering bonds, rectifying the vote disparity in House of Representatives elections and establishing a national council on social security system reform.
 臨時国会の最大の目的は、赤字国債発行を認める特例公債法案の成立と、衆院選「1票の格差」の是正、社会保障制度改革国民会議の設置という三つの懸案を処理することである。

These issues will not be resolved before the end of the monthlong session unless the ruling and opposition parties cooperate, given the divided Diet in which the lower house is controlled by the ruling camp and the House of Councillors by the opposition camp.
 衆参ねじれ国会の下、与野党が協力しなければ、1か月余の会期内では実現できないだろう。

===

More 3-way talks needed

First of all, the prime minister must seriously consider the opposition's demand that the lower house be dissolved for a general election within this year.
 まず首相は、野党の要求する年内の衆院解散・総選挙に真剣に向き合わねばならない。

Noda explicitly said during talks with LDP and Komeito leaders, "I do not intend to seek a prolongation of the life of my administration." If he is true to his word, he should again hold three-party talks and promise to quickly dissolve the lower house to obtain cooperation from the LDP and Komeito.
 首相は、先の自公両党との党首会談で「だらだら政権の延命を図るつもりはない」と明言した。それが本意ならば、改めて3党首会談を開いて、速やかに衆院解散に踏み切ることを確約し、自公両党から協力を取り付けるべきだ。

Seiji Maehara, state minister for national policy, referred to the three pending issues listed by Noda as "conditions for dissolving" the lower house. Maehara thus indicated the dissolution could take place before the end of the year if these conditions were met. Although DPJ executives responded negatively to Maehara's remarks, we consider his stance reasonable.
 首相の言う三つの懸案について前原国家戦略相は「解散の条件」と述べ、これを満たせば年内解散はありうるとの考えを示した。民主党幹部からは否定されたが、もっともな考え方ではないか。

The opposition parties also bear responsibilities in addressing the pending issues.
 野党側にも懸案の処理に応じる責任がある。

The opposition camp in the upper house has indicated it will not take part in deliberations on government-sponsored bills, nor will it attend the prime minister's policy speech at the extraordinary Diet session. It has adopted this stance because of the passage of a censure motion against the prime minister in the previous ordinary Diet session.
 参院の野党は、通常国会での首相問責決議の可決を理由に、臨時国会では政府提出法案の審議にも、首相の所信表明演説にも応じない構えを見せている。

===

Deliberations boycott pointless

However, boycotting Diet deliberations will produce nothing. Opposition lawmakers should realize this kind of action would only increase public distrust of politics.
 だが、審議拒否では何も得られない。政治不信を高めるだけとなることを肝に銘じるべきだ。

Neither the DPJ, the LDP nor Komeito has a majority in the upper house. If a relationship of trust between the three parties remains ruptured, there will be no progress in politics even after a lower house election.
 民主党も、自公両党も、参院の議席は半数に届かない。民自公3党の信頼関係を損ねれば、衆院選後も政治は前には進まない。

Meanwhile, Keishu Tanaka finally resigned as justice minister after he was accused of receiving donations from a foreign national and having past ties with gang members. Tanaka did not attend Diet sessions citing official duties or poor health as reasons. It is obvious he was not qualified to be in charge of judicial administration.
 一方、外国人からの献金問題や暴力団関係者との過去の交際が発覚した田中法相が、ようやく辞任した。田中氏は「公務」や「体調不良」を理由に国会の委員会も欠席した。法務行政の責任者として不適格であるのは明らかだ。

The Prime Minister's Office initially did not take the matter seriously and reacted too slowly in settling the problem. It is absurd Tanaka was forced to resign for health reasons.
 ところが、首相官邸は当初、問題を深刻に捉えず、事態収拾で後手に回った。体調不良を口実に辞任させたのはおかしい。

It was only natural for Noda to admit his responsibility for appointing Tanaka to the post by saying, "A Cabinet member whom I appointed failed to fulfill his duties."
 首相が「任命した閣僚が職務を全うできなかった」として、自らの任命責任を認めたのは当然だ。

The prime minister has faced similar problems with Cabinet appointments in the past. He must be prepared to face fierce attacks from the opposition over his responsibility in this regard.
首相はこれまでも閣僚人事でつまずいてきた。野党の厳しい責任追及を覚悟しなければなるまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 24, 2012)
(2012年10月24日01時48分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月24日 (水)

冬の電力需給 北海道の停電は命にかかわる

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 24, 2012)
Winter blackout in Hokkaido will endanger people's lives
冬の電力需給 北海道の停電は命にかかわる(10月23日付・読売社説)

If a massive blackout occurs during a severely cold winter in Hokkaido, many people's lives will be in danger.
 厳寒の北海道で大規模な停電が起きれば、住民の命にかかわる。

The government and Hokkaido Electric Power Co. must avert a potential electricity crisis by using every option at their disposal to ensure there is enough power to meet demand in cooperation with local communities.
 政府と北海道電力は地域とも連携して需給対策に万全を期し、電力危機を回避しなければならない。

The nation's electric utilities have forecast their power supply capacity will exceed demand this winter. This is probably because they made efforts to increase supply from thermal power plants and other sources, and also power saving has taken hold in this country.
 電力各社は今冬、供給力が需要を上回ると予想している。火力発電などの供給増強に努めたほか、節電が定着したからだろう。

However, it is premature to assume that leaving nuclear reactors idled will be no problem because there will be enough electricity without them.
 だが、電力が足りているから原子力発電所を止めたままでも構わない、と考えるのは早計だ。

The reality is that all thermal power plants available, including aging ones, are being used to make up for an electricity shortage.
 実態は、老朽化した火力発電所も総動員して、電力不足を補っているのである。

Hokkaido Electric has been plagued by an increasing number of malfunctions at thermal power plants that have been pushed to the limit since reactors at the Tomari nuclear power plant were suspended. An output loss of about 600,000 kilowatts often occurs.
 北海道電力では、泊原発の停止を受け、酷使した火力発電所のトラブルが増えている。60万キロ・ワット前後の出力喪失も、たびたび発生している。

However, Hokkaido Electric's supply capacity is expected to be only about 300,000 kilowatts more than peak demand in winter. The supply-demand situation is on a knife-edge.
 ところが、冬のピーク需要に対する供給力の余裕は、約30万キロ・ワットしか見込めていない。まさに綱渡りの需給といえよう。

===

Industries also in peril

Risks such as frozen pipes are higher in winter. In February, Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s thermal power plant stopped operating after pipes froze, but it overcame a power crunch by obtaining electricity from other utilities as an emergency step.
 冬は配管凍結などのリスクも高まる。実際に今年2月、九州電力の火力発電所が配管の凍結で止まり、他電力からの緊急融通で切り抜けたケースがあった。

Only a small volume of electricity can be transmitted between Honshu and Hokkaido. There is no way Hokkaido could receive a large volume of electricity like Kyushu did. If several electricity generation problems occur simultaneously, Hokkaido will be in danger of a blackout.
 北海道は本州との間の送電容量が小さく、九州ほど大量の融通を受けられない。トラブルが重なれば停電の危機に直面する。

During a power outage, not only air conditioners but also kerosene and gas fan heaters will stop. In some parts of Hokkaido, the temperature falls below minus 30 C. It cannot be denied that people could freeze to death due to a plunge in the indoor temperature after their heating devices stop.
 停電時はエアコンだけでなく灯油やガスのファンヒーターも止まる。北海道は最低気温が氷点下30度を下回る地域がある。暖房の停止による室温の急降下で、凍死する危険は否定できまい。

Factory production and the tourism and dairy industries cannot carry on without a stable supply of electricity. The northern island also has some unique problems that will need to be solved in the winter months. Traffic will be paralyzed if snow on roads cannot be melted, and water supplies will be cut if measures to prevent pipes from freezing up do not function due to a lack of power.
 工場生産に加え、観光業や酪農も、電力の安定供給なしには成り立たない。道路の融雪や水道管の凍結防止が機能せず、交通マヒや断水を起こすという、北国に特有の課題もある。

To avoid this grave situation, it is necessary to set numerical targets for power saving and steadily achieve them.
 深刻な事態を回避するため、節電の数値目標を定め、着実に達成することが求められる。

===

Restarting reactors is the answer

Reactivating the reactors at the Tomari nuclear plant would put these fears to bed. However, the establishment of the Nuclear Regulation Authority was considerably delayed, and it is now impossible for even safety standards necessary to decide whether to restart idled reactors to be drawn up before winter sets in.
 泊原発を再稼働すれば電力不足を解消できるのに、原子力規制委員会の設立が遅れ、再稼働の判断に必要な安全基準の策定さえ、今冬には間に合わなくなった。

Consuming massive amounts of fuel at thermal power plants nationwide also brings other serious negative effects.
 全国で膨大な火力発電燃料を消費している弊害も大きい。

The nation's trade deficit topped 3 trillion yen for the first time in the first half of fiscal 2012 because of a surge in imports of liquefied natural gas and other fuel. Unless reactors are steadily brought back online once their safety has been confirmed, the outflow of national wealth cannot be stopped.
 液化天然ガス(LNG)など燃料の輸入が急増し、今年度上期の貿易赤字は初めて3兆円を突破した。安全を確認できた原発を順次、再稼働していかないと、国富の流出に歯止めがかからない。

However, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, which has allowed its nuclear plant and energy policy to stray off course, has shirked making important decisions on restarting idled reactors. Just how aware is he of the "sinfulness" of this avoidance?
 ところが、原発・エネルギー政策で迷走する野田内閣は、肝心な再稼働の判断を避ける姿勢を示している。その「罪深さ」をどこまで意識しているのだろうか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 23, 2012)
(2012年10月23日01時21分  読売新聞)

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危ない自転車 運転マナー欠如が事故を招く

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 24, 2012)
Rising tide of bicycle accidents calls for education, enforcement
危ない自転車 運転マナー欠如が事故を招く(10月23日付・読売社説)

Bicycling through gaps between pedestrians at high speed. Furiously ringing a bell at people walking ahead. Such dangerous and reckless behavior by bicyclists continues without end.
 歩行者の間を猛スピードですり抜ける。前を歩く人に向かって、ベルを激しく鳴らす。自転車の危険で無謀な運転が後を絶たない。

Urgent measures must be taken to make bicycle riders obey traffic rules.
 自転車の利用者が交通ルールをきちんと守るよう、有効な対策を講じることが急務だ。

There were about 140,000 accidents involving bicycles last year, accounting for 20 percent of all road traffic accidents and reflecting a recent uptrend in the percentage of such accidents.
 自転車がかかわった事故は昨年1年間で約14万件に上った。全交通事故に占める割合は増加傾向にあり、昨年は2割に達した。

Accidents include those between bicycles and automobiles, bicycles and pedestrians and bicycles and bicycles. Showing a remarkable increase are accidents involving bicycles and pedestrians. Last year saw 2,800 such accidents, a 50 percent rise over the past decade.
 自転車と自動車、自転車と歩行者、自転車同士という事故パターンがあるが、増加が著しいのは、自転車が歩行者に衝突する事故だ。昨年は2800件に上り、この10年で1・5倍に増えた。

According to the National Police Agency, accidents in which bicycle riders are at fault have been significant. Behind such accidents are reckless cycling on walkways, ignoring traffic signals, drunk riding, riding with a passenger and bicycling while talking on a mobile phone.
 警察庁によると、歩道での暴走、信号無視、飲酒運転、2人乗り、携帯電話で話をしながらの運転など、自転車側に落ち度のある事故が目立っている。

===

Pedestrian-first rules vital

Lack of riding manners, it can be said, cause accidents.
 運転マナーの欠如が事故を誘発していると言えよう。

Bicycles are vehicles that are easily available. But they are classified as light vehicles by law and riders are obliged to observe the Road Traffic Law. The law makes it mandatory for bicycles to run on the road. But as an exception, bicycles are permitted to use sidewalks when riding on roads is deemed dangerous, as in the case of thoroughfares.
 自転車は手軽な乗り物だが、法令上は軽車両とされ、利用者は道路交通法を守る義務がある。道交法上、自転車は車道走行が原則だ。ただ、幹線道路などで車道走行が危険な場合には、例外として歩道走行が認められている。

Speeding on sidewalks is prohibited. Pedestrian-first rules must be thoroughly driven home.
 歩道では、スピードの出し過ぎはご法度だ。歩行者優先の運転を徹底したい。

Police launched a crackdown on dangerous bicycle riding in October last year. Almost a full year has passed since then but the number of accidents has not shown the hoped-for decline.
 全国の警察では昨年10月から、危険運転の摘発強化に乗り出した。間もなく1年になるが、事故は思うように減っていない。

As for traffic violations by bicycle riders, there is no system in place to impose fines on violators, as there is for violations by drivers of automobiles. Even if violators are caught, punishment is no more than a caution in almost all cases. For this reason, simply strengthening enforcement would not deter dangerous riding.
 自転車の交通違反には、自動車のように反則金を科す制度が存在せず、摘発されても、注意にとどまるケースがほとんどだ。このため、取り締まりの強化だけでは、危険運転の抑止にはつながりにくいのではないか。

===

Seminars eyed for violators

The NPA established an expert panel earlier this month to begin studying a system that would make it mandatory for violators to attend safety seminars.
 警察庁は今月、有識者会議を設置し、違反者に安全講習を課す制度の検討を始めた。

The proposed seminars would teach that bicycles are vehicles that may pose threats to pedestrians. The seminars would introduce cases in which people died after being hit by bicycles and the riders ended up paying damages. If the seminars serve as an opportunity to learn the danger of bicycle riding, they will contribute to enhancing riders' awareness of safety.
 講習では、自転車が歩行者の脅威となる乗り物であることを教える方針だ。自転車で人をはねて死亡させ、多額の賠償金を請求された事例なども紹介する。自転車の危険性を学ぶ機会になれば、安全運転の意識も高まるだろう。

A system has been introduced in Mitaka and Musashino, both in Tokyo, to give preference in the allocation of rights to bicycle parking spots to those who voluntarily take part in safety seminars. The response to these offers exceeded the capacity of the seminars. The number of bicycle accidents has reportedly dropped by 30 percent in the two cities since the system was introduced.
 東京の三鷹市と武蔵野市では、自転車利用者の講習会に参加すれば、駐輪場の利用権を優先的に割り当てる制度を導入した。定員を上回るほどの参加者が集まり、両市内では自転車事故数が実施後に3割減少したという。

With the Mitaka and Musashino cases as a reference point, we suggest that police and local governments cooperate in studying measures to prevent dangerous riding.
 講習に参加したいと思わせる、こうした取り組みを参考に、警察と自治体が連携し、危険運転の抑止策を検討してもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 23, 2012)
(2012年10月23日01時21分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月23日 (火)

新潟県知事選 柏崎再稼働に向き合う契機に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 23, 2012)
Niigata election result offers chance to restart nuclear plant
新潟県知事選 柏崎再稼働に向き合う契機に(10月22日付・読売社説)

Hirohiko Izumida, governor of Niigata Prefecture, which hosts the idled Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, was elected for the third time Sunday.
 東京電力柏崎刈羽原子力発電所を抱える新潟県で、泉田裕彦知事が3選を果たした。

The central government, the Niigata prefectural government and the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the nuclear plant, will now be tested on how they can take advantage of this occasion to put in place an environment to reactivate the nuclear plant. This issue will have a huge impact on Japan's energy policies and economic problems.
 これを機に、いかに柏崎刈羽原発の再稼働の環境を整えるかが、政府と県、東電に問われている。日本全体のエネルギー政策や経済問題にも大きく影響を及ぼす問題だからだ。

In the gubernatorial election, Izumida, the incumbent candidate supported by the five ruling and opposition parties, including the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party, defeated two other candidates. One of them, fielded by the Japanese Communist Party, pledged to decommission the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant and work to abolish all of Japan's nuclear plants.
 知事選では民主、自民など与野党5党相乗りの現職・泉田氏が、「廃炉」「原発ゼロ」を掲げる共産党候補ら2人を破った。

While Izumida opposed the immediate decommissioning of the nuclear plant, he pledged not to make a snap decision to start discussions on reactivating the plant. During the campaign, he stressed the need to thoroughly investigate the crisis at TEPCO's Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant before discussing whether to reactivate the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.
 泉田氏は、柏崎刈羽原発の即時廃炉に反対し、「見切り発車的な運転再開議論は行わない」と公約した。選挙戦では、再稼働議論の前に福島原発事故の徹底的な検証が必要だ、と主張した。

Izumida has already started the prefecture's own investigation into the nuclear crisis in Fukushima Prefecture. We appreciate his efforts to do everything possible to prevent a recurrence of a nuclear accident as a governor responsible for the safety of his prefecture's residents.
 泉田氏は、新潟県独自の事故検証作業を始めている。県民の安全に責任を負う知事として、事故の再発防止に万全を尽くそうとする姿勢は理解できる。

===

NRA has authority, expertise

However, it is the central government's Nuclear Regulation Authority that has the authority and expertise to assess the safety of nuclear plants. If the NRA considers there is no problem in restarting the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, local governments hosting the plant will have to respect this judgment.
 だが、原発の安全性を判断する権限と専門的知見を持つのは、政府の原子力規制委員会である。規制委が再稼働に問題はないと判断すれば、地元自治体もそれを尊重せざるを得ないだろう。

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant is a key facility for TEPCO and accounts for 12 percent of the company's generation capacity. All of its seven reactors were suspended by March with no prospect in sight to begin procedures to reactivate them.
 柏崎刈羽原発は、東電全体の発電能力の12%を占める基幹施設である。今年3月までに7基すべての運転が停止し、再稼働への手続きのメドも立っていない。

TEPCO is planning to put its accounts in the black and lower electricity charges in the near future on the condition the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant's reactors are restarted sequentially from next spring.
 東電は既に、柏崎刈羽原発を来春以降は順次動かすことを前提にして、近い将来の決算黒字化や電力料金値下げを計画している。

If the reactors' operations are not resumed, the electricity supply system for the Tokyo metropolitan area will become unstable and negatively affect company production and the livelihood of the people.
 このまま再稼働できないと、首都圏への安定的な電力供給体制が揺らぎ、企業の生産活動や市民生活に悪影響を与えよう。

There also is a possibility TEPCO will be forced to hike its electricity charges again because of a further increase in fuel costs for thermal power generation. The utility's investment plan, which is essential for supplying power, could be affected.
 火力発電用の燃料費が増え、料金の再値上げに追い込まれる可能性がある。電力供給に不可欠な投資計画にも支障が出かねない。

We hope Izumida will continue to pay due consideration not only to the situation in his own prefecture but also to the above factors.
 泉田氏には、地元の事情だけでなく、こうした点にも、引き続き配慮してもらいたい。

===

Govt, TEPCO owe explanation

Meanwhile, TEPCO has to make a greater effort to eradicate the fears of local residents over the safety of the nuclear plant. In addition, the firm must carefully explain in detail why the reactors need to be restarted.
 東電は安全性への懸念払拭に努めるとともに、再稼働の必要性を丁寧に説明する必要がある。

The central government should not thrust all the responsibility on TEPCO, while remaining on the sidelines. It should work with the utility and do its utmost to persuade local residents of the necessity of reactivating nuclear reactors.
 政府も、東電に責任を押しつけて傍観することは許されない。東電と連携し、安全性が確認された原発は活用する方向で、地元の説得に全力を挙げるべきだ。

In Niigata Prefecture, a group of residents is campaigning for the formulation of an ordinance on a municipal referendum that would decide whether or not the reactors should be restarted. The group carrying out the signature-collecting drive is expected to ask the governor directly for formulation of the ordinance by the end of this year.
 新潟県では、再稼働の是非に関する住民投票の条例制定を求める動きが進んでいる。署名活動を行っている住民団体は、年内にも知事に直接請求する見通しだ。

However, it is extremely problematic that the judgment of residents in one region will be allowed to affect the reactivation of nuclear power plants. We do not think a municipal referendum is the proper way to decide on restarting nuclear plants.
 だが、一部地方の住民の判断だけで再稼働が左右されるのは極めて問題だ。やはり、原発再稼働問題は住民投票になじまない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 22, 2012)
(2012年10月22日01時19分  読売新聞)

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EU首脳会議 危機克服へ統合を深化せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 23, 2012)
EU must deepen integration to overcome crisis
EU首脳会議 危機克服へ統合を深化せよ(10月22日付・読売社説)

The European Union has hammered out a policy of boosting solidarity and deepening its unity in a bid to weather its fiscal crisis. This is one step forward in solving the crisis. However, the EU's ability to quickly realize its plans has yet to be tested.
 財政・金融危機の克服に向け、欧州が結束を強めて統合を深化する方針を打ち出した。一歩前進だが、問われるのは、迅速な行動である。

At a summit meeting, EU leaders agreed to have the supervision of eurozone banks--presently carried out by each member country--carried out unitarily under the European Central Bank, starting next year and continuing in stages. It can be said that the accord came in line with the plan of pushing the eurozone toward a "banking union," which would integrate the financial administration of EU members.
 欧州連合(EU)の首脳会議は、各国に委ねていた銀行監督を来年から段階的に欧州中央銀行(ECB)に一元化することで合意した。金融行政を統合する「銀行同盟」構想に沿った措置と言える。

Although European countries have been unified in their use of the euro, financial administration has been handled by each member country.
 欧州は通貨ユーロで統一されたが、金融行政や財政はバラバラという弱点がある。

Bank supervision has been lax, allowing fiscal deficits of some member countries to expand. Learning from this, the European countries have taken a step forward in deepening its integrity. This is quite appropriate.
銀行監督が甘く、財政赤字を拡大させた要因となった。その反省から欧州が統合深化に踏み出したのは妥当だ。

To provide a permanent financial stability net, the European Stability Mechanism was inaugurated on Oct. 8.
 恒久的な金融安定網として、欧州安定メカニズム(ESM)が8日に発足した。

For the ESM to shore up banks in financial difficulties through a direct capital injection, it is a prerequisite for the ESM to precisely grasp the management condition of banks.
ESMが経営悪化の銀行に直接資本注入して支援するには、銀行の経営状況を正確に把握することが前提になる。

With a single supervisor overseeing banks, the way will be opened to utilize the ESM to assist shaky banks. The supervision by one body is expected to stop a "negative chain reaction," whereby a member country rescues its banks through public funds, deteriorating its fiscal health and sending the market into disarray.
 銀行監督の一元化によって、ESMを銀行支援に活用する道が開かれる。各国が銀行を公的資金で救済して財政が悪化し、市場が混乱するという「負の連鎖」を断ち切る効果が期待されよう。

===

EU countries must act quickly

Yet it remains uncertain as to when the single supervisor for banks will be created.
 ただ、銀行監督がいつ一元化されるか曖昧な点も残る。

For the eurozone to complete the banking union, it is necessary to work out a deposit insurance system for the EU countries as a whole and measures for the disposal of failed banks.
銀行同盟を完成させるには、欧州全体の預金保険制度や、銀行が破綻した場合の処理策も必要となる。

Although Germany, wary of an increase in its financial burden, remains cautious over the creation of the supervisor, EU countries must seek a point of compromise swiftly.
負担増を警戒するドイツは慎重だが、早急に妥協点を探るべきだ。

At the summit meeting, EU leaders also agreed to discuss measures for fiscal integration, including the introduction of a "common budget for eurozone countries" designed to shore up members in fiscal crisis, with the discussions to continue at their next summit slated for December. We hope they expedite their effort in working out a concrete action schedule.
 首脳会議は、財政危機国を支える「ユーロ圏共通予算」の導入など、財政統合の方策も協議し、12月の次回会議まで議論を重ねることになった。具体的な行程表作りを急いでもらいたい。

===

Woes continue in Spain, Greece

A matter of concern is that EU leaders have deferred assistance measures for Spain, a key issue at the moment. This is because the Spanish government, which is in a serious fiscal crisis, has not sought assistance from EU authorities.
 懸念されるのは、当面の焦点であるスペインへの支援策が見送られたことだ。深刻な財政危機に陥ったスペインがまだ欧州当局に支援要請していないためだ。

Even though the yields on Spanish government bonds have been relatively stable lately, it is too early to relax. It is vital to work out assistance measures for the country and tackle fiscal reconstruction quickly.
 スペイン国債の利回りが最近、比較的落ち着いているからと言って、油断してはなるまい。速やかに支援策をまとめ、財政再建に取り組むことが肝要である。

Also worrisome is the outlook for the fiscal reconstruction of Greece, the epicenter of the European fiscal crisis. EU leaders at the summit talks put off a decision on whether they should agree to postpone the target date for putting that country's fiscal house in order, as Greece had requested.
 危機の震源地ギリシャの財政再建の先行きも懸念される。首脳会議は、ギリシャが求めた財政再建目標の先送りに応じるかどうかについて決着を持ち越した。

The EU won the Nobel Peace Prize this year for its role in contributing to the peace and reconciliation of Europe and the promotion of democracy and human rights.
 EUは今年のノーベル平和賞の栄誉に輝いた。授賞理由は「欧州の平和と和解、民主主義と人権の促進への貢献」である。

The prolonged European financial crisis has been slowing down the global economy. The award is probably meant as a morale booster for the EU as it struggles to deepen its integration to overcome the crisis. Each member country must fulfill its responsibilities.
 長びく欧州危機が、世界経済の減速を招いている。平和賞は危機克服に向け、統合を深化させようと苦闘するEUへのエールの意味合いがあろう。欧州各国が責任を果たすことが求められている。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 22, 2012)
(2012年10月22日01時19分  読売新聞)

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EU首脳会議 危機克服へ統合を深化せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 23, 2012)
EU must deepen integration to overcome crisis
EU首脳会議 危機克服へ統合を深化せよ(10月22日付・読売社説)

The European Union has hammered out a policy of boosting solidarity and deepening its unity in a bid to weather its fiscal crisis. This is one step forward in solving the crisis. However, the EU's ability to quickly realize its plans has yet to be tested.
 財政・金融危機の克服に向け、欧州が結束を強めて統合を深化する方針を打ち出した。一歩前進だが、問われるのは、迅速な行動である。

At a summit meeting, EU leaders agreed to have the supervision of eurozone banks--presently carried out by each member country--carried out unitarily under the European Central Bank, starting next year and continuing in stages. It can be said that the accord came in line with the plan of pushing the eurozone toward a "banking union," which would integrate the financial administration of EU members.
 欧州連合(EU)の首脳会議は、各国に委ねていた銀行監督を来年から段階的に欧州中央銀行(ECB)に一元化することで合意した。金融行政を統合する「銀行同盟」構想に沿った措置と言える。

Although European countries have been unified in their use of the euro, financial administration has been handled by each member country.
 欧州は通貨ユーロで統一されたが、金融行政や財政はバラバラという弱点がある。

Bank supervision has been lax, allowing fiscal deficits of some member countries to expand. Learning from this, the European countries have taken a step forward in deepening its integrity. This is quite appropriate.
銀行監督が甘く、財政赤字を拡大させた要因となった。その反省から欧州が統合深化に踏み出したのは妥当だ。

To provide a permanent financial stability net, the European Stability Mechanism was inaugurated on Oct. 8.
 恒久的な金融安定網として、欧州安定メカニズム(ESM)が8日に発足した。

For the ESM to shore up banks in financial difficulties through a direct capital injection, it is a prerequisite for the ESM to precisely grasp the management condition of banks.
ESMが経営悪化の銀行に直接資本注入して支援するには、銀行の経営状況を正確に把握することが前提になる。

With a single supervisor overseeing banks, the way will be opened to utilize the ESM to assist shaky banks. The supervision by one body is expected to stop a "negative chain reaction," whereby a member country rescues its banks through public funds, deteriorating its fiscal health and sending the market into disarray.
 銀行監督の一元化によって、ESMを銀行支援に活用する道が開かれる。各国が銀行を公的資金で救済して財政が悪化し、市場が混乱するという「負の連鎖」を断ち切る効果が期待されよう。

===

EU countries must act quickly

Yet it remains uncertain as to when the single supervisor for banks will be created.
 ただ、銀行監督がいつ一元化されるか曖昧な点も残る。

For the eurozone to complete the banking union, it is necessary to work out a deposit insurance system for the EU countries as a whole and measures for the disposal of failed banks.
銀行同盟を完成させるには、欧州全体の預金保険制度や、銀行が破綻した場合の処理策も必要となる。

Although Germany, wary of an increase in its financial burden, remains cautious over the creation of the supervisor, EU countries must seek a point of compromise swiftly.
負担増を警戒するドイツは慎重だが、早急に妥協点を探るべきだ。

At the summit meeting, EU leaders also agreed to discuss measures for fiscal integration, including the introduction of a "common budget for eurozone countries" designed to shore up members in fiscal crisis, with the discussions to continue at their next summit slated for December. We hope they expedite their effort in working out a concrete action schedule.
 首脳会議は、財政危機国を支える「ユーロ圏共通予算」の導入など、財政統合の方策も協議し、12月の次回会議まで議論を重ねることになった。具体的な行程表作りを急いでもらいたい。

===

Woes continue in Spain, Greece

A matter of concern is that EU leaders have deferred assistance measures for Spain, a key issue at the moment. This is because the Spanish government, which is in a serious fiscal crisis, has not sought assistance from EU authorities.
 懸念されるのは、当面の焦点であるスペインへの支援策が見送られたことだ。深刻な財政危機に陥ったスペインがまだ欧州当局に支援要請していないためだ。

Even though the yields on Spanish government bonds have been relatively stable lately, it is too early to relax. It is vital to work out assistance measures for the country and tackle fiscal reconstruction quickly.
 スペイン国債の利回りが最近、比較的落ち着いているからと言って、油断してはなるまい。速やかに支援策をまとめ、財政再建に取り組むことが肝要である。

Also worrisome is the outlook for the fiscal reconstruction of Greece, the epicenter of the European fiscal crisis. EU leaders at the summit talks put off a decision on whether they should agree to postpone the target date for putting that country's fiscal house in order, as Greece had requested.
 危機の震源地ギリシャの財政再建の先行きも懸念される。首脳会議は、ギリシャが求めた財政再建目標の先送りに応じるかどうかについて決着を持ち越した。

The EU won the Nobel Peace Prize this year for its role in contributing to the peace and reconciliation of Europe and the promotion of democracy and human rights.
 EUは今年のノーベル平和賞の栄誉に輝いた。授賞理由は「欧州の平和と和解、民主主義と人権の促進への貢献」である。

The prolonged European financial crisis has been slowing down the global economy. The award is probably meant as a morale booster for the EU as it struggles to deepen its integration to overcome the crisis. Each member country must fulfill its responsibilities.
 長びく欧州危機が、世界経済の減速を招いている。平和賞は危機克服に向け、統合を深化させようと苦闘するEUへのエールの意味合いがあろう。欧州各国が責任を果たすことが求められている。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 22, 2012)
(2012年10月22日01時19分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月22日 (月)

PC誤認逮捕 取り調べの徹底検証が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 22, 2012)
Police should review interrogation process
PC誤認逮捕 取り調べの徹底検証が必要だ(10月21日付・読売社説)

Police must thoroughly reflect on why they wrongfully arrested four men on suspicion of sending online threats.
 なぜ警察は誤認逮捕に至ったか。徹底的な検証が必要である。

The Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office on Friday nullified the indictment of a man whose trial they demanded on suspicion of interfering with business through deceitful means, one of a number of incidents concerning online threats sent via computers infected with viruses that enabled them to be remotely controlled. The Osaka prefectural police, which had arrested the man, expressed their intention to apologize to him.
 遠隔操作されたパソコン(PC)からネット上の掲示板などに犯行予告が書き込まれた一連の事件で、大阪地検は19日、偽計業務妨害罪で公判請求した男性の起訴を取り消した。府警は男性に謝罪する。

The Kanagawa and Mie prefectural police also admitted making erroneous arrests and have apologized to two of the four men. The Metropolitan Police Department also has admitted it made a wrongful arrest.
 神奈川、三重両県警は誤認逮捕を認めて謝罪した。警視庁も誤認逮捕を認めた。

Police and prosecutors were misled by the real culprit, who remotely controlled the four men's computers, and also conducted sloppy investigations and made false allegations against innocent people. Confidence has been lost in both police and prosecutors.
 PCを遠隔操作した真犯人に翻弄され、捜査がずさんで、相次いで冤罪(えんざい)を引き起こした。警察・検察の信頼は大きく失墜した。

Police believe a person, who claimed responsibility for the threats in e-mails to TBS and a Tokyo lawyer, actually controlled the computers remotely because the e-mails contained details only the real culprit would know.
 警察は、TBSなどに届いた「私が真犯人」とするメールの送り主が遠隔操作を行ったとみている。犯人しか知り得ない内容を含んでいるからだ。

===

Coercion used again?

Those e-mails apparently forced police to admit they arrested the wrong people.
 このメールにより、警察は誤認逮捕を認めざるを得ない状況に追い込まれたと言えよう。

All four men initially denied the allegations, but police did not listen to them.
 逮捕された4人は当初、いずれも容疑を否認したが、警察は耳を貸さなかった。

For instance, the Kanagawa prefectural police included in a detailed statement a university student made that his supposed motive was that he wanted to harass a primary school where students looked happy.
 小学校の襲撃を予告したとして神奈川県警が逮捕した大学生のケースでは、「楽しそうな小学生を見て困らせてやろうと思った」とする動機など、具体性のある自白調書まで作成された。

The university student even explained in the statement that he created the alias Juzo Onikoroshi for the online threat because Juzo sounds similar to 13, an unlucky number, in Japanese and Onikoroshi is the name attached to various brands of sake.
 「鬼殺銃蔵」との名前について、「鬼殺は日本酒の商品名。13が不吉な数字だからジュウゾウにした」との“供述”もあった。

This makes us believe the student was coerced into providing statements matching the picture drawn up by police and prosecutors. Police and prosecutors have totally failed to learn from the past false accusation against Atsuko Muraki, a bureaucrat of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, who was arrested for abusing a postal discount system.
 脅すような尋問によって、警察・検察が描いた構図通りの供述を強要する取り調べがあったとしか思えない。厚生労働省の村木厚子さんを冤罪に巻き込んだ郵便不正事件の教訓は、全く生かされていないのではないか。

It is essential to conduct proper interrogations.
 適正な取り調べの徹底が、何より大切である。

===

Videotaping interrogations

Police around the country are conducting tests to determine whether interrogations should be made more transparent by audio recording and videotaping them. The latest cases are sure to increase demands for the introduction of such measures.
 全国の警察では現在、取り調べを録音・録画する「可視化」の是非を見極めるため、試行が続いている。今回の問題で、導入を求める声が強まるのは必至だろう。

The MPD and Osaka, Kanagawa and Mie prefectural police have decided to investigate jointly to identify the real perpetrator.
 犯人を割り出すため、警視庁、大阪府警、神奈川、三重両県警は合同捜査を行うことを決めた。

We hope they tap the skills and knowledge of cybercrime experts in both public and private sectors to find the real criminal. If they fail to locate the perpetrator, hackers, who break into the computers of other people, will think the police are pushovers for good.
 サイバー犯罪に対処する官民の専門家のノウハウを結集して、真犯人の特定を急いでもらいたい。真犯人にたどり着けなければ、警察は今後も、コンピューターに違法侵入するハッカーに甘く見られるだけである。

The latest incidents also reveal a risk of considering an owner of a personal computer as a criminal based solely on an IP address or the address of a computer. Police must study similar cases to determine if they committed mistakes in past investigations.
 一連の事件は、PCの「住所」であるIPアドレスを根拠に、PCの持ち主を犯人視することの危険性を明白にした。過去の同種事件の捜査に誤りはなかったのか。その検証も忘れてはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 21, 2012)
(2012年10月21日01時30分  読売新聞)

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中国GDP 景気減速をどう食い止める

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 22, 2012)
Can China rise to the challenge of stemming GDP slowdown?
中国GDP 景気減速をどう食い止める(10月21日付・読売社説)

With the impact of the European debt crisis still being felt and Japan-China ties remaining chilled, there is little sign of a reversal in the slowdown of China's economy. All eyes are on what policies the Chinese government will hammer out to get its economy sizzling again.
 欧州危機の影響や、日中関係の冷え込みなどから、中国経済の減速に歯止めがかからない。中国政府の景気テコ入れ策が焦点になってきた。

China's gross domestic product slowed for a seventh straight quarter in the July to September period, growing 7.4 percent after inflation from a year earlier, according to preliminary government data. Growth for the July-September quarter fell below the government-set target of 7.5 percent for the full year.
 中国の2012年7~9月期の国内総生産(GDP)の速報値は実質で前年同期比7・4%増となり、7四半期連続で減速した。政府が掲げてきた今年の成長目標7・5%を下回った。

Economists say 8 percent annual economic expansion is the "minimum requirement" for China to ensure its economic health and generate enough jobs for its workers. However, it is difficult to tell when China's falling growth will bottom out. Indications are that growth through 2012 will likely dip under 8 percent for the first time in 13 years.
 中国にとって、8%成長は経済や雇用を維持する「最低ライン」とされる。だが、景気底入れの見通しは立たず、12年通年の成長率も13年ぶりに8%を割る公算が大きくなったと言えよう。

The slowdown of China's economy, which has been a locomotive of the global economy as one of the world's key growth centers, must be closely watched because it could hurt the economies of Japan and other nations.
 成長センターとして世界経済を牽引(けんいん)してきた中国経済のもたつきで、日本などに悪影響が広がることを警戒しなければならない。

===

Risk factors surging

China's downturn can be attributed mainly to falling exports to Europe, its biggest export market, where financial uncertainty has spread. Consequently, the output of China's export industries and related sectors has been sluggish.
 中国の景気減速は、最大の輸出相手である欧州の信用不安が拡大し、欧州向け輸出が不振だったことが主因だ。このため、輸出企業などの生産が停滞している。

The deterioration of ties between Tokyo and Beijing over the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture also has contributed to China's slowdown. Boycotts of Japanese-made products, including motor vehicles, spread across China, hitting sales of Japanese goods. In addition, personal consumption--an engine of China's growth--has been losing steam.
 沖縄県・尖閣諸島を巡って日中関係が悪化している影響もある。中国で自動車などの日本製品の不買運動が広がって販売が落ち込んだ。エンジン役である個人消費の勢いも鈍っている。

Due to the surge in such risk factors in China, many Japanese companies have decided to cut production there. Cracks have started to emerge in the production framework based on a division of labor in which Japan exports parts to China, where they are assembled into finished products.
 中国リスクの高まりで、多くの日本企業が中国での減産を決めた。日本から部品を輸出し、中国で完成品に組み立てるという分業体制にも支障が出始めている。

If these trends spread, in addition to the tepid production of Japanese firms in China, employment and income conditions of Chinese workers at Japanese factories and other places will deteriorate. This could spell even more bad news for China's economy.
 こうした動きが広がれば、生産低迷に加え、日系工場などで働く中国人の雇用や所得環境が悪化し、景気は一段と冷え込もう。

After Lehman Brothers collapsed four years ago, the Chinese government implemented a massive stimulus package that generated, albeit temporarily, a V-shaped recovery. The stimulus measures created several downsides, such as leading to a real estate bubble. As a result, Chinese authorities are reportedly circumspect about launching a similar large-scale package to deal with the latest slowdown.
 中国政府は4年前のリーマン・ショック後、大型景気対策でV字回復をいったん達成した。反面、不動産バブルなどの副作用を招いたため、当局は今回、同じような大型対策には慎重とされる。

===

Boost Japan-China trade

Amid all this, China is in an unstable period as it prepares for a transition of power. Vice President Xi Jinping is set to take the helm of a new government in November. If the business slowdown cannot be halted, the very foundation of the government could be shaken.
 ただ、中国は来月、習近平国家副主席が最高指導部を率いる新体制に移行する不安定な時期にある。景気減速を食い止めないと、政府の基盤が揺らぎかねない。

Widening income disparities between urban and rural regions and increasing unemployment among young people have become serious social problems in China. Under these circumstances, maintaining China's stable growth could be the most urgent task for its leaders.
 都市と農村の経済格差や、若者の失業増大なども社会問題化している。安定成長を維持することが何よりも求められよう。

Specifically, front-loading and accelerating projects to improve infrastructure such as expressways, in tandem with steps to boost personal spending, will be indispensable.
 具体的には、すでに進めている高速道路などインフラ整備の前倒しを加速するとともに、個人消費の活性化策が欠かせない。

Additional monetary easing measures may be another option. We hope China promptly takes steps to lift its economic growth while preventing a reemergence of the bubble economy.
追加の金融緩和策も選択肢となる。成長とバブル再燃阻止を両にらみし、迅速に対応してもらいたい。

China needs to expand trade with Japan and encourage more investment by Japanese companies. Chinese authorities should change their hard-line policy toward Japan and quickly bring bilateral ties back to normal.
 日中貿易を拡大し、日本からの投資を呼び込むことが必要だ。中国当局は対日強硬姿勢を改め、関係正常化を急ぐべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 21, 2012)
(2012年10月21日01時30分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月21日 (日)

田中法相問題 これ以上「醜態」を見たくない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 21, 2012)
Justice Minister Tanaka must go now
田中法相問題 これ以上「醜態」を見たくない(10月20日付・読売社説)

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda must not remain indecisive any longer over whether to dismiss Keishu Tanaka as justice minister.
 野田首相は手をこまねいている場合ではあるまい。田中法相の更迭に踏み切るべきである。

Tanaka, having been tainted with revelations about donations from a foreign national and past connections with a crime syndicate, skipped a Cabinet meeting on Friday for health reasons and was hospitalized later the same day.
 外国人からの献金や暴力団関係者との過去の交際が発覚した田中法相が19日、体調不良を理由に閣議を欠席し、入院した。

The justice minister reportedly conveyed his intention not to resign to Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura.
官房長官には「辞任しない」意向を伝えたという。

If he really is in poor health, his hospitalization is understandable. It seems, however, the justice minister may only be trying to squirm his way out of the question of whether he should step down.
 体調不良が事実なら入院はやむを得ないが、法相は実のところ、自らの進退問題から逃げ回っているだけではないのか。

The previous day, Tanaka was absent from a session of the House of Councillors' Audit Committee, at which his attendance had been sought by the opposition, pleading pressing "official duties."
 田中氏は、前日も野党から出席要求の出ていた参院決算委員会を「公務」を理由に欠席した。

Members of a cabinet must attend Diet deliberations when asked to do so by the legislature, since it is their obligation stipulated by Article 63 of the Constitution.
 閣僚が国会の要求に応じて審議に出席するのは、憲法63条に規定された義務である。

It is definitely reasonable that the opposition camp, having reacted adversely in chorus to the attitude of the justice minister, has stepped up its demands that the prime minister sack Tanaka.
法相の姿勢に野党側が一斉に反発して、罷免要求を強めているのは当然だ。

===

Links with crime syndicate

With an extraordinary Diet session drawing near, the Noda administration will find it tough to run state affairs if the current situation is left unaddressed. If the situation is left as it is, the public's image of the Democratic Party of Japan will grow even more negative than it already is.
 臨時国会を控える野田政権にとって、このままでは政権運営の支障になる。民主党の一層のイメージダウンも避けられない。

Immediately after Tanaka assumed the post of justice minister, it was disclosed that a DPJ branch he headed had received donations from a company run by a Taiwanese living in Japan.
 田中氏を巡っては、法相就任直後、自身が代表を務める民主党支部が、在日台湾人の経営する会社から献金を受けていたことが、明らかになった。

The Political Funds Control Law prohibits politicians from receiving contributions from foreign individuals or from entities whose membership consists mainly of non-Japanese. Although Tanaka committed himself on Oct. 4 to investigating and explaining the matter, he has yet to demonstrate his accountability.
 政治資金規正法は、外国人や外国人が主な構成員の団体から寄付を受けることを禁じている。田中氏は今月4日、事実関係を調査して説明すると述べながら、いまだに説明責任を果たしていない。

It has also come to light that Tanaka, about 30 years ago, attended a party hosted by a leader of an organized crime group, while acting as a wedding matchmaker for a person affiliated with a yakuza gang. Tanaka admitted these facts at a news conference, expressing his "profound apology."
 約30年前、暴力団幹部の宴席に出席し、別の暴力団関係者の仲人を務めたことも判明した。田中氏は記者会見でこれを認め、「大変申し訳ない」と謝罪している。

Given this, there is no doubt Tanaka was never appropriate as the person to head the nation's administration of justice.
 法務行政のトップとして不適格なのは、もはや明らかだろう。

The fact that the possible dismissal of the justice minister has become an issue barely half a month after the Cabinet reshuffle highlights the fragility of the new Cabinet lineup. This is mainly because the appointments reflect Noda's intention to hand out Cabinet and DPJ executive posts as rewards for backing him in the latest party leadership election, while also attempting to consolidate party unity through personnel affairs.
 内閣改造後、わずか半月あまりで、法相の進退問題が浮上したことは、民主党代表選での論功行賞や党内融和色の人事が目立つ布陣の脆(もろ)さを露呈している。

===

Noda's ability questionable

Since the prime minister claimed the reshuffle was aimed at "strengthening Cabinet functions," Noda should have closely scrutinized the abilities and aptitude of candidates for portfolios.
 野田首相は「内閣の機能強化」を改造の目的とした以上、能力や適性を見極める必要があった。

Regarding Tanaka, even his capability to respond to interpellations in Diet deliberations has been brought into question.
 田中氏については、国会での答弁能力すら、疑われている。

The prime minister of course must be held seriously responsible for appointing such a person to the post of justice minister.
このような人物を法相に据えた首相の任命責任は、厳しく問われてしかるべきである。

Under Noda's 13-month-old government, the personal qualities of more than a few Cabinet members have been called into question by the opposition. Two of his defense ministers--Yasuo Ichikawa and Naoki Tanaka--have even been dismissed.
 これまで野田内閣では、防衛相を更迭された一川保夫、田中直紀の両氏をはじめ、野党がその資質を問題にした閣僚が少なくなかった。

We cannot help but wonder if the prime minister has the ability to handle personnel affairs adequately.
首相の人事管理能力には疑問符をつけざるを得ない。

Japan is currently confronted with a multitude of important challenges, including diplomatic and security problems, rehabilitating deficit-stricken government finances and recovery from business stagnation.
 日本は今、外交・安全保障や財政再建、景気対策など様々な重要案件を抱えている。

The prime minister must not let the problem of whether to dismiss Justice Minister Tanaka drag on any longer.
首相は、田中法相の進退問題をこれ以上、引きずってはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 20, 2012)
(2012年10月20日01時52分  読売新聞)

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民自公党首会談 首相が守り一辺倒では困る

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 21, 2012)
Prime minister should compromise on dissolution
民自公党首会談 首相が守り一辺倒では困る(10月20日付・読売社説)

The three major political parties--the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito--finally held a summit meeting Friday, but it quickly broke down. The three parties should seriously try to find common ground to resolve a mountain of issues.
 ようやく開催された民主、自民、公明3党の党首会談は、あっさりと物別れに終わった。山積する課題を解決するため、3党は、もっと積極的に妥協点を探るべきだ。

During the meeting with LDP President Shinzo Abe and New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda asked them for their cooperation to tackle key issues such as the passage of a bill allowing the government to issue deficit-covering bonds.
 野田首相が自民党の安倍総裁、公明党の山口代表と会談し、赤字国債発行を可能にする特例公債法案の成立などへ協力要請した。

However, Noda was coy about the timing of a dissolution of the House of Representatives for a general election, saying only, "It's a grave matter" that must be considered. During three-party talks in August, Noda said the dissolution of the lower house would be carried out "sometime soon." The opposition party leaders urged him to specify the timing Friday as a condition for their cooperation, but he did not do so.
 首相は焦点の衆院解散・総選挙について、8月の3党首会談での「近いうち」との自らの発言を「重たい確認事項」と述べるにとどめた。安倍氏らは政権への協力の前提として解散時期の明示を求めたが、首相は応じなかった。

===

Discuss issues in Diet

It is understandable that Abe and Yamaguchi argued Noda's "sometime soon" statement concerning dissolution of the lower house is a pledge to the people.
 首相が明言した「近いうち」の解散は「国民との約束」だとする安倍氏らの主張は理解できる。

The opposition party leaders said they would not cooperate in passing the legislation without a definite pledge to dissolve the lower house and would boycott Diet deliberations after submitting to the House of Councillors a censure motion against Noda. This stance is unlikely to win public support for their parties.
 ただ、衆院解散の確約なしでは法案成立に協力しないとか、参院の首相問責決議を理由に国会審議を拒否する、といった姿勢では、国民の理解は得られまい。

An extraordinary Diet session is expected to start on Oct. 29. We think the opposition parties should grill the government about problems, such as what appears to be misuse of the budget for disaster reconstruction, through Diet discussions.
 臨時国会は29日に召集される方向だ。むしろ論戦を通じて、震災復興予算の「転用」など、政府の問題点を追及する方が、自公両党にとっても得策のはずである。

Meanwhile, we view the maneuvers currently taken by the Noda side as more problematic. More than three weeks have been wasted between the time Noda met with the then LDP leader and the three-party talks Friday. This apparently resulted from Noda's stance of placing priority on delaying a decision on a general election to buy time.
 より問題なのが、野田首相側の対応だ。民主、自民両党の党首選から党首会談の開催まで3週間以上が無為に経過した。苦戦が予想される衆院選の先送りを優先し、“時間稼ぎ”を続けた結果だ。

His instruction to his Cabinet members to draw up a new economic stimulus package by the end of November is also a tepid move. This is no doubt part of his strategy to put off the dissolution of the lower house.
 11月中の緊急経済対策の策定も中途半端で、解散先送り策の一環だろう。

If he wants to effectively stave off an economic slowdown, the prime minister should ensure the extraordinary Diet session is long enough to formulate and then pass a more substantial supplementary budget, instead of tapping budget reserves.
景気減速に本格的に歯止めをかけるのなら、予備費の活用でなく、臨時国会の会期を十分確保し、実効性のある補正予算を編成・成立させるのが筋だ。

===

Noda's 3 proposals

During the meeting Friday, Noda proposed the opposition leaders work together with him on three issues to pave the way for the lower house dissolution: drawing up rules for handling a draft budget and a deficit bond bill together; correcting the wide disparity in the value of votes in lower house elections; and setting up a national council for debate on social security system reforms.
 野田首相は会談で、衆院解散に向けた「環境整備」として、特例公債法案と予算案の一体処理のルール作り、衆院選の「1票の格差」是正、社会保障制度改革国民会議の設置の3点を挙げた。

The idea of making rules on the deficit bond bill is praiseworthy as it seems to be a constructive proposal that could avert blocking the issuance of deficit-covering bonds in the divided Diet.
 特例公債法案に関するルール作りは、衆参ねじれ国会の下、赤字国債が発行できない事態を回避する建設的な提案と評価できる。

As for the vote disparity, Noda only proposed that the issue, which includes reducing the number of lawmakers, be discussed again by party secretaries general. Can such discussions lead to an agreement between the DPJ and the opposition parties?
 だが、「1票の格差」是正では、定数削減問題も含めて幹事長協議に再び委ねるという提案にとどまった。これで野党と合意できるのか。

The ruling party should give the nod to the proposal by the LDP and other opposition parties to reduce five single-seat constituencies of the lower house as a first step for electoral reforms.
自民党などの主張する小選挙区の「0増5減」の先行処理に同意すべきである。

After Friday's talks, Abe expressed his disappointment with Noda for his failure to present a new proposal on the timing for the lower house dissolution. Noda will not be able to break the current deadlock if he remains defensive.
 安倍氏は会談後、衆院解散の時期に関する「新提案」がなかったことについて「失望した」と語った。首相も、守りの姿勢一辺倒では今の局面を打開できまい。

The government and ruling party cannot fulfill their responsibility as long as they regard pushing back the dissolution as the best answer.
 「解散先送りが第一」では、政府・与党の責任を果たせない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 20, 2012)
(2012年10月20日01時52分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月20日 (土)

原発と活断層 公明正大な調査が求められる

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 20, 2012)
Fair probe necessary on faults under N-plants
原発と活断層 公明正大な調査が求められる(10月19日付・読売社説)

In November, the government's Nuclear Regulation Authority will begin on-the-spot investigations to confirm if there are any active faults immediately below nuclear power plants.
 政府の原子力規制委員会が11月から、原子力発電所の真下に活断層がないかどうかを確認する現地調査に乗り出す。

It is necessary to strictly check the safety of nuclear plants to prevent them from being directly hit by earthquakes.
 原発が地震に直撃されることのないよう、安全性を厳格に調べる必要がある。

The first to be probed will be Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, whose reactors are the first and only ones to be reactivated since the Great East Japan Earthquake.
 調査対象の第1号は、東日本大震災後、初めて再稼働した福井県の関西電力大飯原発だ。

Earthquake expert Kunihiko Shimazaki, a delegate representing the NRA chairman, will visit the plant with four other experts on active faults. The NRA plans to conduct similar investigations at five other locations, including Hokuriku Electric Power Co.'s Shika nuclear plant in Ishikawa Prefecture.
 地震に詳しい島崎邦彦委員長代理と、活断層の専門家4人が現地入りする。石川県の北陸電力志賀原発など5か所でも、順次、同様の調査を予定している。

===

Ground to get a second look

The six nuclear plants were believed to have no active faults beneath them when they were designed and built. But after last year's earthquake disaster, the now-defunct Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reexamined relevant materials from the time of those plants' design and construction, and found data that raised suspicion that active faults might exist below them.
 これら6原発については、設計・建設時には、直下に活断層がないとされていた。ところが、東日本大震災後に、旧原子力安全・保安院が当時の資料を改めて検討したところ、活断層の存在を疑わせるデータが出てきた。

It also has been found that power companies in their past investigations sometimes erred by considering separate faults as a single fault.
 電力会社の過去の調査で、別々の断層を一つの断層としたとみられる不備も見つかっている。

A powerful movement by an active fault beneath a nuclear plant could have unpredictable results, such as reactors being knocked askew or other key equipment getting damaged.
 原発の真下で活断層が激しく動くと、原子炉本体が傾き、重要設備が損傷するなど、想定外の事態に陥りかねない。

Some observers believe last year's massive earthquake has changed the geological conditions of the Japanese archipelago in ways that make active faults more susceptible to movement. The NRA's investigations are expected to closely examine such possibilities and dispel concerns associated with them.
 東日本大震災の後、日本列島の地層状況が変化して、活断層も動きやすくなったとも言われる。規制委の調査により、そうした可能性を詳しくチェックし、懸念を払拭することが求められよう。

The NRA has said it will ask power companies to halt the operations of nuclear reactors or decommission them if the existence of any active faults immediately below the plants is confirmed.
 規制委は、原発の真下で活断層の存在が確認されれば、電力会社に、原発の運転停止や廃炉を求める方針を表明している。

We consider it reasonable to strictly screen nuclear plants whose safety is questioned based on investigation results.
 調査結果を踏まえ、安全性が疑われる原発を厳しく「仕分け」することは妥当と言える。

===

Clear judgments not easy

The problem is that even experts often assess active faults differently. There are usually many cracks and fractures in the bedrock and overlying strata. It is no easy task to determine to what extent they would cause intensive and dynamic movements in the future.
 問題は、専門家の間でも、しばしば活断層の判定が食い違うことだ。地層や岩盤中には通常、多くの亀裂や割れ目がある。これが将来、どのくらい激しく大きく動くか、見極めは容易でない。

NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said, "In scientific and technical terms, it's quite difficult to make a 'gray area' judgment [on whether a fault is active]."
 田中俊一規制委員長は、「科学技術的にグレーというのは非常に難しい」と述べている。

But we think the authority should not be able to order the decommissioning of nuclear reactors based on vague evaluations.
 だが、根拠のあいまいな評価で廃炉を求めることはできまい。

The NRA should establish clear and uniform criteria for determining whether faults are active as soon as possible. If the authority demands that power companies decommission reactors in the absence of guiding standards, the utilities may take the matter to court.
 規制委は、活断層と判定する明確な統一基準を早急に設けるべきだ。基準がないのに廃炉を要求すれば、電力会社が訴訟に持ち込むケースも出てくるのでないか。

For their part, power companies must not simply wait for the NRA's evaluations. They should not neglect to confirm the safety of their nuclear plants on their own.
 もちろん、電力会社は、規制委の評価を待つだけではなく、安全性の確認を怠ってはならない。

It also has been found that power companies have failed to properly keep materials related to past explorations of subterranean conditions.
 電力会社が過去の地盤調査の資料をきちんと保管していないというずさんな例も指摘された。

We want them to keep firmly in mind that they cannot escape responsibility if a nuclear disaster triggered by an earthquake occurs.
 地震で原発災害が起きれば、電力会社は責任を免れないことを肝に銘じてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 19, 2012)
(2012年10月19日01時30分  読売新聞)

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沖縄米兵事件 再発防止へ実効性ある対策を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 20, 2012)
Crimes by U.S. servicemen must be prevented
沖縄米兵事件 再発防止へ実効性ある対策を(10月19日付・読売社説)

A mean-spirited and wicked crime has adversely impacted the Japan-U.S. alliance.
 卑劣で悪質な犯罪で、日米同盟にも悪影響を及ぼしている。

The U.S. forces must quickly take effective measures to prevent such criminal acts from being repeated.
 米軍は、実効性ある再発防止策を早急に講じるべきだ。

The Okinawa prefectural police have arrested two U.S. Navy men for allegedly raping and injuring a Japanese woman who was walking home before dawn in a central area of Okinawa Prefecture. The case must be thoroughly investigated.
 沖縄県中部で、未明に帰宅中の成人女性が米海軍兵2人に暴行された。
 沖縄県警は2人を集団強姦(ごうかん)致傷容疑で逮捕した。厳正な捜査を求めたい。

The two sailors, who are stationed at a naval air station in Texas, arrived in Japan early this month and were scheduled to leave Japan later the same day when they committed the crime.
 2人は米テキサス州の基地所属で、今月上旬に来日し、犯行当日中に離日する予定だった。

In August, a U.S. marine stationed in Okinawa sexually molested a Japanese woman in the early hours on a Naha street.
 8月には、那覇市で在沖縄米兵による強制わいせつ事件が発生したばかりだ。

Should these crimes occur frequently, the stationing of U.S. forces in Okinawa, deemed essential for maintaining Japan's security, will be destabilized.
こうした不祥事が繰り返されるようでは、日本の安全保障に欠かせない米軍の沖縄駐留が不安定になろう。

It is not surprising for Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima to react indignantly by saying, "It's sheer madness." The U.S. forces must take urgent concrete measures to prevent such crimes from recurring.
 沖縄県の仲井真弘多知事が「正気の沙汰ではない」と憤るのも無理はない。米軍による具体的な犯罪抑止策の徹底が急務である。

===

Lectures on Okinawa

U.S. servicemen stationed in Okinawa have been ordered to restrict their drinking off base, and are obliged to attend lectures on the culture and history of Okinawa. However, servicemen who stay briefly in Okinawa, like the two sailors who have been arrested, are not under such obligations.
 現在も、在沖縄米兵には、米軍基地外での飲酒制限や、沖縄の文化・歴史に関する講習などが義務づけられているが、今回のような短期滞在者は対象外だ。

Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto and other Cabinet members say the government should demand at a meeting of the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee that the U.S. side take strict disciplinary action.
 森本防衛相らは、日米合同委員会で米側に綱紀粛正の徹底を強く求める考えを示している。

Comprehensive and effective measures should be worked out to bolster educational programs for young U.S. servicemen from a mid- and long-term perspective, as well as impose restrictions on their leaving the base.
 若い米兵を対象にした中長期的な教育の拡充、外出制限など、より包括的で効果的な対策をまとめることが重要だ。

As the latest incident took place immediately after deployment in the prefecture of the MV-22 Osprey, the U.S. new transport aircraft, resentment among local people has grown stronger.
 今回の事件は、米軍の新型輸送機MV22オスプレイが沖縄に配備された直後だったため、県民の反発が一段と高まっている。

But the response to the rape and assurance of the safety of the aircraft are different issues that should be resolved separately.
 ただ、暴行事件への対応とオスプレイの安全確保は基本的に別問題であり、それぞれ解決策を追求するのが筋だろう。

At the same time, it is necessary for both Japan and the United States to make constant efforts to deal with the issues involved. The U.S. forces should prevent accidents and reduce noise involving the new aircraft and Japan must try to lessen the burden of local residents living near bases.
 同時に、米軍による事故の防止や騒音の軽減など、周辺住民の負担全体を軽減する努力を日米双方が不断に続ける必要がある。

===

Local anger may increase

Some government officials are concerned that local sentiment against the U.S. forces in Okinawa may heat up, as it did at the time of the rape of a young girl by U.S. servicemen in 1995.
 政府内には、1995年の女児暴行事件時のように、沖縄の反米軍世論が沸騰する事態になることを懸念する向きもある。

However, the circumstances between the 1995 rape and the latest case differ. In 1995, the U.S. side at first refused to hand over the servicemen involved in the case to the Japanese authorities although the prefectural police had taken out arrest warrants for them. This time, however, the prefectural police already have the suspects in custody.
 しかし、当時は、県警が逮捕状を取った米兵の身柄引き渡しを米側が一時拒否したのに対し、今回は県警が容疑者の身柄を確保している点が大きく異なる。

The two sailors are expected to be punished in accordance with Japanese judicial procedures.
容疑者2人は日本の司法手続きに基づき、処罰される見通しだ。

Nakaima has once again called for the revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement. But in the latest case, the bilateral accord that restricts the transfer of U.S. suspects, including servicemen, to Japanese authorities before indictment is not hindering the investigation.
 仲井真知事は日米地位協定の改定を改めて主張している。だが、今回の事件捜査では、起訴前の米兵引き渡しなどを制限する地位協定が障害とはなっていない。

Both governments have resolved specific problems by improving the way the bilateral accord is applied. This is the most realistic option and probably makes the alliance stronger than ever.
 日米両政府は従来、地位協定の運用の改善を重ね、具体的問題を解決してきた。それが最も現実的な選択であり、同盟関係をより強靱(きょうじん)にすることにもつながろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 19, 2012)
(2012年10月19日01時30分  読売新聞)

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参院1票の格差 抜本改革へ最高裁の強い警告

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 19, 2012)
Top court sternly warns Diet over electoral system reform
参院1票の格差 抜本改革へ最高裁の強い警告(10月18日付・読売社説)

It was a strong warning from the Supreme Court to the Diet, which is not working on fundamentally rectifying the vote-value disparity.
 「1票の格差」の抜本的な是正に取り組まない国会に対する最高裁の強い警告である。

The top court's Grand Bench ruled Wednesday that the 2010 House of Councillors election, which had a maximum vote-value disparity of five times, "was in a state of unconstitutionality."
 1票の格差が最大5・00倍となった2010年の参院選について、最高裁大法廷は「違憲状態にあった」との判決を言い渡した。

Twelve of the 15 justices so concluded, while the remaining three judged the election "unconstitutional," which is a stricter term.
 15人の裁判官のうち12人の意見で、残る3人は、より厳しい「違憲」判断を示した。

The Supreme Court pointed out, as it has done before, that it is "extremely difficult to meet a request to ensure equality of the value of votes" under the current system based on 47 prefectural constituencies while populations have become concentrated in urban areas.
 最高裁は、都市部への人口集中が進む中で、47都道府県を単位とする選挙区制度のままでは、「投票価値の平等という要求に応えるのは、もはや著しく困難」と改めて指摘した。

This is because, under the current system, two seats must be allotted even to Tottori Prefecture, the prefecture with the smallest population.
 現行制度では、人口が最も少ない鳥取県にも定数2を割り振らざるを得ないからだ。

===

Pending bills not bold enough

A bill to revise the Public Offices Election Law submitted to the Diet by the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party in the last ordinary Diet session will not change this prefecture-based electoral system. Instead, it calls for a two-seat increase in each of two prefectural constituencies and a two-seat reduction in each of two other prefectural constituencies.
 民主、自民両党が先の通常国会に提出した公職選挙法改正案は、この制度に手を付けず、選挙区定数を「4増4減」するものだ。

Wednesday's ruling also said simply increasing or reducing the number of seats for some prefectural constituencies will not solve the disparity. In other words, the top court apparently meant to raise doubt that "a state of unconstitutionality" would be eliminated even if the bill to introduce the "plus-four, minus-four" plan were enacted.
 判決は、一部の選挙区の定数を増減させるだけでは解決にならない、との見解も示した。仮に「4増4減」案が成立しても、違憲状態は解消されないとの疑義が示されたとも言える。

If the upper house election is held in summer next year with only such a cosmetic measure taken, there is no doubt that a wave of lawsuits over the number of seats allotted to prefectural constituencies will be filed after the election. It is even possible that a court in the future may rule an election "unconstitutional," invalidating part of it.
 こんな弥縫(びほう)策だけで来夏の参院選を迎えれば、選挙後、定数訴訟が相次いで起こされるのは間違いないだろう。裁判所が違憲と判断し、一部選挙を無効とする判決を出す可能性すら排除できない。

We think the ruling and opposition parties should quickly discuss another plan, one bolder than the "plus-four, minus-four" plan, to correct the number of seats allotted to constituencies.
 与野党は、「4増4減」よりも踏み込んだ定数是正案をまずは検討すべきではないか。

The drastic electoral reform urged by the top court should also be quickly implemented.
 最高裁が求める抜本的な制度改革も急ぐべきである。

===

A better plan fizzled

In debates over reform of the upper house electoral system that started in 2010, the ruling and opposition parties took up for discussion a plan to change constituencies from prefecture-based to bloc-based. This is because the bloc-based system has an advantage--it would make it easier to narrow disparities.
 10年からの与野党の参院選制度改革論議では、選挙区を、都道府県単位からブロック制に改める案なども俎(そ)上(じょう)に載せた。格差を縮小しやすい利点があるからだ。

The plan fizzled out after the death of Takeo Nishioka, the former upper house president who took the initiative in introducing the change. However, we think the plan should be discussed again.
 旗振り役の西岡武夫前参院議長の死去で立ち消えになったが、検討し直すべきではないか。

The Diet response has always been too late. This may make people think Diet members lack the ability to handle the problem, only increasing public distrust in politics.
 国会の対応はこれまで、常に後手に回ってきた。これでは、国会議員には当事者能力がない、ということになり、国民の政治不信を高めるだけである。

The top court previously ruled that the 2009 House of Representatives election was also "in a state of unconstitutionality." It is unusual for judicial authorities to judge both chambers to be in a situation violating the Constitution, which stipulates equality under the law.
 最高裁は09年衆院選でも、「違憲状態」との判断を示している。両院ともに、法の下の平等を定めた憲法に違反した状態にあると司法が断じる異例の事態だ。

The electoral system for the upper house is a dual system that combines proportional representation and constituencies. It resembles that of the lower house. It is indispensable, then, to have discussions with an eye on the division of roles of the lower and upper houses.
 参院選の制度は比例代表と選挙区の2本立てで、衆院選と類似している。衆参の役割分担も視野に入れた論議が不可欠である。

The ruling and opposition parties must quickly convene an extraordinary Diet session and take necessary measures to solve the state of unconstitutionality in time for the next elections.
 与野党は、次回の選挙に間に合うよう、早急に臨時国会を開き、違憲状態から脱するための措置を講じなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 18, 2012)
(2012年10月18日01時20分  読売新聞)

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消費税と新聞 軽減税率の議論を再開したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 19, 2012)
Resume discussions on applying lower tax rate to newspapers
消費税と新聞 軽減税率の議論を再開したい(10月18日付・読売社説)

Newspapers are an important foundation of democracy and the culture of the printed word. When the consumption tax rate is increased, we think a reduced tax rate system should be introduced--and newspapers should be subject to this lower rate.
 新聞は民主主義と活字文化を支える重要な基盤だ。消費税率引き上げでは、新聞に対する税率を低く抑える軽減税率を導入すべきである。

The Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association held its annual convention in Aomori this week. A resolution adopted at the event called for a reduced tax rate to be applied to newspapers because "imposing more taxes on knowledge--including newspapers--would undermine the maintenance and development of democracy."
 日本新聞協会が青森市で開いた今年の新聞大会は、「新聞を含む知識への課税強化は民主主義の維持・発展を損なう。新聞には軽減税率を適用するよう強く求める」とする決議を採択した。

The newspaper industry delivered a strong message after bills on integrated social security and tax system reform--of which increasing the consumption tax rate was a central pillar--were passed by the Diet in August.
 消費増税を柱とする社会保障・税一体改革関連法が8月に成立したことを受け、新聞業界として強いメッセージを打ち出した。

During a discussion session at the convention, officials from national newspapers said a reduced tax rate should be applied to newspapers to maintain these publications, which are a basic lifeline for democracy and culture.
 討論会では、全国紙から「民主主義、文化の最低のライフラインを守るためには、軽減税率の導入が必要だ」との訴えがあった。

Representatives of some local newspapers also spoke of the high educational effect newspapers can provide, while others described the nation's high proportion of households that subscribe to newspapers as a "social asset."
 地方紙からも「新聞の教育効果は高い」、「日本の高い新聞普及率は社会の財産だ」などといった意見が相次いだ。

===

Look at European examples

Newspapers, which can be picked up easily and cheaply in every corner of the nation, are de facto public property and part of the social infrastructure. We believe many readers recognize that newspapers are an important daily necessity on a par with rice and other food items.
 新聞は、全国で誰もが安く手に入れて活用できる特色があり、公共財的な社会インフラだ。コメなどの食料品と同じような必需品として、新聞の重要性を認める読者は少なくないのではないか。

If newspapers shut down due to worsening financial conditions following the tax hike, this nation would be stripped of some of its diversity of speech and opinions. There are fears such a situation would impair the ability of newspapers to be a watchdog ensuring government accountability, and citizens' interest in politics would fade. Eventually, the vitality of local communities could decline.
 消費増税で経営が悪化した新聞社が発行をやめる事態になれば、言論の多様性は失われていく。行政への監視機能は弱まり、住民の政治への関心も薄まって、地域社会の活力低下が懸念される。

We should learn from European countries, which cherish the public nature of newspapers and their role in protecting the culture of the printed word.
 新聞の公益性や活字文化を守る役割を重視し、軽減税率を採用している欧州を参考にしたい。

The rates of value-added taxes in Europe, which are equivalent to Japan's consumption tax, are about 20 percent. However, much lower tax rates are applied to newspapers--just 2.1 percent in France, 4 percent in Spain and 7 percent in Germany. Belgium, Britain and Norway even impose no tax on such publications.
 欧州各国では、日本の消費税に当たる付加価値税の税率は20%前後だが、新聞に適用される税率は、フランス2・1%、スペイン4%、ドイツ7%と軒並み低い。イギリス、ベルギー、ノルウェーのように0%の国もある。

Under the enacted laws on integrated reform, the consumption tax rate will increase to 8 percent in April 2014 from the current 5 percent, and rise further to 10 percent in October the following year. They also stipulate that "comprehensive examination from various points of view" will be given to the possible introduction of a reduced tax system.
 一体改革法は、2014年4月に消費税率を現行の5%から8%、15年10月に10%に上げるとともに、軽減税率については、「様々な角度から総合的に検討する」と明記している。

===

No time to waste

Nevertheless, it can be called problematic that the government has not started full-fledged discussions on this issue more than two months after the legislation was enacted.
 にもかかわらず、法律の成立から2か月以上が経過しても、政府が議論を本格化させていないのは問題と言える。

Earlier this week, Yoshihisa Inoue, secretary general at New Komeito, submitted a petition signed by about 6 million people calling for the introduction of a reduced tax system to Finance Minister Koriki Jojima. Inoue urged that this system be introduced when the consumption tax rate is increased to 8 percent.
 公明党の井上幹事長が、軽減税率導入を求める約600万人の署名を城島財務相に提出し、税率8%時からの実施を要請した。

The submission should be used to get the wheels turning on the resumption of discussions on the issue.
これを機に議論を再開すべきだ。

Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe and Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba included the introduction of a reduced tax system among their pledges for the recent party presidential election in which they both ran.
 自民党も安倍総裁、石破幹事長が総裁選公約で、ともに軽減税率導入を訴えていた。

The process of introducing a reduced tax system will involve several stages, such as determining what items should be subject to it. The government should waste no time in beefing up coordination with the LDP and Komeito.
 軽減税率の導入には、対象品目を絞り込む作業などが不可欠だ。政府は時間を浪費せず、自公両党との調整を急ぐ必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 18, 2012)
(2012年10月18日01時20分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月18日 (木)

原発住民投票 再稼働の判断にはなじまない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 18, 2012)
Referendums no way to decide restarts of nuclear reactors
原発住民投票 再稼働の判断にはなじまない(10月17日付・読売社説)

Nuclear energy policy is connected with economic growth, employment and national security, among other concerns.
 原子力政策は経済成長や雇用、安全保障などにかかわる問題だ。

It is not a matter that should be settled by referendums.
 住民投票によって是非を決めるべきではない。

On the reactivation of reactors at nuclear power plants where safety has been confirmed, the government needs to be responsible for making decisions while taking local opinions into consideration.
 安全性を確認できた原子力発電所の再稼働は、地元の意向に配慮しつつ、政府が責任を持って決断する必要がある。

The Shizuoka Prefectural Assembly has rejected a draft ordinance on holding a referendum to ask residents whether they would support the restart of reactors at Chubu Electric Power Co.'s Hamaoka nuclear plant in the prefecture.
 静岡県にある中部電力浜岡原子力発電所を再稼働すべきかどうかを問う住民投票条例案が、静岡県議会で否決された。

The draft ordinance was requested of the prefectural government by a citizens organization that collected the signatures of more than 160,000 residents in the prefecture.
 条例案は、市民団体が16万人を超える県民の署名を添えて、静岡県に請求していた。

===

Far-reaching ramifications

Even if such a referendum were held, the result would not be legally binding. But it would likely affect decisions made by the central government, concerned local governments and the utility company. We praise the prefectural assembly for its sound judgment in rejecting it and preventing unnecessary confusion.
 住民投票をしても、その結果に法的拘束力はないが、政府や自治体、電力会社の判断に影響を与えよう。県議会が条例案を退け無用の混乱を防いだのは、良識ある判断だと評価したい。

The problem is that Shizuoka Gov. Heita Kawakatsu expressed support for holding a referendum on the grounds that there were a large number of signatures in favor of submitting a draft ordinance.
 問題は、静岡県の川勝平太知事が、条例案の提出を求める署名が多数だったことを理由に挙げ、住民投票の実施に賛成の意向を示したことである。

The Hamaoka plant once played a vital role in power supply not only in Shizuoka Prefecture but also in wider areas covered by Chubu Electric.
 浜岡原発は静岡県内だけでなく中部電力管内を中心に広域の電力供給を担ってきた。

But in May last year, at the legally groundless request of then Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the utility suspended the operations of the reactors. The utility remains unable to restart the reactors under the current circumstances.
 しかし、菅前首相が昨年5月、法的根拠もなく運転停止を強要して、その後も再稼働できない状況になっている。

Heads of local governments hosting nuclear plants have the duty of deciding whether to restart reactors while considering such factors as the safety of nuclear reactors, the supply and demand balance of electricity and the local economic impact.
 原発立地自治体の首長は、安全性や電力需給、地元経済への影響などを多角的に考慮し、再稼働への賛否を判断する責務がある。

Kawakatsu wanted to leave such a gravely important decision to a referendum. This does not represent respect for public opinion. Rather, the governor has left himself open to criticism for dodging responsibility.
 川勝知事が、こうした重い決断を住民投票に“丸投げ”しようとしたことは、民意の尊重というより、責任逃れだと言われても仕方あるまい。

===

Not a yes-or-no issue

In a referendum, residents are asked to simply vote yes or no on an issue. This is a method inherently unsuitable for such complex issues as whether to support the restart of nuclear reactors since voters may hold a variety of views, such as supporting a restart under certain conditions.
 住民投票は、賛否について二者択一を求める。「条件つき賛成」といった多様な意見に分かれる原発再稼働問題などには、そもそも適さない手法だ。

It will be reasonable to limit referendums to issues, such as those on mergers of municipalities, whose results would not greatly impact external parties.
 市町村合併など、投票結果の影響が外部に波及しないテーマに限定するのが筋だろう。

Also in Niigata Prefecture, where Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant is located, procedures for the submission of a draft ordinance to hold a referendum have begun. We cannot brush off concern that moves seen in Shizuoka Prefecture may spread to many other local governments hosting nuclear plants.
 東京電力柏崎刈羽原発のある新潟県でも、住民投票条例案の提出に向けた手続きが進んでいる。静岡のような動きが多くの立地自治体に広がる懸念は拭えない。

The government has adopted a policy of using nuclear power as an essential source of electricity for the time being. It is more important than anything else to steadily put reactors back online. The government needs to make sincere efforts to obtain local understanding, together with utility companies operating nuclear plants.
 政府は当面、原発を重要な電源と位置づけ、活用する方針を決めている。着実に再稼働を実現することが何より重要だ。政府は電力会社とともに、真摯(しんし)に地元の説得にあたる必要がある。

But Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano and other relevant Cabinet ministers have taken a stance of leaving decisions on the restart of reactors to the Nuclear Regulation Authority and letting utility companies work alone to obtain local consent.
 だが、枝野経済産業相ら担当閣僚は、個々の原発再稼働の判断を原子力規制委員会に委ね、地元の説得も電力会社任せにする構えを見せている。

We cannot accept such "politics that does not fulfill its responsibilities."
こんな「責任を果たさない政治」は許されない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 17, 2012)
(2012年10月17日01時32分  読売新聞)

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ソフトバンク 吉と出るか米携帯会社の買収

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 18, 2012)
Will SoftBank's purchase of Sprint be a ringing success?
ソフトバンク 吉と出るか米携帯会社の買収(10月17日付・読売社説)

SoftBank Corp. President Masayoshi Son is again making a big gamble with his pursuit of a policy of aggressive business expansion.
 強気の拡大路線を続けるソフトバンクの孫正義社長が、再び大きな賭けに出た。

Whether his company's investment in a U.S. mobile phone carrier will prove fruitful is sure to receive much attention.
 巨額買収の成否が注目されよう。

SoftBank, the third-largest wireless carrier in Japan, announced Monday plans to purchase Sprint Nextel Corp., the No. 3 mobile operator in the United States. SoftBank plans to buy about 70 percent of Sprint's shares for 20.1 billion dollars (1.57 trillion yen) to make the U.S. firm its subsidiary.
 国内携帯電話3位のソフトバンクが、米3位のスプリント・ネクステルを買収すると発表した。スプリント株の約70%を201億ドル(約1兆5700億円)で買い取って子会社化する。

With the purchase, SoftBank would jump to more than 90 million subscriptions in Japan and the United States combined, far exceeding the domestic number of Japan's largest carrier, NTT Docomo Inc. Its sales are expected to rank third in the world if the deal goes through.
 契約数は、日米合わせて9000万件を超え、国内最大手NTTドコモをはるかに上回る。売上高では世界3位に浮上する。

The domestic mobile phone market has reached a saturation point, with no room for further growth. Under the circumstances, SoftBank has decided to expand its business to North America through the purchase of the U.S. mobile carrier.
 国内の携帯電話契約数は飽和状態で、伸びは見込めない。スプリント買収を契機に、北米などで事業を拡大する狙いだろう。

===

Era of realignment

The telecommunications industry has changed dramatically recently with the spread of smartphones and next-generation high-speed networks, such as the Long-Term Evolution. As international competition to provide goods and services at universal standards is now fully under way, the industry has entered an era of realignment that will take it beyond national borders.
 通信業界は次世代高速通信「LTE」や、スマートフォン(高機能携帯電話)の普及で激変している。世界標準のサービスや商品を提供する国際的な競争時代が本格化し、国境を超えた業界再編に踏み込んだと言える。

SoftBank and Sprint both sell Apple Inc.'s iPhone as their flagship product. SoftBank seems to think its planned expansion would put it in a position where it can negotiate better prices from Apple.
 ソフトバンクとスプリントはともに、米アップルのiPhone(アイフォーン)を主力商品としている。規模拡大によって、アップルとの価格交渉を有利に進めることも見込んでいるようだ。

Ultra-low interest rates and a historically high yen provided a tailwind for the deal. Other domestic companies can look to SoftBank's strategy of pushing ahead with international mergers and acquisitions as an example.
 今回の買収は、超低金利と歴史的な超円高も追い風となった。国際的な合併・買収(M&A)を仕掛けるソフトバンクの戦略は、他企業の参考になろう。

SoftBank has used corporate acquisitions as an engine to drive the growth of its business. It previously purchased Japan Telecom Co. and Vodafone Japan, the Japanese arm of British company Vodafone, and only earlier this month agreed to acquire eAccess Ltd., the fourth-largest domestic wireless carrier.
 ソフトバンクは、買収攻勢による事業拡張を成長の源泉としてきた。日本テレコム、英ボーダフォン日本法人などを買収し、今月には国内4位のイー・アクセス買収でも合意したばかりだ。

===

Areas of concern

Nevertheless, there are some causes for concern regarding SoftBank's planned purchase of Sprint.
 ただし、今回の買収には、懸念材料が少なくない。

First, Sprint lags far behind its two biggest U.S. competitors in terms of subscribers, and has suffered a loss for five straight years. It remains to be seen whether SoftBank can synergistically improve the U.S. company's business performance.
 スプリントは契約数でライバルの米2強に離され、5期連続の赤字だ。ソフトバンクがスプリントの経営を再建し、相乗効果を発揮できるかどうかは未知数だ。

SoftBank's financial standing is expected to deteriorate considerably through the deal. The firm plans to raise cash for the purchase through bank loans, which would boost the firm's interest-bearing debt to about 4 trillion yen. This could prove to be a heavy financial burden. The radical moves by SoftBank's stock price after the acquisition deal was announced indicate the market is watching the deal warily.
 ソフトバンクの財務体質も大幅に悪化する。買収資金は銀行融資などで賄うとしているが、有利子負債は約4兆円に膨らみ、経営の重荷になりかねない。株価が乱高下しているのも、市場が不安視していることをうかがわせる。

Troubles with communication networks have been unceasing as telecommunication capacity has failed to keep up with the market's demands, which has been exacerbated by the spread of smartphones. Japan's complex and expensive rate system, the highest in the world, has also been the subject of much criticism.
 国内の携帯電話市場では、スマートフォン普及で増大した通信量をさばけず、通信障害が後を絶たない。複雑で世界一高いとされる料金体系への批判も多い。

There have also been persistent complaints over poor connections, especially among SoftBank subscribers. We hope the firm remembers to improve service for domestic subscribers, such as by expanding its communication infrastructure to provide a better transmission environment, and lowering rates.
 とくにソフトバンクは「つながりにくい」との声が根強い。電波環境の改善に向けた通信インフラの整備や、料金引き下げなど、国内利用者のサービス向上にしっかり取り組んでもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 17, 2012)
(2012年10月17日01時32分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月17日 (水)

PC乗っ取り 官民連携で摘発体制の強化を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 17, 2012)
Cybercrime crackdown requires joint public-private effort
PC乗っ取り 官民連携で摘発体制の強化を(10月16日付・読売社説)

There has been a recent string of incidents in which online threats were sent via remotely controlled personal computers infected with viruses.
 何者かが他人のパソコン(PC)を乗っ取り、遠隔操作で犯行予告を送信したとされる事件が相次いで発覚した。

The owners of these computers were placed at risk of being charged for crimes they did not commit. The police must strengthen their investigative capabilities to deal with this new type of cybercrime and leave no stone unturned in their search for the true perpetrator.
 PCの持ち主が身に覚えのない罪を着せられかねない事態だ。新たなサイバー犯罪に、警察は捜査能力を向上させ、摘発に全力を挙げねばならない。

The Osaka and Mie prefectural police and the Metropolitan Police Department have released three men who had been arrested on suspicion of sending indiscriminate murder and bomb threat messages via their computers and forcibly obstructing business.
 大阪府警、三重県警、警視庁は、無差別殺人や爆破の犯行予告をPCで送信したとして威力業務妨害容疑などで逮捕した男性3人について、それぞれ釈放した。

In a case handled by the Kanagawa prefectural police involving an online threat to attack a primary school, it seems increasingly possible that a university student arrested for making online threats might not have been the person who sent the messages.
 神奈川県警でも、小学校襲撃の予告を巡り、逮捕した大学生とは別の真犯人がいる可能性が浮上している。

TBS Television, Inc. has reportedly received an e-mail sent by a person claiming responsibility for these incidents.
一連の事件では、「私が真犯人だ」とする内容のメールがTBSに届いたという。

The computers of the three released men were likely being controlled remotely after being infected with viruses, and criminal threats were posted on online message boards without their knowledge.
 釈放された3人のPCは、外部から遠隔操作できるウイルスに感染し、3人の知らぬ間に、犯行予告がネット上の掲示板などに書き込まれた可能性が高い。

===

Virus infections overlooked

Police identified the computers in question as belonging to the three men via their Internet protocol (IP) addresses. But they failed to detect that the computers were infected with viruses that enabled them to be remotely controlled by an outsider. Investigators discovered this only after arresting the men.
 警察は、ネット上の「住所」にあたるIPアドレスから3人のPCを特定した。だが、遠隔操作ウイルスの侵入を見抜けず、気付いたのは、3人の逮捕後だった。

If a computer is being controlled remotely, arresting the perpetrator will be impossible by tracing its IP address alone. The recent incidents show there are limits to conventional cybercrime investigative methods.
 PCが遠隔操作されてしまうと、IPアドレスを割り出すだけでは犯人にたどり着けない。一連の事件は、従来のサイバー捜査の限界を示したと言える。

The threats were posted on message boards via the computers of the three men via servers in foreign countries, including the United States and Germany. Identifying the perpetrator will be a painstaking task. Nevertheless, computer hacking cannot be allowed to go unchecked because it raises the risk of people being falsely accused of crimes.
 犯行予告が、米国、ドイツなど海外の複数のサーバーを経由し、男性らのPCを使って書き込まれたことから、犯人の特定には困難が伴うだろう。だが、冤罪(えんざい)を招く恐れのあるハッキング行為を野放しにしておくことはできない。

The National Police Agency has hired engineers who studied cyber-attack countermeasures at private companies and assigned them to prefectural police headquarters. More specialized staff like this are needed.
 警察庁は、民間会社でサイバー攻撃などへの対策を研究してきた技術者を採用し、都道府県警に出向させている。専門スタッフのさらなる増強が必要だろう。

===

Self-defense vital

We think the public sector must cooperate more closely with the private sector and harness the expertise of firms with advanced cyberdefense technology. A system that enables the public and private sectors to cooperate in tackling cybercrime needs to be quickly put in place.
 民間との連携を強化し、サイバー防御の技術に優れた企業のノウハウを積極的に取り入れたい。官民をあげたサイバー犯罪への体制作りを急がねばならない。

Computer users, for their part, must stay aware of the importance of taking precautions to protect themselves. The computers in question were infected with viruses hidden in free software available on online bulletin boards. In a case overseas, a third party turned on an infected computer's camera without the owner's knowledge to look into their room.
 PCのユーザーも、自衛を心がけることが大切だ。男性らのPCのウイルスは、ネット上の掲示板に公開されていた無料ソフトから感染した。知らないうちにPCのカメラが起動し、部屋をのぞかれた外国の事例もある。

There are some effective ways to keep viruses at bay: Do not open suspicious e-mails; avoid browsing suspicious sites; do not download programs unless necessary; regularly upgrade antivirus software; and turn off your computer when it is not being used.
 不審なメールは開かない。怪しいサイトの閲覧は避け、不用意なダウンロードは控える。対策ソフトのこまめな更新も欠かせない。使用しない時には、PCの電源を切ることも有効とされる。

It is essential that each computer owner protect their own PC by properly taking basic precautions.
 基本対策を徹底し、自分のPCは自分で守ることが重要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 16, 2012)
(2012年10月16日01時29分  読売新聞)

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3党幹事長会談 いつまで条件闘争をするのか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 17, 2012)
When will 3 parties stop squabbling over Diet session?
3党幹事長会談 いつまで条件闘争をするのか(10月16日付・読売社説)

Talks between the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito over the next extraordinary Diet session are a mess.
 臨時国会を巡る民主、自民、公明3党の話し合いが難航している。

How long will they continue to put their party interests before everything else?
 一体いつまで党利党略の駆け引きに明け暮れるつもりなのか。

DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi said he wanted to convene an extraordinary Diet session late this month when he held talks Monday with his LDP counterpart Shigeru Ishiba and Komeito counterpart Yoshihisa Inoue. The secretaries general will meet again Thursday, and a meeting between the leaders of the three parties will likely be held by the end of this week.
 民主党の輿石幹事長は自民党・石破、公明党・井上の両幹事長との会談で、臨時国会を月末にも開く考えを示した。18日に再度会談した上で、週内にも3党首会談を行うという。

Such a sluggish approach to the talks is appalling. In particular, the DPJ has a heavy responsibility for delaying the convening of an extraordinary Diet session. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda should announce the policies of his reshuffled Cabinet at this session.
 スローテンポにはあきれるばかりだ。特に、これまで臨時国会の召集を先送りしてきた民主党の責任は重い。野田首相は、臨時国会で、改造内閣の所信を表明しなければならない。

A mountain of problems, including the confrontation between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands, and energy issues, await action. Lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties are failing to fulfill their responsibilities by not debating these issues in the Diet.
 尖閣諸島を巡る日中対立やエネルギー問題など課題は山積している。与野党議員は国会論戦もせず、職責を果たしていない。

The qualifications of Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka also must be taken up. It was recently revealed that the justice minister, who is at the center of a scandal over donations from a foreign national, had ties with an organized crime syndicate. There is no doubt these entanglements are inappropriate for a justice minister.
 田中法相の資質をただす必要もある。外国人献金問題を抱える法相には、暴力団との過去の交際も発覚した。法相として不適切であるのは、間違いない。

===

Resolve vote disparity

One issue the DPJ, the LDP and Komeito should immediately resolve is the vote-value disparity in House of Representatives elections.
 民自公3党間で直ちに解決すべき課題の一つは、衆院選の「1票の格差」是正である。

On an NHK program Sunday, Koshiishi hinted at the possibility the DPJ may accept a plan to first reduce the number of lower house single-seat constituencies by five. However, he also told reporters that "unanimity among all opposition parties" is a condition to carrying out the plan.
 輿石氏は14日のNHK番組で、小選挙区の「0増5減」先行実施に応じる可能性を示唆した。だが、記者団には「全野党の一致」を条件とする意向も示している。

The DPJ's adherence to its plan to simultaneously correct the vote-value disparity by cutting the number of lower house single-seat constituencies by five and reduce the number of lower house seats complicates the issue and has delayed correcting the vote-value disparity. If the DPJ sets this new condition now, we cannot help but wonder if the party is serious about tackling the issue.
 民主党が「0増5減」と定数削減の同時実施に固執してきたことで問題がこじれ、是正が遅れている。ここに及んで民主党が新たな条件をつけるようでは、格差是正に本気で取り組む考えがあるのか、疑わざるを得ない。

Enactment of a bill to allow the government to issue deficit-covering bonds is also a pressing issue.
 赤字国債発行を認める特例公債法案の成立も喫緊の課題だ。

During the meeting of secretaries general Monday, the LDP and Komeito demanded that Noda promise to dissolve the lower house for a general election by the end of this year. "If [the prime minister] is so insincere, there will be no meeting of leaders [of the three parties]," Ishiba was quoted as saying.
 自公両党は会談で、年内の衆院解散・総選挙を首相が明示するよう求めた。石破氏は、首相が「あまりに不誠実なら党首会談が開かれることはない」とも述べた。

===

Financial resources at risk

If the current stalemate continues, the passage of the bill to issue deficit-covering government bonds will be delayed and, as a result, the government's financial resources in the fiscal 2012 budget will be exhausted. The DPJ, LDP and Komeito should quickly reach a compromise on the issue so people's livelihoods will not be adversely affected.
 このまま膠着(こうちゃく)状態が続けば、法案の成立がずれ込み、今年度予算の財源が底をつく。民自公3党は、国民生活に悪影響を及ぼすことのないよう妥協を急ぐべきだ。

The LDP has called for a delay in the establishment of a national council to revamp the social security system--which the three parties already have agreed on--until after the lower house election. We urge the three parties to come to terms on this issue.
 3党がすでに合意している社会保障制度改革国民会議の設置について、自民党は衆院選後への先送りを唱えている。この点でも折り合いをつけてもらいたい。

The opposition-controlled House of Councillors passed a censure motion against the prime minister during the last ordinary Diet session. If the opposition parties plan to stall the Diet session for this reason, there is no point in convening an extraordinary Diet session. This will only increase public distrust in political parties.
 参院は先の通常国会で首相問責決議を可決した。これを理由に国会を空転させるのなら、臨時国会を開く意味がない。既成政党への国民の不信感が高まるだけだ。

The ruling and opposition parties should agree not to carry over the censure motion into the next Diet session and make it a general rule of the divided Diet not to do this in future.
 与野党は、衆参ねじれ国会の新たなルールとして、問責決議を次の国会にまで引きずらないことで合意すべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 16, 2012)
(2012年10月16日01時29分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月16日 (火)

新聞週間 期待に応える紙面を届けたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 16, 2012)
Delivering newspapers that meet readers' expectations
新聞週間 期待に応える紙面を届けたい(10月14日付・読売社説)

"Don't give in! A news article encouraged me." The Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association selected this as the main slogan for Newspaper Week, which starts Monday.
 「負けないで 背中を押して くれた記事」。あすから始まる「新聞週間」で、日本新聞協会が選んだ代表標語だ。

Nineteen months have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. The Yomiuri Shimbun is continuing to report on reconstruction efforts moving ahead in affected areas and the support extended from around the nation.
 東日本大震災から1年7か月。読売新聞は、被災地での復興の取り組みや全国各地から寄せられている様々な支援を取り上げ続けている。

One Yomiuri article featured a senior executive of a spinning company in Osaka who regularly visits a farming community where land was blighted by seawater during the tsunami. He gives advice to farmers on how to grow cotton. Another story described a doctor who returned to his hometown following a 13-year absence and has been helping local medical services get back on their feet.
 塩害の農地に綿花栽培を根付かせようと、大阪から指導に通う紡績会社役員、13年ぶりに故郷に戻り、医療再生に挑む医師――。こうした人々の姿を描いてきた。

We will make further efforts to improve our news coverage, by reporting on the current situation in affected regions and writing articles that support areas still trying to recover.
 被災地の現況を伝え、復興を後押しする報道を、これまで以上に充実させていきたい。

===

Written records

In March this year, Iwate Nippo, a local daily in Iwate Prefecture, started a project featuring people who died in the March 11, 2011, disaster. These stories explore their lives and are accompanied by photos of the subject's faces. Sharing these messages will ensure victims of the disaster are not forgotten and underline the significance of each of their lives.
 岩手県の地方紙「岩手日報」は震災1年後から、犠牲になった人たちの人生の一端を顔写真とともに紹介する企画を始めた。「犠牲者を忘れない」というメッセージの発信は、一人ひとりの命の重みを問いかけている。

The Iwate Nippo project uses printed media's special trait of excelling in providing a tangible record.
 記録性に優れた活字メディアの特徴を生かした試みだろう。

We live in an era in which the Internet is a source of an immense amount of information. Nevertheless, 89 percent of respondents to a survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun before Newspaper Week said "newspapers will remain an important source of information and knowledge."
 インターネット上に情報があふれる時代になったが、新聞週間を前に読売新聞が実施した世論調査では、「情報や知識を得るために新聞はこれからも必要だ」と答えた人が89%に達した。

Japan's politicians must tackle mountains of domestic issues, such as dealing with post-disaster reconstruction and clearing up the Fukushima nuclear crisis. On the diplomatic front, this country faces many thorny issues, including soured ties with China over the Senkaku Islands and with South Korea over Takeshima islands.
 震災復興や原発事故対策など、内政の課題は山積している。対外的にも、尖閣諸島や竹島を巡る中国・韓国との関係悪化など、日本は多くの難問を抱えている。

Newspapers have important roles to fulfill. Are we providing readers with the accurate news reports and responsible editorials they expect? We aspire to provide readers with the best pages possible, while questioning ourselves every day about whether we are meeting this goal.
 新聞が果たすべき役割は大きい。読者の期待に応えて、正確な報道と責任ある論説を提供できているのか。日々、自問しながら、最善の紙面をお届けしたい。

===

Getting back to basics

Another key mission for newspapers is to painstakingly expose facts that have been concealed and close in on the truth.
 事実を丹念に掘り起こし、真相に迫っていくことも、新聞に課せられた大切な使命である。

The Yomiuri Shimbun's series of exclusives on the retrial of the criminal case in connection with the 1997 murder of a female Tokyo Electric Power Co. employee won this year's newspaper association award in the editorial category.
 今年度の新聞協会賞(編集部門)を受賞したのは、読売新聞の「東電女性社員殺害事件の再審を巡る一連の特報」だった。

The articles revealed that DNA test results showed a former Nepalese defendant who had been given a life sentence in this case had likely been falsely charged. The articles also reported that prosecutors had not shown the defense counsel evidence favorable to the former defendant and had failed to try every means of investigation to find the assailant.
 無期懲役が確定していたネパール人元被告が冤罪(えんざい)である可能性を示すDNA鑑定結果を報じた。元被告に有利な証拠を検察側が弁護側に開示せず、捜査を尽くしていなかったことも明らかにした。

We can say that these articles lifted the lid on the prosecutors' slipshod investigation in which they belittled physical evidence that did not fit their arguments.
 見立てに合わない物証を軽視する、ずさんな捜査を浮き彫りにしたと言えよう。

However, the former defendant insisted he was innocent ever since his arrest in 1997. Why did we not get to the heart of the problems with the investigation more quickly? Looking back at our earlier coverage of this case leaves a lingering sense of shame.
 ただ、元被告は1997年に逮捕されて以来、一貫して無実を訴えていた。なぜ、もっと早く、捜査の問題点に切り込めなかったのか。過去の報道を振り返る時、忸怩(じくじ)たる思いが残る。

To exhaustively check whether public authority is being exercised properly: We again confirm that this is the starting tenet of news reporting.
 公権力が適正に行使されているか、厳しくチェックする。改めて報道の原点を確認したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 14, 2012)
(2012年10月14日02時03分  読売新聞)

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IMF世銀総会 世界経済の減速に懸念高まる

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 16, 2012)
Fears mounting over global economic slowdown
IMF世銀総会 世界経済の減速に懸念高まる(10月14日付・読売社説)

The slowdown of the global economy due to the protracted European debt crisis is becoming increasingly conspicuous. Countries around the world must work together to stop a negative chain reaction.
 欧州危機の長期化で、世界経済の減速が鮮明になってきた。各国が協調して「負の連鎖」を食い止めねばならない。

The annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were held in Tokyo for the first time in 48 years, with 188 countries taking part. The meetings were a good opportunity for Japan to demonstrate its recovery from the devastation caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011.
 188か国が参加した国際通貨基金(IMF)・世界銀行総会が、東京で48年ぶりに開かれた。日本にとっては、東日本大震災からの復興をアピールする機会となったと言える。

A focus of attention at the annual meetings was how the world economy can overcome the challenges it faces.
 総会の主要議題は、世界経済の試練をどう乗り切るかだった。

In its global economic forecast, the IMF has revised downward the 2012 growth rate of the world's real gross domestic product to 3.3 percent, 0.2 percentage point lower than its projection in July.
 IMFが発表した世界経済見通しは、2012年の実質国内総生産(GDP)の伸び率を3・3%増と予測し、7月時点から0・2ポイント下方修正した。

Countries in the eurozone have failed to extricate themselves from their negative growth patterns due to the fiscal and banking crises they are facing. The harmful effects are spreading to the rest of the world. The economic slowdown in China, India, Brazil and other emerging countries has become more pronounced.
 財政・金融危機でユーロ圏はマイナス成長から抜け出せず、世界に悪影響を広げている。世界経済を牽引(けんいん)してきた中国、インド、ブラジルなど新興国の景気減速も目立ち始めた。

===

Uncertainty on rise

It was a matter of course for IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde to warn at a press conference ahead of the annual meetings that the "level of uncertainty" weighing down global economic growth was increasing.
 IMFのラガルド専務理事が、「不確実性が高まっている」と危機感を示したのは当然だろう。

Terminating this vicious cycle of global economic malaise is not easy. A major challenge is to determine how to achieve fiscal rehabilitation and economic growth at the same time.
 世界経済の悪循環を断ち切るのは容易ではない。財政再建と成長を両立させる方策が問われる。

Attention should be focused first on how to resolve the European crisis, the root cause for the global economic downturn.
 まず、震源地の欧州危機をいかに収束させるかが焦点だ。

We highly regard the European Central Bank's decision to buy the bonds of fiscally troubled countries and the eurozone's launching of the European Stability Mechanism on Oct. 8 as a new permanent safety net for banks.
 欧州中央銀行が財政危機国の国債購入策を決め、ユーロ圏が恒久的な金融安全網である欧州安定メカニズム(ESM)を8日に発足させたことは評価できる。

Spain, a focal point of the fiscal crisis, is still hesitant in asking assistance from the ESM, and its government bond rating has been downgraded by two levels. Greece, meanwhile, has called on its creditors to extend its fiscal reform deadline by two years. The request has not yet been granted due to Germany's opposition and other factors.
 しかし、焦点のスペインは支援要請を躊躇(ちゅうちょ)しており、国債格付けが2段階引き下げられた。ギリシャが財政再建達成の2年先延ばしを求めている問題は、ドイツの反対などで未決着だ。

If appropriate countermeasures are not taken promptly, the crisis will become even worse again. Based on a series of points made in Tokyo, the eurozone countries should take quick action to contain the spread of credit uncertainty. They also need to realize fiscal integration as soon as possible.
 またしても対応が遅れれば、事態は一段と深刻化する。東京で相次いだ指摘を踏まえ、欧州各国は迅速に行動し、信用不安の拡大を封じ込めるべきだ。財政統合も急ぐ必要がある。

===

End friction with China

It is feared in the United States that drastic cuts in federal spending--the so-called fiscal cliff--will be made early next year. We hope both the ruling and opposition parties in the United States take appropriate measures to deal with this immediately after the U.S. presidential election.
 米国では来年初めに、「財政の崖」と呼ばれる急激な財政引き締めが起きることが懸念される。与野党は大統領選後、速やかに事態打開を目指してもらいたい。

Japan is on the brink of entering an economic downturn due to the slowdown of economies abroad and the superstrong yen. The country will be required to take additional measures to stimulate the economy and to get out of deflation.
 海外経済の減速や超円高で景気後退局面入りの瀬戸際にある日本も、景気テコ入れとデフレ脱却を図る追加策が求められよう。

Lagarde criticized China for not sending its finance minister and central bank officials to the IMF-World Bank annual meetings because of Beijing's confrontation with Tokyo over the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. We think her remark was important as it emphasized the necessity of normalizing Japan-China relations at an early date.
 尖閣諸島を巡る日本との対立を背景に財務相らのIMF・世銀総会出席を見合わせた中国を、ラガルド専務理事が批判した。日中関係の早期正常化の必要性を強調した発言は重要である。

Protracted deterioration of bilateral ties will also damage the global economy. Beijing will not benefit if such confusion applies downward pressure on the Chinese economy.
 関係悪化が長期化すれば世界経済に打撃を与える。そうした混乱が中国景気を冷やすことは、中国にも得策ではないはずだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 14, 2012)
(2012年10月14日02時03分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月15日 (月)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:タレントと比べないで /東京

October 14, 2012(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Don't compare yourselves with celebrities
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:タレントと比べないで /東京

Books on how to lose weight after giving birth have recently been selling well.
 「産後ダイエット」の本が大はやりだ。

These books typically feature female celebrities who have given birth.
本に登場するのは、出産を経験した女性タレントたち。

Specifically, they introduce exercise and dietary tips that helped celebrities -- whose weight increased by more than 10 kilograms after getting pregnant -- restore their body shape to that before they became pregnant.
妊娠して10キロ以上、体重が増加したけれど、産後数カ月で以前の体形に元通り。

These stories are often accompanied by "before" and "after" pictures.
そのために役立ったのがこの体操や食事法なんです、と写真つきで紹介している本も多い。

Looking at these books out of curiosity, I find that they feature celebrities with brilliant smiles.
 興味本位でながめてみると、そこにはおなじみのタレントが輝くばかりの笑顔で写っている。

As someone who has never given birth, I become envious, wondering whether it's really true that women are the most beautiful shortly after giving birth.
「へえ、独身時代よりむしろきれいになったみたい。やっぱり子どもを産んだ直後の女性は最高に美しいってホントなのかな」と子どもを持ったことのない私はちょっぴりうらやましくなる。

However, this is not apparently the case with every woman.
 でも、これは万人に当てはまるわけではないようだ。

A woman who has two children aged three and one lamented in my consultation room, "I can't restore my body shape to what it was before I gave birth.
診察室で1歳と3歳の子どもを持つ女性が言っていた。「出産後、体形も戻らないし、

I have no time or the emotional space to think about my own beauty in the first place.
だいたい美容になんか気をつかう時間も気持ちのゆとりもないですよ。

Look at my worn-out skin and messy hair."
見てください、肌もボロボロだし髪もバサバサ……。

She added, "The other day, my husband was watching TV and said, 'That celebrity is beautiful even though she has three children,' and looked at me as if he were comparing her with me, so I became furious."
このあいだ夫がテレビを見ながら“このタレント、子どもが3人もいるのにきれいだなあ”と言って、比べるような目でこっちを見たので、キレて怒鳴ってしまいました」

She said her husband was usually busy with work and hardly helped with the kids, forcing her to take care of everything at home.
 ふだん夫は仕事に追われてほとんど育児にも協力してくれず、女性はひとりですべてをこなさなければならない。
It must be intolerable to have to be compared with celebrities on top of that.
その上、タレントと自分とを比べられては、たまったものではないだろう。

It is true that I meet far more women who have been depressed from stress and fatigue after childbirth than those who remain beautiful and luminous after having children.

For those exhausted women, books featuring celebrities who remain beautiful after giving birth are nothing but an eyesore.
そういう女性たちにとっては、「こんなに美しくなりました!」という出産タレントたちの本は、かえって目に毒だと言えるかもしれない。

I told a woman who complained she was worn out, "Celebrities have people who help them look after their children.
 「自分はボロボロ」と嘆く女性には、こう声をかけた。
「考えてみてくださいよ、タレントさんたちには子育てを手伝ってくれる人もいるでしょうし、

In a sense, dieting and looking beautiful are part of their work, so they get advice from lots of experts.
ダイエットや美容法を実践するのがある意味、仕事なのだから、専門家が大勢ついているわけでしょう。

You don't have to take them at face value and compare them with yourself.
うのみにして自分と比べる必要なんてないですよ。

Tell your husband that I said so."
夫にも、私がそう言っていたと伝えてください」

It is natural that many women are envious of those who maintain their body shape and beauty even after giving birth and handle their work as energetically as before.
 出産しても抜群のスタイルと美貌、生き生きと前と同じように仕事をこなす女性は、たしかにあこがれの的ではあるが、

But those women shouldn't be made into subjects of comparison that make you feel depressed.
自分と比較して落ち込む対象ではない。

It is wiser to look at such women with a cool eye saying to yourself, "They must have the support of so many people to be who they are."
「へえ、こうなるためにはずいぶん多くの人がサポートしてるんでしょうね」とちょっとナナメに見るくらいが、ちょうどいいのではないだろうか。

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2012年10月09日 地方版
〔都内版〕

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2012年10月14日 (日)

受信料値下げ NHK改革を進める一歩に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 14, 2012)
NHK viewership fee cut must lead to further reform
受信料値下げ NHK改革を進める一歩に(10月13日付・読売社説)

NHK has cut its monthly television subscription fee, starting this month. The public broadcaster should take this opportunity to press ahead with internal reform.
 NHKが今月から受信料を引き下げた。これを契機にNHK改革をさらに進めるべきである。

The fee cut is the first since 1968, when NHK introduced the current subscription fee system. The monthly fee of 1,345 yen for viewers of terrestrial broadcasting has been reduced by 120 yen when it is automatically withdrawn from bank accounts or paid by credit card, and by 70 yen when paid via bank transfers or convenience stores.
 値下げは、現行の受信料体制になった1968年以来初めてだ。月額1345円の地上契約は、口座振替やクレジットカード支払いで120円、振り込みで70円安くなった。

The fee reduction is equivalent to 7 percent of NHK's subscription revenues. The cut is expected to reduce NHK's revenues by more than 100 billion yen during the three-year period from fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2014.
 値下げ分は、受信料収入の7%に相当する。2012~14年度の3年間で1000億円を超える減収となる見通しだ。

In recent years, NHK has come under public fire for a string of misappropriations of expenditures for program production and other scandals, increasing the number of people who refuse to pay.
 制作費の流用など不祥事が相次ぎ、受信料の不払いが増えた。

The fee cut is believed to be aimed at recovering eroded public trust.
今回の値下げは、失墜した信頼の回復を狙ったのだろう。

===

Cost-cutting efforts not enough

The impact the cut will have on the business of NHK will not be small. NHK management says the public broadcaster plans to make up for the revenue reduction by redoubling efforts to boost the percentage of subscription payers and curtail expenditures. It is questionable, however, whether NHK can implement the cost-cutting plans as envisioned.
 経営への影響は決して小さくない。NHKは支払率改善と経費削減で対応する考えだが、想定通り行くのか、疑問は残る。

The national average of payment ratios for NHK subscription fees, which the broadcaster made public recently for the first time, stands at 72.5 percent. By prefecture, Akita had the highest ratio at 94.6 percent while Okinawa had the lowest at 42 percent.
 先月、初公表した都道府県別の受信料支払率は、平均が72・5%だった。最低の沖縄は42・0%で、最高だった秋田の94・6%とは大きな差がある。

The percentages of paid subscribers are also low in Tokyo and Osaka, hovering at around 60 percent. The subscription fee cut should be used as a lever to boost the percentage of fee payers.
東京、大阪も6割前後と低い。値下げをテコに支払率向上に取り組むべきだ。

A continuation of NHK's reform efforts is crucial to restoring viewers' trust.
 視聴者の信頼を取り戻すうえで重要なのは、改革の継続だ。

NHK has launched a three-year business improvement program starting this fiscal year. However, its workforce of more than 10,000 will be reduced by only 280 under the plan.
 NHKは今年度から新経営計画をスタートさせたが、1万人を超す職員数は、3年間で280人程度の削減にとどまる。

The broadcaster should step up its streamlining endeavors to enhance efficiency of its bloated corporate structure.
肥大化した組織にメスを入れ、もう一段のスリム化を目指すべきだろう。

Its efforts to slash expenditures can hardly be considered sufficient.
 経費削減努力も甘い。

Despite the subscription fee cut, NHK still will secure more than 600 billion yen in revenues. There should be concern that the colossal amount of subscription revenues will lead to a lack of cost-consciousness among NHK employees.
値下げしてもNHKは、なお年6000億円超の財源を確保できる。巨額の受信料収入が、コスト意識の欠如を招く恐れはないか。

===

Quality programming crucial

In an age when fewer people are watching TV, NHK must focus on prompt reporting and high-quality programming.
 テレビ離れが進む中、NHKに期待されているのは、迅速な報道や質の高い番組づくりだ。

The broadcaster has in fact gained a degree of public trust for such activities as earthquake disaster reporting and documentary programs. But instead of being complacent with this, NHK must renew its awareness of its proper role as a public broadcaster. Making programs similar to those seen on commercial television will never be enough.
 震災報道やドキュメンタリー番組などで、NHKは一定の評価を得ている。それに安住せず、公共放送にふさわしい役割を再認識することだ。民放と同じような番組ばかりでは困る。

With the use of mobile communication devices rapidly spreading, the issue of fusion of broadcasting and telecommunications is taking on greater significance to broadcast operations.
 携帯端末の普及を受け、放送と通信の融合が今後の事業展開で大きなテーマとなる。

A case in point is the planned service of real-time transmission of broadcasts via the Internet. If realized, the service will enable people to watch broadcasts with smartphones wherever they are.
例えば、放送をインターネットで同時送信するサービスだ。実現すれば、スマートフォン(高機能携帯電話)で、どこでも番組を視聴できる。

The advisability of such services being undertaken by NHK, which depends on viewer subscription, should be discussed as scrupulously as possible.
 ただし、受信料で運営されるNHKに適した事業かどうか、その可否は慎重に議論すべきだ。

A firmly established framework of in-house governance is indispensable to the reform of NHK.
 改革推進には、強固な統治体制が欠かせない。

Kenichiro Hamada, who previously worked at All Nippon Airways, has assumed the long-troubled chairmanship of NHK's board of governors, the broadcaster's supreme decision-making body.
ゴタゴタ続きの経営委員長職に、全日本空輸出身の浜田健一郎氏が就任した。

The new board chairman said in a press conference last month he is committed to "keeping a sound balance between NHK's business execution branch and the board as mutually necessary entities."
記者会見で「執行部とは車の両輪として緊張関係を保つ」と語った。

We hope very much Hamada will give full play to his ability in steering NHK in the right direction.
しっかりしたかじ取りを望みたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 13, 2012)
(2012年10月13日02時14分  読売新聞)

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ミャンマー支援 民主化と経済再建に弾みを

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 14, 2012)
Myanmar reforms need wholehearted support
ミャンマー支援 民主化と経済再建に弾みを(10月13日付・読売社説)

We welcome moves by the international community to build a system to underpin Myanmar's reform efforts toward democratization. The country needs help in boosting its political reform and economic rebuilding efforts.
 民主化改革を進めるミャンマーに対し、国際社会が支援体制を整えたことを歓迎したい。改革と経済再建に弾みをつける必要がある。

A meeting on Myanmar was held in Tokyo on Thursday, with the participation of developed countries and international organizations, including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
 先進国と世界銀行、アジア開発銀行によるミャンマー支援国会合が東京で開かれた。

During the meeting, creditors agreed to write off Myanmar's outstanding debts in January and resume financial aid to the country after an interval of more than 20 years.
 ミャンマーが抱える延滞債務を来年1月に免除し、国際社会が20年以上も中止してきた金融支援を再開する方針で合意した。

Japan, Myanmar's largest creditor, said it will forgive most of the 500 billion yen debt owed to this country and resume yen loans for the first time in 26 years at the earliest possible date next year.
 約5000億円という最大の貸し手である日本は、大半の債権を放棄したうえ、円借款を来年早い時期に26年ぶりに再開する。

To enable the World Bank and the ADB to extend new loans to Myanmar, Japan also decided to provisionally shoulder the country's arrears to help it repay its creditors.
 世銀とアジア開銀が新規融資を行えるよう、世銀などに対するミャンマーの借金を日本がいったん肩代わりする協力も決めた。

It is significant that Japan, which has been proactive in improving its relations with Myanmar, took the initiative in paving the way for the international community to provide full-fledged support to the country.
 ミャンマーとの関係修復に積極的な日本が主導し、国際的な支援策をまとめた意義は大きい。

Developed countries imposed economic sanctions on Myanmar for many years, citing such reasons as human rights abuses under the military junta. As a result, the country lags other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and is the poorest country in the region.
 ミャンマーは軍事政権下の人権弾圧などを理由に、先進国側から長年にわたり経済制裁を受けてきた。そのため、東南アジア諸国連合(ASEAN)の中で取り残されてきた最貧国である。

===

Country's great potential

However, Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest in 2010, and the country saw a power shift from the military to a civilian government in the spring of 2011. Since then, the government led by President Thein Sein has promoted democratization.
 しかし、2010年に民主化運動指導者のアウン・サン・スー・チー氏が軟禁を解かれ、昨春には民政移管を果たし、テイン・セイン政権が民主化を進めている。

This significant change was hailed by the international community, and Myanmar managed to win pledges for a resumption of international aid.
 こうした大きな変化を国際社会が評価して、ようやく支援再開にこぎつけた。

Myanmar has a population of more than 60 million and is rich in natural resources. Hopes are high that Myanmar, the so-called last frontier in Asia, will achieve rapid economic growth.
 ミャンマーは人口が6000万人を超え、天然資源なども豊富だ。「アジア最後のフロンティア」として急成長が期待される。

ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said that if the country makes sufficient progress in domestic reforms, it could catch up with other ASEAN countries in the next five to 10 years.
 アジア開銀の黒田東彦総裁も、「国内改革が進めば、今後5~10年で他のASEAN諸国に追いつける」と予想している。

With the backing of financial aid and investment from developed countries and other lenders, Myanmar's economic development should accelerate.
 先進国などの金融支援と投資拡大をテコに、経済発展を加速させることが肝要だ。

===

Building infrastructure is key

The main challenges the country faces are its abysmal infrastructure, such as electricity and railway systems, and its inadequate educational, medical and other social services. Japan aims to use yen loans to provide materials and expertise to develop the country's infrastructure.
 課題は、電力、鉄道などのインフラや、医療、教育などの整備が遅れていることである。日本は円借款供与によって、インフラ輸出の拡大も目指したい。

Major trading houses and other companies have already launched projects in Myanmar. The government plans to fully cooperate with these companies to develop Myanmar's special economic zones.
 すでに大手商社などがミャンマーでの事業に乗り出している。経済特区の整備でも、政府と企業が全面的に協力する方向だ。

For Japanese companies, Myanmar is highly likely to become a new production base in Asia. Cooperation between the public and private sectors must be strengthened.
 日系企業にとって、ミャンマーは、アジアの新たな生産拠点となる可能性が高い。官民連携を一層強化すべきである。

Although Myanmar has strong ties with China, its major trading partner, it apparently harbors concern about Beijing's clout.
 ミャンマーは中国と近接し、貿易量は多いが、中国の影響力に対する警戒感もうかがえる。

In light of this, Japan's wholehearted support for Myanmar could put a brake on China, which is attempting to increase its presence in the region.
 日本の積極的なミャンマー支援は、地域での存在感を強めようとする中国への牽制(けんせい)にもなる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 13, 2012)
(2012年10月13日02時14分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月13日 (土)

党首会談打診 民主は臨時国会から逃げるな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 13, 2012)
DPJ should not avoid opening Diet session
党首会談打診 民主は臨時国会から逃げるな(10月12日付・読売社説)

The government and the Democratic Party of Japan have been dragging their feet in convening an extraordinary Diet session.
 臨時国会の召集に向けた政府・民主党の動きがあまりに鈍い。

Although their actions give the appearance that they are very carefully taking the necessary steps, we think they are actually trying to postpone the extraordinary session and delay dissolving the House of Representatives for a general election.
 丁寧に手順を踏むかのように見せつつ、臨時国会や衆院解散の先送りを図っているのではないのか。

New party executives of the DPJ and the Liberal Democratic Party have held their first face-to-face meeting, at which Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told LDP President Shinzo Abe, "We intend to hold an extraordinary Diet session at an appropriate time." Noda also suggested that he and Abe hold a meeting with New Komeito chief Natsuo Yamaguchi, and the LDP agreed.
 民主、自民両党の新執行部が、初めて顔を合わせた。野田首相は安倍自民党総裁に「しかるべき時に臨時国会を開きたい」と述べ、山口公明党代表も含む3党首会談を打診した。自民党も応じた。

Party officials at the secretary general-level are said to be working out the particulars of the meeting, but concrete results have yet to emerge.
 今後、幹事長レベルで会談の準備を進めるというが、そのための段取りは何も決まっていない。

Our questions is, when will be the "appropriate time"?
 「しかるべき時」とは、一体いつになるのだろう。

===

Bond bill needs attention

Noda wants the meeting of the leaders of the three parties to smooth the passage of a bill to allow the government to issue deficit-covering bonds.
 首相にとって3党首会談の狙いは、赤字国債の発行を可能にする特例公債法案の成立へ確たる道筋をつけることにある。

If the bill is not enacted, state coffers are expected to run dry by the end of November. The government has already put in place curbs on budgetary spending, such as withholding allocations to local governments, which has vexed some prefectural governments. If the situation continues, the daily lives of ordinary people could be more widely affected in areas such as social security and education.
 法案が成立しなければ、11月末にも国庫は底をつく。政府は既に地方交付税など予算執行の抑制に踏み切っており、道府県がしわ寄せを受けている。このままでは、社会保障や教育など国民生活にも影響が拡大しかねない。

The LDP's position is that it will not cooperate over the bond bill unless the prime minister makes a clear promise on dissolving the lower house. However, we oppose any course that would make "hostages" out of people's daily lives. It appears the LDP is using the same tactics as were employed under former party president Sadakazu Tanigaki, which only led to political stalemate.
 自民党は、首相が衆院解散を確約しなければ法案審議に協力しないと主張しているが、国民生活を「人質」にすべきではなかろう。戦術的にも、谷垣前執行部が手詰まりに陥った轍(てつ)を再び踏むことになるのではないか。

Meanwhile, the DPJ has elected not to apply for the quarterly state subsidies allotted to political parties this month, saying it bears responsibility for not having passed the bond bill and thus the subsequent restrictions on government spending. This act alone does nothing to solve the problem.
 民主党は、予算執行抑制を招いたのは法案を成立させられない政治の責任として10月分の政党交付金申請を見送った。だが、これだけでは何ら問題は解決しない。

===

DPJ disconnect

DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi said passing the deficit-covering bond bill and correcting vote disparities in lower house elections "must be solved without wasting any time." However, the DPJ No. 2 seems hesitant to convene an extraordinary Diet session--a contradiction of words and deeds.
 民主党の輿石幹事長は特例公債法案と衆院選の「1票の格差」是正について、「待ったなしに解決していかねばならない」と強調した。一方で、臨時国会には及び腰だ。言行不一致に見える。

Koshiishi probably fears that once the Diet is in session, his party would splinter further, driving the administration into a corner where it has no choice but to dissolve the lower house.
 国会を開けば、さらに党が分裂し、衆院解散に追い込まれかねないと恐れているからだろう。

Wasn't Noda's new Cabinet formed to "strengthen Cabinet functions...to cope with a number of issues both at home and abroad"? It seems to be a matter of course to immediately convene an extraordinary Diet session so the prime minister and members of his new Cabinet can deliver speeches and be questioned before the legislators.
 野田首相は「内外の諸課題に対処する上で内閣の機能を強化する」ために内閣を改造したのではなかったか。直ちに臨時国会を開いて、首相と新閣僚が所信を表明し、質疑を行うのは当然だ。

And there are plenty of issues to be debated, such as diplomacy toward China and South Korea, whether to participate in negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement, and the establishment of a national council to reform the social security system.
 対中、対韓外交や環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)参加問題、社会保障制度改革国民会議設置など論戦のテーマには事欠かない。

Lawmakers also need to examine the donations made to a political organization headed by Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka by a company run by a foreign national, as well as the "siphoning" of funds earmarked to rebuild areas devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake to projects not directly related to the affected areas.
田中法相の外国人献金や復興予算の「転用」問題も質(ただ)す必要がある。

The biggest problem is that the next moves of the prime minister, with his fresh Cabinet and new party leadership lineup, remain a mystery.
 最大の問題は、内閣と党の布陣を一新した首相が、次に何をしたいかが見えないことである。

We urge Noda to set new political goals while steadily making progress in addressing immediate issues.
 首相は、新たな政治目標を掲げるとともに、目の前の懸案処理も着実に進めてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 12, 2012)
(2012年10月12日01時44分  読売新聞)

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iPS細胞 医療応用へ支援体制を整えよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 13, 2012)
Build a system to support clinical use of iPS cells
iPS細胞 医療応用へ支援体制を整えよ(10月12日付・読売社説)

The race to put induced pluripotent stem cells into practical use will likely intensify soon as iPS cells are expected to play a pivotal role in regenerative medicine.
 再生医療の切り札として、様々な種類の細胞に変化が可能なiPS細胞(新型万能細胞)の実用化に向けた競争がこれから本格化しそうだ。

Countries are already competing to research and develop iPS cells, which can be grown into different body cells, in hopes that iPS cells can be applied to various fields including regenerative medicine.
 iPS細胞は、再生医療を始め多様な用途への利用が期待できるだけに、各国が研究開発にしのぎを削っている。

Japan must not miss the boat--the government should take the initiative to improve the support system for clinical applications of iPS cells. There is no time to waste.
 日本としても、政府が主導し、臨床応用への支援体制を早急に充実させる必要がある。

The aim of regenerative medicine is to replace or repair organs and tissues damaged by disease or injury with new cells.
 再生医療は、病気や事故で傷ついた臓器や組織を、新しい細胞で作り直す治療だ。

The fact that Kyoto University Prof. Shinya Yamanaka, the creator of iPS cells, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine shows that Japan is leading the world in the basic research of regenerative medicine.
 iPS細胞の作製に成功した山中伸弥・京都大教授のノーベル生理学・医学賞受賞が示すように、日本は再生医療の基礎研究では世界のトップレベルにある。

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry has decided to subsidize Yamanaka's iPS research with about 20 billion yen to 30 billion yen over about 10 years, to provide him with a stable research environment with long-term assistance.
 文部科学省は、山中教授のiPS細胞研究の支援に、10年程度で総額200億~300億円の助成を行うことを決めた。長期的な助成によって安定した研究環境を整えるのが目的だ。

It is crucial for the government to continue implementing such measures based on a strategic vision.
 こうした戦略的な政策を継続していくことが必要である。

===

Delays in therapeutic application

However, there is a big problem in Japan's regenerative medicine--although the nation has a remarkable record in basic research, it lags behind other countries in therapeutic application. This problem is not limited to iPS cells research.
 問題なのは、iPS細胞に限らず、基礎では優れている日本の再生医療が、治療への応用で後れをとっていることだ。

Sheets of laboratory-grown skin cells have already been used to treat burns. However, domestically, only one other regenerative treatment--for cartilage tissue--is approved by the government, while about 50 treatments have been approved globally.
 既に皮膚の細胞を培養して作った皮膚シートが、やけど治療に使われている。日本ではこのほか、軟骨組織1件が承認されているだけだが、海外では、約50件もの製品が承認されている。

One of the underlying reasons why Japan lags behind other countries in therapeutic application is said to be a problem with clinical tests. The efficacy and safety of treatments and drugs are confirmed through clinical tests conducted on patients. However, many of the nation's hospitals are relatively small, making it difficult for them to find patients willing to participate in clinical tests.
 治療への応用が進まない背景には、臨床試験を巡る問題がある。実際に患者に使って有効性や安全性を確かめる試験だが、国内には小規模な病院が多く、参加する患者を集めにくい。

It is necessary for the government to establish hospitals that will play a leading role in the nation's clinical tests. Other medical institutions must cooperate with such hospitals to effectively conduct clinical trials. Establishing such a system is important.
 臨床試験の中核となる病院を整備し、医療機関が協力して試験を進める体制が求められる。

===

Improve quality of clinical studies

The quality of clinical studies conducted should also be improved.
 医師が行う臨床研究のレベルアップも必要である。

Looking at the number of articles carried in major U.S. and European medical journals, Japan ranked high in basic research, but ranked 25th in clinical research. The number of Japanese clinical research articles carried in such journals is about one-fortieth of the number of U.S. articles, which led the rankings.
 例えば、欧米の一流医学誌に掲載される論文数を比較すると、日本の国別順位は、基礎研究で上位を占めている反面、臨床研究では25位に甘んじている。臨床研究の論文数は、首位の米国の40分の1程度しかない。

This example shows Japan's weakness in clinical research and lower-than-expected achievements in the field.
 研究体制が手薄で、成果も上がっていない現状を反映していると言えよう。

It is also essential to speed up the governmental approval process for regenerative medicine treatments.
 再生医療に関する政府の承認審査をスピードアップさせることも欠かせないだろう。

Earlier this month, the Democratic Party of Japan agreed with the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito to establishing a basic law concerning clinical applications of regenerative medicine. The parties should pass a bill on establishing the basic law as soon as possible to prepare guidelines on promoting practical implementation of the technology.
 民主、自民、公明3党は今月、再生医療の臨床応用に向けた基本法を制定することで合意した。早期に成立させ、実用化を推進する指針作りを急ぐべきだ。

(From the Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 12, 2012)
(2012年10月12日01時44分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月12日 (金)

性犯罪条例 子供を守る手だてを考えたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 12, 2012)
Osaka ordinance on sex offenders a model for protection of kids
性犯罪条例 子供を守る手だてを考えたい(10月11日付・読売社説)

Sexual violence leaves children with emotional trauma. Society as a whole should examine how to prevent them from becoming the victims of this heinous crime.
 性的暴力を受けた子供は、心に深い傷を負う。許し難い犯罪を防ぐ手だてを社会全体で考えていかねばならない。

About 4,000 to 5,000 cases of sexual violence against children are recorded by police every year. There must be many more that go undetected.
 子供に対する性犯罪の摘発数は、全国で年間4000~5000件に上る。表面化しないケースも多いだろう。

Many sex offenders tend to repeatedly commit similar acts of abuse. According to the National Police Agency, 105 of 740 sex offenders against children who were released from prison from 2005 to 2010 were found to have later committed similar acts. Moreover, 57 of them reportedly did so in their first year out of prison.
 加害者は、同種の事件を繰り返す傾向が強い。警察庁の統計によると、2005~10年の出所者740人のうち、105人が再び摘発された。57人は出所後1年未満での犯行だった。

How can sex offenders against children be deterred from committing similar acts? This should be the main pillar of measures to protect youngsters from sexual violence.
 再犯をどう抑止するかが、対策の重要な柱となる。

In this regard, an ordinance the Osaka prefectural government put into effect just this month is worthy of attention.
 その意味で、大阪府が今月施行した「子どもを性犯罪から守る条例」は、注目に値しよう。

If people who sexually assaulted victims younger than 18 live within the prefecture after being released from prison, the ordinance obligates them to report their personal information--such as address and kind of crime--to the prefectural government over the five years after they completed their terms. Such residents are subject to a civil fine if they fail to do so.
 18歳未満の子供への性犯罪歴を持つ出所者が府内に住む際、刑期終了から5年間、住所や服役した罪名などを府に届け出ることを義務付けた。届け出を怠れば過料を科す。

It is reportedly the first ordinance of its kind in the nation.
全国で初の試みという。

===

Social rehabilitation

It should be noted that the ordinance features measures to help sex offenders against children reintegrate into society as a way to encourage them to report their information to the prefectural government. It calls for offering them job-search assistance in collaboration with Hello Work job placement offices.
 届け出を促そうと、出所者の社会復帰支援策を盛り込んだのが、条例の特徴だ。ハローワークと連携し、就労の手助けをする。

Clinical psychotherapists also will offer residents subject to the ordinance counseling that is expected to be effective in helping them control their sexual impulses.
 臨床心理士が、性的衝動の抑制に効果があるというカウンセリング療法も施す。

Such counseling is already offered to prison inmates, but they cannot continue receiving it once they are released into society. Therefore, the measure aims to allow them to continue receiving the treatment even after serving out their terms.
刑務所では既に実施しているが、出所すると途絶えてしまうため、出所者に治療を継続させるのが目的だ。

It can be expected that the ordinance could deter those released from prison from sexually assaulting children again because they know that the Osaka prefectural government knows their whereabouts.
 居住地を把握されているという意識から、出所者が再犯に及ぶのを思いとどまる効果も期待できるのではないか。

However, the prefectural government has no way to find where past offenders live after being released from prison if they do not report their criminal record to the prefectural government. Moreover, they do not have to report their information once they move to areas outside Osaka Prefecture. This illustrates the limits of what the ordinance alone can do.
 ただ、出所者が前歴を隠して住めば、府に確認する術(すべ)はない。他の自治体に引っ越してしまえば、届け出の義務もなくなる。条例による対策の限界と言える。

===

National measures needed

Therefore, it is important for the central government to take the initiative in beefing up measures to prevent sexual violence against children.
 やはり、政府主導の取り組みを充実させることが大切だ。

After a girl was kidnapped and murdered in Nara in 2004, the NPA began receiving information from the Justice Ministry regarding individuals released from prison after serving terms for sexual offenses against children. Based on that information, officers from prefectural police headquarters nationwide can confirm the whereabouts of those people, mainly by visiting their houses.
 04年の奈良・女児誘拐殺人事件を契機に、警察庁は法務省から出所者情報の提供を受けるようになった。その情報を基に、都道府県の警察官が家庭訪問などによる所在確認を実施している。

The NPA receives information on those who have sexually assaulted children younger than 13. However, consideration should be given to the idea of expanding the ages of children covered by this measure to those younger than 18, just as Osaka Prefecture's ordinance does.
 警察庁が情報提供を受けているのは、13歳未満の子供に対する性犯罪で服役した出所者だ。大阪府のように「18歳未満」に対象を広げることも検討すべきだろう。

It is important for the central government to use effective steps taken by local governments as models for action.
自治体の有効な施策を政府の対策に取り入れることが必要だ。

Some states in the United States require sexual offenders to register with local authorities and reveal their status to local residents. In South Korea, meanwhile, those released from prison are required to carry Global Positioning System tracking devices to make their whereabouts known.
 米国の一部の州では、出所者に居住地の登録を義務付け、地域住民にも出所情報を通知している。韓国では、所在把握のため、出所者に全地球測位システム(GPS)端末の携帯を義務付けた。

Overseas efforts like these should be reference points for coming up with measures for our nation.
 こうした海外の取り組みも参考にしていきたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 11, 2012)
(2012年10月11日01時27分  読売新聞)

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尖閣国有1か月 長期化する対日圧力に備えよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 12, 2012)
Prepare for prolonged pressure from China over Senkakus
尖閣国有1か月 長期化する対日圧力に備えよ(10月11日付・読売社説)

One month has passed since the government put three of the Senkaku Islands under state control. There is no sign that China's pressure on Japan will wane. The government should make necessary preparations on the assumption that the confrontation over the islands will lengthen.
 尖閣諸島の国有化から1か月経過した。中国の対日圧力は弱まる気配がない。政府は対立の長期化を前提に、体制を整えるべきである。

China decided not to send its finance minister or the governor of the People's Bank of China to the plenary session of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, which are scheduled to open in Tokyo on Friday. The decision apparently aims at demonstrating to the world its protest against Japan over the Senkaku issue.
 中国は、東京で12日に開幕する国際通貨基金(IMF)・世界銀行総会への財務相と中国人民銀行総裁の出席を見送った。尖閣問題で日本への抗議の意思をアピールするのが狙いだろう。

The world's second-largest economy is behaving as if it is showing little regard for a venue for the discussion of global economic issues. Such an attitude will never win the understanding of the international community.
 世界2位の経済大国が、グローバルな経済問題を協議する場を軽視するかのように振る舞う。国際社会の理解は得られまい。

Following anti-Japan demonstrations that spread across China, the Chinese government allowed people to stage a campaign to boycott Japanese products. Unit sales of Japanese carmakers, including Toyota Motor Corp., substantially dropped in China in September. Adverse impacts on Japanese companies' business are spreading.
 一時拡大した反日デモに続き、中国政府は日本製品の不買運動も容認した。トヨタ自動車など日系自動車メーカーの9月の販売台数は大幅に減った。日本企業のビジネスに悪影響が広がっている。

Also, many Chinese tourists have canceled visits to Japan, dealing a serious blow to airline companies and the tourism industry.
 観光客の訪日中止などで航空会社や観光業への打撃も大きい。

===

Avoid risky compromise

Under tangible and intangible pressure from China, Japanese business circles are asking the government to quickly resolve the situation. Referring to Japan's diplomacy toward China, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said, "We can't concede what we can't concede, but we want to explore what is possible."
 中国による有形無形の圧力を受け、日本の経済界は、政府に事態の早期打開を求めている。玄葉外相も対中外交に関して、「譲れないものは譲れないが、何が可能か模索したい」と述べた。

However, the government must not improvise its policies on the fly.
 ただし、拙速は禁物だ。

If the government easily compromises on the issue, Japan's sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands itself could be put in danger.
 安易に妥協すれば、尖閣諸島に関する日本の主権そのものが危うくなりかねない。

For years, China has made it a national policy to expand its territorial and maritime interests. Its goal for the time being is that Japan admit the existence of a territorial dispute over the islets and agree to sit at the negotiating table to discuss it. Beijing is expected to relentlessly apply pressure by various means until it extracts concessions from Japan.
 中国は長年、領土・海洋権益の拡大を国策としてきた。当面の目標は、日本が領有権問題を認め、領土を巡る交渉に応じることである。日本の譲歩を引き出すまで、執拗(しつよう)に、様々な圧力をかけてくるだろう。

However, the amount of international trust that China will lose by unilaterally continuing its diplomacy of pressure against Japan must be substantial.
 だが、中国が一方的な圧力外交を続けることで失う国際的な信用も大きいはずだ。

The government has unofficially decided to appoint Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Masato Kitera as the new ambassador to China to succeed Shinichi Nishimiya, who died before leaving for China to start his official duties as envoy. We urge the government to use the replacement of the ambassador to China as an opportunity to carefully seek common ground between Tokyo and Beijing.
 政府は、赴任前に死去した西宮伸一中国大使の後任に木寺昌人官房副長官補を内定している。大使交代を契機に、日中双方の接点を慎重に探ってもらいたい。

===

China held at bay for now

China is continuing to make its presence felt by sending surveillance ships to waters near the Senkaku Islands.
 尖閣諸島近海で、中国は監視船による示威行動を続けている。

However, Beijing has refrained from taking any action that could further escalate tension. This must be linked to recent moves the United States took to keep Chinese forces in check, such as dispatching two aircraft carrier strike groups to the Western Pacific and showing the news media a joint landing exercise by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Ground Self-Defense Force in Guam last month.
 ただ、緊張感をエスカレートさせる行為は控えている。米国が先月、西太平洋に二つの空母部隊を派遣したり、グアムでの米海兵隊と陸上自衛隊の上陸訓練を公開したりするなど、中国軍をけん制したことと無縁ではあるまい。

It is clear that the Japan-U.S. alliance is functioning to deter China's provocation.
 日米同盟が中国の挑発を抑止していることは明らかである。

The Japan Coast Guard, meanwhile, is forced to engage in vigilance and surveillance activities on a 24-hour basis. It has sent its patrol ships and boats from across the country to areas around the Senkaku Islands.
 海上保安庁は、全国の巡視船艇をやり繰りして尖閣周辺海域に派遣し、24時間態勢の警戒監視活動を余儀なくされている。

As long as it is necessary to maintain this preparedness for the long term, the government must take all possible measures, such as securing the necessary number of JCG personnel.
 こうした態勢を長期間堅持する必要がある以上、政府は、要員の確保などに万全の策を講じなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 11, 2012)
(2012年10月11日01時27分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月11日 (木)

オスプレイ配備 より強固な日米同盟の象徴に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 11, 2012)
Osprey should be symbol of stronger Japan-U.S. alliance
オスプレイ配備 より強固な日米同盟の象徴に(10月10日付・読売社説)

The U.S. military's new MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft have been deployed to Okinawa Prefecture.
 米軍の新型輸送機MV22オスプレイが沖縄に配備された。

The government must unbendingly continue its efforts to explain the purpose of the aircraft's deployment and its safety to local people concerned.
 政府は、その意義と安全性を地元関係者に粘り強く説明し続けなければならない。

During a meeting with Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda sought support for basing the Ospreys at the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station. "The major premises of the deployment are that it can be done safely and give utmost consideration to the daily lives of local residents," Noda said.
 野田首相が沖縄県の仲井真弘多知事と会談し、オスプレイの米軍普天間飛行場配備について「安全性の確保や地域住民の生活に最大限配慮することが大前提だ」と述べ、理解を求めた。

Nakaima pressed for the deployment to be reviewed, saying, "The Futenma base is located in a populous area, and it can't be said [the deployment] is safe in some aspects." The governor also handed Noda a written request that demanded the Japan-U.S. agreement on ensuring the safety of Osprey operations be followed to the letter.
 仲井真氏は「普天間基地は街の中にあり、安全と言えない面もある」と述べ、配備見直しを求めた。オスプレイ運用の安全確保に関する日米合意の徹底順守などを求める要請書も首相に手渡した。

To ensure the Ospreys operate safely, the government made various efforts such as conducting examinations of the aircraft, holding consultations in the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee and reaching an agreement on safety measures in the committee.
 オスプレイの安全性を追求するため、政府は、日本独自の検証や日米合同委員会の協議・合意など様々な手段を尽くしてきた。

===

Safety risks overblown

Some residents in Okinawa Prefecture have reported witnessing Ospreys fly in the helicopter mode used for vertical takeoffs and landings while in the skies above populated areas. They pointed out that this would be a violation of the Japan-U.S. agreement.
 沖縄では、「市街地上空で垂直離着陸(ヘリコプター)モードの飛行が目撃された。日米合意違反だ」といった指摘がある。

Nevertheless, the safest way to operate aircraft changes depending on such factors as weather conditions. It is out of the question that the U.S. forces would choose dangerous flight operations. We consider it unreasonable to immediately judge, based on the flight mode alone, that the agreement has been violated.
 だが、最も安全な飛行方法は気象条件などで変わる。米軍がわざわざ危険な飛行を選ぶはずもない。飛行モードだけで合意違反と速断するのは無理があろう。

The accident rate for the MV-22 Osprey is lower than the overall average for aircraft operated by the U.S. Marine Corps. In particular, the accident rate for the Osprey's first 100,000 flight hours is the lowest among the marines' aircraft. Based on this data, we think it is wrong to claim the Osprey is an extremely dangerous aircraft.
 MV22の事故率は海兵隊の全航空機平均より低い。特に、導入当初10万飛行時間の事故率は海兵隊では最小だ。データ面から見ても、オスプレイが極めて危険であるかのような主張はおかしい。

More importantly, the deployment of Ospreys strengthens the Japan-U.S. alliance and contributes to stability in Asia.
 さらに重要なのは、オスプレイ配備が日米同盟を強化し、アジアの安定にも寄与することだ。

China is stepping up its naval and air force activities in the East China Sea, which includes waters around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. Given the hefty increases in China's defense spending, it can be assumed that Beijing intends to continue beefing up and modernizing its vessels and aircraft over the mid- and long-term.
 中国が、沖縄県・尖閣諸島周辺を含む東シナ海で海空軍の活動を活発化させている。今後も、国防費の大幅な伸びを背景に、艦船や航空機の増強と近代化を中長期的に続けると見るべきだ。

===

Wide array of operations

Compared with CH-46 transport helicopters--the U.S. forces' current transport workhorse--Ospreys are far superior in terms of cruising speed and flight range. The new aircraft will help the marines improve their rapid response capabilities and strengthen the deterrent of U.S. military forces in Japan as a whole, not only as part of a strategy toward China.
 従来の米軍輸送ヘリCH46と比べて、オスプレイは巡航速度や航続距離が大幅に上回っている。海兵隊の即応力を高め、対中国戦略の一環だけでなく、在日米軍全体の抑止力の強化につながる。

Furthermore, the Ospreys will do more than just jump into action in the event of a contingency on the Korean Peninsula and when defending remote islands. The aircraft will play significant roles in times of peace, such as disaster response operations and providing humanitarian aid.
 朝鮮半島有事や離島防衛にとどまらず、災害対応や人道支援など、平時に果たす役割も大きい。

Noda should factor these points into his argument as he tries to win over Nakaima and other local government officials concerned.
 野田首相は、こうした観点からも、引き続き仲井真氏や地元自治体を説得すべきだ。

To make maximum use of the Osprey's capabilities, it is essential that U.S. forces conduct joint exercises with the Self-Defense Forces, in addition to drills on their own.
 オスプレイの能力を十分生かすには、米軍単独の訓練に加え自衛隊との共同演習が欠かせない。

In mid-October, the Ospreys are expected to begin full-scale operations in Okinawa Prefecture. Exercises using SDF bases elsewhere in the nation are likely to take place sometime in the future.
 今月中旬には、沖縄での本格運用が始まるほか、日本本土でも、自衛隊基地を使用した訓練がいずれ行われる方向だ。

These exercises should be steadily conducted to help reduce the excessive burden Okinawa Prefecture shoulders in hosting U.S. bases, by sharing the load around the nation.
 沖縄の過重な基地負担の一部を日本全体で引き受ける趣旨からも着実に実施に移したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 10, 2012)
(2012年10月10日01時09分  読売新聞)

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復興予算「転用」 被災地支援が後回しでは困る

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 11, 2012)
Aid to disaster-stricken areas must be given priority
復興予算「転用」 被災地支援が後回しでは困る(10月10日付・読売社説)

Fiscal allocations for the reconstruction of areas devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake have been used for projects not directly related to disaster-stricken areas.
 東日本大震災の復興予算が、被災地の再建とはかけ離れた事業に使われている。

This diversion of funds cannot be ignored.
 これでは、予算の「転用」であり、看過できない。

Under pressure from the Liberal Democratic Party at the House of Representatives Committee on Audit and Oversight of Administration, the Finance Ministry and other ministries listed projects under way. Many of the projects are suspected of not being essential to reconstruction.
 自民党の追及を受け、財務省などが衆院決算行政監視委員会の関係議員に示した。その中には、「果たして復興関連なのか」と首をかしげたくなる事業が少なからず盛り込まれていた。

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry earmarked the cost for dealing with Sea Shepherd, an antiwhaling organization, as part of its reconstruction budget. Its reasoning is that unless antiwhaling protests can be halted, it will affect the reconstruction of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, which has whale processing facilities.
 農林水産省は、反捕鯨団体シー・シェパードへの対策費を計上した。抗議活動を阻止しなければ、鯨肉加工施設がある宮城県石巻市の再建に影響するとの理屈だ。

The Justice Ministry allocated funds for vocational training programs at prisons in Saitama Prefecture and elsewhere on the grounds that inmates may work in disaster-stricken areas after being released. This argument is hardly persuasive.
 埼玉県などの刑務所での職業訓練費について、法務省は「出所者が被災地で働くかもしれない」としているが、説得力を欠く。

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry has provided a subsidy to a contact lens manufacturing plant in Gifu Prefecture because the plant procures materials from the disaster-stricken region.
 被災地から材料を調達しているから、として岐阜県のコンタクトレンズ工場などへの経済産業省の補助金もあった。

===

Okada's lame excuse

Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada explained at a news conference that "because we had to compile a huge budget within a short period, we didn't have time to go into details."
 岡田副総理は記者会見で、「短期間に大きな予算を組まなければならず、細部まで目が届かなかった」と釈明した。

Based on its basic reconstruction policy, the government originally estimated 19 trillion yen would be required for reconstruction in the first five years. A total of 18 trillion yen was allocated in the first to third supplementary budgets for fiscal 2011 and in the initial budget for fiscal 2012.
 復興予算は、復興基本方針で、必要な費用を当初5年間で19兆円と見積もり、2011年度1~3次補正予算と12年度当初予算で計18兆円を計上した。

The budgets are aimed at decontaminating areas affected by the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, rebuilding infrastructure damaged by the earthquake-triggered tsunami and disposing of debris.
 原発事故に伴う除染作業や津波被害で生じた社会資本の復旧、がれき処理などに充てられる。

Under the pretext of using tax hikes as a major resource to carry out reconstruction, the residential tax and income tax will be increased over 10- and 25-year periods, respectively.
主な財源は、10~25年間に及ぶ住民税や所得税などの復興増税だ。

The government offices insisted on the validity of their budget allocations, arguing that the basic reconstruction policy includes such wording as "antidisaster measures will be carried out across the nation" and "reconstruction of the disaster-devastated areas will be impossible without revival of the national economy."
 各府省は復興基本方針に「全国的に防災施策を行う」、「日本経済の再生なくして被災地の復興はない」といった文言があることから、予算の正当性を主張する。

It is true that measures also must be taken in other areas to prepare for disasters and prevent the hollowing out of industry.
確かに、被災地以外でも防災や産業空洞化対策は必要だ。

===

Significant delays

However, an anything-goes budget cannot be tolerated given the significant delays in the key reconstruction projects.
 しかし、肝心の復興が大幅に遅れている中で、「何でもあり」のような予算は許されまい。

If government offices earmark spending even for projects that should be dealt with normally by the state budget because the reconstruction budget does not have a strict ceiling, it will invite a strong backlash from people who cooperated in the government's tax increase plans.
 厳しい上限が設定されていない復興予算に目を付け、本来なら通常予算で対応すべき事業まで計上したのでは、増税に協力する国民から反発が強まるだろう。

On this matter, the LDP is calling for screening the projects although the Diet is not in session. The Diet must scrutinize whether the reconstruction budget is being used appropriately.
 自民党はこの問題について、閉会中審査を求めている。復興予算が適切に使われているかどうか、国会は十分に精査すべきだ。

Implementation of the budget has been delayed in disaster-stricken areas. Only 60 percent of the 15 trillion yen earmarked for fiscal 2011 was used before the fiscal year ended on March 31, 2012. Concerns have been voiced about the differences between what is in the budget and what is needed.
 被災地では予算執行が遅れている。11年度分に計上した15兆円のうち、年度内の消化は6割にとどまった。予算メニューとニーズの食い違いも指摘されている。

Tatsuo Hirano, state minister for disaster reconstruction, said, "We want to compile a budget for next fiscal year that will give priority to disaster-stricken areas." The government must make arrangements quickly so that the necessary funds can be allocated to these areas.
 平野復興相は「来年度はできるだけ被災地に特化した予算を作りたい」との意向を表明した。政府は、被災地に必要な資金が行き渡るよう迅速に手当てすべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 10, 2012)
(2012年10月10日01時09分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月10日 (水)

環境税導入 企業と家計の負担が重すぎる

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 10, 2012)
Green tax a big burden on businesses, households
環境税導入 企業と家計の負担が重すぎる(10月9日付・読売社説)

An environment tax aimed at dealing with global warming was introduced this month amid a host of challenges posed by dramatic changes in the energy situation.
 地球温暖化対策税(環境税)が今月から導入された。エネルギー情勢の激変で、問題を抱えてのスタートである。

The tax was imposed in addition to the petroleum and coal tax levied on oil, natural gas and other fossil fuels.
 環境税は、石油や天然ガスなど化石燃料にかかる石油石炭税に上乗せして課税される。

The tax rates will be raised again in two phases--in April 2014 and April 2016--bringing a projected additional tax revenue of 260 billion yen. This revenue is said to be aimed at increasing the use of renewable energy sources and curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
 導入時の税率は、2014年4月、16年4月に段階的に引き上げられ、2600億円の増税を見込む。税収は再生可能エネルギーの普及などに使い、温室効果ガスの排出を抑制する狙いという。

Of course, measures to deal with global warming are necessary. However, introduction of the environment tax was studied before the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011.
 もちろん、温暖化対策は必要だ。しかし、問題は、環境税が検討された時期が東日本大震災での福島第一原子力発電所事故が発生する前だったということである。

Originally, the government aimed to incorporate the environment tax in a tax system reform bill for fiscal 2011 but opposition from the Liberal Democratic Party prevented that. A bill calling for introduction of the tax in fiscal 2012 was passed by the Diet in March this year. However, we must question the propriety of introducing this tax as the bill is an unrevised version of the original one and fails to take into account changes in the situation.
 政府は当初、11年度の税制改正法案で導入を目指したが、自民党の反対で実現せず、今年3月に12年度実施の法案が成立した。環境税を取り巻く状況が変わったにもかかわらず、原案通りに導入されたことには疑問が残る。

===

End users will suffer

Electric power companies have sharply increased imports of fossil fuels for thermal power plant operations to make up for the suspension of nuclear power plant operations. This has forced the utilities to bear heavier tax burdens.
 原発の運転停止に伴い、電力各社は原発に代わる火力発電の燃料として化石燃料の輸入を急増させ、税負担は重くなっている。

The environment tax is paid by businesses using fossil fuels. But they pass this on in the form of higher electricity and gas charges, so consumers and other end users inevitably shoulder the burden.
 環境税は化石燃料を使う企業が納めるが、電力・ガス料金などに転嫁され、消費者など最終ユーザーが負担することになる。

Except for Tokyo Electric Power Co., utilities plan for the time being to postpone hikes in rates following the introduction of the environment tax. But if their business performances deteriorate due to a rise in fuel costs, they will find it unavoidable to increase rates.
 電力会社は、東京電力を除いて環境税に伴う値上げを当面見送る方針だ。だが、燃料コスト増大で収益が悪化すれば、いずれ値上げに踏み切らざるを得まい。

Because of fierce price competition, many gas stations have kept their prices unchanged as they cannot pass on the tax increase to their customers. The financial burden to be borne by the gas station industry is estimated to exceed 10 billion yen in the current fiscal year alone.
 価格競争が激しいガソリンスタンドの大半は、顧客に転嫁できずに価格を据え置いている。業界の負担額は、今年度だけで100億円を超えるとみられる。

Unless something is done, oil, chemical and steel industries may suffer a drop in international competitiveness due to an increase in the burden they will have to shoulder. Industrial circles naturally are calling for cuts in their tax burdens.
 このままでは、石油、化学、鉄鋼などの業界の負担が膨らみ、国際競争力が低下しかねない。産業界から負担軽減を求める声が出ているのも当然である。

An additional financial burden on households is also worrisome.
 家計の負担増も懸念される。

===

Inconsistent stance

The Environment Ministry estimates that the average family will face an additional financial burden of about 1,200 yen a year. But it must be noted that power rates have just been raised following full-fledged implementation of the feed-in tariff system in July.
 環境省は、一般家庭の負担増は年1200円程度と試算するが、7月に再生可能エネルギー全量買い取り制度が始まり、電力料金がアップしたばかりだ。

The Democratic Party of Japan-led administrations have been inconsistent in their environment and energy policies. The government's policy to end reliance on nuclear power generation runs counter to its measures against global warming. It is impossible to achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.
 民主党政権の環境・エネルギー政策は迷走を続けている。政府が打ち出した脱原発依存の方針は温暖化対策と逆行し、「20年までに1990年比で25%減」という温室効果ガス削減目標の達成は絶望的な状況だ。

Under such circumstances, introduction of the environment tax ahead of other options will not win public understanding.
 そうした中で、環境税だけを先行させても説得力はない。

The government has suggested various ways of using the tax revenue, including subsidizing local government energy-saving projects. But implementation of many of these projects is far from urgent or unlikely to be highly effective. The government must reconsider the environment tax, including the advisability of raising tax rates in the future.
 税収の使途も、自治体の省エネ事業補助など緊急性や効果に乏しい例が多い。今後の引き上げの是非を含めて再考すべきだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 9, 2012)
(2012年10月9日01時27分  読売新聞)

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ノーベル賞 山中氏への支援体制を手厚く

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 10, 2012)
Beef up support for research of Nobel laureate Yamanaka
ノーベル賞 山中氏への支援体制を手厚く(10月9日付・読売社説)

Kyoto University Prof. Shinya Yamanaka has been awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
 山中伸弥・京都大教授に、今年のノーベル生理学・医学賞が贈られることになった。

We offer our heartiest congratulations to him for winning this prestigious prize.
 その栄誉を称(たた)え、心から喜びたい。

It is the first time in 25 years that a Japanese won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The only other Japanese laureate in this field was Susumu Tonegawa, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in 1987.
 日本人が生理学・医学賞を受賞するのは、1987年の利根川進博士以来、25年ぶりである。

Yamanaka won the prize for developing a technology to reprogram somatic cells--a technology to return somatic cells such as skin cells to a state immediately after fertilization--the beginning of life. He was awarded the prize jointly with British scientist John Gurdon.
 山中教授の授賞理由は、皮膚などの体細胞を、生命の始まりである受精直後の真っさらな状態に戻す「体細胞初期化」技術を開発したことだ。同じ分野の先達である英国のジョン・ガードン博士との共同受賞となる。

After fertilization, cells develop into specific cells of various tissues and organs as they grow and gradually age. Yamanaka's research reversed this process, which previously went in only one direction.
 受精した細胞は、成長するにつれ、様々な組織や臓器の細胞に分化し、次第に老いてゆく。一方向にしか進まないこの過程を逆戻りさせたのが山中教授の研究だ。

It was an epoch-making achievement. Since Yamanaka announced results of his studies in 2006, his name has been at the top of the list of front-running Nobel candidates every year.
 画期的な業績である。山中教授は、2006年に成果を発表した後、毎年、ノーベル賞受賞者予想で筆頭に挙げられてきた。

===

Reprogramming cells

Yamanaka won the prize only six years after the announcement of his findings, probably due to the high expectations for the application of the technology in the medical field.
 6年でのスピード受賞となったのは、医療への応用に高い期待があるからだろう。

Cells reprogrammed using Yamanaka's technology are called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells. Organs and tissues damaged by diseases and injuries could theoretically be replaced with cells made from iPS cells. Such "regenerative medicine" is not just a dream anymore.
 山中教授の技術で初期化された細胞は「iPS細胞(新型万能細胞)」と呼ばれる。病気やケガで傷んだ臓器や組織を、iPS細胞で作った細胞で置き換える「再生医療」も、もはや夢ではない。

For instance, the technology could be used to treat a patient paralyzed from the waist down due to a damaged spinal cord. Injecting nerve cells developed from iPS cells made from the patient's skin cells might regenerate his nerves and enable him to walk.
 例えば、脊髄が損傷し下半身マヒとなった患者の治療だ。本人の皮膚細胞から作製したiPS細胞由来の神経細胞を注入すれば、拒絶反応なしに神経を再生でき、歩行が可能になるかもしれない。

Although Yamanaka's studies are still at the basic research stage, the technology has the potential to completely innovate medical technologies in the future.
 まだ基礎研究ながら、将来的には医療を一新する可能性を秘めていると言えよう。

Kyoto University, where Yamanaka works, has obtained international patents on iPS cells as part of its efforts to stay at the top of research and development in this field.
 山中教授の所属する京大は、iPS細胞の作製法で国際特許も取得し、研究開発でトップを維持しようと努めている。

===

Japan lags other nations

However, the United States and some European countries, for instance, have jumped ahead in research aimed at actually putting the technology to practical use. Yamanaka has repeatedly sounded the alarm about this development, saying, "The United States and Europe are way ahead in terms of research funds and human resources."
 しかし、実用化を目指す研究は欧米の方が先行している。山中教授は、「欧米は研究資金も人材もはるかに潤沢」と、繰り返し警鐘を鳴らしている。

In these nations, major pharmaceutical companies have been spending huge funds to advance iPS research. A shortage of researchers is not a problem for them.
 欧米では、大手製薬企業が巨費を投じて研究を進めている。研究者の層も厚い。

Japan lags behind, not only in the field of iPS cells, but also in research systems for new drugs and treatment techniques.
 これに対し日本では、iPS細胞に限らず、新薬、新治療法の研究体制で後れを取っている。

Yamanaka's Nobel Prize success is a prime opportunity for the whole nation to reinforce efforts to energize research labs.
 今回の受賞決定を契機に、国を挙げて、研究現場を活性化する取り組みを強化せねばならない。

Yamanaka's technology has also generated a new problem. Some observers have raised concerns that in research that fertilizes eggs with sperm, both created using iPS cell technology, a new life would be born through an abnormal reproduction process.
 山中教授の技術は、新たな問題も生んでいる。精子や卵子を作って受精させる研究では、通常の生殖を経ない生命誕生になる、との懸念が指摘されている。

Consideration of this issue from a bioethics viewpoint should not be neglected.
 生命倫理面での検討も、なおざりにはできない問題である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 9, 2012)
(2012年10月9日01時27分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月 9日 (火)

シニア消費 日本経済を牽引する団塊世代

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 9, 2012)
Baby boomers' consumption could be driving force for economy
シニア消費 日本経済を牽引する団塊世代(10月8日付・読売社説)

Consumption by elderly people has been picking up recently.
 高齢者層の消費が活発だ。

We hope their purchasing power will give the nation's economy a shot in the arm.
 この勢いを経済の活性化につなげたい。

Annual consumption by elderly people--mainly those aged 60 and older, including postwar baby boomers--topped 100 trillion yen for the first time in 2011. It accounted for 40 percent of domestic consumption.
 団塊世代など60歳以上を中心としたシニア層の消費は、2011年に初めて100兆円を超え、国内消費の4割を占めた。

Monthly consumption expenditure per household whose head is aged 65 to 69 has been on an upward trend. The growth rate of expenditure for this age group is above the average for all demographics.
 65~69歳の1世帯当たりの月間消費支出も増加基調で、伸び率は全世代平均を上回っている。

After retiring, elderly people tend to withdraw savings they squirreled away while they were working to spend on products they need or want. In economics, this is known as the "life-cycle hypothesis" (LCH).
 シニア層は、現役時代の貯蓄を引退後に取り崩して消費に回す傾向がある。経済学では「ライフサイクル仮説」として知られる。

In addition to this special characteristic, many baby boomers, who are happy to spend their money and have led their generation, started turning 65 this year. The baby boomers have apparently been adding momentum to unconventional patterns of consumption.
 そうした特性だけでなく、消費意欲が旺盛で時代をリードしてきた団塊世代が65歳を迎え、従来のパターンとは違う消費行動に弾みがついているのだろう。

===

Elderly population growing

The proportion of people 65 and older has reached 24 percent of the population. This figure is expected to top 30 percent in 2030. It is important to maintain the consumption trend of senior citizens as an engine supporting the economy.
 人口に占める65歳以上の割合は24%に達し、30年には30%を超える見込みだ。景気を支えるエンジン役として、シニア消費を持続させることが重要と言える。

Already business activities targeting seniors with time and money on their hands, such as supermarkets that open early in the morning and around-the-world cruises, have become popular.
 すでに、時間と経済にゆとりを持つ高齢者を狙ったスーパーの早朝開店や世界一周クルーズなどが人気を集めている。

However, many companies seem unable to shake off their traditional mindsets. Today's senior citizens are not all modest old folks. They are very active and quite a few are willing to splash out for things they feel are significant, even if they usually closely watch their pennies in everyday life.
 しかし、多くの企業は従来の発想から抜け出せていないのではないか。今のシニア層は、控えめな高齢者に限らない。活動的で、日常の支出は抑えても、自分が有意義と感じるこだわりの消費には出費を惜しまぬ人が少なくない。

It is not only consumption of tangible objects that is thriving, but also courses at culture schools and music schools, such as piano lessons. This suggests elderly people value spending time or having experiences that provide psychological satisfaction.
 モノの消費だけでなく、カルチャースクールや、ピアノなど音楽教室の盛況が示すように、心の満足を得る時間や体験を大切にする傾向がうかがえる。

They are enthusiastic about staying healthy and favor items that help slow the aging process, which has been a boon for sports clubs and cosmetics that keep them looking younger.
 健康の維持やアンチエイジングへの関心が高く、スポーツクラブや若々しさを保つ化粧品などの人気も高まっている。

===

Think outside the box

Potential money-spinners can be found in areas that many businesspeople assume would appeal more to young people. For instance, many elderly men are interested in sports cars. Many are accustomed to using personal computers and smartphones. The Internet is a familiar part of their daily life. They could contribute to the expansion of e-commerce.
 若者向けと考えがちな分野にも商機は広がる。スポーツカーに関心を持つシニア男性は多い。パソコンやスマートフォン(高機能携帯電話)の扱いに慣れ、インターネットは身近な存在だ。電子商取引の拡大にも貢献しよう。

We hope every corporation will sniff out the needs of elderly people and use their wisdom to develop or provide innovative products and services as well as cultivate new markets.
 各企業は、こうしたシニア層のニーズを掘り起こし、斬新な商品やサービスの提供、新市場の開拓に知恵を絞ってもらいたい。

When baby boomers turned 60 in 2007 through 2009, consumption did not pick up as much as expected. Factors behind this included growing concern over whether these baby boomers could keep working until they reached 65, and sluggish stock prices after the so-called Lehman shock.
 団塊世代が60歳に達した07~09年は、期待されたほどには消費が盛り上がらなかった。リーマン・ショック後の株価低迷に加え、65歳までの雇用確保への懸念が広がったことが要因とみられる。

The government must help erase elderly people's worries for the future by, for instance, implementing policies that will ensure social security systems can be stably maintained.
 社会保障制度を安定的に維持するなど、将来の不安を解消する政策の後押しも必要だ。

If the willingness to spend among the elderly encourages greater consumption among working generations, the Japanese economy would undoubtedly have a bonanza.
 シニア消費が牽引(けんいん)し、現役世代の消費も活発になれば、日本経済に好影響を及ぼすに違いない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 8, 2012)
(2012年10月8日01時27分  読売新聞)

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体育の日 運動習慣身につけ体力向上を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 9, 2012)
Get children into habit of regular physical exercise
体育の日 運動習慣身につけ体力向上を(10月8日付・読売社説)

Today is Health-Sports Day.
 きょうは「体育の日」だ。

We think this is a good day for the whole family to go out and get some exercise.
 家族で外に出て、体を動かす一日にしてみてはどうだろう。

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry has released the results of its fiscal 2011 survey on the physical strength and athletic ability of Japanese. This survey has been conducted every year since 1964, when the Summer Olympics were held in Tokyo.
 文部科学省が2011年度の体力・運動能力調査結果を公表した。東京五輪が開かれた1964年から毎年実施されている調査である。

The latest survey found that basic physical ability of primary, middle and high school students to run, throw and jump are showing signs of improvement after years of decline. Nevertheless, their athletic skills remain low compared with the peak results recorded around 1985.
 小中学生や高校生で、長年低下していた「走る」「投げる」「跳ぶ」といった基礎的な運動能力に、回復傾向が確認されたという。それでも、ピークだった85年頃と比べると、低い水準であることに変わりはない。

Among 11 year olds, only 34 percent of boys and 27 percent of girls could throw a ball farther than the average scores posted in fiscal 1985. The survey showed that in this activity, the less physical exercise children did, the lower they scored.
 11歳のボール投げで、85年度の平均値を上回ったのは、男子で34%、女子で27%にとどまっている。記録が伸びない子ほど、普段から運動する頻度が低い。

Children's dismal physical abilities are probably the result of changing living environments, such as less time spent playing outdoors due to the spread of cell phones and video game consoles.
 背景には、携帯電話やゲームの普及で外遊びが減るなど、子供たちを取り巻く生活環境の変化があるのだろう。

===

Start them young

It is important that children acquire the habit of getting plenty of exercise from their early years.
 幼い頃から運動習慣を身につけておくことが大切だ。

Some schools provide children with playtime before class, letting them jump rope and play tag. It is desirable that even children who are not fond of physical exercise are given as many fun opportunities as possible to exert themselves and build up a sweat.
 始業前に、縄跳びや鬼ごっこなど、遊びの時間を設けている学校もある。体育に苦手意識を持つ子も、楽しみながら汗を流せる機会をできるだけ多く作りたい。

The survey analyzed how often people of different age categories usually enjoy sports. The number of men and women taking part in sporting activities tends to decline from the latter half of their 20s, and bottom out in their 30s.
 今回、年齢別のスポーツ実施率を分析したところ、男女とも20歳代後半から低下傾向が始まり、30歳代で最も低くなっていた。

The tendency among many young parents to give up sports may have influenced their children's daily habits.
 若い親の世代のスポーツ離れが、その子供たちにも影響を及ぼしているのではないか。

The nation needs more facilities where parents and their children can easily take part in sports. More than 3,000 "comprehensive local sports clubs"--membership clubs managed by residents voluntarily and on their own initiative--dot the nation. Utilizing these clubs can be one idea to get more kids up and moving.
 親子で気軽に参加できるスポーツ環境の整備が求められる。地域住民が自主的・主体的に運営する会員制の「総合型地域スポーツクラブ」は、全国で3000を超えている。こうした場を利用するのも一つの方法だ。

===

Help kids in disaster-hit areas

Children's physical ability has declined sharply in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
 子供たちの体力低下が深刻なのは、東日本大震災の被災地だ。

A survey conducted between May and October last year by the Miyagi prefectural board of education found that children in primary, middle and high schools performed worse on average than the previous year in almost every event, such as a 50-meter run and sit-ups.
 宮城県教育委員会が昨年5~10月に実施した体力調査では、小中高校生とも50メートル走や上体起こしなど、ほとんどの種目で平均値が前年を下回った。

Temporary school buildings and makeshift homes for evacuees still stand in the grounds of many schools in coastal areas of Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, limiting spaces where children can play.
 宮城県や岩手県の沿岸部では、今も校庭に仮設校舎や仮設住宅が建てられている学校が多く、運動する場が不足している。

In Fukushima Prefecture, many people remain acutely worried about radioactive contamination stemming from the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Many parents reportedly are reluctant to let their small children play outside.
 福島県では、東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の事故による放射能汚染への不安が根強く残り、親が幼い子の外遊びを控えさせる傾向が続いているという。

Children will become important supporters of future communities in disaster-hit areas.
 子供たちは被災地の将来の大切な担い手だ。

The physical ability survey should continue to be conducted regularly. Securing places where children can run around, such as indoor athletic facilities at places other than schools, is an urgent task.
 継続的な体力調査が必要だろう。学校以外の場所に屋内運動施設を設置するなど、体を動かせる場所の確保が急務である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 8, 2012)
(2012年10月8日01時27分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月 8日 (月)

首都高速道路 東京再生につながる改修を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 8, 2012)
Revamping Tokyo's expressways could give capital a boost
首都高速道路 東京再生につながる改修を(10月7日付・読売社説)

How should a large-scale renovation be undertaken on Tokyo's aging expressway system?
 老朽化が進む首都高速道路の大規模改修をどう進めるか。

This is a crucial task that will affect disaster prevention preparations, redevelopment projects and distribution networks in the metropolitan area.
首都圏の防災や再開発、流通網にも影響する重要な課題だ。

An expert panel of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry has compiled a package of recommendations that call for the elevated Inner Circular Route to be shifted underground and for other routes of the weblike network to be revamped. We can understand why the recommendations go further than simply proposing an upgrade of the expressways and instead urge that Tokyo's shutoko tollways be radically overhauled.
 国土交通省の有識者会議が、都心環状線の地下移設やルート変更などを柱とする提言をまとめた。単なる設備更新にとどまらず、首都高の抜本再生を求めた点は理解できる。

We hope the ministry will launch studies with the Tokyo metropolitan government and Metropolitan Express Co., the operator of the network, about specifics of the envisioned changes.
 国交省は東京都や首都高会社と具体策の検討に入ってほしい。

Tokyo's expressways extend across the capital and three neighboring prefectures, making the network a major transport artery for the entire national economy.
 1都3県にまたがる首都高は、日本経済を支える大動脈だ。

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Dangerous curves, junctions

This year marks the 50th year since the first section of the expressway system opened. About 30 percent of the network's 300 kilometers was built at least 40 years ago.
しかし、最初の区間が開通してから今年で50年を迎え、総延長300キロのうち3割は完成後40年以上が経過した。

The expressways need repairs at nearly 100,000 locations, a threefold increase from seven years ago. Temporary fixes are approaching the limit of their usefulness.
補修が必要な損傷箇所は10万近く、7年間で3倍に増えた。応急処置も限界だ。

To build as many expressways as possible in time for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, most were constructed above existing roads and waterways to avoid land procurement problems. The result is that 95 percent of expressways are elevated or in tunnels, making it an unusual network by global standards.
 東京五輪に間に合わせるため、用地買収が不要な道路や水路の上の空間を利用した結果、全体の95%が高架橋やトンネルという世界でも特異な道路となっている。

The ministry panel focused its discussions on the Inner Circular Route because it has many tight curves and hazardous junctions on roads threading their way through densely built-up areas. Traffic accidents and congestion occur frequently. In addition, making expressways more earthquake-resistant is urgently needed in preparation for an expected powerful epicentral quake with its focus below Tokyo.
 有識者会議が都心環状線を問題視したのは、建物の間を縫う急カーブや無理な合流地点が多く、事故や渋滞が多発しているからだ。首都直下型地震に備えるため、耐震強化は急務だろう。

One of the panel's recommendations was to dismantle elevated sections that spoil Tokyo's landscape and hang ominously over areas and people below. This could be a good option for a new expressway system.
 東京の景観を損ね、周囲に圧迫感を与えている高架橋を撤去し、地下化を進める案は選択肢になりうるのではないか。

The biggest problem, of course, will be coming up with the more than 4 trillion yen that would be needed for this massive project.
 だが、最大の問題は、4兆円を超えるともされる巨額の建設費をどう確保するかである。

Considering the increasingly stringent government finances, the panel quite rightly pointed out that restructuring the expressways "should be funded not by counting on government money as much as possible, but instead mainly by toll revenues."
 厳しい財政事情を考えれば、有識者会議が「税金に極力頼らず、料金収入を中心に対応すべきだ」と指摘したのは当然と言える。

===

Draw lessons from overseas

However, a large jump in tolls could earn the ire of expressway users. Harnessing private-sector funds as much as possible by such means as selling land that will become vacant in prime locations after elevated sections are dismantled should be scrutinized.
 ただし、通行料金の大幅な値上げは、利用者の反発を招きかねない。高架の撤去後に空いた一等地の売却などで、できるだけ民間資金を活用する工夫が要る。

About 60 percent of vehicles that use the Inner Circular Route simply drive through the heart of Tokyo. This is a major cause of the chronic traffic jams, a situation that must be taken into account in remodeling the expressways.
 都心環状線に流入する車の6割は通過するだけで、それが慢性的な渋滞の原因となっている現状も併せて改善したい。

Some observers argue that the Inner Circular Route could be done away with by improving routes that form a concentric pattern in outer areas of the Inner Circular Route, such as the Central Circular Route and Tokyo Outer Ring Road, or Gaikando.
 首都圏の迂回(うかい)ルートとして、都心環状線の外側に同心円状に位置する中央環状線や、東京外郭環状道路の整備が進めば、都心環状線は不要だとする意見もある。

The reconstruction of expressways has rejuvenated the central part of many major cities, such as Seoul, Seattle, Duesseldorf and Paris. We hope these cities provide useful references for Tokyo's case.
 世界では近年、ソウル、シアトル、デュッセルドルフ、パリなど都心部の高速道路改修を都市再生につなげた事例が多い。大いに参考にしてもらいたい。

The Tokyo metropolitan expressway system is not alone in nearing the end of its expected service life. Many roads, bridges and water and sewerage systems built by the central and local governments across the country during Japan's high-growth days also are becoming decrepit.
 首都高に限らず、全国各地で高度成長期に国や自治体が整備した道路や橋、上下水道などが軒並み耐用年数を迎えている。

Renovating Tokyo's expressway network, if done successfully, could be a good model for upgrading aging infrastructure throughout the country.
首都高改修への取り組みは、老朽インフラ再生のモデルになるはずだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 7, 2012)
(2012年10月7日01時27分  読売新聞)

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原子力防災 実効性ある対策作りを急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 8, 2012)
Effective nuclear safety measures urgently needed
原子力防災 実効性ある対策作りを急げ(10月7日付・読売社説)

Lessons learned from the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. must be applied in nuclear disaster management measures in the future.
 東京電力福島第一原子力発電所事故の教訓を、今後の原発防災対策に生かさねばならない。

The newly established Nuclear Regulation Authority has revealed a draft of new guidelines on measures to protect local residents in the event of a nuclear accident. \
 新設の原子力規制委員会が、原発事故時に住民を守るための新たな「原子力災害対策指針」案をまとめた。

The authority plans to finalize the guidelines by the end of this month. The guidelines require municipalities concerned to draw up localized nuclear disaster management plans by March.
 規制委は指針を月内に最終決定する方針だ。関係市町村は、これに沿って来年3月までに地域の原子力防災計画を策定する。

The most important point in the draft guidelines is that the area in which careful preparations must be made for a nuclear crisis is expanded to within a 30-kilometer radius of a nuclear plant from the current eight- to 10-kilometer radius.
 最大のポイントは、原発事故に備えた防災対策の重点範囲を従来の「半径8~10キロ圏内」から「30キロ圏内」に拡大した点だ。

The new requirement follows the nuclear disaster management guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
国際原子力機関(IAEA)が提唱する防災基準に沿っている。

If the draft guidelines are officially endorsed, the number of municipalities required to draw up antidisaster plans will sharply rise to 135 from 45 at present. They will include areas that have never dreamed of preparing for a possible nuclear crisis.
 指針案により、防災対策を求められる市町村は、45から135へと急増する。これまで原発の防災とは無縁だった地域もある。

===

Do not repeat confusion

In the Fukushima nuclear accident, the central government and municipalities concerned issued mixed and confusing evacuation instructions, forcing residents to move from place to place for a long time.
 福島第一原発事故では、政府や市町村の避難指示が大混乱し、住民は長時間、転々と移動させられた。

Residents in some areas were forced to stay indoors without food supplies for more than a week. Such a situation should never recur.
食糧供給などがないまま、1週間以上、屋内退避を強いられた地域もある。二度と、こうした状況を繰り返してはならない。

Affected municipalities and prefectures are expected to draw up useful emergency plans such as detailed instructions on evacuation routes in each area.
 原発事故が起きた時、どの地域の住民を、どんなルートで避難させるかなど、対象となる市町村や道府県は、万が一の際に役立つ計画作りが求められる。

Especially, municipalities within a five-kilometer radius of a nuclear plant need carefully thought-out evacuation plans. According to the draft guidelines, residents in those areas must evacuate immediately in the face of a possibly imminent nuclear disaster. The municipalities will have to come up with measures to minimize confusion at the time of evacuation.
 とりわけ緻密な計画が必要なのは、半径5キロ圏内の市町村だ。指針案は、重大事故の恐れがある場合に「即時避難」の対象としている。避難時の混乱を最小限に抑える対策が重要になる。

The draft guidelines also stipulate that iodine tablets will be distributed in advance to households within a 50-kilometer radius of nuclear facilities to protect thyroid glands of local residents from radiation exposure in case of a nuclear crisis.
 さらに原発から50キロ圏内では、甲状腺被曝(ひばく)を防ぐ安定ヨウ素剤を各戸に事前配布することにもなった。

This measure will be taken based on a fact that radioactive iodine from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was scattered over a wide range of areas.
福島第一原発事故で放射性ヨウ素が広範囲に拡散したことを踏まえた措置だ。

Disaster-management requires close coordination between the central government and local governments concerned. The lack of such coordination at the time of the Fukushima nuclear accident has been severely criticized by the Diet and government commissions that investigated the accident.
 こうした防災計画に欠かせないのが、政府と関係自治体の密接な連携だ。福島第一原発事故では、その欠如が国会や政府の事故調査委員会で厳しく指摘された。

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Sharing info on nuclear crisis

Only the central government can grasp the actual situation arising from a nuclear accident and the resulting amount of radioactive contamination. It must build a system to quickly provide municipalities concerned with high-priority information.
 原発事故の状況や放射能汚染の程度は、政府にしか把握することが出来ない。最重要の情報を速やかに市町村に伝達する体制を築くことが肝要である。

Some of the municipal governments demand the central government seek their consent before reactivating idle nuclear power reactors because the municipalities are located in areas that require careful preparations against a nuclear crisis under the draft guidelines.
 今回の指針案で防災対策の重点範囲に入ったことを理由に、原発再稼働について事前同意を求めている自治体もある。

However, Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said drawing up a nuclear accident management plan is not a required condition when the authority judges the safety of a nuclear plant.
"The regulation authority should not be involved," Tanaka said."It's an issue between power utilities and local governments."
 規制委の田中俊一委員長は「規制委が関与すべきではなく、電力会社と自治体の問題」とし、防災計画整備を安全判断の必要条件にはしない、との見解を示した。

We think this is a reasonable judgment. The regulation authority should focus its energy on consistently improving the safety of nuclear plants from a technological point of view.
 妥当な判断である。規制委はあくまで、技術的観点から原発の安全性向上に力を注ぐべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 7, 2012)
(2012年10月7日01時27分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月 7日 (日)

女性宮家案 皇室活動の安定へ議論深めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 7, 2012)
Govt should deepen discussions to maintain Imperial activities
女性宮家案 皇室活動の安定へ議論深めよ(10月6日付・読売社説)

To ensure the smooth continuity of Imperial family activities, setting a direction on the issue is a step forward.
 皇室活動の安定性を確保するために、方向性を打ち出したことは一定の前進である。

The government has released a summary review of its proposal for future Imperial family systems, based on experts' opinions. It states that consideration should be given to the idea of enabling female members to retain their Imperial status after marriage to commoners and to create their own Imperial branches.
 政府は有識者のヒアリングを踏まえ、皇室制度に関する論点整理を公表した。女性皇族が一般男性と結婚した後も皇室に残ることを可能とする女性宮家創設案について、「検討を進めるべきである」と明記した。

We consider this idea reasonable. It is also understandable that the government would limit such retention of Imperial status only to naishinno princesses--daughters and granddaughters of the Emperor--to curb fiscal spending.
 妥当な内容だろう。財政支出を抑制する観点から、結婚後も皇室にとどまることが出来る女性皇族を天皇の子・孫である内親王に限定した点も理解出来る。

Currently, the Imperial family consists of the Emperor and 21 other members. Prince Hisahito, the eldest son of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, is the only male child in the Imperial family.
 現在の皇室は、天皇陛下と21人の皇族で構成されている。幼少の男性皇族は、秋篠宮ご夫妻の長男、悠仁さま一人だけだ。

The Imperial House Law stipulates that female members of the Imperial family relinquish their Imperial status after marrying commoners.
 皇室典範は、女性皇族が皇族以外の男性と結婚される場合は皇族の身分を離れると定めている。

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Shrinking Imperial family

The summary review expresses strong concern that a decrease in the number of Imperial family members, as a result of female members losing their Imperial status after marriage, could make it difficult for the family to maintain its official activities.
 論点整理は、「女性皇族が、婚姻を機に皇籍を離脱することで、皇族数が減少し、皇室のご活動を維持することが困難になる事態」に強い危機感を示している。

Six of the eight unmarried female members of the Imperial family, including Princess Mako, the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, have already reached the age of majority.
 未婚の女性皇族8人のうち秋篠宮ご夫妻の長女、眞子さまをはじめ6人が既に成人された。

If discussions over the status of Imperial women is prolonged, it could affect their marriage prospects.
 女性皇族の結婚後の身分をめぐる議論が長期化すれば、眞子さまらのご結婚にも深刻な影響を及ぼしかねない。

In light of this, it is rational for the government to speed up work to consider creating female Imperial branches with the understanding that opinions of the female Imperial family members will be reflected.
 政府が、本人の意思を尊重することを前提に女性宮家創設の検討を急ぐのは当然と言える。

In the latest discussion, the government made sure that no revisions would be made to Article 1 of the Imperial House Law, which says that only male descendants from the male line of Imperial ancestors can succeed to the throne.
 政府は男系男子による皇位継承を定めた皇室典範1条は改めないことを、今回の議論の大前提とした。

The government stopped short of taking up the issue of Imperial succession probably because it gave top priority to moving the discussion forward without letting it stall over a controversial matter.
皇位継承問題に踏み込まなかったのも、議論の進展が最優先と考えたからだろう。

However, the proposed system of allowing female members of the Imperial family to establish their own Imperial branches after marriage poses a new question as to whether their husbands and children should be given Imperial status. The government did not elaborate on this issue in the proposal, only listing the options of giving or not giving Imperial status to them.
 女性皇族が結婚後も皇室にとどまって宮家を創設した場合も問題はある。その夫や子供に対し皇族の身分を付与すべきかどうかといった点だ。これについても両論併記にとどめている。

===

Opposition to female branches

During hearings from experts, some of them expressed strong opposition to the idea of creating female Imperial branches. They criticized the idea because creating such a system could make it possible for a member of a female line to succeed to the throne, and that would break Imperial traditions.
 ヒアリングでは、女性宮家創設への強い反対もあった。将来の女系天皇誕生につながる恐れがあり、皇室の伝統を破壊するとの批判も一部の識者から出された。

Apparently taking such a view into consideration, the summary review calls for female Imperial branches to exist for only one generation.
 こうした議論を踏まえ、論点整理では、女性宮家を創設した場合でも一代限りとした。

The government also proposed that female members participate in Imperial activities as national public servants after losing their royal status upon marriage.
 さらに、女性皇族は結婚して皇族の身分を離れても、国家公務員として皇室活動を支援するという案も示している。

However, this idea is unlikely to stave off the decline in the number of Imperial family members.
 ただ、これでは皇族の減少に歯止めをかけることは出来まい。

The government said it will ask for public comments on future Imperial family systems. It needs to continue discussions toward revising the Imperial House Law.
 政府は今後、国民から広く意見を募るという。皇室典範改正に向けた議論を、さらに継続していく必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 6, 2012)
(2012年10月6日01時06分  読売新聞)

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秋の臨時国会 先送りは政権の責任放棄だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 7, 2012)
Govt must convene Diet swiftly and not abdicate responsibility
秋の臨時国会 先送りは政権の責任放棄だ(10月6日付・読売社説)

Moves are afoot that may lead to postponement of talks between the leaders of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the two major opposition parties, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, as well as delay the convocation of an extraordinary Diet session that was scheduled for this autumn.
 民主、自民、公明3党の党首会談と秋の臨時国会が先送りされるような動きが強まってきた。

This undoubtedly runs contrary to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's stated goal of realizing "politics capable of making resolute decisions."
 野田首相が掲げる「決断する政治」に、明らかに逆行している。

The LDP's new president, Shinzo Abe, met Komeito chief Natsuo Yamaguchi on Friday, and they agreed to pressure Noda to dissolve the House of Representatives for a general election this year, based on the prime minister's pledge in August to do so "sometime soon."
 自民党の安倍総裁と公明党の山口代表が会談し、「近いうち」の衆院解散・総選挙という首相の約束に基づき、「年内の解散」を要求する方針で一致した。

In the meeting, Yamaguchi said voting and vote counting for a general election should be completed no later than Dec. 9, a date he considered a "commonsense" time limit.
山口氏は12月9日投開票が「常識的なリミット(期限)」と指摘した。

The heads of the two major opposition parties also confirmed they would press the prime minister in a meeting of the three parties' chiefs to clearly explain how he would pass a bill submitted by the government to enable the issuance of deficit-covering bonds.
 両氏は、赤字国債発行を可能にする特例公債法案の成立への「解決策」を首相が3党首会談で示すよう求めることも確認した。

===

Govt, DPJ bear more blame

Noda's pledge to dissolve the lower house soon was part of the three-party agreement reached over comprehensive reform of the social security and tax systems. We see the demand made by the LDP and Komeito for this pledge to be fulfilled as reasonable.
 「近いうち」の解散は、社会保障と税の一体改革に関する民自公3党合意に含まれる。自公両党が履行を求めるのは理解できる。

A delay in passing the bond bill would force the government to cut back on spending called for in the state budget, which could adversely impact local government finances and people's lives. The opposition camp, therefore, should not make approval of the bond bill contingent on dissolving the lower house.
 ただ、特例公債法案成立が遅れれば、政府予算の執行抑制により地方財政や国民生活に一層の悪影響を及ぼす。野党は、解散を法案成立の条件にすべきではない。

However, more problematic by far is how the government and the DPJ have dealt with these matters.
 無論、より問題が大きいのは政府・民主党の対応である。

It should be noted that it was Noda's idea to hold a meeting of the leaders of the three parties, as he wanted to "reconfirm the three-party agreement" on social security and tax reform.
 そもそも「一体改革の3党合意を再確認したい」と3党首会談を言い出したのは、野田首相だ。

However, the prime minister and his party have failed even to sound out the LDP and Komeito about the feasibility of a meeting of the heads of the three parties, despite a full week having passed since Abe became LDP president. We feel the DPJ sorely lacks the sense of responsibility required of a ruling party.
安倍氏の総裁選出後、既に1週間以上になるのに、会談の打診さえしていないのは、政権党の自覚を欠いているのではないか。

Moves by DPJ lawmakers to leave the party have continued even after the party's leadership election last month. If eight more DPJ Diet members were to bolt, the ruling bloc would lose its majority in the lower house.
 民主党は代表選後も離党の動きが収まらない。あと8人が離党すれば与党全体でも衆院の過半数を割る。

The party also fears that if an extraordinary Diet session were convened without an agreement in place with the LDP and Komeito on key issues, the ruling camp would be unable to defeat a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet, thus forcing the prime minister to dissolve the lower house.
自公両党との合意もなしで臨時国会を開けば、内閣不信任決議案を否決できず、解散に追い込まれかねないとの懸念がある。

===

No excuse for procrastination

The revelation that a prefectural DPJ chapter headed by Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka received donations from a company run by a Taiwan national has dealt a fresh blow to the Noda administration.
 田中法相が代表を務める党総支部が、在日台湾人の経営する会社から政治献金を受けていたことも政権への新たな打撃となった。

Earlier, the DPJ faced two similar scandals where political donations from foreign nationals, which are banned by the Political Funds Control Law, were accepted by former Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Seiji Maehara, the current state minister in charge of national policy.
 民主党では、菅前首相や前原国家戦略相にも外国人献金が発覚している。

The fact that Tanaka was appointed to the Cabinet without sufficient investigation into whether he was free of such problems makes us question the DPJ's capacity to govern.
同様の問題がないか、事前に十分確認することなく、田中氏を入閣させたこと自体、党の統治能力に疑問符が付く。

The government choosing not to convene a Diet session for fear of being brought to task by the opposition over these issues would be a grave mistake in terms of priorities.
 こうした問題などを追及されることを恐れて、国会を開かないというなら、本末転倒である。

No time must be wasted in passing the bill to allow deficit-covering bonds to be issued, as well as legislation to rectify vote-value disparities in lower house elections. These urgent political tasks must be accomplished through an extraordinary Diet session as early as possible.
 特例公債法案や衆院選の「1票の格差」是正は、もはや先送りができない。早急に臨時国会を開き、優先的に処理すべきだ。

The Noda Cabinet should not be allowed to put off convening the Diet while trying to shift the blame for being unable to issue deficit-covering bonds to the opposition and asserting the lower house cannot be dissolved because of the "state of unconstitutionality" of the electoral system.
 野田政権が国会召集を先延ばしする一方で、赤字国債が発行できない責任を野党に押しつけ、「違憲状態」では解散できないと主張するのは、許されない。

It is questionable whether any administration that fails to address policy matters and attempts to delay dissolution of the lower house is fit to survive.
 政策に取り組まず、解散を遅らせることを目標とするような政権は、存在意義が問われる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 6, 2012)
(2012年10月6日01時06分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月 6日 (土)

原発再稼働判断 政府の責任回避は許されない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 6, 2012)
Govt must take responsibility on N-reactor reactivation
原発再稼働判断 政府の責任回避は許されない(10月5日付・読売社説)

Confusion within the government is evident over procedures to make judgments on whether to allow the restart of idled reactors at nuclear power stations. It is necessary to quickly establish a system to enable smooth reactivation of the reactors.
 原子力発電所の再稼働の是非を判断する手続きを巡って、政府内に混乱が生じている。円滑に再稼働できる体制を早急に整える必要がある。

The government's Nuclear Regulation Authority has decided it will confirm the safety of nuclear reactors but will not be involved in making judgments on their reactivation.
 政府の原子力規制委員会は、原発の安全性を確認するが、再稼働の判断には関与しないとの見解をまとめた。

NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said judgments on whether to restart nuclear reactors should be made by the ministry and agency in charge of energy affairs, and other NRA commissioners agreed to this stance.
 田中俊一委員長が「原発再稼働の判断はエネルギーを担当する省庁にお願いすべきだ」と発言し、他の委員も同調した。

The NRA, launched last month, is tasked with screening the safety of nuclear reactors from specialized and scientific viewpoints. Given the purpose of the law on establishing the NRA, the board's stance on the matter is largely understandable.
 先月発足した規制委は、専門的で科学的な見地から、原発の安全性を審査する役目を担う。規制委設置法の趣旨を踏まえれば、今回の見解はおおむね理解できる。

It is essential that the NRA explain the results of their safety screenings, as well as the grounds for their conclusions, to local governments and residents near reactors in an easy-to-understand manner. We hope the NRA will take thorough measures for that end.
 規制委は、原発の安全性の審査結果について、根拠も含めて地元自治体や周辺住民に分かりやすく説明することが重要だ。そのための態勢も整えてもらいたい。

===

Too much remains unclear

What is problematic is that it remains unclear how the Prime Minister's Office and other government bodies, including the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, will be involved in the reactor restart decision-making process.
 問題は、首相官邸や経済産業省など関係府省が、再稼働にどう関与するかが不透明なことだ。

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said it had not been considered that the government would hold meetings of concerned Cabinet ministers or others to make such judgments. Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano also has said it will be the utility companies that operate nuclear plants who will work to obtain local consent.
 藤村官房長官は、政府として再稼働を判断する関係閣僚会議などを「開催することは考えていない」と述べた。枝野経済産業相も地元に了解を得るのは事業者だ、としている。

It cannot be helped if the government is seen as trying to shirk the most difficult task of persuading local governments and residents.
 これでは、最も困難な作業である地元の説得を、政府としては回避したいという思惑があると見られても仕方あるまい。

The government's official policy is to use nuclear plants as an important source of electricity, after their safety is confirmed. If the government leaves all processes concerning reactivation to electricity utilities, we would consider it irresponsible.
 政府は、安全確認を終えた原発を重要電源として活用する方針を掲げている。電力会社に再稼働問題を“丸投げ”するのであれば無責任ではないか。

===

Officials must be at forefront

Local distrust in utility companies is deep-seated. In the process to decide the restart of the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors of Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi nuclear plant this summer, relevant Cabinet ministers made persistent efforts to persuade local governments. The ministers also held consultations with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, and reactivation was realized at last.
 電力会社に対する地元の不信感は依然として根強い。今夏の関西電力大飯3、4号機の再稼働時でも、関係閣僚が地元自治体を粘り強く説得し、野田首相との協議を経て、ようやく再稼働にこぎ着けた経緯がある。

Unless the government visibly takes on responsibilities, it will be hard for local governments to give consent to reactivation.
 政府が責任を持つ姿勢を示さなければ、地元自治体は再稼働に応じにくいだろう。

Regarding nuclear reactors whose safety is confirmed by the NRA, the government needs to make judgments on reactivation from comprehensive viewpoints with such aspects as the balance in supply and demand taken into account.
 規制委が安全性を確認した原発については、政府が電力需給の観点なども踏まえ、総合的に再稼働の是非を判断する必要がある。

In fact, it was the administration of former Prime Minister Naoto Kan that abruptly brought up the idea of requiring stress tests to check the disaster-resistance of reactors, thus raising hurdles and failing to allow the restart of reactors whose regular inspections had been completed.
 そもそも、唐突にストレステスト(耐性検査)の必要性を持ち出し、定期検査を終えた原発の再稼働を認めず、再稼働のハードルを上げたのは菅政権だ。

For the most part, the Noda administration has basically stuck to its predecessor's policy course.
 野田政権もその路線を基本的に引き継いでいる。

However, Noda once said, "Giving consideration to impacts on the people's daily lives and the economy, the government will be responsible for making final judgments [on reactivation]."
 野田首相はかつて再稼働について、「国民生活や経済への影響を勘案し、政府が最終的に責任を持って判断する」と述べた。

He should not change this stance.
この姿勢を崩してはなるまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 5, 2012)
(2012年10月5日01時15分  読売新聞)

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米大統領選討論 ロムニー善戦でオバマ守勢に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 6, 2012)
Romney's good fight put Obama on the defensive
米大統領選討論 ロムニー善戦でオバマ守勢に(10月5日付・読売社説)

Democratic incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had a face-to-face confrontation Wednesday in Denver in their first televised debate ahead of the U.S. presidential election to be held on Nov. 6.
 11月6日の米大統領選投開票に向け、民主党候補のオバマ大統領と共和党候補のロムニー前マサチューセッツ州知事が直接対決する、第1回テレビ討論会が行われた。

Presidential debates, three of which will be held this year, are important events that give voters a chance to evaluate the candidates based on aspects of how they look on TV, such as their expressions and demeanor, as well as what they debate.
 計3回行われる討論会は、討論の中身は無論、表情や態度などテレビ映りの良さが有権者の判断材料となる重要なイベントだ。

The debates are critical for Romney to turn the tables on his rival as he sees the voters' support for him remain sluggish partly due to his own verbal lapses. As his approval ratings have been plummeting in closely contested states, there will be no hope for Romney to win the race if he fails in the debates.
 自らの失言で支持率がなかなか伸びないロムニー氏にとって、劣勢を挽回する重要な機会である。激戦州で支持率が急落していただけに失敗すれば勝ち目はない。

In polls taken right after the debate, Romney appeared to be viewed as the winner, probably because his going aggressively on the offensive proved effective. It can be said the ultimate outcome of the race has become uncertain again.
 終了直後の世論調査でロムニー氏に軍配が上がったのは、積極的に攻めに出たのが功を奏した結果だろう。選挙戦の行方は再び混沌(こんとん)としてきたと言える。

===

Romney was in his element

Economic and domestic issues, the focus of the first debate, were where Romney, who has succeeded as a corporate executive, is at his strongest.
 第1回討論のテーマ「経済・内政」は、経営者として成功したロムニー氏の得意分野だった。

The U.S. economy is in a critical state. It has been unable to pull itself out of its slowdown, and the jobless rate remains high. No president has ever been reelected since the end of World War II with the jobless rate hovering in the 8-percent range.
 米経済の状況は厳しい。景気減速から抜け出せず、失業率は高止まりしている。第2次世界大戦後、失業率8%台で再選された米大統領はいない。

The first debate proved advantageous for Romney as he criticized Obama's misadministration in the past four years, while Obama, aiming to be reelected, was forced onto the defensive.
 4年間の「失政」を攻撃するロムニー氏には有利で、再選を目指すオバマ氏は防戦に追われた。

Both candidates are being tested as to how they would realize a robust economic recovery and whether each can present any effective prescriptions to that end. In the debate, the differences in their policies have come to light once again.
 両候補に問われているのは、力強い景気回復をどう実現していくのか、実効性ある処方箋を示すことである。討論では、政策の違いが改めて浮かび上がった。

Obama's stance attaches great importance to the role of the federal government in creating jobs. He put forward his cherished ideas, such as tax cuts for middle-income taxpayers; the rehiring of former teachers; investment in schools, roads and other public infrastructure; and expanded use of renewable energy.
 オバマ氏は、雇用を創出するため、連邦政府の役割を重視する立場だ。中間所得層向け減税、教員の再雇用、学校や道路など公共投資、再生エネルギーの拡大などの持論を展開した。

Romney criticized Obama's budget policies as fiscal expansion, while emphasizing the need to enhance the private sector's vitality by making sizable tax cuts, including ones for upper-income households, and deregulation. He also renewed his public pledges to promote the nation's energy independence and create 12 million jobs.
 ロムニー氏は財政膨張だと批判し、富裕層を含む大幅減税と規制撤廃で民間の活力を高める必要性を強調した。エネルギー自給の推進や1200万人の雇用創出を改めて公約した。

===

Details needed on both sides

How can financial resources be secured? Or how can such a large-scale job creation be realized without economic stimulus measures through more government spending? In the economic stimulus measures put forward by the two candidates, there are more than a few that need to be worked out in detail.
 財源をどう確保するのか。財政出動による景気刺激策なしに大規模な雇用を創出できるのか。両候補の景気浮揚策には、詰めるべき点が少なくない。

U.S. fiscal deficits have topped the 1 trillion dollars mark for four fiscal years in a row. The challenge of putting the fiscal house in order is an important task on which no time can be wasted.
 財政赤字は、4年続けて1兆ドルを超えている。財政再建は待ったなしの重要な課題だ。

In his budget-cutting plan to trim the deficit, Obama does not treat national defense spending as an exception. But Romney opposes cuts in such spending. How will fiscal rehabilitation affect future U.S. military strategy, which attaches importance to Asia? This is also an issue that is related to the national security of Japan.
 そのために必要な歳出削減で、オバマ氏は国防費も例外扱いにしないが、ロムニー氏は反対だ。財政再建が今後、アジアを重視する米国の軍事戦略にどう影響してくるのか。日本の安全保障にもかかわる問題である。

Diplomatic issues will be one of the topics covered in the second and third debates. U.S. policy toward China will probably become a major issue. We would like to pay close attention to how the debates turn out, as they may decide which side will win in the closely contested presidential race.
 2回目、3回目の討論では外交もテーマとなる。対中政策が大きな争点となろう。接戦の帰趨(きすう)を決める論戦の行方を注視したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 5, 2012)
(2012年10月5日01時15分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月 5日 (金)

原子力大綱中止 政策迷走に拍車をかけないか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 5, 2012)
Atomic Energy Commission must remain active on nuclear policy
原子力大綱中止 政策迷走に拍車をかけないか(10月4日付・読売社説)

Won't the recent decision by the Cabinet Office's Atomic Energy Commission allow the nation's nuclear energy policy to veer even further off course? We cannot help but feel uneasy about this.
 原子力政策の迷走に拍車をかけないか。危惧を抱かざるを得ない。

The commission has decided to halt work on revising the policy outline for nuclear energy, which serves as the basic policy for using nuclear power.
 内閣府原子力委員会が原子力利用の基本方針である「原子力政策大綱」の改定を中止した。

The commission said it made the decision because nuclear policy will be decided from now on mainly by the Energy and Environment Council, which is comprised of the prime minister and relevant Cabinet members.
 原子力政策については今後、首相や関係閣僚で構成する「エネルギー・環境会議」を中心に決めることになったため、という。

Nuclear power experts and others concerned have been sidelined. We doubt that fruitful discussions to set nuclear energy policy will occur in the council.
 原子力発電の専門家や関係者は脇に追いやられた形だ。政策決定にあたり、実のある議論ができるのか、大いに疑問である。

===

End of a 56-year history?

The commission of nuclear energy experts and others was established in 1956 through the Atomic Energy Fundamental Law.
 専門家らで構成される原子力委は1956年、原子力基本法に基づき設置された。

In its early years, the commission led the introduction of domestic nuclear power generation and reviewed the nation's basic policy on nuclear energy about every five years. In recent years, the commission has taken charge of international cooperation under the government policy of promoting the export of nuclear power plants.
 初期には、原子力エネルギー導入を主導し、ほぼ5年ごとに、原子力の基本政策を見直してきた。近年は政府の原発輸出方針を受け、国際協力も担ってきた。

The Energy and Environment Council views abolishing the commission as an option. The council was established last year by then Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who supported breaking away from nuclear energy. The council's existence has no legal basis.
 エネ環会議は、原子力委の廃止も視野に入れている。だが、エネ環会議は「脱原発」を掲げた菅前首相が昨年設置した組織だ。その位置付けに法的な根拠がない。

It is this council that has disrupted the nation's energy policy.
 そもそも、日本のエネルギー政策を混乱させているのが、このエネ環会議である。

In September, it released the Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment--centered around achieving zero nuclear power by the 2030s--but the plan lacked concrete steps to ensure a stable supply of electricity.
 9月に「2030年代までに原発ゼロ」を柱とする「革新的エネルギー・環境戦略」をまとめたが、電力を安定供給するための具体策を欠いている。

Even while the council claims it supports the zero-nuclear option, it allowed construction of new nuclear plants to continue. It also said it will maintain the nuclear fuel cycle to reuse spent nuclear fuel.
 「原発ゼロ」を掲げながら、原発の建設続行を容認した。原発の使用済み核燃料を再利用する核燃料サイクル政策も進めるという。

These are contradictions--plain and simple. The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry has stopped working on a basic energy plan.
矛盾以外の何ものでもない。経済産業省のエネルギー基本計画作りも止まっている。

===

A collapse of policymaking

Since the commission stopped work on the nuclear policy outline, a blank spot in the nation's energy policy could be created. "Honestly, I can't see any prospects for the process of building up policies," said Shunsuke Kondo, chairman of the commission.
 加えて、大綱の改定が中止されたことで、原子力政策の空白が生じよう。原子力委の近藤駿介委員長も、「正直言って、政策を積み上げるプロセスの先行きが見えない」と述べている。

If nuclear energy policy continues to stray off course, the reactivation of the halted nuclear reactors across the country and their operations in the future will become uncertain. Also, local governments hosting nuclear plants could see a serious negative impact on their economies and employment situations.
 迷走が続けば、各地の原発の再稼働や、その後の原発の運転も見通せなくなる。原発立地自治体の地域経済や雇用などに、甚大な悪影響を与えかねない。

Growing public distrust and anxiety could make it impossible to win support for the nation's nuclear energy policy.
 各地で不信や不安が増すと、原子力政策への協力が得られなくなる恐れがある。

Japan, a nation without nuclear weapons, is continually asked to explain its use of nuclear energy to the world. But how much can the world trust a nuclear energy policy that is contradictory?
 非核兵器保有国である日本は、原子力利用について国際的な説明責任を常に求められている。矛盾を抱えた政策が、どこまで世界に信頼されるのだろうか。

For nuclear energy policy, it is indispensable to have a long-term strategy based on 100-year increments that encompasses every activity from the procurement of nuclear fuel to the final disposal of spent fuel.
 原子力政策では、核燃料の確保から使用済み核燃料の最終処分まで、100年単位の長期的な戦略が欠かせない。

Formulation of a firm nuclear energy policy based on the wisdom of experts is an imperative.
専門家の知見を生かして、確固たる政策を築くことが何より重要である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 4, 2012)
(2012年10月4日01時39分  読売新聞)

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生活保護改革 自立促す就労支援に本腰を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 5, 2012)
Govt must do more to help welfare recipients find jobs
生活保護改革 自立促す就労支援に本腰を(10月4日付・読売社説)

The number of people receiving welfare benefits in Japan has reached a new record of 2.11 million, and they are expected to receive a total of 3.7 trillion yen this fiscal year.
 生活保護の受給者は、211万人と過去最多を更新し、今年度の給付額は3兆7000億円にのぼると見込まれる。

The government must knuckle down to help people who need financial help become self-reliant.
政府は、生活困窮者の自立支援に本腰を入れるべきだ。

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has drafted a set of measures to help people who need financial help. The measures--the first of their kind--focus on job assistance. The ministry plans to compile a livelihood support strategy by the end of this year and submit related bills during an ordinary Diet session next year.
 厚生労働省は、就労支援に力点を置いた初の生活困窮者政策案をまとめた。年内に「生活支援戦略」として策定し、来年の通常国会で関連法案を提出する方針だ。

About 300,000 welfare recipients are working-age people who have no jobs despite being capable of working. The proportion of such recipients has more than doubled over the past decade.
 生活保護受給者の中には、働けるにもかかわらず、職のない現役世代が約30万人いる。受給者に占める割合は、過去10年で2倍以上に増えた。

This is apparently the result of the nation's prolonged economic malaise. An increase in the number of nonregular employees who have no employment insurance has become a major contributing factor to this trend.
 背景には、景気低迷の長期化がうかがえる。雇用保険に未加入の非正規雇用者が増えたことの影響が大きいと言えよう。

According to the draft, the ministry would provide welfare recipients with opportunities to try light work in collaboration with local governments, companies and other organizations. This aims to help them restore their life rhythm, thus encouraging them to secure stable jobs.
 厚労省案では、自治体や企業などと連携して、軽作業の労働体験の場を提供する。生活リズムを取り戻させて、安定的な就労につなげる狙いがある。

===

Rent assistance needed

The draft also proposes a scheme under which a portion of income a welfare recipient earns from work would be accumulated and given in a lump sum when they get off welfare.
 生活保護受給中に就労で得た収入の一部を積み立て、保護から脱した時にまとめて受け取る制度も提案した。

It calls for establishing such a framework because welfare recipients have their benefits reduced if they have an income.
現在は、収入があると保護費が削られるからだ。

We believe it is crucial to introduce measures like this one that motivate welfare recipients to join the workforce.
 こうした勤労意欲を促進する仕組みの導入は欠かせない。

It also is important to help them find places to live. The draft calls for providing in-kind benefits by having local governments pay their rent to landlords.
 住居の確保も重要な支援である。家賃は、自治体が直接払う現物給付とする方向だ。

This would encourage landlords to rent rooms to welfare recipients because they would no longer have to worry about nonpayment of rent.
家賃滞納の恐れがなくなり、大家が安心して貸すことが期待できよう。

While encouraging welfare recipients to help themselves, it is also important to prevent low-income earners from reaching the point where they require welfare benefits.
 受給者の自立を促す一方で、低所得者が生活保護受給に至らないよう支援することが大切だ。

There have been reports that 25 percent of welfare recipients had parents who also received benefits. They must be helped to break the chain of poverty being passed from parents to children.
 生活保護受給者の25%は、その親も受給していたとの報告がある。親から子への「貧困の連鎖」を断ち切らねばならない。

Many of these recipients graduated only from middle school or dropped out of high school.
This clearly shows that people from families receiving welfare benefits often have fewer education opportunities than people from households not on welfare.
 中卒、高校中退の人も多く、一般家庭との教育格差は否めない。

The nation's small public expenditure on education has been blamed as a major factor for this trend.
教育への公的支出が少ないことが一つの要因とも指摘される。

===

Families also have responsibility

The ministry draft calls for providing learning support to children from households receiving welfare benefits, such as collaborating with the private sector to offer remedial classes to meet the needs of their families and local communities.
 厚労省案によると、民間との連携で、家庭や地域の事情に応じて補習塾を開くなど、子どもたちの学習を支援する。

It is natural that relatives should be asked to explain why they do not support a family member facing financial difficulties even though they have a duty to do so. Even the mother of a popular comedian was recently found to have received welfare benefits.
 お笑いタレントの母親が生活保護を受けていた問題もあり、扶養義務のある親族が扶養を断った際には、その理由の説明を求めることにしたのは当然だ。

Of course, it is also necessary to ensure people do not illegally receive welfare benefits.
 無論、生活保護費の不正受給対策も徹底する必要がある。

Nevertheless, the elderly are the fastest growing group among welfare recipients due to the rapid graying of society and an increasing number of senior citizens who receive low pensions.
 ただ、受給者のうち、最も増えているのは高齢者だ。急速な高齢化と、低年金者の増加による。

People who receive only basic pension payments have to get by on just 49,000 yen per month on average.
基礎年金だけの受給者は、平均額が月4万9000円に過ぎない。

Reforming the welfare system should be conducted comprehensively along with overhauls in other fields, including employment, education and pensions.
 生活保護制度の改革は雇用、教育、年金などの分野も合わせて包括的に進めなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 4, 2012)
(2012年10月4日01時39分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月 4日 (木)

「尖閣」外交 領有の正当性示す広報戦略を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 4, 2012)
Govt should counter China's propaganda on Senkakus
「尖閣」外交 領有の正当性示す広報戦略を(10月3日付・読売社説)

China's propaganda campaign over the Senkaku Islands has run rampant, conveying false and improper messages to the world.
 尖閣諸島に関して不当な主張を展開する中国の攻勢が激しい。

The Japanese government should counter China's campaign by demonstrating the legitimacy of Japan's territorial claim on the islands to the international community.
 政府は、日本の領有権の正当性を国際社会に訴えて対抗すべきだ。

The newly reshuffled Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has approved the government's basic policy over the Senkaku Islands, which stipulated that the government will "fulfill its duties of defending the nation's land and territorial waters, including isolated islands, in accordance with international law."
 野田内閣は改造に合わせ、「離島を含む領土・領海を守る責務を国際法に則(のっと)って果たす」との基本方針を閣議決定した。

The government should redouble its efforts to tell the world that the Senkaku Islands are an integral part of Japan's territory.
尖閣諸島が日本固有の領土であることを一層アピールしなければならない。

This is necessary to cope with China's tactics over the islands--on top of flexing its muscles by sending surveillance ships to the waters around the islands, it has also been striving to control the direction of international public opinion. China has launched a propaganda campaign against Japan in the United States and Europe, such as by running ads in major U.S. newspapers claiming that the islands "belong to China."
 中国が、監視船を尖閣諸島周辺海域に送り込んで示威行動を続けるだけでなく、「情報戦」にも力を入れているからだ。例えば、尖閣諸島は「中国のものだ」との広告を米主要紙に掲載するなど、欧米での宣伝工作に乗り出した。

===

Don't let China get the upper hand

Japan has maintained a consistent stance over the issue that "there is no territorial dispute over the islands" based on the facts that the nation's territorial rights over the islands have already been established under international law and Japan has effective control over the islands.
 政府は尖閣諸島について、国際法上、日本の領有権は確立し、実効支配もしていることから、「領土問題は一切存在しない」との立場を一貫して取っている。

Of course, there is no need for the government to change this policy, but if the nation continues ignoring China's claims, those claims may spread across the world. At a recent press conference, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said, "The nation's stance [over the islands] will remain unchanged, but we need to present our stance to the international community in an easy-to-understand manner."
We regard Gemba's remarks as appropriate.
 無論、その立場は堅持すべきだが、超然と構えるだけでは中国の言い分が広がりかねない。玄葉外相は記者会見で「わが国の立場は変わらないが、国際社会に分かりやすく訴える必要がある」との認識を示した。もっともである。

The home page of the Foreign Ministry's website has a new banner labeled "Japan-China relations: Current situation of the Senkaku Islands," which links directly to a page explaining its view on the islands. For next fiscal year, the ministry has requested about 600 million yen for public relations, investigation and research over the nation's territorial integrity, including such work for the Senkaku Islands.
 外務省はホームページに「日中関係(尖閣諸島をめぐる情勢)」と題したバナーを新設した。来年度概算要求にも尖閣諸島を含む領土保全のための情報発信や調査研究などに約6億円計上した。

It is essential for the nation to conduct public relations activities tenaciously and with a clear strategic vision.
 粘り強く戦略的な対外広報活動を続けることが肝要である。

It is also important to swiftly respond to China's actions at diplomatic events.
 外交の場で迅速かつ適切に対処することも欠かせない。

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi recently made remarks on the Senkaku Islands at the U.N. General Assembly. He claimed that Japan "stole" the islands in 1895 at the end of the Sino-Japanese War, and forced the Chinese government to sign an unequal treaty to cede the islands.
 先の国連総会で、中国の楊潔チ(ヤンジエチー)外相は尖閣諸島について、「1895年、日本は日清戦争の末期に盗み取り、不平等条約で割譲させた」と訴えた。

Yang's remarks were a distortion of historical facts. It was totally appropriate for Kazuo Kodama, Japan's deputy U.N. ambassador, to exercise Japan's right to reply in General Assembly debate.
 歴史的事実を歪曲(わいきょく)した発言であり、日本の児玉和夫国連次席大使が直ちに反論したのは当然だ。

===

China's claims distort history

Based on international law, the Japanese government incorporated the Senkaku Islands into Japan's territory in January 1895 after confirming that the islands were not under Chinese control. The islands were thus clearly Japanese territory when the two nations signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which ended the Sino-Japanese War, in April that year. Kodama explained the facts to the assembly and concluded that China's claims were untenable.
 日本は95年1月、国際法に沿って、尖閣諸島に中国の支配が及んでいないことを確認し、領土に編入した。この手続きは、日清戦争を終結させた同年4月の下関条約の調印前であり、「中国の主張は成り立たない」と強調した。

It was only since the 1970s that the Chinese government began claiming territorial sovereignty over the islands, after the existence of an oil deposit was confirmed beneath the nearby seafloor. Before then, Beijing had never objected to Japan's possession of the Senkaku Islands. This fact clearly supports Japan's claims.
 中国が尖閣諸島の領有権を唱え始めたのは周辺海域で石油埋蔵が判明した後の1970年代だ。それ以前、中国は日本の尖閣領有に異議を一切唱えていない。日本の主張を補強する材料と言える。

The Chinese government has demanded that Japan admit the existence of a territorial dispute over the islands and settle it through dialogue.
 中国は日本に対し、領土問題の存在を認め、「対話を通した問題解決」をするよう迫っている。

It is important for Japan to have discussions with China to improve the strained relations with the country. However, efforts to advance discussions must never undermine Japan's stance over sovereignty.
 日中関係改善のための協議は大切だが、主権に関する日本の立場が揺らいではならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 3, 2012)
(2012年10月3日01時17分  読売新聞)

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日銀短観悪化 景気腰折れ回避に全力挙げよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 4, 2012)
All-out efforts needed to avert economic downturn
日銀短観悪化 景気腰折れ回避に全力挙げよ(10月3日付・読売社説)

The national economy has taken another turn for the worse.
 景気の足取りが一段と怪しくなってきた。

The government and the Bank of Japan must step up their vigilance and make all-out efforts to revive economic growth.
 政府・日銀は警戒を強め、経済成長の回復へ全力を挙げるべきだ。

The short-term quarterly survey of business sentiment compiled by the Bank of Japan in September showed the diffusion index for large manufacturers' current business conditions deteriorated for the first time in three quarters.
 日銀がまとめた9月の企業短期経済観測調査(短観)で、大企業・製造業の業況判断指数が3四半期ぶりに悪化した。

The so-called Tankan survey showed the index for large nonmanufacturers leveled off and a bleak outlook is ahead.
 改善が続いていた大企業・非製造業の指数も横ばいとなり、先行きは悪化が見込まれている。

About 70 percent of the more than 10,000 businesses surveyed had sent their responses by early September. Their answers did not fully factor in the effect of the recent chilling of Japan-China relations over the Senkaku Islands. If the survey was taken now, the results would probably have been even more grim.
 今回の短観は、9月上旬に約7割の企業が回答を済ませていたため、尖閣諸島を巡る日中関係悪化の影響が、十分に織り込まれていない面がある。現時点で調査すればさらに厳しい結果となろう。

Seiji Maehara, the new state minister for national policy, said at a news conference held after his appointment, "Fiscal and financial policy will be carried out steadily and seamlessly." The government must act quickly to prevent the economy from worsening.
 前原国家戦略相は就任の記者会見で、「しっかりした切れ目のない財政・金融政策をやっていく」と強調した。景気腰折れの回避へ迅速に取り組んでもらいたい。

The biggest concern is the stagnation of foreign demand. The European economic slowdown due to the sovereign debt crisis and slackening growth of China, which is a major exporter to Europe, have dealt a painful blow to Japan's exports and production.
 最大の懸念材料は、外需の低迷である。債務危機に伴う欧州経済の減速と、欧州向け輸出の多い中国の成長鈍化が、日本の輸出と生産に打撃を与えている。

===

Bold monetary easing vital

The government and the central bank have drawn up a scenario for economic growth recovery in which domestic demand is sustained by reconstruction projects from the March 11, 2011, disaster and subsidies for environmentally friendly vehicles, among other factors, before growth is led by foreign demand. This scenario seems to be coming off the rails.
 復興事業やエコカー補助金などで内需を支え、外需主導の成長にバトンタッチする――。こうした政府・日銀の成長回復シナリオが狂い始めたのではないか。

As part of additional monetary easing measures, the central bank on Sept. 19 decided to increase the amount in a reserve fund used to purchase government and corporate bonds by 10 trillion yen to 80 trillion yen. But it has already been proven that this step will not bring about such desired effects as a correction of the strong yen. Such a piecemeal policy approach is totally inadequate for dealing with the problem.
 日銀は9月19日、国債などを買い入れる基金の規模を10兆円上積みする量的金融緩和策を決めた。ところが、円高是正などの効果は早くも息切れした。小出しの対策では力不足と言える。

To prevent the yen from becoming even stronger and to underpin business activity, flexible market intervention depending on market trends and bold additional monetary easing measures will be required.
 一段の円高進行を阻止し、景気を下支えするため、市場動向によっては機動的な市場介入や、大胆な追加緩和策が必要となる。

This week's Cabinet reshuffle is a prime chance for the government to rectify previous economic policy blunders.
 内閣改造を機に、経済成長を阻害している従来の“経済失政”も修正すべきだ。

===

Drop 'zero-nuclear' policy

To ensure a stable electricity supply, it is absolutely essential that nuclear reactors be restarted after they are confirmed to be safe to operate. It is indispensable that the government withdraw the policy of ending reliance on nuclear power generation--a policy that will accelerate the hollowing-out of industry and hamper nuclear power plant exports.
 安全を確認できた原子力発電所の再稼働を進め、電力の安定供給を図ることは「焦眉の急」である。産業空洞化を加速させ、原発輸出を妨げる「原発ゼロ」方針は、速やかな撤回が不可欠だ。

Democratic Party of Japan-led administrations have persisted with their avowed handout schemes, delaying the implementation of growth strategy policies for an exit from protracted deflation and low growth.
 民主党政権が、公約したバラマキ政策に固執したため、デフレと低成長の脱却に向けた成長戦略の実行が遅れている。

To enhance growth potential amid Japan's declining population, it will be necessary to create new jobs and make more use of women and senior citizens in the workforce.
 人口減の中で成長力を高めるには、新たな雇用を創出し、女性や高齢者の労働力をさらに活用することが求められる。

Nursing care and medical treatment are promising fields where demand is expected to increase with the aging of the population. Regulations restricting new participation must be eased to encourage private business to enter these markets.
 高齢化の進展で需要が増える介護・医療などの分野が有望だ。参入規制を緩和し、民間の事業を後押しすべきだろう。

It is also essential to support research and development projects in such growth sectors as energy and the environment, and foster new industries that are internationally competitive.
 エネルギー・環境関連など成長分野の研究・開発を支援し、国際競争力のある新産業を育成することも欠かせない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 3, 2012)
(2012年10月3日01時17分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月 3日 (水)

野田内閣改造 日本の再生を託し得る布陣か

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 3, 2012)
Can Noda's new Cabinet be entrusted to revive Japan?
野田内閣改造 日本の再生を託し得る布陣か(10月2日付・読売社説)

 ◆「発信力」で田中文科相起用の愚◆

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has given favorable treatment to lawmakers seeking cabinet posts and obviously wanted to prevent more members from leaving his party ahead of the upcoming House of Representatives election. The new lineup is characterized by such an inward-looking approach.
 衆院選を控え、入閣を待望していた議員の処遇を図るとともに、これ以上の離党者を防ぎたいという「内向き」な姿勢の目立つ布陣である。

Noda launched his third reshuffled Cabinet on Monday. The purpose of the reshuffle, he said, was "to further deepen cooperation between the government and the ruling parties and to strengthen the Cabinet's functions."
 野田第3次改造内閣が、発足した。野田首相はその目的を「政府与党の連携を一層深め、内閣の機能を強化する」と述べた。

The prime minister used a certain amount of ingenuity in the reshuffle by retaining core ministers, such as Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada, and appointing lawmakers who held executive posts in the Democratic Party of Japan to key posts.
 岡田副総理ら要の閣僚を留任させて、民主党の役職経験者を重要閣僚に配置するなど工夫は見られる。

However, concern cannot be dispelled over whether the reshuffle will serve its purpose.
だが、果たして狙い通りになるのか、懸念を拭えない。

===

Rework nuclear plant policy
 ◆原発政策の立て直しを◆

When considering future national strategy and revival of Japan's economy, we wonder, first of all, why Noda retained Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano, who was responsible for allowing the nation's nuclear power plant and energy policy to stray off course.
 今後の国家戦略や日本経済の再生を考えると、まず、疑問なのは原発・エネルギー政策を迷走させてきた枝野経済産業相を留任させたことである。

Edano played a central role when the government drew up its innovative energy and environmental strategy, which set a target of zero nuclear power plants operating in the 2030s.
 枝野氏は、政府が2030年代に原発の稼働ゼロを目指す「革新的エネルギー・環境戦略」を策定した際、中心的役割を担った。

Concerning this target, Edano was optimistic, saying, "As long as it's not done the wrong way, it will have a positive impact on the economy."
 枝野氏は、原発ゼロについて「やり方を間違わなければ、むしろ経済にプラスだ」と楽観的な見解も示している。

His remark seems to ignore the various issues that concern business circles, such as the impact mothballing nuclear power plants would have on the Japanese economy, job losses caused by the hollowing-out of industry and a decrease in the number of nuclear power engineers.
 こうした言動は、脱原発がもたらす日本経済への打撃や、産業空洞化に伴う雇用喪失、原子力関連の技術者減少など、経済界が懸念を示す様々な課題について軽視しているように見える。

Under the circumstances, Edano can only be accused of irresponsibility as the economy, trade and industry minister has to ensure a stable supply of electricity as well as industrial development.
 これでは電力の安定供給と産業振興に責任を負う経産相として、無責任のそしりを免れない。

A wide range of cooperation from the business world is essential in developing technological innovations for renewable energy.
 再生可能エネルギーの技術革新を実現するには、経済界の幅広い協力が必要だ。

Former DPJ Policy Research Committee Chairman Seiji Maehara, who assumed the position of state minister for national policy, and economic and fiscal policy, pushed the government to decide on the zero nuclear power policy as head of the party's Energy and Environment Research Committee.
 国家戦略・経済財政相に就任した前原誠司前政調会長も、これまで民主党のエネルギー・環境調査会をリードし、「原発ゼロ」の方針決定を後押ししてきた。

At a press conference after assuming his new post, Maehara said, "I'll promote a strategy to increase the nation's power, and work out plans for it." However, how will he overcome deflation and ensure the nation's growth while pushing for a zero nuclear power policy?
 前原氏は、就任後の記者会見で「いかに国力を上げるかという国家戦略を推進し、企画立案する」と述べたが、「原発ゼロ」を推進する一方で、デフレ克服と成長促進をどう実現するのか。

Mapping out a mid- and long-term basic energy plan will be a huge task.
 中長期的なエネルギー基本計画の策定が大きな課題になる。

In addition to opposition from the business community, the United States, which concluded a cooperation agreement on nuclear energy with Japan, has also expressed strong concern over Japan's nuclear power plant policy. It is crucial for Japan to improve its relationship with the United States.
 経済界が反発していることに加えて、日本と原子力協定を結ぶ米国も日本の原発政策に強い懸念を示している。関係を改善することが欠かせない。

Maehara, who once served as foreign minister, will find his ability to coordinate policy tested again.
 外相経験もある前原氏の政策調整力が、改めて問われる。

===

Tanaka's appointment strange
 ◆党内不協和音収まらず◆

The appointment of Makiko Tanaka as education, culture, sports, science and technology minister is mystifying.
 田中真紀子元外相の文部科学相起用は、およそ理解し難い。

Tanaka assumed the post of foreign minister during the administration of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, but it soon became apparent she lacked even a fundamental knowledge of diplomacy. Her frequent aberrant behavior in dealing with the ministry's bureaucrats led to diplomacy becoming totally dysfunctional.
 田中氏は小泉内閣で外相に就いたが、外交の基本的認識さえ欠く始末だった。外務官僚との確執から常軌を逸した行動を繰り返し、外交を機能不全に陥らせた。

It is obvious she lacks what it takes to serve as a cabinet minister. Of great concern is that she will lose control again and cause national politics to become chaotic. Noda said he placed great expectations on her communication skills. But if Tanaka's appointment is intended to help the DPJ in its campaign for the next general election, it would be like treating the general public with derision.
 閣僚としての資質に乏しいことは明らかである。またもや暴走して国政を混乱させないか、大いに懸念される。首相は「発信力」を期待しているというが、仮にも選挙対策を考えたのなら、国民を愚弄する話ではないか。

An analysis of the list of Cabinet members who were named for the first time indicates their appointments were made as rewards for supporting Noda's reelection as DPJ president and aimed at promoting intraparty unity.
 新任閣僚の顔ぶれには代表選で首相再選を支持した議員への論功行賞、党内融和もうかがえる。

Keishu Tanaka, one of the party's vice presidents and a former member of the now defunct Democratic Socialist Party, was appointed justice minister, while Wakio Mitsui and Ikko Nakatsuka, who both had close connections with former DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa, were named health, labor and welfare minister and state minister for financial services, respectively.
 旧民社党系グループの田中慶秋副代表を法相に起用し、小沢一郎元代表に近かった三井辨雄氏を厚生労働相、中塚一宏氏を金融相に充てている。

Noda's three rivals in the DPJ presidential election and their supporters received no cabinet posts. It seems likely that consideration will be given to their groups in appointing senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries.
 代表選で争った陣営からの入閣はなかったが、副大臣、政務官人事で配慮するようだ。

===

Intraparty discord

However, intraparty discord shows no sign of dissipating, and Noda will continue to be pressured over his management of the party.
 だが、党内の不協和音が収まる気配はない。引き続き難しい党運営を迫られよう。

The prime minister stressed the need for cooperation between the government and ruling parties. His naming of former DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Koriki Jojima as finance minister is symbolic in this respect.
 首相の強調する政府と与党との連携という観点では、財務相に城島光力前国会対策委員長を起用したことが象徴的だ。

The appointment could serve as an indication that Jojima's connections with the opposition parties will be used to help pass through the Diet a special bill to enable the issuance of deficit-covering government bonds and steadily promote integrated reform of social security and tax systems.
 野党とのパイプを生かして、赤字国債発行を可能にするための特例公債法案の成立や、社会保障と税の一体改革を着実に進めるというメッセージにはなる。

Jojima's capabilities as finance minister will be put to the test during a meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank scheduled in Tokyo next week.
 東京で来週開かれる国際通貨基金(IMF)・世界銀行総会で財務相としての能力が試される。

===

Consistency important
 ◆外交安保の継続は当然◆

It is natural for Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto to retain their posts given the rigorous international environment surrounding Japan.
 玄葉外相、森本防衛相の留任は、日本を取り巻く厳しい国際情勢を考えれば当然である。

Negotiations have just started with Russia to resolve the territorial dispute over four islands off Hokkaido. So have talks with North Korea over the abduction issue. It is also urgent to improve relations with China and South Korea, which have been strained over the Senkaku Islands and Takeshima island, respectively.
 北方領土問題を巡るロシアとの交渉や、拉致問題で北朝鮮との協議の仕切り直しが始まったばかりだ。尖閣諸島、竹島問題で対立の続く日中・日韓関係を改善することも差し迫った課題だ。

Six MV-22 Ospreys flew to the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture from the U.S. Iwakuni Air Station on Monday. It is natural that Gemba pointed out the tilt-rotor transport aircraft are "indispensable for security in Japan and East Asia as they are key equipment of the marine corps."
 米軍岩国基地に駐機していた新型輸送機オスプレイが1日、沖縄の米軍普天間飛行場に移動した。玄葉外相が、「日本、東アジアの安全保障にとって、海兵隊の中核となる装備なので不可欠だ」と指摘したのはもっともである。

Gemba and Morimoto must make all-out efforts to promote the relocation of the Futenma Air Station and further strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance. This will be necessary even as Japan rebuilds diplomatic ties vis-a-vis Beijing and Seoul.
 対中・韓外交を立て直すためにも玄葉、森本両氏は、普天間飛行場の移設と日米同盟の一層の強化に全力を挙げねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 2, 2012)
(2012年10月2日01時25分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月 2日 (火)

原発被害賠償 和解による早期救済が大切だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 2, 2012)
TEPCO must compensate nuclear accident victims quickly
原発被害賠償 和解による早期救済が大切だ(10月1日付・読売社説)

The government should further enhance its system to resolve disputes over compensation for damage caused by the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant so people suffering from the nuclear accident can be helped appropriately and quickly.
 東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の事故の被害者が、適切かつ迅速に救済されるよう、紛争処理の体制をさらに充実させていくことが大切だ。

By late September, 940,000 compensation claims had been made against Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the nuclear plant, for damage caused by the crisis. The claimants and TEPCO have reached agreements in 860,000 cases. The total compensation has already reached 1.24 trillion yen and will increase further. This shows the seriousness of the accident, which has forced 160,000 local residents to evacuate.
 今回の原発事故を巡っては、9月下旬までに94万件の賠償申請が東電にあり、そのうち86万件で合意に達した。賠償総額は1兆2400億円に上り、今後も増え続ける。約16万人を避難に追いやった事故の深刻さを物語っている。

Under a compensation scheme for the damage caused by the crisis, the government first pays evacuees the money and later requires TEPCO to repay it. Compensation is calculated based on criteria set by the government's Committee for Dispute Resolution for Compensating Damages from the Nuclear Power Plant Incident.
 賠償金は、政府が立て替え払いしたうえで、東電に請求する仕組みだ。政府の原子力損害賠償紛争審査会が定めた指針が、算定の基準となる。

The criteria require TEPCO to pay compensation for such expenses as evacuation transportation fees and damage to farmers and other people who lost their businesses due to the crisis.
避難に要した交通費などの実費、仕事を失った農家や事業者の損失などが対象だ。

The agreement ratio has been high in initial compensation negotiations, but many crisis victims are still dissatisfied with the amount of reparations.
 こうした初期の賠償交渉での合意率は高いが、被災者が納得しないケースも少なくない。

===

Mediation system in action

If their negotiations with TEPCO make little headway, victims can ask the Center for Dispute Resolution for Compensating Damages from the Nuclear Power Plant Incident to mediate. The center, which has a total of 150 lawyers and inspectors, is a subsidiary organization of the committee.
 東電との交渉がうまく運ばない場合に、仲裁を託されるのが、審査会の下部組織である「原子力損害賠償紛争解決センター」だ。弁護士や調査官約150人で構成されている。

The center started its operations in September last year and has already resolved 560 cases in one year. One of its achievements is increasing the amount of consolation money for people who stayed in areas where evacuation was not officially required but from which many residents voluntarily evacuated.
 昨年9月に始動し、この1年で560件の和解を成立させた。中でも自主避難区域にとどまった住民への慰謝料を増額したことは、一つの成果と言えよう。

In an initial compensation guideline, people who voluntarily left places not within the evacuation zones are paid 100,000 yen per person per month, the same amount of consolation money paid to those who evacuated from the zones where residency is prohibited for an extended period of time. But people who stay in areas where evacuation was not officially required but from which many residents voluntarily evacuated are paid about half this amount.
 自主避難区域の場合、避難した人には、帰宅困難区域の人と同額の慰謝料(月10万円)が支払われるが、残留者には半額程度というのが当初の賠償方針だった。

Some stayed alone at their homes in such areas due to their jobs and other reasons after other members of their families evacuated. They are victims of the nuclear accident who are forced to bear various inconveniences and pains. The center has studied such realities and reflected them in settlements.
 仕事の都合で自宅を離れられず、やむなく家族だけを避難させるなど、被害者は様々な不便や苦痛を強いられている。センターは、そうした実態を調査し、和解案に反映させた。

It is necessary to carry out a relief plan based on the realities of the victims.
 被害者の実情に応じた救済を進めていくことが必要だ。

===

Compensation stage crucial

The compensation work will enter a crucial stage soon because negotiations will shift into full swing over compensation for damage to real estate such as land and buildings that evacuees have left behind in their hometowns and farm houses and commercial land that companies cannot use any longer.
 賠償作業は今後、正念場を迎える。避難者が地元に残した土地・建物、農家や企業の使えなくなった事業用敷地など不動産の賠償交渉が本格化するからだ。

An appraisal value used in levying a fixed asset tax is applied to calculate compensation. However, some evacuees took out housing loans when land prices were higher than now. If an evacuee has an old wooden house, its appraisal value will be low.
 賠償の算定には、事故発生時点の固定資産税評価額が適用される。だが、地価の高い時期にローンを組んだ人もいる。古い木造家屋などは評価額自体が低い。

It is a matter of concern that evacuees who refuse to accept the estimated compensation might appear one after another. In that case, the role of the resolution center will become even more significant. To help victims of the nuclear accident as soon as possible, we hope settlements will be reached before civil suits--which take a lot of time before rulings--are filed.
 算定額を拒否する住民が続出することが懸念される。センターの役割はさらに重要になる。決着までに時間がかかる民事訴訟ではなく、訴訟以前に和解を成立させ、被害者の早期救済を図りたい。

TEPCO should not apply the committee's criteria automatically to compensation claims. Instead, it should maintain a flexible attitude. As the company that caused the nuclear crisis, TEPCO should not be allowed to cause unnecessary delays in helping the victims.
 東電は、指針を機械的に運用すべきではない。柔軟な姿勢が求められる。事故を起こした企業として、被害者救済をいたずらに遅らせることは許されない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 1, 2012)
(2012年10月1日01時14分  読売新聞)

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人生90年時代 高齢者も社会の「支え手」に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 2, 2012)
Help elderly people support themselves, others
人生90年時代 高齢者も社会の「支え手」に(10月1日付・読売社説)

With many baby boomers turning 65 this year, the number of Japanese aged 65 or older has topped 30 million for the first time, accounting for 24 percent of the population.
 「団塊の世代」が65歳を迎える今年、65歳以上の高齢者人口が初めて3000万人を超え、全人口の24%となった。

Society as a whole must quickly make preparations to cope with the population's ever-accelerating pace of aging.
 一段と加速する高齢化への備えを、社会全体で急がねばならない。

In 2050, the average life expectancy is projected to be 83 for men and 90 for women, up from 79 and 86, respectively, at present.
 平均寿命は、男性が今の79歳から2050年には83歳に、女性が同じく86歳から90歳に延びると予測されている。

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda recently decided on a new outline of measures to cope with the aging society, which took a hard look at the arrival of an era in which more people will live to the age of 90.
 「人生90年時代」の到来を見据え、政府は、新たな高齢社会対策大綱を閣議決定した。

The outline's key feature was a call for elderly people, who have been "supported" under the social security system, to become more capable of "supporting" themselves and others if they are willing and able to do so.
従来は社会保障制度の下で「支えられる」側だった高齢者が、意欲と能力があれば「支える」側に回るよう求めたのが特徴だ。

Indeed, elderly people today look far more youthful than they once did.
 確かに、今の高齢者は、かつてのお年寄りに比べ、はるかに若々しいと言える。

Men aged 65 can expect to live an average of another 19 years, while women likely will live for 24 more years--both about twice as long as people that age shortly after the end of World War II.
 65歳の人の平均余命は、男性19年、女性24年だ。それぞれ終戦直後の約2倍に延びた。

===

Many want to keep working

In physical fitness tests conducted by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, the physical strength of elderly people has been improving year after year.
文部科学省による体力テストでも、高齢者の体力は年々向上している。

It may be necessary to change conventional thinking that lumps all elderly people under the label of "weak."
 高齢者を一律に弱者とみてきた旧来の意識を、変えていくことは必要だろう。

Many people in their golden years are willing to work. A Cabinet Office survey found that more than 70 percent of men and women aged 60 or older want to work even after turning 65.
 働く意欲が高い高齢者は多い。60歳以上の男女を対象にした内閣府の調査では、65歳を超えても働きたい人は7割を超える。

The new outline also set a target of creating "a society that ensures people have the opportunity to work and participate in society throughout their lives."
 高齢社会対策大綱でも、「生涯にわたって就業や社会参加の機会が確保される社会」を目指すことを掲げた。

If elderly people can work and increase their income, consumption and tax revenues will increase. This would not only help rejuvenate the economy but also secure financial sources for social security programs.
 高齢者が職に就くことで収入が増えれば、消費や税収が増える。経済の活性化はもちろん、社会保障の財源確保にもつながる。

To achieve this, more companies will have to employ people aged 70 or older. It is also necessary to provide places where elderly people can volunteer to help with child rearing or nursing care.
 それには、70歳以上の人を雇用する企業が、今以上に増える必要がある。高齢者が子育てや介護のボランティアとして活躍できる場を確保することも求められる。

===

Next decade will be crucial

On the other hand, the number of elderly people requiring support from others also will increase. The demand for nursing care and medical care will continue rising sharply until about 2025, when baby boomers turn 75 or older. The coming decade or so will be crucial for determining how society can build a sustainable nursing care system for the elderly.
 一方で、支えが必要な高齢者も増えていく。団塊世代が75歳以上になる2025年ごろまで、介護や医療の需要は急増し続ける。介護体制をどう整えるか、これからの10年余が正念場となろう。

While the elderly population will increase, people of working age will continue decreasing in step with the declining birthrate. At present, there are about three people of working age to support each elderly person; this figure is forecast to fall to about one 50 years from now.
 高齢者が増える反面、少子化に伴って、現役世代の人口は減り続ける。1人の高齢者を支える現役世代の数は、現在の約3人から、50年後にはほぼ1人となる。

It is obvious that the current social security system will not be able to withstand such developments.
 現行の社会保障制度では持ちこたえられないのが、明らかだ。

A national council for social security system reform, scheduled to be established in line with an accord reached among the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, must hold in-depth discussions on how to make the social security system sustainable.
 民主、自民、公明3党の合意に基づき設置される予定の社会保障制度改革国民会議で、持続可能な社会保障制度について議論を深めるべきだ。

Each and every member of Japanese society needs to consider how they should live a life lasting 90 years, so they can support themselves as much as possible even when they reach an advanced age.
 高齢期も可能な限り自立できるよう、一人ひとりが「人生90年時代」の生き方を考えたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 1, 2012)
(2012年10月1日01時14分  読売新聞)

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2012年10月 1日 (月)

国語世論調査 漢字書く力の低下が気になる

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 1, 2012)
Decline in kanji writing ability disturbing
国語世論調査 漢字書く力の低下が気になる(9月30日付・読売社説)

The findings of a recent Cultural Affairs Agency opinion survey on the Japanese language has brought to the fore that people's ability to properly write kanji is deteriorating.
 文化庁の「国語に関する世論調査」の結果、国民の漢字を書く力が衰えていることが浮き彫りになった。

The poll was conducted on people aged 16 or older across the country. They were asked about what impacts electronic means of communication such as personal computers and mobile-phone text-messaging have had on their daily lives.
 全国の16歳以上の男女を対象とするこの調査で、パソコンや携帯メールが日常生活に与える影響について質問したところ、

Sixty-seven percent of respondents said their ability to write kanji correctly has weakened.
「漢字を正確に書く力が衰えた」と回答した人が67%に上った。

This figure is up as much as 25 percentage points from 10 years ago.
 10年前と比べると、実に25ポイントも増えている。

Undoubtedly, people write letters and other documents by hand less often than they used to. The 67 percent figure can be considered a reflection of this.
 日常生活において、肉筆で手紙や文書を書く機会が減っていることは間違いない。それがこの数字に表れていると言える。

According to the survey, an increasing number of people find it cumbersome to write by hand, further proof of a growing tendency to eschew handwriting.
「手で字を書くことが面倒臭く感じるようになった」という人が、大幅に増えたのは、その証左である。

===

Handwriting essential

In the future, children who have yet to acquire sufficient Japanese language proficiency will communicate with other people more often using computers and cell phones. Under the circumstances, we cannot help but be concerned that children's ability to write kanji may erode further.
 今後、日本語の能力が十分身に着いていない子どもたちが、パソコンや携帯電話を使ってコミュニケーションを図る機会は増えていくだろう。漢字を書く能力が、ますます衰えていくのではないかと、懸念せざるを得ない。

On the other hand, the number of kanji taught up until graduation from high schools has increased sharply.
 一方で、高校までに学習する漢字は大幅に増えた。

Today, people can generate difficult kanji simply by pressing buttons on a keypad. In response to the changing times, the government revised the list of kanji in common use two years ago.
 今やキーを押すだけで難しい漢字を簡単に表示出来る。こうした時代の変化に対応するため、政府が2年前に常用漢字表の改定を行ったからだ。

At that time, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry's Cultural Affairs Council, which played a leading role in updating the list, emphasized that handwriting "is indispensable for mastering kanji and formulating operational skills involving the characters." Attention should be paid anew to the importance of this point.
 その際、改定に主導的な役割を果たした文化審議会が、「手書きは漢字を習得し、その運用能力を形成していく上で不可欠」と、書き取りの重要性を強調したことに改めて留意したい。

Repeatedly writing kanji by hand enhances the senses of sight and touch as well as motion perception, which stimulates brain functions, according to experts.
 繰り返し漢字を手書きすることによって視覚、触覚、運動感覚が鍛えられ、脳も活性化するといった効用があるという。

Parents and schools need to drill into children the importance of handwriting.
 家庭や教育現場で、子どもたちに手書きの重要性をしっかり教えていく必要がある。

In addition, it is important that children have opportunities in daily life to get accustomed to kanji by reading literature and other written works. By doing so, children can acquire the skills to correctly use the Japanese language and develop a rich knowledge of expressions.
 同時に、文学作品などの読書を通じて、普段から漢字に触れることも大事だ。それが、日本語の正しい用法や豊かな言葉の表現を身につけることにもなる。

===

Afraid of friction?

The latest survey also showed that the number of people who thought it important to "use honorifics in accordance with the listener and context," and those who make it a rule to say "Excuse me" when getting off a train has increased remarkably.
 今回の調査では「相手や場面に応じて敬語を使う」という人や、電車の降車時に「すみません」と声をかける人が際立って増えていることも明らかになった。

About 80 percent of respondents said they were "careful" of their own choice of words. This tendency was particularly noticeable among young people.
 「自分自身の言葉の使い方に気を使っている」と回答した人は約8割を占めている。とりわけ若い世代に顕著に見られる。

Does this suggest people are increasingly concerned about their use of language because they are afraid of offending others?
 他人との摩擦を恐れ、気を使わざるを得ない状況が進んでいるということなのだろうか。

The growing use of electronic media might have something to do with this.
電子メディアの利用が拡大していることと無縁ではあるまい。

It seems possible that the changes in how Japanese use the language offer a snapshot of Japanese society today.
言葉の使い方の変化から、日本社会の今日の有り様もうかがえる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 30, 2012)
(2012年9月30日01時36分  読売新聞)

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シャープ再建策 「液晶の雄」挫折は重い教訓だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 1, 2012)
Other firms must learn from Sharp's setback
シャープ再建策 「液晶の雄」挫折は重い教訓だ(9月30日付・読売社説)

Even a company with cutting-edge technology and a strong brand will founder if it makes a mistake in the selection and concentration of its business. The setback of Sharp Corp., dubbed a giant of liquid crystal display panels, is a warning for the Japanese manufacturing industry.
 最先端技術やブランド力があっても、事業の選択と集中を誤ると行き詰まる。「液晶の雄」の挫折は、日本の産業界に警鐘を鳴らしている。

Amid a financial crisis, Sharp has compiled a rehabilitation plan centering on cutting more than 10,000 jobs and selling its television factories abroad. Highly evaluating the plan, Sharp's main financing banks have decided to extend a total of 360 billion yen in loans to the electrical appliance company.
 経営危機に陥ったシャープが、1万人超の人員削減や海外のテレビ工場売却などを柱にした再建策をまとめた。これを評価した主力取引銀行が総額3600億円の巨額融資を決めた。

This has temporarily settled Sharp's cash-flow concerns and helped it move a step closer to overcoming its management crisis.
 懸念されたシャープの資金繰りにひとまずメドがつき、危機克服に前進したと言える。

Until several years ago, Sharp enjoyed outstanding business results because of the popularity of its LCD television sets manufactured at its Kameyama plant in Mie Prefecture, known as Kameyama models.
 シャープは、三重県の亀山工場で製造する液晶テレビが「亀山モデル」と呼ばれて人気を集め、数年前まで業績は絶好調だった。

However, amid the yen's soaring appreciation and the weak won, South Korean companies have become more competitive and captured the global market of LCD panels and TV sets, displacing Sharp as the world's leading manufacturer of those products. The marked decline in prices of LCD panels and other products also hurt Sharp.
 ところが、超円高やウォン安が続く中、競争力をつけた韓国企業などに主力の液晶パネルやテレビで市場を奪われ、パネルなどの価格急落も打撃となった。

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Overconfidence causes mistake

Sharp spent a huge amount of money three years ago on construction of a state-of-the-art factory in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, to manufacture large LCD panels. But sales did not grow as much as expected, and the factory only worsened earnings results.
 約3年前、大型液晶パネルを製造する最新鋭の大阪・堺工場を巨費で建設したが、販売が伸びずに業績悪化に拍車をかけた。

The firm declared record losses in its consolidated financial settlement for the business year ending in March, and huge losses are expected in the current term, too.
 2012年3月期連結決算で過去最大の赤字を計上し、今期も大幅赤字が見込まれる。

Success of the Kameyama plant apparently led to overconfidence, causing Sharp to go astray in planning its business strategy.
 亀山での成功が過信につながり、戦略を誤ったのだろう。

This shows the grim reality that even a prestigious company with a history of 100 years can be forced to drastically restructure its business.
 創業100年を迎えた老舗企業ですら、抜本的な事業再構築を迫られる厳しい現実だ。

First, Sharp must quickly enhance areas of its speciality including small and midsize LCD panels for smartphones, the market of which is expected to grow, and home electric appliances and copying machines. Another key factor in profitability is whether the firm can capture markets in emerging economies.
 まず、成長が期待できるスマートフォン(高機能携帯電話)向けの中小型液晶や、白物家電、複写機といった得意分野の強化を急がねばならない。新興国市場の攻略も収益確保のカギを握る。

Optimism is out of the question for Sharp, and speed will be a decisive factor in overhauling the company.
 先行きは楽観できない。経営刷新のスピードが問われる。

Attention will now turn to partnership negotiations between Sharp and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., a major contracted manufacturer in Taiwan. In March, Hon Hai agreed to maintain a ratio of investment in Sharp of 9.9 percent. After the price of Sharp's stock plunged, the companies began renegotiating the partnership, but the talks have made little headway.
 焦点は、台湾の受託製造大手、鴻海(ホンハイ)精密工業との提携交渉の行方だ。鴻海は3月、シャープに10%弱出資することでいったん合意したが、シャープ株価の急落に伴う再交渉が難航している。

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Competition in global market

Sharp desperately needs measures to further enhance its financial foundation through a partnership with Hon Hai and boost global sales of small and midsize LCD panels and other products. We hope Sharp will sign an agreement with Hon Hai as soon as possible. However, Sharp must be very wary of the outflow of its most advanced technology.
 シャープにとっては、鴻海との提携で財務基盤をさらに強化し、中小型液晶などの世界販売を増やす方策が不可欠だ。早期合意を目指してもらいたい。ただ、最先端技術の流出には要警戒である。

Japan's manufacturing industry, including electrical appliance manufacturers, are facing the yen's soaring appreciation and intensified global competition. Japanese firms must learn a lesson from Sharp's case and strengthen their competitiveness by developing strategic products that anticipate changing market demand and exploiting growing markets.
 電機業界など日本の製造業は、超円高と激しい国際競争に直面している。シャープを教訓とし、市場の変化を先取りした戦略商品の開発や、成長市場の開拓で競争力を強化せねばならない。

The government also has an important role to play in supporting the nation's industry. The government must curb the yen's appreciation and try to secure a stable supply of electricity by reactivating nuclear power reactors around the country. It also must initiate active trade policies such as Japan's early participation in negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact.
 産業を支える政府の役割も重要だ。超円高を阻止し、原子力発電所の再稼働で電力の安定供給を図るとともに、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への早期参加など積極的な通商政策が求められる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 30, 2012)
(2012年9月30日01時36分  読売新聞)

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