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2012年11月

2012年11月30日 (金)

就職内定率 新卒者へ一層の支援が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 30, 2012)
Graduates-to-be need more help in employment search
就職内定率 新卒者へ一層の支援が必要だ(11月29日付・読売社説)

The worst appears to be over for the employment situation for newly graduating students, which once was so tough it went through what was called a "hyper-glacial period of finding jobs." However, the situation remains severe.
 「超氷河期」と言われた新卒者の就職事情は、最悪の時期を脱したが、状況は依然厳しい。

Among university students scheduled to graduate next spring, 63.1 percent had received job offers as of Oct. 1. This figure has increased for two consecutive years, a rise prompted partly by demand for reconstruction projects in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. However, the figure has not yet recovered to the level before the so-called Lehman Brothers shock in 2008.
 来春卒業予定の大学生の就職内定率は10月1日現在、63・1%だった。東日本大震災の復興需要などで、2年連続で上向いたものの、2008年のリーマン・ショック以前の水準には回復していない。

The economic outlook through early next year remains opaque, as indicated by factors such as real gross domestic product for the July-September quarter recording minus growth. It is possible companies will cut down on new hires. As such, there is no room for optimism on how far the job securing rate will grow before students actually graduate next spring.
 今年7~9月期の実質国内総生産(GDP)がマイナス成長になり、来年にかけての景気の先行きは不透明だ。今後、企業が採用を抑制する可能性もある。来春の卒業時までに、内定率がどこまで伸びるか、楽観はできない。

Given this, it is important for the government and each university and college to reinforce their support for graduating students hunting for jobs.
 それだけに、政府や各大学は、学生の就職支援に一層力を入れることが大切だ。

===

Ministry program a good start

While the trend of seeking jobs at major companies has been strong among new graduates, quite a few young people have joined small and midsize enterprises that operate attractive businesses, where they found working was worthwhile. We hope students who have not been able to find employment will see the larger picture and keep searching for a job.
 新卒者の大企業志向は根強い一方、魅力的な事業を展開している中小企業に就職し、活路を見いだす若者も少なくない。未内定の学生も、広い視野を持って就職活動に取り組んでほしい。

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has been operating a "job supporters for graduates" program, under which special counselors help newly graduating students find jobs.
 厚生労働省は、新卒者らの就職を手助けする「ジョブサポーター」事業を行っている。

These counselors at Hello Work public employment agencies go to universities and introduce students to individual companies, for instance, and carefully guide the students so they can find jobs.
ハローワークの専門職員が大学に出張し、学生を個別企業に紹介するなど、きめ細かく指導する。

Thanks to these efforts, more than 160,000 graduates found work last fiscal year.
この結果、昨年度は16万人余が就職した。

Among their policy pledges for the coming House of Representatives election, the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party both mentioned improving the employment rate among new graduates.
 衆院選の政権公約でも、民主、自民両党は、新卒者の就職率向上を掲げている。

Some policies both parties advocate--such as providing subsidies to companies that offer short-term employment on a trial basis to people unable to find permanent jobs even after they graduate, and employment counseling at Hello Work offices--have been implemented and are producing some effects. It is important for the administration that will come after next month's election to improve them further.
 未就職者を試行的に短期雇用した企業への補助金支給や、ハローワークでの職業相談など、両党が唱える政策の一部は既に実施され、成果を上げ始めている。さらに充実させることが重要だ。

Among this spring's graduates, 23 percent found nonregular jobs, did not start working or did not go on to higher education. Among those who later found work, most jobs were nonregular, according to the ministry.
 今春の大卒者のうち、非正規雇用またはアルバイトで職に就いた人と、進学も就職もしていない人は計23%に上った。未就職者がいずれ仕事を見つけても、非正規雇用となる例が多いという。

===

Protect nonregular workers

Nonregular workers, whose wages are lower than those of full-time workers, tend to become targets for restructuring when a company falls on hard times. As their lifestyle is not stable, many are unable or unwilling to get married. Most are not covered by employment pension insurance, so there are concerns they will get low pension payments--or no pension at all--when they become elderly.
 非正規労働者は、正社員に比べ賃金水準が低いうえにリストラの対象になりやすい。生活が安定しないため、結婚しない割合も高い。厚生年金が適用されない場合が多く、高齢期に低年金・無年金に陥る恐れもある。

Nonregular workers are cheap labor for firms, and it is not easy for them to become full-time workers. Improving the conditions of nonregular workers is a major pending policy issue for the government.
 非正規雇用は企業にとって安価な労働力であり、非正規労働者が正社員になるのは容易ではないのが実情だ。非正規雇用の待遇改善は大きな政策課題である。

To improve the employment environment, job seekers should be encouraged to move into fields that need more manpower. For example, the medical care and nursing care fields are facing growing demand as Japan's society rapidly grays. Low wages offered to workers in these fields is one reason behind their lack of manpower. The working conditions of nursing care workers also must be improved.
 雇用環境を改善するには、人手が必要とされている分野への就職を促すことが求められる。例えば高齢化で需要が伸びている医療・介護分野だ。人材不足の背景には低賃金などの事情がある。介護職員らの待遇改善策も必要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 29, 2012)
(2012年11月29日01時32分  読売新聞)

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日本未来の党 「卒原発」には国政を託せない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 30, 2012)
Voters must warily scrutinize new parties' vague slogans
日本未来の党 「卒原発」には国政を託せない(11月29日付・読売社説)

How could we entrust Japan's future to a political party that touts a slogan of "ending the use of nuclear power plants," which would likely weaken the nation if adopted?
 国力を衰退させる「脱原発」を政治目標に掲げる政党に、日本の未来を託せるだろうか。

Nippon Mirai no To (Japan future party) celebrated its inauguration Wednesday, with Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada being chosen as the party leader. Kada said her party will draw up a "program to achieve a nuclear-free society," seeking to gradually abolish all nuclear power plants. Kada added that she wants to achieve the goal within 10 years.
 日本未来の党が、正式に発足した。代表に就任した嘉田由紀子滋賀県知事は「卒原発プログラム」を作成し、徐々に原発を減らして10年後をめどに原発ゼロにする意向を示した。

The party's slogans are merely vague concepts, listing phrases such as "stopping reliance on tax hikes," "taking the policy initiative away from bureaucrats" and "diplomacy with dignity." The party has yet to prepare concrete measures, even on important topics such as the economy, social security and national security.
 「脱増税」「脱官僚」「品格ある外交」など抽象的な言葉ばかりを掲げている。経済や社会保障、安全保障といった重要なテーマでさえまだ政策がない政党だ。

People's Life First and another new party founded by former agriculture minister Masahiko Yamada are scheduled to join Nippon Mirai no To. At first glance, it would seem that Kada called the other two parties to join her. In reality, however, it was People's Life First head Ichiro Ozawa and Yamada who did the behind-the-scenes negotiations for the three parties to reach an agreement on unification.
 嘉田氏が「この指止まれ」と呼びかけたように見えるが、実態は国民の生活が第一の小沢一郎代表や、民主党を離党して新党を結成した山田正彦元農相らが根回しをして、合流を決めたものだ。

Nippon Mirai no To's empty slogans and the disorderly shifting of allegiances among former House of Representatives members scrambling to be reelected in the coming general election are clear examples of how the quality of politicians has deteriorated.
 空疎なスローガンと、生き残りのために右往左往する前衆院議員たちの姿には、政治家の劣化を痛感せざるを得ない。

===

Irresponsible energy policy

Kada's "sotsu gempatsu" slogan, which literally means "graduating from nuclear power plants," is basically no different from the "datsu-gempatsu" slogan adopted by several other parties, which literally means "breaking with nuclear power plants."
 嘉田氏が掲げる「卒原発」は脱原発と大差はない。

Touting such a slogan without showing a clear path to achieve the goal is a mere display of a desire, which obviously is irresponsible.
それだけでは願望に過ぎず、無責任である。

Nippon Mirai no To should prepare a concrete plan on how to stably supply electricity and secure an alternative energy source to nuclear power as well as how to deal with the economic loss and unemployment that plant shutdowns would bring. The party also needs to explain how to deal with the continuing necessity of human resources development in the nuclear sector.
 電力の安定供給や代替エネルギー確保、経済・雇用対策、原子力の人材育成などについて現実的な計画を明確に示すべきだ。

In launching itself, Nippon Mirai no To adopted the "Lake Biwa declaration," which includes a sentence that reads, "The prefecture with the greatest unrecognized risk of being damaged by possible accidents at nuclear power plants is Shiga, which is near Wakasa Bay, where a number of aging nuclear plants are located." This statement clearly lacks consideration for the feelings of municipalities where the power plants are actually located, neglecting the fact that Shiga Prefecture benefits from electricity produced by such aging nuclear plants.
 結党に際して発表した「びわこ宣言」には「原発事故の潜在的リスクが最も高いのは老朽化した多数の原発が集中立地する若狭湾に近い滋賀県」とある。電力供給の恩恵を受けておきながら、原発立地自治体への配慮が不十分だ。

We urge Kada to reconsider her intention of entering national-level politics merely for the interests of Shiga Prefecture. It is said that what obsessed Kada's mind the most in launching the new party was whether she would be able to handle the jobs of governor and party leader simultaneously. We assume she will face various hardships in carrying out her dual duties, as this is the first time for Kada to run a political party.
 滋賀県の利害のために国政に進出するとの発想も改める必要がある。嘉田氏は知事と党首との兼務が可能かどうか悩んだという。政党運営の経験がないだけに、両立には困難が伴うに違いない。

===

The man behind the curtain

It seems that Ozawa had no compunctions about putting an end to People's Life First, a party whose name was carefully chosen by Ozawa himself. However, this is no surprise, as it is apparent that Ozawa wished to avoid entering the election campaign as a party leader, considering his image. In exchange, Ozawa's opinions were reflected in the draft of Nippon Mirai no To's election platform.
 小沢氏が名称にもこだわった政党をあっさり捨てても、驚くには当たるまい。党首として前面に出たくなかったのだろう。その分、未来の党の公約原案には小沢氏の従来の主張が反映されている。

The efforts of People's Life First to form an alliance with Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) failed, and a new party comprising only former Democratic Party of Japan members would be unlikely to receive attention in the election campaign. We assume Ozawa's intention was to rally from behind by installing Kada, who has a clean image, as leader of the new party. Another display of Ozawa's tactical mastery.
 日本維新の会と連携できず、民主党離党組の党だけでは選挙戦で埋没する。クリーンイメージの嘉田氏を「表の顔」に担ぎ出して巻き返そうと考えたようだ。相変わらずの小沢流である。

The public's discontent against conventional parties has soared after a prolonged period of political paralysis. As a result, various new parties have been emerging and merging in the political arena, in a rather haphazard way. However, we have to put a question mark on their abilities to take the helm of the nation. Their policies have a strong flavor of pandering to the masses.
 「決められない政治」で既存政党に対する国民の不信感が高まる中、急ごしらえの新党の離合集散が目立っている。だが、新党は、国政を担う能力に疑問符が付き、政策も大衆迎合色が濃厚だ。

We ask voters to pay sufficient attention to such tendencies of the new parties and scrutinize their real value in the general election.
 有権者はそのことを十分理解した上で、新党の真価を見極めることが重要である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 29, 2012)
(2012年11月29日01時32分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月29日 (木)

「国防軍」 本質的な憲法論議に踏み込め

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 29, 2012)
Step up constitutional debate on 'national defense force'
「国防軍」 本質的な憲法論議に踏み込め(11月28日付・読売社説)

The Liberal Democratic Party has pledged in its manifesto for the upcoming House of Representatives election that it will revise the Constitution to enable Japan to possess a national defense military force. This has emerged as a key issue in the coming election campaign.
 自民党が政権公約で、「国防軍」を保持するとした憲法改正を掲げたことが衆院選の争点の一つに浮上してきた。

At this juncture, each political party should wade into more fundamental discussions on revising the Constitution.
 各党は、これを機に、より本質的な憲法改正論議に踏み込むべきである。

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was quick to take a swipe at the LDP pledge. "I don't understand the significance of revising the Constitution to position the Self-Defense Forces as a military force, by venturing to change the name to a defense military force," he said. Noda's comments ignited a debate on this issue.
 自民党の公約に対し、野田首相は「あえて国防軍と名前を変え、憲法を改正して位置づける意義が分からない」と発言した。これが論戦に火を付けた。

LDP President Shinzo Abe countered Noda's criticism, saying the problem is that the SDF are regarded as a military force under international law, but they are not a military force according to the government's interpretation of the Constitution. Abe went as far as saying that if the SDF are not a military force, SDF personnel would not be handled as prisoners of war if they are captured.
 自民党の安倍総裁は、自衛隊は国際法上、軍隊と見なされているのに、政府の憲法解釈では軍隊ではないとされていることこそが問題だと反論した。軍隊でなければ、万一の場合、自衛隊員は捕虜として扱われないとも言及した。

We think Abe's point is quite reasonable.
 もっともな見解である。

===

Defining the SDF

The first paragraph of Article 9 of the Constitution stipulates the nation's renunciation of war. The second paragraph says, "In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained." Thus, it spells out that Japan will not possess military forces.
 憲法9条は、第1項で戦争を放棄し、第2項で「陸海空軍その他の戦力は、これを保持しない」と戦力不保持を定めている。

The LDP pledge mirrors a draft for revising the Constitution it announced in April when Sadakazu Tanigaki was the party's president. According to the draft, the first paragraph of Article 9 will be maintained, but the second paragraph will be deleted. The draft then stipulates the nation's maintenance of a "military force for defense," saying the preceding paragraph "does not prevent the country from invoking its right to self-defense."
 自民党の公約は、谷垣総裁当時の4月に発表した憲法改正草案に沿ったものだ。草案は9条1項を継承する一方で、2項は削除した。その上で「自衛権の発動」を妨げるものではない、として「国防軍」の保持を明記している。

It is only natural for the Constitution to clearly define the organization that will defend this country. We think it is time to end the ambiguity over the legal status of the Self-Defense Forces.
 憲法に、自衛のための組織を明確に記すことは当然だ。自衛隊の法的な位置づけを巡る混乱に終止符を打つべきである。

In 2004, The Yomiuri Shimbun proposed several revisions to the Constitution. One change we suggested was the maintenance of a "military force for self-defense."
 読売新聞も2004年の憲法改正試案で、「自衛のための軍隊」保持を盛り込んでいる。

When Noda's Democratic Party of Japan was an opposition party, he himself said in his book that the SDF are "a military force to the eyes of foreign nations," and they "have to be clearly defined [as a combat force] in the Constitution."
 首相自身、野党時代の自著で、自衛隊を「外国から見たら、日本軍だ」とし、「きっちり憲法の中で位置づけなければいけない」と主張しているではないか。

We cannot understand why Noda recently made a statement that flew in the face of his own argument.
 自らの持論を否定するような発言をするのは理解に苦しむ。

===

Noda rejecting own theory

It is also problematic that the prime minister said such things as, "Does this mean Japan should transform the SDF into an organization that launches intercontinental ballistic missiles?" This is nothing but an electioneering tactic to affix a "hawk" label to the LDP under Abe and unnecessarily stir up voters' anxieties.
 首相が自民党の公約について、「自衛隊を大陸間弾道弾を飛ばすような組織にするのか」などと発言しているのも問題である。安倍自民党に「タカ派」のレッテルを貼り、殊更に有権者の不安を煽(あお)ろうとする選挙戦術そのものだ。

On the other hand, the previous DPJ manifesto's reference to planned discussions on revisions to the Constitution has vanished from its policy pledges for the coming election. This gives the strong impression that the party has retreated from its position three years ago, when it called for "free and unrestricted constitutional debate."
 一方、民主党の新たな政権公約(マニフェスト)からは憲法改正に関する記載が姿を消した。「自由闊達(かったつ)な憲法論議を」とした3年前よりも後退した感が強い。

Given that the DPJ initiated the latest debate over the "defense military force," it must present its policy for defining the SDF and the right to self-defense in the Constitution.
 「国防軍」を巡る論戦を仕掛けた以上、民主党は憲法で自衛隊や自衛権をどう位置づけるのか、方針をまとめるべきだ。

We hope the election campaign will feature lively debate on whether the right to collective self-defense can be exercised, and how the SDF should conduct its international activities.
 衆院選では、憲法とも関連する、集団的自衛権行使の是非や、自衛隊の国際活動のあり方についても活発な論戦を期待したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 28, 2012)
(2012年11月28日01時23分  読売新聞)

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民主党政権公約 「現実化」と具体策を聞きたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 29, 2012)
DPJ's manifesto lacks realistic visions, policies
民主党政権公約 「現実化」と具体策を聞きたい(11月28日付・読売社説)

The Democratic Party of Japan must have spent time and effort on a sweeping review of its manifesto for the 2009 general election, which came in for severe public criticism. But will the contents of the new manifesto be applauded by the people?
 厳しい批判を招いた政権公約(マニフェスト)の見直しだけに、時間と労力をかけたのは確かだが、この内容で国民に評価されるだろうか。

The DPJ has finally come up with the new manifesto for next month's House of Representatives election.
 民主党が衆院選マニフェストを発表した。

The campaign platform unveiled by the DPJ lists five areas as policy priorities: social security, economy, energy, diplomacy and national security, and political reform.
社会保障、経済、エネルギー、外交・安全保障、政治改革の5項目を重点政策として掲げている。

Reflecting on the failure of the previous manifesto, which was filled with unrealistic campaign pledges, including somehow squeezing out 16.8 trillion yen in fiscal resources, the party kept mentions of numerical targets and deadlines to a minimum. This is natural. But the new manifesto still contains many policy goals with slim chances of being achieved.
 年16・8兆円の財源捻出など、非現実的な目標を満載した2009年マニフェストの破綻の反省を踏まえて、数値目標や達成期限の明示を最小限に抑えたのは当然である。しかし、まだ現実化路線が不十分な点も少なくない。

===

Pension folly persists

On social security, the new manifesto, like the previous one, calls for establishing a minimum pension payment system and abolishing the special medical insurance system for people aged 75 or older. Concerning the minimum pension idea, the DPJ stopped short of mentioning a "monthly payment of 70,000 yen." But the party estimates that an additional consumption tax increase of up to 6.2 percentage points would be required to guarantee this amount of minimum monthly pension payments.
 社会保障では、前回同様、最低保障年金の創設や後期高齢者医療制度の廃止を明記した。最低保障年金では「月7万円」との記載は見送ったものの、それには最大6・2%もの消費税の追加増税が必要と民主党が試算している。

The party says the minimum pension payment will be decided after discussions by a planned national conference on social security system reform. But it is obvious that the policy lacks realism at a time when restraints on welfare benefits are increasingly called for amid the aging of the population combined with the nation's chronically low birthrate.
 「社会保障制度改革国民会議の議論を経た上」としているが、少子高齢化に伴い、社会保障費全体の給付抑制が課題となる中、実現性が乏しいのは明らかだ。

Regarding energy policy, it is irresponsible for the party to adhere to a policy of ending reliance on nuclear power generation in the 2030s, which has been put forth by the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
 野田政権の政策を踏襲した「2030年代の原発稼働ゼロ」方針も、責任ある対応ではない。

The manifesto lists various measures to achieve the zero nuclear option, including a review of the nuclear fuel cycle, maintenance of human resources and technology, international cooperation and the dramatic spread of renewable energy. But the manifesto stops short of presenting concrete measures and road maps to realize these policy targets.
 核燃料サイクルの見直し、人材・技術の維持、国際連携、再生可能エネルギーの飛躍的普及など、様々な課題を列挙しただけで、どう実現するのか、肝心の具体策と道筋を提示していない。

Such a manifesto is tantamount to a campaign pledge backed by no fiscal resources. As such, it lacks power to win over the voters.
 これでは、財源の裏付けがない事業の公約と同じだ。有権者に対して説得力を欠いている。

===

A retreat on TPP issue

On the issue of Japan's participation in Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations, the DPJ avoided presenting a clear stance.
 一方で、踏み込み不足になったのが、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)の参加問題である。

Its campaign pledge only mentions that the government will judge whether to join the TPP talks after promoting discussions on the issue together with a tripartite free trade agreement with China and South Korea and a regional comprehensive economic partnership for East Asia.
 公約は、TPPや日中韓自由貿易協定(FTA)、東アジア包括的経済連携(RCEP)を「同時並行的にすすめ、政府が判断する」という表現にとどめた。

In doing so, the manifesto stresses that the government has yet to decide on the matter out of consideration to DPJ peers who are wary of or opposed to TPP entry. This represents a retreat from Noda's policy speech to the Diet in October in which he clearly mentioned a push for entry into the TPP talks.
 党内のTPP慎重・反対派に配慮して、政府方針がまだ最終決定されていないことを強調したものだ。TPPの「推進」を明記した10月の野田首相の所信表明演説と比べても、後退している。

It is also problematic that the manifesto was decided in line with the intentions of a small number of party leaders, something it has in common with the previous campaign platform, the compilation of which was led by former DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa. But the party's failure to present a TPP policy along the lines desired by Noda even after extensive intraparty discussions on the matter inevitably makes us feel uneasy about the DPJ as a ruling party.
 前回のように小沢一郎元代表ら一部の意思で公約が決まるのも問題だが、今回、幅広い党内論議の結果、首相が望む方向でTPPの結論を出せなかったことには、政権党として不安を禁じ得ない。

On diplomacy and security issues, the DPJ's manifesto consists of abstract arguments from beginning to end, including rhetoric about "deepening the Japan-U.S. alliance."
 外交・安保も、「日米同盟の深化」といった抽象論に終始した。

If the manifesto is left as it is without mentioning concrete visions such as enabling Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense--as mentioned in the Liberal Democratic Party's campaign platform--and revision of Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines, it is nothing but pie in the sky.
自民党公約にある集団的自衛権の行使容認、日米防衛協力指針の改定などの具体論がないままでは、同盟深化は画餅にすぎない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 28, 2012)
(2012年11月28日01時23分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月28日 (水)

電気料金値上げ 再稼働と合理化で負担抑えよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 28, 2012)
Realistic policies the only way to hold down electricity rates
電気料金値上げ 再稼働と合理化で負担抑えよ(11月27日付・読売社説)

It will be necessary for electric power companies to raise their rates to a certain degree for the sake of a stable electricity supply.
 電力を安定供給するため、電力会社が一定の値上げに踏み切るのはやむを得まい。

Kansai Electric Power Co. on Monday applied for the approval of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry for a hike of about 12 percent on average in household rates. KEPCO also plans to raise the rates for corporate customers--a move that does not require prior ministry approval--by about 19 percent on average. The utility plans to implement the hikes in April next year.
 関西電力が26日、家庭向け電気料金について、約12%の値上げを経済産業省に申請した。認可が不要な企業向けも平均19%値上げする方針で、来年4月の実施を目指す。

In the wake of the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, triggered by the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake, the nation's only currently operating nuclear reactors are a pair at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture. These reactors resumed operation after safety checkups of the plant, which supplies power to KEPCO's service area.
 東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の事故後、関電管内では福井県の大飯原発2基しか再稼働していない。

As fuel costs for operating thermal power plants as an alternative to the suspended nuclear plants have risen, KEPCO has been unable to keep its deficit from expanding.
代替電源である火力発電所の燃料費が増大し、赤字拡大に歯止めがかからない状況だ。

In applying for the rate hikes, the utility said, "If things are left as they are, we may face difficulty carrying out our primary mission of providing a steady supply of electricity."
 関電は「このままでは最大の使命である電力の安定供給に支障をきたしかねない」と説明した。

===

Cost-cutting good, but not enough

In step with the rate hike application, KEPCO has also quite appropriately come up with a plan to cut its operational costs, including labor costs, by 150 billion yen a year. We hope the utility will make further streamlining efforts.
 値上げ申請に合わせ、人件費など年1500億円の経費節減を打ち出したのは妥当である。さらなる合理化に努めてほしい。

To encourage public acceptance, it will be important for the government to carefully check whether costs used for calculating the rates set by KEPCO are correct when considering whether to approve the proposed hikes.
 値上げに理解を得るには、政府が認可審査にあたって、料金原価が適正かどうか厳しく調べることも重要と言える。

Following KEPCO, Kyushu Electric Power Co. is set to apply for rate hikes on Tuesday. Hokkaido, Tohoku and Shikoku electric power companies may follow suit, depending on the circumstances.
 関電に続いて、九州電力が27日に値上げを申請する。北海道、東北、四国の3電力も、状況次第で追随する可能性がある。

Since TEPCO raised its rates in April, other power companies have managed to avoid rate hikes by tapping into reserve funds. But they seem unable to do so any longer.
 東電が今年4月から値上げを始めた後も、各電力は内部留保を取り崩して値上げを控えてきたが、もはや限界のようだ。

Of course utilities should try to limit the size of any rate hikes by thoroughly rationalizing their operations. But it will be difficult for them to hold down rates through restructuring alone. Therefore, it is necessary to utilize those nuclear reactors whose safety has been confirmed.
 電力会社が徹底した合理化で値上げ幅を圧縮するのは当然だが、リストラだけで値上げは抑えられない。安全性を確認できた原発を活用することが不可欠である。

KEPCO has calculated its requested rate hikes on the assumption that two reactors at its Takahama nuclear plant will resume operation. Kyushu Electric Power Co. likewise is to come up with its rate hike figures on the assumption that it can start up three or four of its reactors again.
 関電の値上げ幅は、高浜原発2基の再稼働が前提だ。九電も3~4基の再稼働を見込んでいる。

===

Face reality of need for N-power

The government's Nuclear Regulation Authority will decide on new safety standards no sooner than next summer. The government, meanwhile, should waste no time in preparing procedures to enable nuclear reactors to resume operations without a hitch once their safety has been confirmed. It is also necessary to make efforts to build up the acceptance and confidence of local communities regarding the resumption.
 政府の原子力規制委員会が新たな安全基準を策定するのは、早くても来夏となる。政府は時間を空費せず、安全を確認後、円滑に再稼働できる手順を用意しておくべきだ。地元の理解を得るための信頼醸成も求められる。

If the reactors remain idle, fuel costs will rise above currently assumed levels, making it likely that electricity users will be asked to accept additional rate hikes.
 再稼働が実現しないと想定を超える燃料費がかかり、追加値上げを迫られる可能性がある。

Should rates soar, the impact on ordinary households will be great. The additional pressure on small and midsize businesses whose financial situation is weak may push them to the brink of failure--or over it.
 電気料金が急騰すれば、家庭への影響は大きい。経営体力の弱い中小企業も倒産・廃業の危機に直面しよう。

As the hollowing-out of the nation's industry accelerates, with more businesses shifting their plants abroad, it is feared that domestic jobs will rapidly disappear.
工場が海外移転する産業空洞化の加速で、国内雇用が急速に失われる懸念は拭えない。

As another measure that should be promoted to prevent utility rates from soaring is a strategy of cheaply procuring thermal fuels such as liquefied natural gas. The government has a major role to play in negotiating with resource-producing countries and promoting joint resource development.
 料金高騰の防止に向け、液化天然ガス(LNG)などの燃料を安く調達する戦略も推進したい。資源国との交渉や資源開発で、政府の果たすべき役割は大きい。

However, as long as Japan sticks to the slogan of "a nuclear-free society," it will be at a disadvantage in negotiations with resource-producing nations, who would naturally take advantage of Japan's weakness.
 日本が「原発ゼロ」を掲げたままでは資源国に足もとを見られ、交渉は不利になる。

It is thus a matter of great urgency for the government to shift to a realistic energy policy.
現実的なエネルギー政策への転換が急務だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 27, 2012)
(2012年11月27日01時12分  読売新聞)

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韓国大統領選 対日・「北」政策を注視したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 28, 2012)
How will S. Korea's presidential election affect ties with Japan?
韓国大統領選 対日・「北」政策を注視したい(11月27日付・読売社説)

South Korea's presidential election campaign has officially kicked off. Voting is scheduled for Dec. 19.
 韓国大統領選が告示され、12月19日投開票へ向け、選挙戦に入った。

Under the current Lee Myung Bak administration, the country's relations with North Korea and Japan have become severely strained. Will the new administration be able to rectify this situation? The outcome of the race will definitely affect Japan's future.
 李明博政権で冷え込んだ北朝鮮や日本との関係は変わるのか。我が国にも影響を及ぼす重要な選挙だ。

The election, the first in five years, is expected to be a virtual head-to-head battle between Park Geun Hye of the ruling Saenuri Party and Moon Jae In of the main opposition Democratic United Party. It has become a straightforward conservative versus liberal choice after independent Ahn Cheol Soo, who was considered a powerful rival, dropped out of the race. The contest is expected to be a neck-and-neck race.
 5年ぶりの今回選挙は、与党セヌリ党の朴槿恵候補と、最大野党・民主統合党の文在寅候補による事実上の保革一騎打ちだ。有力候補とみられた無所属の安哲秀氏が告示直前に出馬を辞退したためで、接戦が予想されている。

Park, representing the conservative camp, seeks to become the first female president of South Korea. Her father, Park Chung Hee, made the bold decision to normalize relations with Japan and paved the way for the nation's high economic growth during his presidency.
 保守勢力を代表する朴氏は、初の女性大統領を狙う。父親は、日本との国交正常化に踏み切って韓国を高度経済成長路線に導いた故朴正煕大統領である。

Moon, who represents leftists whose origins can be traced back to those who served in the Kim Dae Jung administration, was imprisoned for opposing Park Chung Hee's long authoritarian rule, and has served as a human-rights lawyer and chief secretary of former President Roh Moo Hyun--Lee's predecessor.
 一方、文氏は金大中政権以来の左派の流れをくむ。かつて朴大統領の長期独裁に反対し、投獄された経験を持つ。人権派弁護士として活動し、盧武鉉前大統領の秘書室長を務めた。

Although Park and Moon belong to the same generation, they have contrasting careers and their policies differ widely. We should pay close attention to their verbal battles.
 同世代ながら対照的な経歴の2人は、政策の違いも鮮明だ。激しい論戦を注視したい。

===

Economic growth main issue

The campaign's main point of contention will be economic policy.
 最大の争点は、経済政策だ。

Lee has succeeded in significantly boosting South Korea's exports through economic policies based on free trade agreements with the United States, the European Union and other countries. However, his policies have also resulted in a widening rich-poor gap. Unemployment among the younger generation also has become a persistent problem. The South Korean public has strongly criticized Lee for only focusing on big companies.
 李大統領は、米欧などとの自由貿易協定(FTA)推進を軸に輸出を大きく伸ばしたが、富裕層と低所得者層の格差が広がった。若者の雇用難が続き、大企業だけを優遇したとの批判が強い。

As a result, both candidates have pledged to narrow the rich-poor gap under the slogan of "economic democratization." Moon, for example, is focusing on reforming chaebols--South Korea's conglomerates--and placing more emphasis on helping ordinary workers. The two candidates will be tested on whether they can come up with concrete measures to ensure the nation's economic growth.
 両候補が共に「経済民主化」で格差是正を掲げるのは、そのためだ。文氏は財閥改革や労働者重視に力点を置く。成長をどう確保するのか、具体策が問われよう。

The second issue will be North Korea.
 第二の争点は、対北朝鮮だ。

Moon has said he will adopt the conciliatory "Sunshine Policy" that the Kim and Roh administrations used in dealing with North Korea, indicating that he was prepared to resume large-scale food and fertilizer aid to the reclusive country. Moon also has declared he wants to hold summit talks between Seoul and Pyongyang next year.
 文氏は、金、盧両政権の対「北」融和政策の継承をうたい、食料や肥料の大規模支援を復活させる意向だ。来年に南北首脳会談を行うと宣言した。

We would like to know how Moon plans to approach North Korea to have that country abandon its nuclear development program.
核放棄をどう迫るのか、明らかにしてもらいたい。

Park said she would not hesitate to hold a summit meeting if it led to better ties between the two countries. However, she is taking a gradual approach on the issue, which is to deter North Korea from taking provocative actions on one hand while working on confidence building on the other. We believe her approach is more practical than Moon's.
 朴氏も「関係発展のためなら」首脳会談を辞さぬ構えだが、北朝鮮の挑発を抑止しつつ、信頼醸成に基づき関係を築く“漸進”主義だ。まだしも現実的と言える。

===

Concern over bilateral relations

The two candidates' policies in regard to Japan are also important.
 重要なのは対日政策である。

Japan-South Korea relations deteriorated rapidly after Lee's visit to the Takeshima islands and his call for an apology from the Emperor. The two candidates are in favor of rectifying strained relations with Japan, as they have talked about building "future-oriented" ties between the two countries. Park has also referred to the resumption of FTA negotiations between Japan and South Korea.
 李大統領の竹島訪問と「天皇の謝罪」要求発言で、日韓関係は悪化した。両候補は「未来志向」を口にし、修復に前向きではある。朴氏は、日韓のFTA交渉の再開にも言及している。

However, Park and Moon both take uncompromising attitudes against Japan on certain issues, such as Takeshima. Moon's stance is especially worrying, as he says he will no longer allow Seoul to continue "quiet diplomacy" on the issue. He also suggested he will pursue Japan's legal responsibility on the issue of so-called comfort women if he becomes president.
 だが、竹島など特定の問題では厳しい立場のままだ。とくに文氏は、竹島問題で「これ以上、静かな外交はしない」と述べる一方、慰安婦問題でも日本政府の法的責任を追及する態度を見せる。

We are concerned that if Moon takes office, he would emulate the diplomacy of the Roh administration, which took an unyielding hard-line stance against Japan and stalled relations between the two countries.
 強硬一辺倒で日韓関係を停滞させた盧武鉉外交の再現になりかねない、との懸念は拭えない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 27, 2012)
(2012年11月27日01時12分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月27日 (火)

社会保障 持続可能な制度へ論戦深めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 27, 2012)
Parties must deepen debate on sustainable welfare system
社会保障 持続可能な制度へ論戦深めよ(11月26日付・読売社説)

 ◇年金などの給付抑制が不可欠だ

Political parties must engage in policy discussions on how to build a sustainable social security system.
 持続可能な社会保障制度をどう築くか、各党は現実的な政策を競い合うべきだ。

The nation's population is aging quickly amid a chronically low birthrate. The present "cavalry-type" society in which every senior citizen is sustained by 2.4 people of the working population will change into a "piggyback-type" one in 30 years in which there will be only 1.3 people for every retirement-age Japanese.
 少子高齢化が急速に進む。1人の高齢者を2・4人の現役世代で支える今の「騎馬戦型」社会は、30年後には1人を1・3人で支える「肩車型」社会になる。

If nothing is done to prevent this, the collapse of Japan's welfare system will only be a matter of time.
このままでは社会保障制度は早晩行き詰まるだろう。

 ◆一体改革の意義説明を◆

To help reconstruct state finances while covering rising social security costs, the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito joined hands to pass the bill on integrated reform of the social security and tax systems. The centerpiece of this bill was a planned doubling of the consumption tax rate.
 増え続ける社会保障支出を賄い、財政を再建するため、民主、自民、公明の3党は消費税率の引き上げを柱とする社会保障と税の一体改革関連法を成立させた。

People's Life First and some other parties, however, want the planned tax increase rescinded. Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), on the other hand, says the social security system should not be sustained with the consumption tax." This is a questionable argument.
 だが、国民の生活が第一などは消費増税の撤回を掲げている。日本維新の会は「消費税で社会保障を賄うのは不可」としているが、疑問だ。

The DPJ, the LDP and Komeito need to elaborate on the significance of the welfare and tax system reforms during campaigning for next month's House of Representatives election.
民自公3党は、衆院選で改革の意義を丁寧に訴える必要がある。

It is disconcerting that every party tends to trumpet only support for increasing welfare benefits and lessening the burdens on the public as they try to pander to voters during the election campaign.
 懸念されるのは、各政党が選挙戦で有権者の歓心を買おうと、社会保障給付の拡充や負担軽減ばかりを唱えがちになることだ。

If welfare benefits are expanded without a clear objective, the inescapable result will be an endless rise in the consumption tax rate.
 漫然と給付を拡大するなら、際限なく消費増税を続けなければならない。

===

Benefit outlays must be cut

Parties have a responsibility to explain how they will cap social security benefits.
 社会保障給付の抑制策を提示することは、政治の責任である。

The revised National Pension Law enacted during the recent extraordinary Diet session was aimed at reining in pension payments. This should be applauded. The law revision will ensure pensions that had been overpaid by 2.5 percent will return to originally set levels.
 年金給付を抑制するため、臨時国会で、改正国民年金法が成立したことは評価できる。2・5%の過払いとなっている給付が、ようやく本来の水準に戻される。

To ensure pensions can be stably provided, payment levels must be lowered further in accordance with the shifting demographics and changes in wages.
 年金財政の安定には、人口や賃金の変動に合わせて、年金水準をさらに引き下げる必要がある。

Given the declining working population and erosion in wage levels caused by the sluggish economy, workers who pay pension premiums are shouldering heavier financial burdens. This will widen the generational gap in pension payments and make it inevitable that younger generations will receive smaller payments compared with their contribution of premiums and taxes. This will make it difficult to maintain the pension system.
 労働力人口の減少や、不況に伴う賃金水準の低下で、年金保険料を納める現役世代の負担は重くなる一方だ。保険料や税の負担に比べ、給付が若い世代ほど少なくなる「世代間格差」が拡大し、制度の維持は難しくなる。

We urge the parties to also discuss how to expand the application of the corporate employees pension plan to nonregular workers, who have been increasing sharply, and what can be done for people who receive small pensions or none at all.
 急増する非正規労働者に対する厚生年金の適用拡大や、低年金・無年金者対策についても論じてもらいたい。

In its effort to overhaul the pension system, the DPJ calls for establishing a guaranteed minimum pension payment. If this minimum monthly payment of 70,000 yen is to be covered by tax revenue, the consumption tax will have to be increased by up to another 6.2 percentage points. The likelihood that this proposal will be implemented is low.
 民主党は年金制度を抜本的に見直そうと「最低保障年金」の創設を提唱している。だが、民主党が従来「月7万円」としてきた給付額を税財源で賄うと、消費税をさらに最大6・2%引き上げる必要があり、実現性に乏しい。

The draft of the DPJ campaign platform for the upcoming election does not mention any concrete figure for the minimum pension payment, apparently a reaction to the criticism it received on this issue.
 今回の衆院選の政権公約(マニフェスト)原案に給付額の記載がないのは、こうした批判を意識したためだろう。

On the other hand, the LDP and Komeito want the current system maintained, but neither has shown enough concrete steps to keep it intact.
 一方、自民、公明両党は現行制度の維持を主張しているが、そのための具体策は十分ではない。

We urge each party to present its vision for the public pension system and ways to improve it.
 各党は、年金の将来像と制度の改善策を示すべきだ。

===

Health insurance facing crisis
 ◆危機的な健康保険財政◆

As baby boomers will be 75 or older in 2025, demand for health and nursing care will rise. It can safely be said that the improvement of at-home medical and nursing care and the upgrading of nursing care facilities are needed urgently.
 団塊世代が75歳以上の後期高齢者となる2025年に向けて、医療や介護の需要は増大する。在宅医療・介護サービスの拡充や、介護施設の整備は急務と言える。

The DPJ asserts that the medical insurance system for elderly people 75 or older should be abolished, and people in this age group transferred to the national health insurance program.
 民主党は、後期高齢者医療制度を廃止し、75歳以上の高齢者は国民健康保険に移行することを主張している。

But this medical insurance system has taken root, and there is little need to ax it.
 だが、この制度は既に定着しており、廃止の必要性は希薄だ。

The LDP claims "the current system will be the base" of its plans. But some points need to be corrected.
 自民党は「現行制度が基本」としているが、改めるべき点はあろう。

Due to the sizable contributions paid to the medical insurance system for the elderly, the finances of health insurance programs have fallen into a critical state. One such case is the National Health Insurance Association, which chiefly covers workers at small and midsize companies and their families.
高齢者医療への巨額の拠出金で、協会けんぽなどの健康保険財政が危機に陥っている。

Each party needs to think harder about how the current system can be reviewed.
 各党は制度の見直しに、もっと知恵を絞る必要がある。

Time is of the essence for abolishing a special measure limiting out-of-pocket payments for medical bills people aged 70 to 74 pay to 10 percent of the total, and raising the limit to 20 percent as prescribed by law.
 70~74歳の医療費の窓口負担を1割に抑える特例措置をやめ、法律の規定通り2割負担に引き上げることも懸案だ。

Medical costs have been creeping up partly because elderly patients often have medical consultations and checks at more than one institution and receive duplicate medication, and due to soaring dispensing fees. These costs must be brought down to reasonable levels.
 複数の医療機関の受診や検査、投薬の重複、急増する調剤費など医療費の適正化も求められる。

Nursing care services are also being provided to some people whose need for it is not so pressing. Issues that need to be discussed include whether the out-of-pocket burdens of nursing care service bills should be raised and making sure people who need these services most are given priority.
 介護サービスは、現在は要介護状態ほど重くない要支援者も対象になっているが、今後は自己負担の引き上げや重度の要介護者への重点給付が検討課題になろう。

===

Roles of new council

Our society also needs to do more to rectify the low birthrate. The total fertility rate--the average number of children each woman has in her lifetime--was just 1.39 in 2011.
 少子化対策にも力を入れなければならない。1人の女性が産む子供の数を示す合計特殊出生率は、11年に1・39と低水準だ。

Under the comprehensive reform of the social security and tax systems, 700 billion yen of the revenue generated by the consumption tax increase will be allocated to child-rearing support. It is also important to consider how to find money for steps to boost the birthrate. The nation will still spend less on this than European countries do.
 社会保障と税の一体改革で、消費増税分のうち7000億円を子育て支援に充てることになっている。それでも欧州諸国に比べ依然少ない少子化対策費をどう確保するか、という観点も重要だ。

 ◆国民会議の役割は重い◆

The soon-to-be established national council on social security system reform will have crucial roles to play. It needs to discuss how to build a solid social security system and to prepare ways to hold down benefit payments.
 近く設置される社会保障制度改革国民会議が果たす役割は小さくない。信頼できる社会保障体制の構築を議論し、給付の抑制策をまとめる必要がある。

Unless the social security system is stable, people will remain anxious about their future. Regardless of which party holds power, it should maintain the current system while making modifications to accommodate the changing state of society. With this in mind, we hope each party will take part in constructive debates on this matter.
 社会保障制度は安定したものでなければ、国民の不安は解消しない。どの政党が政権についても、制度を維持しながら、状況の変化に応じて修正を加えていくべきである。それを念頭に、建設的な論戦を展開してもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 26, 2012)
(2012年11月26日01時20分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月26日 (月)

エネルギー政策 「脱原発」の大衆迎合を排せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 26, 2012)
Parties should base N-policies on realism, not popular emotions
エネルギー政策 「脱原発」の大衆迎合を排せ(11月25日付・読売社説)

 ◆電力安定確保の観点で選択を◆

How should Japan achieve a stable supply of power, which is indispensable for people's livelihoods and economic growth? Energy policies will become a major issue in the House of Representatives election to be held Dec. 16.
 国民生活と経済成長に不可欠な電力をどのように安定的に確保するか。衆院選でエネルギー政策は大きな争点となる。

Nuclear power policies by the ruling and opposition parties have come under the spotlight due to the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.
 東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の事故を受け、各党の原発政策が注目される。

It will be difficult to resolve many issues facing Japan, a country poor in natural resources, if the nation is divided simply between two camps--those seeking the abandonment of nuclear power and those wanting to keep it. All parties should hold in-depth discussions on the issue from various points of view, ranging from the economy and employment to the global environment and nuclear nonproliferation.
 「脱原発」か、否か、という単純な二項対立では、資源小国・日本の諸課題を解決できない。各党は景気や雇用、地球環境、核不拡散など多角的な視点から、地に足の着いた論戦を展開すべきだ。

 ◆無責任な民主党の公約◆

The Fukushima crisis has resulted in the public becoming increasingly anxious over the safety of nuclear reactors. The government has to take all possible measures to boost their safety and prevent a similar crisis from occurring.
 福島の事故で原発の安全に対する国民の不安は高まった。原発の安全性を向上させ、再発防止に万全を期さなければならない。

Considering that Japan's self-sufficiency in energy stands at just 4 percent, it is unrealistic for the nation to immediately abandon nuclear power, which supplies about 30 percent of the nation's electricity.
 エネルギー自給率が4%の日本が、全電源の約3割を占める原発をただちに放棄するのは非現実的だ。

The nation's system for supplying electricity--often described as the "lifeblood of the economy"--would be weakened if the government gets emotionally carried away by attempts to ditch nuclear power generation. Such a stance could create problems for the nation's economy in the future.
 ムードに流されて安易に脱原発に走れば、「経済の血液」である電力供給が弱体化する。日本経済の将来に禍根を残しかねない。

In campaigning for the election, each party should be aware that Japan stands at a crossroads in making an important choice--so should voters in casting their ballots.
 各党と有権者は、重大な選択の岐路に立っていることを自覚して選挙に臨む必要がある。

It is a cause of concern that so many parties advocate denuclearization. We suspect they are just making policy promises that appeal to voters to win more support by taking advantage of people's anxiety over nuclear power generation.
 懸念されるのは脱原発を掲げる政党が目立つことだ。国民の不安に乗じて支持拡大を狙う大衆迎合ではないか。

===

DPJ's irresponsible pledge

When compiling its manifesto for the upcoming general election, the ruling Democratic Party of Japan reportedly will include a target of "zero nuclear power plants" operating in the 2030s--a policy stated by the government's Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment. However, this strategy is flawed, because it fails to take into account the serious blow denuclearization would have on the nation's economy, and it is troubling that the DPJ would base a campaign pledge on it.
 民主党は政府が「革新的エネルギー・環境戦略」で打ち出した2030年代の「原発ゼロ」を、政権公約(マニフェスト)に盛り込むという。経済への打撃を軽視した、欠陥だらけの「戦略」をそのまま公約するのは問題だ。

Under the zero-nuclear power policy by the DPJ-led government, most nuclear power reactors' operations have remained suspended. Moreover, Japan's national wealth has been flowing out of the country at a rate of 3 trillion yen every year because of a surge of imports of liquefied natural gas and other fuel at a time when power suppliers are walking on a tightrope by operating aging thermal power plants at full capacity.
 民主党政権の「脱原発路線」の影響で、ほとんどの原発が再稼働できていない。老朽化した火力発電所をフル稼働する綱渡りの中、液化天然ガス(LNG)など燃料の輸入が急増し、年3兆円もの国富が流出し続けている。

Japan's industrial hollowing-out is accelerating as more and more companies move their factories overseas. This has had a serious impact on the nation's employment. However, the DPJ has done insufficient soul-searching over its own political missteps in the electricity field.
 工場が海外移転する産業空洞化も加速し、国内雇用は危機に直面している。民主党は自らの“電力失政”への反省が足りない。

Shinzo Abe, president of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, has criticized the DPJ as "really irresponsible" by proposing a zero-nuclear power policy. It is reasonable for the LDP--as a party aiming to return to power--to make clear in its campaign platform that an LDP government would take responsibility in reactivating nuclear reactors once their safety has been scientifically proved.
 自民党の安倍総裁は、民主党の「原発ゼロ」方針を「極めて無責任だ」と批判した。科学的に安全性が確認できた原発は政府が責任を持って再稼働させると明言したのは、政権復帰を目指す責任政党として妥当な姿勢である。

However, the LDP's election platform states that the nation's energy source structure for mid- and long terms should be mapped out in the next 10 years. This shows it badly lacks a sense of urgency.
 自民党の公約が、中長期的なエネルギー構成を10年かけて決めるとしているのはスピード感に欠ける。

The party must hammer out a clear-cut approach to effectively utilizing nuclear power generation. At the same time, it is essential to study ways to adequately dispose of radioactive waste.
原発を有効活用する明確な方針を打ち出すべきだ。あわせて核廃棄物の処理について検討を進めることが欠かせない。

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), which showed how eager it was to form a "third political force" to take on the DPJ and the LDP when it merged with former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara's Taiyo no To (The Sunrise Party), made the right decision by saying it would abandon its policy of "eliminating nuclear power generation altogether in the 2030s."
 民主、自民の両党に次ぐ「第3極」を目指す日本維新の会が、石原慎太郎前東京都知事の率いる太陽の党と合流した際、「30年代に原発全廃」の従来方針を取り下げたのは結構な判断だった。

However, Ishin no Kai's new energy platform, which calls for nothing more than "building a new supply-demand framework of energy," is regrettably equivocal.
 だが、新たな政策が「新しいエネルギー需給体制の構築」というだけでは、あいまい過ぎる。

===

Renewable resources can't fill bill
 ◆再生エネ過信は禁物だ◆

Other parties, such as People's Life First and the Japanese Communist Party, have argued for the immediate or early cessation of the nation's nuclear power generation.
 一方、即時あるいは早期の原発ゼロを主張するのが、国民の生活が第一や共産党などである。

Foes of nuclear power generation have insisted this country's need for electricity can be met without nuclear power plants on the ground that there was no blackout during the peak power consumption period in summer. Their argument, however, ignores such adverse consequences as the decline in the nation's production and hikes in electricity rates.
 反原発派は夏のピーク時に停電しなかったため「原発なしで電気は足りる」と主張するが、生産停滞や電力料金の上昇などの悪影響を無視した的外れな見解だ。

The parties calling for the abandonment of nuclear power generation lack sincerity if they fail to explain to the voters the negative impacts that would accompany such a move.
 脱原発のマイナス面も率直に有権者に示して選択を求める誠実な姿勢が求められる。

As alternative sources of energy, most parties have stressed the importance of such renewable energy sources as solar power and wind power.
 ほとんどの党は、原発の代替電源として太陽光や風力など再生可能エネルギーを挙げる。

Although we would like to see the proliferation of such resources, renewable energy sources, with the exception of hydroelectric power generation, currently account for little more than 1 percent of the country's entire electricity output. It is far too optimistic to believe renewable energy sources would grow into a major source of electricity large enough in the near future to replace nuclear power generation.
再生エネの普及に期待したいが、水力を除けば全発電量の1%強にすぎない。すぐに原発に代わる主要電源に育つと見るのは甘すぎる。

The dearth of electricity, at least for now, cannot help but be addressed by the augmentation of thermal power generation using such fuels as coal and LNG.
 当面は石炭やLNGなど火力発電の増強で対応せざるを得まい。

It is nothing but an expedient, opportunist line of argument to advocate the abandonment of nuclear power while failing to mention such environmental problems as increases in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution due to an expansion of thermal power generation.
火力発電の増加による温室効果ガス排出や大気汚染など、環境問題に触れずに、「脱原発」を唱えるのはご都合主義である。

The lessons left behind by the two "oil shocks" in the 1970s and early 1980s, in which Japan, heavily dependent on oil for power generation, could have faced blackouts. It is imperative to secure a wide range of energy alternatives, including nuclear power generation.
 発電燃料を原油に頼り、停電の危機に陥った石油ショックの教訓は重い。原発を含む多様な電源の選択肢を持つことが大切だ。

===

Diplomatic, security ramifications
 ◆外交・安保にも影響が◆

The zero-nuclear power policy of the government and the DPJ has puzzled the United States and European countries as it appears to contradict the government's stance of promoting at the same time the nation's nuclear fuel recycling program.
 政府・民主党の「原発ゼロ」方針には、核燃料サイクルを同時に進める矛盾について欧米から疑問が呈された。

Washington, for that matter, has expressed strong concern that impediments may arise to ensuring the peaceful use of nuclear energy and nuclear nonproliferation.
米国は原子力の平和利用や核不拡散に支障が出かねないとして、強い懸念を示した。

This is because spent nuclear fuel, if unused for power generation purposes after being reprocessed, would continue to be amassed, meaning that Japan's stockpile of plutonium, which can be diverted for the production of nuclear weapons, would keep increasing.
 再処理した核燃料を発電に使わないと、核兵器に転用できるプルトニウムの保有量が、再処理で増え続けることになるからだ。

There could even be a possibility of this country losing both the special right to stockpile plutonium as stipulated by the Japan-U.S. Nuclear Power Cooperation Agreement and the nation's status as a partner of the United States in its nuclear policy in Asia.
 日米原子力協定で認められているプルトニウム保有という特別な権利も、アジアにおける米核政策のパートナーの地位も、日本は同時に失う恐れがある。

From the standpoint of the nation's diplomatic and security priorities, the irresponsible argument for eliminating nuclear power generation must be abandoned.
外交・安全保障の観点からも、安易な「脱原発」は避けるべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 25, 2012)
(2012年11月25日01時19分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月25日 (日)

郵政新規事業 管理体制の立て直しが急務だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 25, 2012)
Management of Japan Insurance must be rebuilt--solidly and soon
郵政新規事業 管理体制の立て直しが急務だ(11月24日付・読売社説)

Japan Post Group has taken a step toward moving into new business fields.
 日本郵政グループが、新規事業の参入に向けて一歩前進した。

A government panel on privatization of postal services reached a consensus among its members that approval should be granted to a new education insurance product for which Japan Post Insurance has been seeking a green light.
 政府の郵政民営化委員会は、日本郵政グループのかんぽ生命保険が申請していた学資保険の新商品について、認可すべきだとする意見を取りまとめた。

This is the first time the panel has endorsed a new business plan of Japan Post Group since it was reorganized in October, reflecting the revision of the postal service privatization law.
 改正郵政民営化法を受け、今年10月に日本郵政が組織再編してから、民営化委が新規事業にゴーサインを出したのは初めてだ。

Since Japan Post Group has presented a road map to advance its privatization, including steps such as a listing on the stock market in autumn 2015, the panel apparently has judged it appropriate for the group to expand the variety of its products and services in phases.
 日本郵政は2015年秋の上場など、民営化推進の道筋を示している。このため民営化委は、段階的に商品やサービスを拡大することが妥当と判断したのだろう。

Education insurance has long been a hallmark product for Japan Post Insurance, a member company of the group. Since its sales recently have been losing ground to rival products of private firms, Japan Post Insurance wants to boost them by introducing a new type of such insurance that charges a lower fee in return for a lower death benefit.
 かんぽ生命は長年、学資保険を看板商品としてきた。死亡保障を抑えて保険料を安くしたタイプを投入し、民間に押され気味の販売で巻き返したい考えだ。

===

A reasonable first step

For privatization to go smoothly, improved user-friendliness and stable sources of business income are essential. In terms of assessing effects on the private sector, we can understand why the panel has endorsed improving the product's marketability as the first among Japan Post Group's new business projects, as it would be a first step with a small impact.
 民営化を円滑に進めるには、利用者の利便性向上と安定した収益が欠かせない。民間への影響を見極めるうえでも、民営化委が商品性向上という小幅な案件から新規事業を認めたのは理解できる。

Following the panel's endorsement, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry and the Financial Services Agency, which have the right to authorize Japan Post Group enterprises, will decide on whether to officially approve the new business plan.
 民営化委の意見を受け、認可権限を持つ総務省と金融庁が認可の是非を判断する。

However, the Financial Services Agency is wary of approving it officially because the agency's investigation has found that Japan Post Insurance may have failed to pay a huge amount of insurance benefits in the last five years.
ところが、金融庁は新商品の認可に慎重だ。
 金融庁の検査で、かんぽ生命が過去5年に大規模な保険金不払いを起こしていた可能性が浮上しているためである。

The number of cases in which benefits owed to policyholders were not paid could reach 100,000. The total amount of failed payments is said to be 10 billion yen. Moreover, Japan Post Insurance had failed to pay benefits totaling 35 billion yen during its time as a public corporation, which ended in 2007.
契約者に対する不払いは、計10万件、100億円にのぼる見込みという。
 かんぽ生命では、07年以前の旧日本郵政公社時代も350億円の保険金不払いがあった。

===

Persistent institutional flaws

Even after privatization, Japan Post Insurance could not improve the situation. It appears likely that its degree of legal compliance is seriously lacking.
民営化後も改善が図られなかったのは、法令順守(コンプライアンス)を欠いていたのではないか。

The agency has demanded Japan Post Insurance file a report on the issue because it suspects the insurance firm did not appropriately manage its customers' data. To win official approval for its new product, Japan Post Insurance should seriously reflect on why similar mistakes were repeated, and must strengthen discipline within its organization.
 金融庁は、かんぽ生命の顧客管理体制に疑問を持ち、報告を求めている。認可を得るためにも、日本郵政は同様の失敗を繰り返したことを猛省し、組織のタガを締め直してもらいたい。

Meanwhile, Japan Post Bank, also a member of Japan Post Group, is applying to enter loan businesses such as housing and credit-card loans for individuals and lending to companies. The panel will scrutinize the application and decide whether to endorse it.
 一方、日本郵政グループのゆうちょ銀行は、個人向け住宅ローンやカードローン、企業向け貸し出しなど融資業務への参入を申請中で、民営化委が審査する。

Japan Post Bank must develop its own management system that can check whether a loan should be extended, and can control risks and collect money. It will be required to make every possible preparation, such as training employees who work at post office counters in addition to enhancement of functions at its headquarters.
 ゆうちょ銀は自ら融資審査し、リスク管理や資金回収を行う管理体制を整備する必要がある。本社機能の充実に加えて、郵便局窓口の教育研修など万全の準備が求められよう。

However, private banks and insurance firms are loudly voicing concerns that the Japan Post firms would put undue pressure on private-sector businesses. To alleviate their concerns, the government must sell its stock in Japan Post Holdings as soon as possible, and also should steadily proceed with the disposal of stock in Japan Post Bank and Japan Post Insurance.
 民間の銀行や保険会社には民業圧迫を警戒する声が強い。懸念を和らげるため、政府は、保有する日本郵政株の売却を急ぎ、ゆうちょ銀、かんぽ生命の株式処分を着実に進めるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 24, 2012)
(2012年11月24日01時34分  読売新聞)

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アジア経済連携 TPPテコに日本が主導せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 25, 2012)
Japan should take lead in regional trade pacts
アジア経済連携 TPPテコに日本が主導せよ(11月24日付・読売社説)

New initiatives have been launched to create two huge free trade blocs in Asia. Japan will face a test as to whether it can work out a strategy to expedite such moves to boost its economic growth.
 アジアで新たに二つの巨大な自由貿易圏作りが動きだした。日本の成長促進へ、同時に推進する戦略が問われよう。

In Phnom Penh, 16 countries--Japan, Australia, China, India, New Zealand, South Korea and the 10 members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations--announced the start of negotiations under a regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP).
 日中韓と、東南アジア諸国連合(ASEAN)10か国、インド、豪州、ニュージーランドの計16か国がプノンペンで、包括的経済連携(RCEP)の交渉開始を宣言した。

The 16 nations are scheduled to begin the negotiations in early 2013 and aim to conclude terms, such as on tariff cuts and partial liberalization of investment in the region, by the end of 2015.
 16か国は2013年初めに交渉をスタートさせ、域内関税の引き下げや投資障壁の削減などについて15年末までの妥結を目指す。

The combined gross domestic products of the RCEP nations total 20 trillion dollars, accounting for 30 percent of the global economy. This trade initiative is based on a vision Japan proposed. It would be significant to create a free trade zone that would include new economic giants China and India.
 RCEPは、国内総生産(GDP)の合計が20兆ドルに達し、世界の3割を占める経済圏だ。日本が提唱してきた構想がベースになっている。経済大国に成長した中国とインドを含む自由貿易圏を構築するメリットは大きい。

Hopes are high for the RCEP because the outcome of its negotiations could help Japanese companies expand their exports. The firms could also find it easier to develop international supply chains, which would link their production bases at home and in the RCEP region. This could pave the way for them to exploit Asia's dynamics to shore up their businesses.
 交渉次第で日本企業の輸出拡大が期待できる。国内と域内の生産拠点をつないだ国際的なサプライチェーン(供給網)も整えやすくなる。アジアの活力を取り込むビジネス展開の道が広がろう。

===

Trilateral talks start next year

Japan, China and South Korea have also agreed to start trilateral free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations next year.
 日中韓3か国は併せて、自由貿易協定(FTA)の交渉を来年開始することでも合意した。

Japan and China remain in a state of confrontation over the Senkaku Islands, while Japan's relationship with South Korea has become tense over the Takeshima islands. It is reasonable for the Japanese government to separate such territorial rows from trade issues and enter the negotiations, giving priority to the economy. We hope the government will seek early trade agreements.
 日中は尖閣諸島、日韓は竹島を巡って対立しているが、領土問題を切り離し、経済優先で交渉に踏み出したのは妥当だ。早期合意を目指してもらいたい。

The launch of negotiations under these two trade frameworks was apparently prompted by China's concerns. Beijing appears to be wary about the strategy of the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama to increase his country's influence in Asia by promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership multinational free trade talks.
 二つの枠組みで交渉開始が決まった背景には、中国の思惑がうかがえる。中国は、米オバマ政権が環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉を推進し、アジアでの影響力増大を図っていることを警戒しているからだ。

To counter the TPP framework, which excludes China, Beijing has made its stance clear that it will push for the RCEP and the trilateral FTA, which do not involve the United States.
 中国抜きのTPPに対抗するためにも、米国が非メンバー国のRCEPや日中韓FTAを重視する方針を鮮明にしたと言える。

Apart from these, China has also agreed to create a free trade bloc under a framework, called the Free Trade Area of Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which comprises 21 members such as Japan, China and the Untied States.
 これとは別に、日中や米国など21か国・地域は、地域全体をカバーするアジア太平洋自由貿易地域(FTAAP)を将来的に実現する方針でも合意済みだ。

===

U.S., China rivalry to intensify

The FTAAP has no clear prospects. In the meantime, the tug-of-war between the United States, which is focusing on the TPP, and China, which is attempting to make the RCEP central to the region's economic activities, is expected to intensify.
 FTAAPへの道筋は不透明だが、TPPを軸にする米国と、RCEPを中心に据えたい中国との綱引きが活発化するだろう。

Meanwhile, Japan has come under pressure over its trade policies. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has repeatedly said his government "will pursue the TPP, the FTA among Japan, China and South Korea and the RCEP at the same time."
 問われるのは日本の通商政策だ。野田首相は「TPP、日中韓FTA、RCEPを同時並行的に推進する」と繰り返している。

First of all, Japan should speed up work to join the TPP talks as early as possible. The government then should use the TPP participation as a catalyst to proceed with negotiations for the RCEP and the trilateral FTA for the nation's benefit. We also hope Japan will win the terms it is seeking in the TPP negotiations.
 日本はまず、TPPへの早期参加を急ぐべきだ。それを弾みにRCEPや日中韓の交渉を有利に進め、TPP交渉でも自らの主張を反映できるようにしたい。

Amid competition between the United States and China, Japan needs to take the initiative in forming economic partnerships in Asia while protecting its interests.
 米中のせめぎ合いの中、日本の国益を守りつつ、アジア経済連携を主体的に作る必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 24, 2012)
(2012年11月24日01時34分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月24日 (土)

自民党政権公約 国論二分の政策でも方向示せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 24, 2012)
Now is the time for the LDP to take courageous policy stands
自民党政権公約 国論二分の政策でも方向示せ(11月23日付・読売社説)

What lessons has the Liberal Democratic Party drawn from the past administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which lasted from September 2006 to September 2007, and its three years of being an opposition party?
 安倍政権時代に得た教訓と、3年余りの野党暮らしの経験は、どう生かされているのか。

Titled "We'll restore Japan," the LDP's platform for the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election includes a number of conservative policies reflecting the political leanings of Abe, who is once again the party's head.
 「日本を、取り戻す。」と題した自民党の政権公約は、保守志向の「安倍カラー」が強い政策が目立つ。

One key pledge involves creating a Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council, which was a primary, though eventually unrealized, goal of Abe's past administration.
 その一つが、安倍政権が取り組み、挫折した「国家安全保障会議」(日本版NSC)の設置だ。

The country's national security environment has become increasingly severe in the face of China's rapid military buildup and North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Some mechanism to allow the country to cope rapidly with emergencies by blueprinting a comprehensive set of strategies is urgently needed.
 中国の急速な軍備増強や北朝鮮の核開発など、日本を取り巻く安保環境は厳しさを増している。
 首相官邸を中心に、総合戦略を立案し、緊急事態に即応できる体制を整える必要がある。

We see the proposal to create something like the NSC to serve as a control tower for coordinating diplomatic and security policy, which should be crafted so the Prime Minister's Office plays a central role, as entirely reasonable.
そのために外交・安保政策の司令塔を創設することは理解できる。

===

Bold stand on security, education

We also support the LDP platform's calls for creating a "Basic Law on State Security" that would enable the nation to exercise its right to collective self-defense.
 集団的自衛権の行使容認を掲げて、「国家安全保障基本法」制定を明記したことは評価したい。

This is a long-standing problem, and resolving it would do much to bolster Japan's alliance with the United States, which was marred by the administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.
長年の懸案だけに、実現すれば、鳩山政権以降、傷ついた日米同盟を修復し、強化する一助になる。

The LDP election platform also presents an education policy representative of Abe's political principles.
 教育政策も安倍氏らしさを前面に打ち出した。

The platform argues, "Due to the strong influence of Nikkyoso (the Japan Teachers' Union) on the Democratic Party of Japan, the DPJ will never be able to address the challenge of truly restoring the nation's education system."
 「日教組の影響を受けている民主党には、真の教育再生はできない」と主張し、

In terms of specific measures, the platform calls for changing the textbook authorization system to conform with the Fundamental Law of Education, which stipulates the principle of "love of country and community." It also calls for reviewing the board of education system.
The education platform proposed by the LDP is sure to become one of the focal points of the election.
「我が国と郷土を愛する」とした教育基本法に沿った教科書検定や、教育委員会制度の見直しなどを挙げた。選挙の主要な争点となろう。

To stimulate the economy, the LDP platform advocates a basic law to "make Japan's territory resilient" to disasters, which would consist of a hefty package of antidisaster programs.
 景気刺激策の一つとして、「国土強靱(きょうじん)化基本法」を定め、集中的に防災対策を進めるという。

The DPJ has strongly criticized the LDP's proposed objectives, calling them "typical of the old style of pork-barrel public works projects."
The LDP needs to respond to the DPJ's criticisms by clarifying its proposals, especially about how to balance public works projects with the need for fiscal discipline.
 この点について、民主党は「古いバラマキ型の公共事業だ」と批判する。財政規律との兼ね合いをどう図るのか、自民党は論戦の中で明らかにしてもらいたい。

===

Still muddy on nuclear power

Regarding the nation's idled nuclear power plants, the LDP platform calls for making judgments step by step, with the goal of solving the issue within three years.
 原発の再稼働については、可否を順次判断し、3年以内に決着させるとしている。

The party needs to explain in detail how bringing nuclear plants back online is indispensable to preventing hikes in electricity rates and ensuring a stable power supply.
電気料金の高騰を抑え、電力を安定供給するためには再稼働が不可欠なことを国民に丁寧に説明する必要がある。

The LDP's platform punted on the future make-up of the country's energy supply, only saying the party would "establish the best mix of electricity sources." Obviously, a more clear-cut path toward utilizing nuclear power is needed.
 将来については「10年以内には『電源構成のベストミックス』を確立する」とあるだけで、結論を先送りした。原発をどう利用していくのか、道筋を示すべきだ。

Further, the platform's references to negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral trade pact are hardly sufficient.
 環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への言及は、物足りない。

Although Abe has stated that Japan's participation in the TPP talks "should be a matter of course if the national interests can be safeguarded," the party has backpedaled to its initial position of "opposing [the TPP] as long as negotiations are premised on the elimination of all tariffs without exception."
 安倍氏は「国益が守られれば、交渉は当然だ」と明言したのに、公約は「聖域なき関税撤廃を前提にする限り、交渉参加に反対する」と従来の見解通りにとどめた。

How long will the LDP believe it is acceptable to retain this irresponsible attitude as an opposition party over this issue? The party needs to move in a new direction that promotes participating in the TPP negotiations.
 いつまで野党気分でいるつもりなのか。TPP推進の方向にカジを切るべきである。

The LDP must have the courage to present clear, unequivocal policies, even if they carry the risk of splitting public opinion.
 自民党は、国論を二分する政策についても明確な方針を打ち出さねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 23, 2012)
(2012年11月23日01時49分  読売新聞)

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いじめ緊急調査 子供をしっかりと見守りたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 24, 2012)
Children need to be watched over attentively
いじめ緊急調査 子供をしっかりと見守りたい(11月23日付・読売社説)

It is important for teachers in the classroom to continuously watch children attentively, rather than haphazardly doing so.
 一過性の対応で終わらせず、現場の教師が子供をしっかりと見守り続けることが大切である。

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry has released the results of an emergency survey on bullying in school. The survey was conducted this summer following an incident in which a middle school boy, who had been viciously bullied, committed suicide in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture.
 文部科学省がいじめに関する緊急調査結果を公表した。大津市で中学生の男子生徒が自殺した事件を受けて、今夏に実施したものだ。

The number of bullying cases confirmed at the nation's primary, middle and high schools totaled about 144,000 in about six months since April, more than twice the number for all of the last academic year.
 全国の小中高校などで今年4月からの約半年間に認知されたいじめは約14万4000件だった。昨年度1年間の2倍を超える。

The education ministry explains the sharp increase is due to the fact that "teachers have become more aware of bullying in school, helping schools grasp the real situation."
 文科省は「教師の意識が高まり、実態把握が進んだ」と急増の理由を説明する。

On the basis of the latest findings, schools and education boards must bring to light problems related to student guidance and correct them to deal with bullying.
 学校や教育委員会は、今回の調査結果を踏まえて、指導の問題点を洗い出し、いじめ対策に生かさなければならない。

Put another way, however, it seems teachers had been insensitive to school bullying.
裏を返せば、いじめに対する教師の感度が、これまでは鈍かったということだ。

===

Increase in violent bullying

The current situation at primary schools is worrisome. The number of school bullying cases has increased by as much as about 50,000 so far this year, compared to the total logged last academic year.
 懸念されるのは、小学校の状況だ。いじめ件数が、昨年度に比べ約5万件も増えた。

Marked increases are seen in bullying such as "ridicule" and "ostracism or snubbing." Also on the rise are such malicious acts as "extortion of money or goods" and "severe beatings."
「冷やかしやからかい」「仲間はずれや無視」といった形態が目立ち、「金品をたかる」「激しくたたく」など悪質ないじめも増加している。

Even if they may initially be mere pranks, they often escalate into more malicious actions if left uncorrected. Early responses are important.
 最初は悪ふざけのようでも、放置しておくと、どんどんエスカレートしてしまうことが多い。早期の対応が重要だ。

If a bullying incident is serious, which may also be a criminal act, schools should not hesitate to report the case to the police.
 犯罪行為にあたる深刻なケースでは、学校は警察への通報をためらうべきではない。

The number of cases the schools judged as possibly putting a child's life at risk was 278. Bullied children must be suffering serious psychological trauma, and continuous mental care and guidance is needed by them.
 子供の命にかかわる可能性があると学校が判断したいじめも計278件報告された。子供たちが受けた心の傷は深い。継続的な心のケアと指導が求められる。

The roles to be assumed by teachers who deal with children are extremely important.
 子供たちと接する教師の役割は極めて大きい。

Regrettably, however, there appears to be no end to teachers who can be labeled as "lacking both awareness of bullying and leadership abilities."
 だが、残念ながら、いじめに関する認識と指導力が欠けていると批判されても仕方のない事例が後を絶たない。

===

Teachers must respond

A typical case was one in which a first-year boy at a public middle school in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, committed suicide in September.
 その典型が、東京都品川区の区立中学1年の男子生徒が9月に自殺したケースだ。

Despite having been aware the boy had often been called "creepy" and had his school supplies damaged, his teacher did not take the case seriously and failed to deal with it appropriately.
「キモイ」などと言われ、文房具を壊されている状況に教師は気づいていながら、深刻に受け止めず、適切な手立てを講じなかった。

Such blunders should not be repeated. It is also essential for teachers to create an environment in school where bullying is discouraged, through daily classwork and extracurricular activities.
 このような過ちを二度と繰り返してはなるまい。
 日々の授業や課外活動を通じて、いじめが起こりにくい学校作りを進めることも欠かせない。

Some ways to address the issue include having students read a court judgment of a bullying case, and helping them learn what sort of action may constitute bullying. Also, senior students can be given the task of taking care of junior ones at school events such as sports meets. During class, students are encouraged to praise each other's good points. These are efforts being made in various parts of the country.
 いじめを巡る裁判の判決文を読んで、どんな行為がいじめと認定されるのかを学ぶ。運動会などの行事で上級生に下級生の世話係を担当させる。授業でクラスメートの「長所」を褒め合う。各地で様々な実践が始まっている。

We hope that by making these efforts continuously, bullying in school can be nipped in the bud.
 こうした取り組みを重ね、いじめの未然防止につなげたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 23, 2012)
(2012年11月23日01時49分  読売新聞)

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barack obama victory speach




バラク・オバマ米大統領、再選のスピーチ 英語全文
2012年11月7日(水)20:45

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.
ありがとう、ありがとう。本当にどうもありがとう。

Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family, and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.
元植民地が自分たちの宿命を自ら決める権利を勝ち取ってから200年以上たったこの夜、この国の団結をより完成させるための仕事が、さらに前に進みます。前進するのは、皆さんのおかげです。戦争や恐慌に打ち勝った心を、皆さんが再確認してくれたからです。この国を深い絶望の淵から素晴らしい希望の高みへと引き上げてくれた心のことです。私たちがそれぞれに個人の夢を追求する一方で、私たちはみな同じアメリカの家族なのだと。私たちはひとつの国、ひとつの国民として一緒に浮きも沈みもするのだという、信念のことです。

Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.
この夜、この選挙では皆さんが、アメリカの人たちが、念押ししてくれました。私たちの旅路は辛く長いけれども、それでも私たちは立ち上がり、巻き返すために戦ってきたのだと。そしてアメリカ合衆国にとって最高の日々はこれからなんだと、私たちは胸の奥底で承知しているのだと。

I want to thank every American who participated in this election; whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time, by the way, we have to fix that. Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone, whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference.
この選挙に参加した全てのアメリカ人に感謝したい思いです。初めて投票した人にも、投票するため延々並んだ人にも。ちなみにあれは直さなきゃならない。あちこちの歩道を歩き回った人も。電話をしてくれた人も。オバマ支持の看板を持った人も、ロムニーの看板を持った人も。皆さんは声を上げてくれた。そして変化をもたらしたのです。

I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign. We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service. And that is a legacy that we honor and applaud tonight. In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.
つい先ほど、ロムニー知事と話をして、懸命に戦った選挙戦について知事とポール・ライアンに祝意を伝えました。私たちは激しく戦った。けれどもそれは、この国を深く愛しているからこそ。この国の未来をとても大事に思っているからこそです。ロムニー一家は、ジョージからレノア、そしてお二人の息子ミットに至るまで、公共への奉仕を通じてアメリカに恩返しをしてきました。私たちはこの夜、その伝統を尊重し称えます。これから数週間の間にロムニー知事と一緒になって、この国を前進させるためにどう協力できるかをじっくり話し合いたいと思い、楽しみにしています。

I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America’s happy warrior, the best vice president anybody could ever hope for, Joe Biden.
過去4年にわたり友人とパートナーでいてくれた人にも感謝したいです。アメリカの幸福な戦士、これ以上はないという最高の副大統領、ジョー・バイデンです。

And I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago. Let me say this publicly. Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation’s first lady.
そして20年前に結婚を承諾してくれた女性がいなければ、今の私はありません。ミシェル、公の場ではっきり言わせてもらいたい。今までで一番、君を愛してる。僕が君を愛するように、アメリカ中が君をファーストレディとして愛するようになるのを、僕はずっと眺めてきた。こんな誇らしいことはない。

Sasha and Malia; before our very eyes, you’re growing up to become two strong, smart, beautiful young women, just like your mom. And I am so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now, one dog’s probably enough.
サーシャとマリーア。みんなの目の前で君たちはどんどん大きくなって、お母さんにそっくりの、強くて賢くて美しい若い女性になっていく。本当にすごく誇りに思ってるよ。ただし当分の間は、犬は一匹で十分だと思う。

To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics, the best..., the best ever. Some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning. But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together.  And you will have the lifelong appreciation of a grateful president. Thank you for believing all the way, to every hill, to every valley. You lifted me up the whole way, and I will always be grateful for everything that you’ve done and all the incredible work that you’ve put in.
政治史上最高の選挙チームとボランティアのみんなにも。最高の、本当に最高の。今回初めての人たちもいたし、一番最初から側にいてくれた人たちもいる。みんな、家族です。みなさんが今後何をするにしても、どこへ行くにしても、みんなで一緒に作ったこの歴史の記憶はあなたの中に残る。そしてこの大統領はみなさんに終生、感謝し続けます。ずっと信じてくれて、ありがとう。あらゆる丘の上へ、あらゆる谷間へ、一緒に来てくれてありがとう。皆さんはずっと僕を盛り立ててくれた。皆さんの努力と素晴らしい働きに、僕はいつまでも感謝し続けます。

I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics who tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late at a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you’ll discover something else.
選挙戦というのはくだらないものに見えることがある。ばかばかしく見えることだってある。それは承知しています。そのせいで、政治なんてしょせんエゴのぶつかり合いでしかないとか、特定利益が支配する領域に過ぎないとか、そうやって斜に構える連中に冷笑されてしまう。けれども実際に私たちの集会に来てくれた人たち、高校の体育館でロープに沿って並んだ人たちの話を聞いてもらったら、あるいは自宅を遠く離れた小さな地区の選挙事務所で遅くまで働く人たちを見てくれたら、たぶん違うものを目にすると思います。

You’ll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who’s working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity. You’ll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who’s going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift. You’ll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse who’s working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.
そうすれば、働きながら大学に通う若い活動員の決意のほどを聞くでしょう。どの子供も自分と同じように大学に行けるようにしたいという、彼の強い思いを知るでしょう。地元の自動車工場がシフトを増やしたからやっときょうだいが働けるようになったという、若いボランティアに会えば、彼女がどれだけ誇りに思っているかを知るでしょう。彼女はそうやって誇りをもって、一軒一軒を訪ねて歩いたのです。深夜遅くまで電話をかけ続けた軍人の伴侶からは、国を愛する思いの深さを知るでしょう。国のために戦う兵士が決して、帰国してから仕事や住居で苦労しなくて済むように、その人は電話をかけ続けたのです。

That’s why we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It’s not small, it’s big. It’s important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won’t change after tonight. And it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty, and we can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.
だからこそ、私たちはこうしている。政治にはそういう可能性がある。だから選挙は大事なんです。つまらなくなんかない。大きい。大事なんです。人口3億人の国の民主主義というのは、うるさくてごちゃごちゃしていて複雑なものになりがちです。みんな自分の意見を持っているし、誰もが信じる何かを深いところに抱いている。そして大変な時代の最中に、国として大きな決断をする時、感情がかき立てられ、対立がかき立てられるのは当然のことです。この夜が明けても、それは変わらない。変わるべきじゃない。私たちが議論するのは、私たちの自由の印です。自分たちが何かを主張しているまさにその時、遠い国々の人たちは、大事な問題について言い争うチャンスのために戦い、命を賭けている。私たちが今日そうしたように、投票する権利のために命を賭けている。それは決して忘れられない。

But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers, a country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all of the good jobs and new businesses that follow.
私たちの間には色々な違いや対立がある。けれどもほとんどの人は、アメリカの未来はこうなって欲しいという一定の思いを共有しています。
子供たちは、最高の学校と最高の教師がいる国で育って欲しい。技術や発明やイノベーションにおいて、世界のリーダーとしての役割を果たす国であってほしい。それがもたらす良い仕事や新しい事業の恩恵を受けられる、そういう国であって欲しい。

We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened up by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. We want to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this world has ever known, but also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being.
子供たちには、借金の重みに苦しんでいないアメリカで生きて欲しい。不平等のせいで衰退したり、温暖化の進む惑星の破壊にさらされたりしない、そういうアメリカで暮らして欲しい。安全な国、世界中で尊敬され憧れられる国を子供たちに残したい。世界最強で最高の軍隊に守られる国を。と同時に、今の戦争の時代を自信をもって乗り越えて、全人類の自由と尊厳が保証される平和を築く側に立つ、そういう国を、子供たちに残したい。

We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag, to the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner, to the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president.
私たちは寛大なアメリカ、思いやり深いアメリカ、寛容なアメリカを信じています。この国の学校で学びこの国の旗に忠誠を誓う移民の娘に対して、彼女の夢に対して寛大で思いやり深く寛容なアメリカを。シカゴのサウスサイドに住みながらもより広い世界を夢見る少年の夢に対しても。医者や科学者やエンジニアや起業家や外交官や、あるいは大統領にもなりたいと夢見る、ノースカロライナの家具大工の子供に対しても。

That’s the future we hope for. That’s the vision we share. That’s where we need to go: forward. That’s where we need to go.
それが、それが、私たちが望む未来です。それが、私たちが共有するビジョンです。それが、私たちの目指すべきところです。前へ(forward)。私たちはそういう未来を目指さなくてはならないのです。

Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line. It’s not always a smooth path. By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock, resolve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward.
ただし、どうやってそこに行くべきかについては、意見がぶつかることもあるでしょう。時に、激しく。200年前からそうだったように、進歩のペースはまばらなものです。まっすぐ直線に進むばかりではないし、いつもスムースに進むとも限らない。同じ希望や夢を共有していると認識するだけでは、膠着はなくならないし、問題も解消しない。合意形成のために苦労する代わりにはならない。この国の前進に必要な妥協点を見いだすためには、大変な苦労が必要です。希望は一緒だと認識するだけでは、その代わりにならない。

But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you’ve made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.
けれども共有する絆を、出発点にしなくてはなりません。この国の経済は回復しつつあります。10年以上続いた戦争も終わりつつあります。長い戦いは終わりました。そして皆さんに投票してもらう資格が私にあるかどうかはともかくとして、私は皆さんの声に耳を傾けてきました。皆さんから学んできました。皆さんのおかげで、より良い大統領になれました。皆さんの物語や戦いを抱えて、私はホワイトハウスに戻ります。やるべき仕事、待ち受ける未来について、今まで以上に決意を固め、意欲をもって。

Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together -- reducing our deficit, reforming out tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.
皆さんは今晩、行動を求めて投票しました。相変わらずの政治のままでいいと言ったのではない。私たちの仕事ではなく、自分たちの仕事が大事なのだと、皆さんはそのために私たちを選んだ。
なのでこれから私は、両党の協力なしでは解決できない課題に取り組むため、両党のリーダーたちに手をさしのべ、一緒に働くのを楽しみにしています。両党が協力しなければ、税制改革はできない。移民制度を直し、外国石油への依存から自由になることもできない。やるべき仕事はたくさんあります。

But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us, it’s about what can be done by us together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self- government. That’s the principle we were founded on.
だからといって、皆さんの仕事がこれで終わりだというわけではありません。この国の民主主義における市民の役割は、投票でおしまいではないからです。アメリカは、何をしてもらえるかという国ではありません。そういう国だったことは一度もない。協力し合って何ができるか、それがアメリカです。自治という大変な、なかなか報われない、けれども必要な努力を通じて。その理念こそ、この国の建国の精神です。

This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared, that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.
私たちが豊かなのは、どの国よりも財力があるからではない。史上最強の軍隊を持つけれども、だから強いわけではない。この国の大学や文化は世界中からうらやましがられているけれども、世界中の人がこの国にやってくるのは、それが理由ではない。アメリカが特別なのは、地球上でもっとも多様なこの国をひとつに束ねる絆のおかげです。自分たちはひとつの運命を共有しているのだという、信念のおかげです。お互いや将来の世代に対する一定の義務を受け入れなければ、この国はうまくいかないという、そういう確信です。アメリカではあまりに多くの人が自由のために戦い、自由のために死んでいった。そうやって勝ち取った自由には権利もあれば責任もあるのだと。責任とはたとえば愛すること、思いやること、義務を果たし国を愛することだと。その信念があるからこそ、アメリカは偉大な国なのです。

I am hopeful tonight because I have seen this spirit at work in America. I’ve seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job. I’ve seen it in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb and in those SEALs who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back.  I’ve seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm.
その心がアメリカ各地で生きているのを見ることができたので、今の私は希望に満ちています。家業の経営に際して、近所の人たちをクビにするくらいなら自分の給料を減らした方がましだという人たちに、その心を見ました。友達が職を失うくらいなら自分の時間数を減らした方がマシだという労働者にも。手足を失ってもまた再入隊する兵士たちに。後ろからしっかり守ってくれる仲間がいると分かっているから、暗闇の中、階段を駆け上っていった海軍特殊部隊の兵士たちに。ニュージャージーやニューヨークの岸辺でも見ました。どの政党かどのレベルの行政府かを問わず、大勢のリーダーたちが、凄まじい嵐に破壊されたコミュニティーを再建するため、ふだんの立場の違いを脇に追いやる姿にも、その心を見ました。

And I saw it just the other day in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his 8-year-old daughter whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care. I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd, listening to that father’s story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes because we knew that little girl could be our own.
そしてつい先日、オハイオ州メンターでも見ました。そこで会ったお父さんは、長いこと白血病を患う8歳の娘さんの話をしてくれました。保険会社がその子の治療費負担を止めようというわずか数カ月前に、医療保険改革法が成立したおかげで、彼女の治療を続けることができたと。そうでなければ、家族は全てを失っていただろうと。このお父さんの話を聞くだけでなく、素晴らしい娘さんにも会うこともできました。そしてお父さんが会場で自分たちの体験を語ってくれたとき、その場にいた全ての親御さんが目に涙を浮かべていました。あの小さい女の子は自分の子供だったかもしれないと、みんな分かっていたから。

And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That’s who we are. That’s the country I’m so proud to lead as your president. And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope.
そして、女の子の未来が自分の子供の未来と同じくらい明るいものでありますようにと、アメリカ人全員が願っている。私たちはそういう国民だからです。そういう国だからこそ、私は皆さんの大統領としてこの国を率いることができて、本当に誇りに思っているのです。
そして今晩、実にたくさんの困難を経験してきたけれども、ワシントンに不満はたくさんあるけれども、それでもこの国の未来についてこれほど希望を抱いたことはありません。アメリカについて、これほど希望を抱いたことはない。その希望が長続きするよう、皆さんにお願いしたいのです。

I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the road blocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.
やみくもな楽観主義について話しているのではありません。前にたちはだかる仕事がいかに大変かをいたずらに無視したり、道をふさぐ障害物を無視したりする、そんな希望のことではありません。ただ高みの見物を決め込んだり、戦いから逃げ回るだけの脳天気な理想主義のことでもない。私はかねてから希望というのは、自分たちの中にある頑固な何かだと思ってきました。そんなの無理だとどんなに言われても、果敢に手を伸ばし続け、働き続け、戦い続ける勇気があれば、今より良いものが何か待っていると、頑なに信じ続ける何かだと。

America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunities and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.
アメリカの皆さん、私は信じています。これまでの成果をもとに私たちはさらに前進し、新しい仕事や新しいチャンスのため、中間層がより安心できる毎日のため、さらに戦い続けることができると。建国の約束を守ることができると。一生懸命働く気持ちがあるならば、何者だろうと構わない。どこから来たのでも、外見がどうだろう、どこを愛していようと構わない。黒人だろうが白人だろうが、ヒスパニックだろうがアジア系だろうがアメリカ先住民だろうが構わない。若くても年寄りでも金持ちでも貧乏でも、五体満足でも障害があっても、ゲイでもストレートでも。やる気さえあれば、ここアメリカではなんとかなる。

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America.
こういう未来を、みんな一緒につかめると私は信じています。この国の政治が言うほど、私たち国民は分断していないからです。評論家たちが言うほど、私たちはシニカルではないからです。私たちは、個々人の野心の総和よりもはるかに大きい。そして赤い州や青い州の寄せ集めよりも大きい。私たちはこれまでも、そして永遠に、諸州が団結したアメリカという国(the United States of America)なのです。

And together, with your help and God’s grace, we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on earth.
皆さんの助けと神の恩寵と共に、私たちは一緒になって前へ前へと旅を続けます。私たちが暮らすこの国がなぜ世界で最も偉大な国なのか、世界中に伝えながら。

Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.
ありがとう、アメリカ。神様の祝福がみなさんにありますよう。この団結した諸州(united states)を神様が祝福してくれますように。

(書き起こし・翻訳:加藤祐子)(編集:スラチャイ^^)

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2012年11月23日 (金)

金融政策 デフレ脱却の具体策で競え

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 23, 2012)
Parties must show concrete steps for conquering deflation
金融政策 デフレ脱却の具体策で競え(11月22日付・読売社説)

How to conquer deflation will be a major campaign issue for the looming House of Representatives election. Before parties even begin exchanging verbal blows on this issue, Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe's recent remarks have caused a stir.
 衆院選では、各党のデフレ克服策が重要な争点となる。本格的な論戦の前に、自民党の安倍総裁が投じた“一石”が波紋を広げている。

At a lecture meeting held Saturday in Kumamoto, Abe said if his party comes to power, he would ask the Bank of Japan to conduct unlimited monetary easing measures. Abe also touched on government bonds issued for public works projects--so-called construction bonds--saying he would "eventually ask the central bank to buy them all."
 安倍氏は、17日の熊本市内での講演で、無制限の金融緩和を日銀に求めるとともに、公共事業のために発行する建設国債については「いずれは日銀に全部買ってもらう」などと述べた。

Abe's remarks drew heavy criticism from various quarters, including the government. "Asking the Bank of Japan to directly buy government bonds is an impermissible step," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said.
 これには野田首相が「日銀に国債を直接引き受けさせるやり方は禁じ手だ」と指摘するなど、政府などから批判が相次いだ。

The Bank of Japan can issue paper currency limitlessly if it wishes to do so. Thus problems will arise if Abe actually demands the central bank directly buy government bonds. This could lead to the unlimited issuance of government bonds, just like what happened during World War II. Eventually, fiscal discipline will collapse, unleashing hyperinflation.
 確かに、いくらでも紙幣を発行できる日銀に、国債の直接買い取りを求めたのなら問題だ。戦時中のように国債増発に歯止めがかからなくなり、財政規律が崩壊して超インフレが起きる恐れが強い。

However, during the Kumamoto lecture, Abe said he will ask the bank to buy construction bonds through open market operations, which is a typical monetary control measure conducted by the central bank. At a press conference Wednesday, Abe said, "I've never talked about asking [the Bank of Japan] to buy bonds directly."
 だが、安倍氏は同時に、通常の金融調節手法である「買いオペ」で購入するとも述べていた。21日の記者会見では「直接買い取りとは言っていない」と否定した。

Even so, we have a nagging concern that the LDP, if it returns to power, might ask the central bank to cover the government's deficits. We want Abe to explain his intentions more specifically.
 それでも、自民党が政権に復帰したら日銀に財政赤字の穴埋めを求めようとするのではないか、との疑念は拭いきれない。安倍氏はさらに丁寧に説明してほしい。

===

Japan needs bold policies

The problem stems from the failure of past administrations to beat deflation and rectify the extreme appreciation of the yen. No matter which party wins next month's election, the government needs to implement drastic monetary and financial steps that go beyond conventional thinking.
 問題は、デフレ退治も超円高の是正も進んでいないことだ。従来の金融・財政政策の発想を超える思い切った政策が求められる。

Japan's inflation rate has been hovering around zero for years. The nation's nominal gross domestic product has dropped by more than 30 trillion yen from five years ago. The central bank has been conducting monetary easing measures aimed at lifting prices by 1 percent annually, but they have produced few tangible results.
 物価上昇率はほぼゼロで、名目国内総生産(GDP)は5年前より30兆円以上も減った。日銀は1%の物価上昇を目指し金融緩和を続けているが、効果は乏しい。

Markets reacted positively to Abe's remarks. Stock prices rose and the yen fell. This shows the market has high expectations for government monetary measures to be conducted after the election.
 安倍氏の提唱に好感し、株高・円安が進んだことは、金融政策に対する市場の期待が大きいことを示している。

Political parties should show their concrete plans for defeating deflation and actively debate this topic in the election campaign.
 各党もデフレ脱却への具体的な処方箋を示し、衆院選で論議を活発化させる必要がある。

===

Risk of excessive intervention

On Wednesday, the LDP announced its election campaign platform, which contained monetary policies bolder than measures taken by the current administration, such as setting an annual inflation target of 2 percent. Setting the inflation target was aimed at making both the government and the central bank responsible for achieving the goal. We can see the point of this plan.
 自民党は21日に発表した政権公約に、2%の「インフレ目標」設定など、現在より踏み込んだ政策を盛り込んだ。政府・日銀がインフレ目標を掲げ、達成に責任を共有する狙いは理解できる。

The LDP also stated in its platform it will strengthen government cooperation with the central bank and implement bold monetary easing measures. These measures are also appropriate.
 政府・日銀が連携を強化する仕組みを作り、大胆な金融緩和を行うとしたのも妥当である。

However, we are uncomfortable with the party's suggestion it might revise the Bank of Japan Law if it takes power. Some LDP members even plan to give the government the power to dismiss the bank governor.
 ただ、「日銀法の改正」に触れた点は懸念される。自民党の一部には、政府に日銀総裁の解任権を持たせる構想もある。

The central bank's independence will be undermined if the government forces it to implement policies by waving around threats to sack the governor. The government should resist foolishly throwing the markets and the economy into chaos by excessively intervening in the bank's policies.
 解任権を振りかざして、政府が日銀に政策を無理強いすれば、中央銀行の独立性が損なわれる。政治の過剰介入で、経済と市場を混乱させる愚は避けるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 22, 2012)
(2012年11月22日01時14分  読売新聞)

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鳩山氏不出馬 政権迷走の「第一走者」が退場

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 23, 2012)
Hatoyama's political retirement a welcome development
鳩山氏不出馬 政権迷走の「第一走者」が退場(11月22日付・読売社説)

Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has announced that he will not run in the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election, long after his leadership was harshly and incessantly called into question.
 リーダーとしての資質が厳しく問われ続けた末の退場である。
 鳩山元首相が衆院選への不出馬を表明した。

Hatoyama played the main role in helping his Democratic Party of Japan win the 2009 lower house election, thus bringing a change of government. However, he is also the one who amplified the public's distrust in politics by making a plethora of irresponsible off-the-cuff remarks, mostly over a plan to relocate the functions of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture.
 鳩山氏は、政権交代の立役者の一人だったが、米軍普天間飛行場の移設問題などで無責任かつ場当たり的な言動を繰り返し、国民の政治不信を増幅させた張本人だ。

Now that the DPJ-led government is about to be tested by the public in the upcoming general election, Hatoyama should not have fled in the face of the "enemy."
 衆院選が民主党政権への審判という性格を有する以上、“敵前逃亡”すべきではなかった。

When he held a press conference in Hokkaido on Wednesday, Hatoyama said he had made up his mind not to run in the election and to retire from politics because the party leadership decided not to officially endorse members unless they signed a written pledge to follow its policies. "I couldn't run in the election with the party's official endorsement" if he maintains his own beliefs, Hatoyama said.
 鳩山氏は出馬断念の理由について、民主党執行部が公認の条件として党の方針に従う「誓約書」提出を求めていたことを挙げた。自分の主張を貫けば「党から公認をもらって戦うことはできない」と考え、引退を決断したという。

But in reality, Hatoyama apparently expressed his intention to retire from politics only to avoid facing a loss in his home Hokkaido Constituency No. 9, in which he was expected to have an uphill battle.
 だが、実際は、地元の衆院北海道9区で苦戦が予想されており、落選の憂き目を回避するための引退表明にほかならない。

===

An agent of chaos in the DPJ

It is natural for the DPJ leadership to have decided not to officially endorse party members unless they change their rebellious attitudes.
 党執行部が、反党的な姿勢を改めなければ公認候補にできないと考えたのは当然である。

Hatoyama voted against bills for integrated reform of the social security and tax systems, passage of which Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda expressed his determination to stake his political life on. He kept dragging Noda down even after former DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa and his followers left to form a new party.
 鳩山氏は、野田首相が政治生命を懸けた社会保障と税の一体改革に反対した。小沢一郎元代表らが離党した後も党にとどまり、首相の足を引っ張り続けた。

Hatoyama also opposes Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks.
環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉への参加にも反対している。

If the DPJ yielded to opinions like Hatoyama's, its decision-making process would be thrown into chaos following the election. Such confusion could become an obstacle to working with the two main opposition parties, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito.
 鳩山氏のような主張を認めてしまえば、選挙後に党の意思決定が混乱する。自民、公明両党と連携する上でも妨げになろう。

The DPJ has been riven by repeated internal battles due to differing opinions among members over key issues. Considering the fact, demanding that the party's prospective candidates follow its policies is an effective means of improving its nature as a party.
 民主党は重要政策を巡る意見対立から内紛を繰り返してきた。候補予定者に党の方針を徹底させることは、体質改善にも有効だ。

===

A thick catalog of errors

Hatoyama made too many missteps to list.
 鳩山氏の失政は、枚挙にいとまがない。

As soon as the DPJ took the reins of government, Hatoyama promoted a misguided "politician-led decision-making" principle without taking his lack of knowledge and experience into consideration. Abolishing meetings of administrative vice ministers was a typical example of how he put the principle into effect. The result was the stagnation of government administrative functions and demoralization of bureaucrats.
 政権をとるや否や、自らの知識・経験不足を省みることなく、誤った「政治主導」を振りかざした。次官会議を廃止するなど、行政の停滞や官僚の萎縮を招いた。

On the Futenma issue, Hatoyama said he would transfer the base's functions "at least" outside Okinawa Prefecture even though he had no clear prospect for doing so. His remark not only undermined the Japan-U.S. alliance--the cornerstone of the nation's diplomacy--but also triggered a backlash from local residents when he eventually returned to the original plan to relocate the functions within the prefecture. Such resentment still lingers there.
 普天間移設問題では、確かな見通しがないのに「最低でも県外」と主張し、外交の基軸である日米同盟を揺るがした。県内移設に回帰したことに沖縄県民は激しく反発し、今なお尾を引いている。

Hatoyama also has not provided clear explanations over a scandal in which his mother gave him sizable "allowances" in political funds. Moreover, he has engaged in a great deal of inappropriate behavior for a former prime minister, such as joining an antinuclear rally held in front of the Prime Minister's Office.
 母親からの巨額の「お小遣い」提供という「政治とカネ」にまつわる疑惑も、うやむやにしたままだ。首相官邸前の反原発デモに加わるなど、首相経験者らしからぬ軽挙妄動も目立った。

Hatoyama said he would not run in the next general election when he stepped down as prime minister, but he later retracted the remark.
 首相退陣時にも鳩山氏は衆院選不出馬をいったん口にしたが、翻した。

Hatoyama has reportedly said he will live his "third life" from now on. We hope that he will play an active role in a world unrelated to politics so as not to cause confusion anymore.
今回、鳩山氏は「第3の人生を歩む」と言う。再び混乱を引き起こさぬよう、政治とは無縁の世界で活躍してもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 22, 2012)
(2012年11月22日01時14分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月22日 (木)

米・ミャンマー 関係強化は中国へのけん制だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 22, 2012)
Japan, U.S. must join hands to aid Myanmar's reform drive
米・ミャンマー 関係強化は中国へのけん制だ(11月21日付・読売社説)

Recently reelected Barack Obama on Monday became the first serving U.S. president to visit Myanmar, a historic move in line with the U.S. strategy of attaching greater importance to Asia.
 再選を果たしたオバマ米大統領が、現職大統領として初めてミャンマーを訪れた。

After meeting Myanmar President Thein Sein, Obama stressed the United States would support reform in the Southeast Asian nation, saying, "A process of democratic and economic reform here in Myanmar that has been begun by the president is one that can lead to incredible development opportunities."
 米国の「アジア重視」戦略に沿った歴史的な訪問である。
 オバマ大統領はテイン・セイン大統領との会談後、「民主化と経済改革は驚くべき発展をもたらすだろう」と述べ、改革支援の立場を強調した。

Obama also met with Aung San Suu Kyi, president of Myanmar's largest opposition party, and applauded her efforts in leading the pro-democracy movement.
最大野党党首のアウン・サン・スー・チー氏とも会い、民主化努力をねぎらった。

Myanmar was subject to tough economic sanctions imposed by Europe and the United States for many years while it suppressed human rights under the junta's rule.
 ミャンマーは軍政時代の人権弾圧などを理由に、欧米から長年にわたり経済制裁を受けてきた。

But since the change to democratic rule in spring last year, the Myanmar government led by President Thein Sein has made steady efforts to promote democracy. Given this, the Obama administration has relaxed sanctions in phases since the start of this year. As a result, relations between the two countries have improved rapidly.
 しかし、昨春の民政移管以来、テイン・セイン政権が民主化を着実に進めたことから、オバマ政権は今年に入り、制裁を段階的に緩和した。ミャンマーとの関係改善は急速に進んでいる。

===

A bulwark against China

The United States went ahead with Obama's trip to take ties to a new level. The visit can also be regarded as a check against China, which has been expanding its military and economic presence. China cozied up to junta-ruled Myanmar, thereby boosting its influence over that country.
 米国が大統領の訪問で新生ミャンマーとの関係強化へ一段と踏み込んだのは、中国をけん制する狙いもあろう。軍事、経済両面で膨張する中国は、軍政時代のミャンマーと関係を強め、その影響力を増大させてきた。

That Obama chose Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand as the first countries to visit after his reelection is significant.
 オバマ大統領が再選後初の歴訪先として、ミャンマーをはじめカンボジア、タイを選んだ意義は小さくない。

By doing so, Obama sent a strong message that he will seek, in his second term too, to deepen cooperative relations with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in both economic and security fields.
 政権2期目も、経済、安保ともに東南アジア諸国連合(ASEAN)各国との連携を深めていくという強力なメッセージだ。

China will certainly be stewing over the U.S. move. It seems inevitable that Washington and Beijing will intensify their tug-of-war over Myanmar.
 米国の動きに中国も内心穏やかではないはずだ。ミャンマーを巡る米中両国の綱引きが激化するのは避けられないだろう。

The United States plans to provide Myanmar with about 13.7 billion yen over the next two years to assist its education and democratization programs. We hope the Thein Sein administration will use this U.S. support as a springboard to further promote reforms in various fields.
 米国はミャンマーの教育や民主化の支援に、今後2年間で約137億円を提供する方針だという。これを弾みに、テイン・セイン政権には、多方面で改革を一層進めてもらいたい。

===

Crucial moment ahead

Myanmar will chair ASEAN in 2014. The country will face a crucial moment in its economic reconstruction as it seeks to shake off its status as the poorest nation in ASEAN. The road to further democratization likely will be bumpy. It will not be easy to reconcile with minority ethnic groups that still are at odds with the government.
 ミャンマーは2014年にASEAN議長国を務める。域内最貧国脱却への経済再建はこれからが正念場だ。一層の民主化には曲折も予想される。対立が続く少数民族との和解も容易ではない。

Tokyo and Washington must work together to support democratization and economic reform in Myanmar. In October, Japan hosted a conference of industrialized nations and the World Bank in Tokyo, where arrangements for assistance to Myanmar were set.
 日本や米国は協調してミャンマーの民主化や経済改革を支えていく必要がある。10月には日本が主導して、先進国と世界銀行などによる支援国会合が東京で開かれ、国際社会の支援体制も整った。

In his meeting with Thein Sein in Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced his government plans to offer yen credits to the tune of 50 billion yen next year.
 今回、野田首相はプノンペンでテイン・セイン大統領と会談し、500億円規模の円借款を来年実施する方針を伝えた。

Myanmar can become a new production base for Japanese firms. The Japanese government, for its part, must expedite its assistance to expand that country's economic infrastructure.
 ミャンマーは、日系企業の新たな生産拠点となり得る。日本政府としても、経済基盤の整備への支援を急ぐべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 21, 2012)
(2012年11月21日01時50分  読売新聞)

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日米首脳会談 TPP参加へ環境整備を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 22, 2012)
Create suitable environment to join TPP negotiations
日米首脳会談 TPP参加へ環境整備を急げ(11月21日付・読売社説)

It is crucial to promptly create an environment to allow Japan to participate in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral trade agreement.
 環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉の参加に向けて、環境整備を急ぐことが重要である。

During a summit meeting in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed to accelerate bilateral talks toward Japan's participation in the TPP negotiations.
 野田首相がプノンペンでオバマ米大統領と会談し、日本の交渉参加に関する日米協議を加速することで一致した。

Noda expressed his eagerness to join the TPP talks, saying his resolve had not changed since he decided a year ago to hold preliminary talks with the countries concerned.
首相は「関係国との協議を決定した当時(1年前)と決意は変わらない」と参加へ意欲を示した。

Bilateral talks on the TPP started in February but have stagnated since then because the Japanese government delayed an official decision to participate in them due to outright opposition or wariness among members of the Democratic Party of Japan. The U.S. auto industry also has expressed concern over Japan's participation in the TPP and Obama gave consideration to automakers during the presidential election earlier this month.
 日米協議は今年2月に始まったが、停滞している。日本政府が民主党内の反対・慎重論を踏まえ、交渉参加の正式決定を先送りしているうえ、米側も大統領選中、日本参加を警戒する自動車業界などに配慮していたためだ。

To harness the vigor of the Asia-Pacific region to ensure Japan's economic growth, this country needs to become involved in formulating new free trade rules to have its opinion reflected appropriately.
 日本がアジア太平洋地域の活力を取り込み、経済成長につなげるには、自由貿易の新たなルール作りに関与し、自らの主張を的確に反映させる必要がある。

The TPP is a top-priority issue that would lead to a more solid Japan-U.S. relationship and create a foundation to pressure China to abide by international trade rules in future.
 より強固な日米関係を構築し、将来的に中国に国際貿易ルールの順守を迫る基盤を作るうえでも、TPPの優先度は高い。

===

Criterion for DPJ candidates

Noda plans to make "promotion of the TPP" one of the criteria for candidates running on the DPJ ticket in the upcoming House of Representatives election. Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe also has shown a positive attitude toward Japan's participation in the TPP talks.
 衆院選で、首相は「TPP推進」を民主党候補の公認基準とする意向だ。安倍自民党総裁も交渉参加に前向きの考えを示した。

However, some members of both the DPJ and the LDP oppose Japan's participation.
 だが、両党とも、交渉参加に反対する勢力を抱えている。

Political parties should deepen discussions on Japan's participation in the TPP talks so whatever administration is inaugurated after the lower house election will be able to join the talks at an early date. It is indispensable for the government to press ahead with measures to support the domestic agricultural industry while accelerating talks with the United States on automobiles and other products.
 衆院選後にどんな政権ができても、早期にTPP交渉に参加できるよう、各党は参加論議を深めるべきだ。政府が自動車などの日米協議を加速しつつ、農業の国内対策を進めることも欠かせない。

During his talks with Obama, Noda referred to disputes over the sovereignty of South China Sea islands between China, Vietnam and the Philippines. He said the South China Sea issue is of common concern for the international community, which has a direct impact on the peace and stability of Asia, and that it was important to observe international law.
 野田首相は会談で、南シナ海の領有権をめぐる中国とベトナム、フィリピンの紛争に言及し、「アジアの平和と安定に直結する国際社会共通の関心事だ。国際法の順守が重要だ」と強調した。

===

Press China for self-restraint

For Japan, the South China Sea issue is not someone else's affair. After three of the Senkaku Islands were nationalized, China has dispatched government ships on a daily basis in an attempt to forcibly undermine Japan's effective control over the islands.
 南シナ海の問題は、日本にとって人ごとではない。尖閣諸島の国有化後、中国は連日、多くの政府船を派遣し、日本の実効支配を実力で突き崩そうとしている。

It is vital to have the international community recognize that China's approach is not only Japan's concern but a common concern for Asian countries. Also, it is important that Japan and the United States cooperate in pressing Beijing to exercise self-restraint.
 中国の手法は、日本だけでなく、アジア共通の懸念材料だとの認識を国際社会に広げることが肝要である。日米が連携し、中国に自制を求めることも大切だ。

During Tuesday's summit talks, Noda also mentioned the recent series of crimes committed by U.S. servicemen in Okinawa Prefecture and asked Obama to thoroughly enforce discipline on the U.S. military.
 首脳会談では、野田首相が、沖縄で米兵の事件が相次いでいることを指摘し、米軍の綱紀粛正の徹底を大統領に要請した。

The U.S. military imposed an overnight curfew on U.S. servicemen in Japan in the wake of the alleged rape of a Japanese woman by two U.S. sailors in the prefecture in October. Since then, however, U.S. servicemen have violated the curfew and on two occasions have broken into people's residences. These problems cannot be overlooked.
 10月の強姦(ごうかん)事件後、米軍が夜間外出禁止令を出したが、これを破った米兵の住居侵入事件が2件発生した。看過できない問題だ。

The U.S. military should take more effective preventive measures. We call on the United States to make a more serious effort to prevent crimes and accidents involving U.S. servicemen to ensure the stable stationing of U.S. forces in Japan, which is a cornerstone of the bilateral alliance.
 米軍は、より実効性のある再発防止策を講じるべきだ。日米同盟の根幹である米軍の駐留を安定したものにするには、事件・事故防止へ真剣な努力が求められる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 21, 2012)
(2012年11月21日01時50分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月21日 (水)

衆院選主要な争点 日本の国家像を具体的に語れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 21, 2012)
Political parties must spell out their visions for Japan
衆院選主要な争点 日本の国家像を具体的に語れ(11月20日付・読売社説)

 ◆現実的な経済再生策が問われる◆

Japan stands at a crossroads. The direction it takes will be critical to determining whether Japan can remain one of the world's leading nations.
 日本は今、「一流国」であり続けることができるかどうかの重大な岐路に立っている。

As political gridlock continues and the economy staggers along, the people's sense that the country is stagnating has been growing. How can the nation overcome this situation?
 「決められない政治」が続き、経済も低迷する中、国民の閉塞感は強まるばかりだ。どう乗り越えていくか。

During the upcoming House of Representatives election campaign, we urge each party to present the course they want Japan to pursue and a new "vision" for this nation. Each party then needs to provide voters with detailed policy proposals based on these ideas.
 衆院選で各党は、日本の針路と新たな「国家像」を提示すべきだ。それを踏まえて有権者に具体的な政策を訴える必要がある。

===

How to overcome deflation?
 ◆デフレ脱却への方策は◆

In his book, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano pointed out that the nation must wake up from its dreamlike "growth illusion" and face up to reality. Edano argues that Japan, which has become a mature society, can no longer expect growth to just happen. Even maintaining Japan's economic vigor is not an easy task, he says.
 枝野経済産業相は著書で、「成長幻想」という夢から覚めて、現実と向き合うべきだと指摘する。成熟社会となった日本ではもはや成長は望めず、経済の活力維持さえ容易ではないという見解だ。

Behind the failure of the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration to hammer out an effective growth strategy and economy-boosting measures, we suspect "pessimism" like Edano's is rooted in people's minds.
 民主党政権で有効な成長戦略や経済対策が打ち出せなかった背景には、枝野氏のような“悲観論”が根強いこともあるのではないか。

But if economic sluggishness and deflation continue, which leads to negative growth, it might further hollow out the nation's industry and shake the foundation of social security systems and national security.
 だが、マイナス成長に陥るような景気低迷とデフレが続けば、産業が空洞化し、社会保障や安全保障の基盤が揺らぎかねない。

Consequently, we believe it essential for the nation to pursue stable growth and enhance its international competitiveness so it can maintain its national strength.
 だからこそ、安定成長を追求し、国際競争力を高めることが、日本の国力の維持には不可欠である。

How to overcome deflation, reignite the economy and rectify disparities are probably the issues of most interest to people ahead of the election.
 いかにデフレから脱却し、経済再生や格差是正を図るかは、国民の関心が最も高い争点だろう。

Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe has said his administration, if realized, would work closely with the Bank of Japan in policy coordination to implement bold monetary easing measures. He also said the LDP-led administration would reinvigorate regional economies by "improving infrastructure to serve as investment for the future."
 自民党の安倍総裁は、日銀との政策協調で大胆な金融緩和に取り組むとともに、「未来への投資となるインフラ整備」で地域を活性化させていくと語った。

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda had few kind words for the LDP plan, saying, "I don't think Japan can be revitalized through a policy of promoting lavish public works projects." Instead, he again trumpeted his government's revitalization strategy aimed at fostering new markets in such fields as the environment and medicine and creating jobs.
 野田首相は、「公共事業をばらまく政策で日本が再生するとは思えない」と自民党をけん制する一方、環境や医療などを中心に新たな市場と雇用の創出を目指す再生戦略を強調している。

But this strategy has so far produced little. The DPJ should present more convincing economic measures.
 ただ、これまで戦略の成果は乏しかった。民主党は説得力のある経済対策を打ち出すべきだ。

Japan's future will be swayed by whether it participates in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade framework to harness the vigor of rapidly growing Asian economies. The DPJ and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) are set to vocally support joining the TPP talks.
 急成長を遂げるアジアの活力を取り込むため、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)に参加するかどうかは、日本の将来を左右しよう。民主党、日本維新の会などは積極的に推進する構えだ。

===

TPP, nuclear energy key issues
 ◆TPPと原発がカギ◆

The LDP has taken a cautious stance on the TPP. It opposes the nation's participation in TPP negotiations as long as the pact is premised on the elimination of all tariffs "without sanctuary." But Abe, stressing the LDP's bargaining leverage, is poised to shift to a stance that supports participation in the talks. This change of tack is reasonable since the party seeks to return to power.
 自民党は「聖域なき関税撤廃を前提にする限り、交渉参加に反対」と慎重な姿勢をとってきたが、安倍氏は自民党の「交渉力」を強調し、交渉参加へカジを切ろうとしている。政権復帰を目指す以上、当然の軌道修正である。

In preparation for further market liberalization, deeper discussions should be held on how to strengthen the international competitiveness of Japan's agricultural sector.
 一層の市場開放に備え、農業の国際競争力を強化する方策についても議論を深めねばならない。

Deciding on an energy policy--especially what to do with the nation's nuclear power plants--also will be essential in designing Japan's future.
 原発・エネルギー政策も日本の将来像と直結する重要政策だ。

The DPJ has declared a policy of achieving "zero nuclear power generation" by the 2030s.
 民主党は2030年代に「原発ゼロ」を目指す方針を掲げた。

However, it is naive to expect that renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, will smoothly become more widely used. Japan's trade deficit has reached a record high, partly due to increased costs for fuel for thermal power generation as a substitute for idled nuclear reactors. It seems unavoidable that electricity charges will be raised further.
 だが、太陽光、風力など再生可能エネルギーの普及に過大な期待は禁物だ。原発を代替する火力発電の燃料費増で日本の貿易赤字は過去最悪の水準に膨らんだ。電気料金の値上げは避けられまい。

There also are fears that abolishing nuclear plants will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions, which will have an adverse impact on the environment.
 温室効果ガスの排出増による環境への悪影響も懸念される。

It is irresponsible to tout the "zero nuclear" policy without showing a concrete path to achieve this goal. The business world and the United States, which concluded a nuclear energy cooperation agreement with Japan, have expressed strong concern over the nation's energy policy.
 「原発ゼロ」への具体的な道筋を示さなければ無責任だ。経済界や日本と原子力協定を結ぶ米国なども強い懸念を示している。

On this point, we applaud the LDP for declaring it will "act responsibly" to restart idled nuclear plants after it returns to power. We urge the party to reveal its medium- to long-term energy policy as well.
 自民党が、原発の再稼働を「政府が責任を持って」進めるとしている点は評価できる。中長期的な政策も明らかにすべきだ。

Integrated reform of the social security and tax systems will also be a major issue in the election, as some parties have called for the consumption tax increase to be annulled or frozen.
 社会保障と税の一体改革も、消費税率引き上げの凍結や撤回を主張する政党が少なくない以上、大きな争点である。

Under the law on the integrated reform, which was enacted through concerted efforts by the DPJ, LDP and New Komeito, the consumption tax rate will be raised from 5 percent to 8 percent in April 2014, and to 10 percent in October 2015.
 民主、自民、公明の3党を中心に成立させた一体改革法は現行5%の消費税を14年4月に8%、15年10月には10%に引き上げる。

In our view, parties are just pandering to the public if their objective is only to prevent the consumption tax from being raised. They need to clarify how else they could fund social security costs, which are increasing by 1 trillion yen every year, and rebuild the nation's finances.
 単なる増税反対なら、大衆迎合にほかならない。毎年1兆円前後も増え続ける社会保障費を賄い、財政を再建する手立ても明らかにすることが求められる。

In its campaign manifesto for the Dec. 16 election, Komeito included a pledge to introduce a reduced consumption tax rate for daily necessities to alleviate the burden the tax hike would impose on low-income earners. We believe this reduced rate issue also might become a major topic during the campaign.
 公明党は政権公約(マニフェスト)に消費増税に伴う低所得者対策として軽減税率導入を掲げた。有力な論点になろう。

===

Debate security matters actively
 ◆主権・領土で論戦を◆

Depending on the outcome of the election, a new administration could come to power. However, the nation's basic policies on diplomacy and national security, which have their foundations in the Japan-U.S. alliance, should be resolutely maintained.
 政権交代しても、日米同盟を基軸とする外交・安全保障政策の基本は堅持しなければならない。

Parties should spell out their plans for rebuilding ties with China and South Korea, which have been seriously strained by tensions over the Senkaku Islands and Takeshima islands, respectively. They also should actively debate issues such as whether to enable Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense and to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture.
 尖閣諸島、竹島で悪化した日中、日韓関係をどう立て直すか。集団的自衛権の行使や米軍普天間飛行場移設問題も議論すべきだ。

Regarding reform of the lower house electoral system, various problems have been pointed out in the current system that combines single-seat constituencies with proportional representation. We expect parties to address this matter, including whether to reintroduce a multimember constituency system.
 衆院選挙制度改革では現行の小選挙区比例代表並立制に様々な問題が指摘されている。中選挙区制の復活も含めて論じてほしい。

Parties must not skirt the issue of the division of roles between the two houses--a point that has plagued the bicameral system. The House of Councillors, which wields too much power, is urgently in need of reconstruction, and the nation's political functions must be restored.
 その際、衆院と参院にどんな役割を持たせるか、二院制の問題に踏み込まざるを得ない。「強すぎる参院」の在り方を改め、政治の機能を回復することは急務だ。

Finally, we want to remind all parties that whether to amend the Constitution also is an important topic that deserves to be debated in the election campaign.
 憲法改正が、重要な争点であることも忘れてはなるまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 20, 2012)
(2012年11月20日01時10分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月20日 (火)

ストーカー殺人 被害者守れぬ警察は猛省せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 20, 2012)
Police must reflect on fatal stalking case
ストーカー殺人 被害者守れぬ警察は猛省せよ(11月19日付・読売社説)

Police were unable to protect the life of a stalking victim who had been terrorized by her stalker and complained to police, saying she feared he would physically harm her. They must seriously reflect on their handling of the case and take measures to prevent such incidents from recurring.
 ストーカー行為におびえ、身の危険を訴えた被害者を、警察は守ることができなかった。
 猛省し、再発防止を徹底せねばならない。

The victim was a female designer who was murdered by her former boyfriend in Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture. In June last year, the Zushi police arrested the man on suspicion of intimidating the woman by sending her e-mails threatening to kill her.
 神奈川県逗子市で、デザイナーの女性が元交際相手の男に殺害された事件である。逗子署は昨年6月、「殺す」といったメールを女性に送りつけた男を脅迫容疑で逮捕した。

When arresting him, a police officer read aloud her new surname and address after her marriage when reading the arrest warrant to the suspect. The woman had earlier asked the police not to reveal her new surname or address to the man. As the police officer read them aloud, the man was highly likely to note the information about the victim.
 その際、警察官は逮捕状に記載された女性の結婚後の姓、住所を読み上げた。女性は、新たな居住地などを男に知らせないよう警察に頼んでいたが、警察官が読み上げたことで、男に伝わってしまった可能性が大きいという。

On Nov. 6 while he was on probation, the man broke into the woman's apartment, murdered her and then committed suicide.
 男は執行猶予中の今月6日、女性のアパートに押し入って殺害に及び、自殺した。

Reading aloud an arrest warrant is meant to explain to the suspect why he or she was arrested. But there is no need to tell the suspect everything written on a warrant.
 令状の読み上げは、容疑者に逮捕理由を認識させるのが目的だ。記載事項をすべて告げる必要はない。

===

Victim's welfare disregarded

The Zushi police officer who read the warrant thoughtlessly disregarded the victim's welfare.
逗子署の警察官の行為は、被害者への配慮を欠き、あまりに軽率だったというほかはない。

Yutaka Katagiri, commissioner general of the National Police Agency, announced that the NPA will review the way entries in arrest warrants are made. The review is necessary, but the agency should, first of all, rigorously investigate how the Zushi police dealt with the latest case.
 警察庁の片桐裕長官は、令状の記載方法の見直しを表明した。それも必要だが、まずは今回の警察の対応を厳正に検証すべきだ。

About six months before the murder, the man allegedly sent the woman more than 1,000 e-mails in about 20 days. In the e-mails, the man reproached her for breaking off their engagement. But the Zushi police decided not to prosecute the case as a violation of the anti-stalking law.
 男は凶行の半年前、約20日間に1000通以上のメールを女性に送りつけていた。婚約を解消したことを一方的に責める内容だったが、逗子署はストーカー規制法での立件を見送った。

The anti-stalking law stipulates that following someone is unlawful only when accompanied by "defamatory remarks" or "extremely aggressive or violent behavior and abusive language."
 規制法は、違法となる付きまとい行為について、「名誉を害する事項を告げること」「著しく粗野または乱暴な言動をすること」などと規定している。

Surely the man's actions came under these categories. We cannot help but question whether the Zushi police dealt with the case properly.
 男の行為は、これらに当てはまるのではないか。逗子署の対応には疑問が拭えない。

A review of the anti-stalking law is also a matter of urgency. Although the current law prohibits one from making phone calls or sending faxes repeatedly and persistently, e-mails are not subject to the law.
 規制法の見直しも急務である。電話やファクス送信を執拗(しつよう)に繰り返すことを禁じているが、メールは対象外だ。

===

Laws must change with times

In light of the fact that the means of telecommunications have diversified, in line with the popularity of the Internet, provisions of the law should be amended to reflect the current situation.
インターネットの普及とともに、通信手段が多様化していることを考えれば、現状にかなった条文に改正すべきだ。

The number of police warnings based on the anti-stalking law issued to suspected stalkers nationwide from January to August totaled 1,511, already exceeding the annual record of 1,384 logged in 2007, according to the NPA.
 全国の警察が規制法に基づいて出した警告は、今年1~8月だけで1511件に上った。年間件数で過去最高だった2007年の1384件を既に上回っている。

To protect victims involved in stalking cases, whose number has been soaring lately, the agency may also need to take new countermeasures.
 急増するストーカー事件で被害者を守るためには、新たな対策を講じることも必要だろう。

In the anti-domestic violence law, which is designed to protect victims from violent acts of their spouses, a suspected offender can be prohibited by a court injunction from coming close to the victim. Violators of such injunctions are subject to arrest.
 配偶者の暴力から被害者を守るDV防止法では、裁判所の保護命令で、加害者が被害者に接するのを禁じる制度がある。警察は違反した加害者を逮捕できる。

The adoption of a similar system should be studied for dealing with the stalking case as well.
 ストーカー事件でも、同様の制度を検討すべきではないか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 19, 2012)
(2012年11月19日01時30分  読売新聞)

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「第3極」 政策のあいまいさ放置するな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 20, 2012)
Ishin no Kai must clarify policies to vie with DPJ, LDP
「第3極」 政策のあいまいさ放置するな(11月19日付・読売社説)

If a new party aspires to become a third major force in national politics and take on the two main parties--the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party--it will need to present clear proposals for addressing this nation's challenges.
 民主、自民の2大政党に続く「第3極」を目指すなら、日本が直面する課題について明確な政策を掲げる必要がある。

Former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara's Taiyo no To (The Sunrise Party) has decided to merge into Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), led by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto. The new party will be led by Ishihara, with Hashimoto as acting leader.
 石原慎太郎前東京都知事が率いる太陽の党は、橋下徹大阪市長を代表とする日本維新の会への合流を決めた。
 石原氏が代表、橋下氏が代表代行に就く。

Hoping to capitalize on the high name recognition of both Ishihara and Hashimoto, Ishin no Kai is looking to fare well in the upcoming House of Representatives election, not only in proportional representation blocs but also in single-seat districts where large parties are seen as holding an advantage.
 知名度の高い石原、橋下両氏が組む相乗効果で、衆院比例選だけでなく、大政党に有利な小選挙区でも議席確保を見込んでいる。

However, the two parties' merger was announced abruptly after Ishihara dropped an already announced plan to join forces with tax-slashing Genzei Nippon. The move thus smacks of a mutual-aid deal designed only to win the election.
 ただ、石原氏は、いったん発表した減税日本との合流を白紙に戻すなど、動きが慌ただしい。「結集ありき」のような選挙互助会的政党には疑問を禁じ得ない。

===

Accord full of problems

The policy agreement put together by Ishin no Kai and Taiyo no To is fraught with problems.
 維新の会と太陽の党がまとめた合意文書にも問題が多い。

On nuclear power generation--a central issue in the election--the accord merely mentioned a need to set rules on safety standards. This likely was the result of disagreement between Ishin no Kai, which supports ending the nation's reliance on nuclear power in the 2030s, and Taiyo no To, which has been critical of the zero nuclear option.
 焦点の原発政策に関しては、安全基準の「ルール構築」などにとどめた。「2030年代の原発全廃」を目指す維新の会と、脱原発には批判的な太陽の党の溝が埋まらなかったためだろう。

We agree with Ishihara's assertion that nuclear power policy needs to be discussed from a multifaceted viewpoint that takes economic and industrial factors into consideration. A zero nuclear policy is unrealistic at this point.
 石原氏が言うように、原発政策は、経済・産業への影響など、複合的な観点から議論する必要がある。今から「原発ゼロ」を掲げるのは非現実的だ。

The proposal to make the consumption tax a local tax, a centerpiece of Ishin no Kai's platform, did make it into the agreement, although it was widely believed that Ishihara was less than enthusiastic about putting the consumption tax under local government control. If Ishihara has made an about-face, he needs to explain himself.
 合意には、維新の会の看板政策とも言える「消費税の地方税化」が盛り込まれた。石原氏は地方税化に慎重だったはずなのに、政策をがらりと変えるのであれば、きちんとした説明が必要だ。

Concerning the Senkaku Islands, the accord called for urging China to make its case before the International Court of Justice. We question whether this position amounts to Japan admitting there exists a territorial dispute with China.
 尖閣諸島問題では、中国に国際司法裁判所(ICJ)への提訴を促す、とした。これでは、日本が領有権問題の存在を認めることにならないか疑問だ。

Regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework, the accord "supports participation in the TPP negotiations but opposes entry if the talks show it is not in the national interest." This appears to be a blending of the pro-TPP stance of Ishin no Kai and the anti-TPP position of Taiyo no To.
 環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)については「交渉に参加するが、協議の結果、国益に沿わなければ反対」とした。維新の会の推進論と、太陽の党の反対論を併記しただけのように見える。

===

A merger of convenience?

Other parties have denounced the tie-up as "a merger of convenience without policy." Hashimoto has refuted this. "We are much closer [on policy matters] than other conventional parties are," he said.
 橋下氏は、「政策抜きの野合」との他党の批判に対し、「既存政党に比べれば、はるかに一致している」と反論している。

Even so, we worry that after the election, Ishin no Kai would be continually enveloped in chaos over internal policy differences, as has been the case with the DPJ.
 そうは言っても、民主党のように路線対立で混乱を繰り返すのではないか、懸念は消えない。

Your Party has been lobbying to join forces with Ishin no Kai in next month's general election, also hoping to increase its national presence as a part of a third political pole. Furthermore, the People's Life First party is exploring ways to join hands with other parties by trumpeting its opposition to the planned consumption tax increase and its support of a zero nuclear policy.
 「第3極」を目指して、みんなの党が維新の会との選挙協力を進めている。国民の生活が第一も、反消費増税、脱原発を掲げ、他党との連携を模索している。

These are moves intended to sway non-affiliated voters, who have increased due to a decline in people's trust in politics during the three-plus years of the DPJ-led administration.
 民主党政権下で政治不信が高まり、無党派層が増えたことを意識した動きだ。

We urge political parties to avoid promoting policies aimed only at pandering to the people, and to sufficiently scrutinize their platforms.
国民の歓心を買うような政策ばかりでは困る。政策の十分な吟味が必要である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 19, 2012)
(2012年11月19日01時30分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月19日 (月)

民主党政権総括 政治の劣化を招いた「脱官僚」

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 19, 2012)
Political system damaged by DPJ's aversion to bureaucracy
民主党政権総括 政治の劣化を招いた「脱官僚」(11月18日付・読売社説)

 ◆一体改革法成立は歴史的成果だ◆

The first thing the Democratic Party of Japan should do before the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election is review its past three years and two months in power. Can the DPJ do serious soul-searching on the plethora of issues it has mishandled and reflect the lessons learned in its campaign pledges for the upcoming election?
 衆院選前にまず行うべきは、3年2か月に及ぶ民主党政権の総括だ。数々の失政を真剣に反省して、その教訓を新たな主張に反映できるのかが民主党に問われている。

The public approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama was as high as 75 percent when it was inaugurated after the 2009 lower house election. Public approval of the current administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has declined to just 24 percent, showing how the public's initial high expectations of the DPJ were dashed after the change of government.
 読売新聞世論調査では、鳩山内閣発足時の支持率が75%だったのに対し、現在の野田内閣は24%。政権交代に対する国民の期待の大きさと失望の広がりを物語る。

Under the DPJ government, the nation's politics have continued to suffer from confusion and stagnation, and this is not just because the Diet is divided. It is mostly because the party is incapable of managing the government.
 民主党政権で政治の混乱と停滞が続いたのは、衆参ねじれ国会だけでなく、政権担当能力の未熟さに起因する部分が大きい。

 ◆数々の失政を反省せよ◆

This was symbolized by the DPJ's failed manifesto for the last general election. After reviewing its pledges, the party concluded that only 53 of them--including making tuition at public high schools free--had been implemented during its tenure. The figure represents only about 30 percent of the 170 original promises.
 その象徴が、政権公約(マニフェスト)の破綻だ。民主党自身の検証でも、170件の政策のうち実現できたのは、高校無償化など53件、約3割にとどまる。

The DPJ has many things to reflect on. Among its blunders, it was extremely optimistic to believe it could secure 16.8 trillion yen a year just through tweaking spending plans. It also suffered a setback in seeking to cancel construction of the Yamba Dam in Gunma Prefecture because it made the decision without consulting parties involved.
 予算組み替えで「年16・8兆円の財源確保が可能」とした甘い見通し、関係者との事前調整なしに掲げた「八ッ場ダムの建設中止」の挫折など、反省点は多い。

The DPJ's misguided "politician-led policymaking" have caused the administration to repeatedly malfunction.
 誤った「政治主導」は、政府の機能を大幅に低下させた。

===

DPJ should reflect on blunders

Its budget screening initiative turned out to be nothing more than politicians playing to the gallery by bashing bureaucrats, and the process squeezed out only a limited amount of fiscal resources.
 事業仕分けは、官僚たたきのパフォーマンスに過ぎず、捻出できた財源は限定的だった。

Based on an opposition-like stance, the DPJ took a hostile of view of bureaucrats and shunned the bureaucracy in deciding and carrying out policies. This weakened both the political and bureaucratic systems because public servants only awaited instructions from ministers, and politicians were not informed of important matters.
 野党的体質から官僚を敵視し、「脱官僚」を進めた結果、官僚は指示待ちになる一方、政治家には重要情報が入らず、政官双方の劣化を招いた。

This problem became particularly apparent following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, when Prime Minister Naoto Kan's Cabinet failed to respond promptly. This caused confusion in helping the people in the disaster-hit areas and in dealing with the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
菅内閣での東日本大震災の被災者支援や原発事故対応の遅れと混乱が典型例だ。

Politicians are supposed to fully utilize bureaucrats and try to bring out their best.
 政治家は本来、官僚を使いこなし、その能力を最大限引き出すことにこそ、腐心すべきだ。

When it comes to nuclear energy, the DPJ initially said operations of reactors should be resumed once their safety was confirmed. However, the party abruptly proposed an infeasible zero-nuclear power policy instead, and caused widespread confusion due to insufficient coordination with the United States and domestic local governments that host nuclear power plants.
 当初は、安全性を確認した原発は活用するとしていたのに、場当たり的に非現実的な「原発ゼロ」方針を掲げ、米国や関係自治体との調整不足から迷走を重ねた。

On the economic front, the DPJ could not propose an effective growth strategy even though it promised to revive the nation's economy. It also failed to work together with the business community.
 経済再生を掲げながら実効性ある成長戦略を打ち出せず、経済界との足並みもそろわなかった。

Under the slogan "from concrete to people," the government has slashed spending on public works projects from 7.1 trillion yen for fiscal 2009 to 4.6 trillion yen for fiscal 2012--a decrease that has battered local economies.
 「コンクリートから人」のスローガンの下、政府の公共事業費は当初予算ベースで2009年度の7・1兆円から12年度の4・6兆円に減り、地方は疲弊した。

Furthermore, because of other problematic policies such as those for budgetary handouts, the general account appropriations in the initial fiscal 2012 state budget have swollen to 96.7 trillion yen, including budgets for restoration from the Great East Japan Earthquake and related expenditures, from 88.5 trillion yen in fiscal 2009.
 一方で、それ以外のバラマキ政策などによって、一般会計当初予算は、09年度の88・5兆円から12年度は実質96・7兆円(復興費などを含む)に膨張している。

With the issuance of deficit-covering bonds having exceeded 30 trillion yen every year in recent years, government finances have deteriorated steadily as shown by the fact that the outstanding balance of government debts is expected to reach 709 trillion yen at the end of this fiscal year--a drastic jump from fiscal 2009's 594 trillion yen.
 毎年30兆円超の赤字国債発行により財政は一層悪化し、国債発行残高は594兆円から今年度末に709兆円に増える見通しだ。

Former DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa, meanwhile, has failed to take responsibility even after his former secretaries were found guilty in September 2011 of charges of violating the Political Funds Control Law, tarnishing the public's image of the DPJ as a clean party.
 小沢一郎元代表は、元秘書3人が政治資金規正法違反で有罪になっても責任を取らず、民主党のクリーンなイメージを傷つけた。

===

Persistent intraparty wrangling
 ◆党内対立が常に続いた◆

Within the ruling party, there was nonstopwrangling between pro-Ozawa and anti-Ozawa party members regarding DPJ's policies.
 党内では「親小沢対反小沢」の路線対立が続いた。

The intraparty disarray stemmed mainly from the party's failure at the time of its 2003 merger with the Liberal Party, in which top priority was placed on cobbling together non-Liberal Democratic Party political forces without the spadework of reconciling political ideals and key policies among them.
03年の自由党との合併時に非自民勢力の結集を優先し、理念や政策をすり合わせなかったことのツケと言える。

An opposition party can cover up intraparty policy differences, but a party in power, charged with implementing policies, cannot.
 野党なら党内の政策の違いを糊塗(こと)できるが、政策を実行する与党はそうはいかない。

The split within the DPJ in early July over the issue of raising the consumption tax rate showed the party's internal contradictions had reached a critical point.
消費税率引き上げをめぐる党の分裂は、内部矛盾が臨界点に達したものだ。

None of the party executives, including Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi, made any move to assume responsibility for the party's split.
しかし、輿石幹事長ら執行部は、誰も責任を取ろうとしなかった。

The DPJ's policymaking process continued to falter as shown by a decision to abolish the Policy Research Committee, which was subsequently reversed by another decision to reinstate the panel, ostensibly to beef up its functions.
 党政策調査会が廃止、復活を経て強化されるなど、政策決定システムも安定しなかった。

Although animated intraparty discussions were held, they often ended up failing to reach a timely conclusion.
 活発に議論はするが、期限に結論が出ない。

DPJ legislators frequently turned their backs on what had earlier been decided within the party, revisiting issues that had been settled once.
決定事項に従わず、過去の経緯を踏まえず議論を蒸し返す。

And because the party did not take minutes of its meetings, intraparty discussions failed to be cumulative, resulting in superficial debates. Almost every time policies were discussed within the party, its immature political culture was brought to light.
議事録がないため議論が蓄積されず、深まらない。党内の政策論議のたびに民主党の未熟な政治文化が露呈した。

In addition, the DPJ's confused handling of diplomatic policy harmed the country's national interests.
 外交の迷走は国益を損ねた。

The muddle involving the issue of relocating functions of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture because of former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's mishandling of the matter weakened the Japan-U.S. alliance and created distrust among the people of Okinawa Prefecture. The scars remain unhealed even now.
 鳩山元首相による米軍普天間飛行場移設問題の混乱が日米同盟を弱体化させ、沖縄に不信感を残した。その傷は今も癒えない。

The diplomatic blunders of the DPJ administration were exploited by neighboring countries, as shown by the ramming of Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels off the Senkaku Islands in September 2010 by a Chinese fishing boat, the sudden visit in July 2012 by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to the northern territories off eastern Hokkaido and the visit in August this year by South Korean President Lee Myung Bak to the Takeshima islets.
 尖閣諸島沖での中国漁船衝突事件、メドベージェフ露首相の北方領土訪問、李明博韓国大統領の竹島訪問など、領土問題で近隣国につけ込まれる一因ともなった。

===

Noda's historic achievements
 ◆野田首相は他にも実績◆

Nevertheless, the DPJ-led administration can be credited with the historic achievement of realizing the passage of legislation on comprehensive social security and tax system reform.
 民主党政権の歴史に残る成果は社会保障・税一体改革関連法を成立させたことだ。

Although the major opposition LDP played an important role in the legislation, the driving force behind the reform was the resolve of Noda, who risked his political life fully realizing the danger of a split in the party.
自民党も重要な役割を果たしたが、野田首相が政治生命をかけて退路を断ち、党分裂という重い代償も辞さずに突き進んだことが原動力だった。

The prime minister also gave full play to his leadership in bringing the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture of Kansai Electric Power Co. back online and announcing his support of Japan's participation in multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations.
 首相は関西電力大飯原発の再稼働で指導力を発揮し、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)参加問題でも積極姿勢を示した。

Noda should be credited for attaining a degree of results in spite of the pile of "adverse legacies" left by the administrations of his two predecessors, Hatoyama and Kan.
鳩山、菅政権の「負の遺産」を抱えつつ一定の実績を残したと評価できる。

On the diplomatic and national security front, the Noda Cabinet rightly revealed Japan-U.S. secrets, including one on Japan's tacit agreement to allow U.S. nuclear arms to be brought into this country, and relaxed Japan's three-point principles concerning weapons exports.
 外交・安全保障分野では、核持ち込みなどに関する日米密約を解明し、武器輸出3原則を緩和した。

These had been long-pending tasks that the LDP and New Komeito did not accomplish when they were in power, and they can safely be called positive results of the change of government.
いずれも自民・公明連立政権では実現できなかった長年の課題であり、政権交代の効用と言える。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 18, 2012)
(2012年11月18日01時24分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月18日 (日)

衆院解散 問われる各党の公約と実行力

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 18, 2012)
Political parties to be tested on their ability to deliver
衆院解散 問われる各党の公約と実行力(11月17日付・読売社説)

 ◆「第3極」の真価を見極めたい◆

The public's attention has recently been directed to whether the ruling Democratic Party of Japan will continue to lead the government or the two main opposition forces, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, will return to power. The focus has also been on the extent to which Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and other new political parties can expand their influence.
 民主党を中心とする政権の継続か、自民、公明両党の政権奪還か。日本維新の会など新党がどれだけ勢力を伸ばすか。

The upcoming House of Representatives election is expected to be critical as it could chart the course for the nation's future.
 日本の将来を左右する極めて重要な衆院選となろう。

On Friday, the lower house was dissolved. The general election is set for Dec. 16 with official campaigning to start Dec. 4. For all intents and purposes, the election battle has effectively kicked off.
 衆院が16日、解散された。衆院選は、12月4日公示、16日投開票の日程で行われる。事実上の選挙戦が始まった。

In the election, the DPJ will be evaluated on its performance during its three-year rule by three prime ministers since Yukio Hatoyama.
 今回の衆院選では、まず鳩山内閣以来3代、3年にわたった民主党政権の実績が問われる。

===

Noda recognized for bold acts

 ◆民主党に不利でも決断◆

During the 2009 lower house election campaign, the potential for a change in government was high, and the DPJ earned a stunning victory. But many voters appear to be suffering from the present political disorder and a decision-making stalemate as result of the party's win.
 2009年衆院選では「政権交代」ムードが先行し、民主党が大勝した。その結果もたらされた国政の混乱と停滞を多くの有権者が痛感したのではないか。

There are plenty of issues that the DPJ has mishandled. These include diplomatic missteps by the Hatoyama Cabinet when it pursued politician-led handling of state affairs in the wrong way and the ineptitude of Naoto Kan's administration in addressing the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
 誤った政治主導を振りかざした鳩山内閣の外交迷走、菅内閣の原子力発電所事故対応の不手際など、失政の具体例には事欠かない。

At a press conference Friday, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said: "I previously said I would ask for a public mandate once the integrated reform of the social security and tax systems was achieved. I dissolved [the lower house] to fulfill this promise."
 野田首相は記者会見で、衆院解散の目的について「社会保障と税の一体改革を実現した暁には、近いうちに信を問うと言った。その約束を果たすためだ」と説明した。

It is indeed a historic accomplishment that the prime minister was able to pass integrated reform bills, which center on bills to raise the consumption tax rate, in the divided Diet, where the House of Councillors is controlled by the opposition. We can understand that he respected an agreement with the LDP and Komeito, which cooperated with Noda's party to enact the historic bills.
 首相が、消費税率引き上げを柱とする一体改革関連法の成立を衆参ねじれ国会で実現したことは、確かに歴史に残る功績である。それに協力した自公両党との合意を大切にする姿勢は理解できる。

We also applaud Noda for following through with the dissolution even though many of DPJ members, including Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi, opposed the breakup of the chamber and election prospects were dim for the party.
 極めて選挙に不利な状況にありながら、首相が輿石幹事長ら党内の反対を押し切り、解散を断行したことも評価に値しよう。

The public approval rating for Noda's Cabinet has also been declining. In a recent Yomiuri Shimbun survey, the rating plunged to 19 percent, the lowest since the Cabinet's inauguration in September of last year. Furthermore, DPJ members continue to leave the party, with no end in sight to the defections.
 野田内閣の支持率は低迷し、読売新聞の世論調査では昨年9月の内閣発足以来、最低の19%と危機的水準にある。民主党からの離党に歯止めがかからない。

Noda said at the press conference Friday: "We have an ongoing political situation in which we are unable to make decisions. By dissolving [the lower house], I'd like to put an end to this evil practice."
 一方で首相は、「決められない政治が続いてきた。その悪弊を解散で断ちたい」とも述べた。

Regardless of the election outcome, the Diet will remain divided at least until next summer's upper house election, as no party holds a majority of seats in the chamber. To move politics forward, it is essential for parties to cooperate with one another or form a coalition.
 衆院選の結果がどうであれ、参院で過半数の議席を有する政党はなく、少なくとも来夏の参院選までは衆参のねじれは解消しない。政治を前に動かすには、政党間の連携や連立が不可欠だ。

===

Interparty cooperation needed

 ◆民自公の協調は必要だ◆

The increase in the consumption tax is only halfway complete based on the agreement by the DPJ, the LDP and Komeito. To achieve the intended reform of the social security and tax systems, the three parties are likely to be urged to maintain their cooperative stance after the election.
 民主、自民、公明の3党合意に基づく消費増税は道半ばである。改革を成し遂げるためにも、選挙後、民自公協調路線を維持することが求められよう。

A stable government with either of the two major parties at its center is needed most for Japan's revival. We consider it unfavorable to have a coalition government consisting of multiple parties since consensus building would be slow going.
 日本の再生にとって最も必要なのは、2大政党のいずれかを軸とする安定した政権である。合意形成に手間取るような多党化は、好ましくない。

However, several new parties, including Ishin no Kai and Taiyo no To (The Sunrise Party), recently have emerged one after another, aiming to become a third political force following the DPJ and the LDP.
 しかし、民主、自民両党に次ぐ第3極を目指そうと日本維新の会、太陽の党など新党が続々と誕生した。

With the unprecedented number of more than 10 parties campaigning, efforts are also under way to unite them. The new parties aim to attract voters frustrated with established political parties.
10を超える党の乱立という異例の展開で、勢力結集へ模索が続く。既成政党への不満の受け皿になることを狙っている。

Many former lower house members who have just lost their Diet seats due to the dissolution are quitting the parties they belonged to and joining new parties, in an apparent attempt to survive the upcoming general election. We must seek to find the true value of a potential third political force.
 前議員が新党に走る動きは、生き残りのためではないか。第3極の真価を見極める必要がある。

We expect each party to clarify its vision for the future of Japan and list its policies according to priority.
 各党は、日本のあるべき「国家像」を明確にし、政策の優先度を示してもらいたい。

The public has completely lost faith in the DPJ's manifesto made in the 2009 lower house election. The party's unfulfilled handout policy pledges, such as the child-rearing allowance of 26,000 yen per month and the abolition of expressway tolls, have failed to materialize due to a lack of financing. This has only led to an amplification of voters' distrust in politics.
 09年衆院選での民主党政権公約(マニフェスト)に対する信頼は失墜した。月2万6000円の子ども手当や高速道路無料化など実現しなかったバラマキ政策は財源の裏付けを欠いていた。政治不信を増幅する原因になった。

Parties must not repeat the mistake of competing with each other to win an election by making policy promises that appeal to voters, but which are unfeasible.
 国民の歓心を買うため、実現性のない、大衆迎合の政策を競う愚を繰り返してはなるまい。

In drafting new election pledges, parties should consider that a bill could fail without the cooperation of other parties in the divided Diet. Only setting deadlines for realizing election promises and other numerical targets is meaningless.
 新たな公約の作成に際しては、ねじれ国会で、他党の協力なしに法案が成立しないことを考えるべきだ。政策の達成期限や数値目標だけを示しても、意味はない。

Noda again stressed his policy to achieve zero nuclear power generation in the 2030s.
 野田首相は、30年代に「原発稼働ゼロ」を目指す方針を改めて強調した。

The upcoming election will determine "whether the party aiming to depart from the nation's dependence on nuclear power or the party promoting the conventional energy policy will win," said the prime minister.
「脱原発依存の方向感を持つ政党が勝つのか、従来のエネルギー政策を進める政党が勝つのかが問われる」と位置づけた。

===

Policies must be scrutinized
 ◆大衆迎合の政策避けよ◆

People's Life First, Your Party and Ishin no Kai also advocate denuclearization as one of their policies.
 国民の生活が第一、みんなの党、日本維新の会なども「脱原発」を唱えている。

However, we doubt zero nuclear power generation is a realistic policy. Many issues must be resolved before such a target can be achieved, such as securing alternative energy sources, raising electricity rates, and addressing the negative effects on the economy and employment.
 だが、代替エネルギーの確保や電気料金の値上げ問題、経済・雇用への悪影響など多くの懸案があり、脱原発が果たして現実的な政策と言えるのか、疑問である。

The LDP plans to support nuclear power plants whose safety has been confirmed, with a pledge by the government to accept responsibility for their reactivation. We expect the LDP to present its medium- to long-term energy policy in detail.
 自民党は「政府が責任を持って再稼働する」として安全性を確認した原発は活用する考えだ。中長期のエネルギー政策についても具体的に提示してほしい。

Additionally, there are a number of other important issues that should be addressed, such as a growth strategy for reviving the Japanese economy; Japan's possible participation in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact; social security; territorial and sovereignty matters; and national security.
 争点は、このほか、日本経済再生のための成長戦略、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)参加問題、社会保障、領土・主権問題、安全保障など数多い。

Voters should carefully scrutinize the respective candidates' policies and capabilities to execute them so they can make an informed choice without regret.
 各政党、各候補の政策とその実行能力を厳しく吟味し、後悔しない「選択」を目指したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 17, 2012)
(2012年11月17日01時30分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月17日 (土)

きょう衆院解散 民自公協調が「条件」を整えた

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 17, 2012)
DPJ-LDP-Komeito cooperation must survive general election
きょう衆院解散 民自公協調が「条件」を整えた(11月16日付・読売社説)

As the three "preconditions" set by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda for dissolving the House of Representatives have largely been met, the lower chamber is expected to be dissolved Friday so a general election can be held.
 衆院はきょう16日、解散される。野田首相が掲げた解散の三つの「条件」がほぼ整ったためだ。

One of the focal points, reforming the lower house's electoral system, moved forward as a bill that would eliminate five single-seat constituencies to rectify vote-value disparities between the most and least represented electoral districts passed the lower house with support from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and opposition parties including the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito.
 焦点だった衆院選挙制度改革では、「1票の格差」を是正する小選挙区の「0増5減」案が民主、自民、公明各党などの賛成多数で衆院を通過した。

The legislation to rectify vote disparities is expected to be enacted into law Friday by the House of Councillors.
16日の参院本会議で成立する。

Further, an accord has been reached on a proposal Noda made to the LDP and Komeito to cut the number of lower house seats elected through proportional representation. The agreement would see the three parties join hands to pass a bill in an ordinary Diet session early next year.
 首相が自公両党に提案した比例定数削減に関しては、民自公3党が来年の通常国会での成立を目指すことで一致した。

The ruling and opposition parties are also in agreement on another bill expected to pass on Friday that would slash Diet members' annual salaries by 20 percent. The legislation is looked upon as a gesture by lawmakers that they can "set an example by enduring suffering" until the number of legislators has been reduced.
 与野党は、議員歳費を2割削減する法案も16日に成立させる。議員定数削減が実現するまでの間、国会議員が自ら「身を切る」姿勢を示そうというのだろう。

===

Poll in 'state of unconstitutionality'

These agreements between the ruling and opposition camps have realized what Noda referred to as the "minimum acceptable accord" in one-on-one debates in the Diet with opposition party leaders Wednesday.
 首相が党首討論で言及した「最悪のケース」で合意が実現することになる。

It will likely take several months to rezone the relevant single-seat constituencies to eliminate the five seats and to inform the public about the electoral change. The lower house election expected for next month will therefore be carried out in what the Supreme Court called in a ruling last March a "state of unconstitutionality."
 とはいえ、小選挙区の区割り見直し作業や周知期間を含めると数か月必要で、来月の衆院選は、最高裁に昨年3月指摘された「違憲状態」のまま実施される。

Indications are that lawsuits will be filed sometime after the general election seeking to nullify its results, and the courts will most likely hand down exacting decisions on the election's outcome.
 いずれ選挙無効を求める訴訟が起こされ、厳しい司法判断が下される公算が大きい。

It also appears likely that yet another condition for dissolving the lower house--passing a bill to allow the issuance of deficit-covering bonds--will soon become law.
 もう一つの条件だった、赤字国債発行を認める特例公債法案も成立する見通しだ。

The legislation in question would enable the government to issue the bonds until fiscal 2015, on the condition that it gives due attention to the need for fiscal discipline.
財政規律に配慮することを前提に、2015年度までは、赤字国債を自動的に発行できるようになる。

The three major parties have also agreed to establish by the end of the month a national council to outline social security system reform. There are of course a large number of issues that must be solved, such as how to keep the pension system sustainable.
 民自公3党は、社会保障制度改革国民会議の月内設置でも合意した。持続可能な年金制度のあり方など論点は多いはずだ。

Although it was not a condition for dissolving the lower house, a bill that would revise the National Pension Law to allow pension benefits to be lowered to a level that reflects recent price declines appears assured of enactment through cooperation between the DPJ, the LDP and Komeito.
 解散の条件ではなかったが、年金支給額を物価下落と見合う適正水準に減額する国民年金法改正案も、民自公3党の協力により、成立することになった。

===

Partnership vital in divided Diet

It is highly significant that the problem of excess pension payments--an issue that has lingered since the time when the LDP and Komeito were in power--has finally been rectified.
 自公政権時から放置されてきた年金の「払い過ぎ」がようやく是正される意義は小さくない。

This signifies that important legislation can be passed even in a divided Diet, where the ruling bloc lacks a majority in the upper house, if the ruling and opposition camps make a concerted effort to find common ground.
 衆参ねじれ国会であっても、与野党が真剣に接点を模索すれば、成立させることは十分可能だ。

Nevertheless, several key bills have been scrapped in the current Diet session, including one that would create a numbered citizen identification system, known as the My Number bill, which is essential for effectively carrying out comprehensive social security and tax reform. Also, joining of the 1980 Hague Convention on international child abduction, which lays out how child custody should be dealt with when international marriages break up, will be delayed. These bills should be enacted without fail in the next ordinary Diet sitting.
 社会保障・税一体改革の効率的な運用に不可欠な共通番号制度関連法案(マイナンバー法案)や、国際結婚破綻時の子の扱いを定めるハーグ条約実施法案などが今国会では廃案となるが、来年の通常国会で成立を図るべきだ。

As the configuration of parliamentary groups in the upper house will remain basically the same after the coming lower house election, maintaining the framework of cooperation between the DPJ, the LDP and Komeito will still be needed to continue moving national politics forward.
 衆院選後も、参院の会派構成が基本的に変わらない以上、政治を前に動かすには、民自公協力の枠組みの維持が重要となる。

Lower house elections, where the survival of each party is at stake, are prone to devolving into intense mudslinging contests. However, the DPJ, the LDP and Komeito must keep in mind the danger of smear campaigns during the next lower house contest.
 各党の消長がかかる衆院選は、激しい“非難合戦”に陥りがちだが、民自公3党は、そのことを十分念頭に置いて、選挙戦に臨まねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 16, 2012)
(2012年11月16日01時38分  読売新聞)

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習近平体制発足 膨張中国と向き合う戦略築け

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 17, 2012)
Japan needs sound strategy to deal with Xi administration
習近平体制発足 膨張中国と向き合う戦略築け(11月16日付・読売社説)

The Chinese Communist Party held the first plenary session of the 18th Central Committee on Thursday and made enormous changes to its leadership. The session marked the beginning of the Xi Jinping regime that will steer China through the next decade.
 中国共産党の中央委員会総会が開かれ、指導部が大幅に交代した。今後10年、中国のかじを取る習近平体制の始動だ。

Xi, the new party general secretary, held a press conference on the day. "Our responsibility is to unite and lead people of the entire party and of all ethnic groups around the country while...continuing to work for realizing the great revival of the Chinese nation in order to let the Chinese nation stand more firmly and powerfully among all nations around the world," he said.
 総書記に選ばれた習近平国家副主席は記者会見で、「我々の責任は引き続き中華民族の偉大な復興のために努力奮闘し、中華民族を世界の民族の中でさらに力強く自立させることである」と語った。

In line with Xi's words, it seems evident that China will continue to advance along its path of reform and opening-up while maintaining a political system dominated by a single party. China will also seek to further expand its economic and military might, aiming at becoming a superpower on par with the United States. Its policy of expansion both militarily and economically will not change anytime soon.
 その言葉通り、習政権は一党独裁を堅持しながら改革・開放を進め、米国と並ぶ超大国を目指して経済力と軍事力の一層の強大化を図るのだろう。軍事・経済の「膨張路線」は当面変わるまい。

===

Can Xi exercise leadership?

Xi, the son of a former vice premier, is known as the leader of the so-called princelings, the influential offspring of high-ranking party officials. However, with his elders still holding sway in the party, it remains unclear to what extent he can exercise his leadership.
 元副首相を父に持つ習氏は、高級幹部の子女グループ「太子党」の代表だが、党長老の影響力が残る中、どこまで指導力を発揮できるかは不透明と言える。

Noteworthy in the latest leadership appointments is that Hu Jintao, who led China for 10 years during his two terms, not only vacated the general secretary post but also stepped down as chairman of the Central Military Commission, handing over both posts to Xi.
 今回の人事で注目されるのは、これまで2期10年、政権を率いてきた胡錦濤氏が総書記だけでなく軍を握る中央軍事委員会主席も退任して、習氏に譲ったことだ。

When Jiang Zemin stepped aside to make way for Hu as party leader, he remained military chief for nearly two more years. By giving up both posts, Hu likely is trying to end the dual-rule framework that has complicated decision-making by top leaders.
 総書記退任後も2年近く軍事委主席にとどまった江沢民元総書記と異なる道を選ぶことで、胡氏には、最高指導部の意思決定を複雑化させてきた二元支配を終わらせる狙いがあるのだろう。

Yet, Hu appears to have retained influence by promoting senior military leaders close to him as vice chairmen of the commission before the party's National Congress. He also placed members of his faction in the Politburo. These actions point to a desire by Hu to retain power in the party leadership even after he retires from his leadership posts.
 ただ、胡氏は自らに近い軍幹部2人を党大会前に軍事委副主席に昇格させたほか、政治局にも自派閥の人材を配置した。退任後も自らの影響力を党指導部に残すために打った布石に違いない。

This becomes even more clear considering that Hu's "scientific development concept," which aims to engineer balanced, sustainable development, was promoted to an official guiding socio-economic ideology at the congress, and is now enshrined in the party's charter.
 調和のとれた持続可能な発展を目指す胡氏の「科学的発展観」が党大会で行動指針に格上げされ、党規約に盛り込まれたのもその証左である。

Also, the Politburo Standing Committee was reduced from nine members to seven. More than the desires of Xi, the line-up of the committee reflects a power struggle between Jiang and Hu.
 政治局常務委員は従来の9人から7人に削減された。顔ぶれを見ると、習氏の意向より江氏と胡氏の派閥闘争を反映した人事だ。

===

Taming social problems urgent

Xi is scheduled to become president next spring and with that will attain China's leadership trifecta--party, state and military.
 習氏は来春、国家主席に就任し、党、国家、軍の3権を掌握する。

The top priority of the Xi administration is likely to be easing the social strains that have been intensifying in the nation. China needs to get serious about dealing with expanding income and other disparities, corruption in high-ranking officials, and environmental destruction--all problems that have accompanied rapid economic growth.
習政権にとって最優先課題は、深刻化している社会のひずみの克服である。急成長に伴う格差の拡大や幹部の腐敗、環境破壊に、真摯(しんし)に対策を講じる必要がある。

The boycott against Japanese goods being staged in protest of Japan's nationalization of some of the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture has impacted not only the Japanese economy but also Chinese businesses. The Xi administration should immediately exert self-restraint regarding coercive diplomatic tactics.
 中国が尖閣諸島の国有化に反発して始めた日本製品不買運動は日本経済だけでなく、中国経済にも打撃を与えた。習政権は威圧外交を速やかに自制すべきだ。

How should the Japanese government grapple with China's policy of military and economic expansion? We believe a calm grasp of the situation is essential to consolidate strategy toward China.
 日本政府は膨張中国と、どう向き合うのか。腰を据えて対中戦略を固めることが肝要である。

Through a multipronged approach via the East Asia Summit and other frameworks, Japan should step up its efforts to engage China to ensure it will fulfill the international responsibility that comes with national power.
 東アジア首脳会議などの枠組みを重層的に利用し、中国が国力に見合った国際的責任を果たすよう働きかけを強めねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 16, 2012)
(2012年11月16日01時38分  読売新聞)

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衆院解散表明 首相の重い決断を支持する

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 16, 2012)
Prime minister's gutsy decision deserves credit
衆院解散表明 首相の重い決断を支持する(11月15日付・読売社説)

 ◆「1票の格差」是正を先行せよ◆

Out of the blue, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced he will dissolve the House of Representatives. Amid simmering opposition to an early dissolution within his Democratic Party of Japan, Noda has put everything on the line in a bid to bring an end to the nation's political gridlock.
 突然の衆院解散の表明だった。民主党内で早期解散への反対論が噴出する中、乾坤一擲(けんこんいってき)、中央突破を図ったのだろう。

During a Diet debate with Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, Noda said he would dissolve the lower house Friday if the opposition promises to pass a bill to reduce the number of lower house seats during next year's ordinary Diet session.
 野田首相が党首討論で自民党の安倍総裁に対し、衆院の定数削減を来年の通常国会で実現すると確約すれば、「16日に衆院を解散する」と言明した。

Abe initially gave no clear response to Noda's offer. But after the debate and a meeting with senior LDP figures, Abe said, "We'll do our best to conclude the issue in the ordinary Diet session." This paved the way for the lower house to be dissolved Friday.
 安倍氏は明言を避けたが、党首討論後、「通常国会で結論を得るべく全力を尽くす」と述べ、16日の衆院解散が固まった。

The lower house election is now set for Dec. 16 with official campaigning to start Dec. 4.
 衆院選は、12月4日公示―16日投票の日程で行われる予定だ。

===

Prevent further distrust
 ◆政治不信の増幅を回避◆

The public approval rating for Noda's Cabinet has been languishing for months, so the DPJ could suffer a crushing defeat in the election. However, we applaud the prime minister's sensible and weighty decision to dissolve the chamber for a general election.
 内閣支持率が低迷しており、次期衆院選では、民主党の大敗も予想される。首相があえて解散・総選挙を断行することは、見識ある、重い決断と評価できる。

In August, Noda expressed his intention to dissolve the lower house "sometime soon." If he had let the year end without settling the dissolution issue, questions would have been raised over the credibility of his remarks. That could have fueled public distrust with politics.
 8月に「近いうち」の解散を表明しながら、何もせずに年を越すようでは、首相発言の信頼性に疑問符が付き、国民の政治不信が一段と高まりかねない。

The prime minister apparently wanted to initiate the dissolution on his own terms, rather than having his hand forced. Noda also probably felt it was to his advantage to hold the election before Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and other smaller parties can unite and form a third major political force.
 首相は、追い込まれる形でなく、主導権を持って解散を断行したい考えだった。日本維新の会など第3極の体制が整う前に、衆院選に臨む狙いもあろう。

Noda's decision drew howls of protest from DPJ members who oppose the dissolution and currently dominate the party. They fear the dissolution could lead to a political vacuum.
 民主党内の大勢を占める解散反対論者は、「解散は政治空白を招く」などと主張する。

However, if Noda puts off tackling key policy issues and unnecessarily attempts to cling to power at a time when his administration is standing on shaky ground, the nation would end up confronting an even more serious political vacuum in both domestic and foreign affairs.
 しかし、野田政権の基盤が弱体化した中で、重要な政策課題を先送りし、いたずらに延命を図る方が、内政、外交両面で、より深刻な政治空白をもたらす。

Some DPJ members who oppose Noda's decision are openly preparing to leave the party. Dissolving the lower house is a prerogative given to a prime minister. If DPJ members cannot accept their leader's decision, they have no choice but to walk away.
 野田首相の解散方針に反発する民主党議員は公然と離党の動きを見せている。解散は首相の専権事項であり、首相の決断に従えない以上、離党はやむを得まい。

Among people who assumed that the lower house would be dissolved within the year, concern grew as time passed that stalling on the dissolution would cause delays in formulating next fiscal year's budget and its enactment.
 年内解散を前提にすれば、解散日程が遅れるほど、来年度予算の編成や成立もずれ込むことが懸念されていた。
From the standpoint of staving off any negative impact on the economy that would inevitably arise if the budget were delayed, we consider Noda's setting the dissolution for Nov. 16--the earliest possible date--as reasonable.
景気への悪影響を抑える意味でも、最も早い「16日解散」は悪くない選択と言える。

A new administration is certain to be launched by the end of this year. We want it to formulate the budget for the next fiscal year and deal with pressing issues, such as measures to shore up the nation's economy and revamp its diplomacy.
 年内に発足する新政権が、来年度予算を編成し、景気対策や外交の立て直しなどの重要課題に取り組むことが望ましいからだ。

Irrespective of whether it was acceptable for Noda to push Abe to accept conditions for the dissolution during their debate--like forcing him to step on a cherished picture in a "fumie" allegiance test from long ago--we support the prime minister's exercise of his right to dissolve the chamber without flinching, even while his own party is torn over the issue.
 党首討論の場で、野党に「踏み絵」を踏ませるかのように、解散条件の受け入れを迫る手法の是非はともかく、野田首相が党内の反対論にひるまず、解散権を行使することは支持したい。

===

Trust among 3 parties crucial
 ◆民自公の信頼が大切だ◆

The Diet likely will remain divided even after the upcoming election. Accordingly, it will be very significant if the DPJ, the LDP and the other main opposition party, New Komeito, can maintain a relationship of trust to some extent and build a cooperative framework.
 衆院選後も、衆参のねじれ状況が続く可能性が高い以上、民主、自民、公明3党が一定の信頼関係を維持し、協力できる体制を構築しておく意義は小さくない。

Although there is not much time before the lower house is broken up, the ruling and opposition camps should work together to tidy up some urgent issues.
 解散までの時間は限られているが、与野党は協力して、喫緊の課題を処理すべきだ。

The three parties have agreed to pass Friday a bill allowing the government to issue deficit-covering bonds. To avoid the depletion of state coffers, the parties must make sure the bill passes before the lower house is dissolved.
 赤字国債の発行を可能にする特例公債法案は、民自公3党が16日の成立で合意した。国庫が底をつかないよう、解散前に確実に成立させねばならない。

Another crucial task is narrowing the disparity in the value of votes between the House of Representatives' most- and least-populated districts, thus putting an end to the electoral system's "state of unconstitutionality."
 衆院選の「1票の格差」を是正し、「違憲状態」の解消を図ることも不可欠である。

The DPJ should be blamed for not fulfilling its responsibility to seriously address the issue just because it wanted to postpone the dissolution.
 解散を先送りする思惑から、この問題に真剣に取り組んでこなかった民主党の責任放棄の罪は大きい。

The party still insists on handling two issues--reducing single-seat constituencies by five and cutting the number of seats in the proportional representation system--as a set.
民主党は今なお、小選挙区の「0増5減」と比例定数削減の一体処理に固執している。

This posturing appears to be a DPJ attempt to show its resolve to cut the number of lower house seats--a stance that will go down well with voters because it shows Diet members are willing to sacrifice themselves to save money before the consumption tax rate is increased. However, there is not enough time for the Diet to reach a consensus on this issue before the dissolution.
 「消費税率引き上げ前に国会議員が自ら身を切る」ため、有権者受けのする定数削減に積極的な姿勢を示すポーズだろうが、解散前に結論を出すのは明らかに時間的に無理がある。

To rectify the electoral system's unconstitutional state, the lower house should first pass a bill to reduce single-seat constituencies by five, and then rezone constituencies before holding a general election under the new system. This whole process, however, would take several months.
 「違憲状態」の解消には本来、「0増5減」の法案成立後、小選挙区の区割り作業を経て、新しい選挙区で衆院選を行う必要があるが、それには数か月を要する。

A more realistic option would be for the lower house to pass the bill before its dissolution and cut the number of seats in the proportional representation bloc and make other reforms during next year's ordinary Diet session. This is the minimum responsibility it should fulfill.
 解散前に、まず「0増5減」の法案を成立させる。定数削減やその他の制度改革は来年の通常国会で実現する。これが現実的であり、衆院の最低限の責務だろう。

If a general election was held without passing the electoral reform bill, judicial authorities might rule the election was unconstitutional and therefore invalid. Lawmakers must ensure this does not happen.
 「0増5減」さえ見送ったまま衆院選を行った場合、「違憲」として、選挙無効とする司法判断が出かねない。そうした事態は回避しなければならない。

===

TPP, N-power should be debated
 ◆TPPや原発で論争を◆

The upcoming election will be a public evaluation of the DPJ's three-plus years in power. Another intriguing element will be whether the political system dominated by the DPJ and the LDP remains entrenched--even though they have become entangled in indecisive politics under the divided Diet--or an emerging third force will gain enough seats to seriously challenge this order.
 衆院選では、3年余の民主党政権の評価が問われる。衆参ねじれ国会の下、「決められない政治」が続いたが、民主、自民の2大政党が引き続き主導するのか、あるいは、第3極が勢力を大きく伸ばすのかも焦点となろう。

On the policy front, Noda will propose Japan participate in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership multinational free trade framework, aiming to make the TPP a major campaign issue. The LDP and other parties should not leave any doubt about their positions on this issue.
 政策面では、野田首相は、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉参加を掲げ、争点化する意向だ。自民党など他党も、あいまいな態度では済まされない。

We urge all parties to make campaign pledges that clarify their stances on the integrated reform of the social security and tax systems, nuclear power and energy policies, as well as diplomatic and security policies.
 社会保障と税の一体改革や、原発・エネルギー、外交・安全保障政策についても、各政党は政権公約(マニフェスト)を通じて、立場を明確にしてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 15, 2012)
(2012年11月15日01時38分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月15日 (木)

GDPマイナス 景気の失速回避に全力あげよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 15, 2012)
All-out efforts needed to reverse business slowdown
GDPマイナス 景気の失速回避に全力あげよ(11月14日付・読売社説)

The fall in the nation's gross domestic product for the July-September quarter should be considered a sign of business slowdown. The nation faces a crucial moment of determining whether the economy will be able to avoid weakening even further.
 景気後退のサインとみるべきだ。日本経済の失速を回避できるかどうかの正念場である。

The real-term GDP for the July-September period dropped 0.9 percent from the previous quarter, marking the first negative growth in three quarters. The slide translated into an annualized 3.5 percent decline. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda expressed a sense of crisis, saying, "It's a dismal figure."
 今年7~9月期の実質国内総生産(GDP)は前期比0・9%減と、3四半期ぶりのマイナス成長となった。年率に換算すると3・5%減で、野田首相は「厳しい数字だ」と危機感を示した。

This contraction is attributable to two chief factors: the drop in foreign demand caused by the slowdown of foreign economies; and a fall in personal consumption and investment in plants and equipment that together account for core domestic demand. A boost in public investment for rebuilding from last year's earthquake and tsunami disaster stopped short of making up for the overall decline.
 海外経済の減速に伴う外需の落ち込みに加え、個人消費と設備投資という内需の二本柱がそろって減少したことが主因だ。復興需要による公共投資の増加では、マイナスを補いきれなかった。

Domestic automobile sales have slackened due to the end of government subsidies for eco-friendly car purchases, and sales of household electrical appliances such as flat-screen TVs have remained sluggish. Increased uncertainty over corporate performance also has restrained corporate investment in plants and equipment.
 消費は、エコカー補助金の終了で自動車販売が苦戦し、薄型テレビなど家電の不振も続いている。企業業績の不透明感が強まり、設備投資が控えられた。

===

Inaccurate recovery scenario

The government and the Bank of Japan sketched out a scenario in which they would wait for foreign economies to recover while sustaining demand at home through reconstruction projects in the hope that this would eventually lead to full-scale growth.
 政府・日銀は、復興需要で内需を支えながら海外経済の回復を待ち、本格的な成長につなげるシナリオを描いていたが、

However, as the slowdown in domestic demand has come earlier than they expected, their scenario is not playing out as they imagined. They must increase their vigilance and make all-out efforts to sustain the economy.
早すぎた内需減速で目算は外れつつある。警戒を強め、景気の下支えに万全を期さねばならない。

Of major concern is that there seems to be slim hope of an early recovery in foreign economies.
 懸念されるのは、海外経済の早期回復が望み薄なことだ。

Europe has fallen into a negative growth phase. The United States, meanwhile, is heading for a "fiscal cliff" from year-end to early next year that involves an end to various tax breaks including last year's temporary payroll tax cuts, thereby threatening to deal another blow to the global economy.
 欧州はマイナス成長に陥っている。米国も年末から来年にかけて減税打ち切りなど「財政の崖」が控えており、世界経済に打撃を与える恐れがある。

Also of major concern is a sharp drop in Japan's exports to China due to a slowdown in the Chinese economy and strained bilateral relations over the Senkaku Islands.
 中国経済の減速と尖閣諸島問題を巡る日中関係の悪化を受け、中国向け輸出が急減していることも大きな不安材料といえよう。

A government-planned small-scale emergency economic package using reserve funds is not strong enough to cope with such adverse conditions. The government must compile a supplementary budget as soon as possible and put together a full-fledged stimulus package.
 こうした逆風に対して、予備費を使った小粒の緊急経済対策では力不足が否めない。政府は補正予算を早期に編成し、本格的な景気対策を打ち出すべきだ。

However, as fiscal conditions remain strict, it is necessary to allocate budgets on a priority basis to public works projects that will have the greatest economic impact.
 ただし財政事情は厳しい。効果の高い公共事業などに、予算を重点配分する必要がある。

===

Use private sector as spur

The development and successful commercialization of private-sector innovation is the biggest driving force for economic growth. Future business opportunities can be expected in such growth industries as environment-related businesses and medical services.
 経済成長は、民間の創意で「売れる商品」を開発し、普及させていくことが最大の推進力となる。特に、環境関連や医療などの成長分野は今後、ビジネスチャンスの拡大が期待される。

We hope such moves will receive sufficient support for research and development projects through an investment tax credit and easing regulations that are hampering new business ventures. Adequate measures must be carefully devised after listening to the private sector's needs.
 投資減税による研究開発への支援や、新事業の障害となる規制の緩和などで後押ししたい。民間の要望に耳を傾け、的確な施策を厳選することが重要となる。

To make the most of the private sector's vigor, the domestic business environment must be improved first and foremost.
 民間活力を最大限に引き出すためには、国内の事業環境を改善させることも急務だろう。

Concrete measures to achieve this include correcting the strength of the record-high yen; lowering the corporate tax rate, which is high compared to international standards; and restarting idled nuclear reactors to avert a possible power shortage.
 具体的には、歴史的な超円高の是正や国際的に高い法人税率の引き下げ、原子力発電所の再稼働による電力不足の解消などだ。

Not least of all, the political situation must be stabilized to help shore up economic growth.
政治の安定を図り、日本の成長をテコ入れしなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 14, 2012)
(2012年11月14日01時20分  読売新聞)

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赤字国債合意 ねじれ国会の暫定休戦協定だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 15, 2012)
Accord on bond bill a welcome ceasefire
赤字国債合意 ねじれ国会の暫定休戦協定だ(11月14日付・読売社説)

An exit from the battle between the ruling and opposition parties is finally in sight.
 ようやく与野党攻防の出口が見えてきた。

The Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito must create an environment for the dissolution of the House of Representatives based on their latest agreement.
 民主、自民、公明の3党は今回の合意を踏まえて、衆院解散への環境を整えねばならない。

The three parties have formally agreed to revise a bill that will enable the government to issue deficit-covering bonds. The revised bill will introduce a system that allows deficit-covering bonds to be automatically issued until fiscal 2015 once the budget passes the Diet.
 民自公3党が、赤字国債の発行を可能にする特例公債法案の修正で正式に合意した。2015年度まで、予算案が成立すれば、自動的に赤字国債発行を認める仕組みを導入する。

Under the divided Diet, the opposition parties, which dominate the House of Councillors, have put pressure on the government by taking the deficit-covering bond bill hostage, but further unproductive political strife can now be avoided because of the latest agreement. We commend the ruling and opposition parties for formulating new rules on the issue.
 衆参ねじれ国会の下、参院で多数を占める野党は法案を人質に政府を揺さぶってきたが、今回の合意で不毛な政争は避けられる。そのために、与野党が、新たなルールを作ったことは評価できる。

Last year, the passage of a similar bill was used as a bargaining tool to bring about the resignation of then Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
 昨年は、法案の成立が菅首相退陣の取引材料になった。

This year, it was used by the opposition parties as a "weapon" to press Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to dissolve the lower house. However, the delay in Diet passage of the bill led the government to restrain the implementation of the budget, and the distribution of tax grants to local governments fell into arrears. It is only natural that local governments reacted angrily to the delay, with officials saying things like, "It could affect people's lives."
 今年は野田首相に解散を迫る“武器”となり、成立がずれこんだ結果、政府の予算執行の抑制で地方交付税の配分が滞った。地方自治体が「国民生活に影響しかねない」と反発したのは当然だ。

===

Bond issuance inevitable

As Noda said, any administration, under the current fiscal situation, would be unable to secure financial resources sufficient to cover the government's spending without issuing deficit-covering bonds.
 野田首相が言うように、今の財政状況では、どんな政権でも、赤字国債を発行せずに歳出に見合う財源を確保できない。

Even if the LDP and Komeito return to power after the next lower house election, they still will not hold a majority in the upper house. So the agreement that the three parties will not use the bill as a political football is not a bad deal for the LDP and Komeito, too.
 自公両党は、仮に衆院選後、政権に復帰しても、参院で過半数の議席を持っていない。法案を政争の具にしないという合意は自公両党にとっても損ではなかろう。

However, one concern still remains in the latest agreement.
 今回の合意には懸念も残る。

The issuance of deficit-covering bonds is an exceptional measure to cover shortages of financial resources. It was originally "a prohibited tactic."
 赤字国債の発行は、財源不足を特例措置として補うもので、本来は“禁じ手”である。

The passage of the bill has been a must, separately from the budget, with the aim of maintaining fiscal discipline and preventing the government's deficit from ballooning out of control.
 予算案とは別に特例公債法案を成立させねばならないとしてきたのは、財政規律を維持し、野放図に借金が膨らまないよう歯止めをかける狙いがあった。

Under the Cabinet of Prime Minister Takeo Miki (1974-76), Finance Minister Masayoshi Ohira stressed the significance of deliberating a deficit-covering bond bill every year, saying in the Diet, "It is conducive to vigilant management of state finances." Nevertheless, deficit-covering bonds have continued to increase, causing serious deterioration of public finances.
 三木内閣当時、大平正芳蔵相は国会で毎年の法案審議について「緊張した財政運営に資する」と述べ、その意義を強調している。それでも、赤字国債は増え続け、深刻な財政悪化を招いた。

If it becomes possible to issue deficit-covering bonds automatically in the future, won't fiscal discipline become lax?
 今後、自動的に発行できるとなれば、財政規律が緩まないか。

===

Restraint must be the watchword

The DPJ-LDP-Komeito agreement is based on the premise that the government will work on restraining the amount of deficit-covering bonds it will issue. Even if there is a change in government, the government must keep this in mind when it compiles a budget.
 民自公3党の合意は「特例公債発行額の抑制に取り組むこと」を前提にしている。政権交代があっても、政府はこれを肝に銘じて予算編成に当たらねばならない。

A remaining issue to be solved before the lower house dissolution is reform of the lower house electoral system. The DPJ plans to submit to the Diet a bill to rectify the vote-value disparity and trim the number of lower house seats at the same time.
 解散に向けて残る課題は衆院選挙制度改革である。民主党は「1票の格差」是正と定数削減を同時に行う法案を提出する方向だ。

However, what is most called for now is to resolve "a state of unconstitutionality."
 だが、何より「違憲状態」を解消することが求められている。

Noda said in the Diet, "the vote-value disparity, which is related to the Constitution, is the top priority." The DPJ, the LDP and Komeito should also quickly agree to reduce the number of lower house single-seat constituencies by five as a first step in the electoral reform.
 首相も国会で「憲法と関係のある1票の格差が最優先だ」と答弁した。民自公3党は、小選挙区の「0増5減」先行処理でも、合意を急ぐべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 14, 2012)
(2012年11月14日01時20分  読売新聞)

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GDPマイナス 景気の失速回避に全力あげよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 15, 2012)
All-out efforts needed to reverse business slowdown
GDPマイナス 景気の失速回避に全力あげよ(11月14日付・読売社説)

The fall in the nation's gross domestic product for the July-September quarter should be considered a sign of business slowdown. The nation faces a crucial moment of determining whether the economy will be able to avoid weakening even further.
 景気後退のサインとみるべきだ。日本経済の失速を回避できるかどうかの正念場である。

The real-term GDP for the July-September period dropped 0.9 percent from the previous quarter, marking the first negative growth in three quarters. The slide translated into an annualized 3.5 percent decline. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda expressed a sense of crisis, saying, "It's a dismal figure."
 今年7~9月期の実質国内総生産(GDP)は前期比0・9%減と、3四半期ぶりのマイナス成長となった。年率に換算すると3・5%減で、野田首相は「厳しい数字だ」と危機感を示した。

This contraction is attributable to two chief factors: the drop in foreign demand caused by the slowdown of foreign economies; and a fall in personal consumption and investment in plants and equipment that together account for core domestic demand. A boost in public investment for rebuilding from last year's earthquake and tsunami disaster stopped short of making up for the overall decline.
 海外経済の減速に伴う外需の落ち込みに加え、個人消費と設備投資という内需の二本柱がそろって減少したことが主因だ。復興需要による公共投資の増加では、マイナスを補いきれなかった。

Domestic automobile sales have slackened due to the end of government subsidies for eco-friendly car purchases, and sales of household electrical appliances such as flat-screen TVs have remained sluggish. Increased uncertainty over corporate performance also has restrained corporate investment in plants and equipment.
 消費は、エコカー補助金の終了で自動車販売が苦戦し、薄型テレビなど家電の不振も続いている。企業業績の不透明感が強まり、設備投資が控えられた。

===

Inaccurate recovery scenario

The government and the Bank of Japan sketched out a scenario in which they would wait for foreign economies to recover while sustaining demand at home through reconstruction projects in the hope that this would eventually lead to full-scale growth.
 政府・日銀は、復興需要で内需を支えながら海外経済の回復を待ち、本格的な成長につなげるシナリオを描いていたが、

However, as the slowdown in domestic demand has come earlier than they expected, their scenario is not playing out as they imagined. They must increase their vigilance and make all-out efforts to sustain the economy.
早すぎた内需減速で目算は外れつつある。警戒を強め、景気の下支えに万全を期さねばならない。

Of major concern is that there seems to be slim hope of an early recovery in foreign economies.
 懸念されるのは、海外経済の早期回復が望み薄なことだ。

Europe has fallen into a negative growth phase. The United States, meanwhile, is heading for a "fiscal cliff" from year-end to early next year that involves an end to various tax breaks including last year's temporary payroll tax cuts, thereby threatening to deal another blow to the global economy.
 欧州はマイナス成長に陥っている。米国も年末から来年にかけて減税打ち切りなど「財政の崖」が控えており、世界経済に打撃を与える恐れがある。

Also of major concern is a sharp drop in Japan's exports to China due to a slowdown in the Chinese economy and strained bilateral relations over the Senkaku Islands.
 中国経済の減速と尖閣諸島問題を巡る日中関係の悪化を受け、中国向け輸出が急減していることも大きな不安材料といえよう。

A government-planned small-scale emergency economic package using reserve funds is not strong enough to cope with such adverse conditions. The government must compile a supplementary budget as soon as possible and put together a full-fledged stimulus package.
 こうした逆風に対して、予備費を使った小粒の緊急経済対策では力不足が否めない。政府は補正予算を早期に編成し、本格的な景気対策を打ち出すべきだ。

However, as fiscal conditions remain strict, it is necessary to allocate budgets on a priority basis to public works projects that will have the greatest economic impact.
 ただし財政事情は厳しい。効果の高い公共事業などに、予算を重点配分する必要がある。

===

Use private sector as spur

The development and successful commercialization of private-sector innovation is the biggest driving force for economic growth. Future business opportunities can be expected in such growth industries as environment-related businesses and medical services.
 経済成長は、民間の創意で「売れる商品」を開発し、普及させていくことが最大の推進力となる。特に、環境関連や医療などの成長分野は今後、ビジネスチャンスの拡大が期待される。

We hope such moves will receive sufficient support for research and development projects through an investment tax credit and easing regulations that are hampering new business ventures. Adequate measures must be carefully devised after listening to the private sector's needs.
 投資減税による研究開発への支援や、新事業の障害となる規制の緩和などで後押ししたい。民間の要望に耳を傾け、的確な施策を厳選することが重要となる。

To make the most of the private sector's vigor, the domestic business environment must be improved first and foremost.
 民間活力を最大限に引き出すためには、国内の事業環境を改善させることも急務だろう。

Concrete measures to achieve this include correcting the strength of the record-high yen; lowering the corporate tax rate, which is high compared to international standards; and restarting idled nuclear reactors to avert a possible power shortage.
 具体的には、歴史的な超円高の是正や国際的に高い法人税率の引き下げ、原子力発電所の再稼働による電力不足の解消などだ。

Not least of all, the political situation must be stabilized to help shore up economic growth.
政治の安定を図り、日本の成長をテコ入れしなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 14, 2012)
(2012年11月14日01時20分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月14日 (水)

Fortune favours the bold 運命の女神は勇者を助ける^^

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「TPP解散」 首相は交渉参加の旗を掲げよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 14, 2012)
Noda should hoist flag of TPP participation
「TPP解散」 首相は交渉参加の旗を掲げよ(11月13日付・読売社説)

It is vital that Japan promote free trade and boost its economic growth. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda should decide that the nation will join negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral trade framework.
 自由貿易を推進し、日本の成長に弾みをつけることが重要だ。野田首相は環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への交渉参加を決断すべきである。

At the House of Representatives Budget Committee, the prime minister again indicated that joining talks on the U.S.-led TPP would be among the Democratic Party of Japan's policy pledges for the next lower house election. He said discussions on the matter would be held within the party.
 首相が衆院予算委員会で、米国が主導しているTPPについて、民主党の次期衆院選政権公約(マニフェスト)に盛り込む考えを改めて示し、「党内で議論を進めていく」と述べた。

A year has passed since Noda announced Japan would enter talks with nations concerned with an eye to eventually taking a seat at TPP negotiations. It is problematic that he has kept delaying a decision on TPP participation and failed to take necessary steps for joining the trade pact, such as strengthening the international competitiveness of the agriculture sector to brace it for further market liberalization.
 首相が「TPP交渉参加に向けて関係国との協議に入る」と表明してから1年が過ぎた。一段の市場開放に備えた農業の国際競争力強化策などの環境整備もしないまま、参加の決断を先送りしてきたのは問題である。

Now, more than ever, it would be significant to clearly show a resolve to accelerate Japan's economic growth by harnessing the dynamism of other parts of Asia through joining the TPP.
 ただ、ここに来て、TPP参加によってアジアの活力を取り込み、日本の成長加速を目指す姿勢を鮮明にする意味は大きい。

===

Key election issue

The TPP issue will be a hot topic in the lower house election likely to take place at the year-end or early next year. Detailed discussions should be held on the issue.
 年末から年始の可能性がある次期衆院選はTPPが争点となろう。活発な論議が求められる。

Some DPJ members remain firmly opposed to signing on to the TPP. Maneuvering to block Noda from dissolving the lower house after making the TPP a key campaign issue has become increasingly active.
 民主党内には依然、反対論が強く、首相の「TPP解散」を阻止する動きも活発化している。

However, nothing will be initiated unless Japan sits at the negotiation table. We hope Noda will not wilt in the face of this opposition and exerts strong leadership.
 だが、まずは交渉のテーブルに着かないと物事は始まらない。首相は腰砕けにならず、指導力を発揮してもらいたい。

The Liberal Democratic Party, on the other hand, maintains a cautious stance. It opposes TPP participation if it is premised on eliminating all tariffs.
 一方、自民党は「関税撤廃を前提としたTPP参加に反対」という慎重な構えを崩していない。

But if the LDP is serious about regaining power, it will need to map out concrete steps regarding how Japan as a trading nation can expand trade and invigorate its economy.
 しかし、自民党が政権奪還を目指すなら、通商国家・日本がいかに貿易を拡大し、経済を活性化させるか、具体的な道筋を示すことが不可欠である。

Some LDP members support TPP participation. The party should hold exhaustive discussions and hammer out a convincing policy course.
 自民党内には、TPP参加への賛成論も少なくない。党内論議を尽くし、説得力のある政策を打ち出さねばならない。

===

A security issue, too

Of concern to us is that Japan could be left completely behind while it dithers over making a decision.
 懸念されるのは、日本が決断をもたついている間に、出遅れが決定的になる事態である。

It already has been decided that Canada and Mexico would join TPP negotiations. As U.S. President Barack Obama, a vocal advocate of the TPP, has recently been reelected, negotiations involving 11 nations will likely accelerate through next year.
 すでにカナダとメキシコの参加が決まり、TPPを推進してきたオバマ米大統領が再選された結果、来年にかけて、11か国の交渉は加速する可能性が大きい。

Under the current circumstances, negotiations could proceed without Japan's participation on issues including the elimination or lowering of tariffs and formulation of trade and investment rules. The fate of Japan's national interests will hinge on whether the nation is engaged in these rule-making processes and can reflect its opinions.
 このままでは関税撤廃・引き下げや貿易・投資ルール作りを巡り、日本抜きで交渉が進みかねない。日本がルール作りなどに関与し、意見を反映できるかどうかで、国益が左右されるだろう。

Participation in the TPP is also important in terms of national security. It will lead to stronger Japan-U.S. relations, and also could help restrain the behavior of China, with which the nation has been at odds over the Senkaku Islands.
 TPP参加は安全保障上も重要だ。日米関係の強化につながり、尖閣諸島を巡って対立する中国への牽制(けんせい)効果も期待できる。

In parallel with the TPP, Japan should strive to seal a free trade agreement with China and South Korea and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia, among others. It is time to pursue wise, robust trade strategies.
 TPPとともに、日中韓自由貿易協定(FTA)や東アジア包括的経済連携(RCEP)などにも並行的に取り組み、したたかな戦略を推進する必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 13, 2012)
(2012年11月13日01時32分  読売新聞)

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小沢氏再び無罪 検察審制度の見直しは早計だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 14, 2012)
It's too early to review mandatory indictment system
小沢氏再び無罪 検察審制度の見直しは早計だ(11月13日付・読売社説)

Ichiro Ozawa, head of the People's Life First party, was once again found not guilty by a court.
 国民の生活が第一の小沢一郎代表が、再び無罪となった。

The Tokyo High Court dismissed an appeal lodged by court-appointed lawyers acting as prosecutors and upheld a lower court ruling acquitting Ozawa of violating the Political Funds Control Law over his alleged role in a suspicious land deal conducted by his fund management body, Rikuzan-kai.
 小沢氏の資金管理団体「陸山会」の土地取引を巡る政治資金規正法違反事件で、東京高裁は1審の無罪判決を支持し、検察官役の指定弁護士の控訴を棄却した。

The high court ruling acknowledged that the 400 million yen provided by Ozawa to the fund management body to purchase land was not registered with Rikuzan-kai, underscoring the sloppy accounting process of its political funds.
 判決は、土地購入原資として小沢氏が提供した4億円が簿外処理された事実を認めた。陸山会による政治資金のずさんな会計処理を指摘したものだ。

On the other hand, the ruling concluded Ozawa did not receive a detailed report on the land deal from his secretary at the time. "There is a possibility Ozawa believed the contents of [Rikuzan-kai's] political fund reports were legitimate," the ruling said.
 その一方で、判決は、小沢氏が元秘書から取引の経緯について詳細な報告を受けていなかった、と認定し、「政治資金収支報告書の記載を適法と認識した可能性がある」と結論づけた。

The court-appointed lawyers said they will discuss whether to lodge a final appeal, but appeals to the Supreme Court are limited to cases in which rulings contain constitutional violations or inconsistencies with past top court rulings. It is more likely the not-guilty ruling will become final.
 指定弁護士は上告の可否を検討するという。だが、上告は憲法違反や判例違反がなければ認められず、小沢氏の無罪が確定する見通しが強まったと言えよう。

===

Committee decision has a point

Ozawa's trial is the first of its kind in which a politician has been indicted under the mandatory indictment system following decisions by the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution, which is composed of ordinary citizens. It is likely debates on whether to review the system will ignite again as Ozawa has been twice ruled not guilty.
 この裁判は、一般市民で構成される検察審査会の議決に基づき、政治家が強制起訴された初のケースだ。2度の無罪判決で、制度の見直し論議が再燃するだろう。

However, the committee was justified in demanding the court--which was open to the public--uncover all the facts of the case, as Ozawa had failed to provide reasonable explanations on the political funds scandal.
 しかし、公開の法廷で解明を求めた検察審の判断には、もっともな面があった。政治資金疑惑に対し、小沢氏が合理的な説明をしなかったためだ。

The government has established a public disclosure system on political funds under the Political Funds Control Law to ensure an environment that would allow free and fair election campaigns.
 政治資金規正法は、自由で公正な政治活動を実現するため、政治資金の公開制度を定めている。

As taxpayers' money has been poured into political funds after the enactment of the Political Party Subsidies Law, there is a growing demand for transparency in the flow of political funds.
政党助成法の施行で、政治資金に国民の税金が投入されてからは、資金の流れの透明性を確保する要請が高まっている。

Rikuzan-kai's land deal involved money transactions totaling hundreds of millions of yen, but the political fund management body made false statements in its reports. This clearly goes against the spirit of the Political Funds Control Law.
 陸山会が土地取引で億円単位の巨額の金を動かしながら、収支報告書に事実と異なる記載をしていたのは、規正法の趣旨に反する行為だったと言える。

One purpose of the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution system is to reflect the view of people in criminal justice in a similar way to the lay judge system. So far, only six mandatory indictments have taken place since the system was established. What is important now is for the mandatory indictment system to be used in more cases. It is too early to review the system at this stage.
 検察審制度には裁判員制度と同様、刑事司法に国民の視点を反映させる意義がある。強制起訴は6件にとどまる。まずは事例を積み重ねることが大切だろう。現時点で見直すのは早計である。

===

Prosecutors must be blamed

However, experts have pointed out that this places a heavy burden on court-appointed lawyers, who have to present their cases based on limited evidence. The system should be examined with the aim of improving it.
 ただ、限られた証拠での立証を強いられる指定弁護士の負担の重さなどを指摘する声がある。制度の改善に向けた検証は必要だ。

In the Ozawa trial, the public prosecutors should be criticized for submitting a falsified investigative report to the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution, which led the people to question whether it was appropriate for the committee to indict Ozawa. It was also discovered during the trial that prosecutors had coerced and coaxed Ozawa's former secretaries to provide statements in line with the aims of the prosecutors. The prosecutors must take to heart the lessons learned from the trial.
 今回の裁判で、批判されるべきは、検察審に虚偽の捜査報告書を提出し、起訴議決に疑念を抱かせた検察である。検察官による供述の誘導や強制も判明した。検察は猛省しなければならない。

The prosecutors have decided not to indict a former prosecutor who falsified the investigative report, and other prosecutors involved in compiling the report, prompting a citizens group to file a complaint against the decision with the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution. We urge the committee to examine it strictly and fairly.
 検察は虚偽報告書を作成した当時の検察官らを不起訴とした。この処分への不服申し立てが市民団体から検察審に出されている。検察審は厳正に審査すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 13, 2012)
(2012年11月13日01時32分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月13日 (火)

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民主党政権公約 原発ゼロでは反省に値しない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 13, 2012)
'Zero nuclear power policy' has no place in DPJ's manifesto
民主党政権公約 原発ゼロでは反省に値しない(11月11日付・読売社説)

The Democratic Party of Japan at long last has uttered words of self-reflection over its manifesto for the 2009 House of Representatives election.
 民主党が、2009年衆院選の政権公約(マニフェスト)についてようやくこう反省した。

The party said, "We were arrogant to believe we could do everything if we came to power and immature as we didn't realize the severity of steering the government."
 「政権を取れば何でもできるという傲慢さ、政権運営の厳しさを知らない未熟さがありました」

This humble stance marked an about-face from its past position. This change appears to reflect its concern over the uphill battle it faces in the next lower house election.
 打って変わったような低姿勢ぶりである。次期衆院選を戦えないとの危機感があるからだろう。

The party held meetings in Osaka and Fukuoka on Saturday to report on its self-examination of the manifesto. "While reflecting on it, we want to put together a more realistic manifesto that can be carried out as promised," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said.
 民主党は10日、大阪と福岡でマニフェストの検証結果を報告するための集会を開いた。野田首相は「反省しながら、より現実感のある、約束を守れるものを作り上げたい」と語った。

The party plans to hold similar meetings in nine other locations across the country until Sunday.
18日まで全国計11か所で展開する方針だ。

The items listed in the party's campaign platform for the 2009 general election were nothing short of slapdash. They included a handout of child-rearing allowances, abolition of the temporary gasoline tax rate, making highways toll-free and securing 16.8 trillion yen in fiscal resources by eliminating wasteful spending. The party had insisted on steadily realizing the manifesto pledges, rather than examine them for shortcomings.
 子ども手当やガソリン税の暫定税率廃止、高速道路無料化、16・8兆円の財源確保など、マニフェストのずさんさは、次々と明らかになった。だが、民主党は「マニフェストの着実な実現」を掲げ続け、見直そうとしなかった。

===

Change comes too late

With the dissolution of the lower house for a general election close at hand, the party decided to make a fresh start after reflecting on the manifesto. But it comes too late. Its self-reflection meetings across the country may be considered an election campaign in the guise of an "apology tour."
 それを衆院解散を目前にして反省し、出直すというのは遅きに失している。“おわび行脚”の名を借りた選挙運動と言えよう。

Of concern is whether the DPJ can make the most of its experience as a ruling party in formulating a manifesto for the forthcoming election.
 問題は、民主党が与党の経験を新たなマニフェストの作成に生かせるかどうかである。

Noda told reporters accompanying him on his inspection tour of Fukuoka on Saturday the party is considering the inclusion of an official bid to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework in the new manifesto.
 野田首相は、視察先の福岡市内で記者団に環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への対応をマニフェストに書き込む意向を示した。

Participation in the TPP is indispensable for Japan if this country hopes to open up future prospects through free trade. We think the party should clearly mention in the manifesto that Japan will officially apply to join the TPP negotiations.
 日本が自由貿易の拡大によって将来の活路を開くためには、TPPへの参加は欠かせない。交渉参加を正式に表明し、マニフェストでも明確に説明すべきだ。

Seiji Maehara, state minister for national policy, said he favored Japan's entry in the TPP and it "should be made a major DPJ campaign pledge" in the forthcoming election. TPP entry will become a bone of contention in its election campaign against the Liberal Democratic Party, which takes a cautious view on the subject.
 前原国家戦略相がTPP参加に賛意を示し、「民主党の公約として掲げて争点化すべきだ」と言うように、TPPに慎重な自民党との対立軸の一つになろう。

===

Break with previous mind-set

The DPJ, however, has yet to break with the mind-set it had as an opposition party when it comes to energy policy.
 一方で、「野党のマニフェスト」から脱皮できていないのが、エネルギー政策である。

The party said its manifesto would incorporate a policy to end reliance on nuclear power generation in the 2030s. How will the party secure alternate energy if it does this? No solutions have been offered in regard to such pending issues as increases in utility rates caused by the zero nuclear policy, continuing industrial hollowing-out and the brain drain of nuclear engineers heading overseas.
 30年代に「原発稼働ゼロ」を目指す方針を盛り込むというが、代替エネルギーを一体どう確保するのか。脱原発政策に伴う電気料金の値上げや産業空洞化の進行、原子力を担う人材の流出といった懸案にも解決の糸口が見えない。

If the DPJ only continues to emphasize the zero nuclear policy, its irresponsibility will be similar to that seen in the previous manifesto. Its policy, it can be said, is unrealistic compared with that of the LDP, which calls for utilizing nuclear energy for the time being.
 原発ゼロだけでは、前回と同様無責任である。原発を当面は活用する、とする自民党と比べて現実的ではないと言える。

Regardless of the results of the next lower house election, a divided Diet will continue until next summer when a House of Councillors election is scheduled. No party will be able to realize its policy goals without the cooperation of other parties. It will be meaningless to make campaign pledges on the numerical targets of policies and timetables for their implementation without considering cooperation with other parties.
 衆院選の結果がどうであれ、来夏までは衆参のねじれが続く。どの党も、他党の協力なしに政策は実現しない。他党との連携を考えずに政策の数値目標、期限を公約するのは、意味がないだろう。

The parties should compile manifestos with realistic points of contention.
 現実を踏まえた争点作りが問われている。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 11, 2012)
(2012年11月11日01時19分  読売新聞)

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地方公務員給与 自治体はもっと削減努力を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 13, 2012)
Local govts need bigger ax to slash personnel costs
地方公務員給与 自治体はもっと削減努力を(11月11日付・読売社説)

Slashing personnel costs is a crucial task for local governments and from the viewpoint of rebuilding the central government's finances. It is essential that local governments redouble their efforts to cut expenditures.
 地方の人件費圧縮は、国の財政再建にも重要な課題だ。
 自治体の削減努力が求められる。

With preparations for compiling a state budget for fiscal 2013 under way, the Finance Ministry announced provisional calculations regarding salary levels of local government employees.
 2013年度予算の編成に向け、財務省が地方公務員の給与水準に関する試算を発表した。

The Laspeyres index--an indicator that compares local government employees' salaries against a base of 100 for salaries of central government workers--stood at 106.9 for fiscal 2012, marking a reversal for the first time in nine years, according to the estimates.
 国家公務員を100としたときの地方公務員の給与水準を示すラスパイレス指数が、12年度は106・9となり、9年ぶりに国と地方の給与が逆転した。

Salaries in more than 80 percent of about 1,800 local entities across Japan exceeded the pay pocketed by central government employees.
 全国約1800自治体の8割以上が国より高水準だった。

This seems partly due to the fact that the central government decided to cut its employees' salaries for two years from fiscal 2012 to raise funds for budgetary appropriations for reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
 東日本大震災の復興予算を捻出するため、国家公務員の給与を12年度から2年間、引き下げた措置が影響しているのだろう。

Salaries of local government employees are stipulated by ordinances, mainly after consultations between municipalities and trade unions of their workers. The central government has no say in pay scale decisions by local governments.
 地方公務員の給与は労組との協議などを経て、自治体が条例で決める。国に決定権はない。

===

Averse to pay cuts

However, local government employees' salaries are paid from local tax grants allocated by the central government, in addition to local tax revenues.
 ただ、その財源となるのは、地方税などに加え、国から配分される地方交付税交付金だ。

These tax grants, which are designed to help local governments make up for budget deficits, have reached more than 17 trillion yen a year. The central government funds these grants by incurring debts. Providing cash for local tax grants has been a major cause of the central government's fiscal crunch, along with fast-ballooning social security costs.
地方の財源不足を補う17兆円超の交付税は国が借金しながら支えており、社会保障費と並んで国家財政を圧迫する要因となっている。

Personnel costs account for about one-fourth of the more than 80 trillion yen in total expenses of local governments throughout Japan. Curtailing employees' salaries is essential for turning around the finances of chronically debt-ridden local governments.
 地方全体の歳出80兆円超のうち給与が4分の1を占める。公務員給与の削減は、借金体質が続く地方財政の改革に不可欠だ。

Kyoto Gov. Keiji Yamada, who chairs the Association of Prefectural Governors, has bristled at the Finance Ministry's suggestion that local government workers' salaries must be cut. He said the central government "should recognize the efforts being made by local governments" to reel in budget deficits.
 財務省の指摘に対し、全国知事会長の山田啓二京都府知事は「地方の努力を評価してもらわないと困る」と反発し、

Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Shinji Tarutoko also joined the chorus of criticism, saying the Finance Ministry was "making figures arbitrarily, apparently with the aim of misleading public opinion. This is extremely inappropriate."
樽床総務相も「勝手に数字を出して世論をミスリードするのは甚だ不適切だ」と不快感を表明している。

The way salaries of local government employees are determined is baffling for several reasons.
 しかし、地方公務員給与の現状をみれば、首をかしげたくなるような面も少なくない。

Salary levels for a local government are decided, in principle, after checking salaries of other local entities and the central government, as well as salary trends in the private sector.
 給与水準は国や他の自治体、民間の動向を踏まえて決定することになっている。

===

Fringe benefits too generous

According to the Finance Ministry, workers at local governments in every prefecture earned larger pay packets than the average monthly pay of private business employees. Local government monthly salaries were more than 100,000 yen higher than company employees' salaries in Aomori, Akita and Ehime prefectures, the ministry noted.
だが、財務省によれば、全都道府県で民間の平均月額給与を上回る。青森、秋田、愛媛3県は10万円以上多い。

Aside from regular administrative positions, local government employees handling cleaning and bus-driving duties are paid 1.5 times the amount their private-sector counterparts receive. The figures are 1.9 times higher for security guards and and 1.8 times for telephone operators.
 一般職以外でも、清掃関係やバス運転手は民間の1・5倍、警備員は1・9倍、電話交換手が1・8倍などと厚遇ぶりが目立つ。

Some local entities pay employees housing allowances--a perk already abolished for central government employees. Others give special allowances to teachers for accompanying school excursions and supervising high school exams.
 国家公務員では廃止された持ち家手当を温存し、修学旅行の引率や高校入試の監督まで特殊勤務手当で支給する自治体もある。

Both the ruling and opposition camps appear reluctant to take up the issue of local government salaries. They seem afraid of antagonizing local entities when a House of Representatives election is likely to be held soon.
 与野党とも衆院選を前に地方の反発を恐れ、地方公務員の給与問題には及び腰となりがちだ。

Community residents and assemblies should press harder for administrative reform of local governments.
 地域の住民や議会が一層の行政改革を迫ることが重要だろう。

When the consumption tax rate is raised to 10 percent from October 2015, revenue from 1.54 percentage points of the five-point hike will go to local governments' coffers, which they can use at their discretion.
 15年10月に消費税率が10%に引き上げられた段階で、増税5%のうち1・54%分は自治体に回り、自主財源となる。

Given this, local governments should remain aware of their responsibility to further cut expenditures to ensure fiscal matters are handled effectively and properly.
地方は一段と歳出削減に取り組み、メリハリのある財政運営を行う責任がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 11, 2012)
(2012年11月11日01時19分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月12日 (月)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:強がりな人ほど心に弱さ /東京

November 11, 2012(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Feeling upbeat and one's true character
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:強がりな人ほど心に弱さ /東京

Former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, on his final day at work, was asked by reporters for his feelings. He responded, "I don't have any (sadness), I feel upbeat."
 都知事を辞任した石原慎太郎氏は、最後の登庁の日、報道陣に心境を尋ねられて「(寂しさは)全然ない。心ウキウキ、ワクワクだ」と笑顔で語った。

Hearing this, I was probably not the only one to think, "When was the last time I felt upbeat?" Asking this to a university senior who still hasn't secured a job, they told me, "When I open e-mail it's a notice that I've been turned down and my family gets depressed. Even the soccer team I like isn't doing well. There isn't a single bit of good news."
 この言葉を聞いて「最近、ウキウキ、ワクワクしたのはいつだっけ」とつい考えてしまったのは、私だけではないだろう。いまだに来春の就職先が決まらない大学4年生にきくと、「メールを開けば“残念ですが”という不採用通知だし、家族はうつ病になっちゃうし、好きなサッカーチームまで成績が悪くて、楽しいことなんてひとつもないですよ」とのことだった。

Then, why does Ishihara feel upbeat? There may be a feeling of freedom from dropping the burden of governor, but I don't think that is all. The Japan Restoration Party's leader Toru Hashimoto said at the party's formation, "A big battle is coming," and Ishihara, too, may be feeling excitement about forming his own party and leading it into national politics amidst the current political turmoil.
 では石原氏は、いったいどうして「ウキウキ、ワクワク」しているのだろう。都知事の荷を下ろした解放感もあるかもしれないが、それだけではないはずだ。日本維新の会の橋下徹代表は、結党のあいさつで「大いくさが始まる」と述べていたが、新党の発足を予定している石原氏もおそらく、“乱世”のいま、新党を率いて国政の場に打って出ることに高揚感や興奮を感じているのだろう。

Should we feel strength in seeing such political leaders, or be unsettled by how far removed they are from regular people's lives? I am of the latter.
 まさに戦国時代のように奮い立つリーダーたちの姿に、頼もしさを感じるべきなのだろうか。それとも、「あまりにも一般の生活者とかけ離れている」と違和感を抱いてよいのだろうか。正直言って、私は後者だ。

Harold Dwight Lasswell, a political scientist who was influenced by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, writes something interesting in his book "Power and Personality." There are people in the world with a love for power, and they often become politicians, and according to Lasswell, many of them work for personal motives, such as overcoming unpleasant memories from childhood. He writes that these politicians cleverly use arguments for the public good to justify their personal motives.
 精神分析家フロイトの影響を受けたラスウェルという政治学者は、「権力と人間」という本の中で面白いことを述べている。世の中には権力に目がない「政治的タイプ」と呼ばれる人間がいて、この人たちがしばしば政治家になるのだが、ラスウェルによるとその動機の多くは「子ども時代のイヤな思い出の克服」など個人的な動機に基づいているのだという。ラスウェルは、このタイプの政治家について「個人的な動機を、公の目的にうまくすり替え、公共の利益の名において合理化できる人」といった説明をしている。

I don't want to think that all the world's politicians are seeking power for personal reasons like overcoming inferiority complexes from their childhood and showing up the world. However, when I wonder if the fact that the stronger one looks, the weaker they are inside applies to politics as well, I find myself worrying about some politicians.
 すべての政治家が、「子ども時代のコンプレックスを晴らして世の中を見返すために」といった自分だけの動機で権力を目指しているとは思いたくない。とはいえ、「強く見える人ほど、心の中に弱さを持っている」という真実は政治の世界でも生きているのか、と思うとちょっとおかしくなり、「あの政治家はどうなのだろう?」と心配になる。

Of course, we cannot have only weak-willed politicians, but in these difficult times, I would like someone who doesn't forget kindness and compassion to lead society. Am I mistaken to want such a thing?
 もちろん弱気なだけのリーダーばかりでは困るが、このむずかしい時代、やっぱり優しさや思いやりを忘れない人に社会を動かしてもらいたい。そう思うのは間違いなのだろうか。

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2012年11月06日 地方版

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2012年11月11日 (日)

「年内解散」検討 環境整備へ与野党は歩み寄れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 11, 2012)
Ruling and opposition parties should meet halfway
「年内解散」検討 環境整備へ与野党は歩み寄れ(11月10日付・読売社説)

By speeding up efforts to settle key issues, both ruling and opposition parties should create an environment conducive to a decision by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to dissolve the House of Representatives within the year.
 年内の衆院解散へ、与野党は懸案処理を急ぎ、野田首相が決断できる環境を整えるべきだ。

Noda is currently mulling dissolution of the lower house for a general election. As some members of his Democratic Party of Japan are considering leaving the party, the prime minister is well aware of the risk that the DPJ may no longer retain a lower house majority. Given the situation, Noda apparently is looking for ways to gain the upper hand in dissolving the lower house rather than being forced to dissolve it.
 首相が解散・総選挙の検討に入った。民主党内に離党予備軍を抱え、衆院での与党過半数割れも視野に入る。首相は、追い込まれるよりも主導権を握った形での解散を模索しているのだろう。

It has been about three years and two months since the last lower house election. It is about time to seek a public mandate.
 前回衆院選から約3年2か月が経過し、国民に信を問う潮時を迎えつつあるのは確かだ。

The prime minister was apparently prompted to consider dissolution by a change in the stance of the largest opposition Liberal Democratic Party. LDP President Shinzo Abe recently said his party is ready to cooperate on passing a bill to issue deficit-covering bonds and resolving other key issues even though Noda has not set a definite date for the dissolution.
 首相の背中を押したのは、自民党の安倍総裁が解散の確約にこだわらず、赤字国債発行を可能にする特例公債法案の成立などに協力する方針に転じたことだ。

The bill is expected to be passed in the lower house Thursday and be enacted by the end of this month.
 法案は15日に衆院を通過し、月内に成立する見通しだ。

===

LDP, Komeito cooperation

The LDP has concluded that holding the matter closely linked to the people's daily lives "hostage" is not the proper thing to do. We view this as reasonable.
 自民党が、国民生活を「人質」とする戦術は取るべきではないと判断したのは妥当である。

Under the divided Diet in which the House of Councillors is controlled by the opposition camp, the opposition's act of urging Noda to specify the timing of the dissolution in return for its cooperation in passing important legislation could restrict the prime minister's constitutional prerogative to dissolve the lower house.
 衆参ねじれ国会の下、首相が重要法案成立と引き換えに解散時期の明示を迫られることは、解散権の制約につながろう。

If such maneuvers were to be repeated, no administration would last long, and politics would be thrown into chaos. We believe Abe's compromise would be to the advantage of the LDP, which is seeking a return to power.
 こうした駆け引きが繰り返されれば、政権は短命化し、政治の混迷が続く。安倍氏の譲歩は、政権復帰を目指す自民党にとっても損にならないはずだ。

The smaller opposition party New Komeito has also fallen in line with the LDP without calling on Noda for a definite time for the lower house dissolution. Although they have not fully come to terms, it is significant that the three major parties are back on the same page for now.
 公明党も、解散の確約にこだわらず、自民党に同調した。部分的にせよ、民自公路線がこの局面で復活した意義は大きい。

The three parties have also agreed to have party leaders debate in the Diet as well as convene a meeting of the lower house's budget committee next week. We hope they will have serious debates over the Senkaku Islands issue and Japan's participation in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership multinational free trade framework. Noda supports TPP participation.
 3党は、来週の党首討論と衆院予算委員会の開催でも合意した。尖閣諸島問題や、首相が参加に前向きな環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)を巡り、活発な政策論議を繰り広げてもらいたい。

===

It's time for DPJ to shift stance

Meanwhile, the DPJ has maintained a firm attitude on lower house electoral system reform--one of the conditions set by Noda to dissolve the lower house--by continuing to handle the two issues of reducing single-seat constituencies by five and cutting the number of seats in the proportional representation system together. However, the DPJ is unlikely to win cooperation from the opposition with such a stance, and this would leave the passage of the key legislation up in the air.
 解散へのもう一つの条件である衆院選挙制度改革に関し、民主党は、小選挙区の「0増5減」と比例定数削減の同時決着を求める姿勢を崩していない。だが、これでは野党の協力が得られず、法案成立のメドは立たない。

To prevent a lower house election from being held "in a state of unconstitutionality," it is essential for the DPJ to accept the LDP's proposal of handling the issues separately and reducing single-seat constituencies first. The DPJ executive led by Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi should be aware a position shift is necessary.
 「違憲状態」のままの衆院選を避けるには、自民党の求める「0増5減」の先行処理が不可欠だ。民主党の輿石執行部は腹をくくって、方針を転換する時である。

The opposition camp in the upper house, meanwhile, remains combative with the Noda administration, citing the censure motion against Noda passed in the previous Diet session as the reason.
 一方、参院の野党は、首相問責決議を理由に、政権と全面的に対決する構えを示している。

The three parties have also broadly agreed on the passage of a bill in the lower house to revise the National Pension Law to set pension payments at levels reflecting the current decline in prices. They should also work together in approving necessary legislation in the upper house.
 民自公3党は、年金支給額を物価下落に応じ、適正水準に是正する国民年金法改正案の衆院通過でも大筋合意した。参院でも、3党が協力し、必要な法案については成立させるべきである。

Upper house DPJ members have called on the opposition parties to allow the prime minister to deliver his policy speech in the chamber's plenary session as the opposition blocked Noda from doing so. But the DPJ should refrain from unnecessarily provoking them.
 参院民主党は、野党の反対で見送った参院本会議での首相の所信表明演説を求めている。要らざる挑発は控えた方がいいだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 10, 2012)
(2012年11月10日01時18分  読売新聞)

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東電支援要請 現実的な再建計画に改めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 11, 2012)
Govt must make assistance to TEPCO more realistic
東電支援要請 現実的な再建計画に改めよ(11月10日付・読売社説)

The prospects for rehabilitating Tokyo Electric Power Co. have gotten murkier.
 東京電力再建の道筋が不透明になってきた。

TEPCO, the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, announced Wednesday it will ask the government to consider extending a new package of support measures for the utility.
 東電が政府に新たな支援策の検討を要請すると発表した。

TEPCO has concluded it cannot singlehandedly cover snowballing compensation for residents affected by the nuclear crisis and the decommissioning of reactors at the plant.
福島第一原子力発電所事故の賠償や廃炉の費用が膨らみ、自力では立ち行かないと判断したという。

In May, the government endorsed a special rebuilding plan for TEPCO that effectively put the utility under state control. A financial assistance plan was also approved under which the government will temporarily pay up to 5 trillion yen in compensation on TEPCO's behalf.
 政府は5月、東電再建に向けた「総合特別事業計画」を認定し、東電を国有化した。国が賠償資金を5兆円まで立て替える支援策も講じられた。

The utility, however, has calculated compensation expenses will likely swell to about 10 trillion yen, which it says it will be unable to pay off without additional government assistance.
 しかし、東電は賠償負担が10兆円規模に膨らみ、完済のメドが立たなくなるとしている。

There are growing fears TEPCO's business performance could decline, possibly causing key company employees to leave. This could impede a stable supply of electricity, which would deal a heavy blow to the economy and people's livelihoods.
経営体力が低下し、人材も流出することが懸念される。電力の安定供給に支障が出て、経済や国民生活に打撃を与えかねない。

===

Sloppy from the beginning

Shortcomings in the government's support have emerged because the program, from the very beginning, was poorly thought out.
 早くも支援策のほころびが露呈したのは、そもそも計画自体がずさんだったからだ。

The government should be held heavily responsible for having obligated TEPCO to ultimately cover the full expenses of compensation payments and decommissioning reactors, apparently out of fear that the government might earn the public's wrath if it "rescued TEPCO" with public funds.
 政府が「東電救済」への批判を恐れ、賠償や廃炉の費用をすべて東電に押しつけた責任は重い。

Under the current support framework, the utility must eventually pay back funds it received from the government. But the government and the ruling Democratic Party of Japan have decided on one plan after another that increases compensation payments and expands areas requiring decontamination from radiation that leaked from the crippled nuclear plant.
東電が負担する仕組みのためか、政府・民主党が相次いで賠償の積み増しや除染拡大を決め、コストを膨らませている面もある。

The government, which has effectively nationalized Japan's largest power utility, should compile a more realistic relief framework in which it bears a burden commensurate with its own responsibilities.
 東電を国有化した政府は、国も応分の負担をする現実的な支援策に改めるべきだ。

TEPCO's business turnaround plans set a target of putting the company's balance sheet in the black in the settlement of accounts for fiscal 2013. Achieving this goal is premised on TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture coming back online from the next fiscal year.
 東電の事業計画は、2013年度決算で利益を黒字にするとの目標を掲げている。来年度から新潟県の柏崎刈羽原発の再稼働をスタートさせることが前提となる。

However, plans to resume operations at this plant have been shackled by the policy of "reducing nuclear power generation to zero" drawn up by the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
 ところが、野田政権が打ち出した「原発ゼロ」方針が、再稼働の足かせとなっている。

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano, who approved the special rebuilding plan, has irresponsibly left the decision on whether to give the go-ahead to the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant's restart entirely up to the newly formed Nuclear Regulation Authority.
事業計画を認定した枝野経済産業相は、再稼働の判断を原子力規制委員会に任せきりにする無責任な態度だ。

===

Stop delays in compensation

The slipshod energy policy is at the heart of the problems holding back TEPCO's recovery. The government must rescind the "zero nuclear power generation" target and instead promote the restart of reactors that are confirmed safe to operate.
 こうした場当たり的なエネルギー政策が、諸悪の根源である。政府は「原発ゼロ」を撤回し、安全を確認できた原発の再稼働を推進するべきだ。

Failure to prevent TEPCO's business from deteriorating could force the utility to again hike electricity rates, which were raised by stages from April. The government's mismanagement of energy policy could eventually hit the public in the pocket.
 東電の経営悪化を防がないと、4月から順次、値上げされた東電の電力料金が、さらなる値上げを迫られる恐れがある。失政のツケは、国民の負担に跳ね返る。

Naturally, TEPCO must do more to cuts its expenses.
 もちろん、東電による一層の経営努力は欠かせない。

TEPCO, in tandem with the requests for additional government assistance, has compiled a new managerial improvement plan. The company will set up its disaster recovery headquarters in Fukushima Prefecture, which will be staffed by about 4,000 employees to beef up the firm's payment of damages and decontamination activities.
 東電は追加支援の要請にあわせて、経営改革の行動計画をまとめた。4000人規模の福島復興本社を新設し、損害賠償や除染の取り組みを強化するという。

People affected by the nuclear disaster have been infuriated by delays in compensation payments and related matters. This situation must be urgently rectified.
賠償の遅れなどに、被災者の不満は強い。早急な改善が必要である。

TEPCO's plans to reduce costs by an additional 100 billion yen a year should be considered reasonable. We urge TEPCO to accelerate its cost-cutting by wiping out any hint of complacency that might come with being a regional monopoly.
 年1000億円の経費削減を追加したのは妥当な措置と言える。独占企業の甘えを徹底的に排し、合理化をさらに加速させることが求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 10, 2012)
(2012年11月10日01時18分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月10日 (土)

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[ name ]
kiyoshi matsui (srachai)

[ career ]
・born in Fukuoka, Japan
・graduated from Kochi Univercity
・working with mid-sized general contractor
・ritired at 50 years old
・99/10 travelling entire Thailand 
・00/10 migrated to Thailand 
・03/07 kai-chan born 
・07/06 seefaa-chan born 
・present address in Khonkaen, Thiland 

[ favorite words ]
Slow and steady wins the race.
遅くとも着実な者が勝利する
(NHK基礎英語芹沢栄先生)

[ how to study ]
・speak aloud in Japanese
・think in Japanese.
・use dictionary with pronounciation

[ English Newspapers ]
yomiuri (editorial)
mainichi (editorial)
asahi (editorial)
Japan Times
Washington Post
Newyork Times
Bangkok Post
The Nations
Phuket Gazette

[ for your referance ]
英字新聞(読売)
英字新聞(毎日)
英字新聞(朝日)
英字新聞(朝日2)

[ dictionary edited by srachai ]
Thai-Japanese dictionary (revised)
Japanese-thai dictionary (revised)
Lao-Japanese dictionary
Japanese-Lao dictionary

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田中文科相問題 一転認可に反省と謝罪がない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 10, 2012)
Tanaka neither sorry nor reflective over her about-face
田中文科相問題 一転認可に反省と謝罪がない(11月9日付・読売社説)

Was it the cabinet minister, rather than the universities, who should have been "disapproved"?
 「不認可」とされるべきは大学ではなく、閣僚ではなかったのか。

In an about-face, education minister Makiko Tanaka has decided to approve the establishment of the three universities, including one to be named Akita Municipal College of Fine Arts, after her earlier rejection of their establishment.
 田中文部科学相が、秋田公立美術大など3大学の新設を不認可とした自らの発言を全面撤回し、認可を決定した。

As the confusion caused by Tanaka has now been resolved, the three universities will be able to open in spring as scheduled.
 混乱は収束し、3大学は予定通り、来春の開校が可能になった。

Due to her misunderstanding of political leadership, Tanaka threw the universities' operators and prospective students into confusion and damaged people's trust in educational administration.
 政治主導をはき違えて、大学や入学希望者を困惑させ、教育行政に対する信頼を失墜させた。

We believe Tanaka should bear the brunt of the responsibility for the matter.
田中氏の責任は極めて重大である。

Yet she does not seem to have seriously reflected on what she has done. We find it outrageous that she has said her latest stunt turned out to be good publicity for the universities. She should apologize to the three operators immediately.
 だが、いまだに反省の色を見せていない。田中氏が「今回、逆に良い宣伝になった」とまで言い放つのは論外だ。3大学に対し、すみやかに謝罪すべきである。

A council tasked with examining applications for opening universities submitted a recommendation of approval to the minister last week. However, Tanaka rejected the panel's recommendations, and bureaucrats at the ministry followed her decision.
 3大学については、文科相の諮問機関「大学設置・学校法人審議会」が、新設の認可を答申したにもかかわらず、田中氏がこれを覆し、文科官僚が追随した。

===

A history of causing trouble

Tanaka said she rejected the applications because of an unwieldy surge in universities. This is unacceptable. Reviewing the approval system for new universities is a separate matter from the approval of the establishment of each university by the ministry itself.
 「大学の乱立に歯止めをかけるため」と田中氏は主張したが、大学政策全般の見直しは、個別大学の新設認可とは切り離して検討すべきテーマである。

After facing a barrage of criticism for her disapproval of the universities, Tanaka suddenly began pushing to reform relevant rules, saying she would reexamine the three universities' applications on the basis of new criteria for opening universities.
 田中氏は不認可への批判が高まると、「新基準で再審査する」と唐突にルール変更を唱えた。

At the same time, she tried to talk her way out of trouble with semantics by saying, "I haven't finalized my decision, as a minister, on disapproval" of the universities. It also is disgraceful that she tried to shift the blame to the bureaucrats, saying, "These bureaucrats failed to understand what I really intended to do."
 同時に、「現時点で不認可処分は行っていない」と言い逃れた。「事務方が真意をくみ取らなかった」と、官僚に責任を転嫁する発言をしたのも見苦しい。

While she was foreign minister under the Cabinet led by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Tanaka sent diplomatic affairs into great confusion with her eccentric remarks and behavior, and caused discord with bureaucrats at the foreign ministry.
 田中氏は小泉内閣の外相当時、常軌を逸した言動や外務官僚との確執で日本外交を大混乱させた人物である。

===

Noda also to blame

The problem does not end with the responsibility of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda for appointing Tanaka as a Cabinet member. The managerial ability of Noda and Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura, both of whom failed to prevent Tanaka from rejecting the universities' applications when they heard about her plans, must also be seriously put in question.
 問題は、その田中氏の「発信力」に期待して、閣僚に選んだ野田首相の任命責任にとどまらない。田中氏から事前に不認可の方針を聞きながら、それを止めなかった首相や藤村官房長官の管理能力の欠如も厳しく問われよう。

Tanaka said when she briefed Noda on her decision to reject the applications, Noda told her to do as she planned. Did Noda actually believe Tanaka's grandstanding would win her points with the public?
 田中氏によると、事前説明の際、首相は「そのまま推し進めてください」と答えたという。田中氏のスタンドプレーが世論の支持を得るとでも思ったのだろうか。

At a press conference Thursday, Fujimura defended Tanaka, saying, "It's unlikely people believe she has done anything wrong as a minister." Does he have a screw loose?
 藤村官房長官は8日の記者会見で「大臣として間違ったことをしたとは、たぶん誰も受け止めていない」と、田中氏を擁護した。どこかネジが緩んでいないか。

Prompted by the latest controversy, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry will launch a review of the current system for approving the establishment of universities.
 文科省は今回の問題を機に、大学の設置認可制度の見直しに着手する。

It is true that under the government's deregulatory policies, the number of universities has surged. As a result, there is concern the quality of university education has deteriorated.
政府の規制緩和政策の下、大学数が急増し、教育の質の低下が懸念されているのは確かだ。

But any changes to the system have to do with the fundamentals of the ministry's university policy. Therefore, the issue needs to be discussed properly, and not approached in a slipshod manner.
 制度の変更は大学政策の根幹にかかわる問題だけに、拙速を避け、議論を尽くす必要がある。

It is totally intolerable to continue to be at the mercy of Tanaka's spur-of-the-moment ideas.
 これ以上、田中氏の思いつきに振り回されてはかなわない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 9, 2012)
(2012年11月9日01時21分  読売新聞)

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中国共産党大会 強硬路線の継承を懸念する

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 10, 2012)
Concern grows over China's continued hard-line policy
中国共産党大会 強硬路線の継承を懸念する(11月9日付・読売社説)

It is now obvious that China's new generation of Communist Party and national leaders will continue to pursue policies aimed at bolstering both its economic and military might, seeking to become "a rich country with a strong army."
 経済力と軍事力を膨張させる富国強兵路線を、新指導部が継承することが明確になった。

The Congress of the Communist Party of China, which meets every five years, is under way.
 5年に1度の中国共産党大会が開幕した。

During the ruling party convention, Vice President Xi Jinping is expected to be inaugurated as general secretary and a significant majority of the top echelons of China's leadership will be replaced.
 今大会では習近平国家副主席が総書記に就任し、指導部が大幅に交代する。

The Congress is of great importance as it will set the path China will take over the next 10 years.
中国の今後10年の針路を決定づける重要な大会だ。

In a report on the party's action policy over the next five years delivered at the opening of the Congress on Thursday, President Hu Jintao, who is due to step down as general secretary, affirmed Beijing's resolve to accelerate modernization of its military to defend Chinese territory, and strongly emphasized the nation's determination to protect its maritime interests.
 総書記を退く胡錦濤国家主席は今後5年の党の活動方針となる政治報告で、領土を防衛するために軍の近代化を加速し、海洋権益を断固守る姿勢を強調した。

The remarks by Hu seemed to be addressing the heightened tensions between Japan and China over Japan's recent nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, several thorny territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and the new diplomatic policy of the United States to refocus its strategic attention on Asia.
 尖閣諸島の国有化を巡る日本との激しい対立や南シナ海の領有権問題に関する摩擦、米国の「アジア重視」の新戦略を念頭に置いたものだろう。

===

Simmering anger over injustice

There is every sign China's hard-line stance toward Japan over the Senkakus will continue.
 尖閣問題で中国の対日強硬姿勢が続くのは避けられまい。

Japan, for its part, must support mid- and long-term strategies toward China by strengthening ties with Southeast Asian nations based on the Japan-U.S. alliance.
日本は日米同盟を基軸に東南アジア諸国とも連携し、中長期的な対中戦略を練らなければならない。

In the speech, Hu also stated a goal of doubling China's gross domestic product by 2020 and per capita incomes nationwide in a decade, both compared to 2010 levels.
 胡氏はまた、2020年の国内総生産や1人当たりの所得を10年に比べて2倍にするとの目標も打ち出した。

To achieve this, China must maintain a yearly growth rate of about 7 percent. Since the days of hard-charging growth appear to be in the past, fulfilling these goals will not be easy.
年率7%程度の成長を維持していく必要がある。だが、かつてのような高成長は望めず、目標達成は容易ではない。

Over the past decade, China has successfully hosted a summer Olympics and a World Expo, as well as claimed from Japan the No. 2 spot in terms of economic size.
 この10年、中国は北京五輪と上海万博を成功させ、日本を抜き世界第2位の経済大国となった。

However, in the shadows of spectacular growth lies a widening gap between rich and poor, as well as deepening public anger over inequities in the administration of justice and rampant corruption among local bureaucrats. Violent demonstrations have erupted over these issues in many parts of China.
 成長の陰で、貧富の格差が広がり、不公正な司法や地方官僚の腐敗などに対する国民の反発が暴動となって各地で噴出している。

Hu's declaration that the government will do its utmost to shrink income disparities by "deepening reform of income allocation systems" likely came out of a strong sense of urgency over the matter.
 胡氏が「所得分配制度の改革を深化させる」として格差解消に全力を挙げる方針を訴えたのは、強い危機感の裏返しと言える。

People aged 60 or older accounted for 12.5 percent of China's population in 2009, and this number is projected to rise to 18 percent by 2020. Further delays in improving the social safety net and related matters could easily stir up social unrest.
 09年末に総人口の12・5%だった60歳以上の高齢者は20年に18%になる見込みだ。社会保障などの整備の遅れは、社会を一層不安定にさせる要因となろう。

===

Hidden power struggle

In the national Congress, the party's platform is set to be revised to upgrade Hu's "scientific development concept," which is designed to realize a well-balanced, sustainable society, to the level of Mao Zedong thought and the theories of other supreme leaders of China.
 大会では党規約を改正し、調和のとれた持続可能な発展を目指す胡氏の戦略思想「科学的発展観」を毛沢東ら歴代指導者の思想と同列の指導思想に格上げする方針だ。

The move is seen as reflecting Hu's desire to retain influence even after retiring from the country's top post.
引退後も自らの影響力を保ちたい胡氏の狙いがうかがえる。

The announcement of the schedule for the Congress was delayed an extraordinary full month compared to past party conventions. The delay seems to have been primarily due to trouble in agreeing over how Bo Xilai, the former chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing, should be punished. Bo has already lost his party membership over allegations of massive corruption and other reasons.
 大会の日程発表は通常より1か月も遅れる異例の事態となった。巨額収賄などを理由に党籍を剥奪した元重慶市トップ薄煕来氏の処分を巡る調整が難航したためとみられる。

Power struggles within the Communist Party were likely behind the delay, though what exactly happened remains murky.
党内の権力闘争が影を落とした形だが、真相は不明だ。

It appears the Congress will not address political reform, including easing of control over freedom of speech.
 言論統制の緩和など政治改革は手付かずだ。

Hu said in his speech that Beijing is prepared to "proceed actively as well as appropriately in the task of reforming the political system." But we cannot help but wonder how successful China will be in materializing any meaningful reform.
政治報告は「政治体制改革を積極的かつ穏当に推進する」とうたうが、どこまで改革を進められるのか。

The new party leadership under Xi will begin its rule burdened with a heavy task load.
習近平体制に重い宿題が残されることになる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 9, 2012)
(2012年11月9日01時21分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月 9日 (金)

東電OL事件 再審無罪で冤罪の検証が要る

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 9, 2012)
Investigators, judicial authorities should review Mainali's case
東電OL事件 再審無罪で冤罪の検証が要る(11月8日付・読売社説)

Fifteen years after a female employee of Tokyo Electric Power Co. was killed in 1997, the acquittal of Govinda Prasad Mainali has been finalized at last. Investigation and judicial authorities bear heavy responsibility as they convicted an innocent person.
 事件から15年を経ての無罪確定である。
 冤罪(えんざい)を引き起こした捜査当局と裁判所の責任は重い。

In a retrial, which concluded Wednesday, the Tokyo High Court acquitted the 46-year-old Nepalese man of the murder, for which he had been sentenced to life imprisonment.
 東京電力の女性社員が1997年に殺害された事件の再審で、東京高裁は無期懲役となったネパール人のゴビンダ・プラサド・マイナリさん(46)を無罪とする判決を言い渡した。

It was a reasonable conclusion to reach considering the court judged it highly likely a third person was the real culprit. The prosecution abandoned its right to appeal to the Supreme Court.
 高裁が「第三者が犯人である疑いが強い」と判断した以上、当然の結論と言える。検察は上告する権利の放棄を申し立てた。

The decisive factor leading to the acquittal was evidence from material found underneath the victim's nails, from which DNA from a third person was detected.
 無罪を決定付けたのは、被害者の手の爪に残っていた付着物だ。マイナリさんとは異なる人物のDNA型が検出されていた。

The ruling placed great importance on the DNA results, saying, "It can be assumed the woman grabbed the culprit's hands and struggled hard to break his grip when she was strangled to death."
 判決はこの鑑定結果を重視した上で、「女性が首を絞められて殺害される際、渾身(こんしん)の力で犯人の手をつかんで引き離そうとしたと想定される」と認定した。

It was in January 2007, while Mainali was serving his term in prison, that the defense demanded prosecutors examine the material under the victim's nails. The prosecutors, however, went so far as to deny its existence, saying, "Nothing was found from [the victim's] nails."
 弁護側が爪の付着物について、検察側に鑑定を求めたのは、マイナリさんが服役していた2007年1月のことだ。しかし、検察は「爪からは何も検出されていない」と付着物の存在さえ否定する回答をしていた。

Subsequently, a third person's DNA was found in bodily fluid left on the woman's breast, among other items--a finding leading to the decision to grant Mainali a retrial.
 その後、女性の胸などに残された体液から第三者のDNA型が見つかった。

===

Attitudes a 'serious problem'

Prosecutors, driven into a corner by the finding, then examined the material found under the nails, even though they had earlier claimed there was no such evidence. However, the same person's DNA was found in the material.
これにより、再審開始が決定し、追いつめられた検察は「存在しない」としていた爪の付着物を鑑定した結果、同じ第三者のDNA型が検出された。

To our chagrin, prosecutors have become defiant, claiming they never concealed evidence. They have maintained a stance to never admit their mistakes, nor review their process in prosecuting Mainali.
 ところが、あきれたことに、検察は「証拠隠しはない」と居直っている。過ちを認めず、冤罪に至った経緯の検証を一切行わない姿勢も示している。

We find this kind of attitude a serious problem.
 極めて問題である。

The public's distrust in prosecutors will only grow unless they rectify their stance of withholding evidence detrimental to their cases.
 自分が不利になりそうな証拠は開示しないという姿勢をたださなければ、国民の検察不信は一段と深まるだろう。

In January last year, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations made a proposal to the public, saying an organization to examine cases in which people were falsely accused of crimes should be set up in the Diet. The proposal called for the organization to be independent both from investigative and judicial authorities.
 日本弁護士連合会は昨年1月、捜査機関や裁判所から独立した冤罪検証組織を国会に設けるべきだとする提言を発表した。

It may be difficult for prosecutors to continue to ignore the proposal if they do not undertake reforms on their own.
検察が自浄能力を発揮しないのなら、こうした声も無視できなくなろう。

===

Courts took away freedom

It is also necessary for judicial authorities to do some serious soul-searching on this case. The high court handed down a guilty sentence to Mainali by overturning an acquittal verdict at the district court--a decision upheld by the Supreme Court. These false judgments deprived him of years of freedom.
 裁判所も猛省が必要だ。1審の無罪判決を破棄し、逆転有罪とした高裁、その判断を支持した最高裁の誤判により、マイナリさんは長期間、自由を奪われた。

Mainali released a statement to prosecution and judicial authorities, saying, "I'd like you to fully review and consider why I went through this." They must respond to his request.
 マイナリさんは検察や裁判所に対し、「どうして私がこんな目にあったのか、よく調べ、よく考えてください」とのコメントを出した。これに応えねばならない。

The Metropolitan Police Department plans to reinvestigate the case. The DNA discovered before finalizing Mainali's acquittal is surely important evidence to finding the true culprit. The MPD should undertake an all-out investigation of this case.
 警視庁は再捜査に乗り出す方針だ。再審無罪が確定するまでに、新たに見つかったDNA型は、真犯人に結びつく重要な証拠となろう。徹底捜査を望みたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 8, 2012)
(2012年11月8日02時00分  読売新聞)

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米大統領選 続投オバマ氏を待つ財政の崖

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 9, 2012)
Obama must confront 'fiscal cliff,' Pacific affairs in his 2nd term
米大統領選 続投オバマ氏を待つ財政の崖(11月8日付・読売社説)

Democrat Barack Obama was reelected as president of the United States on Tuesday, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.
 米大統領選で、民主党の現職バラク・オバマ氏が、共和党候補ミット・ロムニー前マサチューセッツ州知事を退けて、再選を決めた。

The tasks Obama will face in his second term are as weighty as those of four years ago. The United States has overcome the financial crisis for the time being, but it is still in the process of revitalizing its economy. We hope Obama will realize his country's large role and great responsibility in the world and exercise strong leadership.
 オバマ氏が2期目で直面する課題の重さは、4年前にひけをとらない。金融危機はひとまず克服したが、経済再生は、なお途上にある。米国が世界で担う役割と責任の大きさを踏まえ、強い指導力を発揮してもらいたい。

Obama failed to fulfill his promise to cut the country's budget deficit in half by the end of his first term. He could not make the desired progress in job creation, with the unemployment rate remaining high at nearly 8 percent.
 オバマ氏は、「1期目の任期中に財政赤字を半減する」との公約を実現できなかった。雇用創出も思うようには進まず、失業率は8%近くに高止まりしている。

The reason Obama was reelected despite these factors is probably because what he did achieve in the fields of economic reconstruction and national security was largely positively evaluated.
 それでも再選できたのは、経済再建や安全保障分野での実績がおおむね評価されたからだろう。

===

First-term highlights

Obama stabilized the country's financial system by launching a massive economic stimulus package as soon as he took office. He pulled the United States back from the brink of a major depression by rescuing General Motors Co. after it failed.
 就任早々に巨額の景気対策を実施し、金融システムを安定させた。破綻した米自動車大手ゼネラル・モーターズ(GM)も救済して、大恐慌に転落する瀬戸際にあった米国を救ったと言える。

Also, Obama put an end to the Iraq War, which was a negative legacy of the country, and set a course for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
 「負の遺産」だったイラク戦争を終わらせ、アフガニスタンからの米軍撤収にも道筋をつけた。

Romney's defeat in the presidential race can only be attributed to the fact that he could not present a convincing economic policy of his own even while he pointed his finger at Obama's mismanagement of the economy.
 ロムニー氏の敗因は、大統領の経済失政を指弾しながら、説得力のある経済政策を示せなかったことに尽きる。

The immediate top priority for Obama is balancing economic stimulus measures with reconstruction of government finances.
 オバマ氏の最優先課題は、景気対策と財政再建の両立である。

The "fiscal cliff" awaits. This is a situation in which big tax cuts will expire at the end of this year and the U.S. government must start to make mandated spending cuts at the beginning of next year. If no measures are taken, the country will face harsh fiscal restraints and could fall into a serious recession. The impact on the world, including Japan, would be immense.
 年末から年明けにかけ、大型減税が失効し、歳出の強制削減が始まる「財政の崖」が控えている。何の手も打たなければ、大規模な財政緊縮をもたらし、米国は深刻な景気後退に陥りかねない。日本など世界への影響は甚大だ。

===

A 'divided' Congress

To get through this ordeal, cooperation from the U.S. Congress is indispensable.
 この試練を乗り切るには、連邦議会の協力が欠かせない。

As a result of the congressional elections, there was no real change in the "divided" Congress in which Republicans hold a majority in the House of Representatives while the Democrats hold a majority in the Senate. Obama should do his utmost to enact necessary bills to prevent confusion in the U.S. economy.
 議会選の結果、下院で共和党、上院で民主党がそれぞれ過半数を占める“ねじれ”の構図に変化はなかった。経済の混乱を防ぐため必要な法案を成立させるべく、オバマ氏は全力を挙げるべきだ。

In foreign and security policy, there is a mountain of pending issues such as nuclear development by North Korea and Iran and the situation surrounding Syria.
 外交・安全保障政策でも、北朝鮮、イランの核開発やシリア情勢など懸案が山積している。

We'd like to pay particular attention to U.S. policy toward China, with its growing economic and military might.
 特に注目したいのは、経済・軍事で膨張する中国への政策だ。

The fact that the United States, as a "Pacific nation," has adopted a strategy placing importance on Asia is of great significance for regional stability and prosperity. How will the United States regard Japan, its ally, and what kind of relationship does it plan to build with China?
 米国が「太平洋国家」としてアジア重視の戦略を打ち出していることは、地域の安定と繁栄に大きな意味を持つ。米国は同盟国の日本をどう位置づけ、中国とどのような関係を築くつもりなのか。

Japan, for its part, needs to have a series of policy consultations with the United States in a bid to join the Washington-led talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework at an early date.
 日本も、米国主導の環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への早期参加を目指し、米国と政策協議を重ねる必要がある。

Japan must further cement the Japan-U.S. relationship by taking necessary steps.
自らの役割を果たす中で、日米関係をより強固にしていかなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 8, 2012)
(2012年11月8日02時00分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月 8日 (木)

「第3極」 主導権争いが映す政治の混迷

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 8, 2012)
Struggles over '3rd force' reflect political disarray
「第3極」 主導権争いが映す政治の混迷(11月7日付・読売社説)

Political struggles are intensifying over who will become the main actor in an emerging "third force" to challenge the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party.
 民主、自民両党に続く「第3極」での主導権争いが激化している。

If the basic ideas and policy stances continue to differ significantly among those expected to form such a force, there will be little prospect of it emerging before the next House of Representatives election.
 基本的な理念、政策で大きく異なるようでは、次期衆院選に向けた勢力結集に展望は開けまい。

First of all, we wonder about the real aims of a third force. Former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara has expressed his intention to shortly launch a new party with Takeo Hiranuma, head of the Sunrise Party of Japan, and others, and work to reorganize the political landscape by forming an alliance with Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and other conservative forces.
 そもそも、第3極は何を目的とするのか。石原慎太郎前東京都知事はたちあがれ日本の平沼代表らとともに近く新党を結成し、日本維新の会などとの「保守勢力の結集」によって政界再編を目指す考えを示している。

Toru Hashimoto, the head of Ishin no Kai, is positive about forming an alliance with Ishihara, but wants to keep his distance from the Sunrise Party's "genuine conservatism." This must be hard for the public to understand.
 維新の会の橋下徹代表も石原氏との連携には前向きだが、たちあがれ日本の「真正保守」とは一線を画したいという。国民にとっては、わかりにくい。

===

Policy differences

Let's look at the policy issues.
 個々の政策を見ると、

Ishihara and the Sunrise Party have accepted a consumption tax rate hike to secure fiscal resources for social security. Ishin no Kai and Your Party, on the other hand, want to make the consumption tax a local tax.
消費税について、石原氏とたちあがれ日本は、社会保障財源を確保するための税率引き上げを容認している。維新の会とみんなの党が唱えるのは「消費税の地方税化」だ。

On energy policy, the Sunrise Party has the realistic approach that nuclear energy should be maintained as long as safety management systems are improved. Ishin no Kai and Your Party both want this country to abandon nuclear power.
 エネルギー政策でも、たちあがれ日本は、安全管理体制を強化したうえでの原発維持という現実的な立場だ。維新の会とみんなの党は「脱原発」で一致している。

Consumption tax and nuclear energy policies are significant in determining Japan's future course. Ishihara has described the policy stance differences as "minor problems" that will not prevent the formation of a viable political force. But we consider it absurd to bend on policy measures favored by the public.
 消費税や原発は、日本の将来を左右する政策だ。石原氏は勢力結集の前には「ささいな問題」と言うが、大衆迎合色の強い政策と折り合おうとするのはおかしい。

Both of these issues will certainly be hot potatoes in the next lower house election. Voters will be puzzled if parties form an alliance or cooperate in the election by covering up their differences on important policies and call for drastic reforms of state organizations and bureaucracy systems. (この部分の英訳は不完全です^^)
 個々の政策を見ると、消費税について、石原氏とたちあがれ日本は、社会保障財源を確保するための税率引き上げを容認している。維新の会とみんなの党が唱えるのは「消費税の地方税化」だ。
 エネルギー政策でも、たちあがれ日本は、安全管理体制を強化したうえでの原発維持という現実的な立場だ。維新の会とみんなの党は「脱原発」で一致している。
 消費税や原発は、日本の将来を左右する政策だ。石原氏は勢力結集の前には「ささいな問題」と言うが、大衆迎合色の強い政策と折り合おうとするのはおかしい。
 いずれも次期衆院選では争点となる。重要政策の違いを糊塗(こと)して選挙で連携・協力し、国の機構、官僚制度の抜本的な変革を訴えても、有権者は戸惑うだろう。

Ichiro Matsui, secretary general of Ishin no Kai, has indicated the party will officially endorse candidates in the lower house No. 1 single-seat constituency of each prefecture, which includes the prefectural capital. The party apparently aims to win seats in those constituencies, where there are many floating voters, and garner as many votes as possible in the proportional representation segment of the election.
 維新の会の松井一郎幹事長は、全都道府県の小選挙区第1区に公認候補を擁立する意向を示している。浮動票が多い1区での議席獲得と比例票掘り起こしを狙う。

===

Fruitless tug-of-war

This seems to be a promising strategy for Ishin no Kai, which lacks organizational strength, but all parties will want to field candidates in the No. 1 constituencies. It is understandable that Ishin no Kai's unilateral approach has caused consternation among other parties.
 組織力を欠く維新の会にとって有力な戦術だが、1区に擁立したいのはどの党も同様だ。一方的な維新の会の方針が、他党に違和感を広げたのも無理はない。

The move to forge a third force has been the focus of attention because the DPJ and the LDP have continued a fruitless political tug-of-war that has led the nation's politics to languish in indecisiveness.
 第3極の動向が注目されるのは、民主、自民両党が不毛な政争を繰り返し、「決められない政治」に陥っているからである。

In a Yomiuri Shimbun opinion survey conducted earlier this month, respondents who said they support no particular political party rose to 53 percent, up 10 percentage points from the previous survey. Regarding a third force alliance involving Ishihara's new party, Ishin no Kai and others, 52 percent of respondents said they had high expectations for such an alliance.
 読売新聞の今月初旬の世論調査では、支持政党のない無党派層が前回調査を10ポイントも上回り、53%に上った。「石原新党」や維新の会など第3極の連携については52%の人が期待すると答えている。

This is probably because of the popularity of Ishihara and Hashimoto, rather than any other factor.
 石原氏や橋下氏の人気が先行しているからだろう。

But the rise of a third force likely means there will be a large number of newly elected lawmakers without experience in national politics. What would this portend for Japan's politics? The public must think about this as well.
 しかし、第3極が台頭するということは、国政の場に政治経験の乏しい大量の新人議員が登場することでもある。そのことが日本の政治に何をもたらすかも、考えていかなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 7, 2012)
(2012年11月7日01時20分  読売新聞)

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原子力の人材 高度な技術力の継承が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 8, 2012)
Nuclear industry must foster personnel for the future
原子力の人材 高度な技術力の継承が必要だ(11月7日付・読売社説)

The Cabinet Office's Atomic Energy Commission has proposed 12 recommendations it believes will help secure and foster personnel for the field of nuclear power.
 内閣府の原子力委員会が、原子力分野の人材確保と育成に関し、12項目の提言を盛り込んだ見解案をまとめた。

The commission recommended the government first estimate how many experts will be needed in fields such as nuclear plant operations and reactor decommissioning, and when these needs will come about.
 原子力発電所の運転や廃炉など各専門分野の人材が、いつ頃までに、何人くらい必要なのかを、政府として、まず見積もることなどを提言している。

It seems likely the commission released its proposals because it was spooked by the Democratic Party of Japan-led government's haphazard and inconsistent nuclear policy.
 民主党政権の原子力政策が、場当たり的で迷走していることに、危機感を抱いたからだろう。

We urge the government to fully respect the view of the expert commission and prepare for the future by tackling the task of securing the necessary personnel.
 政府は、専門家で構成される原子力委の見解を十分に尊重し、将来を見据えて、人材確保に取り組まなければならない。

The root cause of the government's wandering nuclear policy is its "Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment."
 迷走の根源は、政府の「革新的エネルギー・環境戦略」だ。

The strategy says the government will continue to regard nuclear power plants that have been confirmed safe as important sources of electricity, while also trumpeting a goal of ending the nation's reliance on nuclear power by the 2030s. However, it does so without clarifying what energy sources will replace nuclear. In addition, the strategy calls for maintaining nuclear fuel cycle programs to recycle spent nuclear fuel.
 安全を確認した原発を重要電源として使うとしながら、代替電源確保の方策を示さないまま、2030年代に「原発ゼロ」を目指す、とうたった。一方で、使用済み核燃料を再利用する核燃料サイクル事業は維持するとした。

===

Contradictions abound

Fraught with contradictions, the government's policy does not deserve to be called a strategy. If the zero nuclear policy remains in place, nuclear-related industries will shrink--and doomed industries cannot attract skilled personnel.
 矛盾をはらみ、到底、戦略に値しない「原発ゼロ」を掲げたままでは、原発を支える関連産業も縮小するだろう。そこに人材が集まるはずがない。

Effects are already being felt by utility companies and manufacturing firms, where turnover rates have reportedly increased. There is also growing concern about a brain drain of trained engineers leaving for jobs overseas.
 既に、電力会社やメーカーでは離職率が上がっているという。海外への人材流出も懸念される。

Further, it is feared that restarting the nation's idled nuclear power plants, something that must happen quickly, will be adversely affected.
 急務である原発の再稼働にも支障を来しかねない。

Running a nuclear power plant is said to take about 3,000 engineers, including those for inspection and maintenance.
 一つの原発を維持するには、保守点検まで含め、3000人前後の技術者が必要とされる。

However, almost all of the nation's nuclear plants have been off-line for more than a year. If they remain idle, financial difficulties could put the survival of maintenance and inspection firms in jeopardy. Skilled workers could scatter, never to return.
 だが、ほとんどの原発は1年以上、停止している。このままでは、保守点検にかかわる企業が資金難により存続できなくなる。熟練の作業員も散逸してしまう。

===

No time to waste

Securing and training nuclear-related personnel is an urgent task.
 原子力関連の人材の確保、育成は待ったなしの状況にある。

The commission's recommendations call for bolstering education at universities and elsewhere in fields such as nuclear engineering and the effects of radiation. The panel also proposed training personnel to work in safety regulation and strengthening environmental education.
 提言は、原子力工学や放射線影響など幅広い分野で、大学教育などを充実するよう求めている。安全規制の人材育成や、環境教育の強化なども挙げている。

Nuclear power is one of Japan's strengths. Three of the world's top six biggest nuclear plant manufacturers are Japanese.
 日本は原子力大国であり、世界の主要原発メーカー6社のうち3社は日本企業だ。

To hand down the technology and skills cultivated over many years to future generations, scholarships and study-abroad programs for university students must be expanded, as this will encourage students to choose to enter the field of nuclear power after graduation.
 培った技術を継承するため、原子力委が指摘するように、大学の奨学金や留学制度を整備して、若者が進路として原子力分野を選択するのを後押ししたい。

The commission also recommended establishing an educational institution in Fukushima Prefecture, which will focus on decommissioning the reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in the prefecture. The proposed school would serve as a base to sustain the effort, which will take 20 to 30 years.
 原子力委は、東京電力福島第一原発の廃炉のため、福島県に、廃炉作業のための教育機関を設けることも提案している。20年、30年にわたる長期の取り組みを支えるには必要な拠点だろう。

If Japan's advanced technology and the lessons from the Fukushima nuclear crisis are to be conveyed to the world, capable human resources must be fostered.
 日本の高い技術と、原発事故の教訓を世界に伝えるには、有能な人材の育成が欠かせない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 7, 2012)
(2012年11月7日01時20分  読売新聞)

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屠蘇風呂で年末年始の挨拶回りというのは如何でしょうか

もう幾つ寝るとお正月♪
光陰矢のごとしとは言い得て妙な格言です。
今年も、はや、そんな季節となりました。
お正月は外に出かけるよりも、家で、ゆっくりと家族と過ごすのが良いですね。

お正月と言えばお屠蘇(とそ)です。新年のお祝いにお屠蘇は欠かせません。
お屠蘇とは、その年の邪気を払い長寿を願って正月に呑む薬酒のことなのです。
甘い香りに味、独特の香りがございます。
それから、朝風呂です^^。これを贅沢の極みと申します。

サイトで凄いものを発見いたしました。
朝風呂(夕風呂でも可^^)の楽しみと、お屠蘇の香りを合体させた香浴剤が、「屠蘇風呂」です

この香浴剤は、100%自然の植物から作られているので安心して使用できます。
無添加・無着色です。
お屠蘇の自然な香りが、自宅のお風呂場で楽しめる極め付けグッヅなのです^^。

「屠蘇風呂」なら、年末年始の挨拶回りのときのお土産として最適ですね。
縁起の良い屠蘇風呂なら、お年賀など贈り物としても最適です。
家族で使うも良し、お年賀にしても良し。

購入はお早めに^^。

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2012年11月 7日 (水)

厚生年金基金 改革へ議論を尽くすべきだ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 7, 2012)
Reform of pension fund system needs thorough discussions
厚生年金基金 改革へ議論を尽くすべきだ(11月6日付・読売社説)

How should the system of cash-strapped corporate employees' pension funds be reformed? The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry must recognize its heavy responsibility, as it has been procrastinating over reform for years.
 財政難に陥った厚生年金基金制度をどう立て直すか。
 改革を長年先送りしてきた厚生労働省の責任は重い。

The ministry has compiled a draft proposal on reform of the system and submitted it to an expert panel on the issue. The proposal calls for corporate employees' pension funds that have been operating in the red to be dissolved within five years and for the system itself to be phased out over a 10-year period.
The funds are designed so that corporations, rather than the government, can manage some portion of premiums paid into the national pension scheme.
 厚労省が、公的年金の保険料の一部を企業が代行して運用している厚生年金基金について、赤字の基金は5年以内に解散し、制度も10年で廃止する案をまとめ、専門委員会に提示した。

Total assets in the corporate employees' pension system amount to about 27 trillion yen, but about a half of the corporate pension funds have shortfalls in their reserves for the portion in the national pension scheme--and these shortfalls total 1.1 trillion yen.
 厚年基金の資産は総額で約27兆円あるが、半数の基金が代行部分に積み立て不足を抱えており、その総額は1・1兆円に達する。

As there is no prospect for future improvement in the operation of the funds, it appears that the ministry has judged it difficult to maintain the system.
 今後も運用の改善が見込めないため、厚労省は、制度の維持は困難と判断したのだろう。

===

Many problems in ministry draft

However, the ministry's reform proposal has quite a few problems. We urge the expert panel to thoroughly discuss the matter for the best possible reform of the system.
 だが、改革案には問題が少なくない。専門委でさらに議論を尽くしてもらいたい。

Unlike the ministry proposal that calls for abolishment of the system, the opposition Liberal Democratic Party calls for the maintenance of healthy corporate employees' pension funds. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan wants to abolish the system. Therefore, twists and turns are expected for the reform before it finally achieves its final form.
 自民党は、制度の廃止をうたう厚労省案と異なり、健全な厚年基金については存続を求めている。民主党は制度を廃止する方針だ。改革には曲折が予想される。

The most problematic point in the ministry proposal is that it would use premiums paid into the corporate employees pension scheme, which is part of the nation's public pension system, if funds lack sufficient reserves to cover their liabilities to the public system.
 厚労省案の最大の問題点は、基金の積み立て不足を、公的年金である厚生年金の保険料で穴埋めしようとしていることだ。

Opinions cautious about using public pension money for such a salvage effort are very strong among both DPJ and LDP members.
公的年金による救済には、民主、自民両党とも慎重論が根強い。

The basic principle for corporate pension plans is "self-responsibility." Logically, a pension fund's parent company must repay the shortfall in the reserves. It is inevitable that the amount of corporate pension payments to retired employees will decrease. We believe the government should avoid thoughtlessly using public pension money to save corporate employees' pension funds.
 企業年金は「自己責任」が原則である。積み立て不足の資金は母体企業が返済するのが筋だ。従業員OBの企業年金減額もやむを得ない。むやみに公的年金を使って救済することは避けるべきだ。

We must, however, consider that many major enterprises left the corporate employees' pension system due to difficulties in managing such funds amid the economic downturn. As a result, most companies now involved in the system are small and midsize corporations that are financially less healthy.
 ただ、厚年基金は、景気低迷による運用難で大企業の多くが脱退し、残されているのは体力のない中小企業が大半だ。

If parent companies of the corporate pension funds end up going under due to the increased financial burden, their bankruptcies would have major impacts on regional economies and employment levels.
 母体企業の負担が過重になり、倒産することになれば、地域経済や雇用に与える影響が大きい。

===

Who should bear the burden?

The reform plan does not have clear rules to save such companies from bankruptcy. If workers and corporations who are not connected to such unhealthy funds are required to help make up for the funds' faults, the conditions for extending such support must be made clear if they are to win widespread acceptance.
 改革案は、そうした企業を救済する際のルールが明確ではない。条件をあいまいにしたまま、厚年基金とは無関係のサラリーマンや企業にツケ回しするやり方は、理解を得られまい。

It has been pointed out for years that the corporate employees' pension fund system was heading for a dead end. We suspect the fact that such funds have served as places that hired retired national government employees, including officials of the defunct Social Insurance Agency, through the practice known as amakudari was in the background of the delay in reform.
 厚年基金制度の行き詰まりは以前から指摘されていた。基金が旧社会保険庁など国家公務員OBの天下り先になっていたことも、改革が遅れた背景ではないか。

The level of public pensions will unavoidably be curtailed in the future due to the chronically low birthrate and rapidly graying society.
 少子高齢化で、公的年金の水準を将来、引き下げることは避けられない。

Corporate pension programs play a major role as a system to supplement public pensions by guaranteeing income for salaried workers' post-retirement lives.
サラリーマンの老後の所得保障に、公的年金を補完する企業年金が果たす役割は大きい。

The corporate employees' pension fund system is a type of corporate pension program. Subscribers to the system are worried they will not be able to receive their corporate pension payments when the reform is put in place.
 厚年基金は、そうした企業年金の一つだ。加入者が懸念するのは、改革によって企業年金を受け取れなくなる事態である。

The government should also consider how to bring about an environment conducive to the transition to other types of corporate pension systems, including a defined contribution pension plan.
 確定拠出年金など別の企業年金制度に移行しやすい環境を整えることも検討すべきだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 6, 2012)
(2012年11月6日01時32分  読売新聞)

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会計検査院報告 不適切な予算執行に猛省を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 7, 2012)
Govt offices lack awareness of critical fiscal conditions
会計検査院報告 不適切な予算執行に猛省を(11月6日付・読売社説)

Central government offices, it appears, are unaware that state finances are in a critical situation.
 中央省庁には、財政が危機的な状況にあるという認識が欠如しているのではないか。

This is the only deduction that can be made from an annual Board of Audit report on government accounts for fiscal 2011, which lists inappropriate government spending. A total of 529.6 billion yen in state funds were misused, the second-highest on record.
 会計検査院がまとめた2011年度の決算検査報告書には、そう思うしかない不適切な予算執行が列挙されている。指摘された無駄遣いの総額は、過去2番目に多い5296億円に上った。

The report found 89 sewage treatment plants across the country were being poorly operated after being built with subsidies from the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry. An excessive number of the plants were constructed due to erroneous demographic forecasts, causing spending of 25.7 billion yen to literally go down the drain.
 国土交通省からの補助を受けて自治体が整備する下水処理場で、稼働実績の乏しい施設が全国で89か所あった。人口予測を誤り、施設を造り過ぎたためで、国費257億円が無駄になった。

Due to a failure in a screening system development project, the Patent Office suffered a loss of 5.4 billion yen that was paid to contractors. The board blamed this on the Patent Office's inadequate supervision and a lack of technical expertise on the part of the contractors.
 特許庁は、審査システム開発事業の失敗で、請負業者に支払った開発費54億円が損失となる。業者の技術力不足に加え、特許庁の管理態勢が不十分だったことが原因と、報告書は指摘する。

Wasteful spending was also found in the income compensation system for individual farming households, which the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration trumpeted as one of its centerpiece policies. The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry was found to have provided subsidies to farming families ineligible for the money due to their poor handling of fertilizers.
 民主党政権が目玉政策の一つとする農家への戸別所得補償制度でも、農林水産省は肥料の管理が劣悪で補償対象にならない農家にまで交付金を支払っていた。

===

Soul-searching urged

Government ministries and agencies must take seriously what has been pointed out by the board and ensure they spend their budgets properly.
 各省庁は検査院の指摘を重く受けとめ、適切な予算執行に努めなければならない。

It has once again been brought to light that not enough financial support has reached disaster-stricken areas to promote projects for reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
 東日本大震災の復興事業では、被災地に支援が十分行き渡らない実態も改めて浮かび上がった。

Of about 14.9 trillion yen earmarked in the fiscal 2011 budget for reconstruction projects, just 54 percent was spent.
 11年度に計上された約14兆9000億円の復興予算のうち、使われたのは54%にとどまった。

Even allowing for the urgent need to secure budgets for reconstruction, in many cases budgets were formulated without confirming the actual needs of disaster-affected areas and their ability to put this money to work. A classic example was evident in projects for restoring agricultural facilities. Applications for financial support were sluggish because subsidies were limited to projects that would restore these facilities to their original condition.
 緊急に予算を確保する必要があったとはいえ、被災地のニーズと対処する能力を把握しないまま、予算を組んだケースも少なくない。その典型例が農業施設復旧事業だ。原状復旧だけを対象としたため、申し込みが低調だった。

The board called for the Reconstruction Agency and other government offices to work out fiscal assistance measures by assessing correctly the conditions of disaster-affected municipalities. This is a natural course of action.
 検査院が復興庁などに対し、被災自治体の状況を踏まえた支援を求めたのは当然と言えよう。

===

Meet local needs

A questionnaire survey conducted by the board of 58 affected cities, towns and villages showed they wanted government officials with expertise in civil engineering and construction dispatched to help and long-term personnel support. They also demanded that complicated paperwork be simplified.
 被災した58市町村を対象に検査院が実施したアンケートでは、土木・建築分野の専門職員の派遣や長期的な人材支援、さらに、煩雑な事務手続きの簡略化などを求める声が寄せられている。

There is no doubt that increased burdens placed on local governments due to a shortage of employees are hampering the progress of reconstruction. The government must establish an assistance system that can meet the needs of affected local governments.
 自治体職員の不足に伴う負担の増大が、復興の足かせになっていることは間違いない。政府はこうした現地の要望に応える支援態勢を整える必要がある。

Some central government offices were found to have used reconstruction budgets for projects that did not directly help disaster-damaged areas. That the board in the first place never suspected reconstruction budgets might be diverted for other purposes and stopped short of pointing this out is just not good enough.
 復興予算を巡っては、各省庁が被災地支援に直接結びつかない事業に「転用」した問題も判明している。検査院に当初、転用を疑問とする視点がなく、指摘に至らなかったのは物足りない。

We want the Board of Audit to check exhaustively whether national spending has been used effectively for reconstruction in affected areas, and scrutinize budgetary appropriations themselves.
 予算の内容精査とともに、被災地で使われた国費が復興に有効活用されたかどうかも、検査院はしっかりチェックしてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 6, 2012)
(2012年11月6日01時32分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月 6日 (火)

豊作でも高値 矛盾だらけのコメ政策見直せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 6, 2012)
Government should review contradictory rice policy
豊作でも高値 矛盾だらけのコメ政策見直せ(11月5日付・読売社説)

At this time of the autumn harvest, when new rice is being marketed, the contradictions of the country's rice policy have become glaringly apparent. There is no time to waste in carrying out agricultural reform.
 新米が出回る実りの秋に、コメ政策の矛盾が噴き出している。農業改革は待ったなしだ。

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry has forecast a good harvest for this year's rice crop, the first in four years. The harvest is expected to reach about 8.2 million tons, surpassing demand by more than 200,000 tons.
 農林水産省が発表した2012年産米の作況予想は4年ぶりの豊作で、収穫量は約820万トンと需要を20万トン超も上回る見通しだ。

However, rice prices have gone up despite the surplus. Interdealer rice prices in September were about 10 percent higher than those in the same month last year. This is because the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (Zen-Noh) increased the amount of its advance payments to rice farmers.
 ところが、コメ余りなのに価格は上昇した。9月の業者間の取引価格は前年より10%程度高い。全国農業協同組合連合会(JA全農)が、農家に払う前渡し金を引き上げたことが要因だ。

Zen-Noh probably aims to maintain its influence over rice farmers by purchasing their grain at high prices because the volume of rice it collects from farmers has been falling as more and more producers sell directly to major consuming areas.
 生産地と消費地の直接販売などが増え、全農の集荷量が減少しているため、高値買い取りで影響力維持を狙っているのだろう。

Driving rice prices higher despite a good harvest is logic peculiar to agricultural cooperatives. It will never win the understanding of the public.
 豊作で高値を招いているのは、「農協の論理」そのものだ。消費者の理解は得られまい。

===

Imported rice drawing attention

It is also problematic that there is a shortage of reasonably priced rice used by restaurants and bento shops even though there should be enough rice to meet demand. This has made imported rice more attractive. In bidding in September, demand surpassed the 25,000 tons of imported rice to be sold by 3.6 times.
 一方、需要は十分まかなえるはずなのに、外食店や弁当業者らの使う手頃な価格のコメが不足していることも問題だ。そこで輸入米が注目され、9月の入札では、2・5万トンの販売数量に対して3・6倍の申し込みがあった。

Due to the deflation that has taken root in the country, demand for cheap rice is becoming stronger year by year. As a result, price competition within the restaurant and bento industries--which currently account for 30 percent of rice demand--has become increasingly fierce. The popularity of imported rice illustrates the reality that domestically produced rice does not meet the market trend toward low-priced rice.
 デフレ定着で安いコメを求める動きは年々強まり、需要の3割を占める外食・弁当産業の価格競争は激しさを増している。輸入米人気は、国産米が市場の低価格志向に応えていない実態を示す。

There is also concern over a possible shortage of rice for processing, which is used to make rice snacks and miso, among other things. Despite the fact that the production of rice for livestock feed has jumped, that of rice for processing has not increased. Last year, the production of rice for livestock feed surpassed that of rice for processing.
 米菓や味噌(みそ)などの原料となる加工用米の品不足も懸念される。家畜のエサとなる飼料用米は急増しているにもかかわらず、加工用米の生産量は増えない。11年産は飼料用が加工用を上回った。

As a result, prices of rice for processing surged, and the farm ministry took the emergency measure of marketing about 40,000 tons of old rice produced in 2006 from the government's stockpiled rice. This is an unusual situation.
 この結果、加工用米の価格が急騰し、農水省は緊急措置として備蓄米から06年産の古米を約4万トン放出した。異例の事態である。

===

Subsidies driving crop choices

The government pays rice farmers a subsidy of 80,000 yen for every 0.1 hectare of rice for livestock feed, but only 20,000 yen for rice for processing. This is why planting of rice for livestock feed, which is easy to manage and enables farmers to receive more subsidies, is increasing.
 飼料用米は10アール当たり8万円の補助金が支給されるが、加工用は2万円だ。管理が楽で多額の補助金がもらえる飼料用米の作付けが増えている事情がうかがえる。

Livestock, including cattle and pigs, raised with feed produced overseas is not recognized as having been domestically produced and is therefore not considered in calculating the country's food self-sufficiency rate. The government appears to be trying to raise this rate by giving favorable treatment to rice for livestock feed. However, it is hard to understand why old rice is used for processing and new rice is used as feed for livestock.
 外国産飼料で育てた牛や豚などの畜産物は国産と見なされず、食料自給率の計算外だ。政府は飼料用米を優遇し、自給率アップを狙っているようだが、加工用米が古米で、家畜のエサは新米というのは理解しがたい。

What is needed is a rice policy that meets consumer needs. If nothing is done, consumers may shift away from rice even further.
 今問われているのは、消費者ニーズに応えるコメ政策である。このままでは、消費者のコメ離れも一段と進みかねない。

A fundamental problem lies in the current system under which the government and agricultural organizations maintain high rice prices through production adjustments and high tariffs on imported rice.
 政府と農業団体が生産調整と高関税で、コメ価格を高値で維持する体制に根本的な問題がある。

Simply doling out subsidies to farmers will never strengthen the country's agricultural industry. The government should quickly carry out reform to establish agricultural administration for rice whose policies will focus on farmers.
 補助金をばらまく政策では農業の体質強化はできまい。担い手農家に政策を集中するコメ農政への改革を急ぐべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 5, 2012)
(2012年11月5日01時29分  読売新聞)

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巨人日本一 プロ野球の面白さを満喫した

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 6, 2012)
Champion Giants helped enliven baseball
巨人日本一 プロ野球の面白さを満喫した(11月5日付・読売社説)

Many people likely enjoyed the pleasures of baseball to the full as they watched a series of close games worthy of deciding the nation's best team.
 頂上決戦にふさわしい熱戦の連続に、野球の醍(だい)醐(ご)味を満喫した人も多いことだろう。

The Yomiuri Giants defeated the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Game 6 to win professional baseball's Japan Series 4-2. This was the Giants' first championship in three years and 22nd overall.
 プロ野球の日本シリーズで、巨人が日本ハムを4勝2敗で下し、3年ぶり22度目の日本一に輝いた。

We, together with their fans, congratulate the Giants players on their victory.
 ファンとともに、巨人の選手たちを祝福したい。

During the Series, a team would string hits together to open the scoring, and then its powerful relief corps would hold on for the win. It can be said that the series was a matchup between teams with similar playing styles. In fact, all six games were won by the team that scored first.
 打線をつないで先手を取り、豊富な救援投手陣で逃げ切る。似たスタイルのチーム同士の対戦だったと言える。実際、日本シリーズの6試合すべてで、先に点を取ったチームが勝利をものにした。

The Giants reached the Japan Series despite three straight losses in the second stage of the Central League's Climax Series, which pushed them to the brink of elimination. Yomiuri then won three games to advance 4-3.
 巨人は、クライマックスシリーズで3連敗の崖っぷちから勝ち上がった。

===

Enthralling Japan Series

In the Japan Series, the Giants won the first two games, but then slipped to two straight losses. Although the tide appeared to be in the Fighters' favor, the Giants turned it around. They came through with big plays in the decisive moments.
日本シリーズでは2連勝の後、2連敗を喫したが、相手に傾いた流れを食い止めた。素晴らしい勝負強さだった。

Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said: "We're still a team that's developing...We'll train hard and become stronger." We look forward to seeing the team develop further.
 原辰徳監督は「まだ発展途上。鍛錬を通じて、もっと強くなる」と語った。チームのさらなる進化が楽しみだ。

Before the season began, many observers held few hopes for the Fighters because their dependable ace pitcher Yu Darvish had moved to a major league team in the United States.
 日本ハムは、不動のエースだったダルビッシュ有投手が米大リーグに移籍し、シーズン前の下馬評は決して高くなかった。

But the team closed ranks around first-year skipper Hideki Kuriyama and filled the large void left by Darvish. In Game 6, the Fighters displayed impressive resilience to battle back from an early three-run hole to tie the score at 3-3.
 しかし、就任1年目の栗山英樹監督の下、ナインが一つにまとまって大きな穴を埋めた。日本シリーズ第6戦で、0―3の劣勢から、いったんは同点に追い付いた粘り強さは見事だった。

Off the field, however, the two teams produced contrasting performances. In its home games this season, the Giants attracted 6.9 percent more spectators than last year. The team's solid run to the top of the league apparently boosted its pulling power.
 今季、両チームの観客動員の実績は対照的だった。巨人の主催試合の観客数は、昨季より6・9%増えた。チームの快進撃が観客増に結び付いた形だ。

On the other hand, the Fighters' home crowds slipped 6.6 percent from last year. The departure of the team's star player seemingly hurt its drawing power.
 対して、日本ハムは6・6%減だった。やはり人気選手がチームを去った影響が出たのだろう。

===

3rd WBC win eyed

For Japanese pro baseball as a whole, spectators at Pacific League games declined by 2 percent from last season, while Central League crowds inched down 0.02 percent. The environment surrounding pro baseball remains harsh.
 プロ野球全体の観客数でも、パ・リーグは昨季比2・0%減と苦戦した。セ・リーグも0・02%の微減だった。プロ野球を取り巻く状況は依然、厳しい。

Meanwhile, several veteran players who had been mainstays of Japanese pro baseball, including Hiroki Kokubo of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks and Tomoaki Kanemoto of the Hanshin Tigers, retired at the end of this season.
 今季を最後に、小久保裕紀選手(ソフトバンク)、金本知憲選手(阪神)らプロ野球を支えてきた選手がユニホームを脱いだ。

Fans are hoping to see the emergence of young, talented players who can support and excite the baseball world.
 ファンが今、望んでいるのは、これからのプロ野球を担う若いスター選手の登場だろう。

The third World Baseball Classic will be held next March. Japan will aim to lift the trophy for the third time in a row. All pro baseball organizations must support the national team's campaign.
 来年3月には、第3回ワールド・ベースボール・クラシック(WBC)が開かれる。日本代表は3連覇を目指す。球界を挙げたバックアップが必要だ。

In pennant races following Japan's WBC triumphs in 2006 and 2009, many people went to stadiums "to watch players who won the world championship."
 日本がWBCで優勝した2006年、09年のペナントレースには「世界一の選手たちを見たい」と多くの人が球場に詰めかけた。

We hope the Samurai Japan team will achieve more WBC glory next year, which will also go some way to enlivening pro baseball in this country.
 プロ野球をより盛り上げていくためにも、「侍ジャパン」の活躍に期待したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 5, 2012)
(2012年11月5日01時29分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月 5日 (月)

領海保全策 海保の巡視船・人員の拡充を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 5, 2012)
Reinforce JCG capabilities to protect territorial seas
領海保全策 海保の巡視船・人員の拡充を(11月4日付・読売社説)

Ships of the Chinese government, which opposes Japan's nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, have repeatedly invaded the nation's territorial waters around the islands over the past 50 days.
 尖閣諸島国有化に反発し、中国政府船が周辺で領海侵入を繰り返すようになって50日になる。

Beijing aims to realize a fait accompli by demonstrating that Japan does not effectively control the Senkakus as a premise for claiming Chinese sovereignty over the islands. To prevent this, the government should work on medium- to long-term reinforcement of the Japan Coast Guard.
 中国には、尖閣諸島の領有権を主張する前提として、日本の実効支配が損なわれていることを既成事実化する狙いがある。これを阻止するため、政府は、海上保安庁の中長期的な体制強化に取り組むべきだ。

The JCG has been using its vessels from around the country to enhance patrolling activities in waters around the islands. However, the JCG also must perform such routine duties as rescuing people involved in marine accidents, fighting smuggling and guarding nuclear power plants, among other jobs.
 海保は、全国の巡視船を投入して、警戒監視活動を強めている。海難事故の救助や密輸の取り締まり、原子力発電所の警備などの日常業務もこなさねばならない。

It will be forced to take such stopgap measures as reemploying more retired officers to secure sufficient personnel.
 人員のやりくりのため、定年を迎えた海上保安官の再任用拡大などの応急措置も迫られよう。

However, it is a concern that China is sharply increasing the number of its marine and fishery surveillance ships.
 問題は、中国が海洋・漁業監視船を急速に増強していることだ。

===

China's fleet will surpass Japan's

The JCG at present surpasses China in the number of large ships with displacement of 1,000 tons or more, which have excellent navigation capabilities. However, China will certainly surpass Japan in this regard at some stage.
海保は現在、航行能力に優れた1000トン超の大型船の保有隻数で中国を上回っているが、いずれ逆転されるのは確実だ。

In principle, JCG patrol ships are replaced only due to aging. This has kept their total number at around 360. With such a conventional approach, however, the JCG will eventually become unable to deal with China's reinforcement of its surveillance ships.
 海保の巡視船艇は、老朽化に伴う更新が原則で、総数は約360隻とほぼ一定だ。こうした従来通りの体制では中国の監視船増強に対応できなくなる。

First of all, the initial budget allocation for the JCG in fiscal 2012 is only 170 billion yen. This is close to the price of just one Aegis-equipped destroyer of the Maritime Self-Defense Force. This is hardly enough for the JCG to effectively patrol the world's sixth-largest maritime jurisdiction, comprising the nation's territorial waters and its exclusive economic zone.
 そもそも、海保の今年度当初予算は約1700億円に過ぎない。海上自衛隊のイージス艦1隻の価格とあまり変わらない。領海と排他的経済水域(EEZ)を合わせて世界6位の広大な海域を管轄するのに十分とは言い難い。

The government decided to use 17 billion yen of its reserve fund for this fiscal year to build new patrol vessels including four large ones, among other things, ahead of schedule. We think this is appropriate in the current political situation with no prospect in sight for compilation of the supplementary budget.
 政府は、今年度の予備費から170億円を充て、4隻の大型巡視船や、巡視艇などを前倒しで建造することを決めた。補正予算を編成するメドがつかない現状では妥当な対応だろう。

The JCG is an agency affiliated with the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry. It is not easy to make budgetary allocation to the JCG a high priority under the framework of the ordinary budget.
 海保は、国土交通省の外局だ。通常の予算の枠組みでは海保への重点配分は容易ではない。

===

Special reserve funds needed

To prepare for what is expected to be a prolonged period of tensions with China, the government should seriously study creation of special reserves for the JCG in its budget and other countermeasures.
 政府としては長期戦を覚悟し、海保予算の特別枠を設けることなどを真剣に検討すべきである。

It takes a lot of time to train JCG officers. The government must also discuss practical measures to increase their number.
 保安官の育成には時間がかかる。人員を増やす具体策も検討しなければならない。

We recommend the government reinforce the JCG strategically in the future by drawing up a plan to enhance its equipment and personnel for about five years as is done for the Defense Ministry's Mid-Term Defense Program.
 今後は、防衛省の中期防衛力整備計画のように、5年程度の装備と人員の拡充計画を策定し、戦略的に増強を図ってはどうか。

Protection of Japan's territorial land and seas is a task to be tackled by the whole government.
 領土・領海の保全は、政府全体で取り組むべき課題だ。

Government ministries and agencies concerned, including the JCG and the Foreign and Defense ministries, must cooperate more closely in sharing and analyzing intelligence on activities and deployment of Chinese government vessels.
中国政府船の活動や体制に関する情報の共有・分析などで、海保と外務、防衛など関係省庁がより緊密に連携を図る必要がある。

The government this fiscal year is scheduled to revise its Basic Plan on Ocean Policy--guidelines for government policies on seas--for the first time in five years.
 政府は今年度、海の安全や資源開発など、海洋政策の基本指針となる「海洋基本計画」を5年ぶりに改定する。

We expect the government to express the nation's determination to protect the Senkakus by clarifying in its plan ways to strengthen the JCG.
海保の拡充策を明記することによって、尖閣を守る日本の決意を内外に示したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 4, 2012)
(2012年11月4日01時34分  読売新聞)

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大学新設不認可 文科相の独断が混乱を招いた

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 5, 2012)
Education minister's outrageous decision generates chaos
大学新設不認可 文科相の独断が混乱を招いた(11月4日付・読売社説)

It was a baffling decision. What we feared might happen has come to pass.
 理解に苦しむ判断である。
 危惧していたことが起きてしまった。

Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Makiko Tanaka has rejected the applications for government approval to establish three new universities. Tanaka has overturned, on her own judgment, a report by the council for university chartering and school juridical persons--an advisory body to the minister--that favored endorsing the establishment of the three schools. This is apparently the first time in 30 years that an education minister has reversed the council's approval for setting up a university.
 田中文部科学相が、3大学の新設申請を不認可とした。文科相の諮問機関である大学設置・学校法人審議会が「新設を認可する」とした答申を独断で覆した。過去30年で初のケースという。

At a news conference Friday, Tanaka said, "A large number of universities have been established, but the quality of education in universities has been in alarming decline." She added that the approval system for setting up universities needs to be reviewed from top to bottom.
 田中文科相は記者会見で、「大学はたくさん作られてきたが、教育の質自体が低下している」と述べ、現行の大学設置認可制度を見直す考えを明らかにした。

Tanaka, however, did not give any explicit reason why the government will not allow approval for the three universities.
 だが、なぜ、この3校の新設を認めないのか、という明確な理由は示さなかった。

Some ministry officials said Tanaka "simply made a policy decision as minister." However, we think it can only be described as an outrageous decision stemming from the misguided concept of "politician-led decision-making."
文科省は「大臣の政策的判断」と説明するが、政治主導をはき違えた、あまりに乱暴な判断と言うほかない。

===

Lack of consistency

The council's report was compiled after extensively examining the planned schools' faculty and other education arrangements and their management and financial planning based on university establishment guidelines set by the education ministry.
 そもそも、設置審の認可答申は、文科省が定めた大学設置基準などに基づいて、3校の教育体制や財務計画を精査した末に出された結論である。

Admittedly, the minister has the final say when it comes to accepting or rejecting the applications. But Tanaka's refusal to go along with the establishment of three new schools that the council said met the guidelines could be criticized as an abuse of power.
 文科相が最終的な認可権限を持つとはいえ、基準を満たした3校の新設を大臣の判断で認めなかったことは、「裁量権の乱用」と批判されても仕方がない。

On top of this, the education minister gave the go-ahead to new departments and postgraduate courses at other universities--as endorsed by the advisory council. Can she clearly explain the inconsistency between these approvals and her rejection of the establishment of the three universities?
 しかも、田中文科相は、設置審が認可答申を出した、他大学の学部や大学院の新設については認可している。大学新設だけを不認可としたこととの整合性をきちんと説明できるのだろうか。

The minister's arbitrary decision will unleash immeasurable confusion.
 文科相の独断と暴走がもたらす混乱は計り知れない。

The three universities that had been preparing to open next spring had secured teachers and constructed facilities. Mayor Motomu Hozumi of Akita city, which was planning to open one of the schools, to be named Akita Municipal College of Fine Arts, has unsurprisingly expressed his intention to urge Tanaka to rescind her decision.
 来春開校予定だった大学側は校舎整備を進め、教員も確保している。3校の一つ、秋田公立美術大の開校を目指す穂積志・秋田市長が、不認可の撤回を求める方針を表明したのは当然と言える。

Understandably, people wishing to enroll at these schools have been caught off guard at being told that the schools have been rejected so soon before they were scheduled to open.
 入学希望者から「直前に言われても困る」といった声が上がるのも無理はない。

===

Review of universities needed

Conditions at universities are becoming increasingly stringent.
 一方で、大学を取り巻く状況は厳しさを増している。

Despite fewer students due to the chronically low birthrate, new universities have been established one after another since regulations were eased. As a result, the number of universities has swollen 50 percent more than the figure of 20 years ago.
 少子化で学生が減少しているにもかかわらず、規制緩和により大学の新設が続き、大学の数は20年前の1・5倍にまで膨らんだ。

Some universities have been struggling to stay afloat financially as enrollment falls below quotas. Just last month, the education ministry decided to order an education corporation running a university in Gunma Prefecture to be disbanded because of sloppy management.
 大学の中には、定員割れで経営難に陥るところもあり、先月には群馬県内で大学を運営する学校法人に文科省が解散命令を発動することを決めたばかりだ。

The government's university policy needs to be reviewed. But this overhaul must be kept separate from the issue of approving or disapproving the establishment of individual universities, and be discussed in detail by such entities as the ministry's Central Council for Education from medium- and long-range perspectives.
 大学政策の見直しは必要だが、その際には、個別の大学の認可とは切り離し、中長期的な視点から、中央教育審議会などの場でしっかりと議論すべきである。

That a conclusion reached in line with existing rules on an important matter is reversed because of grandstanding by a trouble-making minister will only deprive the administration of its continuity and generate confusion at education facilities.
 問題閣僚のスタンドプレーで現行ルールに沿った結論が覆されるようでは行政の継続性は失われ、教育現場が混乱するだけだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 4, 2012)
(2012年11月4日01時34分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月 4日 (日)

参院の緊急質問 これを機に問責戦術を改めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 4, 2012)
Opposition parties should drop censure motion tactic
参院の緊急質問 これを機に問責戦術を改めよ(11月3日付・読売社説)

A maneuver regarded as logical only in Nagatacho, the nation's political nerve center, has caused political stagnation in the House of Councillors. This act demeans the authority of the upper house.
 永田町でしか通用しない論理で政治を停滞させることは参院の権威を自ら貶(おとし)める行為である。

On Friday, the opposition camp questioned Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda as an emergency step during a plenary session of the upper house. Based on the Diet Law, this rare measure was taken for the first time in 27 years.
 参院本会議で野党による緊急質問が行われた。国会法に基づく緊急質問は異例で、27年ぶりだ。

Citing a censure motion against Noda passed in the last ordinary Diet session as the reason, the opposition-dominated upper house did not allow him to deliver a policy speech, which is normally followed by a question-and-answer session. The emergency step on Friday appears to be an alternative to that.
 野党が多数を占める参院は、通常国会での首相問責決議可決を理由に野田首相の所信表明演説を拒み、代表質問も見送った。緊急質問はその代替措置らしい。

The opposition's stance of rejecting a regular question-and-answer session for the prime minister but allowing the questioning of him in the form of an emergency step is nothing but opportunistic. This would make little sense to the public.
 代表質問は駄目だが、緊急質問ならいいというのは、ご都合主義そのものではないか。国民の理解は得られまい。

Tetsuro Nomura of the largest opposition Liberal Democratic Party, who took the podium to ask questions, urged Noda to make a decision, saying, "Considering the censure motion, your Cabinet should resign or you should dissolve the House of Representatives."
 質問に立った自民党の野村哲郎氏は「問責決議を肝に銘じるなら、総辞職か衆院解散の二者択一しかない」と対応をただした。

===

Motion not legally binding

However, a censure motion in the upper house is not legally binding, unlike a no-confidence motion against the cabinet in the lower house, as stipulated in the Constitution. Nevertheless, the opposition camp has called on Noda to step down or dissolve the lower house by brandishing the nonbinding censure motion. We consider this wrong.
 しかし、憲法に規定されている衆院の内閣不信任決議と違い、参院の問責決議には法的拘束力がない。にもかかわらず、問責決議を振りかざし、首相に退陣や解散を迫ること自体、間違っている。

It is reasonable for the prime minister to reject the opposition's call, saying: "I've taken [the motion] seriously. I'll reflect on what should be reflected on, and tackle issues of state affairs."
 首相が「重く受け止めている。反省すべきは反省し、国政の諸課題に取り組む」と答弁し、二者択一を拒否したのは当然である。

Satoshi Inoue of the Japanese Communist Party pointed out that when the Democratic Party of Japan was an opposition party, Azuma Koshiishi, who is now DPJ secretary general, demanded then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda dissolve the lower house for an early election if a censure motion against him was passed.
 共産党の井上哲士氏は、民主党の輿石幹事長が野党時代に福田首相問責決議案の趣旨説明で、衆院解散を要求したと指摘した。

The DPJ also needs to seriously reflect on its past tactic of using a censure motion as a means to criticize the government. Under the divided Diet, the ruling and opposition parties should establish new rules to avoid a similar political deadlock.
 民主党も、問責決議を政府攻撃の手段としてきたことを真剣に反省する必要がある。与野党は、衆参ねじれ国会の下で、新たなルールを確立すべきだ。

===

Proper role of upper house

Now that a question-and-answer session with the prime minister was carried out as an emergency step, the upper house must eliminate what has become a bad practice by the opposition: refusing to participate in Diet deliberations due to the censure motion.
 緊急質問で質疑が成立したことを機に、参院は「問責決議を理由にした審議拒否」という悪弊を断たねばならない。

Some LDP upper house members justify the use of the censure motion as a weapon, believing that the upper house's role is to act as a check against the government.
 参院自民党には、「政府に歯止めをかけるのが参院の役割だ」として、問責決議を武器にすることを正当化する向きもある。

However, we believe the role of the upper house should be to have meaningful discussions to fill gaps in deliberations of the lower house. It is high-handed for the upper house to try to influence the future of the administration. Such an act also goes against the spirit of the Constitution.
 だが、参院の役割は本来、衆院の審議で不足した点を補い、質の高い議論を行うことにあるはずだ。政権の帰趨(きすう)まで左右しようとするのは、参院の横暴であり、憲法の趣旨にもそぐわない。

Meanwhile, LDP President Shinzo Abe has said his party is ready to accept talks on a deficit-covering bond bill at the lower house's financial affairs committee.
 一方、自民党の安倍総裁は、赤字国債発行に必要な特例公債法案の衆院財務金融委員会での審議入りを容認する意向を表明した。

This change in the LDP's stance could break the political deadlock. The opposition should not continue bargaining by taking bills hostage. Abe might have thought that cooperating in passing the legislation, among other steps, could lead to the dissolution of the lower house faster than calling on Noda to specify the timing of the dissolution.
 この方針転換は、政治を前に進める。法案を「人質」に駆け引きを続けるべきではない。安倍氏は、衆院解散の時期の明示を首相に求めるより、法案成立など「環境整備」を進める方が解散への近道だと考えたのではないか。

If so, we would like Abe to display leadership further to influence LDP upper house members.
 そうであるなら、安倍氏には、参院自民党に対しても、もっと指導力を発揮してもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 3, 2012)
(2012年11月3日01時30分  読売新聞)

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米産牛肉輸入 規制緩和は現実的な判断だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 4, 2012)
Easing import restrictions on U.S. beef justifiable
米産牛肉輸入 規制緩和は現実的な判断だ(11月3日付・読売社説)

Although it appears a little belated, a judgment the government has now made can safely be called a realistic approach based on scientific knowledge and international trends in connection with an important issue.
 遅きに失した感はあるが、科学的知見と国際動向を踏まえた現実的な判断と言えよう。

The Cabinet Office's Food Safety Commission is in favor of the planned easing of current regulations on imports of U.S.-produced beef, which have been part of measures to protect against bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease.
 内閣府・食品安全委員会が、BSE(牛海綿状脳症)対策で実施されている米国産牛肉の輸入規制を緩和する方針を了承した。

In the proposed regulatory easing, imports will be allowed for beef from cattle "30 months of age or younger," compared to the current maximum age of 20 months.
The commission has reasonably concluded that the easing of import restrictions "will hardly increase the BSE risks and its effect on human health should be considered negligible."
 輸入対象を「月齢20か月以下」から「30か月以下」に広げる。条件を緩めても「リスクの差は小さく、健康への影響は無視できる」と結論付けたのは妥当だ。

Immediately after the outbreak of BSE-infected cattle was confirmed in 2003 in the United States, Japan suspended imports of U.S. beef.
 米国で2003年にBSE感染が確認されたのを受け、日本は米国産牛肉の輸入を停止した。

In 2005, the government gave the go-ahead to the resumption of beef imports from the United States on condition that imports would be allowed only for beef from cattle "20 months of age or younger" with the nerve tissues called specific risk material, where BSE-causing prion molecules tend to concentrate, having been removed.
05年に、「20か月以下」で原因物質がたまりやすい危険部位を除去した牛に限って再開していた。
===

Linkage with TPP talks

BSE is said to occur when prions, aberrant proteins, accumulate in cattle's brain, spinal cord and other places.
 BSEは、たんぱく質の一種が異常化し、脳や脊髄などに蓄積されて発生する。

The disease has been transmitted primarily through the use of cattle feed that includes meat and bone meal made from other cattle. BSE-infected cattle numbered 37,000 worldwide in the peak year of 1992.
感染牛の肉骨粉を飼料に使ったことから広がり、ピークの1992年には世界で3万7000頭に達した。

The numbers of cattle developing BSE, however, decreased year after year, falling to just 29 in 2011. This is because strict anti-BSE measures adopted by countries concerned produced excellent results.
 しかし、発生頭数は年々減少し、昨年は29頭にとどまった。各国が導入した厳しい飼料規制が効果を上げたのだろう。

The criterion of "cattle 30 months of age or younger" has become a standard part of many major countries' beef import regulations.
 主要国の輸入規制は「30か月以下」が標準だ。

As BSE threats shrink worldwide, there appears to be no necessity for Japan alone to continue to impose stricter regulations.
世界的に沈静化したのに、日本だけが厳しい規制を続ける必要性は薄れている。

Opposition to regulatory easing by some consumer groups on the ground that it will "threaten food safety" is unpersuasive.
 一部の消費者団体などが、「食の安全が脅かされる」として緩和に反対しているのは、説得力を欠くのではないか。

The issue of Japan's readiness to ease beef import restrictions has been intertwined with the issue of Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations, and Washington has paid close attention to the beef import issue.
 牛肉の輸入規制緩和は、日本の環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉参加に関連し、米国が強い関心を示していた問題でもある。

The government should make steady efforts to ease beef import restrictions for the sake of early participation in the TPP talks.
政府は着実に実施することで、交渉参加も急ぐべきだ。

The government at the same time must review the BSE inspection system for domestic beef.
 併せて、国産牛の検査体制の見直しも必要である。

===

Review all cattle inspections

Japan's first known occurrence of BSE-stricken cattle was in 2001, and a total of 36 domestically produced cattle have so far been confirmed to be infected with the disease. No outbreak of BSE, however, has been reported after fiscal 2008.
 国内では01年に初めてBSEが発生し、これまで36頭が確認されたが、09年度以降はゼロだ。

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry asked the World Health Organization in September to change Japan's BSE risk status from a "country with controlled risk" to that of a "country with negligible risk."
 農林水産省は今年9月、日本のBSE発生リスクの分類を「リスクが管理された国」から「リスクが無視できる国」にするよう国際機関に申請した。

Regarding domestic beef, the Food Safety Commission has approved easing the range of cattle subject to BSE checks from "21 months of age or older" to "31 months of age or older." The regulation should be eased further.
 食品安全委員会も、国産牛の検査対象について、「月齢21か月以上」から「31か月以上」への緩和を了承したが、もう一段の緩和が求められよう。

Only Japan and the European Union conduct BSE checks in the process of cattle slaughter. Cattle subject to the checks in the EU are those "older than 72 months of age," far less stringent in Japan.
 食肉処理時の検査を実施しているのは日本と欧州連合(EU)のみだ。EUは基本的に「72か月超」と条件が日本より緩い。

Currently, there is no national legal obligation for domestic beef cattle 20 months of age or younger to undergo BSE checks, but local governments all over the country have continued to make all cattle subject to the inspections at their own discretion.
 現在、20か月以下の牛は検査を義務付けられていないが、全国の自治体が独自に全頭検査を続けている。

Considering the time and expense required to conduct the inspections, the wisdom of local governments continuing to check all cattle should be reconsidered.
費用と労力を考えれば、全頭検査も見直すべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 3, 2012)
(2012年11月3日01時30分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月 3日 (土)

電機大手赤字 大胆な成長戦略で復活目指せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 3, 2012)
Electronics makers must retool with bold new growth strategies
電機大手赤字 大胆な成長戦略で復活目指せ(11月2日付・読売社説)

The performance of leading electronics makers continues to deteriorate. Faced with intensifying competition from South Korean and other overseas rivals, Japanese firms urgently need to retool their corporate comeback strategies.
 電機大手の業績悪化に歯止めがかからない。韓国企業などとの競争は激しく、復活に向けた戦略立て直しが急務だ。

Panasonic Corp. has announced it expects to post a consolidated net loss of 765 billion yen in fiscal 2012, a downward revision of its projected business performance. Although the company initially estimated a net profit of 50 billion yen, it now faces a situation as serious as when it posted a colossal loss in fiscal 2011.
 パナソニックは、2013年3月期連結決算の業績予想を下方修正し、税引き後利益が7650億円の赤字になると発表した。当初、500億円の黒字を見込んでいたが、前期の巨額赤字に匹敵する深刻な事態である。

According to Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga, "In digital consumer electronics, we've been in the losing group. Even though we went through structural reform, things only improved temporarily. It's a highly unusual situation." His remarks underline the firm's grim situation.
 津賀一宏社長は、「デジタル家電で負け組となっている。構造改革を実施しても一時的に良くなるだけで普通の状態でない」と述べた。発言に込めた意味は重い。

The primary factor behind Panasonic's sizable loss is poor performance in its main product lines--flat-screen TVs, digital cameras and cell phones.
 巨額赤字の主因は、薄型テレビ、デジタルカメラ、携帯電話などの本業が低迷したことだ。

===

Major merger was a misstep

In a major merger in 2009, Panasonic acquired Sanyo Electric Co. as part of its strategy to replace its TV business with solar and lithium-ion batteries as its core sectors. The purchase, however, turned out to be a miscalculation.
 パナソニックは09年に三洋電機を買収した。テレビ事業に代わる中核として太陽電池やリチウムイオン電池事業に期待した戦略だったが、誤算に終わった。

The firm's performance this fiscal year was greatly affected by its decision to make a sizable write-off in sectors including solar batteries. The decision was prompted by the realization that the investment made to acquire Sanyo had been a flop.
 三洋買収による巨額投資を事実上、失敗と認め、今期中に太陽電池事業などの減損処理に踏み切ることも業績に大きく響いた。

To rebuild, Panasonic plans to expedite moves away from money-losing product lines, such as by liquidating overseas flat-screen TV factories. Although we see such moves as appropriate, the company's biggest problem is the lack of a clear growth plan.
 パナソニックが経営立て直しへ、海外の薄型テレビの組み立て拠点を清算するなど、不採算事業の縮小を急ぐのは妥当だ。最大の問題は、明確な成長シナリオが描けていないことにある。

How will the electronics giant make progress in its strategic shift toward emphasizing profitability over a focus on sales numbers? It also remains to be seen how quickly it can implement managerial reforms.
 売り上げ規模の追求ではなく、採算を重視していくという戦略転換をどう進めるか。経営改革のスピードが問われよう。

Meanwhile, the losses continue for Sharp Corp., which is currently going through a corporate rebuilding process.
 一方、経営再建途上にあるシャープも、赤字が止まらない。

Sharp has announced it expects to log a record net loss of 450 billion yen in fiscal 2012, a sizable downward revision of its initial projection.
13年3月期決算の税引き後赤字を過去最大の4500億円とし、当初見込みから大幅に下方修正した。

The outlook is rocky for the firm's small and midsize liquid crystal display business, which the company has seen as its trump card in its overall corporate reconstruction.
 再建の切り札と位置づける中小型の液晶パネル事業は、前途多難だ。

With an urgent need for cash, the company must quickly conclude a capital partnership agreement with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. of Taiwan.
自己資本の増強も必要で、台湾・鴻海(ホンハイ)精密工業との資本提携交渉の早期妥結が求められる。

===

Conditions are tough for all

Sony, on the other hand, is projected to post a profit in the current fiscal year, though its TV business continues to be sluggish. The firm needs to find a new core business that can support continued growth.
 ソニーは今期の黒字を確保する見通しだが、テレビ事業の不振は続いており、成長の柱となる新たな事業を求めて模索が続く。

All Japanese manufacturers, not only electronics makers, have been exposed to the adverse winds of economic slowdowns overseas, a strongly appreciating yen, and ever-intensifying competition with foreign rivals.
 電機など製造業各社はそろって海外経済の減速、超円高、競争激化などの逆風にさらされている。

Damage has also been done by declining sales in China, a consequence of the diplomatic tension between Japan and China.
日中関係の悪化に伴い、中国での販売減少も打撃になってきた。

The keys to revival appear to be in discerning the needs of emerging markets with strong growth potential and developing strategically important products through originality and ingenuity.
 成長が見込まれる新興国市場などのニーズを各社が発掘し、創意工夫で戦略的な商品を開発することが復活のカギを握るだろう。

We find it encouraging that start-up companies producing Japan-made appliances that primarily cater to emerging countries have appeared. These firms possess technological prowess and unique designs.
 技術力とデザインを生かし、新興国向けの“日の丸家電”を製造しようとするベンチャー企業がでてきたことは心強い。

We hope Japanese electronics makers large and small can shrug off adversity and wield their latent power.
大手も含めて各社が逆境をはね返し、底力を発揮してもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 2, 2012)
(2012年11月2日01時43分  読売新聞)

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民主党公約検証 破綻した原因の究明が先だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 3, 2012)
DPJ must honestly review 2009 campaign manifesto
民主党公約検証 破綻した原因の究明が先だ(11月2日付・読売社説)

What ever motivated the Democratic Party of Japan to release that irresponsible set of campaign pledges three years ago?
 なぜ民主党は3年前、あんな無責任な政権公約(マニフェスト)を掲げてしまったのか。

After a great deal of soul-searching, the DPJ must recast its "manifesto" for the next House of Representatives election.
その失敗を真剣に反省し、次期衆院選に向けて内容を練り直さねばならない。

The DPJ held a meeting Thursday of party officials in charge of policy affairs, including members from prefectural chapters, to report on the findings of a review of how many of its 2009 election pledges have been realized.
 民主党が全国政策担当者会議で2009年衆院選マニフェストの実績検証結果を示した。

According to the party leadership, no more than about 30 percent of the 170 proposals the party committed to have been fully implemented, with successes including the elimination of tuition fees at public high schools and introducing an income support system for individual farming households.
 170件の政策のうち、実現したのは高校授業料無償化、農家への戸別所得補償など、約3割にとどまった。

The largest proportion was policies the party says have been partially implemented, including child rearing allowances. Among measures the DPJ categorized as just starting to be addressed is a ban on political donations from businesses and other organizations. Policies that have yet to be taken up include abolishing the provisionally higher gasoline tax rate.
一部実施が子ども手当などで最も多く、着手が企業団体献金禁止など、未着手はガソリン税の暫定税率廃止などである。

The policy review was probably aimed at displaying the amount of effort the party has expended toward realizing its campaign platform.
 民主党は、実現に努力してきたことを強調したいのだろう。

However, measures that were classified as "partially implemented" include plans for which funding has already been revoked, such as making expressways toll-free.
 だが、一部実施には、既に予算計上をやめた高速道路無料化などが含まれる。

===

A self-congratulatory exercise

Also, some policies the DPJ classified as just starting to be addressed are measures that have no hope of ever materializing, such as reducing by 80 the number of proportional representation seats in lower house elections and introducing a minimum guaranteed pension of 70,000 yen a month. It is clear the party's achievement evaluation was only designed to encourage self-congratulation.
着手にも、実現の見通しのない衆院比例定数80削減や月7万円の最低保障年金などが入っている。お手盛りによる自己満足と言わざるを得ない。

However, the most problematic aspect of the policy review is that it completely ignored the failure to achieve the very foundation of the 2009 election platform--that the DPJ, if in power, would find new revenue worth 16.8 trillion yen per year through a complete rewrite of the 207 trillion yen state budget.
 より問題なのは、国の総予算207兆円の全面組み替えで年16・8兆円の財源を捻出するというマニフェストの根幹が崩壊した理由を何ら検証していないことだ。

The first question that should be asked is what was gained from laying out degrees of accomplishment in the election pledges that were, from the very beginning, faulty both in their content and in the methods proposed to find new revenue sources to fund them.
 そもそも、内容や財源に多くの欠陥を抱えるマニフェストの達成状況を明示することに、どれほどの意味があるのか。

The policy review should have placed top priority on investigating the advisability of each individual proposal, as well as the processes through which the election pledges were forged.
 検証するなら、むしろ個別政策の妥当性や、マニフェスト作成過程の問題点を対象にすべきだ。

Such policy goals as "abolishing in principle" public-interest corporations and local branches of state ministries and agencies--places where retired high-ranking bureaucrats often land senior positions--and a "drastic review of independent administrative institutions, including the advisability of abolishing them altogether" were formed out of populist motives, with no heed paid to their feasibility.
 官僚の天下り先の公益法人や国の出先機関の「原則廃止」、独立行政法人の「全廃を含めて抜本的な見直し」などは、大衆迎合主義(ポピュリズム)の発想で、実現性を無視した目標設定だった。

===

A loose way of thinking

From the beginning, there was no prospect of securing the huge amount of revenue needed to fund such proposals as the child allowances or abolishing the provisionally higher gasoline tax rate. Therefore, grave mistakes must have occurred in the discussions over these measures. It seems obvious that former DPJ head Ichiro Ozawa and other party executives indulged in a loose way of thinking whereby they assumed limitless revenue would be available if only the party could grab the reins of state.
 子ども手当や暫定税率廃止などについては、巨額財源の裏付けがないのに、小沢一郎元代表ら一部の幹部が「政権をとれば財源はいくらでも出てくる」といった安易な議論で決定した経緯に重大な瑕疵(かし)があったと言うべきだろう。

Diplomatic affairs, meanwhile, were excluded from the achievement evaluation, for the stated reason that it is too difficult to rate diplomatic progress numerically.
 外交分野は、進捗(しんちょく)状況の数値化や評価が困難との理由で、今回の検証対象から除外されている。

It should never be forgotten, however, that it was Yukio Hatoyama--party leader when the DPJ campaigned under the 2009 manifesto--who said his government would find an alternative place for the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station "outside Okinawa Prefecture at the very least." This seriously harmed the Japan-U.S. relationship and threw our nation's diplomacy off course.
 ただ、当時の鳩山代表が米軍普天間飛行場の移設先を「最低でも沖縄県外」と発言したことで日米関係を損ない、日本外交を迷走させたことを忘れてはなるまい。

On the basis of the policy review, the DPJ leadership has said it will listen to the views of a wide range of party members, including those in its prefectural chapters, and reflect these ideas when composing a new set of election pledges.
 民主党は、今回の検証結果を踏まえて、党内や地方組織の意見を幅広く聞き、次のマニフェストの策定作業に反映させるという。

In doing so, the DPJ should incorporate realistic content based on in-depth discussions regarding the "drastic reform of the tax system including an increase in the consumption tax rate," which was not part of their existing manifesto and was therefore not subject to the policy review.
 前回マニフェストに含まれず、検証の対象にならなかった「消費税を含む税制の抜本改革」についても、しっかりと論議し、現実的な内容を盛り込む必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 2, 2012)
(2012年11月2日01時43分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月 2日 (金)

古典の日 伝統文化への理解を深めたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 2, 2012)
Think about traditional arts and culture on 1st Classics Day
古典の日 伝統文化への理解を深めたい(11月1日付・読売社説)

Today is Classics Day. It has its origins in "The Tale of Genji," as Lady Murasaki referred to the masterpiece in her diary, "Murasaki Shikibu Diary," on a page recounting Nov. 1, 1008.
 今日は、古典の日だ。「紫式部日記」の1008年11月1日の項に「源氏物語」についての記述が登場していることに由来する。

A bill covering Classics Day, which was submitted by a suprapartisan group of Diet members, was enacted into law during the last ordinary Diet session.
 先の通常国会で古典の日に関する法律が超党派の議員提案で成立した。

The law defined classics as superb literature, music, art, traditional performing arts and other cultural products that have been passed down from ancient times. The idea behind the law is to enhance people's appreciation of the classics.
 古来の優れた文学や音楽、美術、伝統芸能などを古典と定義し、国民に古典への理解を深めてもらうのが新法の趣旨だ。

The classics have withstood the tests of time and history, and we can say they are the fruits of people's knowledge and wisdom. To touch the hearts of ancient people through them could also be a foundation to create new culture.
 長い歴史の試練を経て継承されてきた古典は、人間の叡智(えいち)の結晶と言える。古典を通して古(いにしえ)の人々の心に触れることは、新しい文化を創造する礎にもなろう。

The Cultural Affairs Agency is scheduled to host a symposium commemorating Classics Day today. Various events, such as presentations of traditional performing arts, will be held across the nation. Autumn is considered the best season for art, so how about spending the day soaking in the charm of the classics?
 文化庁は記念シンポジウムを開催する。各地でも伝統芸能の上演など多彩な行事が催される。芸術の秋の一日、古典の魅力に接してみてはいかがだろうか。

===

Scholastic education is the key

For many people, the world "classics" is associated with classic literature such as "The Tale of Genji" and "The Pillow Book." Everyone has studied these books in school, but I imagine most adults do not have time to read them.
 古典と聞いて、多くの人が「源氏物語」や「枕草子」などの文学を思い浮かべるだろう。誰もが学校の授業で習うが、大人になると、なかなか読む機会もないという人がほとんどかもしれない。

A precondition for people to maintain interest in the classics would be to teach the magnificence of the classics in school in an easy-to-follow way. The government's new official guidelines for teaching at primary and middle schools stipulate the goal of enriching the quality of teaching Japanese tradition and culture.
 人々が古典に関心を持ち続けるには、やはり学校教育の中でその魅力を分かりやすく教えていくことが大切だ。小中学校の新しい学習指導要領も、伝統や文化に関する教育の充実を掲げている。

Starting this year, the Kyoto municipal government has set a goal of introducing programs to let students experience ikebana and tea ceremonies at all public primary and middle schools. Tokyo's Setagaya Ward has already introduced classes teaching haiku and other forms of Japanese poetry, the Analects of Confucius and Chinese poetry at primary schools using original teaching materials. The classes have proven popular.
 京都市は今年から、公立の全小中学校で華道や茶道などの体験学習に取り組むことを目標に掲げた。東京都世田谷区では、独自の教材を作り、小学校で和歌、俳句、論語、漢詩などを教える授業が定着している。

Schools should work hard on expanding classics teaching through such efforts as providing opportunities for students to experience noh and kabuki.
 能や歌舞伎の鑑賞教室を積極的に実施するなど、各学校で工夫を凝らし、古典学習をさらに拡充していくべきだろう。

===

Govt assistance important

The new law urges the central and local governments to take necessary measures to make the classics more accessible to people. It will be important for the governments to provide a certain level of assistance to traditional performing arts to help them continue their activities, such as helping them nurture young talent.
 新法は、国民が古典に親しむことが出来るよう、国や自治体が必要な措置を講じる努力をすることを求めている。伝統芸能の存続のために人材育成などで一定の支援をしていくことも大事だ。

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto once said the city would freeze subsidies to bunraku puppetry, which originated in Osaka. However, after discussions with bunraku officials, Hashimoto retracted the policy.
 橋下徹大阪市長が大阪発祥の人形浄瑠璃文楽に対する補助金凍結を打ち出した問題は、文楽関係者との意見交換の結果、凍結解除の方針が示された。

Some of Hashimoto's remarks on bunraku were off the mark, such as the one describing the bunraku establishment as "the privileged class." It seemed as if he was hostile toward bunraku. However, some of his comments made sense, such as the necessity of bunraku making its subsidy use transparent.
 文楽界を「特権階級」として敵視するかのような橋下市長の発言には行き過ぎもあったが、補助金の使途を透明化すべきだといった指摘にはうなずける面はある。

We need to develop not only bunraku but also other traditional performing arts and culture and hand them over to the next generation. To accomplish this important task, both the public and private sectors need to have more lively discussions.
 文楽のみならず伝統芸能、伝統文化をいかに次世代に継承、発展させていくか。この課題に応えるためには、官民共にもっと議論を深めていく必要がある。

It is good to think about such things today, as this is the first time we experience Classics Day.
 初めて迎えた古典の日には、そんなことも考えたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 1, 2012)
(2012年11月1日08時23分  読売新聞)

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衆院代表質問 懸案先送りでは展望開けない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 2, 2012)
Key pending issues suffering neglect in new Diet session
衆院代表質問 懸案先送りでは展望開けない(11月1日付・読売社説)

Debate has begun in the Diet. However, it seems that we cannot expect constructive developments in which the ruling and opposition parties actively seek common ground through Diet deliberations and move politics forward.
 国会審議を通じて、与野党が積極的に接点を探り、政治を動かす。
 そんな前向きの展開は期待できそうにない論戦のスタートである。

Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe faced off with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda for the first time Wednesday during interpellations on Noda's policy speech by party representatives in the plenary session of the House of Representatives.
 野田首相の所信表明演説に対する各党の代表質問が衆院本会議で行われ、自民党の安倍総裁が首相と初めて対決した。

Concerning Noda's promise to dissolve the lower house for a general election "sometime soon," Abe pressed him to dissolve the lower house by the end of this year, saying Noda "must bear the responsibility for his words."
 安倍氏は、首相が約束した「近いうち」の衆院解散・総選挙について、「その言葉に責任を持たねばならない」として、年内の解散を決断するよう迫った。

Noda only said, "I'll make a decision properly if conditions [for the dissolution] are met." As those conditions, he referred to the enactment of a bill that will allow the government to issue deficit-covering bonds and rectification of vote-value disparities in lower house elections.
 首相は、赤字国債の発行を認める特例公債法案の成立や衆院選の「1票の格差」是正など、解散の「条件が整えば、きちんと判断をしたい」と語るにとどめた。

With Democratic Party of Japan members leaving the party one after another, the foundation of Noda's administration is crumbling away beneath him.
 民主党の離党者が続き、野田政権の基盤は一層揺らいでいる。

The DPJ will inevitably suffer a crushing defeat if it goes into the lower house election amid its current low approval ratings. Noda probably wants to delay the lower house dissolution with an eye out for the timing that would best help the party minimize its loss of seats. However, there is no prospect for that.
 支持率が低迷する中で衆院選を迎えた場合、民主党の大敗は免れない。首相にすれば、解散を先延ばしし、議席減少を極力抑えられる時期を模索したいのだろうが、その展望は開けていない。

===

Local govts await bond bill

The delay in the enactment of the bill to issue deficit-covering bonds currently seriously affects local governments' finances. Noda should not shy away from an early dissolution of the lower house and needs to take action on his own to obtain cooperation from the opposition parties.
 特例公債法案の成立の遅れは、地方財政に深刻な影響を及ぼしている。首相は、早期解散から逃げることなく、野党の協力取り付けに自ら動く必要がある。

Abe, for his part, should immediately end his party's self-righteous boycott of the current extraordinary Diet session based on a censure resolution against Noda and cooperate in the enactment of the bill to issue deficit-covering bonds since he said he fully realizes the importance of the bill and other key issues.
 安倍氏も、特例公債法案などの「重要性は十分認識している」と言う以上、首相問責決議に基づく独善的な審議拒否を早急に撤回して、法案成立に協力すべきだ。

Regarding the rebuilding of Japan's diplomacy, Abe called for changing the government's interpretation of the Constitution so that Japan will be able to exercise the right to collective self-defense, a stance that aims to rebuild the Japan-U.S. alliance. Noda rejected a change in the government's interpretation of the Constitution for the moment, but said, "There should be various discussions."
 日本外交の再建に関して安倍氏は、「日米同盟を再構築」するため、集団的自衛権の行使を可能にするよう政府の憲法解釈の変更を求めた。首相は、当面の解釈変更を否定しつつ、「様々な議論があってしかるべきだ」と述べた。

Strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance is crucial for protecting the nation's territory and improving relationships with China and South Korea. Because the right to collective self-defense is an issue that concerns the very basis of the nation's security, it is desirable for a cross-party consensus to be formed. We hope the ruling and opposition parties will deepen discussions on the issue to enable the government to exercise the right.
 領土を守り、中国、韓国との関係を改善するうえで、日米同盟の強化は欠かせない。集団的自衛権は安全保障の根幹にかかわる問題だけに、超党派の合意形成が望ましい。与野党は、行使を可能にする方向で議論を深めてほしい。

===

Trade deal sadly neglected

As for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework, Abe stressed that he "opposes Japan's participation in its negotiations as long as it [the TPP] presupposes the elimination of tariffs with no exceptions." Noda only said he will decide on Japan's official participation in the TPP negotiations based on developments in discussions both within Japan and with countries concerned.
 環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)について、安倍氏は、「聖域なき関税撤廃を前提にする限り、交渉参加に反対する」と強調した。首相も、国内の議論や関係国との協議の進展を踏まえて、正式参加を判断するとだけ語った。

It is regrettable that both Abe and Noda are so reticent on the issue, although Japan's participation in the TPP negotiations is an urgent task for the revitalization of the economy.
 経済再生のためにも交渉参加が急務なのに、両者とも消極姿勢だったのは残念である。

It is also problematic that the ruling parties are cautious about convening the Budget Committee, which is normally opened after the interpellations by party representatives. It is said this is because they want to duck the opposition parties' questions on Noda's responsibility in appointing former Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka to the post. Such an attitude only worsens the stagnation of the nation's politics.
 問題なのは、代表質問後に通常開かれる予算委員会に与党が慎重なことだ。田中慶秋前法相の任命責任など野党の追及を避けたいためとされる。そんな姿勢では政治が一層停滞してしまう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 1, 2012)
(2012年11月1日08時23分  読売新聞)

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2012年11月 1日 (木)

追加金融緩和 政府・日銀は効果的な連携を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 1, 2012)
Govt, BOJ must cooperate effectively on monetary policy
追加金融緩和 政府・日銀は効果的な連携を(10月31日付・読売社説)

The government and the Bank of Japan are clearly strengthening their cooperation in tackling deflation. What they must do now is implement effective policies.
 デフレ脱却を目指し、政府・日銀が連携を強化する姿勢を明確にした。肝心なのは効果的な政策の実行である。

The central bank has decided to take additional monetary steps, including a boost to 91 trillion yen, up 11 trillion yen, in its fund to buy government bonds and other financial assets. The bank also hammered out a new system to provide funds at low interest rates to banks that have increased lending. It said it would refrain from setting an upper limit on lending to ensure an ample supply of funds.
 日銀が国債などを買い入れる基金を11兆円上積みし、91兆円とする追加金融緩和策を決めた。貸し出しを増やした銀行に、日銀が低利で資金供給する新制度も打ち出した。総額に上限を設けず、手厚く供給するという。

Due to slowdowns in overseas economies and the deterioration of Japan-China relations, the nation's economy has started to cool off. The Bank of Japan was wise to take additional steps for the second consecutive month to prevent the economy from worsening.
 海外経済の減速や日中関係の悪化の影響で、景気は冷え込み始めた。腰折れを防ぐため、日銀が2か月連続で追加策に踏み切ったのは妥当な判断と言えよう。

Previous increases in the central bank's fund have not been effective in pumping sufficient funds into companies and other entities. We hope the new system will be more productive in increasing bank lending.
 基金を積み増す従来の手法では企業などに資金が十分に行き渡らない。新制度によって貸し出しが増加することに期待したい。

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Joint statement important

For the first time, the government and the Bank of Japan issued a joint statement saying they would "work together and make utmost efforts" to overcome deflation.
 政府・日銀がデフレ脱却に向けて「一体となって最大限の努力を行う」という、初めての共同文書も発表した。

Seiji Maehara, state minister for economic and fiscal policy, who attended the central bank's monetary policy-setting meeting, stressed at a press conference that the statement was an important step forward in combating deflation. It is essential that the touting of cooperation between the government and the central bank does not end up as empty talk.
 金融政策決定会合に出席した前原経済財政相は記者会見で、「重要な一歩になる」と強調した。政府・日銀の協調を「かけ声倒れ」に終わらせないことが大切だ。

The central bank decided to take the additional measures--including introduction of the new system--apparently because it feared its projection of overcoming deflation "as early as fiscal 2014, in the not-too-distant future" was not feasible.
 日銀が新制度を含む追加策に動いた背景には、「2014年度以降、遠からず」としていたデフレ脱却の時期が遅れることへの危機感があるのだろう。

On the same day as the announcement of additional monetary steps, the Bank of Japan forecast that consumer prices would increase 0.8 percent in fiscal 2014, below the 1 percent yardstick for overcoming deflation.
 日銀が追加策とあわせて発表した14年度の物価上昇率の見込みは「0・8%」で、デフレ脱却のメドとなる「1%」を下回った。

The consumption tax rate is scheduled to be raised to 8 percent in April 2014. Efforts must be accelerated to overcome deflation through all available measures, so no obstacles will be thrown in the way of integrated reform of social security and tax systems.
 14年4月には消費税率が8%に引き上げられる予定である。社会保障・税一体改革に支障の出ないよう、政策を総動員し、デフレ脱却を急がねばならない。

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Nurture new industries

Some government officials and lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties have called on the Bank of Japan to purchase foreign bonds to correct the yen's appreciation and to introduce an inflation target. The government and central bank should further deepen their discussions on these matters.
 政府や与野党には、円高是正を目指した外債購入や、インフレ目標の導入などを日銀に求める声もある。政府と日銀がさらに論議を深めることが求められる。

It is primarily the government's task to address structural problems, such as the shrinking population, declining potential growth rate and industrial hollowing-out. The small emergency economic measures decided by the Cabinet last week are far from satisfactory.
 人口減少や潜在成長率の低下、産業空洞化など、構造問題への対応は主として政府の役割である。先週に閣議決定された小規模な緊急経済対策では全く不十分だ。

We hope new industries will be nurtured in such growth areas as nursing care and medicine as well as environment-related industries to accelerate the creation of jobs.
 介護・医療や環境などの成長分野で新産業を育成し、雇用の創出も加速させてもらいたい。

It also is necessary to support economic revitalization by securing a stable supply of electricity through the reactivation of nuclear power plants after their safety has been confirmed.
 安全を確認できた原子力発電所を再稼働して電力の安定供給を図り、経済再生を後押しする態勢を整える必要もある。

More importantly, a bill to enable the government to issue deficit-covering bonds, which will secure resources for this fiscal year's initial budget, should be passed by the Diet as soon as possible. If state coffers become depleted and administrative functions suspended, sudden and severe deflationary pressures will deal the Japanese economy a deadly blow. Such confusion must be avoided.
 何より、今年度当初予算の財源を確保する特例公債法案の成立を急ぐべきだ。国庫が底をつき、行政機能が停止すれば、急激なデフレ圧力で日本経済は致命的な打撃を受ける。こうした混乱は回避しなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 31, 2012)
(2012年10月31日01時16分  読売新聞)

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高齢者の医療費 「世代間格差」の改善が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 1, 2012)
Time to rectify generational gap in burdens for medical bills
高齢者の医療費 「世代間格差」の改善が必要だ(10月31日付・読売社説)

As the nation's population grays, ensuring that the ballooning cost of medical care is evenly shared among all generations of society is an urgent task.
 高齢化で膨らむ医療費の負担を世代間で公平にすることが急務だ。

The Fiscal System Council, a government advisory body, has agreed to abolish a special measure that limits the out-of-pocket payments for medical bills people aged 70 to 74 pay to 10 percent of the total, and raise the limit to 20 percent as prescribed by law. The panel will shortly recommend that the finance minister review the special measure.
 政府の財政制度等審議会が、70~74歳の医療費の窓口負担を1割に抑える特例措置を廃止し、法律の規定通り2割負担にすべきだとの見解で一致した。財務相に近く措置の見直しを提言する。

It is inevitable that senior citizens will be asked to bear a greater share of medical costs to prevent the working population, which provides the bulk of the money used for government medical spending, from becoming excessively squeezed.
 医療費の大半を賄う現役世代の負担が過重になるのを防ぐため、高齢者に応分の負担を求めることはやむを得ない。

In 2008, when the medical system for people aged 75 or older started, the out-of-pocket burden of medical bills was increased from 10 percent to 20 percent for people aged 70 to 74 and kept at 10 percent for those 75 or older. This was decided by law.
 後期高齢者医療制度が始まった2008年、医療機関で払う窓口負担は70~74歳がそれまでの1割から2割に、75歳以上は従来通り1割とすると法律で決まった。

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Public backlash feared

But the then coalition government of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito decided to retain the 10 percent cap for people 70 to 74 as an exceptional step out of fear that increasing it would trigger a backlash from the public.
 だが、当時の自公政権は国民の反発を恐れ、70~74歳の負担を1割に抑える特例措置を決めた。

The Democratic Party of Japan-led administrations have retained this line.
 民主党政権も継続している。

As a result, the percentage of medical bills paid by patients in their average per capita income bracket stands at 2.4 percent for people aged 70-74--far below the 3.8 percent for the 65-69 bracket and 4.6 percent for those 75 or older. This shows the unfair distribution of medical cost burdens is expanding.
 この結果、1人当たりの平均収入に占める患者負担割合は、65~69歳の3・8%、75歳以上の4・6%に対し、70~74歳は2・4%と、格段に低い。歪(ひず)みが広がっていると言えよう。

However, at a recent news conference, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Wakio Mitsui was guarded about reviewing the exceptional measure. This is because he wants to avoid antagonizing elderly people by asking them to shoulder an additional financial burden ahead of the next House of Representatives election.
 三井厚生労働相は、この問題について、記者会見で、特例措置の見直しに慎重な姿勢を示した。次期衆院選を控えて、高齢者に新たに負担を求めることは避けたいからだろう。

But it must be noted that about 200 billion yen is spent annually to implement the special measure. This is one cause of swelling fiscal deficits. Bills for that will inevitably be left for future generations to cover.
 だが、特例措置を維持するため、毎年約2000億円の国費が投入されている。財政赤字を拡大させる要因になっており、そのツケは将来世代へ回ることになる。

Older generations can receive pensions and medical services worth more than their tax burdens and insurance premium payments, which are lower than those paid by young generations. The special measure, thus, helps widen the gap between generations.
 高齢世代は、若い世代に比べて、税や保険料の負担を上回る年金や医療サービスを受けることができる。窓口負担の特例措置は、世代間の格差も助長するものだ。

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Give needy patients a break

As we see it, the special measure must be reexamined and a decision made to raise the proportion paid by elderly people. The government is considering applying the hiked rate to people who will turn 70 and not those who are over this age at the time of implementation.
 やはり、特例措置を見直し、負担の引き上げを決断すべきだ。政府は、負担を引き上げる場合は、今後70歳になる人から順次行い、既に70歳を超えた人は対象にしないことを検討している。

Japanese make far more clinic or hospital visits than people in Britain and the United States, which has caused a rise in government medical spending and a shortage of doctors. Increasing charges could prevent people from seeking nonessential or nonurgent medical treatment.
 日本人の外来受診回数は、英米を大きく上回り、医療費の増加や医師不足につながっている。窓口負担の引き上げで、不要不急の受診を防ぐ効果も期待できよう。

Of course, some patients are seriously ill and cannot reduce the frequency of their visits to clinics or hospitals. To help these people, we suggest a system in which seriously needy patients, even those aged below 75, are transferred to the medical insurance system for people aged 75 or older to keep their financial burden low.
 無論、症状が重く、通院を減らせない人もいる。その場合には、75歳未満であっても、75歳以上が対象の後期高齢者医療制度に移行し、負担を抑える仕組みを活用してはどうか。

Keeping public pension payments higher than stipulated levels due to the adoption of a separate exceptional measure is another problem. This has caused the payment of overly generous pensions.
 一方、公的年金も、本来より高い給付水準に据え置く特例措置により、過払いになっているという問題もある。

The government should stop passing the burden of paying for medical services and pension payments onto future generations.
医療、年金財源の負担を将来世代に先送りし続けることは、もうやめるべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 31, 2012)
(2012年10月31日01時16分  読売新聞)

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