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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。

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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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