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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。

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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。

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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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