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2012年11月 9日 (金)

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

The immediate top priority for Obama is balancing economic stimulus measures with reconstruction of government finances.

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.


A 'divided' Congress

To get through this ordeal, cooperation from the U.S. Congress is indispensable.

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.

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.

We'd like to pay particular attention to U.S. policy toward China, with its growing economic and military might.

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?

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.

Japan must further cement the Japan-U.S. relationship by taking necessary steps.

(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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