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2012年12月

2012年12月31日 (月)

教育政策 高校無償化の見直しは妥当だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 31, 2012)
Review of tuition-free program for high schools appropriate
教育政策 高校無償化の見直しは妥当だ(12月30日付・読売社説)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apparently has shown his true colors in the educational area that he is willing to reform.
 安倍首相が改革に意欲を見せる教育分野で、早くも独自のカラーを出したということだろう。

The previous Democratic Party of Japan-led government held off on a decision over whether to include pro-Pyongyang Korean schools in its tuition-free program for high schools. The Abe administration has decided to exclude them.
 民主党政権が結論を先送りしてきた朝鮮学校に対する高校授業料の無償化適用について、安倍政権が適用を見送る方針を決定した。

In giving a reason for this decision, Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hakubun Shimomura said there had been no developments regarding the abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents.
Shimomura also said the finances and curriculums of those schools are under the influence of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, which reportedly has strong ties with North Korea.
 その理由として、下村文部科学相は、日本人の拉致問題に進展がないことに加え、朝鮮学校の財務や教育内容が、北朝鮮と結びつきの強い在日本朝鮮人総連合会の影響下にある点を挙げている。

The education ministry has been studying whether to include these schools based on standards established under the DPJ-led administration, but the Abe administration, acting independently, made its own decision, Shimomura said.
 民主党政権下で策定された判断基準に沿って、文科省が審査を続けてきたが、これとは別に、安倍政権として判断したという。

If these schools were included in the program, the government would provide grants totaling 200 million yen a year for tuition to 10 pro-Pyongyang Korean high schools in Japan.
 無償化が適用されると、日本の高校にあたる「朝鮮高級学校」10校に、授業料分として年約2億円の就学支援金が支給される。

It seems certain taxpayers would be puzzled why the government is spending their money on these schools unless it was able to ensure the grants would not be used for purposes other than tuition or that the schools would not teach students material that deviated from the facts.
 確かに、就学支援金が授業料以外に流用される恐れや、事実と異なる内容の教育が行われる懸念が払拭できない限り、国費投入に国民の理解は得られまい。

===

Income cap reasonable

Shimomura already has said he would review the current tuition-free program for high schools and impose income ceilings on families receiving grants, starting in fiscal 2014.
 高校無償化に関しては、下村文科相が、2014年度以降、制度を見直し、対象に所得制限を設ける方針を明らかにしている。

The program was an eye-catching policy devised by the DPJ-led government, as it believed society as a whole should help raise children. However, the program was constantly criticized as a handout because it was applied to everyone without exception, including students whose parents were well-off.
 高校無償化は「社会全体で子供を育てる」という理念を掲げた民主党政権の目玉政策の一つだった。だが、家計に余裕のある層まで一律に対象としたため、「ばらまき」との批判が根強かった。

In addition to tuition, school supplies and other necessities are heavy financial burdens for high school students. The Abe administration plans to save money by reducing the number of students under the program with the introduction of income caps, and to utilize the funds saved to support low-income earners. We think this is a good idea.
 高校生は授業料以外にも学用品購入費などの負担が多い。所得制限によって無償化の対象を絞り込むことで財源を捻出し、低所得者層の支援に活用するという安倍政権の考え方は理解できる。

===

Measures against bullying

Another big issue in the educational field is school bullying, for which countermeasures must be taken as soon as possible.
 教育分野で早急な対策が求められるのは、いじめ問題だ。

Since summer, serious bullying cases have surfaced around the country.
 今夏以降、各地で深刻ないじめが表面化した。

In a bullying case involving an Otsu middle school boy who killed himself in October last year, for instance, papers on two of three classmates were sent to prosecutors on suspicion of assault or other charges.
The other was sent to a child consultation center for delinquency.
大津市でいじめを受けた男子中学生が自殺した事件では、元同級生3人が、暴行などの容疑や非行事実で書類送検や児童相談所送致となった。

Bullying is caused by a lack of sensitivity toward other people.
 相手を思いやる気持ちの欠如が、いじめを生んでいる。

We praise the Abe government for announcing plans to enhance moral education at school.
安倍政権が道徳教育の強化を打ち出したのは当然だ。

Respect for social norms and public morality must be nurtured at school and through work experiences in local communities.
学校の授業や地域での職場体験などを通じ、規範意識や公共性を育む必要がある。

Enactment of a basic law on measures to prevent bullying is also being studied.
 「いじめ防止対策基本法」の制定も検討されている。

It is significant for society as a whole to use the law-making process to say bullying will never be tolerated.
法制化を通じて、「絶対にいじめを許さない」という意識を社会全体で共有する意義は大きい。

We expect legislation to call on local governments and schools to take tangible measures to prevent school bullying.
自治体や学校に具体的な取り組みを促す効果も期待できるのではないか。

We also hope the government will discuss the function of education boards, as the education board that dealt with the Otsu case proved dysfunctional.
 大津の事件で機能不全が露呈した教育委員会の在り方についても政府内で議論を進めてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 30, 2012)
(2012年12月30日01時17分  読売新聞)

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2012回顧・世界 国際舞台の役者が出そろった

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 31, 2012)
World's future depends on new lineup of global leaders
2012回顧・世界 国際舞台の役者が出そろった(12月30日付・読売社説)

The year 2012 saw presidential elections and leadership changes in several major countries.
 2012年は、主要国で大統領選や指導部交代が相次いだ。

These big upheavals in international politics were also prominent in this year's top 10 overseas news events selected by Yomiuri Shimbun readers.
 読売新聞の読者が選んだ「海外10大ニュース」にも、国際政治の大きな変化が読みとれる。

The biggest international story of 2012, as chosen by our readers, was Barack Obama's reelection as U.S. president.
 1位は、「米大統領選でオバマ氏が再選」だった。

Although the world is said to be heading toward an era of multipolarization, the United States' economic strength and unmatched military might ensure it remains the world's most influential superpower.
 多極化が進む世界とはいえ、経済力、軍事力で群を抜く米国は、依然として最も影響力がある超大国だ。

A string of preelection debates between Obama of the Democratic Party and Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, were closely watched by people around the world.
民主党のオバマ大統領と共和党のロムニー候補の論戦は、世界中が注目した。

The Obama administration's top priority is keeping the U.S. economic recovery on track while rebuilding deficit-ridden government finances.
 オバマ政権の最優先課題は、景気対策と財政再建の両立である。

During his first term, Obama hammered out a diplomatic strategy that placed greater emphasis on Asia. This will significantly shape the future of Japan-U.S. relations.
1期目で打ち出したアジア重視の外交戦略は、今後の日米関係を方向づけるだろう。

===

Little good news on China

Taking second place in Yomiuri readers' lineup of overseas stories was the change in the top echelons of the Chinese Communist Party.
 2位は、中国共産党のトップ交代だ。

Xi Jinping has been selected as the party's general secretary.
総書記に習近平氏が選出された。

The Japanese public's interest in the Chinese leadership reached new heights, undoubtedly because China has been ramping up pressure on Japan over the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands.
中国指導部への関心がかつてなく強いのは、尖閣諸島をめぐり、中国が日本に露骨な圧力を加えているからにほかならない。

Some protests that erupted in cities in China against the Japanese government's decision to nationalize some of the Senkakus turned violent, and some Japanese companies operating there suffered heavy financial and physical damage. Despite 2012 marking the 40th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral diplomatic ties, there were few bright spots in Tokyo-Beijing relations.
 日本の尖閣諸島国有化に抗議するデモが暴徒化し、日本企業に大きな損害を与えるなど、国交樹立40周年の日中関係に明るいニュースは乏しかった。

In Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency, a story that ranked sixth among our readers. Putin has committed to bolstering Russia's national strength by beefing up economic relations with nations in Asia.
 ロシアではプーチン首相が大統領の座に返り咲いた(6位)。アジアとの経済関係を強化し、国力向上を図ろうとしている。

Near the end of 2012, Park Geun Hye won South Korea's presidential election. This ranked 20th in the list of overseas events. We will closely watch how Park, South Korea's first female president, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe try to improve Tokyo-Seoul relations.
 年末の韓国大統領選(20位)で、朴槿恵氏が当選した。初の女性大統領と安倍首相が、日韓関係をどう改善するかを注視したい。

These new leaders are now free from the stifling pressure of their election races. We urge them to address a range of problems next year without being excessively focused on domestic affairs, and deepen international cooperation.
 「指導者選び」の重圧を経た各国首脳には来年、内向きな発想を脱して諸課題に取り組み、国際協調を深めてもらいたい。

===

North Korea's isolation deepens

In North Korea, Kim Jong Un, the third son of Kim Jong Il, the general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea who died late last year, took the post of first secretary of the ruling party. Our readers chose this as the third-biggest international story of 2012. In an apparent bid to solidify the power base of the third-generation leader's regime, North Korea defiantly fired missiles in April and December.
 北朝鮮では、昨年死去した金正日総書記の後継として三男正恩氏が、朝鮮労働党第1書記に就任した(3位)。3代世襲の新体制を固めるように、4月と12月にミサイル発射を強行した。

It is a cause of strong concern that North Korea has further isolated itself from the international community.
 北朝鮮が、国際的孤立を深めているのは大きな懸念材料だ。

By contrast, Myanmar President Thein Sein has pushed ahead with a democratization process and repaired relations with the global community. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's victory in a parliamentary by-election, which ranked fifth in the Yomiuri readers' selection, is symbolic of this change.
 ミャンマーは対照的に、テイン・セイン大統領が民主化を進め、国際社会との関係を修復した。野党指導者アウン・サン・スー・チー氏が議会補選で当選した(5位)のは象徴的だ。

In Europe, there was happy news such as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II's 60th jubilee, which ranked fourth, mixed with gloomy developments such as Europe's fiscal and financial crises worsening to the extent that Spain had to request financial assistance from the eurozone, which ranked 10th.
 欧州では、英エリザベス女王の即位60年の祝賀行事(4位)という明るい話題の一方で、財政・金融危機が長期化し、スペインがユーロ圏に金融支援を要請した(10位)。

Next year, all eyes will be on how Europe's economic situation unfolds.
欧州経済の動向は来年も目が離せない。

Ranking eighth was Syria's protracted civil war between the regime of President Bashar Assad and antigovernment forces.
 シリアでは、アサド政権と反体制派の間の内戦が泥沼化した(8位)。

Repercussions from the Arab Spring uprisings are still shaking the Middle East.
「アラブの春」のうねりはなおも中東を揺るがしている。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 30, 2012)
(2012年12月30日01時17分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月30日 (日)

2012回顧・日本 再生への希望が芽生えた年

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 30, 2012)
Positive events in 2012 set stage for nation's recovery
2012回顧・日本 再生への希望が芽生えた年(12月29日付・読売社説)

Many readers must have gained hope and courage from the bright news stories of 2012.
 明るい話題に、希望や勇気をもらった人が多かったのだろう。

Among this year's top 10 domestic news stories selected by Yomiuri Shimbun readers, the awarding of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Kyoto University Prof. Shinya Yamanaka headed the list. The opening of Tokyo Skytree ranked second, followed by the winning of a record number of medals by Japanese athletes at the London Olympics.
 読売新聞の読者が選ぶ今年の「日本10大ニュース」の1位は、「ノーベル生理学・医学賞に山中教授」だった。
 「東京スカイツリーの開業」が2位、「ロンドン五輪、史上最多のメダル」が3位に入った。

Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells developed by Yamanaka have contributed greatly to medical progress toward realizing the regeneration of damaged organs.
 山中伸弥京都大教授が開発したiPS細胞(人工多能性幹細胞)は、傷んだ臓器などの再生医療を実現へ大きく動かした。

However, after it was announced he had won the award, Yamanaka said, "I haven't saved even one patient yet [with my iPS technology]." The professor's humble and sincere attitude favorably impressed many people.
「まだ一人の患者も救っていませんから」。受賞が決まった後の山中氏の謙虚で誠実な姿勢も好感を呼んだ。

Tokyo Skytree has attracted 28 million visitors in the six months since it opened to the public in May. The 634-meter Skytree is the world's tallest free-standing broadcast tower.
 東京スカイツリーは5月の開業から半年で約2800万人の入場者を集めた。634メートルは自立式電波塔では世界一の高さだ。

If Tokyo Tower, the second-tallest tower in Japan, is a symbol of Japan's past rapid economic growth, what will the popular Tokyo Skytree come to symbolize?
東京タワーが高度成長の象徴ならば、スカイツリーはどんなシンボルとして親しまれていくのだろうか。

===

Good news in sports

Japanese athletes won a record 38 medals--including seven gold medals--at the Summer Olympic Games held in London. In women's wrestling, Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho grabbed their third consecutive Olympic golds. And many female athletes such as members of the Nadeshiko Japan women's soccer team and volleyball and table tennis players performed superbly.
 ロンドン五輪で日本選手団は、金7個を含む38個のメダルを獲得した。レスリングの吉田沙保里選手、伊調馨選手が五輪3連覇を達成した。なでしこジャパンのサッカー、バレーボール、卓球など女子選手が見事な活躍を見せた。

In eighth place on the list of top 10 domestic stories was the Yomiuri Giants' winning of the Japan Series, marking the team's first championship in three years and its 22nd overall.
 プロ野球の「巨人3年ぶり22度目の日本一」は8位に入った。

Meanwhile, Hideki Matsui, who had been a Giants slugger for many years, announced his retirement Thursday. Matsui hit a total of 507 home runs while playing for the Giants, the New York Yankees and other major league teams, and won the World Series MVP award with the Yankees in 2009. Fans will take his dynamic batting style deep into their hearts.
 その巨人の主砲を長く務めた松井秀喜選手が27日、引退を表明した。巨人や米大リーグ・ヤンキースなどで507本塁打を放ち、ワールドシリーズの最優秀選手にも選ばれた。豪快な打撃はファンの心に深く刻まれよう。

The general election held in December, which resulted in the inauguration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet, ranked fourth on the list of top 10 stories. Former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda promised the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito he would dissolve the House of Representatives "sometime soon" in return for their cooperation in passing bills related to the comprehensive reform of social security and taxation systems, which ranked 16th in the list of top domestic news stories. Noda kept his promise and dissolved the lower house, but his Democratic Party of Japan suffered a crushing defeat in the general election.
 安倍内閣の発足につながる「師走の衆院選挙」は4位だった。民主党は、野田前首相が社会保障と税の一体改革(16位)と引き換えに、「近いうち解散」に打って出た末の惨敗だった。

===

Change in government

The defeat ended the DPJ-led government's rule, which had lasted three years and three months.
3年3か月に及んだ民主党政権が終わった。

The DPJ-led administration caused confusion in management of such national issues as the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, and its election pledges fell through. Many voters must have concluded the DPJ was not qualified to run the country. Prime Minister Abe is expected to draft and carry out realistic polices, and to stably run the government.
 米軍普天間飛行場移設の問題などで迷走し、民主党の政権公約(マニフェスト)も破綻した。政権担当能力に欠けると多くの有権者は判断したのだろう。
 安倍首相には、現実的な政策の立案・実行と安定した政権運営が求められる。

In fifth place on the list was the deterioration of Japan-China relations resulting from Japan's nationalization of some of the Senkaku Islands. For instance, anti-Japanese demonstrators rioted and stormed Japanese firms in China. Improvement of the bilateral ties is a priority issue for the Abe Cabinet.
 尖閣諸島の国有化による日中関係の悪化も、5位と関心が高かった。中国では反日デモが暴徒化し、日本企業が襲われた。関係の改善は安倍内閣の重要課題である。

The collapse of ceiling panels in the Chuo Expressway's Sasago Tunnel in December, which killed nine people, ranked 7th. Aging infrastructure in the nation should be revamped as soon as possible.
 12月には中央道の笹子トンネル(山梨県)の天井板が崩落し、9人が死亡する大惨事が起きた(7位)。老朽化したインフラ(社会基盤)の改修も急ぎたい。

We would like to see 2013 become the turning point in the nation's steady recovery.
 日本が確実に再生の道へ歩み出す。来年をその節目にしたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 29, 2012)
(2012年12月29日01時20分  読売新聞)

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次官連絡会議 真の「政治主導」を確立したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 30, 2012)
Real 'politician-led politics' should be pursued
次官連絡会議 真の「政治主導」を確立したい(12月29日付・読売社説)

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has nearly consolidated a politician-led government scheme and the political rules it aims to establish.
 安倍政権が目指す「政治主導」の仕組みとルールが固まりつつある。

It must set up a system that will allow politicians and bureaucrats to cooperate in making policy decisions and implementing them swiftly. To this end, restoring the relationship between politicians and bureaucrats, which was strained under the Democratic Party of Japan-led government, is indispensable.
 政治家と官僚が連携して、迅速に政策を決定、実行する体制を築かなければならない。そのためには、民主党政権で損なわれた政と官の関係修復が不可欠である。

At the first liaison meeting of top administrative officials of government ministries, Abe stressed, "We need to pursue real politician-led politics based on mutual trust between politicians and bureaucrats."
 安倍首相は、各府省の事務方トップを集めた「次官連絡会議」の初会合で「政官相互の信頼関係に基づく真の政治主導を推進する必要がある」と強調した。

This meeting, attended by officials at the vice minister level, is scheduled to be held every Friday after Cabinet meetings. It is aimed to work as a place where the ministries and the Cabinet Office share information and consider specific measures in line with Cabinet decisions.
 連絡会議は毎週金曜日の閣議後に開かれる。閣議が決めた方針に沿って、各府省が情報を共有し、具体策を検討する場となる。

The DPJ-led government scraped such a liaison meeting and excluded bureaucrats from policymaking. The rebuffed bureaucrats became less proactive and more apt to wait for instructions. This significantly deteriorated government functions.
 民主党政権は次官会議を廃止するなど、官僚を政策決定から排除した。その結果、官僚が萎縮して「指示待ち」の状態に陥り、政府の機能は著しく低下した。

Abe's move to facilitate cooperation within the government through such top bureaucrats is understandable. We regard it as reasonable that Abe aims to correct the inappropriate political leadership pursued by the DPJ, which acted like an opposition party and did not trust bureaucrats.
 安倍首相が次官を通じて政府内の連携を図ろうとする姿勢は理解できる。野党的感覚で官僚を信頼しなかった民主党の誤った政治主導を是正するのは当然である。

===

Division of roles

A document on the roles of politicians and bureaucrats, agreed on during an informal ministerial meeting, says bureaucrats are tasked with providing basic information and presenting policy choices, while politicians are responsible for making policy decisions.
 政府が閣僚懇談会で申し合わせた「政・官の在り方」とする文書は、官僚が基礎データや政策の選択肢を複数提示し、政治家は政策決定に責任を持つとしている。

Unless politicians and bureaucrats divide their responsibilities and cooperate with each other, the government cannot work effectively on risk management, disaster responses and other state affairs.
 政治家と官僚が役割を分担し、協力し合わなければ、危機管理や災害対応などで政府が総力を挙げることはできない。

It is also rational for the Abe administration to resume regular press conferences by top administrative officials, another practice that was discontinued under the DPJ-led government. Previously, there had never appeared to be any problems with bureaucrats assisting ministers by holding press briefings to explain issues at the practical level.
 民主党政権が廃止した次官の記者会見を復活させるのも妥当だ。本来、官僚が記者会見での実務の説明を通じて閣僚を補佐することは何の問題もなかった。

Meanwhile, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will reinstate procedures for submitting government-sponsored bills, allowing its General Council and divisions concerned of its Policy Research Council to examine and approve the bills in advance. The LDP Research Commission on the Tax System also will take the initiative in formulating government tax policies.
 一方、自民党は、政府提出法案などに関し、政務調査会の各担当部会と、総務会が事前に審査・了承する手続きを再開する。税制も党税制調査会がリードする。

Such a decision-making process led by a political party makes it easy for politicians to shape policies that reflect the opinions of their constituents and industries concerned, but the measures could be distorted by such opinions. Swift policy decisions are likely to be difficult if the Policy Research Council divisions have clashing interests.
 こうした党主導の意思決定は、関連する業界や地元の意見を反映しやすい反面、その意向に政策がゆがめられる恐れもある。各部会の利害が対立する場合は、迅速な政策決定が難しい。

===

LDP to be tested over TPP

One noted example of this is the LDP's stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
 その一つが環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への態度決定だ。

Japan Agricultural Cooperatives and other entities oppose the multinational free trade framework. Over the TPP issue, the Foreign Ministry and the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry are also confronting the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry. Unless consensus is reached among lawmakers with different interests, the government will be unable to decide on Japan's participation in TPP negotiations.
 農協などが強く反対し、外務、経済産業両省と農林水産省も対立している。関係議員間の利害調整ができなければ、政府はTPP参加を決められまい。

Key policies that would affect national interests should be discussed from a broader perspective such as by the government's Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, and then be decided at the initiative of Prime Minister's Office.
 国益にかかわる重要政策は、経済財政諮問会議などの場で大所高所から議論して、首相官邸主導で決断すべきである。

Meanwhile, the LDP and its coalition partner New Komeito will also launch a liaison council as a consultative body of the government and ruling parties. We hope they will closely communicate with each other.
 政府・与党の協議機関として、「政府・与党連絡会議」も設置される。自民、公明両党は緊密な意思疎通を心掛けてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 29, 2012)
(2012年12月29日01時21分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月29日 (土)

安倍外交 日米「基軸」で隣国関係改善を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 29, 2012)
Use pact with U.S. as linchpin to improve ties with neighbors
安倍外交 日米「基軸」で隣国関係改善を(12月28日付・読売社説)

 ◆同盟強化へ防衛指針を改定せよ◆

A little more than three years of administration by the Democratic Party of Japan has knocked Japan's diplomacy into a serious tailspin. How can it get back on course?
 3年余の民主党政権下で大きく後退した日本外交をどう立て直すのか。

This is a task of great importance that the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must address with everything in its power.
 安倍内閣が全力で取り組むべき重要課題だ。

Abe is scheduled to make a trip to the United States as early as January to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama. The prime minister's visit to Washington appears in line with Abe's belief that strengthening the alliance between Japan and the United States should be the first step toward reconstructing relations with its neighbors, such as China and South Korea.
 安倍首相は来月中にも米国を訪問し、オバマ大統領と会談する。日米同盟の強化が、中国、韓国など近隣国との関係を再構築する第一歩と考えるからだ。

Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama threw the issue of relocating functions of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture off course, causing confusion and disruption in Japan-U.S. ties.
 鳩山元首相が米軍普天間飛行場の移設問題を迷走させ、日米同盟を混乱させた。

As though availing themselves of the mix-up, China, South Korea and Russia have each tried to knock Japan off balance over territorial problems.
その間隙(かんげき)を突くように、中国、韓国、ロシアが領土問題で日本を揺さぶった――。

Such is the common perception among people concerned with diplomatic issues regarding Japan's foreign policy situation.
多くの外交関係者の共通理解だ。

===

Create a road map for security
 ◆安保課題の工程表作れ◆

The problem is how to hammer out and implement specific measures for beefing up the Japan-U.S. alliance.
 問題は、日米同盟を強化する具体策である。

In its platform for the latest House of Representatives election, the Liberal Democratic Party incorporated such pledges as enabling Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense and again revising the Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation Guidelines.
自民党は衆院選の政権公約に、集団的自衛権の行使容認や防衛協力指針(ガイドライン)再改定などを盛り込んだ。

Both are tasks of key significance that the Abe administration must accomplish. Setting an order of priority for steadily tackling them will help to resolidify the Tokyo-Washington alliance.
 いずれも実現すべき安全保障の課題である。一つひとつに優先順位をつけ、着実に取り組むことが同盟関係をより強固にしよう。

Expansion of the defense budget, which has been shrinking for 10 consecutive years, is a matter of urgency. The Abe Cabinet should take this into account in compiling a state budget for fiscal 2013.
 10年連続で減少している防衛費の拡充は急務だ。来年度予算編成で考慮する必要がある。

Regarding the planned defense guideline revision for bolstering cooperation between the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military, bilateral consultations should be started at an early date to jointly study specifics.
 自衛隊と米軍の防衛協力を強化するガイドライン再改定についても、日米協議を早期に開始し、具体的な検討に入りたい。

Under the divided Diet, in which the ruling coalition controls the lower house but lacks a majority in the House of Councillors, it will be hard for the government to pass the set of bills Abe envisions to create a Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council.
 衆参ねじれ国会の下、首相が創設に意欲を見せる国家安全保障会議(日本版NSC)の関連法案の成立は簡単ではない。

However, given that the opposition DPJ also has an idea similar to Abe's, the government would be well advised to call for joint consultations on the matter between the ruling and opposition blocs.
だが、民主党も同様の構想を持つ。与野党協議を呼びかけてはどうか。

But when it comes to solving the collective self-defense right issue, it will be difficult to bridge the gaps in views between the LDP, its coalition partner New Komeito and the Cabinet Legislation Bureau. It would be realistic for the government to place priority first on deepening discussions within the ruling camp by setting a goal of accomplishing the task after next summer's upper house election.
 集団的自衛権の問題は、公明党や内閣法制局との調整が難関となる。来夏の参院選後の実現を目指し、まずは与党内でしっかりと議論を深めるのが現実的だろう。

When Abe visits the United States, the issue of Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact will certainly be high on the agenda. To ensure Japan's national interests are not marred, the government must be determined to take part in the TPP talks as early as possible.
 安倍首相の訪米時には、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)参加問題が重要議題となろう。日本の国益を確保するため、極力早期に交渉参加を決断すべきだ。

The Futenma problem, which has remained stalled for many years, is now heading into a crucial stretch.
 長年の懸案である普天間問題も正念場を迎えている。

Construction of an alternative facility for the Futenma Air Station can never be undertaken without permission from Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima for land reclamation required for the project.
 普天間飛行場の代替施設の建設には、沖縄県の仲井真弘多知事の埋め立て許可が不可欠だ。

It is of especially high importance for the government to obtain understanding from a wider range of local people to create an environment in which it would be easier for Nakaima--who has been calling for Futenma's "relocation outside our prefecture"--to change his mind in favor of relocating it within the prefecture.
地元関係者の理解を広げ、「県外移設」を主張する知事が翻意しやすい環境を整えることが大切である。

Relations between Japan and China have been tense ever since the government decision in September to nationalize some of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
 日中両国は、今年9月の尖閣諸島の国有化以降、険しい対立関係にある。

An abnormal situation ensued, with Chinese government surveillance ships sailing in waters close to the Senkakus day after day.
中国政府船が連日、尖閣諸島周辺で示威活動を繰り返す異常な状況が続いている。

===

Seek mutual benefit with China
 ◆中国と「互恵」を再構築◆

Of course, Japan should not make any concession to China on its territorial sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands. Even so, it would be seriously detrimental to the interests of both sides if the entire bilateral relationship is kept in a stalemate by this issue alone.
 無論、日本は、尖閣諸島の領有権に関しては一切の譲歩をすべきではない。ただ、この問題だけで日中関係全体が停滞することは、双方にとって大きな損失だ。

When Abe visited China six years ago, he succeeded in reaching an agreement with China to build a "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests" by refraining from making a definitive statement on whether he had visited or would visit Yasukuni Shrine. There must be a way to achieve a breakthrough even on diplomatic issues that are difficult to solve, if they are included as part of a wider scope of negotiations.
 安倍首相は6年前の訪中で、靖国神社参拝問題に明確な結論を出さずに、「戦略的互恵関係」を目指すことで中国と一致した。解決が困難な外交問題も、より大きな交渉の一部に包含することで、打開できる道はあるはずだ。

This time, for instance, the government could make the Senkaku issue a subject for continued discussion, while it seeks a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests. Through such an approach to negotiations, Japan can aim at reaching a comprehensive agreement with the Xi Jinping administration. The Japanese government must mobilize all of its wisdom to do so.
 今回も、例えば、尖閣問題は継続協議にしておく一方、戦略的互恵関係を追求することで習近平指導部と包括的な合意を図るなど、知恵を絞らねばならない。

For that purpose, it would be realistic for the government to shelve for the time being hard-line measures such as the "permanent stationing of government officials" on the Senkaku Islands, raised by the LDP in its list of policy measures to be studied.
 そのため、自民党が政策集の検討項目に掲げた尖閣諸島での「公務員の常駐」などの強硬策は当面、棚上げにするのが現実的だ。

"Assertive diplomacy," the slogan Abe raised on dealing with issues including territorial problems, is far better than "unassertive diplomacy." However, it will be meaningless if making assertions becomes an end unto itself.
 安倍首相が領土問題などで掲げる「主張する外交」は、「主張しない外交」と比べれば、はるかに良いが、主張すること自体が目的化しては意味がない。

What the new administration should aim at is a "diplomacy that produces achievements" through both hard and soft measures, sometimes seeking ways to solve problems in a levelheaded manner.
 目指すべきは、時には静かに解決策を模索するなど、硬軟両様で「結果を出す外交」である。

The government must also hasten improvements of relations with South Korea.
 韓国との関係の改善も、急がなければならない。

The change in administration from President Lee Myung Bak, who defiantly set foot on the Takeshima islands, which are Japanese territory, to Park Geun Hye is a good chance to improve bilateral ties. We think it is quite appropriate that Abe is thinking about sending a special envoy to Park.
 竹島訪問を強行した李明博大統領から朴槿恵氏への交代は、その好機である。安倍首相が特使の派遣を検討しているのは妥当だ。

To effectively face North Korea, which has been continuing its nuclear weapons development program, and China, which has been pursuing the road to military superpower status, close cooperation with South Korea, in addition to the United States, is indispensable.
 核開発を進める北朝鮮や、軍事大国化する中国に効果的に向き合うには、米国に加え、韓国との緊密な連携が欠かせない。

===

Seek progress on abduction issue
 ◆新政権で「拉致」進展を◆

Concerning Japan's relations with North Korea, scheduled bureau chief-level talks were postponed due to the North's ballistic missile launch this month.
 日朝関係は、今月の北朝鮮の弾道ミサイル発射で、予定されていた局長級協議が延期された。

To end the deadlock over the problem of Japanese nationals abducted to North Korea, it is essential for the government to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the first secretary of the country's Workers' Party of Korea, that Japan is a country worth negotiating with.
 膠着(こうちゃく)状態にある日本人拉致問題の前進には、日本が交渉に値する相手だと北朝鮮の金正恩第1書記に確信させることが不可欠だ。

With the opportunity presented by the transition from the DPJ-led administration, which had produced various kinds of confusion and turmoil, to the Abe administration, the government must strengthen its calls on North Korea along with a "dialogue and pressure" approach.
 混乱が続いた民主党政権から安倍政権への移行を契機に、「対話と圧力」路線に沿って北朝鮮への働きかけを強めねばならない。

In relations with Russia, the government intends to dispatch former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who has close relations with President Vladimir Putin, to Russia around February, with an eye toward Abe's visit to the country later on.
 ロシアについて政府は、来年2月ごろにプーチン大統領と親しい森元首相を派遣し、その後の安倍首相の訪露につなげる考えだ。

Putin places importance on relations with Japan and has a zeal to solve the northern territories issue. It is important for Japan to advance both the territorial issue and cooperation on energy through repeated dialogues at various levels.
 大統領は対日関係を重視し、北方領土問題の解決にも意欲を持っている。様々なレベルで対話を重ね、領土問題やエネルギー協力を進展させることが重要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 28, 2012)
(2012年12月28日01時30分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月28日 (金)

第2次安倍内閣 危機突破へ政権の総力挙げよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 28, 2012)
Abe must work wholeheartedly to lead nation out of crisis
第2次安倍内閣 危機突破へ政権の総力挙げよ(12月27日付・読売社説)

 ◆「強い経済」取り戻す知恵が要る◆

Defeating deflation, continuing with post-disaster reconstruction, overhauling nuclear power policy, and rebuilding foreign policy--Japan is faced with many challenges.
However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's determination to resolve these issues was reflected in his choice of Cabinet ministers.
 デフレからの脱却、震災復興、原発政策の再構築、外交立て直し――。日本が直面する難問を解決しようという意欲のうかがえる布陣だ。

The second Abe Cabinet was formed Wednesday, making Abe the second politician since the end of World War II to make a comeback as prime minister, following Shigeru Yoshida (1878-1967).
 第2次安倍内閣が発足した。戦後、首相の再登板は吉田茂以来2人目である。

"I would like to gain the trust of the public by producing results as soon as possible," Abe said at a press conference after being elected prime minister.
 安倍首相は就任後の記者会見で「一日も早く結果を出すことで信頼を得たい」と強調した。

Abe's first Cabinet broke up five years ago after only a short period in office. Has he learned from the bitter experience? The spotlight is now on whether he can put his policies into practice.
短命政権に終わった5年前の苦い経験を教訓に政策実現能力が問われる。

Abe has said his Cabinet's reason for being is to "break through the national crisis." We hope the new prime minister can lead the nation out of the dead end it has found itself in.
「危機突破内閣」の看板通り、閉塞状況を打開してもらいたい。

===

Use bureaucrats to full potential
 ◆「霞が関」を使いこなせ◆

Political heavyweights including former Prime Minister Taro Aso, former Liberal Democratic Party President Sadakazu Tanigaki and former New Komeito Chief Representative Akihiro Ota gained spots in the Cabinet alongside midranking and junior lawmakers close to Abe, such as Takumi Nemoto, the new state minister for disaster reconstruction.
 閣僚には、自民党の麻生元首相や谷垣禎一前総裁、公明党の太田昭宏前代表ら重鎮が並んだ。根本匠復興相ら首相に近い中堅・若手の登用も目立つ。

Abe built his Cabinet around a close confidant in choosing former LDP Acting Secretary General Yoshihide Suga as chief cabinet secretary. Hiroshige Seko, another Abe ally and former chairman of the LDP Policy Board in the House of Councillors, was appointed deputy chief secretary. Isao Iijima, who served as parliamentary secretary under former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, was made a special adviser to the Cabinet.
 内閣の要となる官房長官に腹心の菅義偉前幹事長代行、官房副長官には世耕弘成前参院政審会長ら側近を据えた。内閣官房参与に小泉元首相の政務秘書官を務めた飯島勲氏を起用している。

His appointments in the Cabinet Secretariat show Abe's desire to strengthen the collective power of his administration based on the leadership of the Cabinet Office, as well as to enhance the office's crisis-management capabilities.
 首相官邸を中心にしたチーム力と大災害時などの危機管理能力を高めるのが狙いだろう。

The administrations led by the Democratic Party of Japan sailed under the slogan "politics led by politicians," but they failed to understand the true meaning of the phrase. The Abe administration must make a clear distinction between it and the DPJ administrations by making use of the bureaucracy.
We ask Abe to exploit the full potential of the Kasumigaseki bureaucrats.
 民主党政権の誤った「政治主導」とは一線を画し、官僚機構を十二分に使いこなして、霞が関の機能を引き出すことが大切だ。

The Abe Cabinet's top priority will be reviving the economy. Cabinet ministers who are expected to play a central role in this include Aso, who is deputy prime minister, finance minister and state minister for financial services; Akira Amari, state minister for economic revitalization; and Toshimitsu Motegi, the economy, trade and industry minister.
 安倍内閣の最重要課題は、日本経済の再生である。麻生太郎副総理・財務・金融相、甘利明経済再生相、茂木敏充経済産業相の3閣僚が、その中核を担う。

All three are known as expert policymakers and have chaired the party's Policy Research Council. We hope they will swiftly draw up effective measures to jump-start the economy.
 いずれも政調会長を経験した政策通である。実効性のある政策を迅速に打ち出してほしい。

===

Govt bodies to revive economy
 ◆司令塔を機能させたい◆

The new administration needs to steadily raise the consumption tax rate to obtain enough revenue to fund social security programs. However, the administration must first compile a supplementary budget large enough to buoy the economy, which is showing signs of further decline.
 社会保障財源を確保するため、消費税率を着実に引き上げていく必要がある。それには、後退色を強める景気を下支えする大規模な補正予算の編成が急務だ。

Abe has said he will revive the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, a government panel that was idled under the DPJ, and establish a new body tentatively named Japan's economic revitalization headquarters. The prime minister must steer these two organs effectively so they can play a leading role in economic policy.
 経済再生に向けて、首相は経済財政諮問会議を復活させ、新たに日本経済再生本部を置く。二つの組織を経済の司令塔として、しっかり機能させねばならない。

The administration of former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda pledged to achieve "zero nuclear power" in the 2030s, a policy that endangers the stability of the power supply and will accelerate the hollowing-out of the domestic industrial sector. We urge the Abe administration to annul this policy and come up with practical nuclear and energy policies.
 野田政権の「2030年代に原発稼働ゼロ」の方針では電力の安定供給が揺らぎ、産業空洞化も加速する。これを早急に撤回し、現実的な原発・エネルギー政策を再構築すべきである。

With our society graying, birthrate low and population decreasing, shrinkage of domestic demand is unavoidable for the medium term. Japan must join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework to spur economic growth.
 少子高齢化と人口減で中期的には国内需要の縮小が避けられない。日本の成長に弾みをつけるには環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への参加を決断するしかない。

We have high hopes that Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi will play a pivotal role in enhancing the international competitiveness of the agriculture industry, a necessary part of preparing to further open the domestic market.
 林芳正農相は、一層の市場開放に備え、農業の国際競争力を強化する重要な役割を担う。

It is also essential for the Abe administration to improve the nation's aging infrastructure and implement disaster-management measures. Keiji Furuya, state minister for disaster management, will be in charge of "strengthening national land"--one of the key policies of the new Cabinet.
 老朽化したインフラ(社会基盤)の整備と防災対策も欠かせない。古屋圭司防災相が目玉政策の「国土強靱(きょうじん)化」を担当する。

Needless to say, it should not be forgotten that the nation's finances have been seriously dependent on borrowing. The Abe Cabinet has to come up with effective methods of public investment so that we will not pass on any further heavy burdens to future generations.
 無論、日本が深刻な借金財政に陥っていることも忘れてはなるまい。将来世代にこれ以上重いツケを回さないよう、効率的な公共投資を工夫することが肝要だ。

To make the nation's social security system sustainable, it is inevitable to cut benefit payments. Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Norihisa Tamura will be tested on handling the issue as a social security expert.
 社会保障制度を持続可能にするには給付の削減は避けられない。社会保障の専門家である田村憲久厚生労働相の手腕が問われる。

The post of foreign minister has been assumed by Fumio Kishida, a former state minister for Okinawa Prefecture affairs. Progress will not be made on the issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in the prefecture unless Kishida can restore trust with the prefecture, a condition that was seriously damaged by the administration of former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama from the DPJ.
 外相には、岸田文雄元沖縄相が就任した。鳩山政権が著しく損なった沖縄県との信頼関係を回復しなければ、米軍普天間飛行場の移設問題は前進しない。

It is reasonable for Abe to appoint Kishida as foreign minister, as he is knowledgeable on situations facing Okinawa Prefecture and is said to have a relationship of trust with Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima.
 沖縄県の事情に通じ、仲井真弘多知事とも一定の信頼関係があると言われる岸田氏の起用は妥当だと言えよう。

Named as defense minister was Itsunori Onodera, former parliamentary senior vice minister for foreign affairs.
 防衛相には小野寺五典元外務副大臣が起用された。

Over the dispute on the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, China has sent not only its vessels to intrude into Japanese waters, but also an airplane to violate the nation's airspace. Dealing with China--which has been seeking to expand its economic and military might--is the Abe Cabinet's top priority in the diplomatic and security field.
 尖閣諸島を巡って中国は、領海だけでなく、領空まで侵犯した。経済、軍事両面で膨張路線をとる中国とどう向き合うかは外交・安全保障の最重要課題だ。

The new prime minister has to establish a flexible, shrewd strategy by working closely with Kishida and Onodera.
 首相は岸田、小野寺両氏と十分連携し、柔軟で、したたかな戦略を打ち立てる必要がある。

===

LDP seeks to renew itself
 ◆自公民路線は堅持を◆

Meanwhile, the lineup of the LDP's new party leadership is attracting attention as two of its three key executives posts have been given to women: Sanae Takaichi has been named chairwoman of the Policy Research Council, while Seiko Noda has been given the post of chairwoman of the General Council.
 一方、自民党の新執行部体制では、高市早苗政調会長、野田聖子総務会長という女性2人の党三役への登用が注目される。

The appointments aim to make the two women part of the face of the party along with Shigeru Ishiba--who is being retained as secretary general and is especially popular in less urban areas--for the upcoming upper house election next summer. Abe said the changes in the LDP can be signaled by the two female members assuming the key posts.
 地方で人気のある石破幹事長とともに来夏の参院選で「党の顔」とすることを狙った人事だ。自民党の変化を示すものだという。

However, such an image alone cannot help restore public confidence in the LDP. The party is urged to make further efforts and assume a humble attitude to move the nation's politics forward. Otherwise, the LDP could follow the path Abe warned of: "We'll become a cheap, old LDP as soon as we begin to rely only on party traditions."
 だが、イメージだけでは党に対する国民の信頼は回復しない。政治を前に動かすために、一層の努力と謙虚な姿勢が求められる。首相が言う通り、「伝統にあぐらをかけば、あっという間に陳腐な古い自民党と化す」だろう。

The Diet remains divided until the next upper house election. The LDP, Komeito and the DPJ should maintain their framework of cooperation regarding the integrated reform of the social security and tax systems.
 参院選までは衆参のねじれが続く。社会保障と税の一体改革の実現に向けて、自公民3党の協力路線を堅持していくべきである。

We are fed up with political indecisiveness. We hope Abe will manage his government in a different way than previous administrations.
 「決められない政治」はもううんざりだ。これまでとは次元の違う政権運営を期待したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 27, 2012)
(2012年12月27日01時09分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月27日 (木)

海江田民主代表 抵抗だけの野党には戻るな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 27, 2012)
DPJ must help create beneficial policies
海江田民主代表 抵抗だけの野党には戻るな(12月26日付・読売社説)

Former economy and industry minister Banri Kaieda has emerged victorious over former land and infrastructure minister Sumio Mabuchi in the Democratic Party of Japan's presidential election.
 民主党代表選で、海江田万里元経済産業相が馬淵澄夫元国土交通相との一騎打ちを制した。

As the new DPJ leader, Kaieda is burdened with the difficult task of rebuilding the party after its crushing defeat in the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election.
 新代表として、衆院選で惨敗した党を立て直す重責を担う。

The DPJ should not go back to opposing policies proposed by the ruling bloc merely for the sake of opposition. Based on its experience as a ruling party, the DPJ should cooperate with the Liberal Democratic Party and its expected coalition partner New Komeito to carry out policies that will serve national interests.
 反対するだけの野党に戻ってはなるまい。政権を担当した経験を踏まえ、国益に資する政策については、自民、公明両党に協力する姿勢が求められる。

Kaieda garnered more than 60 percent of votes cast by DPJ Diet members in the presidential election. His support base grew after he secured endorsements from Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi and Policy Research Committee Chairman Goshi Hosono.
 海江田氏は、代表選で党所属議員の6割超の票を獲得した。輿石幹事長や細野政調会長の支援を受け、支持が広がった。

The party perhaps hopes that Kaieda, who is well-versed in economic policy, will serve as a counterweight to LDP President Shinzo Abe in his plans to put top priority on reviving the economy.
 日本経済の再生を最重要課題に掲げる自民党の安倍総裁に対抗する上で、経済政策通の海江田氏の手腕が期待されたのだろう。

Antipathy toward leading elements of the DPJ, including the groups led by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Seiji Maehara, state minister for national policy, also worked to Kaieda's advantage. When he ran in the party presidential poll that elected Noda in August last year, Kaieda received support from the group led by former party chief Ichiro Ozawa and other groups.
 民主党内の主流派だった野田首相や前原国家戦略相のグループへの反発も、海江田氏には有利に働いた。昨夏の代表選で海江田氏は、野田氏に対抗し、小沢一郎元代表らの支援を受けたからだ。

===

A test of leadership

Kaieda was criticized as unfit to lead due to flip-flopping over an agreement with the LDP and Komeito to review the DPJ's manifesto for the 2009 general election.
 その際、民主党の政権公約(マニフェスト)見直しに関する自公両党との合意を巡り、海江田氏は安易に立場を変えるなど、政策のブレが目立ち、リーダーとしての資質に疑問を持たれた。

As economy, trade and industry minister during the Kan administration, he once became teary-eyed when he was pressed in the Diet by an opposition lawmaker.
 菅内閣の経産相当時には、野党の国会質問に対して答えに窮し、涙を見せたこともある。

Kaieda now must dispel these negative impressions by proving he is a strong leader.
 こうした負のイメージを払拭するため、強い指導力を発揮できるかどうかが問われる。

Regarding Diet business for the moment, the DPJ needs to work with the LDP and Komeito in implementing the integrated reform of the social security and tax systems that was agreed to under the DPJ-led administration.
 当面の国会対応では、民主党政権が自公両党と合意した社会保障と税の一体改革を着実に実行に移していくことが肝要だ。

We find it troubling that the DPJ lawmakers who nominated Kaieda included former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi and other party members who opposed raising the consumption tax rate.
 懸念されるのは、代表選で海江田氏の推薦人に、消費増税反対派の原口一博元総務相らが名を連ねたことだ。

Given the huge reduction in the number of DPJ lower house lawmakers, observers have pointed out that DPJ members in the House of Councillors--many of who are supported by labor unions--now have a greater voice in party affairs, which could strengthen the party's reliance on the unions.
衆院議員が激減したことで労組系議員が多い参院議員の発言力が増し、「党の労組依存体質が強まる」との見方もある。

===

Foster party integrity

In a news conference after being elected party president, Kaieda mentioned the need to cooperate with other opposition parties in preparation for next summer's upper house election.
 来年夏の参院選に向けて、海江田氏は記者会見で、他の野党との選挙協力が必要だと語った。

In addition to appointing Goshi Hosono as secretary general to make him the party's face in the run-up to the upper house poll, Kaieda intends to build his leadership team with an eye to fostering party unity. The emphasis on solidarity is understandable, but we fear this will only continue the DPJ's bad habit of slow policy formation and decision-making.
 新幹事長には「選挙の顔」となる細野氏を起用するほか、挙党態勢を築くため、幅広い人材を執行部入りさせる意向だ。党の結束を重視することは理解できるが、これまでのように政策や意思の決定が遅くなる可能性がある。

The new party leadership must reflect on the latest lower house election and the DPJ's three years and three months in power.
 衆院選と3年3か月に及んだ民主党政権を徹底的に総括することが欠かせない。

The DPJ of course needs to offer alternatives to the policies proposed by the LDP-Komeito coalition, but at the same time it must deepen intraparty debate on key issues, such as the Constitution and national security. It also needs to foster a culture that encourages members to support the policies adopted by party leaders.
 自公新政権への対案を積極的に提示するとともに、憲法や安全保障などの基本政策で党内論議を深めるべきだ。党執行部が決めた方針に議員が従う政党文化を育てる必要もあろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 26, 2012)
(2012年12月26日01時25分  読売新聞)

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自公連立合意 TPP先送りなら国益損ねる

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 27, 2012)
Delay in joining TPP talks will harm national interests
自公連立合意 TPP先送りなら国益損ねる(12月26日付・読売社説)

If the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito truly attach importance to the nation's best interests, they must not delay in deciding to participate in negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral trade agreement.
 国益を本当に重視するなら、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉に参加する決断を先送りしてはなるまい。

LDP President Shinzo Abe and Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi met Tuesday to sign an agreement on forming a coalition government. Their accord covers eight areas, including economic stimulus, diplomacy and security policies.
 自民党の安倍総裁と公明党の山口代表が会談し、景気・経済対策、外交安保など8項目の連立政権合意書に署名した。

The agreement says the coalition government "will promote free trade more than ever," but on the TPP specifically it stipulates that the new administration "will pursue the course that best serves the national interests."
 合意書は、「自由貿易をこれまで以上に推進する」としたうえ、TPPについて「国益にかなう最善の道を求める」と明記した。

In their campaign platforms for the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election, both the LDP and Komeito took a cautious stance on the TPP issue. The LDP said it "opposes taking part in the TPP talks if they are premised on abolishing tariffs without exception." Komeito said it "will create an environment [in the Diet] where full deliberations can take place."
 先の衆院選政権公約は、自民党が「聖域なき関税撤廃が前提なら反対」、公明党も「(国会で)十分審議できる環境をつくる」と、いずれも慎重だった。

The coalition agreement is a positive development if it leaves some room for participating in the talks.
連立合意は、TPP交渉参加に含みを持たせたのであれば、前向きな動きだ。

Eleven countries, including the United States and Australia, are trying to reach an agreement on the TPP by the end of next year. Japan failed to decide to join the TPP talks and fell behind Canada and Mexico.
 米豪など11か国は、来年中のTPP交渉の妥結を目指している。日本は参加に踏み切れず、カナダ、メキシコにも後れをとった。

Participating in the TPP talks would be an effective means to help the national economy grow through free trade, and strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance.
 自由貿易を通じた経済成長にも日米同盟の強化にも、TPP参加は有力な手段となるはずだ。

===

No time for caution

Some LDP members are eager to enter the TPP negotiations, pushing for the incoming government to announce Japan's participation during a visit by the prime minister to the United States early next year. However, others remain cautious, calling for a decision to be delayed until after the House of Councillors election next summer out of fear that the party may lose the farm vote.
 自民党内では、来年初めの首相訪米時の参加表明を求める積極論がある一方で、農業票の離反を恐れて来夏の参院選後に決断を先送りする慎重論も根強い。

We understand the LDP wants to focus on "driving safely" at least until the upper house poll, but it must remember that inaction that could delay joining the TPP talks reduces the country's say in trade and investment rules, which could harm the national interests.
 参院選前は「安全運転」に徹したい事情は理解できるが、交渉参加を遅らせる不作為は、日本の主張を貿易・投資ルールに盛り込む余地を狭め、結果的に国益を損ねることを忘れてはならない。

When it comes to a trade agreement, Japan can opt for pulling out of the negotiations or eventually rejecting the accord in the Diet if it is determined to go against the national interests. Assuming only bad scenarios even before joining the talks is not constructive. We urge the incoming government to announce at an early date that Japan will join the TPP negotiations.
 通商協定では、国益に反すると判断すれば、交渉過程で離脱することも、最終的に国会で承認しない選択もあり得る。交渉前から、悪いシナリオばかりを想定するのは建設的ではない。まずは早期に交渉参加を表明すべきだ。

===

Keep taxes simple

The coalition agreement states that discussions will be held on introducing reduced tax rates for food and other necessities as a measure to help low-income earners when the planned consumption tax hike goes into effect. This was a concession by the LDP to Komeito.
 連立合意は、消費税率引き上げ時の低所得者対策として、食料品などの軽減税率の導入を検討することを盛り込んだ。自民党が公明党に歩み寄ったものだ。

Such a system is simpler and clearer, as well as easier to understand than the Japanese version of the earned income tax credit proposed by the Democratic Party of Japan-led administraion. Applying the reduced tax rates to newspapers and books would help protect intellectual culture. We urge the LDP and Komeito to discuss and overcome problems such as how to decide what items should be subject to reduced tax rates.
 軽減税率は、民主党政権が主張する給付付き税額控除よりも簡明で、分かりやすい。新聞や書籍を対象とすれば、知的文化を守ることにつながる。対象品目の線引きなどの課題は、自公両党が十分協議し、克服してもらいたい。

On nuclear energy policy, the coalition agreement did not adopt the "zero-nuclear policy," which was in Komeito's election pledges, but instead called for the use of nuclear power for the time being. It said the coalition government "will reduce the nation's dependence on nuclear power plants."
 原発政策は、公明党が公約に掲げた「原発ゼロ」を採用せず、「原発依存度を減らす」との表現で当面の活用をうたった。

We commend the agreement for its realism, which will allow nuclear reactors to be reactivated once they have been confirmed safe.
安全が確認された原発の再稼働も容認し、現実的な内容と評価できる。

Abe has said he would review the DPJ-led administration's policy of not approving the construction of new nuclear power plants. It is essential to minimize negative impacts on the economy and employment, while also ensuring the safety of nuclear power plants.
 安倍氏は、原発新設を認めない民主党政権の方針を見直す考えも示している。経済・雇用への悪影響を最小限に抑えることと、原発の安全確保との両立が大切だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 26, 2012)
(2012年12月26日01時25分  読売新聞)

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カードローンを利用するときに確認すべき点

カードローンを利用するときに、我々が注意、確認すべき点が何点かございます。

1) 貸金業に登録されている会社かどうか確認する(大手の場合には不要です)
2) 貸付金利が法定金利の内側にあるかどうか確認する
3) 返済期間と返済計画の確認

2)の法定金利ですが、ちょっとややこしいのです。
法定金利には二種類あります。
利息制限法と出資法です。

利息制限法では法定金利は上限が15%~20%に制限されています。
ところが出資法では最高29.2%が法定金利として認められております。
この20%~30%の間の金利がいわゆるグレーゾーンと称されております。

通常の借金の場合、利息制限法の管理下にあるものと思われます。
ですが、お金に困窮してしまっている人たちは、ついつい、グレーゾーンや、あるいはそれ以上の金利でも飛びついてしまう傾向があるのです。人の弱みにつけ込む、高額金利を請求する金融業者からの借入は控えましょう。

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2012年12月26日 (水)

結婚は幸せの分岐点 結婚式の記念写真なら川崎のシモムラです

シンガーソングライター、さだまさしさんの歌が大好きです。
彼の歌に一貫して流れるモチーフは人間の生死感、生き様です。
秋の空のように透明が感抜群の美しい高音に魅了された人が多いのではないでしょうか。
私もその一人です。
その美しい歌声とは裏腹に、彼の歌は、人が生きるということの本質が刻まれているので、どうしても暗い雰囲気になってしまいます。

人間如何に生きるべきか?
永遠の課題で、高校では倫理社会の先生が、又大学では哲学の教授が頻繁にそのフレーズを口にしていました。
離婚を経験し、再婚して二人の娘たちを得た私にとって、生きるということは子育てに他なりません。
タイで思い切って再婚し、ようやく幸せというものを掴むことができました。

やはり、結婚式ですね。
結婚を境にして、運命が好転してきたような気がいたします。
結婚式といえば、結婚写真はとても大切なものなのです。
私はそれを二度も経験してしまいましたが、最初の結婚式ではプロの写真家に写真撮影していただきました。
タイでの結婚式は、東北地方の貧しい農家で式を挙げたので、写真は素人写真しか残っていません。

皆さんは日本なので立派な結婚写真が残せます。
川崎のスタジオシモムラは如何でしょうか。
撮影衣裳総数700着以上をほこり、創業73年の老舗です。

スタジオで使われる撮影機器や設備は現代最高水準です。
撮影機材は世界一と言われる機材を使用しているそうです。
写真の印画紙も銀園写真でプリントしていて写真のクオリティーに一流のこだわりがあります。
これなら、まさに一生ものですね。

スタジオシモムラ専属の美容師と晴れ着の着付師があなたのお手伝いします。
スタジオシモムラは、東京だけではなくて、横浜でも営業いたしております。
東京や横浜、どちらかあなたのご都合の良い場所を選択できるのも便利ではないでしょうか。

結婚写真は一生残る大切な思い出の一品(ひとしな)です。
是非、立派な結婚写真を残されますように。

結婚式の記念写真なら シモムラをお勧めいたします。

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格安航空会社 安全と信頼が飛躍につながる

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 26, 2012)
Budget airlines will grow through safety, quality
格安航空会社 安全と信頼が飛躍につながる(12月25日付・読売社説)

This year saw a flock of domestic low-cost carriers take to the skies. The budget airlines are fast becoming a presence in the air-travel market.
 今年相次いで運航を開始した国内の格安航空会社(LCC)が、存在感を増しつつある。

Thanks in part to their success in attracting customers who had never boarded a plane before, the acronym LCC was selected as one of the top buzzwords of the year.
 飛行機に乗ったことのない客層も掘り起こし、「LCC」は2012年の流行語大賞の一つに選ばれた。

The growth of budget airlines will prompt the high-cost aviation industry to become more efficient, while at the same time helping to stimulate the economy by bringing in tourists from other Asian countries where travel demand is strong. We sincerely hope these airlines will continue making giant leaps forward.
 LCCの進展は、高コスト体質の航空業界に効率化を促し、旅行需要が旺盛なアジアの観光客を取り込み、経済活性化につながる。さらなる飛躍を期待したい。

Peach Aviation, a subsidiary of All Nippon Airways based at Kansai Airport, has flown more than 1 million passengers since its launch in March.
 関西空港を拠点に3月から就航した全日本空輸系のピーチ・アビエーションは、利用客が100万人を突破した。

This summer saw the inauguration of two more domestic low-cost carriers, both based at Narita Airport--AirAsia Japan, a subsidiary of All Nippon Airways, and Jetstar Japan, partly owned by Japan Airlines.
夏には、成田空港が拠点の全日空系のエアアジア・ジャパン、日本航空系のジェットスター・ジャパンが参入した。

===

Low fares=packed flights

These low-cost carriers marked passenger occupancy rates around 90 percent during the Bon holiday period, exceeding the two major airlines JAL and ANA, which saw occupancy rates down to the 70 percent level. Seats on LCCs are reportedly almost all booked up for the New Year holiday season.
 お盆シーズンの搭乗率は軒並み90%前後と、70%台の大手2社を上回った。年末年始の予約状況もほぼ満席という。

The success of the budget carriers probably stems from having attracted such customers as students, elderly people and women with fares that are sometimes less than half what the major airlines charge.
 運賃を大手の半分以下に抑え、学生や高齢者、女性などの顧客層を開拓したことが功を奏したのだろう。

We salute the low-cost airlines for proving they can create demand by combining safety and reasonable prices.
安全と手頃な価格を両立させれば、需要創出が可能なことを実証した意味は大きい。

Nevertheless, the low-cost carriers still account for only about 3 percent of the nation's total passenger volume. Compared with their counterparts in the United States and Europe, which have about 30 percent, Japan's budget carriers still lag far behind.
 とはいえ、日本の旅客輸送量に占めるLCCの比率は3%程度に過ぎず、30%前後と高い欧米と比べると普及が遅れている。

Low-cost carriers need to expand their business efforts. Since restricting themselves to domestic routes will limit their growth, it is important for them to expand their services abroad.
 LCC各社には一層の経営努力が求められるが、国内線だけでは成長が限られる以上、海外への路線拡大が重要だ。

We salute the business strategies of Peach Aviation and AirAsia Japan, which added flights to other Asian countries this autumn.
ピーチとエアアジアが今秋、アジアに路線を延ばしたのは妥当な戦略と言える。

LCCs also need to improve the quality of their flight services while maintaining safety and improving on-time rates. Making sure they have enough pilots will also be important.
 運航の質を高めることも不可欠だ。引き続き安全運航を徹底するとともに、定時運航率の改善を急がなければならない。パイロット確保も重要な課題だろう。

Each low-cost carrier needs to strengthen passenger trust so their current popularity does not end up being just another short-lived boom.
 LCC人気を一時のブームに終わらせないよう、各社は信頼向上を図ることが求められる。

===

Airports have role, too

To support the popularization of low-cost carriers, it is also important to review how airports are managed by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, and other related entities.
 国土交通省などの空港運営の見直しもLCC普及に大切だ。

Kansai and Naha airports have opened terminals exclusively for low-cost carriers that charge reasonable fees. However, many analysts agree that the costly new facility at Narita Airport to open in fiscal 2014 is excessively luxurious. The operator of Narita needs to consider lowering its usage and landing fees, which are relatively high compared to airports overseas.
 関西と那覇で低廉なLCC専用ターミナルが稼働したが、成田が14年度に新設する施設は巨額な事業費を投じ、必要以上に豪華との声が根強い。使用料や着陸料など海外より割高な空港コストの削減を検討すべきだ。

Narita Airport can only be used between 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. due to noise control measures. For low-cost carriers, which continually fly a limited number of airplanes, one delay can easily lead to others. This year, budget airlines were forced to cancel several flights because they could not make it to Narita before 11 p.m.
 成田の使用時間は、騒音対策で午前6時から午後11時に制限されている。少ない航空機を何度も往復させるLCCは、一度の遅れが玉突きで広がる。地方発で成田到着が「門限」に間に合わず、欠航する便が相次いだ。

The transport ministry has proposed expanding the operating hours of Narita by one hour later at night and one hour earlier in the morning. We hope this plan can be implemented as soon as possible by reaching an agreement with local governments and residents.
 国交省は、時間制限を深夜と早朝各1時間ずつ緩和する案を提示した。自治体や住民と調整し、早期に実現してもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 25, 2012)
(2012年12月25日01時17分  読売新聞)

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健保財政悪化 医療費負担の世代格差是正を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 26, 2012)
Intergenerational fairness in medical expenses needed
健保財政悪化 医療費負担の世代格差是正を(12月25日付・読売社説)

The fiscal conditions of public health insurance programs for corporate employees have worsened, resulting in an increase in insurance premiums. This is attributable to the huge expense in providing medical services for elderly people. The working generation should not have to bear an even heavier burden.
 サラリーマンが加入する健康保険の財政が悪化し、保険料の上昇を招いている。高齢者医療への巨額の支出が原因だ。これ以上重い負担を現役世代に求めるのは避けるべきだ。

Medical expenses for people aged 65 or older are covered by premiums and medical fees paid by elderly people themselves, as well as contributions from public coffers, health insurance societies and other entities. The contributions rose sharply with the launch of a new health care system for elderly people in 2008, causing many health insurance societies to fall into the red.
 65歳以上の高齢者の医療費は、高齢者自身の保険料や窓口負担のほか、公費と健保組合などからの拠出金で賄われている。その拠出金が、2008年にスタートした高齢者医療制度で急増したため、多くの健保は赤字に転落した。

Due to this dire financial situation, health insurance societies have no choice but to raise insurance premiums shouldered both by employers and employees. The Japan Health Insurance Association (Kyokai Kempo), to which employees of small and midsize companies belong, has raised the premium rate from 8.2 percent to 10 percent. Health insurance societies of larger companies also raised their rates from a range of between 7 percent and 8 percent to an average 8.3 percent.
 財政難から、健保は労使で負担する保険料を上げざるを得ない。中小企業の従業員が加入する協会けんぽでは従来の8・2%から10%に、大企業の健保組合も7%台から平均8・3%に上昇した。

Baby boomers began turning 65 this year, and medical expenses for elderly people are expected to grow. There are fears that premium rates will continue to be raised endlessly.
 団塊世代が今年から65歳にさしかかり、高齢者の医療費は今後さらに増えるだろう。保険料率は際限なく上昇する恐れがある。

===

Heavier burden for elderly

This would impose a heavy burden on corporate managements and slash the net wages of employees, with the resulting adverse effects on the nation's economy and consumption.
 企業経営の重荷になる上に、賃金の手取りが減り、景気や消費に悪影響を与えかねない。

To prevent this from happening, we believe it is inevitable to have senior citizens shoulder a more appropriate portion of the burden.
 それを防ぐには、高齢者にも応分の負担を求めざるを得まい。

Fees paid at medical institutions by patients aged 70 to 74 are set by law at 20 percent of their medical bills, but in reality remain at 10 percent. This is attributable to the government response to harsh criticism from then opposition Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama and others on the newly introduced health insurance system for those aged 75 or older. The opposition at that time used the new system for their own political benefits, criticizing it as "ubasuteyama," a folklore term meaning abandonment of old people in the mountains.
 70~74歳の医療費の窓口負担は法定では2割なのに、1割に抑えられている。75歳以上を対象にした後期高齢者医療制度の導入に際し、当時の民主党の鳩山幹事長らが「うば捨て山」と酷評し、政争に利用したことの反動である。

Such criticism missed the point as the new system was designed to have the working generation bear much of the expense. However, then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's Cabinet, fearing a backlash from elderly people, took special measures to keep the level of the burden on those aged 70 to 74 the same as for those 75 or older.
 費用の多くを現役世代が賄う制度であり、的外れの批判だったが、福田内閣は高齢者の反発を恐れ、70~74歳の負担を75歳以上並みに抑える特例措置をとった。

We suggest the special measures be abolished, so those aged 70 to 74 pay 20 percent of their medical expenses at medical institutions as stipulated by law. Consideration also should be given to raising the current 10 percent of the burden paid by those aged 75 or older at medical institutions.
 この特例を廃し、本来の2割負担に引き上げるべきだ。1割となっている75歳以上の窓口負担の引き上げも検討課題になろう。

What is important is to curb the continuing rise in medical spending.
 重要なのは、増え続ける医療費の伸びを抑えることだ。

===

Introduce medical data system

A number of elderly people who suffer from more than one illness visit many medical specialists, resulting in a duplication in consultations, tests and medication in many cases.
 複数の病気を抱える高齢者は、多くの専門医にかかり、受診や検査、投薬の重複が目立つ。

We think information on individual patients that is maintained by each medical institution should be collected under a unified management system so overlapping medical services can be eliminated. We also suggest the early introduction of a new personal identification number system, called My Number. It is indispensable to nurture general medical practitioners who can treat a variety of diseases so that duplicating medical examinations can be avoided.
 各医療機関の患者情報を一元的に管理し、無駄をなくすべきだ。共通番号制度(マイナンバー)の導入を急いでもらいたい。様々な病気を診る「総合医」育成も、重複受診の解消に欠かせない。

Drug costs also should be reduced by using, in principle, cheaper generic drugs.
 価格の安いジェネリック医薬品(後発薬)の使用を原則とし、薬剤費の抑制を図る必要もある。

The policy pledges of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, which are set to return to power, included such proposals as making medical treatment for young children free, which would result in further increases in medical spending. We are concerned these measures will make the current health insurance system unsustainable.
 政権に復帰する自民、公明両党の公約には「小児医療費の無料化を検討」など医療費増大につながる内容が目についた。これでは制度の維持が困難にならないか。

Given the graying of society, it is inevitable to increase public spending on medicine for elderly people. To secure fiscal resources, increases in the consumption tax rate must proceed as planned.
 高齢者人口の増加で、高齢者医療に公費投入を増やすのは不可避だろう。財源確保のため、消費増税を着実に進めねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 25, 2012)
(2012年12月25日01時17分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月25日 (火)

「普天間」評価書 政権交代を機に移設を進めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 25, 2012)
Seize the change of govt to push relocation issue
「普天間」評価書 政権交代を機に移設を進めよ(12月24日付・読売社説)

By taking advantage of a change of government, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito should do their utmost to advance the stalled relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station.
 自民、公明両党は政権交代を機に、停滞している米軍普天間飛行場の移設問題の前進に全力を挙げるべきである。

The Defense Ministry has finished revising its report on its environmental impact assessment in preparation for relocating the station's functions to the Henoko district of Nago in the prefecture and submitted it to the Okinawa prefectural government.
 防衛省が、普天間飛行場の沖縄県名護市辺野古沿岸部への移設に向けた環境影響評価書の補正作業を完了し、沖縄県に提出した。

The report was revised in response to the written opinion of Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima on the relocation to Henoko. The governor's opinion listed 579 points.
 評価書の補正は仲井真弘多知事が示した計579件の意見に対応したものだ。

While adding assessments based on the latest survey on marine life, the ministry wrote that it would take the best environmental protection measures possible.
海洋生物の最新調査に基づく評価などを追加し、「可能な範囲で最大限の環境保全措置を取る」としている。

It can be said that the ministry's report responded thoroughly to the huge number of requests made by the governor.
 知事の膨大な注文に、丁寧に回答した内容と言えよう。

Following the public announcement of its report later, the ministry will be able to apply to the prefectural government for approval to begin reclamation work for the construction of an air base to replace Futenma Air Station.
 今後、評価書の公告を経て、防衛省が、普天間飛行場の代替施設建設に伴う埋め立てを沖縄県に申請することが可能になる。

LDP President Shinzo Abe, who is certain to become the next prime minister, said he would like to make efforts to win the understanding of local governments and residents on the relocation plan.
 自民党の安倍総裁は、辺野古移設について「地元の理解を得る努力をしたい」と述べたが、仲井真知事は「地元の理解が得られない移設は事実上不可能」と語っている。

===

Prospect dim for early solution

Nakaima said earlier the relocation would be impossible without local understanding. As it stands, there is no prospect for the ministry to win the governor's permission to carry out the reclamation work.
埋め立ての許可を得られる見通しは立っていない。

Nakaima had approved relocation to the Henoko district until the gubernatorial election in November 2010. He later shifted his stance to call for "relocation outside the prefecture," but he has not publicly declared objections to the relocation plan.
 ただ、知事は一昨年秋の知事選まで辺野古移設を容認していた。その後、「県外移設」要求に転じたが、今も反対は明言していない。

The incoming coalition government of the LDP and Komeito must reestablish a relationship of trust with the Okinawa prefectural government, which has been greatly damaged by the maladministration of the Democratic Party of Japan, and persuade Nakaima to approve the relocation plan.
 自公政権は、民主党政権の失政で破壊された沖縄県との信頼関係を修復し、移設を容認するよう知事を説得しなければならない。

To relocate the air station from the densely populated area of Ginowan to a sparsely inhabited area of Henoko would greatly reduce the burden on Okinawa of hosting U.S. bases.
 人口密集地から過疎地に飛行場を移すことは、県全体として基地負担を大幅に軽減する。

Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine opposes the relocation plan, but some local communities around Henoko approve of the plan, which is significant.
名護市長は反対だが、辺野古周辺の自治区が容認している事実は重い。

If the Henoko relocation plan is realized, it will be possible to make effective use of the vacated air station, and to take various measures to promote the local economy. If the plan is abandoned, however, the currently dangerous situation in Ginowan is certain to continue for a long time.
 辺野古移設が実現すれば、普天間飛行場の跡地を有効利用し、様々な地域振興が可能となる。逆に断念すれば、危険な現状が長期間、固定化されることは確実だ。

===

Accident impact less

The safety of the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, newly deployed at Futenma Air Station, has been confirmed. But if an accident involving the new transport aircraft occurred, it is obvious the resulting damage to the coastal district of Henoko would be smaller than the impact of a similar accident in the urban area of Ginowan.
 普天間飛行場に配備された新型輸送機オスプレイは安全性が確認されたが、万一、事故が起きた際、市街地よりも辺野古沿岸部の方が被害が小さいのは明らかだ。

Solving the issue, which has been pending since the 1996 Japan-U.S. accord on the relocation, would greatly contribute to the reinforcement of the Japan-U.S. alliance, the importance of which is growing against the backdrop of China's military buildup and other developments.
 1996年の日米合意以来の懸案を解決することは、中国の軍備増強などで重要性を増す日米同盟の強化にも大いに役立つ。

We hope Nakaima will comprehensively consider these factors.
 仲井真知事は、こうした要素を総合的に勘案してもらいたい。

The important thing is for the central government to create an atmosphere in which the governor will find it easier to permit the reclamation work.
 重要なのは、新政権が、埋め立てを知事が許可しやすい環境を整えることだ。

First of all, the LDP and Komeito need to persuade their prefectural organizations and their locally elected Diet members calling for "relocating the facility outside the prefecture" to change their stance, thus increasing local understanding on the Henoko relocation.
まず、「県外移設」を唱える自公両党の県組織や地元選出国会議員を説得し、辺野古移設への理解を広げることだ。

It is also vital to deal with the problem of local assembly members of Nago who are split over the relocation issue, and to make efforts to rebuild the cooperative relationship with Okinawa Prefecture, including expanded measures to promote the local economy.
 反対・容認に割れる名護市議などの地元対策や、沖縄振興策の拡充を含めた沖縄県との協調関係の再構築も欠かせない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 24, 2012)
(2012年12月24日01時20分  読売新聞)

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衆院小選挙区制 得票と議席の差が開き過ぎる

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 25, 2012)
Electoral system needs sweeping, objective reform
衆院小選挙区制 得票と議席の差が開き過ぎる(12月24日付・読売社説)

How should the representatives of the people be elected? We believe the current electoral system is in need of drastic reform based on the results of the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election.
 国民の代表をどう選ぶべきか。
 今回の衆院選の結果を踏まえて、選挙制度を根本から見直す必要があろう。

During policy talks ahead of forming a coalition government, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito agreed on major reforms to the electoral system of the lower house, including reducing the number of seats. Their plan is based on an accord made with the Democratic Party of Japan before the election. Deliberations on the reform package will begin in the ordinary Diet session to be convened next month.
 自民、公明両党は連立政権協議で衆院選挙制度に関し、定数削減を含む抜本改革を検討することで一致した。両党と民主党による合意に基づくもので、通常国会で協議に入る。

With the current system comprising both single-seat constituencies and proportional representation blocs, the first task will be to sort out the problems associated with this structure.
 まずは、現行の小選挙区比例代表並立制の問題点を幅広く洗い出してもらいたい。

The general elections of 2005, 2009 and 2012 all resulted in the party that won a plurality gaining about 300 seats--an overwhelming margin over the other parties.
 2005年と09年の衆院選に続き、今回も、第1党が300議席程度に達し、第2党以下に圧倒的な差をつけた。

In the 300 single-seat constituencies this time, the LDP received 1.9 times more votes than the DPJ but ended up with 8.8 times more seats. Although this is a hallmark of the single-seat constituency system, many voters likely felt uneasy about this huge gap between votes and seats.
 小選挙区では、自民党の総得票数は民主党の1・9倍だが、獲得議席はこれを大きく上回る8・8倍にも達した。小選挙区制の特徴とはいえ、得票数と獲得議席数の隔たりの大きさに多くの有権者が違和感を覚えたのではないか。

===

Big swings

The single-seat constituency system was supposed to help facilitate the creation of stable governments through a simple method of expressing the preference of the majority of voters.
 小選挙区制の長所は、民意を集約することで安定した政権ができやすい点にあるはずだった。

However, the last three general elections have resulted in big swings in the distribution of seats among the parties. The system puts ruling parties at a bigger risk of being swept out of power in a general election if they lose support from only a few voters.
 だが、議席の振れ幅が大きかった過去3回の衆院選を通じて、政権党には、一部の有権者の支持を失えば、次の衆院選で敗北し、下野するリスクが高まっている。

This discourages ruling parties from presenting clear policies on divisive issues due to fear of a backlash from certain voting blocs or special-interest groups.
 政権党が有権者や業界団体の反発を恐れ、国論を二分する政策に及び腰になるというマイナス面も顕在化した。

One such example from the last election is the failure of both the LDP and the DPJ to take a clear stand on whether Japan should take part in the ongoing negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework.
環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への参加について自民、民主両党が態度を明確にしなかったのは、その一つだろう。

The system also has led to the mass election of new faces supported by influential politicians--referred to scornfully as "children" or "girls"--only to see these same lawmakers lose in large numbers in the next poll.
 選挙のたびに「チルドレン」や「ガールズ」とやゆされるような新人が大量当選し、その多くが次回選挙で国会から消えていく。

Even in districts where the competition is not especially fierce, lawmakers are forced to spend much of their time campaigning locally, thereby ignoring the national scene.
 激戦区でなくても議員が地元に縛り付けられ、国政をおろそかにする傾向があると言われる。

Lawmakers who are elected from proportional representation blocs or who have weak support bases tend to trumpet populist policies. Doing this only to win elections has led to political chaos.
 比例選出や支持基盤の弱い議員たちは、選挙で生き残ることを優先し、大衆迎合主義(ポピュリズム)的な行動に走りがちで、政治の混乱の一因になっている。

===

Reform should not be partisan

Politicians only become skilled in dealing with the bureaucracy after they deepen their knowledge of governing through several terms in office. However, the current electoral system only hampers the realization of politics led by politicians.
 当選を重ね、専門知識を深めることで、官僚を使いこなせる質の高い政治家が育つ。だが、現行制度は、真の政治主導を実現する妨げになっているのではないか。

Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan was defeated in his single-seat constituency but was able to retain his seat as he was elected from a proportional representation bloc for which he had also filed his candidacy. It is hard to accept the existence of such a double candidacy.
 菅前首相のように、小選挙区で敗れたのに、重複立候補した比例選で復活当選する仕組みが今なお続くのも納得しがたい。

These problems have led some ruling and opposition party lawmakers to call for reinstating multiple-seat constituencies. Their voices should not be ignored.
 与野党からは、こうした問題点を踏まえ、中選挙区制の復活を求める声も出ている。それも排除すべきではないだろう。

Electoral reforms necessarily involve partisan interests, so the issue should be discussed objectively by experts, not political parties.
 選挙制度改革には党利党略が絡む。政党同士よりも、有識者による客観的な議論が望ましい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 24, 2012)
(2012年12月24日01時20分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月24日 (月)

エレベーター 保守点検の徹底で事故を防げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 24, 2012)
Tougher inspections needed to ensure elevator safety
エレベーター 保守点検の徹底で事故を防げ(12月23日付・読売社説)

Every possible safety measure must be taken to ensure people can use elevators without worry in office buildings, condominiums and other structures.
 ビルやマンションで、安心してエレベーターに乗れるよう、安全対策に万全を尽くすことが何より重要だ。

On Wednesday, the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry announced the findings of its emergency inspections of 84 Schindler Elevator K.K. elevators across the country, which were all the same type as the one involved in a fatal accident at a Kanazawa hotel earlier this year.
 死亡事故を起こしたシンドラーエレベータ社製の昇降機について、国土交通省が全国に設置された同一機種84台の緊急点検結果をまとめた。

Of the 84, brake parts in six were found to have been inappropriately adjusted, which can cause an elevator to suddenly ascend, according to ministry officials.
 6台のブレーキに部品の調整ミスなどが見つかり、放置すれば、ブレーキが故障し、かごを急上昇させる恐れもあったという。

The sensors on two of the six elevators' braking systems were disconnected, the officials noted.
 このうち2台は、ブレーキの異常を感知するセンサーの回線が取り外された状態だった。

The ministry's inspections revealed how sloppy maintenance and inspection services of Schindler's elevators were. It is questionable whether Schindler appropriately instructed maintenance and inspection subcontractors.
保守点検のずさんな実態が浮かび上がったと言えよう。シンドラー社が保守点検を行う業者に的確な指導をしていたのか、疑わしい。

What triggered the emergency inspections by the ministry was an accident at the Kanazawa hotel in October in which a female cleaner was fatally crushed by an elevator after stumbling and falling partway into it.
 緊急点検のきっかけとなったのは、金沢市のホテルで10月に起きた事故だ。清掃員の女性が乗り込もうとして昇降機に挟まれ、死亡した。

===

8,000 Schindler elevators

The accident was attributed to a sharp, sudden ascent of the elevator, presumably because of abnormalities in brake pads, which are designed to keep the elevator in place.
かごが急上昇したのが原因だ。かごを定位置に止めるブレーキが故障していたと見られる。

Why was the brake system flawed? Were there any problems with Schindler's inspection services?
 ブレーキがなぜ異常を起こしたのか、点検に問題はなかったのか。

The Ishikawa prefectural police headquarters and an expert team of the infrastructure ministry must do their utmost to elucidate the causes of the accident.
石川県警と国交省の専門家チームは徹底解明してもらいたい。

The elevator that caused an accident in 2006 in which a second-year high school boy was killed at a residential apartment complex in Minato Ward, Tokyo, was also a Schindler product. It was the same type as the one in the Kanazawa hotel.
 2006年、東京都港区の集合住宅で、高校2年の男子が死亡した事故のエレベーターもシンドラー社製だった。機種も同じだ。

There are 8,000 Schindler-made elevators other than the type in question throughout the country. Many Schindler elevators have been installed at such establishments as railway stations and commercial buildings. The ministry says it plans to inspect all Schindler elevators.
 問題の機種以外のシンドラー社製エレベーターは、全国に8000台ある。駅や商業ビルにも多数設置され、国交省は全機の点検を進める方針だ。

As there is no reason to conclude the brake abnormalities are limited to the elevators involved in the accidents, all Schindler elevators without exception should be swiftly examined.
ブレーキ故障が事故機固有の問題と断定できない以上、点検を急がねばならない。

Accidents have also been taking place one after another involving elevators other than Schindler's.
 シンドラー社以外の製品でも、事故は後を絶たない。

In 2009, a man fell to his death when the door of an elevator opened before the car stopped at a building in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
東京都新宿区のビルでは09年、エレベーターのかごが到着していないのに扉が開き、男性が転落死した。

===

Auxiliary brakes lacking

Police sent papers to the prosecution on a worker and persons in charge of inspecting and maintaining the elevator on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in death for allegedly failing to take effective steps to prevent the accident while knowing the elevator may have been unsafe.
 警察は、不具合を把握しながら有効な対策を取らなかったとして、保守点検担当者らを業務上過失致死容疑で書類送検した。

After the accident in Minato Ward, the ministry revised the enforcement regulations of the Building Standards Law, making it obligatory to equip elevators with an auxiliary brake.
 国交省は港区の事故後、建築基準法施行令を改正し、補助ブレーキの設置を義務付けた。

Because elevators installed before the revision are not subject to the requirement, about 700,000 elevators without auxiliary brakes remain in operation across the country. The one involved in the fatal accident in Shinjuku was one of them.
だが、改正以前のものは対象外のため、今も全国で約70万台が補助ブレーキがないまま稼働している。新宿のビルもこの一つだった。

It may be very hard for businesses and other owners of elevators to replace them, because of the expense and other problems.
 費用面の問題などから、エレベーターの更新を一気に進めるのは難しいだろう。

Regarding older elevator models, it is extremely important to prevent operational problems by means of especially thorough maintenance and inspections.
旧式の機種については、徹底した保守点検で作動トラブルを防ぐことが大切だ。

By drawing precious lessons from accidents, elevator manufacturers, inspection and maintenance companies and building management firms should redouble their efforts to prevent a recurrence of accidents by bearing in mind that their negligence could deprive elevator users of their lives.
 事故を教訓に、メーカーや点検業者、ビル管理者は、利用者の命を奪う恐れもあることを肝に銘じ、再発防止に努めてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 23, 2012)
(2012年12月23日01時31分  読売新聞)

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米財政の崖 大統領と議会は回避へ合意を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 24, 2012)
Obama, U.S. Congress must strike deal to avoid 'fiscal cliff'
米財政の崖 大統領と議会は回避へ合意を(12月23日付・読売社説)

Will the United States be able to avoid tumbling off the so-called fiscal cliff, which could lead to a drastic fiscal contraction and economic slowdown? We urge both President Barack Obama and Congress to compromise to reach an agreement as soon as possible.
 急激な財政緊縮で米国経済が失速する「財政の崖」を回避できるか。オバマ大統領と議会は互いに譲歩し、早期合意を図ってもらいたい。

In the last round of negotiations, the two sides abandoned their effort to resolve the problem before Christmas, which had been set as the deadline for a settlement. They plan to resume talks on Wednesday at the earliest.
 大詰めの協議は、交渉期限としていたクリスマス休暇前の決着を断念した。26日以降に協議を再開する予定だ。

The negotiations are expected to continue until the end of the year, but it remains to be seen if the two sides will be able to strike a deal by then. There are pessimistic predictions that the negotiations will go into next year, which we consider a terrible development.
 再協議は年末ギリギリまで行われる見通しだが、年内妥結は微妙で、来年に先送りされるという悲観的な観測も出ている。憂慮すべき展開になってきた。

The fiscal cliff refers to the expiration of tax cuts introduced during former President George W. Bush's administration and mandatory spending cuts that will kick in Jan. 1.
 「財政の崖」は、ブッシュ前大統領が導入した所得税などの大型減税の失効と歳出の強制削減が来年にかけて重なる事態を言う。

Failure to reach an agreement this year could result in a fiscal contraction of up to 503 billion dollars (about 42 trillion yen) a year, pushing down real gross domestic product growth by about 3 percent.
 財政緊縮額は最大で年間5030億ドル(約42兆円)に達し、米国の実質国内総生産(GDP)の伸び率を約3%も押し下げる。

In that event, the U.S. economy would almost certainly enter a recession, which would deal a serious blow to Japan and the rest of the global economy. It is natural there are growing concerns on the New York Stock Exchange and elsewhere.
 そうなれば、米国の景気後退入りが避けられず、日本など世界経済にも深刻な打撃を与えよう。ニューヨーク株式市場などが警戒を強めているのは当然だ。

===

Taxing the wealthy

The biggest sticking point in the talks are tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
 協議の最大の焦点は、富裕層向け減税の扱いである。

Among the tax cuts introduced by Bush, Obama has consistently called for ending tax cuts for wealthy households earning more than 250,000 dollars (about 21 million yen) during and after the presidential campaign. This is aimed at focusing tax cuts on the middle-class and reducing fiscal deficits.
 大統領は大統領選中から一貫して「ブッシュ減税」のうち、年収25万ドル(約2100万円)超の富裕層向け減税の打ち切りを主張してきた。減税を中間層などに絞り、財政赤字縮小を図る狙いだ。

The Republicans, however, oppose tax hikes on the wealthy, calling instead for extending across-the-board tax cuts.
 これに対し、富裕層増税に反対する共和党は、全所得層の減税延長を求めて対立してきた。

Obama recently offered a compromise by proposing higher tax rates for Americans making more than 400,000 dollars, which is seen as a positive sign. The proposal is commendable as it shows his willingness to bring the stalled negotiations to a close.
 大統領が最近になってようやく、増税対象とする富裕層を40万ドル超に引き上げる妥協案を示したのは良いサインだ。協議打開を目指す姿勢と評価できる。

===

GOP softens stance

Republicans have also softened their stance, putting forward a plan to allow taxes to rise only on households making more than 1 million dollars a year. However, some party members still strongly oppose raising taxes for any high-income earners.
 共和党も軟化し、100万ドル超の富裕層については増税を容認する案を提示したが、それでも党内には依然、富裕層増税に反対する強硬派がいる。

Although their positions are still wide apart, we hope both sides will compromise.
 主張の隔たりはまだあるが、歩み寄りを期待したい。

The president and Republicans are also at odds over the scale of spending cuts in social security and other fields. In summer last year, the U.S. government managed to raise the federal debt limit. As the federal debt is likely to reach that limit as early as the beginning of next year, this problem has become another focus of attention.
 大統領と共和党の協議は、社会保障などの歳出削減規模を巡っても対立している。昨夏、連邦債務上限の引き上げが実現したが、年明けにも再び債務上限に達する問題への対応策も論点である。

Some people are calling on the president and Congress to reach a "small deal," under which the two parties will initially compromise on certain points. This proposal is worth considering to avert the worst.
 ひとまず妥協できる点で決着する「小さな合意」を求める声が一部にある。最悪の事態を避ける次善策として検討に値する。

The U.S. fiscal deficit has topped 1 trillion dollars for four consecutive years, the nation's unemployment hovers at a high level and economic recovery has been delayed.
 米国の財政赤字は4年連続で1兆ドル台に乗り、失業率が高止まりして景気回復は遅れている。

In January, Obama will start serving his second term, and a newly elected Congress will take office. But the country still must confront the difficult challenges of realizing thorough fiscal reconstruction and economic growth at the same time.
 来年1月にオバマ大統領の2期目がスタートし、新議会も始まる。抜本的な財政再建と経済成長の両立は重い課題となるだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 23, 2012)
(2012年12月23日01時31分  読売新聞)

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クリスマスプレゼント

一昨年の12月25日、クリスマスプレゼントとしてスラチャイ編集の辞書をプレゼントしました。ラオ日辞書は、一週間以上睡眠を犠牲にしてエクセルで打ち込んだ力作です^^。

http://blog.goo.ne.jp/srachai/e/2819dae62dddf615ab6d5cb11f2c2602

昨年の12月22日、クリスマスプレゼントとして「クリスマスプレゼント オンラインカジノゲーム」をプレゼントしました。

http://kiyoshimatforklog.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/2012/04/ocn-cafe-copy-6.html

今年も昨年のクリスマスプレゼントを踏襲いたします^^。
オンラインカジノゲームです。
今年は、初めて覚えたバカラを掲載いたします。

今回はバカラですが、ルーレット、スロットマシン、ブラックジャックは昨年のプレゼントで今年も遊べます。

いずれも完全無料で心ゆくまで楽しめますが、実際にお金をかけるオンラインカジノと同じようなサイトのつくりになっています。


● 完全無料のミニバカラゲームはこちらです。

http://sdin.jp/browser/casino/minibaccarat/




で、こちらが本物のオンラインカジノです。(ボーナス付きですが、勝つのは至難の業!)
日本のパチンコで遊ぶより多少ましな程度なのです。

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2012年12月23日 (日)

原発と活断層 規制委は説明責任を果たせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 23, 2012)
Nuclear Regulation Authority too hasty in evaluating faults?
原発と活断層 規制委は説明責任を果たせ(12月22日付・読売社説)

A Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) expert team has announced its view that crush zones on the premises of the Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture are active faults that could cause earthquakes.
 東北電力東通原子力発電所(青森県東通村)敷地内の断層(破砕帯)について、原子力規制委員会の専門家会合が、「地震を起こす活断層」との見解をまとめた。

In light of this view, restarting the plant's reactor early now appears to be difficult.
 東通原発を早期に再稼働させることは難しくなったと言える。

This is a serious matter for Tohoku Electric Power Co., the operator of the nuclear power plant, as it had put its hopes on the restart as the key to recovering its power supply capacity after suffering extensive damage to its facilities from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
 東日本大震災で設備を多数損傷した東北電は、東通原発の再稼働を供給力回復の切り札と期待していただけに、深刻な事態だ。

The faults in question extend along the plant site, coming as close to the reactor as 200 meters. Tohoku Electric had asserted they were formed after layers slipped due to changes in underground water levels. However, the five-member team of experts led by Kunihiko Shimazaki, acting chairman of the NRA, unanimously dismissed the utility's assertion.
 問題とされる断層は、原子炉の200メートルほど脇を通っている。東北電は、「地下水による地盤のずれ」と説明してきた。だが、規制委の島崎邦彦委員長代理を座長とする専門家会合の5人全員が、東北電の解釈を否定した。

If the faults move in the way the team has predicted, the reactor's safety equipment would inevitably be undermined.
 専門家会合の見解通りに、この断層が動けば、原子炉の安全設備への影響は避けられない。

Nothing is more important than securing the safety of the reactor. Tohoku Electric likely will be urged to thoroughly conduct research and risk assessments as well as to drastically review the seismic resistance of the reactor and other nuclear facilities. Such an overhaul could force the company to carry out reinforcement work, depending on the results of further surveys.
 安全の確保は何より大切だ。今後、東北電は、断層の徹底的な調査と評価、原子炉など施設の耐震性の抜本的な見直しを迫られるだろう。結果次第で、補強工事を求められる可能性もある。

===

Stable power supply also needed

In the meantime, Tohoku Electric needs to make every effort to secure a stable power supply so as not to disrupt people's daily lives and business activities.
 国民生活や企業活動に支障を来さないよう、東北電は安定電源の確保に万全を期す必要がある。

On Dec. 10, the expert team reached an agreement that a crush zone directly under a reactor of the Tsuruga nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, operated by Japan Atomic Power Co., is highly likely to be an active fault. In such a case, the reactor could be ordered to be decommissioned, but no such active fault has been found directly under the reactor at the Higashidori plant.
 規制委の専門家会合は10日にも、日本原子力発電敦賀原発について「原子炉直下に活断層がある」と判定した。一方、東通原発では、廃炉の可能性がある原子炉直下の活断層は確認されていない。

Dissatisfied with the expert team's view, Tohoku Electric reportedly intends to make counterarguments.
 東北電は、専門家会合の見解を不満とし、反論する方針だ。

In addition to faults on the premises of the Higashidori plant, the team has also warned that a huge peripheral fault, more than 80 kilometers long in the nearby seabed, could be active.
 専門家会合は、敷地内の断層に加え、東通原発の目前の海底にも全長80キロ・メートル以上の巨大活断層がある可能性を指摘した。

If this fault moves, the whole Shimokita Peninsula where the plant is located could be affected. Discussions are likely to be sparked also over the quake resistance of Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd.'s Rokkasho plant for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel.
 これが動けば、東通原発がある下北半島全体に影響が及ぶ。日本原燃の使用済み核燃料再処理工場などの耐震性も議論になろう。

===

Seismology not perfect

Meanwhile, we must not forget that seismology is an immature field. Due consideration is needed over whether the NRA should launch full-fledged research.
 地震学は未熟な学問であることを忘れてはならない。今後、規制委として調査すべきかどうか、慎重な検討が必要である。

Risk assessments of faults in and near nuclear power plants will affect respective regional economies and local residents' lives. People have indeed been increasingly vocal in expressing such concerns.
 各原発の断層評価は、立地地域の経済や住民生活も左右する。不安の声は拡大している。

The regulatory body has the responsibility to explain how its expert team conducted research and evaluated findings in detail, but its efforts have been far from satisfactory in this regard.
 調査、評価の内容について、規制委は丁寧に説明する責任があるが、その取り組みは不十分だ。

The NRA has yet to compile the team's risk assessments in writing. Only information materials full of jargon and video footage showing experts' discussions have been made public.
 規制委は、これまでの評価結果を文書にまとめていない。公開されているのは、専門用語による資料や議論の映像だけだ。

Furthermore, it can be said that the NRA failed to spend enough time exchanging opinions with the utilities concerned and appeared to make assertions one-sidedly.
 しかも、当事者である電力会社との意見交換に十分な時間を割かず、一方的な議論に終始した。

The authority is guaranteed its independence. However, it cannot win public trust with a self-righteous approach.
 規制委は、組織の独立性が保証されている。しかし、独善的な運営では信頼を得られない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 22, 2012)
(2012年12月22日01時04分  読売新聞)

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ゴラン高原撤収 意義深かった17年間のPKO

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 23, 2012)
17-year SDF Golan mission played significant role
ゴラン高原撤収 意義深かった17年間のPKO(12月22日付・読売社説)

The Self-Defense Forces have played a significant role in the U.N. peace-keeping operation in the Golan Heights, although it has not attracted much attention recently. The SDF has been working for the U.N. mission at the border between Israel and Syria for 17 years, the longest mission since the government first dispatched SDF personnel to a U.N. peace-keeping operation two decades ago.
 最近は、あまり注目されていなかったが、自衛隊最長の17年間にも及ぶ国連平和維持活動(PKO)が果たした役割は大きかったと言える。

Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto on Friday ordered members of the Ground Self-Defense Force transportation unit who were dispatched to the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights to withdraw to Japan. The government decided on the pullout because the civil war between Syrian government forces and insurgents has intensified recently, making it impossible to strike a balance between securing the safety of GSDF personnel and doing substantial work in the mission.
 森本防衛相が、中東・ゴラン高原の国連兵力引き離し監視軍(UNDOF)に派遣中の陸上自衛隊の輸送部隊に撤収を命令した。シリア内戦の激化で、隊員の安全確保と意義のある活動が両立しなくなったことが理由だ。

Deteriorating security forced the Japanese Embassy in Syria to close down in March and has limited activities of GSDF members in UNDOF. For instance, the GSDF has used a private company to do part of its transport work since June. In another sign of worsening security, Austrian soldiers in UNDOF recently came under attack.
 治安情勢の悪化で、今年3月に在シリア日本大使館が閉鎖され、6月からは輸送業務の一部を民間業者に委託するなど、陸自の活動が制限されていた。最近は、UNDOF要員への襲撃もあった。

===

GSDF pullout inevitable

We understand the government decided to bring the GSDF unit home due to circumstances beyond its control.
 撤収はやむを得ない判断だ。

In December 1995, the government decided to send GSDF members to join the U.N. mission on the border between the two Middle Eastern countries.
 シリア・イスラエル国境付近への陸自の派遣が決まったのは、1995年12月である。

GSDF members have been in charge of transporting daily necessities between Damascus, the capital of Syria, and the area of separation, a kind of buffer zone between the two nations, and repairing roads and clearing snow in the area. They are replaced every six months. Currently, 44 members of the GSDF transport unit are with UNDOF in addition to three members assigned to its command.
 シリアの首都ダマスカスと兵力引き離し地帯の間の生活物資輸送や、道路の補修、除雪などを担当した。半年ごとに部隊を入れ替えており、今は輸送部隊44人と司令部要員3人を派遣している。

GSDF activities in the Golan Heights have constituted part of the U.N. ceasefire monitoring to keep peace in the Middle East and at the same time played the role of a "PKO school," preparing SDF members for other international operations contributing to peace.
 ゴラン高原での陸自の活動は、中東和平の停戦監視の一翼を担うとともに、国際平和協力活動に参加する陸自の人材を養成する「PKOの学校」の役割があった。

SDF members will be able to work for international cooperation under more difficult circumstances because of their experience in the U.N. mission in the Golan Heights. They have deepened their own understanding of peace-keeping operations and interacted with PKO members from other countries. Over the 17 years, a total of 1,500 SDF members have been dispatched to the Golan Heights.
 PKOの知見を深め、他国の要員と交流することなどを通じて、より厳しい環境の国際協力活動にも対応できるようになる。17年間でゴラン高原に派遣された隊員は延べ約1500人に上る。

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Japan's first participation in a U.N. peace-keeping operation. Since then, a total of 9,200 SDF members have participated in peace-keeping missions. With a greater number of its members who have experienced international operations, the SDF could enhance partnerships and cooperative relations with armed forces in other countries and improve its own abilities to cope with emergencies.
 今年は日本のPKO初参加から20年になる。この間、延べ約9200人がPKOに参加している。国際経験を持つ隊員が増えることは、他国の軍隊との連携・協力関係が強まるうえ、自衛隊の対処能力の向上にもつながろう。

===

Relax rules on weapons use

The GSDF now in Haiti is also scheduled to pull out by next spring. Since 2010, the GSDF unit has helped restore damage caused to the country by a major earthquake that occurred in the same year. When it returns to Japan, the unit will leave behind 14 heavy machines it used for the Haitian government.
 陸自のPKOでは、大震災のあったハイチで2010年から活動していた部隊も、来春までに撤収する。その際、使用した重機14両をハイチに譲与する予定だ。

The machines include four with gun mounts, which in the past could not have been handed over to other countries because they were considered arms. However, the offer of the machines became possible after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's Cabinet relaxed the government's three principles on arms exports at the end of last year. We think Japan should proactively supply what were considered arms in the past to other countries in the future for such peace-building and humanitarian purposes.
 このうち銃座が付いた4両は従来、「武器」とみなされ、提供できなかったが、昨年末の野田内閣による武器輸出3原則の緩和で可能になった。今後も、こうした平和構築・人道目的の武器供与は積極的に実施したい。

Meanwhile, the GSDF is still working for a U.N. peace-keeping operation in South Sudan. We urge the government to relax tight restrictions imposed on SDF members' use of weapons. The current law allows them to use weapons exclusively for self-defense purposes, preventing SDF members from working effectively in U.N. missions. The law should be revised to enable the SDF to rush to the defense of PKO members of other countries or civilians facing hostilities and save them by using weapons if necessary.
 陸自のPKOは南スーダンで継続している。課題は自衛官の武器使用権限の拡大だ。正当防衛以外の武器使用を制限する現行法では効果的な活動はできない。「駆けつけ警護」を可能にすべきだ。

We expect the new government to be formed next week to again tackle revision of the U.N. Peacekeeping Cooperation Law, an effort that has repeatedly failed in the past.
 来週発足する新政権は、これまで挫折続きのPKO協力法改正に改めて取り組んでもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 22, 2012)
(2012年12月22日01時04分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月22日 (土)

惨敗民主党 真摯な総括なしに再生はない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 21, 2012)
DPJ must begin by assessing reasons for its brutal drubbing
惨敗民主党 真摯な総括なしに再生はない(12月20日付・読売社説)

Will the Democratic Party of Japan really be able to start over from scratch? Putting the party back on track will be an arduous task.
 果たして解党的出直しは可能なのか。党再生への道のりは険しい。

The DPJ has postponed its election of a new leader to succeed outgoing party President Yoshihiko Noda, which was scheduled for this Saturday. Noda, who also serves as the nation's prime minister, expressed his intention to resign as party president after the DPJ suffered a humiliating defeat in Sunday's general election.
 民主党は、22日に予定していた野田首相の後任を選ぶ党代表選を延期することを決めた。

Following Noda's remarks, the party leadership initially thought it needed to establish a new party regime before the special Diet session, which convenes next Wednesday. We'll hazard a guess that the party also wished to display its new standard-bearer to the public from the New Year, with an eye toward next summer's House of Councillors election.
 党執行部は、首相が代表辞任を表明した以上、26日召集の特別国会前に新体制を発足させる必要があると考えた。来夏には参院選が控えており、正月から新しい「選挙の顔」をアピールしたいという思惑もあったに違いない。

However, many DPJ members voiced opposition to the schedule during Wednesday's general meeting of the party's Diet members, saying it is too early to choose a new leader without assessing and reflecting on the defeat and the party's faulty handling of the government.
 だが、19日の民主党両院議員総会では、拙劣な政権運営と衆院選惨敗について「何ら反省も総括もないまま、新代表を決めるのは拙速だ」との意見が噴出した。

===

Face similar fate next summer?

Such voices reflect concern that the party will likely meet a similar fate next summer unless it examines the cause of Sunday's defeat by listening to the opinions of party members who lost in the House of Representatives election as well as the voices of local party chapters.
 落選者や地方の声を聞いて敗因を分析しないと参院選も同じ結果になるとの認識も理解できる。

This concern is fair enough. In the end, we believe it was unavoidable for the DPJ to postpone the presidential election. Just changing the face of the party will not be enough to put the party back on its feet. After reflecting on the loss wholeheartedly, the party should make all necessary arrangements for the presidential election. These steps should be taken quickly.
 代表選延期はやむを得まい。表紙を代えるだけでは党再建は困難だ。真摯(しんし)に総括し、代表選を行えるよう調整を急ぐべきである。

The number of DPJ seats in the lower house has plunged to 57. However, this number is still the highest among opposition parties. The DPJ will now bear the duty of checking the Liberal Democratic Party, which has become a gigantic ruling party after winning Sunday's election. People also hope the DPJ will play a key part in conducting productive policy debate in the Diet.
 民主党は衆院で57議席に激減したが、野党第1党だ。巨大与党をチェックし、建設的な論戦の一翼を担う責務がある。

To do so, the DPJ must establish a stable internal regime. If it fails, the party may be supplanted as the LDP's main rival by Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), which won 54 seats in Sunday's election.
しっかりした新体制を作らねばならない。
 それなしでは、民主党と3議席差まで躍進した日本維新の会に、いずれ2大政党の一角をとって代わられよう。

DPJ members have begun whispering the names of possible candidates for the presidential election, such as Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada; Goshi Hosono, the party's Policy Research Committee chairman; and Sumio Mabuchi, acting chairman of the committee. We wonder why none of the party members have the courage to announce their own candidacy for the presidential race at this stage.
 代表候補には、岡田副総理、細野政調会長、馬淵澄夫政調会長代理らの名が取り沙汰されている。だが、まだ誰も名乗りを上げようとしないのはどうしたことか。

===

True reason for the loss

After losing her lower house seat, Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Makiko Tanaka harshly criticized Noda for dissolving the lower house. "[The dissolution] was just for the prime minister's self-satisfaction. I predicted we would lose miserably [in the election] due to his 'suicide bombing.'"
 衆院選の結果に関連し、落選した田中文部科学相は「首相の独りよがりだ。『自爆テロ解散』で惨敗すると思った」と酷評した。

It is surprising that Tanaka has already forgotten that she herself took part in ruining the reputation of the Noda administration by causing confusion through her rejection of applications to open three universities next spring, which she later retracted.
大学新設不認可問題で混乱を招き、政権のイメージダウンの一因となったことはもう忘れたらしい。

Tanaka's attitude reflects the DPJ's notorious habit of being blind to its failures and shifting responsibility to others.
 自らの失敗を顧みず、安易に他者に責任転嫁するのは、民主党の悪(あ)しき体質である。

According to a recent Yomiuri Shimbun opinion poll, the number of respondents who chose "lack of unity among DPJ party members" as the main cause of the party's defeat in the general election was the highest, with 51 percent supporting the answer. It was followed by "[public] disappointment with the results of the DPJ administrations" with 21 percent. Only 4 percent chose "disappointment with Prime Minister [Yoshihiko] Noda" as the main reason for the loss.
 読売新聞の世論調査によると、民主党敗北の理由は、「党内のまとまりがなかった」との回答が51%で最も多い。「民主党政権の実績に不満があった」が21%で続いた。「野田首相に不満があった」は、わずか4%だった。

The DPJ has had a tendency to put off party discussions on important policies as much as possible. Even in cases in which the party was able to draw a conclusion after long discussions, some members brought up the issues again, restarting debate within the party. Such confusion, apparent during the DPJ administrations, was hardly the behavior of a ruling party. No wonder the party failed to achieve tangible results.
 民主党はこれまで、重要政策の党内論議を先送りしがちだった。議論の末に決まったことを平気で蒸し返すなど、迷走が目立ち、政権党の体をなさなかった。これでは実績が上がるはずもない。

Along with reflecting on the loss in the general election, the party must consider drawing up a new party platform and holding discussions on important issues such as amending the Constitution. Such activities will contribute to setting the party's policy direction firmly, and enhance solidarity within the party.
 衆院選の総括と同時に、党の綱領策定や憲法改正の議論が欠かせない。それが政策の方向性をしっかり定め、団結力を高めることにもつながろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 20, 2012)
(2012年12月20日01時57分  読売新聞)

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国際学力調査 理数好きになる授業の工夫を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 21, 2012)
Teachers should work hard to help kids enjoy science, math
国際学力調査 理数好きになる授業の工夫を(12月20日付・読売社説)

The results of an international survey on children's performance in mathematics and science are cause for concern for Japan, as the nation aims to develop human resources to help it continue to thrive on scientific and technological advances.
 科学技術創造立国を目指す日本にとって、不安が残る結果である。

In the the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)--conducted on fourth-grade primary school students and second-year middle school students in Japan and the equivalent grades overseas--Japanese students showed some signs of improvement. However, it also found their enthusiasm for studying the two subjects was below international averages.
 小学4年と中学2年を対象に実施された2011年の国際数学・理科教育動向調査で、学力面では改善の兆しが確認できたものの、子供たちの学習意欲は国際的に見て低いことが明らかになった。

There has been increased interest in science since Kyoto University Prof. Shinya Yamanaka won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine this year. Education officials should not miss this chance to help children learn to enjoy studying math and science and improve the methodology of teaching the subjects at schools.
 山中伸弥京都大教授のノーベル生理学・医学賞受賞で、科学への関心は高まっている。理数好きの子供を育てる好機を逃さず、学校は授業の充実を図ってほしい。

The TIMSS is conducted every four years by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. In the latest survey, fourth-graders from 50 countries and territories and eighth-graders (second-year middle school students) from 42 nations and regions participated.
 この調査は、国際教育到達度評価学会が4年に1度行っている。今回、小学校では50、中学校は42の国と地域が参加した。

Japanese students at both grade levels maintained high positions, ranking fifth in math and fourth in science. The average scores of the fourth-graders were more than 10 points higher in both subjects compared to the previous survey.
 日本は小中とも算数・数学が5位、理科が4位と、上位を維持した。小4の平均得点は算数も理科も前回を10点以上も上回った。

===

Strength of new curriculums

For science and math classes at primary and middle schools, beefed-up curriculums--compiled in counterreaction to the "cram-free" education policy--were put in place from April 2009, ahead of the full-fledged implementation of new curriculums for all subjects. Under the revised curriculums, not only have the content and number of classes been increased for the two subjects, but more importance is being placed on reviewing what has been learned, as well as experimenting and observing.
 小中学校の理数では、「脱ゆとり」教育を目指した新学習指導要領が09年度から先行実施され、学ぶ内容と授業時間が増加した。授業で反復学習や実験・観察が重視されるようになっている。

These efforts can be given some credit for the Japanese students' improved performance in the latest TIMSS survey.
 取り組みの成果が表れたと、ひとまず評価はできるだろう。

However, the survey's questions on what children thought of science and math found that the ratios of the Japanese primary and middle school participants who said they liked learning the subjects were lower than international averages. The figures for the older student group, in particular, were ominous--39 percent for math and 53 percent for science, both of which are more than 20 points below international averages.
 しかし、同時に行われた意識調査では、理数の勉強が「好き」と答えた子供の割合が小中とも国際平均を下回った。特に中学の調査結果は深刻だ。数学39%、理科53%で、ともに国際平均より20ポイント以上も低かった。

Only 18 percent of the Japanese middle school students said they would like to get a job related to math, while the figure stood only at 20 percent for science.
 「数学や理科を使う職業に就きたい」と答えた中学生も数学で18%、理科で20%しかいない。

We wonder if teachers can help their students take to heart how interesting it is to study science and math, as well as understand how useful the things they are studying will be in the real world.
 理数の面白さや、勉強の内容が実社会でどれだけ役立っているのかを、教師が授業で十分に伝えていないのではないか。

===

Troubling teacher turnover

A large number of experienced teachers are now reaching mandatory retirement age, while those educated under the cram-free education policy are entering the profession. It is said that many younger teachers are not accustomed to handling tools for experiments and they lack confidence in teaching science.
 学校現場では、経験豊富なベテラン教師が定年で大量退職する一方、ゆとり教育世代の若手が教壇に立ち始めている。実験器具の取り扱いなどに不慣れで、理科の授業に苦手意識を持つ若手教師も多いと指摘される。

There is an effective program under which the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry dispatches postgraduate students and retired teachers to schools to help with science experiments. The Democratic Party of Japan-led government marked the project to be scrapped during budget screening, but it is reasonable for the ministry to have decided to continue the program for the next school year and beyond.
 実験のサポート役として大学院生や退職した教師を学校に派遣する事業は有効だ。民主党政権は事業仕分けで「廃止」と判定したが、文部科学省が来年度以降の継続を決めたのは妥当と言える。

Teacher-training colleges have to make sure prospective teachers have the skills to teach science and math. Boards of education, which are responsible for training in-service teachers, have the same responsibility.
 養成課程を持つ大学や就職後の研修を担う教育委員会は、教師たちに指導方法をしっかり身につけさせる必要がある。

In recent years, an increasing number of companies have been dispatching their employees to schools to conduct classes for children as part of their social action programs. When company employees and researchers working at the cutting edge of science technology discuss how useful studying science and math is, their words will surely stick in children's minds.
 近年、社会貢献活動の一環として、企業が学校に出前授業を行う例も増えてきた。科学技術の最先端で働く社員や研究者が理数の有用性を語れば、子供たちの心に響くに違いない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 20, 2012)
(2012年12月20日01時57分  読売新聞)

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物価目標検討 政府・日銀はデフレ脱却急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 22, 2012)
Govt, BOJ must move quickly to defeat deflation
物価目標検討 政府・日銀はデフレ脱却急げ(12月21日付・読売社説)

The inauguration of a Liberal Democratic Party-led government next week will mark the first step for the government and the Bank of Japan to close ranks and work toward leading Japan out of deflation.
 政権交代を機に、政府と日銀がデフレからの脱却に向けて連携を強める第一歩である。

The central bank decided Thursday to look into the possibility of introducing an inflation target.
 日銀が20日、「物価目標」の導入を検討する方針を打ち出した。

At a news conference the same day, Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa said he would make a final decision on the matter in January. He said the central bank had decided to study the matter in response to a request from LDP President Shinzo Abe.
 日銀の白川方明総裁は記者会見で、「自民党の安倍総裁から物価目標について要請された。これを踏まえて検討することにした」と述べ、1月に結論を出す考えを明らかにした。

Currently, the central bank is aiming for a 1 percent inflation target but this goal is not set in stone.
 日銀は当面1%の消費者物価上昇率を目指しているが、「目途(めど)」というあいまいな位置づけだ。

Abe had called for the government and the central bank to reach an accord on a 2 percent inflation target and implement drastic monetary easing policies.
 安倍総裁は日銀に2%の物価目標の設定や大胆な金融緩和、政府と日銀の政策協定を求めていた。

The central bank should be praised for responding promptly and deciding to study setting an inflation target.
日銀が迅速に対応し、目標設定に踏み出すことは評価できる。

The bank has also decided on an additional monetary easing package worth 10 trillion yen. As a result, the bank's fund to purchase government bonds and other assets will exceed 100 trillion yen.
 日銀は今回、10兆円の追加金融緩和策も決めた。日銀が国債などを買い入れる「基金」の規模は100兆円を超える。

The slowdown of foreign economies and worsening of relations with China have reduced exports and production, making domestic business more sluggish.
 海外経済の減速と、日中関係の悪化で輸出や生産が低迷し、景気は後退色を強めている。

===

Prompt decision praiseworthy

The Bank of Japan was correct in promptly deciding on additional monetary easing measures to follow up those decided in September and October.
 日銀が、9月と10月の金融緩和から間を置かず追加策を講じたのは妥当な判断と言えよう。

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average has surged back to the 10,000 yen level due to high expectations for the incoming administration led by Abe, who is aggressive about pump-priming measures.
 景気対策に前向きな安倍新政権への期待から、東京市場の平均株価が1万円を回復している。

Of course, monetary policy alone is not enough to defeat deflation and achieve an economic recovery. The key is for the government and the central bank to conclude pragmatic policy accords.
 もちろん、金融政策だけではデフレ脱却や景気回復は望めない。肝心なのは、政府と日銀が実効性のある政策協定を結ぶことだ。

We hope they will coordinate their efforts expeditiously after the launch of the new government.
 新政権の発足後、調整を急いでもらいたい。

It will be necessary to restore a process that allows funds made available as a result of monetary easing to be used as loans for plant and equipment investments to expand both corporate profits and jobs.
 金融緩和で供給された資金が貸し出しを通じて設備投資に使われ、利益と雇用の拡大をもたらす流れを回復する必要がある。

The government is primarily responsible for undertaking this task. First and foremost, it will be essential to resolve as soon as possible the shortage in demand, which is one cause of deflation.
 これは主に政府の役割だろう。まずはデフレの原因である「需要不足」の解消が急がれる。

===

Big stimulus package vital

Immediate results can be expected from the implementation of such urgent public works projects as repairs to aging infrastructure and improvement of antidisaster capabilities. It is indispensable to carry out a large-scale economic stimulus package after compiling a supplementary budget.
 老朽化した社会インフラの改修や防災など、緊急性の高い公共事業は即効性がある。補正予算による大型経済対策が不可欠だ。

Issuing a certain amount of additional government bonds will be unavoidable to secure fiscal resources but this should be done without causing the fiscal balance to deteriorate further.
 財源確保のため一定の国債増発はやむを得ないが、財政悪化に拍車をかけてはならない。

In formulating the budget for fiscal 2013 starting in April, it will be imperative to significantly cut back on spending programs initiated under the handout policies of the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration.
 来年度予算の編成では、民主党のバラマキ政策の予算を、大胆に削ることが重要となる。

It also will be essential to expand measures to assist corporate activities, including tax breaks for investment in growth fields, lowering the corporate tax and reviewing regulations detrimental to start-up businesses.
 成長分野の投資減税や法人税率引き下げ、新規事業を阻害する規制の見直しなど、企業活動を支援する政策の充実が求められる。

To keep the Bank of Japan on the defensive, the LDP and others have threatened to revise the Bank of Japan Law and hints have been dropped in connection with the bank's next governor.
 自民党などには、日銀法改正や次期日銀総裁人事をちらつかせ、日銀を牽制(けんせい)する向きもある。

However, if the bank's independence is undermined, it may lower confidence in Japan's monetary system and government bonds and spread disarray throughout the financial markets. Excessive political pressure must be avoided.
 中央銀行の独立性が揺らげば、日本の通貨制度や国債の信認が低下し、市場が混乱しかねない。過剰な政治圧力は避けるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 21, 2012)
(2012年12月21日01時29分  読売新聞)

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女性大統領誕生 未来見据えた日韓関係構築を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 22, 2012)
S. Korea's new president must seek future-oriented ties with Japan
女性大統領誕生 未来見据えた日韓関係構築を(12月21日付・読売社説)

South Koreans have chosen their country's first female president. We hope she will break through new frontiers and exercise leadership in such matters as revitalization of the country's economy and rebuilding relations with Japan.
 韓国初の女性大統領の誕生である。経済の再生や、日韓関係の再構築などで指導力を発揮して、新しい時代を切り開いてもらいたい。

Park Geun Hye of the ruling Saenuri Party was elected in a closely fought presidential election, defeating rival candidate Moon Jae In of the Democratic United Party, the largest opposition party.
 韓国大統領選で、与党セヌリ党の朴槿恵氏が最大野党・民主統合党の文在寅氏との接戦を制し、当選した。

The key issues during the election campaign were economic problems, including measures to reduce the widening income gap and unemployment.
 選挙戦の最大の争点は、格差是正や雇用など経済問題だった。

While Moon emphasized tighter control over family-run conglomerates, Park placed weight on economic growth and securing employment for young people.
 財閥への規制強化に力点を置く文氏に対し、朴氏は、経済成長の維持と、若者などの雇用確保を重視した。

We can safely conclude South Korean voters chose economic growth and more employment, rather than restricting the activities of major corporations, which are the locomotive of the country's exports.
有権者は、輸出を担う大企業の締め付けより、成長と雇用拡大を望んだと言える。

===

Small business measures key

South Korea is now among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of trade volume, due partly to its efforts to promote free trade agreements with the United States, the European Union and others. However, this has not resulted in an increase of jobs. Reinforcing and nurturing small and midsize enterprises, which are crucial to employment, are important issues.
 韓国は、米欧などとの自由貿易協定(FTA)推進を軸に貿易額で世界トップ10入りしたが、それが雇用増にはつながっていない。雇用の受け皿となる中小企業の強化や育成が重要な課題だ。

There were also great differences in the approaches of the two candidates to North Korea.
 対北朝鮮政策でも、両候補の違いは目立った。

Moon pledged to unconditionally restart large-scale food and fertilizer assistance programs to the North and have summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, next year. His policy is a return to the "sunshine policy" pursued by left-wing administrations.
 文氏は、北朝鮮への食料、肥料などの大規模支援を、無条件で再開し、金正恩・朝鮮労働党第1書記との首脳会談を来年中に行うと公約した。左派政権時代の太陽政策に回帰しようとするものだ。

In contrast, conservative Park also showed a willingness to reopen dialogue with North Korea, but said full-fledged assistance programs must come after a relationship of trust had been built up between the two countries. Her policy follows the footsteps of the current administration, which has demanded that North Korea take concrete actions to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
 これに対し、保守派の朴氏は、南北対話再開に前向きな姿勢は見せたが、本格的な支援は信頼関係構築が前提、とした。北朝鮮に非核化への具体的な取り組みを求める現行路線を踏襲している。

North Korea is still pursuing its nuclear and missile development programs, as was seen in the recent launch of a long-range ballistic missile despite calls by the international community to cancel it.
 北朝鮮は、長距離弾道ミサイル発射を強行するなど、依然、核・ミサイル開発を進めている。

The victory of Park, who has vowed to take a stern attitude toward North Korea through cooperation among Japan, South Korea and the United States, is a welcome development for Japan.
北朝鮮に日米韓の連携強化で厳しく臨もうとする朴氏の当選は、日本にとっても歓迎できるものだ。

===

Repair bilateral ties

Park is the daughter of former President Park Chung Hee, who braved strong opposition within the country to normalize relations with Japan in 1965 and led the country on a rapid economic growth path, dubbed the "Miracle of the Hanggang river." During the election campaign, Park gave prominence to relations with Japan, including the conclusion of an economic partnership agreement.
 朴氏は、1965年に国内の強い反対を押し切って日韓国交正常化を断行し、韓国を「漢江の奇跡」と呼ばれる高度経済成長路線に導いた朴正煕大統領の娘である。選挙戦では、経済連携協定(EPA)の推進など、日本との関係を重視していく立場を打ち出した。

Many issues are common to both Japan and South Korea, such as low birthrates and aging populations as well the handling of North Korea and China, which is expanding economically and militarily.
 少子高齢化対策、北朝鮮や膨張する中国への対応など、日韓共通の課題は多い。

Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe congratulated Park on her victory. "I hope to deepen bilateral relations further from a broad perspective by maintaining close contacts," said Abe, whose administration will be launched next week.
 自民党の安倍総裁は「緊密に意思疎通を行うことで、大局的な観点から日韓両国の関係をさらに深化させていきたい」と朴氏当選を祝うコメントを発表した。日本でも来週、安倍政権が発足する。

We hope the two incoming leaders will initially work toward repairing the Japan-South Korean relationship, which deteriorated to the worst-ever level when President Lee Myung Bak visited the Takeshima islands and demanded for an "apology by the Emperor" to victims of Japan's past colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
 日韓の両首脳にはまず、李明博大統領の竹島訪問と「天皇の謝罪」要求発言で最悪になった日韓関係の修復を図ってもらいたい。

Of course, there is little ground for optimism, but they need to make efforts to avoid issues of history from negatively impacting on the two nations any further.
 楽観は禁物だが、歴史問題がこれ以上、両国に否定的な影響を与えぬよう双方の努力が必要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 21, 2012)
(2012年12月21日01時29分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月20日 (木)

自公連立協議 現実的な原発政策を掲げよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 20, 2012)
LDP, Komeito need to present realistic nuclear power policy
自公連立協議 現実的な原発政策を掲げよ(12月19日付・読売社説)

If the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito are to form a coalition government, it is a matter of course that they will have to make adjustments on important policies as much as possible to prevent discord within the cabinet.
 連立政権を組む以上、閣内不一致に陥らないように、重要政策について極力すり合わせておくのは、当然である。

LDP President Shinzo Abe and Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi met Tuesday to launch a series of policy consultations ahead of the inauguration of the second Abe Cabinet next week.
 自民党の安倍総裁と公明党の山口代表が会談し、第2次安倍内閣の発足に向けた政策協議を開始した。

To begin with, they agreed to compile a large supplementary budget for fiscal 2012 to serve as temporary economic stimulus.
当面の経済対策として、大型の今年度補正予算を編成する方針で一致した。

LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Akira Amari and Komeito Policy Research Council Chairman Keiichi Ishii are expected to hammer out the details for the budget ahead of an official accord by the end of the week.
 詳細は、自民・甘利、公明・石井の両党政調会長が協議し、週内の合意を目指すという。

===

Economy a proper priority

The country desperately needs to be lifted out of deflation. The incoming administration is right in its decision to give top priority to economic reconstruction as a symbol of its efforts to move politics forward.
 デフレ脱却は急務である。新政権が、政治を前に動かす「象徴」として、景気の立て直しを最優先する判断は間違っていない。

Komeito supports a supplementary budget to the tune of about 10 trillion yen, while the LDP has yet to be specific.
 補正予算の規模について、公明党は10兆円規模を主張するが、自民党は規模を明示していない。

Since at least part of any supplementary budget has to rely on the issuance of additional government bonds, it is important to avoid simple handout policies and choose spending that will have a highly positive economic effect.
 財源の一部を国債の追加発行に頼らざるを得ないこともあり、バラマキを避け、経済効果の高い歳出項目を選ぶことが大切だ。

Adjustments to energy policy will be another focus of attention during the policy talks between the two parties. While the LDP pledged to "establish the best possible combination of power generation sources within 10 years," Komeito advocates "aiming to reduce the number of nuclear power plants to zero as soon as possible."
 政策協議ではエネルギー政策の調整が焦点となる。自民党が「10年以内に最適な電源構成を確立する」方針を掲げるのに対し、公明党は「可能な限り速やかに原発ゼロを目指す」と唱えている。

However, Komeito also acknowledges the need to give consideration to possible negative effects on the economy and employment, as well as to the securing of nuclear power engineers.
 ただ、公明党も、経済・雇用への影響や技術者の確保に配慮する必要性は認めている。

Imports of fuel for the nation's thermal power plants, which are being used as alternative power sources to nuclear power plants, have continued to surge, with 3 trillion yen of national wealth currently flowing overseas per year.
 今も原発の代替電源である火力発電の燃料輸入が急増し、年3兆円の国富が海外に流出している。

Zero nuclear power would accelerate the hollowing-out of the domestic industrial sector, which we see as contradicting the economic measures Komeito places importance on.
「原発ゼロ」では、産業の空洞化が加速し、公明党が重視する経済対策にも逆行するだろう。

===

Reactivation a must

We urge both the LDP and Komeito to craft a realistic policy that includes reactivating the nation's nuclear reactors once they are confirmed safe and rejecting the idea of zero nuclear power in the mid- and long term.
 安全性が確認された原発は再稼働し、中長期的にも「原発ゼロ」は避けるという現実的な政策を自公両党はまとめてもらいたい。

The LDP and Komeito also differ over amending the Constitution, but the two parties will unlikely go deeply into the issue during the policy talks this time around, due to its "low priority." This is an inevitable judgment given the limited amount of time before the new administration takes power.
 自公両党間では、憲法改正問題で主張の隔たりがあるが、今回の政策協議では「優先度が高くない」として深入りしない方向だ。新政権発足まで時間が限られている以上、やむを得ない判断だろう。

The LDP insists the government's interpretation of the Constitution should be revised so the country can exercise its right to collective self-defense. This would deepen the Japan-U.S. alliance, and is something we believe should be realized.
 自民党は、集団的自衛権を行使できるように政府の憲法解釈の変更を主張している。日米同盟を深化するうえで、重要な意義を持つ。本来は、ぜひ実現したい。

Komeito has consistently opposed such a move. However, Japan would only be required to exercise its right to collective self-defense in a limited number of situations, such as if a U.S. military vessel was attacked by a foreign country on the high seas or if a ballistic missile headed for the United States passed over Japan.
 公明党は反対の立場を崩していないが、実際に日本が集団的自衛権の行使を求められるのは、公海上で米軍艦船が他国に攻撃される場合や、日本上空を通過する弾道ミサイルで米国が攻撃される場合など、限定されている。

When should exercising the right to collective self-defense be allowed, and how should it be restricted? We believe it is possible for the two parties to find common ground if they engage in deep, reality-based discussions. We hope they, as ruling parties, will continue to discuss this matter after the new administration is launched.
 どのケースで行使を可能にし、どんな歯止めをかけるのか。現実に即して議論を深めれば、両党の接点を見つけることは不可能ではあるまい。新政権の発足後も、与党内で論議を続けてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 19, 2012)
(2012年12月19日01時12分  読売新聞)

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猪瀬都政始動 東京の難題をどう解決する

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 20, 2012)
Is Inose up to the task of resolving Tokyo's problems?
猪瀬都政始動 東京の難題をどう解決する(12月19日付・読売社説)

Naoki Inose has assumed the post of Tokyo governor after a landslide victory in Sunday's election. We hope he will steadily and successfully tackle the host of issues confronting him.
 東京都知事選で圧勝した猪瀬直樹氏が知事に就任した。山積する課題に取り組み、着実に成果を上げてもらいたい。

Tokyo residents threw their support behind Inose, who as vice governor supported former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara and pledged he would pursue policies set by his predecessor.
 都民は副知事として石原慎太郎前知事を支え、都政継続を唱えた猪瀬氏を信任した。

Inose garnered a remarkable 4.34 million votes, the biggest number ever recorded by an individual in Japan's election history. Two factors were probably behind this--a higher voter turnout because the election was held simultaneously with the House of Representatives election and the lack of a competitive rival.
 434万という得票は日本の選挙で個人が集めた最多記録だ。衆院選とのダブル選となって投票率が高まり、有力な対抗馬が不在だったことが要因だろう。

The new governor should perform his tasks persistently and without complacency over the huge number of votes he won.
 猪瀬氏に求められるのは、この大量得票におごらず、地道に職務を遂行していく姿勢である。

First of all, Inose must review the policies pursued by his predecessor and eliminate those that have had a negative impact.
 猪瀬氏はまず、石原都政の政策を検証し、負の遺産を整理することに取り組むべきだ。

===

Banking business a headache

One negative legacy is ShinGinko Tokyo, a bank launched in 2005 with the aim of supporting small and medium-size companies. At the behest of Ishihara, the metropolitan government initially invested 100 billion yen in taxpayers' money, but the bank faced a management crisis. The investment has been criticized constantly as a misjudgment.
 その一つが、中小企業支援を名目に2005年に開業した新銀行東京の問題である。石原氏の肝いりで当初1000億円の都税を投入したが、経営危機に陥った。失敗だったとの批判が絶えない。

If the Law concerning Temporary Measures to Facilitate Financing for Small and Medium Enterprises, which allows a grace period for repayment, expires next March, it could adversely affect the cash flows of companies receiving loans from ShinGinko. This could lead to a bigger predicament for the bank's management.
 返済を猶予する中小企業金融円滑化法が来年3月に期限切れとなれば、融資先の資金繰りが悪化しかねず、新銀行東京の経営が窮地に立たされる懸念がある。

Inose said the bank had "moved into the black on a single fiscal year basis." But is he certain the bank can be reconstructed? He needs to explain clearly to Tokyo residents about the significance of having the struggling bank continue its operations.
 猪瀬氏は「単年度では黒字化を果たした」と主張しているが、経営再建の見通しはあるのか。事業継続の意義について、都民への明確な説明が必要だ。

During the Tokyo election campaign, Inose said he planned to proceed with electric power energy reform and called for obsolete thermal power plants to be replaced.
 猪瀬氏は選挙戦で、電力エネルギー改革を進めていくと強調し、老朽化した火力発電所の施設更新の必要性などを訴えた。

However, relying on thermal power generation will increase fuel costs and worsen Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s financial distress. Restarting nuclear reactors is indispensable to secure a stable power supply.
 だが、火力発電頼みでは、燃料費の負担増で東京電力の経営が立ち行かなくなる恐れがある。電力の安定供給確保には、原子力発電所の再稼働が欠かせない。

===

Clarify N-power stance

It is questionable that Inose has not presented a clear stance on restarting nuclear power plants as governor of Tokyo, a major power consumption area. He must work on the Niigata prefectural government and others concerned to restart the reactors at TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.
 猪瀬氏が原発の再稼働について明確な姿勢を示していないのは、電力の大消費地の首長として問題だ。東電柏崎刈羽原発の再稼働を容認するよう新潟県などに働きかけていくべきである。

Formulation of antidisaster measures is also an important task. A near-field earthquake--one with a narrow and shallow focus--has been forecast to occur in Tokyo with a 70 percent probability within 30 years. Urgent measures must be taken to strengthen the fireproofing and earthquake resistance of wooden houses. It also will be essential to modify the townscape of areas congested with houses.
 防災対策も重要な課題だ。首都直下型地震は30年以内に70%の確率で起こると予測される。火災を起こしやすい木造家屋の不燃化、耐震化を急がねばならない。住宅密集地域の街並み改造を進めることも欠かせない。

The host city for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games will be decided next September. As the campaign to make Tokyo's bid for the Olympics successful is entering a crucial stage, public support must be enhanced.
 2020年の五輪開催都市は来年9月に決定される。東京への招致運動はこれからが正念場だ。開催への機運を盛り上げたい。

In regard to the 23 ward assemblies, which have a combined total of 900 assembly members, reform has yet to start. This bloated number has been pointed out as problematic, but remains uncorrected.
 900人もの区議がいる23区の議会についても、肥大化が指摘されたままで改革が手つかずだ。

On Tuesday, Inose told metropolitan government officials: "Tokyo has a role to reform Japan. We'll do what we can do." His ability to get things done will be put to the test.
 猪瀬氏は、「東京には日本を改革する役割がある。やれることは全部やる」と都職員に訓示した。その実行力が問われよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 19, 2012)
(2012年12月19日01時12分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月19日 (水)

アナリスで究極のアフィリエイトを! 効果は絶大、費用は最小

僅か10円でアフィリエイト広告が出せるのは、ここだけです。
記事を書いて貰ったり、ブログのサイドカラムにリンクを貼って貰ったりいたします。
あなたの記事を掲載依頼だってできますよ^^。
超お勧めです。


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中国機領空侵犯 自衛隊への挑発が過ぎないか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 19, 2012)
China's provocative acts are beyond the pale
中国機領空侵犯 自衛隊への挑発が過ぎないか(12月18日付・読売社説)

How should Japan deal with a China that has repeatedly engaged in brazen provocations both on the sea and in the air near the Senkaku Islands? This is one of the most serious tasks facing the administration of incoming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
 海だけでなく、空からも尖閣諸島周辺で示威活動を繰り返す中国とどう向き合うか。
 「安倍政権」にとって、最も重い課題の一つである。

A propeller-driven airplane belonging to China's State Oceanic Administration on Thursday intruded into Japanese airspace near the Senkaku Islands and flew near the islands for about half an hour. It marks the first time a Chinese aircraft has ever intruded into Japanese airspace.
 中国国家海洋局に所属するプロペラ航空機が13日、日本の領空に侵入し、尖閣諸島周辺の上空を約30分間飛行した。中国機による領空侵犯は初めてだ。

The Chinese government tried to explain the act away by calling it "a three-dimensional patrol both on the water and in the air." But it was probably an intentionally provocative act conducted amid Japan's election campaign for the House of Representatives.
 中国政府は「海と空からの立体パトロール」と強弁しているが、衆院選の最中を狙った意図的な挑発行為だろう。

Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of the Nanjing Incident perpetrated by the Imperial Japanese Army. The air intrusion may also have been intended to respond to anti-Japan sentiments in China.
13日は旧日本軍による南京事件75年に当たっていた。国内の反日感情に呼応する目的もあったのかもしれない。

The government lodged a strong protest with China. Washington, acting in concert with Tokyo, also conveyed its concern. When the gravity of the issue is taken into consideration, these are appropriate responses. The Japanese government, in cooperation with other countries, must call on China to exercise self-restraint.
 政府は中国に厳重抗議した。米国も日本に同調し、懸念を伝えた。問題の重大性を踏まえれば当然の対応だ。政府は各国と連携し、中国に自制を求めねばならない。

===

A higher level of hazard

The potential danger posed by an intrusive act differs greatly between those in the air and on the water.
 空と海とは、その危険度が全く異なる。

When a Chinese government vessel intrudes into Japanese waters, the Japan Coast Guard takes action, while the Maritime Self-Defense Force does not come to the fore.
領海侵入した中国政府船には海上保安庁が対応し、海上自衛隊が前面に出ることはない。

When there is an intrusion into the nation's airspace, however, the Air Self-Defense Force scrambles fighters to patrol and issue warnings.
 これに対し、領空侵犯が起きた場合は、航空自衛隊の戦闘機が緊急発進(スクランブル)し、監視や警告を行うことになる。

International law does not allow aircraft to fly into the territorial airspace of a foreign country without permission. A country thus intruded upon can take measures to exclude the intruding airplane to protect its sovereignty.
 国際法は、航空機が無許可で外国の領空を飛行することを認めていない。各国とも、主権侵害として、排除措置を取れる。

The ASDF scrambled 156 times against seemingly imminent intrusions by Chinese airplanes into Japanese airspace in fiscal 2011, a record high in the past decade. In the first half of this fiscal year alone, the ASDF scrambled 69 times.
 空自は昨年度、領空侵犯の恐れがある中国機に対し、156回のスクランブルを実施した。この10年間で最も多かった。今年度前半も69回に達している。

Should any unexpected incident occur between an ASDF aircraft and an intruding Chinese airplane, it could escalate, in a worst-case scenario, into a military conflict between the two countries.
 仮に、領空侵犯した中国機との間で不測の事故が起きれば、最悪の場合、日中間の軍事的対立に発展しかねない。

===

A troubling radar blind spot

In response to Thursday's intrusion into Japanese airspace, the ASDF scrambled fighter jets but failed to arrive at the spot promptly enough and to fully track the intrusion of the Chinese airplane. As there is no radar site near the Senkaku Islands, the ASDF failed to detect the Chinese aircraft, which was believed to have flown low over the waters close to the islands, early enough.
 今回の領空侵犯に対し、空自機がスクランブルしたものの、現場への到着が遅れ、中国機の飛行を確認することに失敗した。尖閣諸島近くにレーダーサイトがなく、低空飛行で接近したと見られる中国機に気づかなかった。

It is a matter of urgency to reinforce the SDF's warning and patrol system against Chinese aircraft. The ASDF needs to fill in this blind spot in its radar network by deploying more E-2C early-warning aircraft and airborne warning and control system (AWACS) planes to the Nansei Islands.
 中国機に対する自衛隊の警戒監視体制の強化は急務だ。空自は、早期警戒機E2Cや空中警戒管制機(AWACS)を南西諸島に派遣する機会を増やし、レーダー網の死角を埋める必要がある。

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has released a paper on China's foreign policy, in which he emphasized that China "will fight with Japan resolutely" against the Japanese government's nationalization of part of the Senkaku Islands.
 中国の楊潔チ外相は外交政策に関する論文を発表し、日本による尖閣諸島国有化に対し「断固、日本と闘争を行う」と強調した。

A Chinese official in charge of diplomatic authorities, who are supposed to function as a window for communication and negotiation with other countries, has taken a hard-line stance. This only hinders a level-headed bilateral dialogue, making it difficult to bring the issue under control.
 協議の窓口となるべき外交当局の責任者が強硬姿勢を取ることが、冷静な2国間対話を妨げ、事態の沈静化を困難にしている。

China must become aware that its self-centered behavior is certainly damaging its international reputation.
 中国は、身勝手な自己主張が自国の国際的評価を確実に損なっていることを自覚すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 18, 2012)
(2012年12月18日01時22分  読売新聞)

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安倍政権へ始動 次の参院選まで息が抜けない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 19, 2012)
No relief in sight for LDP until upper house election
安倍政権へ始動 次の参院選まで息が抜けない(12月18日付・読売社説)

A new administration must avoid political indecisiveness and move to address the policy challenges ahead.
 「決められない政治」と決別し、政策課題を前に進めてほしい。

Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe should take the people's hopes to heart and ensure stable management of his administration.
 自民党の安倍総裁は、この国民の期待を受け止めて、安定した政権運営を心がけてもらいたい。

Abe has indicated he plans to keep LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba in the same post in the upcoming reshuffle of party executives so he can play a leading role in the House of Councillors election next summer.
 安倍氏は、党役員人事で石破幹事長を留任させ、来夏の参院選の指揮を執らせる考えを示した。

The LDP and New Komeito combined to win 325 seats in Sunday's House of Representatives election, and Abe is set to be named prime minister at a special Diet session on Dec. 26. Unless the problem of the divided Diet is resolved, however, politics will remain unstable.
 自民、公明両党は衆院選で計325議席を獲得した。26日召集の特別国会で安倍氏が首相に指名されるが、衆参のねじれを解消しない限り、政治は安定しない。

With the upper house election considered "the final match," keeping Ishiba in his current post would be the first step toward an election victory, which the party regards as most important.
 参院選を「決勝戦」と位置付けて、その勝利を最重視する布陣の第一歩と言えよう。

As Abe acknowledged, the LDP's landslide victory Sunday is attributable to passive support by voters who only regard the party as "better than the Democratic Party of Japan." The rate of votes won by the LDP in the proportional representation segment was 27.6 percent, almost the same as the 26.7 percent in the previous lower house election, in which the party suffered a crushing defeat.
 安倍氏も認めるように、今回の自民党圧勝は「民主党よりはまし」という有権者の消極的な支持の結果だろう。自民党の比例選の得票率は27・6%で、大敗した前回の26・7%とほぼ同じだ。

===

Must adopt modest approach

If the party boasts of the ruling bloc's two-thirds majority in the lower house, which allows it to pass bills that have been voted down by the upper house through a second vote, and if it uses heavy-handed tactics in the Diet and commits a series of blunders, it could receive a harsh public judgment in the upper house election.
 参院で否決された法案を再可決できる衆院の3分の2以上の議席確保に慢心し、強引な国会運営や失政を重ねれば、参院選で厳しい審判を受けかねない。

Abe says he plans "a cabinet to break through the crisis" and revive the government's currently dormant Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy as the control tower of economic policy. He also expressed his intention to compile a large-scale supplementary budget for this fiscal year.
 安倍氏は、新内閣を「危機突破内閣」と位置付け、休眠状態にある政府の経済財政諮問会議を経済政策の司令塔として復活させる方針を示した。大型の今年度補正予算を編成する意向も表明した。

The top priority for the time being is to end deflation as soon as possible. An economic recovery in the first half in 2013 is essential as a precondition for increasing the consumption tax to 8 percent in April 2014.
 当面の最優先課題は、デフレからの早期脱却だ。再来年4月の消費税率8%への引き上げを予定通り実施するためにも、来年前半の景気回復が前提条件となる。

It is a matter of course for the government to boost the economy by beefing up economic policy measures. But it should avoid returning to lavish spending on public works projects and agriculture.
 経済対策の充実により、景気をてこ入れするのは当然だが、公共事業や農業で旧来型のバラマキに逆戻りするのは避けるべきだ。

On foreign policy, Abe said he planned to visit the United States as early as late January, and would work to put Japan-U.S. relations on a firm footing once again. These ties were disrupted under the DPJ-led administration.
 外交政策について、安倍氏は、来年1月下旬にも訪米し、民主党政権で混乱した日米関係の再構築に取り組む考えを強調した。

===

Bolster Japan-U.S. alliance

Strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance is a pressing task, given the severe security situation in Northeast Asia. Changing prime ministers for the seventh consecutive year since 2006 has not helped in carrying out the nation's diplomacy. Japan's declining presence in the international community must be arrested.
 北東アジアの安全保障情勢が厳しい中、日米同盟の強化は急務だ。2006年以降、日本の首相が7年連続で交代することも日本外交にとって大きなマイナスであり、国際社会における存在感の低下に歯止めをかけねばならない。

Abe is to hold a meeting with New Komeito Chief Representative Natsuo Yamaguchi on Tuesday to confirm that the two parties will form a coalition government. In policy talks between the two parties, such issues as the right to collective self-defense, a supplementary budget and nuclear energy policy should be taken up.
 安倍氏は18日に公明党の山口代表と会談し、連立政権の樹立を確認する。自公両党の政策協議では集団的自衛権や補正予算、原発政策などがテーマとなろう。

In the lower house election campaign, the LDP called for a change in the government interpretation of the Constitution to enable the nation to exercise the right to collective self-defense. However, Komeito maintains a cautious stance.
 自民党が衆院選で集団的自衛権の行使を可能にする政府の憲法解釈の変更を訴えたのに対し、公明党は一貫して慎重な立場だ。

It is obvious that exercising this right is desirable from the standpoint of strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance. The LDP must continue to press Komeito to support it on this point.
 日米同盟の強化の観点からも行使を可能にすることが望ましいのは明らかだ。自民党は公明党を粘り強く説得することが大切だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 18, 2012)
(2012年12月18日01時22分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月18日 (火)

自民党政権復帰 謙虚に実績積み信頼取り戻せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 18, 2012)
LDP must regain public's trust with achievements
自民党政権復帰 謙虚に実績積み信頼取り戻せ(12月17日付・読売社説)

 ◆民主政権迷走への厳しい懲罰だ◆

Voters handed down a stern judgment on the Democratic Party of Japan-led government. They obviously opted for a stable administration from which realistic policies can be expected.
 有権者は、民主党政権に極めて厳しい審判を下した。現実路線で安定を望める政権を選択したと言える。

The Liberal Democratic Party and its likely coalition partner New Komeito together garnered more than 320 seats in the 46th House of Representatives election Sunday to secure a return to power. It was an overwhelming victory but was not met with an air of excitement.
 第46回衆院選は、自民党と公明党で320を超える議席を獲得し、政権復帰を決めた。熱気なき圧勝である。

The DPJ, on the other hand, suffered a historic, crushing setback after losing a huge number of seats. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced Sunday night he would resign as party president.
 民主党は、議席を激減させ、歴史的敗北を喫した。野田首相は、党代表の辞任を表明した。

LDP President Shinzo Abe, who is poised to assume the post of prime minister for the second time, said the election results "do not show the LDP fully regained the people's confidence." The party should not be complacent. It will be essential for it to resolve a host of challenges, including economic revitalization and reconstruction from last year's disaster, so it can regain public confidence.
 2度目の首相就任が確実となった安倍総裁は「自民党に完全に信頼が戻ったということではない」と述べた。自民党は、おごってはならない。経済再生や復興など山積する課題を着実に解決し、信頼を取り戻すことが肝要だ。

===

Ishin no Kai secures foothold
 ◆維新も国政に影響力◆

One factor behind the LDP's victory may be that the voters wanted to punish the DPJ-led administration for its blunders.
 自民党の勝因は、民主党政権に対する有権者の「懲罰」の感情が強く働いたことにある。いわば敵失に助けられた面が大きい。

The Hatoyama administration's haphazard handling of the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture undermined the relationship of trust between the central and local governments and crippled the Japan-U.S. alliance.
 鳩山内閣の米軍普天間飛行場移設問題を巡る場当たり的対応は政府と沖縄との信頼関係を決定的に壊し、日米同盟も揺るがせた。

The following Kan Cabinet took a winding course in coping with the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Public distrust in politics peaked as Prime Minister Naoto Kan clung to his post after announcing his intention to resign.
 菅内閣は、東日本大震災や原発事故処理で迷走した。菅首相は退陣を表明しながら居座り、政治不信は頂点に達した。

The Noda administration made some laudable achievements, including the enactment of the law on the integrated reform of the social security and tax systems, but he failed to achieve unity in his party, thereby causing it to split.
 野田内閣は、社会保障・税一体改革関連法の成立など、評価できる点はあったが、民主党をまとめ切れず、党分裂を招いた。

The gap between the people's expectations of the DPJ to effect real change in government three years ago and their subsequent disappointment was demonstrated by the huge loss of seats suffered in Sunday's election. The DPJ's humiliating setback was symbolized by former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's decision not to run in the election and Kan's defeat in a single-seat constituency.
 3年前の政権交代への期待と失望の落差が、大幅な議席減に表れている。鳩山元首相の不出馬と菅前首相の小選挙区での敗退が象徴的である。

Some incumbent Cabinet ministers lost their Diet seats. Among them are Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura, Finance Minister Koriki Jojima, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Shinji Tarutoko, and Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Makiko Tanaka.
 藤村官房長官、城島財務相、樽床総務相、田中文部科学相ら現職閣僚が相次いで落選した。

Many voters must have used their votes to express their stern criticism of the DPJ over its campaign platform for the 2009 general election, which incorporated such populist policies as a handout of child-rearing allowances and making expressway tolls free without securing definite sources of revenue.
 確たる財源がないのに、子ども手当や高速道路無料化など大衆迎合の政策を盛り込んだ政権公約(マニフェスト)に対する痛烈な批判票が多かったに違いない。

The DPJ must rebuild itself based on the experience it gained as a ruling party.
 民主党は、与党の経験を踏まえて党を再建させねばならない。

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), which had aimed to become a so-called third political force, made a strong showing, securing enough seats to exert a certain amount of influence on the national political scene. Its two popular campaign faces--party leader Shintaro Ishihara and acting leader Toru Hashimoto--were able to successfully appeal to the voters. Your Party, which has a cooperative relationship with Ishin no Kai, also made gains.
 「第3極」を目指した日本維新の会は躍進し、国政への一定の影響力を確保した。石原代表と橋下代表代行の「二枚看板」がアピールしたのだろう。協力関係にあるみんなの党も議席を伸ばした。

Nippon Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan) suffered disappointing results. Ichiro Ozawa and other DPJ defectors tried to survive by joining the party headed by Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada and gathering political forces opposing tax increase and nuclear power generation. Their strategy came up short.
 日本未来の党は惨敗した。滋賀県の嘉田知事を担ぎ、反増税、脱原発勢力の結集を狙った小沢一郎氏ら民主党離党組の生き残り戦略は、失速を余儀なくされた。

===

'Zero-nuclear policy' unsuccessful
 ◆「原発ゼロ」は広がらず◆

The LDP's election partnership with Komeito in single-seat constituencies bore fruit. And the LDP gained in districts where "third political force" parties competed with another.
 自民党は小選挙区で公明党との選挙協力が奏功した。「第3極」同士が競合する中、漁夫の利を得たとも言える。

The LDP's advance may also partly be attributed to the fact that its policies appeared more convincing than those of other parties.
 自民党の政策が、他党に比べて説得力を持ったこともあろう。

The LDP appealed to voters by pledging to carry out bold monetary-easing policies to end the nation's deflationary trend and implement comprehensive reform of the social security and tax system, centering on the hike in the consumption tax rate.
 自民党は、デフレ脱却のための大胆な金融緩和や、消費税率引き上げを柱とする社会保障と税の一体改革の実行を訴えた。

The party also emphasized its energy policy, under which nuclear power plants whose safety is confirmed will be put back online at least for the time being and the best combination of power generation sources will be decided over time. It did not advocate eliminating nuclear power generation.
 当面は安全性を確認できた原発を再稼働しつつ、時間をかけて最適な電源構成を確立するというエネルギー政策も強調した。「原発ゼロ」は掲げなかった。

The fact that the national security environment has become increasingly harsh may also have helped the LDP widen its appeal to voters as it stressed its pledge of rebuilding the nation's diplomatic policy.
 日本の安全保障環境が厳しさを増していることも、外交の立て直しを強調した自民党への支持拡大につながったのではないか。

The LDP is set to form a coalition government with Komeito. But the coalition cannot secure a majority in the House of Councillors even when the strength of two parties is combined.
 自民党は、公明党と連立政権を組む方針だが、参院では自公両党合わせても過半数に届かない。

It is highly likely the Diet will remain divided with no party holding a majority in the upper house, at least until the next upper house election scheduled for next summer.
少なくとも来年夏の参院選までは衆参ねじれ国会が継続する公算が大きい。

Given this, it is essential for a ruling coalition to maintain cooperation among the three parties--the DPJ, the LDP and Komeito--which realized the comprehensive pension and tax reform, and make thorough efforts to form a consensus in policies.
 一体改革を実現した民自公3党の協調路線を維持し、丁寧に合意形成を図ることが不可欠だ。

As the LDP and Komeito, when combined, have garnered more than the two-thirds of the total seats in the lower house, bills can be passed into law by a second vote even if they are voted down in the upper chamber.
 自公両党は衆院の3分の2以上の議席を獲得したため、参院で法案が否決されても衆院で再可決できる。

Yet precedent shows that if they run the administration high-handedly, they will cause a backlash of public sentiment in the next upper house election. The two parties should bear in mind the need to manage the administration with humility.
だが、強引な政権運営を行えば、次の参院選で民意の揺り戻しを招くという先例がある。謙虚な政権運営を心がけるべきだ。

We were surprised at the wide-ranging swing in the number of seats won by parties, as was seen in the 2005 lower house election contested over the postal privatization issue, the 2009 election that brought a change of government with the DPJ coming into power, and the latest election.
 それにしても郵政解散の2005年衆院選、政権交代が起きた09年、そして今回と、獲得議席の振れ幅の大きさに驚かされる。

===

Election reform an urgent task
 ◆選挙制度改革は急務だ◆

It is characteristic of the single-seat constituency system that parties tend to win more seats than the percentage of all votes they receive would seem to warrant. We cannot help feeling that the current system needs to be corrected.
 政党の得票率以上に議席数に差が出るのが小選挙区制の特徴だとしても、このままの制度で良いのかという思いを禁じ得ない。

Should a large number of Diet members be replaced every time a national election is held, the nation's politics will become unstable as it becomes difficult for policies to be created at the initiative of politicians. Such a development would also weaken the nation's diplomatic power.
 毎回大量の議員が入れ替わるようでは政治が不安定になり、政治主導も発揮しにくい。外交力が弱まるという弊害もある。

We should also keep in mind that the latest election was held with the electoral system in a "state of unconstitutionality" as the Supreme Court has pointed out.
 今回の衆院選は、最高裁が指摘した「違憲状態」のまま実施されたことも、忘れてはならない。

The DPJ, the LDP and Komeito have agreed they would make a drastic review of the lower house election system and make the necessary legal arrangements to reduce the number of lower house seats during the ordinary Diet session next year.
 民自公3党は、来年の通常国会で衆院選挙制度の抜本的な見直しと定数削減について、必要な法整備を行うことを合意している。

It is necessary to shed light on the problems in the current system, which combines single-seat constituencies and proportional representation, and dare to implement a drastic reform, including re-adopting a multiple-seat constituency system. This could be a faster route to rebuilding the nation's politics.
 現行の小選挙区比例代表並立制の問題点を洗い出し、中選挙区制の復活も含めて、抜本改革に踏み切る必要がある。それが日本の政治を立て直す近道でもあろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 17, 2012)
(2012年12月17日04時01分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月17日 (月)

衆院選きょう投票 日本再生へ誤りなき1票を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 17, 2012)
National revitalization, end to political stagnation crucial
衆院選きょう投票 日本再生へ誤りなき1票を(12月16日付・読売社説)

 ◆政治の停滞から脱却しよう◆

Voting today in the 46th House of Representatives election provides people with an important opportunity to choose a new political alignment that will bear the responsibility of charting the nation's future course.
 第46回衆院選は、きょう投票日を迎える。

It is hoped voters will cast their precious vote after examining the policies, capabilities and disposition of each party and candidate.
 日本の将来を担う、新しい政治のかたちを決める重要な選択の機会だ。各政党と候補者の政策や能力・資質をしっかりと見極め、貴重な1票を行使したい。

The world is going through drastic changes. This year, new regimes were inaugurated in China, North Korea, Russia, France and a number of other countries. U.S. President Barack Obama was reelected for a second term, and South Korea will elect a new president on Wednesday.
 世界は激動している。今年、中国、北朝鮮、ロシア、フランスなど多くの国で新体制が発足した。オバマ米大統領は再選され、韓国も19日に新大統領を選出する。

 ◆政権選択が最大の焦点◆

We should not allow only Japan to lag under our nation's climate of political indecisiveness.
 日本だけが、いつまでも「決められない政治」を続けるわけにはいかない。

Reviving the vigor of the nation's political system is the first and most urgent task if Japan wants to overcome deflation and the strong yen, attain both economic resuscitation and fiscal reconstruction, strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance and rebuild its diplomacy vis-a-vis other Asian countries.
デフレ・円高を克服し、経済再生と財政再建を両立させる。日米同盟を強化し、アジア外交を再構築する。それには、何よりも政治の立て直しが急務だ。

The lower house election is for voters to choose an administration to lead the country. The biggest focal point in this poll is whether the Democratic Party of Japan-led alliance will continue to hold the reins of government or a coalition government of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito will retake the helm.
 衆院選は政権を選択する選挙である。民主党中心の政権の継続か、自民、公明両党の連立政権への回帰か。これが最大の焦点だ。

The DPJ is facing a strong headwind. It made a historical achievement when it enabled a package of bills related to the integrated reform of the social security and tax systems to pass through the Diet. But the party's campaign pledges for 2009 lower house election were in tatters, and its pledge of "taking key roles in the decision-making process away from bureaucrats and putting them into the hands of politicians" was only an empty slogan that caused much political confusion. We believe these factors are playing against the DPJ.
 民主党は、厳しい逆風を受けている。社会保障・税一体改革関連法の成立は歴史的成果だが、2009年衆院選政権公約(マニフェスト)は破綻し、「脱官僚」も掛け声倒れで政治を混乱させたことが響いているのだろう。

===

12 parties field candidates

We highly commend the LDP with regard to the support it gave to allow the passage of the bills on the integrated reform of social security and tax systems even though it was an opposition party.
 自民党は、野党ながら一体改革に協力した点は評価できる。

But the LDP failed to act like a responsible party in some cases when it resisted entering deliberations on bills and jolted the DPJ-led government by presenting censure motions--all tactics engineered by exploiting the divided Diet, in which the ruling bloc lacks a majority of seats in the House of Councillors.
しかし、衆参ねじれを利用し、法案審議に抵抗したり、問責決議で民主党政権を揺さぶったりし、責任政党らしからぬ対応もあった。

This election saw candidates fielded by 12 parties--the biggest number since the current election system that combines single-seat constituencies and a proportional representation system was introduced in 1996. This resulted from splits within the DPJ and the inroads into national politics made by regional parties.
 今回は、小選挙区比例代表並立制の導入以来、最多の12党が候補者を擁立した。民主党の分裂と地域政党の国政進出が要因だ。

Before this election campaign officially kicked off on Dec. 4, new parties vying to form a "third political force" were formed or merged one after another. They undeniably put priority on these moves as an election strategy, with coordination of their policies and political philosophy taking a back seat.
 公示直前、「第3極」を目指す新党の離合集散が相次いだ。理念や政策のすり合わせを二の次にして、勢力結集による選挙対策を最優先したことは否めない。

To which party and candidate should we entrust our votes to reflect our will? The credibility of campaign pledges was severely hurt with the DPJ's botched efforts, but we should pay attention most to parties' policies.
 どの政党・候補者に思いを託せば良いのか。民主党の失敗でマニフェストの信頼は失墜したが、やはり重視すべきは政策だ。

With the ever-graying society, declining birthrate and worsening fiscal conditions, the role of the government is shifting from distributing benefits to distributing burdens. We should closely examine if parties' policies are backed up by concrete plans for revenue sources and if they have presented ways to realize their policies.
 少子高齢化の進展や財政悪化に伴い、政治の役割は、「利益」の分配から「負担」の分配へと移りつつある。政策に財源の裏付けはあるのか。実現への手順が示されているのか。きちんと精査することが大切である。

In regard to economic policy, an area of particular interest to the public, the DPJ in its election platform set the goal of a nominal 3 percent year-on-year growth rate, or around 2 percent after inflation. The party says it will place priority on helping nurture such emerging sectors as renewable energy and medical and nursing care services.
 国民の関心が高い経済政策で、民主党は名目3%、実質2%程度の目標成長率を掲げた。再生可能エネルギー、医療・介護など新産業の育成に重点を置くという。

The LDP, for its part, has attached high importance to reinvigorating the national economy and strengthening Japan's industrial competitiveness. Setting an inflation target of 2 percent, the party has committed itself to a bold monetary-easing policy, saying it will consider the advisability of revising the Bank of Japan Law to allow more collaboration between the government and the central bank.
 自民党は経済再生や産業競争力強化を重視する。2%の物価目標を設定し、日銀法改正も視野に政府・日銀の連携を強化して大胆な金融緩和を行うと踏み込んだ。

===

Diplomatic skills vital
 ◆外交目標の実現力は◆

The issue of Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral free trade negotiations had earlier been expected to be a key campaign issue from the viewpoint of the nation's growth strategy. It is disappointing, however, that both the DPJ and the LDP refrained from going into specifics because both have a number of members who either oppose the free trade pact outright or are skeptical about it.
 成長戦略の観点で、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)参加問題が重要な争点となるはずだったが、民主、自民両党とも、党内に反対・慎重論を抱えるため、各論に入るのを避けたのは残念である。

Meanwhile, parties remain sharply split regarding energy policy.
 エネルギー政策では、各党の意見が鋭く対立した。

The DPJ has pledged to "reduce the number of operating nuclear power plants to zero by the end of the 2030s." Such parties as Nippon Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan) and the Japanese Communist Party have taken the position of "doing away with nuclear power generation" within an even shorter time frame. The LDP, for that matter, has avoided producing a definite conclusion, saying the party will "determine the optimum makeup of power generation sources over a 10-year time frame."
 民主党は「2030年代の原発稼働ゼロ」を目指す。日本未来の党、共産党などはより早い「脱原発」を唱える。自民党は「10年以内に電源構成のベストミックスを確立」と早急な結論を避けた。

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) has officially vowed to "break with" nuclear power, but its stance on the matter is incomprehensible because its leader, Shintaro Ishihara, has publicly denied the party made the antinuclear election pledge.
 日本維新の会は「脱原発依存」を掲げながら、石原代表が否定するなど、分かりにくい。

A party calling for terminating the nation's nuclear power generation should, as a matter of course, propose ways to cope with the adverse impacts of the "no-nuclear" option on the economy and employment, as well as measures to maintain Japan's nuclear energy-related technological levels. There have been no such proposals made in the lower house campaign and no in-depth debates on the matter.
 「脱原発」を主張する党は本来、経済・雇用への悪影響の克服や、原子力技術の維持の具体策を示す責任があるが、その動きはなく、議論は深まらなかった。

On diplomacy and national security issues, many parties have called for deepening the Japan-U.S. alliance, each pledging to do its best to defend Japan's territorial integrity, including that over the Senkaku Islands.
 外交・安全保障では、多くの党が日米同盟の深化を唱え、尖閣諸島など領土を守ると主張した。

The environment surrounding the nation's security has been increasingly severe as shown by the latest launch by North Korea of a long-range ballistic missile and China's military buildup and increasingly assertive maritime activities.
 北朝鮮の弾道ミサイル発射や中国の軍備増強と海洋進出など、日本の安保環境は厳しさを増している。どの党が、外交目標を実現する具体策や交渉力を持つのかを見極めることが重要だ。

We urge voters to determine correctly which party has specific measures and ability to negotiate effectively to realize the nation's diplomatic goals.

===

Quality of politicians falling
 ◆複眼的に政策の吟味を◆

The possibility is high that the divided state of the Diet will continue even after the general election.
 衆院選後も衆参ねじれの状況が続く可能性が高い。

Voters, in this connection, should also consider whether they should grant a single party a stable majority in the lower chamber.
衆院第1党が安定多数を得た方が良いかどうかも、投票の判断材料だろう。

A coalition government comprising a number of parties might find it easier to reflect diversified views in government policies. However, the process of ironing out conflicting views within the parties in power could be protracted, leading to a political impasse.
 多くの党が連立すれば、多様な意見が施策に反映される反面、与党内の政策調整に手間取り、政治の混乱が続く恐れもある。

Many first-time candidates have been fielded in this general election, including those from the "third political force." If they win the election, they will have to immediately address a pile of policy tasks. Those in power, in particular, must fulfill the responsibility of appropriately using bureaucrats in steering affairs of state.
 今回は、第3極を含め、多くの新人が出馬している。当選すれば、直ちに多くの政策課題に取り組まねばならない。特に与党となれば、官僚を的確に使いこなし、国政を運営する責任を担う。

One major factor behind the stagnancy of politics in recent years is the deteriorating quality of politicians. Candidates' problem-solving capabilities and other personal qualities are therefore sure to be tested.
 最近の政治の停滞は、政治家の劣化が一因である。候補者の課題解決能力や資質が問われる。

Voters should make correct choices in casting their ballots by scrutinizing the comparative merits and demerits of policies and assertions of parties and candidates.
 有権者は、各党・候補の政策や主張を様々な視点から吟味し、誤りなき選択をしてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 16, 2012)
(2012年12月16日01時21分  読売新聞)

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2003年から2012年に至るまで、オンラインカジノゲームの名だたる賞を独占状態なのです。まさにオンラインカジノゲーム界のサラブレッドと呼ばれるにふさわしい、サイト運営内容です。ペイアウトが高いのはもちろんですが、その運営は専門機関から厳しく管理されており、フェアなビジネスで、世界中のオンラインカジノファンを魅了いたしております。

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衆院選あす投票 ネット利用が課題として残る

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 16, 2012)
Voters should study policies and vote to change politics
衆院選あす投票 ネット利用が課題として残る(12月15日付・読売社説)

Sunday's House of Representatives election is important in setting the nation's course. We want to prepare for the vote by scrutinizing each political party's platform.
 日本の針路を決める重要な選挙だ。各党の政策をきちんと吟味し、あすの投票日に臨みたい。

In this election, 12 parties are fighting a close, heated battle. In contrast, voters appear to be less enthusiastic.
 今回の衆院選では、12もの政党が競う混戦となった反面、有権者側の熱気は今ひとつのように見える。

According to a nationwide survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun after the official election campaign kicked off, 82 percent of respondents said they were interested in the forthcoming lower house election, down 10 percentage points from a similar poll conducted ahead of the previous 2009 election.
 読売新聞社が公示後に実施した全国世論調査によると、衆院選に「関心がある」と回答した人は82%で、前回の2009年衆院選に比べて10ポイント低い。

The number of early votes cast so far for Sunday's election was also reportedly lower than that for the previous election.
 期日前投票も、前回よりは総じて低調という。

This is attributable to growing public distrust of politics due to the current political disarray.
 その理由として、政治の混迷が続き、政治不信が深まっていることが挙げられるだろう。

New parties, formed to challenge established parties, largely serve as mutual-aid entities designed only to help defectors from the Democratic Party of Japan and lower-profile candidates win seats in the election. Apparently drawn up hastily, their proposed measures hardly address issues that people are dissatisfied about.
 既成政党を批判する新党も、民主党離党組らが生き残るための選挙互助会の色彩が濃く、政策はいかにも急ごしらえだ。不満の受け皿として十分とは言い難い。

In a basic step to change politics, voters must look closely into each party's policies and then exercise their voting right.
 政治のあり方を変えるには各党の政策に耳を傾けて、投票権を行使するのが基本である。

===

Low turnout of young voters

Meanwhile, it is a matter of concern that the voting rate for people in their 20s is always significantly lower compared with other age brackets.
 懸念されるのは、20代の投票率が、常に他の年代を大きく下回っていることだ。

However, we want young people, in particular, to become more interested in politics as they will be forced to shoulder various burdens as a result of the nation's financial difficulties and expanding economic disparity among people.
 危機的な財政や経済格差の拡大によって、将来様々なツケを背負わされる若者たちこそ、政治にもっと関心を持ってほしい。

Parties tend to put measures to support child care on the back burner as they focus on the pension system and health care for the elderly in their social security policies. Some observers say such a tendency reflects the parties' focus on middle-aged and elderly people with higher voting rates.
 社会保障政策では、高齢者の年金・医療が優先され、子育て支援策は後回しになりがちだ。政党がこれまで、選挙で投票率の高い中高年齢層を重視してきたことの表れだとの指摘もある。

The nation's economy has worsened. If the parties make wrong policy choices now, job scarcity for university students and other young people could become serious again.
 景気は悪化している。ここで政策を誤ると、大学生らの就職難が再び深刻になりかねない。

Concerned over the higher youth jobless rate, the parties have proposed employment measures such as making part-time workers known as freeters regular employees and providing young people with assistance to develop job skills. Some parties have pushed for steps friendly to young people and families with small children in their campaign pledges.
 各党は若年失業率の高さを踏まえ、フリーターの正規雇用化や若者の就労支援などの雇用対策を掲げている。若者や子育て世帯向けの重点政策を出した党もある。

===

Use of Net remains an issue

Voters are being urged to assess what party has proposed realistic measures that are unlikely to pass excessive burdens onto future generations.
 どの党の政策が現実的か、次世代に過大な負担を回さないか、きちんと見極めてもらいたい。

To boost the turnout of young voters, the expanded use of the Internet for elections would be effective.
 若年層の投票率を高めるには、選挙でのインターネット利用を一層拡大することが、有力な手段になるだろう。

However, even updating the website of a party after the start of an official campaign could violate the Public Offices Election Law if the act is deemed part of election campaign activities.
 ところが、公示後の政党のホームページ更新は選挙運動と見なされれば公職選挙法違反となる。

With the number of Net users nearing 100 million and Japanese expatriates casting their ballots from overseas, such a regulation is unreasonable. It is no wonder that many parties have criticized the outdated law during the latest election campaign.
 ネット利用者が1億人に迫り、海外の日本人も投票する中で、こうした規制には合理性が乏しい。今回の衆院選を通じて、各党から公選法は時代遅れだといった指摘が上がったのはもっともだ。

We hope the parties will work on establishing rules on the use of the Internet for elections before next summer's House of Councillors election.
 来夏の参院選に間に合うよう、各党はネット利用のルールづくりに取り組んでもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 15, 2012)
(2012年12月15日01時41分  読売新聞)

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憲法改正 「3分の2」要件緩和を糸口に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 16, 2012)
Relax two-thirds rule for constitutional revision
憲法改正 「3分の2」要件緩和を糸口に(12月15日付・読売社説)

While the international community is changing drastically, what type of nation should Japan aim to become in the future?
 国際社会が大きく変貌する中で、日本は今後どういう国造りを目指すべきなのか。

One reason this House of Representatives election is significant is that revision of the nation's Constitution has emerged as a major campaign issue.
 今回衆院選の意義の一つは、憲法の改正が主要な争点に浮上したことだろう。

The Liberal Democratic Party has included an outline of its draft plan to revise the supreme law in its campaign platform. The outline calls for Japan's right to self-defense to be added to Article 9 of the Constitution and possession of an armed force for national defense to be stipulated in the same article.
 自民党は、政権公約に憲法改正草案の概要を盛り込んだ。9条には新たに自衛権を明記し、国防軍の保持を規定するとしている。

Whatever they are called, we consider it appropriate to place the Self-Defense Forces in the Constitution. The lack of stipulations concerning the SDF in the basic law has created a fictitious narrative in which the SDF is not a military force and has led to unrealistic interpretations of and discussions about the Constitution.
 国防軍という名称はともかく、憲法に自衛隊を位置づけることは妥当だ。自衛隊の規定のないことが、「自衛隊は軍隊ではない」という虚構を生み、現実離れした憲法解釈・論議をもたらしてきた。

The LDP is not trying to revise the pacifistic ideas in Article 9, however. The Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party are criticizing the LDP for trying to transform Japan into a country that will engage in war abroad, but we think they have missed the point.
 自民党は、9条の平和主義まで変更するわけではない。「日本が海外で戦争する国に作り替えられる」といった共産党や社民党の批判は的外れだ。

===

Komeito wary of revision

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) President Shintaro Ishihara said he is not sure whether the LDP and New Komeito will really try to amend the Constitution even if they win a majority of lower house seats in Sunday's general election. He aimed to highlight the significance of Ishin no Kai, which is more willing to revise the Constitution.
 日本維新の会の石原代表は、自公両党で過半数を取ったとしても憲法改正に向かうかどうか分からないと述べ、改正に積極的な維新の会の存在意義を強調した。

Ishihara made his remark apparently in light of the fact that Komeito is wary of constitutional revision. The issue of constitutional revision will be a problem if the LDP forms a coalition government with Komeito and wants to maintain it.
 公明党が憲法改正に慎重なことを念頭に置いたものだ。自民党が公明党と連立政権を組み、維持していく場合、憲法改正は、課題となるだろう。

Meanwhile, it leaves much to be desired that the Democratic Party of Japan has only said in its campaign platform that the party "will make use of the Constitution."
 民主党が、政権公約に「憲法を活(い)かす」と記述しただけなのは物足りない。

DPJ President and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is willing deep down to revise the Constitution, but he said revision is not an issue in the lower house election campaign. We do not know what kind of constitution the DPJ considers ideal.
野田首相は本来、改正に前向きだが、衆院選の争点ではないと主張した。民主党はどんな憲法を目指すのか分からない。

More discussions are also necessary on the two-chamber system. The government and ruling coalition parties cannot pass any bill without cooperation of the opposition in the so-called divided Diet, where the latter controls the House of Councillors. The opposition parties constantly submit censure motions and refuse deliberations on bills in the upper house only to create confusion. This is a major cause of the functional decline of politics.
 二院制についても議論が必要だ。衆参ねじれ国会の下、政府・与党は野党の協力なしには法案を成立させられない。参院では野党が問責決議や審議拒否を連発し、混乱を招いている。政治の機能低下の大きな要因だ。

Ishin no Kai and Your Party are advocating a unicameral assembly by amending the Constitution to resolve the divided Diet.
 維新の会とみんなの党は、憲法改正で一院制を実現し、衆参のねじれをなくすと訴えている。

We do not think abolition of the upper house is realistic. But, we also can understand that they are trying to solve the problem by raising questions about the adverse effects caused by the situation in the upper house, which has too much power.
参院廃止は現実的とは言えないが、「強すぎる参院」の弊害解消への問題提起として理解できる。

===

Make start with Article 96

We think it is extremely important to create a constitutional provision to deal with emergencies as proposed by the LDP and Your Party. The current Constitution does not have any provision to enhance functions of the government in case of emergencies. This problem resurfaced after the Great East Japan Earthquake last year.
 自民、みんなの両党が唱える「緊急事態条項」の新設は、極めて重要だ。憲法には緊急時に政府機能を強化する条項が欠如している。東日本大震災で改めて浮き彫りになった問題でもある。

It is also very significant that the LDP, Ishin no Kai and Your Party have called for relaxation of requirements to amend the Constitution. Article 96 of the Constitution stipulates that a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each house is necessary to initiate revision of the Constitution. This hurdle is too high.
 自民、維新、みんなの各党が憲法改正要件の緩和を掲げた意義は大きい。憲法96条は改正発議要件を衆参各院の総議員の「3分の2以上」の賛成としており、改正のハードルは極めて高い。

Relaxing this requirement by revising it to a majority would be the first step to reviewing the Constitution based on changes of the time. After the lower house election, each party should start discussing constitutional revision, starting with Article 96.
 これを「過半数」と改め、改正要件を緩和することが、時代の変化に応じて憲法を見直す一歩となる。選挙後、各党は96条を糸口に改正論議に着手すべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 15, 2012)
(2012年12月15日01時41分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月15日 (土)

尼崎連続変死 角田被告自殺は警察の失態だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 15, 2012)
Major error by police enabled Sumida's suicide
尼崎連続変死 角田被告自殺は警察の失態だ(12月14日付・読売社説)

With the death of Miyoko Sumida, it has become far more difficult to determine the truth behind an extremely abnormal case in the history of crime in this country. She was the central figure in the case. This was a gross blunder by the police.
 犯罪史上、極めて異様な事件の真相解明が難しくなった。事件の中心人物を死亡させたのは、警察の大失態である。

Sumida, who was rearrested on suspicion of murder and other charges related to bodies found in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, and elsewhere, died in a detention cell in the Hyogo Prefectural Police Headquarters. The police are treating her death as a suicide.
 兵庫県尼崎市の連続変死事件で、殺人容疑などで再逮捕されていた角田(すみだ)美代子被告が兵庫県警本部内の留置場で死亡した。県警は自殺とみている。

Sumida was suspected to have been the leader of a group that infiltrated the homes of families who had become relatives of Sumida through marriage and adoption. She then allegedly forced these families to obey her orders and extorted money from them. In a series of similar incidents, five families were split apart and six bodies have been found so far.
 被告は、婚姻や養子縁組を通して姻戚関係となった家庭に乗り込み、服従させて金を巻き上げたとされる。一連の事件で5家族が一家離散に追い込まれ、計6人の遺体が見つかった。

===

Warning signs of suicide

As what Sumida might have said was expected to reveal important clues in unraveling what happened in the so-called Amagasaki case, her death will have an immeasurable negative effect on the investigation. It is only natural for one of victims of the crimes to angrily demand, "What in the world were the police doing?"
 角田被告の供述が、事件の全容を解明するカギだった。死亡による捜査への影響は計り知れない。被害者の1人が「警察は一体、何をしていたのか」と憤ったのも当然である。

Two months ago, Sumida reportedly "consulted" a police officer in charge of her detention about the possibility of suicide, saying such things as: "I don't want to live. How can I die?" The day before her death, she reportedly said some things that could have been seen as a last will to a lawyer who came to interview her.
 角田被告は2か月前、留置担当の警察官に「生きていたくない。どうしたら死ねるのか」と“相談”していた。死亡前日には、接見に訪れた弁護士に遺言めいた言葉も漏らしていたという。

Due to these circumstances, the prefectural police designated her as a "person requiring special attention," which means her behavior had to be checked closely and recorded. According to the National Police Agency's notification, such people should, in principle, be monitored visually around the clock in a one-person cell.
 このため、県警は動静を細かく確認し、記録する「特別要注意者」に指定していた。警察庁の通知では、単独居室で24時間体制の対面監視を原則としている。

However, the prefectural police violated these stipulations by placing Sumida in a three-person cell. Although the number of times the cell was inspected per hour was increased, some time slots received insufficient monitoring. There appears to be no doubt that there were lapses by the prefectural police.
 ところが、これに反して、県警は、角田被告を3人部屋に入れていた。巡回数は通常より増やしていたものの、監視の目が行き届かない時間帯もあった。明らかに県警の手抜かりと言える。

Sumida was found dead with a long-sleeved T-shirt wound around her neck. A police officer on checking duty noticed that Sumida appeared not to be breathing and called her superior. It took 11 minutes to unlock the cell from the time the first officer noticed Sumida's abnormal condition.
 被告は長袖Tシャツを首に巻いて死亡していた。巡回中の警察官が、寝息を立てていないことに気付き、他の警察官を呼んで解錠するまでに11分を要した。

The delay was to prevent the two other inmates from escaping, according to the police, but the speed of the response is still questionable.
 同部屋の2人の脱走などを防ぐためだったというが、この対応にも疑問が残る。

===

Thorough verification needed

Initially the prefectural police insisted it had made no mistakes. However, it later admitted some inappropriate action had been taken. "We can't say there were no mistakes," one official said.
 県警は当初、「落ち度はなかった」と強弁したが、後に「ミスがなかったとは言えない」と不手際を認めた。

Why were the police unable to prevent Sumida from committing suicide? The prefectural police's monitoring system needs to be thoroughly reexamined.
なぜ、自殺を防げなかったのか、徹底検証が必要だ。

According to the NPA, several suicides occur in police detention cells each year. Belts and neckties, which can be used for suicides, are not allowed to be brought into detention cells, but cases of hanging using other pieces of clothing are said to be harder to prevent.
 警察庁によると、警察の留置場での自殺は毎年、数件起きている。自殺に使用される恐れがあるベルトやネクタイは、留置場内に持ち込めないことになっている。しかし、衣類を使って首をつる事例が後を絶たないという。

In 2007 a defendant suspected of murdering a housewife in Sakura, Tochigi Prefecture, hanged himself in a visiting room for people held in detention at a police station.
 2007年には、栃木県さくら市で主婦が殺害された事件の被告が、留置人面会室で首つり自殺するというケースまであった。

We encourage all the nation's police departments to make a concerted effort to prevent similar cases from occurring, and to learn from the mistakes of the Hyogo police. For starters, the monitoring system at police detention cells needs to be thoroughly reexamined.
 全国の警察は、兵庫県警の失態を教訓に、再発防止に全力を挙げてもらいたい。まずは、留置場の監視体制について、総点検することが必要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 14, 2012)
(2012年12月14日01時31分  読売新聞)

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原発政策 「稼働ゼロ」の副作用も語れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 15, 2012)
Parties must be honest about risks of 'zero-nuclear' future
原発政策 「稼働ゼロ」の副作用も語れ(12月14日付・読売社説)

Formulating a nuclear energy policy is a vitally important task, one that would not only help ensure a stable power supply, but also protect the environment, and affect the nation's economy, diplomacy and national security--the whole spectrum of matters related to steering the ship of state.
 原子力政策は、電力の安定供給はもとより、経済や環境保全、外交・安全保障など、国家運営の全般にかかわる重要な課題である。

Many parties in the current House of Representatives campaign, held in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, have adopted "zero nuclear" pledges. These parties, however, have neglected to explain the wide-ranging risks of eliminating nuclear power.
 東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の事故を受け、多くの政党が衆院選の公約に「原発ゼロ」を掲げている。だが、さまざまな副作用についての説明が足りない。

We urge voters not to be swayed by slogans only aimed at winning the election, but to determine calmly which parties and candidates would pursue a realistic nuclear power policy.
 有権者は選挙目当てのスローガンに惑わされず、現実的な原発政策を掲げる政党や候補者を、冷静に見極めてもらいたい。

Parties including Nippon Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan) and the Japanese Communist Party have taken the position of never allowing any of the nation's nuclear reactors to resume operating.
 日本未来の党や共産党などは原発の再稼働を一切認めないとしている。

===

Fuel cost up 3 tril. yen a year

Their assertion that this country could "do without nuclear power" on the grounds that there were no blackouts this summer is far off the mark.
今年の夏に停電が起きなかったことから、「原発なしでも電気は足りている」などと主張するが、的外れな指摘である。

The truth is that the nation walked a shaky tightrope in terms of the power supply this summer. With all reactors but two idle, power outages were only narrowly averted by mobilizing all thermal power stations available, including some outdated ones. The result was an increase of 3 trillion yen for the year's fuel costs for power generation, causing one power utility after another to announce rate hikes.
 原発が2基しか稼働していないため、古い火力発電所を総動員して停電を回避する綱渡りの状態だった。燃料費は年3兆円も増え、電気料金値上げの動きも相次いでいる。

Anyone who ignores the adverse impacts of power shortages deserves to be called irresponsible.
電力不足の悪影響から目をそらすのは無責任だ。

Parties including the Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Japan and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), on the other hand, have acknowledged the need to restart the nation's nuclear power plants to ensure a stable supply of electricity, as long as the reactors can be confirmed safe. We see these positions as valid and reasonable.
 自民党や民主党、日本維新の会などは、電力安定供給のために安全を確認できた原発の再稼働を容認した。妥当な判断である。

However, it is problematic that many party platforms promise to walk away from nuclear power inside a certain time frame, such as the DPJ's pledge to "reduce the number of operating nuclear power plants to zero by the end of the 2030s."
 問題は民主党の「2030年代に原発稼働ゼロ」など、期限付きの脱原発公約が多いことだ。

Replacing nuclear power with solar and other renewable sources of energy while boosting energy efficiency would cost the nation more than 100 trillion yen, according to one government projection. This would have to be funded either by higher electricity rates or more taxes. How can the hollowing-out of the nation's industrial sector be stopped in the face of increased production costs, and bankruptcies of small and midsized businesses caused by this policy?
 原発に代わり、太陽光など再生可能エネルギーや省エネを拡大するコストは、政府の試算で100兆円を超える。電気料金引き上げや税金で賄うしかあるまい。生産費上昇による産業空洞化や中小企業倒産をどう防ぐというのか。

The simplistic argument that introducing renewable energy sources would stimulate the economy is hardly convincing.
 再生エネを導入すれば経済成長にもつながるという、安易な主張は説得力に欠ける。

===

Reveal 'inconvenient truths'

We commend the LDP for not setting a zero-nuclear goal, as the party is apparently aware of its position as a responsible party aiming to win back the reins of government. However, the LDP's 10-year time frame for "determining the optimum makeup of power generation sources" is much too slow.
 自民党が「原発ゼロ」を掲げていないのは、政権奪還を目指す責任政党として評価できる。ただ、「最適な電源構成を10年以内に決める」という方針は遅すぎる。

The municipalities that host nuclear power facilities of course deserve consideration. Aomori Prefecture, the site of a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, is particularly anxious about the possibility of being forced into becoming a final resting place for nuclear waste.
 原発の立地自治体への配慮も不可欠だ。特に使用済み核燃料の再処理工場がある青森県は、核廃棄物の最終処分を押しつけられるのではないかと心配している。

The political parties contesting the election must revise their positions to support the continued, but safe, use of nuclear power. They should also quickly devise a plan to keep the nuclear fuel recycling program going, and determine how radioactive waste should be finally disposed of.
 原発の安全を確保したうえで活用を続ける方針を、明確にする必要がある。核燃料サイクルや放射性廃棄物の最終処分の方策を、早く示すことも求められよう。

If Japan recklessly adopted a zero-nuclear goal, it would soon cease to be a partner of the United States in its nuclear nonproliferation strategy. This would cause a fissure in the Japan-U.S. alliance, possibly to the detriment of our national interests.
 日本が「原発ゼロ」に走れば、米国の核不拡散戦略のパートナーではなくなる。日米同盟にヒビが入り、国益を損ないかねない。

Every political party needs to have the honesty and candor to tell voters "inconvenient truths" about a possible zero-nuclear Japan.
 各党は「原発ゼロ」の“不都合な真実”も率直に語るべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 14, 2012)
(2012年12月14日01時31分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月14日 (金)

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北ミサイル発射 安保理は制裁強化を決議せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 14, 2012)
UNSC should tighten sanctions on Pyongyang
北ミサイル発射 安保理は制裁強化を決議せよ(12月13日付・読売社説)

Ignoring international warnings, North Korea fired a long-range ballistic missile under the guise of launching what it claimed to be an observation satellite.
 北朝鮮が、「人工衛星打ち上げ」と称して、長距離弾道ミサイルの発射を強行した。

Once again, Pyongyang flouted without compunction U.N. resolutions that prohibit the country from engaging in any launching activities involving ballistic missile technology.
 発射を禁じた国連安全保障理事会の決議を再び愚弄する暴挙だ。

After North Korea's previous missile launch in April ended in failure, the U.N. Security Council issued a presidential statement warning it would "take action accordingly" in the event of another launch or a nuclear test.
 4月に北朝鮮の発射が失敗に終わった後、安保理は議長声明で、新たな発射や核実験には「相応の行動をとる」と警告していた。

We strongly urge the Security Council to swiftly adopt a resolution to tighten sanctions on North Korea.
速やかに北朝鮮に対する制裁措置の強化を決議すべきである。

The United States has imposed powerful financial sanctions on Iran, which have had a certain level of effect. We believe it is time to consider similar actions on North Korea.
 イランに対しては米国が強力な金融制裁を講じて一定の効果を上げている。北朝鮮にも同様の措置を検討する時ではないか。

China, a permanent Security Council member, must recognize the responsibility it bears in this matter. If China blocks a UNSC binding resolution, North Korea will do nothing to change its reckless behavior.
 安保理常任理事国の中国は責任を自覚すべきだ。中国の反対で拘束力ある決議が採択できぬようでは、北朝鮮は態度を改めまい。

===

Pyongyang's true motive

North Korea hailed the missile launch as a success, saying it put a "satellite into orbit as planned."
 北朝鮮は今回、「衛星を予定の軌道に乗せた」と成功を誇示している。

This time around, it appears North Korea succeeded in controlling the missile's flight, separating second- and third-stage rockets, the main tasks it faced toward developing the capability to fire long-range ballistic missiles. North Korea's missile range has extended considerably and its accuracy has improved, posing a grave threat to the international community.
課題だった飛行の制御や2段目と3段目の切り離しに成功した可能性がある。射程延伸や精度向上で脅威は増大している。

Why is North Korea so obsessed with launching "satellites" at enormous costs? It is unthinkable the true purpose was to put a shoddy satellite into orbit. The truth is that the hermetic country believes its survival depends on bolstering its nuclear deterrence capability by possessing atomic weapons and missiles to carry the payloads.
 北朝鮮が巨費を投じて発射を繰り返すのは、貧弱な人工衛星打ち上げが真の目的ではあるまい。核兵器と、その運搬手段のミサイルの保有で核抑止力を強化してこそ生き残れるとの判断があろう。

According to South Korean TV reports, then former chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army delivered an address to military executives at the start of this year, saying: "Launching a satellite is equal to [launching] a weaponized rocket. It enables us to install nuclear weapons on rockets capable of reaching the U.S. mainland."
 韓国のテレビによると、北朝鮮の人民軍元総参謀長が今年初め、幹部に対し「衛星打ち上げはロケット兵器と同じだ。核爆弾搭載で米本土まで飛ばすことができる」と講演したという。

The United States is concerned these remarks may come true.
米国が恐れるのは、まさにそういう事態だ。

Japan, which is already within the range of North Korea's Rodong intermediate-range ballistic missile, must strengthen its alliance with the United States and enhance its deterrence against North Korea. To achieve this it is crucial that Japan be able to exercise its right to collective self-defense regarding its missile defense system.
 日本は既に北朝鮮の中距離弾道ミサイル・ノドンの射程にある。日米同盟を強化し、北朝鮮への抑止力を高めるには、ミサイル防衛などを巡り集団的自衛権の行使を可能にすることが求められる。

===

J-Alert worked smoothly

Wednesday's missile launch was regarded as a surprise, as the international community was under the impression that North Korea had decided to delay the launch. This highlights the limits of intelligence analysis on North Korea's activities.
 今回は、延期かと思われた中での奇襲的な発射だった。北朝鮮情報の分析の限界を示している。

Nevertheless, the Japanese government was able to disseminate information about the launch to local governments in Okinawa Prefecture through the J-Alert early warning system six minutes after the launch.
 それでも日本政府はミサイル発射の6分後に全国瞬時警報システム(Jアラート)で沖縄県内の自治体などに第一報を速報した。

The government's success in conveying information this time around shows it has learned from lessons of the past and improved its system for confirming, conveying and announcing such important information.
In 2009, the government issued a false alarm before North Korea actually fired a missile, and in April this year, the government's announcement of the missile launch was significantly delayed.
 まずまず円滑に情報発信できたのは、3年前の「発射」誤報と今年4月の大幅な発表遅延の反省を踏まえ、情報確認・伝達・発表の仕組みを改善した成果だ。

The Self-Defense Forces deployed three Aegis-equipped destroyers with interceptor missiles to the East China Sea as well as units equipped with PAC-3 missiles to Ishigakijima island in Okinawa Prefecture and other areas to prepare for the missile's fall.
 自衛隊は、迎撃ミサイル搭載のイージス艦3隻を東シナ海に、地対空誘導弾部隊を沖縄・石垣島などに派遣し、ミサイル落下の事態に備えた。

The deployment was completed in a much shorter time than for the previous two launches.
部隊配置完了は前2回の発射時より大幅に早かった。

What is the key to success in national security and crisis management? It is to meticulously draw up contingency plans; conduct thorough training; and incorporate lessons learned to make the plans more rigorous.
 不測の事態に備えて計画を練り、訓練を重ね、反省点を計画の改善に生かしていく。それが安全保障・危機管理の要諦である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 13, 2012)
(2012年12月13日01時53分  読売新聞)

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舞鶴殺害無罪 検察に厳格な立証求めた判決

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 14, 2012)
Maizuru case demands emphasis on concrete evidence
舞鶴殺害無罪 検察に厳格な立証求めた判決(12月13日付・読売社説)

Concluding there was no evidence pointing to a 64-year-old man as the real culprit in a May 2008 murder, the Osaka High Court seemed to have no other option than handing down a not-guilty ruling.
 被告を犯人と断定できる証拠が存在しないと判断した以上、無罪の選択しかなかったということだろう。

The court overturned a lower court ruling that found the man guilty on charges of murder and indecent assault resulting in the death of a first-year high school student in Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture.
 京都府舞鶴市で2008年5月、高校1年の女子生徒を殺害したとして、殺人と強制わいせつ致死の罪に問われた64歳の男性被告に対し、大阪高裁は逆転無罪を言い渡した。

"There is ample room for reasonable doubt about him being the perpetrator," the court said Wednesday, in reversing the lower court's life sentence for the man.
 判決は「被告が犯人であるとするには合理的な疑いを差し挟む余地がある」と結論付け、1審の無期懲役を破棄した。

The high court's decision can be considered consistent with the cardinal rule of criminal trials--give the defendant the benefit of the doubt.
 「疑わしきは被告の利益に」という刑事裁判の原則に沿った判断を示したと言えよう。

The defendant consistently denied the charges from the beginning. Additionally, there was no direct evidence linking him to the crime, such as a murder weapon or fingerprints.
 被告は一貫して犯行を否認した。凶器や指紋などの直接証拠も見つからなかった。

Therefore, prosecutors gathered circumstantial evidence to bring charges against the man, with witnesses' testimonies saying they saw people who looked like the defendant and the victim as the key.
 このため、検察は、被告と被害者によく似た男女が一緒にいたとする目撃証言を柱に、状況証拠を積み重ねて立件した。

However, the ruling cast doubt on the credibility of their testimonies, saying they showed inconsistencies that could not be ignored.
 しかし、判決は、目撃証言について、見過ごせない変遷があるとして信用性を否定した。

===

Clear proof needed

In an April 2010 decision over the 2002 murder of a mother and her child in Osaka, the Supreme Court outlined the criteria for finding the accused guilty based on indirect evidence only. It said it requires "evidence that can only be explained if the accused is the actual perpetrator."
 最高裁は一昨年4月、大阪の母子殺害事件の判決の中で、状況証拠だけで有罪認定するには「犯人でなければ説明のつかない証拠が必要」との判断基準を示した。

The evidence presented by prosecutors in the Maizuru case apparently did not meet this criteria. Investigators should take the ruling to heart, which urges them to collect a variety of evidence and establish clear proof.
 今回、検察が提示した状況証拠は、この基準を満たせなかったのだろう。捜査当局は、広範な証拠収集と厳格な立証を求めた判決を重く受け止めねばならない。

After the high school girl was murdered, the Kyoto prefectural police headquarters arrested the man over an unrelated theft case. Police then spent as many as six days searching his home on suspicion of murder and other charges, even though they had no evidence.
 この事件で、京都府警は被告を別件の窃盗容疑で逮捕した後、証拠がないまま、殺人などの容疑で自宅を6日間も捜索した。

Investigators collected about 2,000 items, including clothing and hair, for analysis. However, they failed to obtain any concrete evidence.
衣類や毛髪など約2000点を押収し、鑑定を実施したものの、有力な物証は得られなかった。

===

Video footage not enough

The defendant was said to have described items belonging to the victim during questioning. However, the ruling concluded it "could not be denied the man might have been given leading questions by investigators."
 被告は被害者の遺留品の特徴について供述したともされたが、判決は「捜査機関による示唆や誘導が行われた可能性が否定できない」と指摘した。

We cannot help wondering if investigators in this case once again applied coercive investigation methods, which have resulted in false convictions when they believed the accused to be the real perpetrator.
 犯人だと決めつけ、冤罪(えんざい)を招いてきた強引な捜査が、この事件でも行われたのではないか、との疑問を抱かざるを得ない。

One of the few items the court accepted as evidence was video footage from a security camera, which showed people who looked like the defendant and the high school girl.
 判決が認めた数少ない証拠の一つが、被告と被害者らしい姿が映った防犯カメラの映像だった。

In recent years, images taken by security cameras have become an effective tool to identify perpetrators of crimes. When a homemaker was stabbed to death in Itabashi Ward, Tokyo, last month, security cameras installed at nearby stations and stores, among other locations, took footage of the suspected murderer, even as he tried to disguise himself.
 防犯カメラは近年、犯人を特定する有力な武器となっている。先月、東京都板橋区で発生した主婦刺殺事件でも、駅や商店などに設置された防犯カメラが、変装した容疑者の姿を捉えていた。

No matter how much security camera images improve, however, such evidence alone cannot prove an accused person is guilty. Investigators should once again be reminded they need other evidence to support camera images.
 ただ、どんなに防犯カメラの性能が向上しても、その映像だけでは有罪の証明にならない。他の証拠で補強する必要があることを捜査機関は再認識すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 13, 2012)
(2012年12月13日01時53分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月13日 (木)

COP18閉幕 新たな枠組みへ戦略を練れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 13, 2012)
Govt must reshape strategy for new CO2 framework
COP18閉幕 新たな枠組みへ戦略を練れ(12月12日付・読売社説)

The latest U.N. climate change conference, it may be said, was noteworthy only because of the confrontation between industrialized nations and emerging and developing countries over measures to tackle global warming.
 地球温暖化対策をめぐる先進国と新興国・途上国の対立だけが際立つ会議だったと言えよう。

The 18th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change has ended in Doha after agreeing on a plan to create a new framework for rules on cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to replace the Kyoto Protocol. But overall, COP18 produced poor results.
 カタールのドーハで開かれた国連の気候変動枠組み条約第18回締約国会議(COP18)が閉幕した。
 温室効果ガスの排出削減ルールについて、京都議定書に代わる新たな枠組みの策定作業計画などで合意したものの、全体的に成果は乏しかった。

The target is for the new framework to be adopted in 2015 and enforced in 2020. A crucial stage is expected to come in one or two years, but negotiations face a bumpy road ahead.
 新たな枠組みは2015年の採択を目指し、20年に発効する予定だ。今後1、2年がヤマ場となるが、交渉の前途は多難である。

Emerging and developing countries oppose mandatory emission cuts, arguing they would hamper their economic growth. Maintaining this stance in COP18, they called on the industrialized nations to increase their financial support for their efforts to reduce emissions. The industrialized nations, mired in their own fiscal problems, responded negatively, thereby kicking the can down the road.
 新興国や途上国は、経済成長の障害になるとして、強制的な排出削減に抵抗している。COP18でも、その姿勢を続け、先進国に資金支援の増額を迫ったが、厳しい財政状況の先進国は難色を示し、結論は先送りされた。

The United States has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges only the industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse emissions. Emissions discharged by Japan and EU member nations, which are obliged to cut back on carbon dioxide, account for less than 30 percent of the world's total.
 先進国だけに排出削減を義務付けた京都議定書に米国は参加せず、義務を負う日本や欧州連合(EU)などの排出量は、世界全体の3割に満たないのが現状だ。

===

Full participation vital

It is most important in a new framework to obtain participation of all principal emission-producing countries, including China and the United States--the two biggest emitters.
 新たな枠組みで最も重要なのは、世界1、2位の排出国である中国、米国など、すべての主要排出国が参加することである。

Japan attended the COP18 without changing its commitment to "reducing emissions 25 percent by 2020 compared with the 1990 level," a goal that is impossible to attain, but did not present any clear plans to achieve this.
 日本は今回、達成不可能な「20年までに1990年比25%削減」という目標を掲げたまま会議に臨み、将来の削減見通しについて明確な姿勢を示せなかった。

The 25 percent cut was announced abruptly three years ago by then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. He made the pledge on the premise that a fair framework would be formulated with the participation of main emission-producing countries. But, as was feared, only the numerical target itself attracted worldwide attention.
 「25%削減」は3年前、当時の鳩山首相が唐突に表明した。削減に取り組むに当たっては「主要排出国参加による公平な枠組みの構築」といった前提条件を付けたのに、危惧した通り、「25%削減」だけが独り歩きしている。

Furthermore, the achievement of this goal was premised on construction of additional nuclear power stations, which produce no carbon dioxide. But in the wake of the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that was triggered by last year's earthquake and tsunami, it is impossible to expect construction of new nuclear plants for the time being.
 しかも、この目標達成は、発電時に二酸化炭素(CO2)を排出しない原子力発電所の増設を前提としていたが、東京電力福島第一原発の事故により、原発の新設は当面、望めない状況にある。

===

Inconsistent policy to blame

Moreover, restarting nuclear reactors whose operation has been suspended has made no progress under the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who has put forth a policy of ending reliance on nuclear power generation in the 2030s. While little progress has been made to reduce greenhouse gases, the ratio of electricity produced at thermal power stations, which produce a great amount of carbon dioxide, has been rising significantly.
 その上、野田政権は「30年代に原発稼働ゼロ」を打ち出し、原発の再稼働も進んでいない。温室効果ガス削減を進めるどころか、CO2を多く排出する火力発電の割合が大幅に増えている。

This resulted from the inconsistent energy policy pursued by the DPJ-led administration.
 民主党政権のエネルギー政策の迷走が招いた結果である。

COP18 agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol, which was to expire this year, until 2020. Without making any commitment for the extended period, Japan will proceed with emission cuts voluntarily until a new framework takes effect.
 COP18では、今年で削減対象期間が終了する京都議定書を20年まで延長することも決まった。日本は延長期間に参加せず、新たな枠組みが発効するまで、自主的削減に取り組む。

The new government inaugurated after the forthcoming House of Representatives election must set a realistic target for emission cuts to replace the current one and reshape a strategy for international negotiations on the matter.
 政府は衆院選後、現実的な削減目標を掲げ直し、国際交渉の戦略を練り直さねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 12, 2012)
(2012年12月12日01時22分  読売新聞)

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年金制度 甘い公約では改革が進まない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 13, 2012)
Campaign pledges weak on pension system reform
年金制度 甘い公約では改革が進まない(12月12日付・読売社説)

How will political parties maintain the nation's pension system, which is in a critical situation due to the declining birthrate and aging population? Their campaign pledges mainly call for expansion of pension benefits and lack specific measures.
 少子高齢化で危機的状況に陥った年金制度をどう維持するのか。
 各政党の政権公約は給付の拡充をうたったものが目につき、具体策に乏しい。

Pension benefits have continued to swell as the population ages. However, revenue for premiums to fund the pension system has not increased because of a decline in the working population and a drop in wages because of the sluggish economy.
 高齢人口の増加に伴い、年金給付額の膨張が続いている。一方、労働力人口の減少や景気低迷による賃金下落で、財源の保険料収入は伸びない。

Despite this situation, the Liberal Democratic Party stresses the need to increase "benefits from welfare programs" for senior citizens receiving low pensions while maintaining the existing pension system.
 こうした状況にもかかわらず、自民党は、現行の年金制度を基本に低年金者へ「福祉的給付」の上乗せの必要性を強調している。

In regard to the government's share of contributions to the basic pension fund, which was raised from one-third to half, the LDP pledges to make this ratio permanent by using revenue from the consumption tax.
 3分の1から2分の1に引き上げられた基礎年金の国庫負担割合については、消費税を財源に確実に恒久化することも公約している。

If the LDP does this, the party should at the same time review the current situation in which taxpayers' money is used for high-income earners' basic pension at the same ratio as that for low-income earners.
 それならば同時に、高所得者の基礎年金にも低所得者と同様の割合で税を使っている現状も見直すべきだろう。

===

Footing a large bill

The Democratic Party of Japan and Nippon Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan) advocate the creation of a "guaranteed minimum pension," which would require greater financial resources, while New Komeito insists on providing additional pension benefits to people receiving low benefits.
 民主党や日本未来の党は、さらに財源を要する「最低保障年金」の創設を唱え、公明党も低年金者への年金加算を主張している。

If the benefits are expanded without asking people to shoulder a larger burden, taxpayers' money to be used to make up for the shortfall in resources will increase. Insisting on such an expansion is irresponsible.
 新たな負担を求めずに給付を拡充するだけでは、年金財源の不足分を補う税金投入は増える一方であり、無責任だ。

If pension benefits are simply increased, future generations will end up footing the bill, widening the intergenerational disparity between the young and the elderly. Under the circumstances, we believe the nation's pension system will eventually collapse.
 将来世代へのツケ回しとなり、高齢者と若者の世代間格差が拡大する。これでは早晩、制度が破綻するのではないか。

What is needed to ensure the stability of the pension system is to curb benefits.
 年金制度の安定に欠かせないのは、給付の抑制である。

In this regard, it is commendable that Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) is calling for "raising the pension eligibility age through creation of employment for the elderly" and that Your Party said it would "consider cutting pension benefits for high-income earners."
 その点で、日本維新の会が「高齢者雇用の創出を図って、年金支給開始年齢引き上げ」を掲げたことや、みんなの党が「高所得高齢者への年金支給減額の検討」を打ち出したのは評価できる。

It is problematic, however, that the two parties advocate a "shift to a funded pension system."
 一方で、両党が「年金制度の積み立て方式への移行」を唱えているのは疑問だ。

===

Double burden

At present, we have a pay-as-you-go pension system, under which benefits for current pensioners are funded by premiums paid by the working population. If the system is shifted to a funded pension system, the nation's workforce would shoulder a double burden--paying premiums to provide benefits to the elderly as well as premiums to fund pensions they would receive after retirement.
 現行の年金制度は、現役世代が納めた保険料を高齢者の年金に充てる賦課方式だ。積み立て方式に移行する場合、現役世代は高齢者のための保険料と、自分の老後に備えた積み立てという二重の負担を強いられ、現実的ではない。

Ishin no Kai advocates the creation of "a special inheritance tax to fund pension benefits," but the revenue raised by such a tax would be far short of what is needed. The party does not explain fully how adequate financial resources could be raised, as it does not want the social security system funded by the upcoming consumption tax hike.
 維新の会は「年金目的特別相続税」の創設を提唱しているが、現在必要な年金財源には到底足りない。消費増税分を社会保障に充てることも否定しており、どう財源を賄うのか説明不足と言える。

To ensure stable financing of the pension system, many issues should be reviewed.
 年金財政の安定のため、見直すべき課題は多い。

In 2004, a plan to lower pension levels was introduced in line with the decrease in the working population, but it has not been enforced. It is necessary to implement this plan at an early date.
 2004年に、現役世代の人口減少に合わせ、年金水準を引き下げる仕組みが導入されたが、一度も発動されていない。早期の実施が求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 12, 2012)
(2012年12月12日01時22分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月12日 (水)

原発と活断層 科学的な安全性の判断を貫け

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 12, 2012)
Nuclear regulation body mustn't be swayed by public
原発と活断層 科学的な安全性の判断を貫け(12月11日付・読売社説)

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has shown its determination to take a more painstaking approach to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants.
 原子力発電所の安全性の確保を従来にも増して優先する強い姿勢を示したと言えよう。

On Monday, the organization's expert panel issued an opinion that concluded there was a high possibility a crush zone beneath a nuclear reactor of the Tsuruga power plant in Fukui Prefecture "is an active fault."
 日本原子力発電敦賀原子力発電所(福井県敦賀市)の原子炉直下にある断層(破砕帯)は、「活断層の可能性が高い」との見解を、原子力規制委員会の専門家会合がまとめた。

The Tsuruga power plant has two reactors, both of which are now idled due to periodic safety checks. "Under present conditions, I don't think we can start a safety review [of the reactors] in preparation for restarting operations," NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said.
 敦賀原発には2基の原子炉があり、現在、定期検査で停止している。田中俊一委員長は「今のままでは再稼働の安全審査ができる状況にはない」と述べた。

His remarks suggest the panel's opinion has made the reactivation of the reactors difficult, dealing Japan Atomic Power Co.--operator of the Tsuruga plant--a serious blow.
 2基の再稼働は難しくなったと言える。日本原電にとっては、極めて厳しい見解である。

The panel's five members, including NRA Acting Chairman Kunihiko Shimazaki, were unanimous in issuing their opinion, which was issued after discussions on the geographic features of the crush zone and data from excavation surveys based on on-site inspections. The five members are experts in seismology or geology.
 専門家会合では、島崎邦彦委員長代理ら地震、地質学の専門家5人が現地調査を踏まえ、地形や掘削データに基づいて議論し、全員の意見が一致した。

===

Restarting operations difficult

The government's safety guidelines prohibit the construction of nuclear power plants on active faults because a slippage may damage the safety equipment in reactor buildings.
 活断層上の原発建設は、政府の安全指針で認められていない。地面がずれて、原子炉建屋の安全機器が損傷しかねないためだ。

The crush zone under examination runs directly beneath the Tsuruga nuclear power plant's No. 2 reactor. Some panel members also voiced concern about an active fault that runs parallel to the two reactors. The existence of this fault has been known for some time.
 今回、問題となった断層は2号機の原子炉直下を通っている。さらに以前から存在が指摘されていた原子炉脇の活断層についても、問題視する声が相次いだ。

Japan Atomic Power has no choice but to continue to suspend the Tsuruga plant's operations unless it can persuade the panel to reverse its decision by offering new data verifying the plant's safety. The utility may have to consider the option of decommissioning the nuclear power plant. The company must exercise extreme care before making a decision on whether to build two new reactors at the plant.
 日本原電は、新たな安全データを示し、規制委の評価を覆すことができない限り、原子炉を止めたままにしておくしかない。廃炉の可能性も排除できないだろう。同じ敷地内での2基の新設計画にも、慎重な判断が求められる。

The now-defunct Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency discussed the possible danger of the active fault beneath the Tsuruga plant for more than five years, but refrained from taking concrete action, such as suspending operations. The agency decided to conduct a thorough study of the possible active fault only after last year's Great East Japan Earthquake.
 敦賀原発の活断層を巡っては、旧原子力安全・保安院も5年以上前から議論していた。しかし、運転停止などの措置は講じなかった。詳しい調査を指示したのは、昨年の東日本大震災後だ。

There is a theory that the earthquake changed the geological formation around the Japanese archipelago, making it more likely for earthquakes to occur. It has become even more important for nuclear power plants to take appropriate safety measures against earthquakes.
 東日本大震災で日本列島の地層状況が変わり、各地で地震が起きやすくなったとの見方がある。原発の地震対策は、一段と重要になっている。

===

Similar judgments likely

The NRA decided to conduct independent, detailed studies of crush zones beneath six nuclear power plants to confirm whether they are active faults. Some surveys have already been carried out, such as at the Tsuruga plant and Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture. We believe the NRA's decision to conduct the studies was fair enough. There is a possibility the organization will continue to harshly evaluate the safety of power plants.
 このため、規制委が関西電力大飯原発など6か所の原発で、独自に活断層の詳細な調査に乗り出したのは理解できる。今後も、厳しい評価が続く可能性がある。

It is important for the NRA to make scientific judgments based on objective data.
 重要なのは、客観的データに基づいた科学的な判断だ。

In issuing its opinion on the Tsuruga power plant's crush zone, Shimazaki said, "We were able to reach a conclusion thanks to detailed studies conducted by Japan Atomic Power."
 今回の評価について、規制委の島崎委員長代理は「日本原電の詳細な調査があり、判断できた」と述べている。

The NRA should continue to make strict decisions as in the Tsuruga plant case, without being influenced by current public sentiment calling for the abolition of all nuclear power plants.
脱原発のムードに流されず、こうした厳格な判断を求めたい。

If the Tsuruga plant remains idle, it will affect the nation's power supply, and deal a heavy blow to Japan Atomic Power, which specializes in nuclear energy. It is crucial for the government and the electric utility industry to take the initiative in dealing with the problem.
 敦賀原発が再稼働しないと、電力供給に影響が及び、原発が専門の日本原電の経営への打撃も大きい。政府、電力業界として、どう対応するかが課題となろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 11, 2012)
(2012年12月11日01時46分  読売新聞)

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教育政策 子どもの将来見据えた論戦を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 12, 2012)
Election debates should take up education policy
教育政策 子どもの将来見据えた論戦を(12月11日付・読売社説)

Voters pay special attention to education policy. How should the children who will be responsible for Japan's future be nurtured? Each political party should present a clear future vision in this regard.
 教育政策は有権者の関心が高い。次代を担う子どもたちをどう育成するのか。各党はその将来像を示すべきである。

The Liberal Democratic Party listed education as a priority in its policy pledges for the upcoming House of Representatives election. It is one of the party's four pillars for national revival, along with the economy, diplomacy and quality of life. The party's proposals include reinstating Saturday classes and reviewing the current system of six years of primary school, three years each of middle and high school and four years of university.
 公約で教育を重点課題に掲げたのは自民党だ。経済、外交、暮らしと並ぶ再生の4本柱に位置づけ、「土曜授業の復活」や「6・3・3・4制の見直し」などを挙げている。

LDP President Shinzo Abe probably wants to try again on education reform, which he aimed at while he was prime minister but left only half-done.
 安倍総裁には、首相時代に、道半ばに終わった教育改革に再挑戦する思いもあろう。

===

Undue influence of teachers union

In the election campaign, Abe has repeatedly said the Democratic Party of Japan, which is influenced by the Japan Teachers Union, cannot be entrusted with the task of truly reviving the nation's education.
 安倍氏はこれまでの選挙戦で、日本教職員組合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、と繰り返し述べている。

For example, the national achievement test, which was introduced in 2007 to improve schoolchildren's academic abilities, was scaled down after the DPJ took power, so that instead of having all students in targeted years participate, the test was given only at a sample of about 30 percent of schools nationwide. The shift came out of consideration for criticism from the teachers union that such a test would invite competition.
 学力向上策として2007年に始まった全国学力テストは、民主党に政権移行後、全員参加方式から約3割を抽出する方式に縮小された。「競争をあおる」という日教組の批判に配慮したものだ。

Because the sampling method targets a smaller number of schools, detailed analysis of results cannot be conducted. It is understandable that the LDP argues for returning to the full participation format.
 抽出方式で対象校が減り、きめ細かな分析ができなくなった。自民党が全員参加方式に戻すと主張しているのは理解できる。

Making public high school tuition-free was one of the DPJ-led administration's pet policy measures. The LDP has proposed this be limited to children whose parents earn under a certain amount.
 民主党政権の目玉政策の一つである高校授業料の無償化についても、自民党は対象に所得制限を設ける方針を打ち出した。

On the other hand, it is a cause for concern that the LDP itself has made policy proposals that would require large-scale fiscal spending, such as one to make preschool education tuition-free.
 一方で、幼児教育の無償化など大規模な財政支出を伴う政策を盛り込んだことは懸念される。

Under the current fiscal situation, which borders on crisis, it is essential to secure fiscal resources. If the LDP is serious about returning to power, it should not end up listing policy measures simply to please the public. Rather, we want it to present a realistic policy course.
 危機的な財政状況の中では、財源の確保が重要だ。政権復帰を目指す以上、大衆受けする政策を並べるだけでなく、現実的な道筋を示してもらいたい。

Meanwhile, we consider the DPJ's policy pledges on education insufficient, as they offer little in concrete terms.
 民主党の教育に関する公約が具体策に乏しいのは物足りない。

===

Unclear role of education boards

In this election, the role of boards of education is another important issue, especially after the functional inability of the Otsu Municipal Board of Education came to light following the suicide of a middle school student in the city who had been bullied.
 今回の選挙では、教育委員会の在り方も重要な論点である。大津市の中学生がいじめを受けて自殺した事件で、市教委の機能不全が問題視されたためだ。

The LDP proposes that full-time school superintendents appointed by the heads of local governments with the consent of local assemblies should be in charge of education boards.
 自民党は、議会の同意を得て首長が任命する常勤の教育長を責任者とするよう提案している。

Regarding this point, the DPJ's policy pledges say only that the education board system should be reviewed.
 この点でも民主党は「制度の見直し」を公約しているだけだ。

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) suggests the system be abolished, while Your Party proposes that local governments be given discretion over issues concerning the system.
 日本維新の会は「制度の廃止」に言及し、みんなの党は「自治体による選択制」を主張する。

Under the current education board system introduced shortly after the end of World War II, education board members, appointed from among local residents, have a council system to make decisions on such important issues as teacher personnel affairs and the adoption of textbooks, to keep education from being politically influenced by local government heads.
 戦後導入された教委制度では、教育が首長による政治的な影響を受けないよう、地域住民の中から任命された教育委員が合議制で、教員の人事や教科書採択などの重要事項を決めてきた。

But it cannot be denied that where responsibilities lie has become unclear as the education board system has become a mere formality despite its intended independence. Who will be responsible for education? In-depth discussions should be held on this point.
 だが、独立性を付与したはずの仕組みが形骸化し、責任の所在が不明確になっている面は否めない。教育に誰が責任を持つのか、踏み込んだ議論が求められる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 11, 2012)
(2012年12月11日01時46分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月11日 (火)

農業政策 バラマキいつまで続けるのか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 11, 2012)
Farmers need to be taken off the dole
農業政策 バラマキいつまで続けるのか(12月9日付・読売社説)

With trade liberalization in mind, strengthening the structure of the nation's agricultural sector cannot be delayed any longer.
 貿易自由化をにらんで農業の体質強化は待ったなしである。

However, the campaign platforms of the leading parties in the upcoming House of Representatives election give prominent place to dole-out policies aimed at wooing farm votes. We would rather have them pursue policies to actually create a strong farm sector.
 ところが、衆院選の政権公約では、「農村票」を目当てにしたばらまき路線が目立つ。強い日本農業を実現する政策こそを競うべきだ。

One point at issue is the income compensation system for individual farming households. The program, an election pledge of the Democratic Party of Japan for the 2009 lower house election and introduced in fiscal 2010, provides uniform government subsidies to rice and other farmers.
 農業政策の焦点は、戸別所得補償制度の見直しである。
 民主党が2009年衆院選の政権公約に掲げ、10年度から導入した。コメ農家などに補助金を一律に支払う仕組みだ。

For this election, the DPJ is promising to upgrade the program into a law-based system.
民主党は今回、所得補償を法律に基づく制度に格上げすると公約している。

In fiscal 2011, the budget for the income compensation program grew to 540 billion yen--one-fourth of the total farm-related budget.
 所得補償制度の11年度の予算規模は5400億円に膨らみ、農業予算の4分の1を占める。

Despite the massive amount of money spent, the program can hardly be said to have enlarged the scale of the nation's farms or improved their farming operations. On the contrary, it encourages small producers to continue farming just to receive subsidies.
 巨費を投じたにもかかわらず、規模拡大や経営改善につながったとは言い難い。
 それどころか、生産性の低い零細農家が補助金目当てに農業を続ける現状を招く結果となった。

Policies with questionable cost-effectiveness must be reviewed.
費用対効果が極めて乏しい政策は見直さなくてはならない。

===

LDP policy also flawed

By the same token, the Liberal Democratic Party's farm proposal is also problematic in many respects.
 自民党の公約にも問題が多い。

Although the LDP is calling for a full review of the income compensation system, it supports a law that would provide subsidies to rice, fruit, vegetable and livestock farmers as long as they maintain their farmland.
所得補償制度は全面的に見直すというが、農地の維持を条件に、コメだけでなく果樹や野菜、畜産農家にまで対象を広げ、補助金を支給する新法を制定する方針だ。

This is nothing but an expansion of the current farm subsidy program. How can paying farmers just to maintain their land help boost agricultural productivity?
 所得補償の拡大以外の何物でもない。農地を持っていれば補助金がもらえる政策が、果たして生産性向上につながるだろうか。

Only by focusing government support on highly motivated, full-time farmers will the nation's agricultural sector be able to stand on its own and maintain the support of tax-paying consumers.
 意欲的な専業農家に支援を集中してこそ、農業が産業として自立でき、税負担する消費者の理解も得られよう。

The LDP is also advocating reconstituting the budget for improving farmland, which the DPJ-led administration has cut significantly. This is just another dole-out policy and will do nothing to realize the "competitive and aggressive farming sector" the LDP claims to support in its election platform.
 自民党は、民主党政権が大幅に削減した土地改良事業費を復活させる方針も掲げた。これでは二重のばらまきだ。公約で示した「競争力のある攻めの農業」など到底、実現できまい。

With farming so unprofitable, fewer and fewer young people are choosing to take over family farms, which has accelerated the graying of the farm population. To put an end to this vicious cycle, the government needs to present a vision to rehabilitate the farm sector.
 収益が上がらないから、後継者が減り、高齢化が進む――。悪循環を断ち切るには、農業再生への将来展望を示す必要がある。

===

Get ready to join TPP

As Japan prepares to join the talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, the ability of Japan's farm sector to compete internationally must be strengthened. The government's target of raising the average acreage in rice paddy cultivation to 10 times the current two hectares in five years began with a roar but appears to be ending with a whimper.
 環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉参加へ、国際競争力を高めねばならない。1戸当たり平均2ヘクタールの水田面積を5年間で10倍超にする政府目標も掛け声倒れだ。

The course of action that needs to be taken is clear: Integrate the production, processing and sales of farm products; gradually abolish the reduction of paddy acreage, which only hurts farmers' drive to produce; and encourage young farmers and parties from other industries who want to enter the farm sector.
 生産・加工・販売を一体化した体制の整備、生産意欲をそぐ減反の段階的廃止、若者や異業種参入組の積極的育成など、進むべき方向は明らかだろう。

Just like politicians who only see rice paddies as "voting blocs," the Japan Agricultural Cooperatives group is apparently pressing candidates to show their loyalty in the form of TPP opposition in return for farm votes. This only prevents our nation's farm sector from becoming self-reliant.
 TPP反対を応援条件に候補者に踏み絵を迫るJAグループも、「水田」を「票田」としか見ない政治家と同様、農業の自立を自ら妨げている。

Moving away from a subsidy-soaked agricultural administration would be a first step toward rejuvenating the farm sector.
 補助金漬け農政からの脱却が、農業再生への第一歩だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 9, 2012)
(2012年12月9日01時32分  読売新聞)

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日米同盟 肝心なのは「深化」の具体策だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 11, 2012)
Concrete measures needed to deepen Japan-U.S. alliance
日米同盟 肝心なのは「深化」の具体策だ(12月9日付・読売社説)

To make the Japan-U.S. alliance function more effectively, it is indispensable to work out concrete measures rather than merely mouth empty slogans.
 日米同盟の実効性を高めるには、掛け声だけでなく、具体的な政策の裏付けが欠かせない。

In their campaign platforms for the upcoming House of Representatives election, the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) call for deepening or bolstering the alliance.
 民主、自民、公明、日本維新の会の各党はいずれも衆院選公約に日米同盟の「深化」や「強化」を掲げている。

The DPJ-led administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama destabilized the bilateral alliance by fumbling the issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture. As a result of this chaotic situation, relations with China, South Korea and Russia deteriorated.
 民主党の鳩山政権が米軍普天間飛行場の移設問題を迷走させ、日米関係を不安定化させた。その混乱が波及する形で中国、韓国、ロシアとの関係も悪化した。

This view probably is shared by the four parties in their calls for deepening or bolstering the Japan-U.S. alliance.
そうした共通認識があるのだろう。

North Korea's announced plan to launch a ballistic missile seriously affects Japan's national security. To deal with this, Japan-U.S. relations must be put on a solid and stable footing.
 北朝鮮の弾道ミサイル発射予告が日本の安全を揺るがしている。こうした問題に対処するには、強固で安定的な日米関係が欠かせない。

The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved an amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that confirms the Senkaku Islands are covered by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. This may serve to check China, which also claims sovereignty over the islands.
 尖閣諸島への日米安全保障条約の適用を確認する国防権限法案の米上院可決が、中国への一定の牽制(けんせい)となっているのも事実だ。

That the four major parties want to deepen the Japan-U.S. alliance is a significant step forward in rebuilding the nation's diplomacy.
 日本外交の立て直しには、まず日米同盟の深化、との立場で主要政党がそろった意義は大きい。

===

Expand cooperation

The deepening of the bilateral alliance is a concept that emerged during the process of reviewing the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation and promoting the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, as new roles for the alliance were explored following the end of the Cold War.
 そもそも同盟深化とは、東西冷戦終結後、日米同盟の新たな役割を模索し、防衛協力指針(ガイドライン)見直しや在日米軍再編を進める中で生まれた発想だ。

It is essential to enhance the nature of cooperation between the Self-Defense Forces and U.S. military, which forms the core of the alliance. At the same time, it is vital to broaden cooperation in the political and economic fields as well as in such new fields as the environment, cyberspace and outer space.
 同盟の中核である自衛隊と米軍の協力の「質」を高める。同時に政治、経済は無論、環境や宇宙・サイバーなど新分野でも、連携の「幅」を広げることが重要だ。

In this sense, the calls to end reliance on nuclear power generation as advocated by the DPJ and Komeito will make it impossible for the two countries to cooperate in promoting the peaceful use of nuclear power and nuclear nonproliferation. This will run counter to moves to strengthen the alliance.
 その意味で、民主、公明両党が掲げる「脱原発」では、原子力の平和利用や核不拡散に関する日米協力は成り立たず、同盟深化に逆行することにもなりかねない。

Among the parties vying in Sunday's election, the LDP listed the largest number of concrete measures to strengthen the alliance in its campaign platform. The party proposed the enactment of a basic law on national security that would uphold the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, revision of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation and expansion of the number of SDF personnel and equipment.
 今回、同盟深化の具体策を最も多く公約に明記したのは自民党である。集団的自衛権の行使を認める国家安全保障基本法の制定、日米ガイドラインの再改定、自衛隊の人員・装備の拡充などだ。

===

Halt defense spending cuts

These measures will help boost Japan's role in the security field. Ten consecutive years of cuts in Japan's defense spending must not be ignored as our neighbors have boosted their defense spending significantly. Japan must change direction and increase its defense budget.
 いずれも日本の安保面の役割を拡大させる。周辺国が国防費を大幅に伸ばす中、10年連続の日本の防衛費削減は看過できない。早く増加に反転させてもらいたい。

The DPJ's pledges lack concrete measures to strengthen the alliance as it only presented a policy of realigning U.S. troops stationed in Japan. But the DPJ's policy agenda, though not mentioned in its manifesto, corresponds with that of the LDP in many respects. These include revision of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation and establishment of a national security council.
 民主党は、米軍再編の推進などを示した程度で、同盟深化の具体策は物足りない。ただ、ガイドライン再改定、国家安全保障会議創設など、公約にはないが、自民党と一致する政策も少なくない。

Ishin no Kai, for its part, approves the exercise of the right to collective self-defense and reviewing standards for the use of weapons by the SDF as well as the issue of defense spending cuts. This stance is laudable.
 維新の会も、集団的自衛権の行使容認や自衛隊の武器使用基準の見直し、防衛費の問題などに言及している点は評価できる。

During the rest of the campaign, the political parties must explain what effective measures they would take to deepen the Japan-U.S. alliance. This should be the first step to resolve security issues through suprapartisan efforts after the election.
 各党が衆院選を通じて、同盟深化に有効な手段について、きちんと論じておくことが大切だ。選挙後、超党派で安全保障の課題を解決するための一歩としたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 9, 2012)
(2012年12月9日01時32分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月10日 (月)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:距離感つかめる人選び /東京

December 09, 2012(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Not too far, not too close
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:距離感つかめる人選び /東京

Recently when I phoned my mother in Hokkaido, she told me, "It's cold this year, and it's snowing early." Blizzards caused a major blackout, and some people apparently had to endure the cold at night without heating. She went on, "Just getting to the neighborhood convenience store is difficult."
 北海道でひとり暮らしの母親に電話をしたら、「今年は寒いし雪も早い」と言っていた。風雪により大規模停電が起きて、寒い中、暖房器具も使えずに夜を送った人たちもいたようだ。母も「近所のコンビニまで行くのもたいへんなのよ」と言っていた。

Nature's fury can quickly develop into a life-or-death situation.
自然の猛威がすぐに“死活問題”にまで発展するのだ。

However, when we're in Tokyo watching the news about Hokkaido, the severity of the situation doesn't really hit home. If my mother weren't in Hokkaido, I might just say, "Hmm, that looks tough for them," and have little other interest in the issue.
 東京にいると、テレビのニュースでそんな北海道の映像を見ても、なかなかピンとこない。私も母親がいなければ、「へー、たいへんね」という以上の関心も持たなかったかもしれない。

To put it another way, it's very difficult for us to sympathize over and comprehend things that aren't directly related to us. Even if we're not deliberately adopting a cold attitude and saying, "Well that's their problem," somewhere inside of us, we're shutting out the things beyond us, thinking, "It's got nothing to do with me."
 つまり、私たちにとって、自分に直接、関係のないできごとを理解したり気持ちを寄せたりするのは、とてもむずかしいことなのだ。「人ごとだよね」と積極的に冷たい態度を取らなかったとしても、どこかで「自分には関係ない」とそれ以上、考えるのをシャットアウトしてしまう。

This, we can say, is something we have learned to do to protect ourselves: If every time there was a disaster, conflict or accident in a faraway country we were to put ourselves in others' shoes and think "What if that was me?" "How are these people feeling?" then we wouldn't be able to cope with it all. By distancing ourselves a certain degree from the things that aren't directly related to us and telling ourselves, "That doesn't really affect me," we can feel a bit at ease.
 しかし、これは私たちが自分を守るための知恵でもある。遠い国や地域で起きている災害や紛争、事故にいちいち「もし私だったらどうなるだろう」「この人たちはどんな思いなのだろう」と感情を移入していたら、身が持たないからだ。自分に直接、かかわらないことにはある程度、距離を置き、「私にはあまり関係ない」と言い聞かせることで、ちょっと安心することができる。

But just how much distance should we place between ourselves and such issues? Or how far should we go in thinking, "I wonder how these people are feeling?" Each of us has to consider that balance and decide for ourselves. In my consultation rooms, I'm always thinking about such a balance when I see my patients. I can't get too close and find myself getting upset, but then again, neither can I distance myself too much and end up failing to understand my patients.
 自分以外のことに、どれくらいの距離を置くのか。そして、どれくらい「この人たちはどんな気持ちなんだろう」と思いを寄せるのか。このバランスは、それぞれが頭で考えて、自分で決めなければならない。精神科の診察室で患者さんを診るということは、常にこの「距離の置き方」のバランスを考えるということでもある。あまりにも接近しすぎて自分も動揺しないように、でも逆に距離を置きすぎて理解できなくならないように。

I wonder what the case is in the House of Representatives election, whose campaigning started on Nov. 4. How far are the various candidates going in distancing themselves from voters? It wouldn't be any good for them to fail to retain any measure of distance between individuals and become too emotional. But at the same time, it's no good having them look down on others from on high all the time, either. As I look at each of the candidates from various political parties, I'm searching for someone who maintains a fine balance in the distances they keep.
 さて、もうすぐ公示される選挙ではどうなのだろう。それぞれの候補者たちは、有権者とどんな距離の置き方をするのだろう。ひとりひとりの生活者たちとの距離を失って感情的になりすぎる人も困るが、とはいえあまりに高みから見下ろすような人も困る。その「距離の置き方のバランス」が絶妙の人を探したいな、と思いながら、各党から立候補が予想される人たちの顔ぶれを見ている。

I'm not going to state here whether it looks like I'll find a candidate who fits that description, but I think everyone can agree with me when I say finding someone with that sense of balance is no easy task.
 「これぞ」という人が見つかりそうかどうか、それはここではあえて書かずにおくが、バランス感覚のある人探しは簡単ではないということは、誰にもわかるのではないだろうか。

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2012年12月04日 地方版

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2012年12月 9日 (日)

公共事業 選択と集中で効果的な投資を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 9, 2012)
Public works spending should be highly selective
公共事業 選択と集中で効果的な投資を(12月8日付・読売社説)

In the wake of the recent ceiling collapse in the Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway in Yamanashi Prefecture, public works policies have suddenly become a key issue for the upcoming House of Representatives election.
 中央自動車道・笹子トンネルの天井崩落事故を受けて、公共事業政策が衆院選の主要な論点に急浮上している。

Neglecting aging roads, bridges and other infrastructure poses a risk to public safety. To maintain such infrastructure with limited funds, political parties are being asked how they would make public works projects more efficient.
 老朽化した道路や橋などを放置すれば、国民の安全が脅かされる。限られた財源で社会資本を維持するため、公共事業をどう効率化するかが問われよう。

Under what it calls a "national land strengthening plan," the Liberal Democratic Party has called for the investment of 200 trillion yen over 10 years in projects such as disaster management. New Komeito also has unveiled a 10-year 100 trillion yen "new deal" plan to prevent and reduce damage from major disasters.
 自民党は、「国土強靱(きょうじん)化計画」を掲げ、防災などを目的に10年間で事業費200兆円の公共投資を想定している。公明党も、10年間で100兆円規模の「防災・減災ニューディール」を示した。

The Democratic Party of Japan, which called for a shift in focus "from concrete to people" in the previous 2009 lower house election, has once again criticized such plans proposed by the LDP and Komeito as "pork-barrel measures." Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has raised questions, asking people, "Will we return to the old politics of the LDP?"
 2009年の前回衆院選で、「コンクリートから人へ」を掲げた民主党は、今回も自公両党の政策を「ばらまきだ」と批判している。野田首相は、「元の自民党の政策に戻るのか」と牽制(けんせい)した。

Meanwhile, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) has vowed to boost Japan's competitiveness without increasing public works projects. But it lacks specific measures.
 日本維新の会は、公共事業を拡大せず、日本の競争力を高めると主張するが、具体策は不明だ。

===

Infrastructure needs attention

Roads, bridges, water and sewerage systems and other infrastructure built nationwide during the period of the nation's rapid economic growth are nearing the end of their life span, causing them to deteriorate rapidly. Taking care of aging infrastructure is an urgent task.
 高度成長期に整備された全国の道路、橋、上下水道などがまもなく寿命を迎え、急速に損傷や劣化が進む。老朽化した社会資本の対策は急務と言える。

We hope political parties present measures to alleviate such public concerns.
 国民の不安を和らげる方策を各党は示してもらいたい。

According to an estimate by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, 190 trillion yen will be needed over the next 50 years to maintain or rebuild infrastructure. Amid financial difficulties, government spending on public works has declined every year. There is no room for sudden major expenses.
 国土交通省の推計では、更新費用は今後50年間で190兆円に膨らむ。財政危機の中、公共事業費は年々減少しており、大盤振る舞いする余裕はない。

To minimize costs, finding damaged infrastructure and fixing it early is crucial to extend its life span. The nation should place priority on inspecting and repairing bridges by taking lessons from a series of bridge collapses in the United States due to aging.
 危険箇所の早期発見や補修で長寿命化を図り、費用を圧縮することが重要だ。老朽化で橋の落下事故が相次いだ米国を参考に、橋の点検・補修を優先すべきだ。

Considering its shrinking population, Japan may be forced to stop using low-use public facilities and infrastructure, such as bridges.
 人口減少を考慮すれば、利用が減った公共施設や橋などは使わないなどの決断も求められる。

The nation must carry out new public works projects under a strategy of "selection and concentration." A focus should be placed on projects linked to economic growth such as the development of loop roads in urban areas and the building of airports and ports that could become international hubs.
 新規事業についても、「選択と集中」を進めねばならない。都市部の環状道路網、国際拠点となる空港や港湾など、経済成長に資する事業は重視する必要がある。

===

Cost-effectiveness is key

The DPJ-led government's approval of the extension of Shinkansen lines is questionable in terms of cost-effectiveness. This project should be reviewed.
 民主党政権が整備新幹線の着工を認可したことは、費用対効果から疑問が残る。見直すべきだ。

The LDP's national land strengthening plan focuses on large-scale projects such as development along an axis on the western coast of Honshu facing the Sea of Japan so that region could supplement the east in the event of a major disaster there. The plan resembles the revival of the "archipelago-remodeling" policy the party implemented in the 1970s.
 自民党の国土強靱化計画が、日本海国土軸など大型事業に固執している点も、70年代の「列島改造」の復活を連想させる。

The political parties must not forget that ineffective economic measures and overdevelopment of roads and airports, which had lower-than-expected demand, were partly blamed for swollen government budget deficits.
 効果の乏しい景気対策、需要予測を下回る道路や空港の乱造などが、膨大な財政赤字の一因となった教訓を忘れてはならない。

The idea of allocating part of tax revenues from consumption tax increases to public works projects also should be ruled out. It is vital to make effective public investments by taking advantage of funds and expertise from the private sector.
 消費税率引き上げによる税収増の一部を、公共事業に充てようとする案も論外だ。民間の資金や知恵を生かす発想で、効果的な公共投資を進めることが肝要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 8, 2012)
(2012年12月8日01時24分  読売新聞)

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政党紙配布判決 公務員の中立を乱さないか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 9, 2012)
Ruling may undermine public servants' political neutrality
政党紙配布判決 公務員の中立を乱さないか(12月8日付・読売社説)

A Supreme Court ruling Friday found a national government employee who distributes a political party leaflet, which is prohibited by law, may not be necessarily accused of a crime.
 法的に禁じられている国家公務員による政党機関紙の配布について、最高裁は、場合によっては罪に問われることはないとの判断を示した。

The ruling has caused concern the range of political activities allowed for national government employees might surreptitiously be expanded little by little.
 国家公務員の政治活動の範囲が、なし崩し的に広がらないか、懸念が拭えない判決だ。

A former assistant division chief of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and a former employee of the now-defunct Social Insurance Agency were accused of violating the National Civil Service Law. The two distributed the Japanese Communist Party's leaflets at condominiums and other places, during the past House of Representatives election campaign, on their days off.
 過去の衆院選で、共産党機関紙の号外を休日にマンションなどに配布したとして、元厚生労働省課長補佐と元社会保険庁職員が国家公務員法違反に問われた。

The top court found the former assistant division chief guilty but acquitted the former employee of the agency.
 最高裁は、元厚労省課長補佐を有罪、元社保庁職員については無罪とする判決を言い渡した。

The law restricts political activities of national public servants, and rules of the National Personnel Authority based on the law clearly prohibit them from distributing political party leaflets.
 国家公務員法は、職員の政治的行為を制限し、それに基づく人事院規則が、政党機関紙の配布を明確に禁じている。

We think it appropriate the top court first pointed out national government workers must fulfill their duties from politically nonjudgmental and neutral positions.
 判決がまず、国家公務員について、「政治的に公正かつ中立的立場で職務の遂行に当たることが必要」と指摘したのは当然だ。

===

Part of ruling questionable

However, the rest of the judgment has come into question.
 だが、その先の最高裁の判断には疑問符が付く。

In the trial, the court attached weight to the positions of the two defendants. It said that the former assistant division chief was guilty because he was in a management post and could have affected services by other government employees by conducting political activities.
 今回の裁判で、最高裁が重視したのは、2人の地位だ。有罪となった元厚労省課長補佐は、管理職的地位にあり、政治活動をすれば、他の職員の業務にも影響を及ぼし得る、との見解を示した。

Meanwhile, the former agency employee could not have affected other workers by conducting political activities because he worked at a reception counter and in nonmanagement positions, according to the court.
 一方、窓口相談などを担当していた元社保庁職員は管理職でなく、政治活動が職務に影響することはない、と判断した。

However, we think this is merely a one-dimensional view. There must be some workers who exert powerful influence on colleagues regardless of their posts. For instance, leaders of labor unions at public offices are very influential but do not hold management positions.
 この見方は、一面的ではないか。地位にかかわらず、職場に強い影響力を持つ職員はいるだろう。例えば、官公庁の労働組合の幹部は管理職ではない。

The court said political activities by public servants shall be deemed illegal if they substantially influence the politically neutral administration of government after their positions and responsibilities are taken into consideration in a comprehensive manner. But we think this guideline is vague.
 どんな場合に政治活動が違法となるかについて、最高裁は、公務員の地位や権限を総合判断し、「行政の中立的運営に実質的に影響を及ぼす場合」との見解を示した。この線引きもあいまいだ。

In 1974, the Supreme Court ruled the prohibition of political activities by national government employees regardless of their positions would not constitute a violation of the Constitution. We cannot understand why the latest ruling doesn't conform to this judicial precedent.
 最高裁は1974年、国家公務員の政治活動について、「地位や職種に関係なく政治的行為を禁じることは憲法に違反しない」と判断した。この判例との整合性でも理解しにくい面がある。

===

Tight restrictions needed

We are afraid the latest ruling might spread an interpretation that national government workers may engage in political activities as long as they do not hold management positions. Cases of government employees helping a ruling party distribute political leaflets could also be expected.
 今回の判決により、管理職に就いていなければ、政治活動が許されるという解釈が広がる恐れもある。政権政党に、国の機関の職員がビラまきなどで協力するような事態も考えられる。

We are also concerned with the ruling's possible influences on places of education. Schoolteachers' political activities are also restricted in ways similar to national civil servants. The ruling might reproduce a case similar to the violations of the Political Funds Control Law by the Hokkaido Teachers Union, which came under criticism for its cozy relationship with the Democratic Party of Japan.
 教育現場への影響も心配だ。教員は国家公務員並みに政治活動が制限されている。民主党との癒着が批判された北海道教職員組合の政治資金規正法違反事件のようなケースが起こりかねない。

In conclusion, we believe political activities by public servants should be tightly restricted.
 やはり、公務員の政治活動は、厳格に規制されるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 8, 2012)
(2012年12月8日01時24分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月 8日 (土)

領土外交 冷静に主権を守る知恵が要る

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 8, 2012)
Cool heads indispensable for territorial diplomacy
領土外交 冷静に主権を守る知恵が要る(12月7日付・読売社説)

Defending Japan's sovereignty and the integrity of its land and seas while achieving a breakthrough on issues involving them: We urge every political party to seriously and responsibly discuss specific measures to deal with these challenges.
 日本の主権と領土・領海をいかに守り、事態をどう打開するか。各政党は、具体的な方策をしっかり論じるべきだ。

In waters near Okinawa Prefecture's Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, Chinese government vessels have repeatedly intruded into Japan's territorial waters.
 沖縄・尖閣諸島の近海では、中国政府の船による領海侵入が繰り返されている。

This summer, South Korean President Lee Myung Bak landed on Shimane Prefecture's Takeshima islets--which his country controls--in the Sea of Japan, while Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev made a trip to the island of Kunashiri, one of Japan's Russian-held northern territories off eastern Hokkaido.
今夏、韓国の李明博大統領が竹島を、ロシアのメドベージェフ首相が北方領土の国後島をそれぞれ訪れた。

It is of high importance for this country to appeal to a wide spectrum of the international community to recognize the legitimacy of Japan's sovereignty over the islands in question.
 日本の領有権の正当性を国際社会に広くアピールする必要がある。

As rightly advocated by the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and Your Party, it is an urgent priority for Japan to strengthen its ability to communicate with the international community on these matters.
民主、自民、公明、みんなの各党が掲げているように、対外発信力の一層の向上は急務だ。

===

Be on alert night and day

Regarding the Senkaku problem, all major parties' pledges for the Dec. 16 general election, including those of the DPJ, the LDP and Komeito, are united in calling for the Japan Coast Guard to be given greater ability to deal with emergencies. Such calls are right and proper.
 尖閣諸島に関し、民自公3党をはじめ、主要政党の公約は、海上保安庁の体制強化で足並みをそろえている。当然の主張である。

If China takes a high-handed stance over the problem, Japan must respond resolutely. But in non-emergency circumstances it should maintain control over the islands cool-headedly.
 中国が強圧的な外交を展開してくれば、毅然(きぜん)とした対応を取らねばならないが、普段は淡々と実効支配を継続していくべきだ。

To do so, the JCG must conduct patrol and surveillance activities day and night and issue alerts every time a Chinese surveillance ship attempts to enter Japan's territorial waters.
 そのためには、海保が昼夜を問わず警戒監視活動を行い、日本の領海に入ろうとする中国の監視船に警告を発しなければならない。

There will be more cases in which the JCG must take measures to urge such Chinese vessels to leave the territorial waters.
場合によっては退去を求める措置が必要となる。

Given that China has been rapidly increasing its number of surveillance ships, it is indispensable for Japan to beef up its fleet of patrol boats and the ranks of JCG personnel to ensure the ability to respond effectively.
 中国が監視船を急ピッチで増やしている以上、それに確実に対応できるよう、海保の巡視船と海上保安官の増強が不可欠である。

Noteworthy in this connection is a proposal by the LDP to study the feasibility of stationing government officials on the Senkakus on a regular basis.
 目を引くのは、自民党が尖閣諸島への公務員常駐を検討課題としたことだ。

Nippon Ishin no Kai leader Shintaro Ishihara, for his part, has argued for building a port on one of the islands where Japanese fishermen could take shelter in stormy weather.
日本維新の会の石原代表も漁船が荒天時に避難できる船だまりの整備を主張している。

===

Avoid antiforeign nationalism

Although these proposals are understandable as medium- and long-term tasks to enhance Japan's control over the Senkakus, it should be kept in mind that such steps could touch off Chinese countermeasures, possibly leading to an extremely strained situation. The government must be circumspect.
 実効支配の強化に向けた中長期の課題としては理解できるが、中国が対抗措置を取れば、緊張状態は抜き差しならないものとなろう。慎重な対処が求められる。

With a view to coping with South Korea's claim to the Takeshima islets, the LDP has incorporated into its election platform a pledge for the central government to hold a ceremony on Feb. 22, which the Shimane prefectural government has proclaimed "Takeshima Day."
 自民党は韓国への対抗上、島根県が定めた2月22日「竹島の日」に、政府式典を開催することも政策集に盛り込んだ。

The LDP and Komeito advocate creating a new organization to be tasked with matters affecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
 自民、公明両党は、主権と領土の問題に関する組織の創設を提唱している。

We believe it is more important to boost collaboration and liaison among such existing government organs as the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the JCG, centering around the Prime Minister's Office, than to set up a new organization.
だが、新組織を設けるよりも首相官邸を中心に外務、防衛、海保など関係省庁が緊密に連携することが重要ではないか。

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda stressed in a recent street campaign speech, "Although wholesome nationalism is important, the country would be in jeopardy should nationalism descend into antiforeign rhetoric."
 野田首相は街頭演説で「健全なナショナリズムは重要だが、排外主義に陥れば国は危うい」と強調している。

What Noda likely had in mind is radical statements by Ishihara, such as "We hate becoming a vassal state of China."
念頭にあるのは石原氏の「シナの属国になるのは嫌だ」といった過激な言動だろう。

Japan has become closely intertwined economically with China and South Korea. Deterioration of the respective bilateral relationships would be bound to harm their national interests.
 日本と中韓両国は今や、経済的に深く結びついており、2国間関係の悪化は互いにマイナスだ。

The task of constructing broad-range cooperative relations among the three countries is a prerequisite for peace and prosperity for all of Northeast Asia.
3か国の幅広い協力関係を構築することは、北東アジアの平和と繁栄にも欠かせない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 7, 2012)
(2012年12月7日01時32分  読売新聞)

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日欧EPA 早期合意で劣勢を巻き返せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 8, 2012)
Early conclusion of Japan-EU EPA needed to catch up with S. Korea
日欧EPA 早期合意で劣勢を巻き返せ(12月7日付・読売社説)

Japan has lagged far behind South Korea in expanding economic partnership relationships with other countries and regional blocs. It needs to even the score by concluding an agreement with the European Union as soon as possible.
 日本は経済連携を広げる戦略で韓国に大きく出遅れた。欧州連合(EU)との妥結を急ぎ、劣勢を巻き返す必要がある。

The council of EU trade ministers has decided to green-light the start of negotiations for an economic partnership agreement with Japan, which has been a pending issue between the two parties.
 EUの貿易相理事会が懸案だった日本との経済連携協定(EPA)交渉の開始を決めた。

Japanese and EU leaders are expected to officially agree on the kickoff of talks as early as January.
来年早々にも首脳間で正式に合意する予定だ。

The EU had been hesitant to agree to the start of the negotiations due to concerns over a possible surge in imports from Japan. Although it was a long path to reach this point, we welcome the decision by EU officials to sit at the negotiating table.
 日本からの輸出増を警戒するEUが交渉になかなか同意せず、長い道のりだったが、交渉のテーブルに着くことを歓迎したい。

South Korea, an economic rival to Japan, began negotiations with the EU in 2007 on a free trade agreement, which took effect in July 2011. Under the FTA, the EU and South Korea will gradually lower tariffs on mineral and industrial products, among others, and completely abolish them in five years.
 ライバルの韓国は、2007年にEUと交渉を始め、昨年7月に自由貿易協定(FTA)を発効させている。鉱工業品などの関税を互いに段階的に引き下げて、5年以内に撤廃する内容だ。

===

South Korean advantage

The EU levies high tariffs on imports from Japan and others--10 percent on automobiles and 14 percent on flat-screen TVs, for instance. In contrast, the tariff cuts on products from South Korea have started and Seoul has been benefitting from the deal. In the latter half of last year, South Korean automobile exports to the EU doubled compared to the same period in 2010.
 EUは日本などから輸入する自動車に10%、薄型テレビに14%の高い関税をかけている。これに対し、韓国製品の関税引き下げが始まり、昨年下半期に韓国からの欧州向け自動車輸出が前年同期比で倍増するなど効果は大きい。

It is only natural Japan's automobile and household appliance manufacturers, who are competing with their South Korean counterparts, have an increased sense of crisis. The government must accelerate the promotion of the EPA negotiations with the EU to improve Japan's disadvantageous position.
 韓国メーカーと競う日本の自動車や家電業界が危機感を強めているのは当然だ。不利な条件を改善するため、政府は対EU交渉を加速すべきである。

However, elements of the negotiations are not clear.
 しかし、先行きは不透明だ。

The EU said it will cancel the negotiations if it judges Japan's efforts toward market liberalization are insufficient one year after the talks begin. Japan should proceed with caution on this attitude demanding major concessions from Japan.
 EUは交渉開始から1年後に、市場開放への日本の取り組みが不十分と判断した場合、交渉を打ち切る方針を示した。
日本に大幅譲歩を求める強硬姿勢を警戒しなければならない。

We are also concerned over the idea of the EU considering invoking a safeguard action--emergency import restriction--if imports of specific products from Japan sharply increase.
 日本から特定品目の輸入が急増した時、EUは緊急輸入制限措置(セーフガード)導入を検討すると牽制(けんせい)した点も懸念される。

Aiming at participation in the Japanese market, the EU is reportedly ready to demand Japan to improve nontariff barriers such as easing safety standards for medical equipment and a review of government procurement in the rail and transportation fields, among others.
 EUは日本市場への参入を狙って、医療機器などの安全基準の規制緩和や、鉄道・交通分野での政府調達の見直しなど、非関税障壁の改善を要求する構えという。

===

Negotiate tenaciously

It is basic in trade negotiations to expand the sphere of free trade, by seeking points of compromise while protecting certain products or industries. Japan should engage in the negotiations patiently, while considering the removal or improvement of nontariff barriers as much as possible.
 通商交渉は、互いに守るべきものを守りながら接点を探り、自由貿易を拡大することが基本だ。日本は非関税障壁の改善を検討し、粘り強く交渉すべきだ。

A major reason behind the EU decision to start EPA negotiations is that Japan has begun preliminary talks toward possible participation in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership framework, a pan-Pacific EPA led by the United States. We believe the EU, which is not participating in the TPP talks, has a strong interest in the moves of Japan and the United States.
 EUが日本との交渉に踏み出す背景には、日本が米国の主導する環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への参加に向けて関係国と協議に入ったことがある。TPPに含まれないEUには、日米の動きに強い関心があるのだろう。

In such a situation, Japan should pursue a more strategic move to grab the EU's attention by participating in the TPP negotiations as early as possible to gain a position of strength in the EPA talks.
 だからこそ、日本はTPPに早期に参加することでEUを揺さぶり、通商交渉の主導権を握る戦略的な取り組みを進めるべきだ。

As it is quite important to provide momentum to the nation's economic growth with the expansion of free trade, Japan must promote a positive trade policy.
 自由貿易の拡大で、日本の成長に弾みを付けることが重要だ。日本は積極的な通商政策を推進しなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 7, 2012)
(2012年12月7日01時32分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月 7日 (金)

再犯防止対策 就労と住居が更生のカギだ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 7, 2012)
Jobs, housing are keys to preventing recidivism
再犯防止対策 就労と住居が更生のカギだ(12月6日付・読売社説)

The proportion of recidivists among the total number of perpetrators of crimes cleared by police and other investigative authorities has been increasing steadily since 1997. Last year, it hit a record-high 43.8 percent, according to the 2012 white paper on crime released recently by the Justice Ministry.
 法務省が公表した2012年版の犯罪白書によると、検挙者に占める再犯者の割合は1997年から一貫して上昇を続けている。昨年は、過去最悪の43・8%に達した。

Preventing former prisoners from returning to crime is a crucial issue for ensuring the nation's public safety.
 刑務所から出所した人の再犯を防ぐことは、日本の治安を守る上での重要な課題である。

About 70 percent of those who returned to prison after committing further crimes had no job. Moreover, half of those who turned to crime within three months of being released had no home to return to, according to the white paper.
 犯罪に再び手を染め、刑務所に逆戻りする人の約7割は無職だ。出所からわずか3か月で再犯に及んだ人の半数は、帰る先がないまま刑期を終えた人たちだった。

Considering that about 28,000 people are released from prison each year, it is understandable that the white paper calls for helping them find jobs and places to live, in addition to providing correctional education programs at prisons.
 年間の出所者は約2万8000人に上る。白書が刑務所での矯正教育の徹底に加え、出所者の就労支援と住居の確保が再犯防止に必要だと訴えたのは理解できる。

The job market, however, is becoming grimmer amid the anemic economy.
 しかし、景気の低迷で、雇用環境は厳しさを増している。

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Woeful shortage of living places

Currently, about 10,000 companies nationwide are registered with local probation service offices as employers willing to hire people released from prison. Nonetheless, only 758 past offenders were working at such businesses as of April.
 現在、刑務所を出所した人たちを雇い入れる協力雇用主として、約1万の事業者が各地の保護観察所に登録されている。それでも、実際に働いている出所者は今年4月時点で758人に過ぎない。

The ministry has been taking steps to encourage registered companies to hire more former inmates, such as providing cash incentives to firms that hire them for a trial period.
 法務省は、出所者を試験的に採用する協力雇用主に奨励金を支給するなど、雇用しやすい環境作りを進めている。

It is important to beef up these efforts to provide more employment opportunities to former convicts.
こうした取り組みを広げ、雇用機会を増やしていく努力が欠かせない。

Across Japan, 104 rehabilitation facilities operated by the private sector provide places to stay for those released from prison. However, it has been pointed out that these facilities suffer a chronic capacity shortage and can accommodate only 2,300 people.
 住まいについては、全国に104ある民間の更生保護施設が受け皿の役目を果たしてきた。だが、定員は約2300人で、恒常的な収容力不足が指摘されている。

The white paper describes a new program introduced in April last year to address this shortfall. Under this program, apartment buildings or houses owned by private-sector organizations and individuals are provided as homes for people released from incarceration while they prepare to become self-reliant members of society.
 これらを補う対策として、白書は、昨年4月から始まった自立準備ホームを紹介している。民間の団体や個人が管理するアパートや一軒家を、一時的な宿泊場所として提供してもらうものだ。

About 800 people used the homes during the first year alone.
初年度だけで約800人が利用した。

These homes are run in collaboration with private-sector bodies, including nonprofit organizations knowledgeable about how to support needy people. The program is noteworthy as a new private-public initiative.
 ホーム運営には、生活困窮者支援のノウハウを持つ非営利団体などが協力している。新たな官民連携の試みとして注目される。

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Ministry must play central role

There has been plenty of head-scratching over how to prevent recidivism by former prisoners released after completing their sentences.
 悩ましいのは、満期出所者の再犯防止対策である。

Convicts released on parole before completing their full sentences are supposed to be rehabilitated by the time their terms would have ended under the guidance of local probation service offices and volunteer probation officers.
 仮釈放の場合は出所者に保護観察が付き、刑期を終えるまで保護観察所や保護司の指導の下で更生を図る。

By contrast, there are no legal grounds for monitoring people released after completing their full sentences behind bars, which means they have to try to lead a normal life back in society without a "warmup period."
これに対し、満期出所者については、行政が監視する法的根拠がなく、“助走期間”のないまま社会復帰することになる。

Twenty-nine percent of prisoners released on parole return to prison within five years of being released. This rate jumps to 51 percent for those released after completing their sentences.
 出所後5年以内に刑務所に再入所する割合は、仮釈放者では29%だが、満期出所者では51%だ。

In June this year, a man who had just been released from prison after completing his sentence stabbed two people to death in a random attack in the Shinsaibashi district of central Osaka.
今年6月には満期出所したばかりの男が大阪・心斎橋で2人を殺害する通り魔事件も起きている。

The Justice Ministry should play the central role in promoting counseling services and other assistance for people released from prison after completing their sentences.
 法務省が中心となり、満期出所者からの相談に応じる体制整備などを進める必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 6, 2012)
(2012年12月6日01時09分  読売新聞)

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財政再建 借金大国からの脱却目指せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 7, 2012)
Parties must confront nation's debt dependence
財政再建 借金大国からの脱却目指せ(12月6日付・読売社説)

What can be done to rebuild the nation's finances, which are the worst among advanced nations? Financial reconstruction is an issue that will heavily influence Japan's future.
 先進国で最悪の財政をどう立て直すか。日本の将来を大きく左右する問題だ。

However, there has not been very much debate on the issue in the campaigning for the Dec. 16 general election. Parties must show their resolve in dealing with this problem.
しかし、衆院選では、議論が深まっていない。各党は、財政再建に向けた覚悟を示す必要がある。

Japan's finances are facing a critical situation. Tax revenues have been continuing to decrease due to the prolonged economic downturn following the bursting of the bubble economy in the 1990s. At the same time, welfare costs have ballooned due to the rapid aging of the population, and successive economic stimulus packages have swelled expenditures.
 日本の財政は危機的状況だ。1990年代以降、バブル崩壊後の不況で税収は減り続けている。一方、急速な高齢化によって社会保障費が増大し、度重なる景気対策で歳出が膨張した。

Annual government bond issuance to fill the gap between tax revenues and expenditures has been in the 50 trillion yen range in recent years. About half of the 90 trillion yen general account budget for fiscal 2012 was procured from the issuance of bonds. The nation's dependence on borrowing is serious.
 税収と歳出のギャップを埋めるため、政府はここ数年、年間50兆円規模の国債を発行している。2012年度も一般会計の総額90兆円のうち、半分を占めるという深刻な借金財政に陥った。

It is appalling that the issuance of new bonds has exceeded tax revenues for three years in a row. If today's excessively low interest rates begin climbing upward, the burden of interest payments will increase significantly, making it even more difficult for the government to rebuild its finances.
 新たな借金が3年連続で税収を上回る現状は、尋常ではない。現在の超低金利が上昇に転じれば、国債の利払いが一気に増大し、財政再建は一段と困難になろう。

===

Show path to rebuild finances

In their campaign platforms, the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party both have stated a goal of achieving a surplus in the primary balance by fiscal 2020 so that the government could secure policy-related expenses mainly from tax revenues without issuing new bonds. However, both parties have failed to show concrete methods on how to achieve the goal.
 民主、自民両党は政権公約で、新規の借金をせずに政策的経費を税収などでまかなえるよう、基礎的な財政収支を20年度までに黒字化する目標を掲げている。だが、その道筋は示されていない。

The first step toward sound public finances is to steadily implement the two-stage consumption tax hike scheduled to take place in April 2014 and October 2015 and to move forward the integrated reform of the social security and tax systems. Even after the consumption tax rate is raised to 10 percent, the government is expected to face an uphill battle to rebuild the nation's finances.
 財政健全化の第一歩は、14年4月と15年10月に予定される消費税率の2段階引き上げを確実に実施し、社会保障・税一体改革を進めることだ。ただし、消費税率が10%になっても、財政再建の道のりは依然として厳しい。

However, such parties as Nippon Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan), the Japanese Communist Party and Your Party have taken positions against the consumption tax hike, claiming that the government should trim wasteful budget spending first. We wonder how they would cover the surge of welfare costs without a tax hike.
 ところが、日本未来の党、共産党、みんなの党などは反増税を掲げ、「消費増税の前に予算のムダを減らすべきだ」と主張する。膨らむ社会保障費を増税なしで、どうカバーしようというのか。

There is no room for the government to fall deeper into debt by further relying on government bonds, and ask future generations to clean up the mess. It is difficult to call them responsible parties as long as they tout overly optimistic future prospects that have no foundation and evade taking necessary measures that would be painful.
 国債に依存して借金を重ね、将来世代に負担をつけ回す余裕はない。根拠のない甘い見通しを掲げ、痛みから逃げるだけでは、責任政党とは言えない。

===

Ishin's problematic proposal

There are also problems in the aim of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) to make the consumption tax a local tax after raising its rate to 11 percent.
 消費税率を11%に引き上げて地方税化するという日本維新の会の主張にも問題が多い。

Will it ever be possible for local governments to collect consumption tax by themselves without the help of the central government, and distribute the money properly? It is also doubtful the central government would be able to find other revenue sources to cover social security costs.
 国を介さず地方が独自に消費税を徴収して配分したり、社会保障は国が別財源で手当てしたりすることが可能だろうか。

Looking at parties' campaign platforms, we have to say their efforts on spending cuts are far from sufficient. The platforms include plans to support farming and implement public works projects, measures that could result in recklessly handing out taxpayers' money. The LDP has pledged to cut personnel expenses of government officials and to review livelihood protection allowances, but their effect on spending cuts will be small.
 歳出削減についても、各党の公約は踏み込み不足だ。ばらまき色の強い農業支援や公共事業などが並ぶ。自民党は公務員人件費削減や生活保護見直しを掲げているが、歳出削減の規模は小さい。

It will be important for the government to preferentially allocate limited budget resources to economic fields expected to grow in the near future, as this may result in increased tax revenues. We urge parties to more fully debate budgetary reforms that challenge the vested interests of the people concerned.
 限られた予算を将来の税収増につながる成長分野に重点的に振り向けることが重要だ。各党は既得権に切り込む予算改革をもっと議論すべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 6, 2012)
(2012年12月6日01時09分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月 6日 (木)

衆院選公示 確かな日本の針路見据えたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 6, 2012)
Voters--pick the party that offers solid course for Japan
衆院選公示 確かな日本の針路見据えたい(12月5日付・読売社説)

 ◆無責任な主張に惑わされぬよう◆

Can Japan maintain its national strength, or will it stray down a course of decline? In the upcoming House of Representatives election, voters will make an extremely important choice that will decide the future course of Japan.
 国力を維持していけるのか、それとも衰退の道をたどるのか。日本の針路を決める上で、極めて重要な選択である。

Official campaigning has started for the 46th lower house election. It is an unusual election in that it is being contested by 12 political parties, including the two major ones--the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party.
 第46回衆院選が公示された。民主、自民の2大政党をはじめ12の政党が乱立して争う異例の選挙戦となった。

In his first stump speech, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said the question in this election is "whether we move forward or return to old politics." He stressed that his party aims to become the largest party in the lower house. LDP President Shinzo Abe, meanwhile, said, "Together with New Komeito, the LDP will definitely win a majority and take back power." All eyes are on whether the DPJ or the LDP will end up holding the tiller of government.
 第一声で野田首相は「前に進むか、昔に戻るか」と訴え、第1党を目指すとしている。自民党の安倍総裁は「断固として自民党、公明党で過半数を獲得し、政権奪還を目指す」と語った。どちらが政権を担うかが、最大の焦点だ。

===

3rd force may affect new govt
 ◆第3極も新政権に影響◆

If Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), Nippon Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan) and Your Party, which aim to become a third major force to rival the DPJ and the LDP, grow stronger, they could affect the framework of the new administration.
 民主、自民両党に対抗して「第3極」を目指す日本維新の会、日本未来の党、みんなの党の勢力伸長は、新政権の枠組みに影響する。

While Abe scotched suggestions his party might form a coalition government with the DPJ, he said cooperation with Ishin no Kai remains an option.
 安倍氏は、民主党との連立政権を否定する一方、維新の会との連携は選択肢の一つだと述べた。

Even if the LDP becomes the largest party in the lower chamber, it still does not have a majority in the House of Councillors--even with the help of Komeito and Ishin no Kai. Consequently, the Diet likely will remain divided until the upper house election in summer next year.
 衆院で自民党が第1党になった場合でも、参院の議席は公明党や維新の会と合わせても過半数には届かない。

With elections being what they are, it is natural for political parties to compete with each other. However, they will also need to maneuver with one eye on the possibility of forming a coalition or partial alliance after the election. Parties are being tested on how they will break away from "politics characterized by indecision."
 来夏の参院選まで、衆参のねじれが続く公算が大きい。
 選挙である以上、各党が競い合うのは当然だが、選挙後の連立や部分連合も考慮に入れた対応も必要だ。「決められない政治」からどう脱却するかが問われている。

Cooperation between the DPJ, the LDP and Komeito is indispensable for steadily carrying out integrated reform of the social security and tax systems, the main pillar of which is to raise the consumption tax rate.
 民自公3党の協力は、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を今後、着実に実行していくうえで欠かせない。

The consumption tax increase is necessary for rebuilding state finances, which are teetering on the brink, and maintaining the social security system. It was only recently that the national council for revamping the social security system was launched under the initiative of the three parties. The council's discussions must be accelerated further.
 消費増税は、危機に瀕(ひん)する財政を再建し、社会保障制度を維持するために必要だ。3党の主導により社会保障制度改革国民会議が発足したばかりである。議論をさらに加速させなければならない。

Fearing for their political survival, many former lower house members who bolted from the DPJ joined new parties and oppose the tax increase. If they insist on taking this stance, they should present realistic steps for securing the resources needed to fund social security and reconstructing public finances.
 民主党を離党した前衆院議員たちの多くは、生き残りを図るために新党に移り、「反増税」を唱えている。それなら、社会保障財源の確保と、財政再建への現実的な具体策を示すべきだ。

Simply insisting they will "cut waste in administration" is too simplistic.
 「行政のムダを削減する」と唱えるだけでは粗雑に過ぎる。

===

Zero nuclear option irresponsible

Parties are also at odds over policies on nuclear power and energy.
 原発・エネルギー政策でも各党の主張の対立が目立つ。

Although the DPJ and the LDP will both allow nuclear reactors to be reactivated after confirmation they are safe to operate, the LDP said it will not form a conclusion on the future of nuclear power plants right away.
 民主、自民両党は安全性が確認された原発の再稼働を認める点では一致するものの、自民党は原発の将来像に早急には結論を出さないとしている。

 ◆「脱原発」の安売りでは◆

The DPJ, on the other hand, aims to end the nation's reliance on nuclear power generation in the 2030s. Mirai no To calls for abolishing nuclear generation in 10 years, while Your Party says it will end nuclear reliance in the 2020s. The Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party champion ending nuclear generation immediately.
 一方で、民主党は2030年代の原発稼働ゼロを目指す。未来の党は10年以内に全原発廃炉、みんなの党は20年代の原発ゼロを掲げている。共産、社民両党は即時ゼロという立場だ。

It is irresponsible to call for ending the use of nuclear power. Parties that trumpet this stance must explain in detail how they would ensure a stable power supply and deal with the inevitable negative impacts on the economy, employment and household spending, and the drain of Japan's nuclear engineers. Without doing so, their arguments will not be compelling to voters.
 「原発ゼロ」は無責任である。電力の安定供給、経済・雇用や家計への打撃、原子力関連技術者の流出など様々な懸念について、具体的な解決策を示さないようでは、説得力を持たない。

Taking the "zero nuclear" option will erode Japan's strength, and clearly make it more difficult to provide full social security programs and guarantee national security.
 国力をそぐ原発ゼロでは、社会保障の充実も、安全保障の確保も難しくなるのは明らかだ。

The most important task right now is economic revitalization. Conquering deflation and the ultra-strong yen will be essential for achieving an economic recovery.
 何より重要なのは、経済再生である。デフレ・超円高を克服し、景気を回復することが急務だ。

The LDP has laid out an inflation target of 2 percent, and plans to implement bold monetary easing to achieve this goal. We applaud this policy.
 自民党が、「明確な物価目標2%」を設定し、その達成に向けて大胆な金融緩和を行う考えを打ち出したのは評価できる。

Many parties, including the DPJ and the LDP, list economic growth as one of their campaign pledges. But they have failed to present a clear vision for achieving it.
 民主、自民など多くの党が高い経済成長の達成を公約しているが、道筋は不透明だ。

It is important that voters scrutinize the parties' campaign platforms to find out which party offers effective economic stimulus and monetary policies.
 どの党が有効な景気対策、金融政策を掲げているか、中身を見極めることが大切である。

The diplomatic and security environments surrounding Japan have been going through dramatic changes.
 日本を取り巻く外交・安全保障の環境は変貌を遂げつつある。

The DPJ-led administration's ham-fisted handling of the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station badly strained the Japan-U.S. alliance. Chinese marine surveillance ships have regularly intruded into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, and North Korea announced it is preparing to test-launch a ballistic missile.
 米軍普天間飛行場の移設問題を巡る民主党政権の失政で、日米同盟が大きく揺らいだ。沖縄・尖閣諸島周辺海域では中国公船の領海侵入が相次ぎ、北朝鮮は弾道ミサイルの発射を予告している。

The DPJ, the LDP and Ishin no Kai have quite rightly called for bolstering and deepening the Japan-U.S. alliance. Improving relations with Washington will be necessary also as a check against China, which has been expanding its military and economic presence. Allowing Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense could be an effective tool for that purpose.
 民主、自民、維新の会などが日米同盟の強化・深化を掲げているのは当然である。軍事、経済両面で膨張する中国をけん制するためにも、米国との関係改善が必要だ。集団的自衛権の行使を認めることは有力な手段となろう。

===

Discuss constitutional revision
 ◆あるべき国家像を語れ◆

Political parties also have a responsibility to deepen discussions about revising the Constitution to present a new vision for Japan.
 目指すべき国家像を示す憲法改正について議論を深めることも、政党の重要な責務である。

Voters, for their part, must be careful not to be swayed by populist slogans and sentiments. The parties' pledges include hardly any calls for increasing public burdens, except for the consumption tax increase. Why? The nation cannot just keep kicking the fiscal deficit can down the road for the next generation to deal with.
 有権者の側も大衆迎合のスローガンやムードに惑わされないよう注意したい。消費増税を除いて、各党の公約に負担増を求める政策がほとんどないのはなぜか。次世代にツケを回すのは限界だ。

In the previous 2009 lower house election, many voters got swept up by the climate of "letting the DPJ lead the nation for once." Will similar expectations be held this time for parties striving to become a third political force?
 前回衆院選では「一度は民主党に政権を任せてみよう」という空気に国民が流された。今回も同様に第3極に期待が集まるのか。

We hope voters will listen closely to what candidates say during the campaign to determine which party offers prescriptions that can address the tough challenges the country faces.
 日本が直面する難問に、責任ある処方箋を掲げているのはどの政党か。真摯(しんし)に耳を傾けたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 5, 2012)
(2012年12月5日01時28分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月 5日 (水)

震災復興 歩みを加速させる具体策示せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 5, 2012)
Parties need clear plans for disaster reconstruction
震災復興 歩みを加速させる具体策示せ(12月4日付・読売社説)

The first House of Representatives election since the Great East Japan Earthquake officially kicks off Tuesday.
 東日本大震災後、初めての衆院選がきょう、公示される。

How should reconstruction of disaster-hit areas, which has seen significant delays, be accelerated? Each party's policies will be scrutinized in the election campaign.
 大幅に遅れる被災地の復興をいかに加速させるか。選挙戦では各党の政策が問われよう。

Leaders of four parties, including Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of the Democratic Party of Japan and Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe, picked Fukushima Prefecture to deliver the first speeches of their campaigns. This is probably to show their commitment to focus on reconstruction from the March 11, 2011, disaster.
 野田首相と自民党の安倍総裁ら4党首が、第一声の地に福島を選んだ。震災からの復興重視の姿勢をアピールするためだろう。

In its policy pledges, the DPJ said, "Without reconstruction [from the disaster], there can be no reconstruction for Japan." The party said it would promote such measures as the relocation of residents to higher ground and the creation of jobs.
 民主党は政権公約(マニフェスト)で、「復興なくして日本の復興なし」として、高台移転の促進や雇用創出などを掲げている。

The LDP pledged the government would be "responsible for securing necessary project funds without limitations." The party considers reconstruction from the disaster a top priority in promoting its plan to "strengthen the nation's land."
 自民党は「必要な事業費は抑制せずに、国が責任を持って確保する」と公約し、復興を国土強靱(きょうじん)化を進める上での最優先課題に挙げた。

It can be said all these measures are vital for disaster-hit areas.
 いずれも被災地にとって必要な施策と言える。

===

Stop misuse of funds

It has been learned some of the funds allocated for reconstruction projects were diverted to projects far removed from contributing to the reconstruction of disaster-hit areas. Learning a lesson from this, the new administration will be tasked with effectively implementing reconstruction budgets.
 だが、復興予算を巡っては、被災地の再建とはかけ離れた事業への「転用」問題が明らかになった。この反省を踏まえ、復興予算を効果的に執行することが、新政権には求められる。

In disaster-hit areas, there is strong discontent over the current administration's slow progress on reconstruction. A year and eight months have passed since the disaster, but piles of debris remain and relocation to higher ground has yet to be realized in any of these areas.
 被災地では、後手に回った現政権の復興対策への不満が強い。震災から1年8か月を経ても、がれきの山は消えていない。高台移転が実現した地域は一つもない。

The "reconstruction acceleration" called for by each party must not end up a mere empty slogan. It is important each party show clear, highly effective measures with the actual conditions of disaster-hit areas being taken into account.
 各党の訴える「復興の加速」が掛け声倒れになってはならない。被災地の事情をくんだ実効性の高い具体策を示すことが大事だ。

The shortage of construction materials and manpower in these areas is indeed a serious problem. Many repairs to roads and seawalls destroyed by tsunami have been suspended or delayed.
 現地の建設資材や人手の不足は深刻だ。津波で壊れた道路や防潮堤の補修工事の多くは、中断や工期延長を余儀なくされている。

A shortage of ready-mixed concrete is particularly serious. In Sendai, large volumes of concrete have been used for a subway construction project, which has further exacerbated the shortage.
 中でも、生コンが著しく不足している。その一方で、仙台市の地下鉄工事では大量の生コンが使われ、不足に拍車をかけている。

When large-scale construction projects, such as those to elevate low-lying areas, move into full gear, the ready-mixed concrete shortage will become more and more acute.
 今後、低地の地盤のかさ上げなど大工事が本格化すると、生コン不足はますます深刻となろう。

It is necessary to strengthen the coordination function of the Reconstruction Agency and establish systems to help construction companies procure necessary materials.
 復興庁の調整機能を強化し、建設業者の資材調達を支援する仕組みを整えることが必要だ。

===

Depopulation a serious concern

After being hit by an earthquake centered off southwest Hokkaido in 1993, communities on Okushiri Island relocated to higher ground. But the disaster spurred people's departure there and the population has decreased by 30 percent since the quake.
 1993年に北海道南西沖地震に襲われた奥尻島では、高台移転が行われた。しかし、人口は現在、被災時から3割減少し、過疎化がより進む結果となった。

Many areas hardest hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake were facing depopulation even before the disaster. Local governments are likely to make restoration and repairs a top priority, as failing to help people get their lives back in order in the immediate future could accelerate an exodus of the population.
 大震災の被災地も元々、過疎だった所が多い。自治体は、当面の生活再建ができないと、住民流出を招きかねないとして、復旧・補修対応を優先しがちだ。

What kind of communities should be formed, and how should they be invigorated? How can jobs be created? It is essential for promising ideas to be presented. We consider it the responsibility of the national government to help revive communities to create places where people want to continue to live.
 将来、どのような町を作り、活性化していくのか。雇用をどう創出するのか。希望ある展望を示すことが大切だ。住み続けたいと思う「ふるさと」再生への支援も、国政の責務である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 4, 2012)
(2012年12月4日01時43分  読売新聞)

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北ミサイル予告 発射阻止へ国際連携の強化を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 5, 2012)
Multilateral cooperation needed to stop missile launch
北ミサイル予告 発射阻止へ国際連携の強化を(12月4日付・読売社説)

North Korea recently announced it would launch a long-range ballistic missile between Monday and Dec. 22 under the guise of sending a "satellite" into orbit.
 北朝鮮が「人工衛星打ち上げ」と称して、長距離弾道ミサイルを10日から22日の間に発射すると予告した。

However hard Pyongyang insists that its plan is to launch a satellite for peaceful purposes, the mechanism used to launch a missile is the same as that used to launch a satellite. It is a clear violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution prohibiting North Korea from conducting nuclear tests and "any launch using ballistic missile technology."
 いくら平和目的の衛星打ち上げと強弁しようとも、原理は弾道ミサイル発射と変わらない。「核実験や、弾道ミサイルの技術を使ったいかなる発射も」禁じた国連安全保障理事会の決議への違反は明らかである。

This is a serious provocation to the international community.
 国際社会への重大な挑戦だ。

After North Korea launched its last missile in April, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement expressing the council's "determination to take action accordingly" if the country launched another missile or conducted a nuclear test.
 前回4月の発射後、安保理は議長声明を採択し、北朝鮮が新たな発射や核実験を行えば、「相応の行動をとる決意」を表明した。

We urge the Security Council to take decisive action over North Korea's reckless plan, which openly ignores the warnings of the international community.
 警告を公然と無視する暴挙に安保理は敢然と対処すべきだ。

Pyongyang said the new missile launch is being conducted on the instructions of Kim Jong Il, who died in December 2011.
 北朝鮮は今回の発射を、昨年12月に死去した金正日総書記の「遺訓」としている。

===

North Korea's intentions

The missile launch is believed to be part of North Korea's program to strengthen the country's nuclear deterrence capability--initiated by Kim--through the development of nuclear programs, extending the range of ballistic missiles and improving their accuracy. We assume the administration of Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il's successor, also is trying to cement its authority.
 核兵器開発と弾道ミサイルの射程延伸や精度向上によって、金総書記が推進した核抑止力の強化を図るのが目的だ。後継の金正恩体制が自らの求心力を高めたいとの計算もあろう。

Japan's House of Representatives election and South Korea's presidential election will be held during the period the missile is scheduled to be launched. In recent months, U.S. President Barack Obama has been reelected and China's Xi Jinping took over the reins of the Communist Party.
 北朝鮮が設定した発射予告期間は、日本の衆院選や韓国の大統領選と重なる。オバマ米大統領が再選を果たし、中国の習近平体制が発足した直後でもある。

The fact that Pyongyang has timed the launch to coincide with a period when these nations face difficulty in coordinating policies against its actions indicates North Korea aims to learn how each country will react.
 各国政府間の対北朝鮮政策を巡る調整が難しい時期を選んだところに、各国の出方を探ろうとする北朝鮮の意図がうかがえる。

Although North Korea apparently is trying to undermine the international alliance against the country, the international community should not allow North Korea the slightest chance of success. Countries concerned, such as Japan, the United States, South Korea, China and Russia, should join hands to pressure North Korea to cancel the missile launch.
 国際包囲網の無力化を狙う北朝鮮に隙を見せてはならない。日米韓や中露など関係国は連携し、発射阻止を強く迫るべきだ。

North Korea says it has studied the reasons why the launch in April failed and has succeeded in improving the reliability of the missile it plans to launch this month. There is speculation that Iran and other countries have provided technological assistance.
 今回の発射に際し北朝鮮は、4月の失敗の原因を分析し、「信頼性を高めた」としている。イランなどとの技術協力の可能性も取り沙汰されている。

This suggests U.N. sanctions have not been implemented thoroughly and lack substance. The Security Council's sanctions on North Korea included an embargo on exports by other countries of materials related to nuclear weapons and missiles, as well as luxury goods. It also ordered suspicious cargo to be inspected.
 核・ミサイル関連物資や贅沢(ぜいたく)品の禁輸と、疑わしい貨物の検査を実施するという安保理の制裁が徹底されず、実効性を欠いていることを示唆するものだろう。

===

Learn lessons from April launch

China especially has a heavy responsibility for North Korea's actions, as a permanent member of the Security Council, a neighbor and its largest trading partner.
 特に北朝鮮の最大の貿易相手国で国境を接する中国は安保理常任理事国として重い責任がある。

It was appropriate for the Japanese government to have taken concrete measures against the missile launch immediately after North Korea's announcement.
 北朝鮮の発射予告に、日本政府が直ちに具体的な対応策をまとめたのは当然である。

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has decided to postpone intergovernment talks with North Korea, which were scheduled to begin Wednesday. Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto has ordered Self-Defense Forces to prepare its missile defense system to shoot down the North Korean missile. The government plans to host a meeting of the nation's Security Council this week and issue an order to destroy the missile if it strays over Japanese territory.
 野田首相は5日からの北朝鮮との政府間協議の延期を決め、森本防衛相は、ミサイル防衛システムによる迎撃態勢の準備へ「破壊措置準備命令」を自衛隊に発令した。週内には安全保障会議を開き、破壊措置命令を出す予定だ。

When Pyongyang launched its missile in April, the government displayed remarkable confusion in confirming information on the launch. We urge the government to learn from this bitter lesson and make a wholehearted effort to pass along information collected by the early warning system.
 4月の発射の際は、情報確認を巡る政府の混乱が目立った。その教訓を生かし、早期警戒情報の周知に万全を期してもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 4, 2012)
(2012年12月4日01時43分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月 4日 (火)

三菱重と日立 攻めの統合で世界3強目指せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 4, 2012)
MHI-Hitachi integration good model to emulate
三菱重と日立 攻めの統合で世界3強目指せ(12月3日付・読売社説)

The business integration between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Hitachi, Ltd. is aimed at making inroads in emerging economies, particularly in the growing Asian market. This could be a model for Japanese high-technology companies to follow if they want to survive in the face of global competition.
 成長するアジアなどの新興国市場を狙った攻めの経営統合だ。高い技術力を持つ日本企業が世界で勝ち残りを目指すモデルと言えよう。

The two firms have reached a basic agreement to integrate their businesses in the field of thermal power generation, including turbines. They will establish a joint venture company in around January 2014.
 三菱重工業と日立製作所が、2014年1月をメドにタービンなどの火力発電事業を統合し、新会社を設立することで合意した。

The two companies also plan to consolidate their business operations in the fields of geothermal power and fuel cells. It is significant that a mega-sized electric power infrastructure firm will be created, with sales totaling more than 1 trillion yen.
 地熱発電や燃料電池事業なども統合する方針で、売上高が1兆円超に上る巨大な電力インフラ会社が誕生する意義は大きい。

MHI President Hideaki Omiya said at a press conference, "We will compete in overseas markets, rather than waging a war of attrition among Japanese companies." Hitachi President Hiroaki Nakanishi emphasized that the integration signified "the strongest combination [of technology and human resources]."
 三菱重工の大宮英明社長は記者会見で、「日本企業同士の消耗戦ではなく、海外で戦う」と述べ、中西宏明・日立製作所社長は「最強の組み合わせ」と強調した。

The two companies were probably prompted to make such a bold decision by their sense of crisis over the harsh business environment.
 名門企業の両社に大胆な決断を促したのは、厳しい経営環境に対する危機感だろう。

===

Nuclear plant business suffering

Since the crisis erupted at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, construction or enlargement of nuclear power plants have ceased for the time being in Japan, sending a cold wind through both companies as the nuclear power business is their main field of operations.
 東京電力福島第一原子力発電所事故後、国内では当面、原発の新増設が望めず、原子力事業を主力とする両社に逆風が吹く。

As business operations of electric power firms, which are important customers for MHI and Hitachi, have deteriorated, it is inevitable that the power generation market, including thermal power, will contract in this country.
重要な顧客だった電力会社の経営が悪化し、火力発電を含めた国内市場の縮小は避けられない状況だ。

On the other hand, newly emerging countries, such as those in Southeast Asia, are seeing their electric power infrastructure market expanding in line with their economic growth. As a result, the competition between Japanese companies and their foreign rivals, such as firms in South Korea, China, Europe and United States, is becoming fierce.
 一方、東南アジアなどの新興国では、経済成長とともに電力インフラ市場が拡大中で、欧米だけでなく、韓国、中国などのメーカーとの競争が過熱している。

It was against this backdrop that MHI, which is strong in the field of large-scale thermal power generation systems, and Hitachi, which prevails in the field of small and medium-scale power generation systems, integrated in the hope of generating synergies and making inroads in foreign markets. Their decision is fitting.
 こうした中で、大型の火力発電所に強みがある三菱重工と、中小型発電が得意の日立が、相乗効果を狙って海外市場の攻略に動いた。その判断は妥当だ。

===

Compete with Big 2

In the field of power generation infrastructure, Siemens AG of Germany and General Electric Co. of the United States are the two most powerful companies. The two Japanese firms will lag far behind in terms of management strength even after integration. They will face the challenge of coming up with business strategies to compete with Siemens and GE.
 電力インフラ事業では、独シーメンスと米ゼネラル・エレクトリック(GE)が世界の2強で、経営体力には大きな開きがある。2強に迫る戦略が問われよう。

Despite their latest move, the two Japanese firms must decide sooner or later to expand their business integration, such as in the field of nuclear power generation.
 今回は見送られたが、いずれ、統合分野を原子力事業など他にも広げることが課題になる。

The integration decision by MHI and Hitachi has set alarm bells ringing among other business sectors.
 三菱重工と日立の決断は日本の他の産業界への警鐘でもある。

Electrical appliance makers, which face fierce rivalry from firms in South Korea and other countries, have been burdened by massive deficits, making it extremely important for them to rebuild their managements.
 家電各社は、韓国企業などとの競争などでそろって巨額赤字を抱え、経営立て直しが急務だ。

Japan also has so many automakers that they are continuously fighting a war of attrition with foreign rivals at home and abroad, such as in the European and U.S. markets, as well as China and other emerging markets.
自動車メーカーも数が多く、国内や欧米、中国などの新興国市場で、海外企業との消耗戦が続く。

Advanced technologies are essential. However, they alone will not be sufficient for Japanese firms to prevail in the global market. It is important for Japanese firms to ascertain their growth fields and make a strenuous effort to pinpoint and focus on business fields to capture emerging markets.
 高い技術力は不可欠だが、それだけでは世界を席巻できない。成長分野を見極めて経営の「選択と集中」を徹底し、新興国などを攻略することが大事だ。

This concept should be applied not only to other manufacturing sectors, but also to nonmanufacturing companies, such as firms in the services sector.
 製造業だけでなく、サービスなど非製造業各社も状況は同じだ。

While rethinking their strategies, they should also consider drastically reorganizing business sectors or integrating across industrial business sectors.
従来の戦略を練り直して、大胆な業界再編や業界を横断する企業統合も選択肢とすべきである。

We hope Japanese businesses wield their power more competitively in the world's growing markets and help revitalize the Japanese economy.
 世界の成長市場で日本企業が競争力を発揮することで、日本経済を活性化してもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 3, 2012)
(2012年12月3日01時30分  読売新聞)

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トンネル崩落 老朽建造物の総点検が急務だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 4, 2012)
Aging tunnels, expressways need to be checked
トンネル崩落 老朽建造物の総点検が急務だ(12月3日付・読売社説)

A terrible accident occurred on a major expressway Sunday.
 日曜の高速道路で大惨事が起きた。

A large section of the ceiling collapsed inside the Sasago Tunnel of the Chuo Expressway in Yamanashi Prefecture, burying several vehicles and causing some of them to catch fire.
 中央自動車道の笹子トンネル(山梨県)で大規模な崩落が発生し、車が次々と下敷きになった。車両火災も引き起こした。

Eight-centimeter-thick concrete panels reportedly fell suddenly from the ceiling over a length of 110 meters. Several bodies were found in the buried vehicles. Some people escaped from the tunnel by themselves but suffered burns and other injuries.
 厚さ8センチほどのコンクリート製の天井板が突然、110メートルにわたって崩れ落ちたという。下敷きになった車内からは、複数の遺体が見つかった。自力で逃げ出した人たちも、やけどなどを負った。

"The ceiling collapsed like an avalanche," one witness said. The terrifying tunnel accident is simply chilling.
 「雪崩のように崩れてきた」と語る人もいた。トンネル事故の恐ろしさに慄然とする。

Some people possibly remain trapped under the rubble. We hope the police and firefighters will do everything they can to rescue any survivors, while taking care not to disturb any unstable slabs that could also come down.
 何人かがトンネル内に取り残されている可能性もある。警察と消防は二次災害に留意しつつ、救出に全力を挙げてもらいたい。

The Chuo Expressway, like the Tomei Expressway, is a major artery linking the Tokyo metropolitan area with the Kansai region. The 4.7-kilometer Sasago Tunnel opened to traffic in 1977.
 中央道は、東名高速と並び、首都圏と関西圏を結ぶ大動脈だ。全長4・7キロの笹子トンネルは1977年に開通した。

===

Tunnel passed checks

Central Nippon Expressway Co., the operator of the Chuo Expressway, said it conducted visual and other inspections inside the tunnel in September, but found nothing wrong with the panels that hang from the upper part of the tunnel to permit ventilation.
 管理する中日本高速道路が9月に目視などの点検を行ったが、換気装置として、トンネル上部からつり下げられている天井板に異常は見つからなかったという。

Had the structure deteriorated due to age? The police and the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry must thoroughly pinpoint the cause of the collapse. How maintenance and checkups should be conducted also needs to be examined.
 経年劣化はなかったのか。警察と国土交通省は崩落原因を徹底的に解明する必要がある。保守・点検のあり方の検証も不可欠だ。

More than 10 tunnels with similar structures to the Sasago Tunnel have been built across the country. These tunnels must be urgently inspected.
 同じ構造のトンネルは全国の高速道路に10か所以上ある。点検を急がねばならない。

After 20 people were killed in the 1996 collapse of the Toyohama Tunnel in Hokkaido, all tunnels across Japan were checked. Couldn't lessons from this tragedy have been used more effectively?
 20人が犠牲になった96年の北海道・豊浜トンネル崩落事故を契機に、全国のトンネルの一斉点検が行われた。その教訓は生かされなかったのだろうか。

During the period of high economic growth that began in the 1970s, government spending on public works projects for expanding social infrastructure increased sharply.
 高度経済成長期の70年代以降、社会資本整備のための公共事業費が急増した。

===

Structures crumbling

Expressways and other structures built during this period have aged considerably, and, experts say, some are becoming dangerous to use. One prime concern is that concrete in these structures is reaching the end of its fatigue life.
 この時代に造られた高速道路などの建造物は現在、老朽化が目立ち、危険性が指摘されている。耐用年数を迎えているコンクリートの劣化は深刻だ。

According to the infrastructure ministry, tunnels and elevated sections of the nation's expressways alone required repairs at about 555,000 locations in 2011. This is more than 10 times the 47,000 spots that needed repairs in 2005.
 国交省によると、高速道路だけでも、補修を要するトンネルや高架橋などの損傷が、2011年に約55万5000か所で確認された。05年の約4万7000か所に比べ10倍以上にも増えている。

From the viewpoint of preparing for a major earthquake as part of disaster-prevention measures, aged structures must be quickly given comprehensive inspections.
 大地震に備える防災上の観点からも、まずは老朽建造物の総点検が急務である。

With the government in dire fiscal straits, there are strong, persistent calls for cutting back on public works spending. Indeed, wasteful expenditures must be reined in.
 厳しい財政事情の中、公共事業費の削減を求める声は根強い。確かに、野放図な投資は抑制する必要があるだろう。

But dangerous structures, if left as they are, threaten the safety of the public. Budgets should be allocated preferentially for repairing crumbling facilities.
 だが、危険な建造物を放置すれば、国民生活の安全が脅かされる。老朽施設の改修には、優先的に予算を投じるべきだ。

This will be a major issue for the new government that comes to power following the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election.
 衆院選後の新政権が取り組むべき重要な課題である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 3, 2012)
(2012年12月3日01時30分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月 3日 (月)

経済成長戦略 「高い目標」の実現策で論戦を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 3, 2012)
Political parties should explain their high-growth strategies
経済成長戦略 「高い目標」の実現策で論戦を(12月2日付・読売社説)

The mid- and long-term economic growth strategies drafted by parties in their campaigns for the upcoming House of Representatives election are of particular interest to voters.
 中長期の経済成長戦略をどう描くかは、衆院選で有権者の関心が特に高いテーマだろう。

Japan's nominal growth rate has been faltering at an average of nearly zero percent for the past 20 years. Many parties, including the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party, set high economic growth targets such as 3 percent or more in their election pledges. However, it is noteworthy that the contents of their policy measures, which should be crucially important, are often not new and made only to try to please everyone.
 日本の名目成長率は、過去20年の平均でほぼゼロに低迷している。民主、自民両党など多くの政党が公約で、これを3%以上とする高い目標を掲げているが、肝心の施策は新味のない総花的な内容が目立つ。

Voters should consider which party is likely to focus on viable policy measures and carry them out expeditiously. It is also important to determine which party is expected to stimulate the vitality of the private sector through deregulation while establishing political leadership capable of eliminating sectionalism among government offices.
 実効性の高い政策に絞り込み、スピード感を持って実行できるかどうかが問われる。規制撤廃で民間活力を高めるとともに、府省縦割りを打破する強力な司令塔の確立もカギとなろう。

We expect political parties to actively discuss measures aimed at realizing their growth strategies so they do not end up as empty slogans.
 高い目標を「絵に描いたモチ」に終わらせないため、各党は成長戦略を実現させる具体策について活発に論議してもらいたい。

===

Reflect on policy missteps

Serious reflection on mistakes made in past economic policies must be the first step in rethinking growth strategies. Though the DPJ-led government trumpeted the slogan "from concrete to people," its dole-out policies such as child-rearing allowances were ineffective.
 成長戦略の練り直しは、これまでの「経済失政」の反省から始めねばならない。民主党政権は「コンクリートから人へ」のスローガンを掲げたが、子ども手当などバラマキ策は効果が薄かった。

Domestic demand could be boosted by public works projects that contribute to improved safety and economic development, such as refurbishment of aged transportation systems and construction of facilities to minimize damage from large earthquakes.
 老朽化した交通網の改修や、巨大地震に備えた防災など、安全と経済発展に資する公共事業は、内需振興につながる。

Each party should present clear guidelines on infrastructure development.
各党はインフラ(社会基盤)整備に関する明確な方針を示すべきだ。

To promote consumption, rebuilding the nation's social security system to alleviate public anxieties over the future is the key to make people spend excessive savings on something tangible. To make this possible, the consumption tax hike is essential to secure a stable revenue source for the social security system.
 消費を促進するには、社会保障を立て直して将来不安を和らげ、過剰な貯蓄が消費に回るようにすることが大事だ。安定財源となる消費税の増税は欠かせない。

However, it is impossible to avoid the contraction of domestic demand as the nation ages and population shrinks. It is therefore essential to enhance the strategy to increase foreign demand. Japan must promote free trade rapidly to take advantage of the economic growth of other Asian countries.
 それでも高齢化と人口減少で国内需要の縮小は避けられず、外需獲得戦略の強化が必須となる。アジアの成長を取り込むため、自由貿易の推進が急がれる。

Whether Japan should participate in Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations is an issue of utmost importance. But the DPJ and the LDP have not stated clearly that the nation should join the TPP talks out of consideration for agricultural organizations, which oppose such negotiations. We consider this a problem.
 環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への参加は最優先の課題と言える。民主、自民両党が、農業団体の反発に配慮してTPP参加を明確に主張しないのは問題だ。

===

Infrastructure exports

Meanwhile, the international competitiveness of electrical home appliances and other Japanese products has been declining to a worrisome level. We hope the private and government sectors work together to overcome this problem.
 一方、家電などの国際競争力低下が深刻化している。官民が連携して逆風をはね返したい。

Whether a company can win a bid to export infrastructure such as nuclear power plants and the Shinkansen bullet train system is determined on the overall strength of a company from construction to operation and safety management. This gives Japanese companies an edge as they generally excel in work that requires extreme precision.
 原子力発電所や新幹線などインフラの輸出は、建設から運営、安全管理まで総合力で優勝劣敗が決まる。綿密さが長所の日本企業が得意とするところだ。

Hitachi, Ltd. has launched its own nuclear business by purchasing a nuclear operator in Britain, while Toshiba Corp. is expanding nuclear power plant businesses abroad. It is encouraging to see private companies making challenging inroads on the international scene.
 日立製作所が英国の原発事業者を買収して原発建設に乗り出し、東芝も海外での原発事業拡大を進めている。民間企業による果敢な国際戦略は心強い。

However, the DPJ and many other parties are casting a damper on corporate efforts to export Japanese nuclear power plants by pledging to abolish nuclear power generation in this country. They should realize that denuclearization is having a negative effect on Japan's growth strategy.
 ところが、民主党など多くの政党が「脱原発」を掲げ、原発輸出の企業努力に水を差している。成長戦略を妨げている事実を、各党は自覚すべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 2, 2012)
(2012年12月2日01時04分  読売新聞)

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社会保障会議 制度の安定に負担を求めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 3, 2012)
Heavier burdens inevitable for sustainable social security
社会保障会議 制度の安定に負担を求めよ(12月2日付・読売社説)

A newly launched expert council on the future of the nation's social security system will need to hold exhaustive discussions on ways to ensure people can live with peace of mind.
 国民生活の安心を確保するために、議論を尽くさねばならない。

The national council for reform of the social security system has been inaugurated to deliberate the future shape of social security.
 今後の社会保障のあり方を検討する社会保障制度改革国民会議がスタートした。

The head of the council, Keio University President Atsushi Seike, said at its first meeting Friday he hopes the council will develop "logical discussions as a group of experts."
会長の清家篤・慶応義塾長は「専門家として論理的な議論をしたい」と強調した。

It is crucial that the 15-member council, whose deadline for presenting its conclusions is set by law for August next year, hammer out measures for transforming the existing social security system--which has been fraying because of Japan's rapidly aging population coupled with a low birthrate--into a solid, sustainable framework.
 来年8月の設置期限までに、少子高齢化でほころびが目立つ制度を持続可能な仕組みにする方策を打ち出すことが重要である。

While benefit payments have snowballed, premiums and tax revenues for funding these expenses have been floundering. The disruption in the balance between benefit payments and the burden on the public to finance the system is leading it to the precipice.
 膨らみ続ける社会保障給付費に対し、財源の社会保険料や税収は低迷している。給付と負担のバランスが崩れていることが、制度の危機につながっている。

Government debts to make up for the revenue shortfall have ballooned.
不足分を補う国の借金は増える一方だ。

===

Do away with inequities

The new council plans to ensure necessary social security services can be provided while "curbing the increasing financial burden on the people."
 国民会議は「国民負担の増大を抑制しつつ」必要なサービスを確保する方針だ。

However, it would be all but impossible to maintain the system without asking the public to fairly shoulder a burden commensurate with their income level.
だが、国民に公平で相応の負担を求めなくては、制度は維持できまい。

People aged 70 to 74 pay 10 percent of their medical fees from their own pocket, although the rate set by law is 20 percent. The medical bill burden for people in this age bracket is substantially lower than that of people younger or older than them. This has generated a sense of inequality. We think the supposedly provisional measure should be quickly removed so people aged 70 to 74 pay 20 percent of their medical bills.
 例えば70~74歳の医療費の窓口負担率は、法定では2割なのに、1割に抑えられている。前後の年代に比べて自己負担が軽く、不公平が生じている。すみやかに2割負担に引き上げるべきである。

Social security benefits will inevitably be curbed. In addition, pension benefits must be lowered in accordance with the falling wage levels of working generations currently paying pension premiums.
 給付の抑制も避けられない。年金保険料を納める現役世代の賃金水準の低下に合わせ、年金給付を引き下げる必要がある。

Steps to boost the low birthrate also are urgently needed.
 少子化対策も急務だ。

As a percentage of gross domestic product, Japanese government spending on child care support is less than one-third that of the expenditures of nations such as France and Sweden, which have turned around their low birthrates. Effective social security measures, including expanding day care services for children, and ways to secure revenue, must be worked out.
 フランス、スウェーデンなど少子化を改善させた国々に比べ、日本の子育て支援支出は国内総生産(GDP)比で3分の1に満たない。保育サービスの拡充など効果的な政策や、財源を確保する方策を追求すべきだ。

The council will discuss four main issues: medical services, nursing care services, pensions and ways of reversing the low birthrate. Yet another issue--employment--must not be left unaddressed.
 国民会議の検討項目は医療、介護、年金、少子化の4分野だが、雇用対策も忘れてはならない。

===

3-party cooperation vital

The council is expected to include in its agenda how to improve the working conditions of nonregular employees who are not covered by social security insurance plans despite earning low wages.
低賃金のうえ、社会保険が適用されない非正規雇用の待遇改善などが検討課題になろう。

To translate the council's conclusions into concrete policies, cooperation between the Democratic party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito will be vital.
 国民会議の結論を得て、具体的な政策に結び付けるためには、民主、自民、公明3党の協力体制が欠かせない。

The DPJ has been arguing for the creation of a guaranteed minimum pension system and abolition of the special medical care service arrangements for people 75 or older. Both DPJ goals are unrealistic and opposed by the LDP and Komeito.
 民主党は、最低保障年金の創設や後期高齢者医療制度の廃止を主張しているが、現実味に乏しく、自公両党は反対している。

After the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election, the three parties, in parallel with discussions by the national council, must hold consultations and find solutions to these issues.
衆院選後、国民会議と並行して政党間協議を行い、決着するべきだ。

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), for its part, wants to change the pay-as-you-go pension system, under which benefits for current pensioners are funded by premiums paid by workers, into a funded pension system under which premiums paid by workers fund the pension they receive after retirement.
 日本維新の会は現在の賦課方式の年金制度を積み立て方式に改めると主張し、

Another new party, Nippon Mirai no To (Japan future party), has trumpeted the creation of a minimum pension guarantee system.
日本未来の党は最低保障年金の創設を訴えている。

The feasibility of these arguments is questionable. Nevertheless, these arguments could affect deliberations by the council, depending on the results of the lower house election.
 実現性は疑問だが、衆院選の結果次第では、国民会議に影響を与える可能性もある。

Every party must be well aware of the importance of stably maintaining the nation's social security system.
 どの政党も、社会保障制度を安定させながら維持していくことの重要性を認識すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 2, 2012)
(2012年12月2日01時04分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月 2日 (日)

11党の討論会 政策実現性で競うべき党首力

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 2, 2012)
Party leaders should compete on strength of feasible policies
11党の討論会 政策実現性で競うべき党首力(12月1日付・読売社説)

Sitting in a row, 11 leaders of political parties made various assertions on issues. The scene reflected the disarray in the nation's politics.
 11人もの党首がずらりと並び、それぞれ主張し合う姿は、混迷する政治状況を映し出しているかのようだ。

Organized by the Japan National Press Club, a debate was held Friday among the party leaders. It could hardly be said that they always responded directly to each others' arguments, but at least each party's basic stance on key issues became clear.
 日本記者クラブの主催で党首討論会が開かれた。議論が十分かみあったとは言えないが、重要な課題に対する各党の基本姿勢は明確になった。

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda stressed that his Democratic Party of Japan will make all-out efforts to abandon nuclear energy in the 2030s. As if competing over the speed at which they would achieve zero nuclear reliance, other party leaders presented different goals, with one calling for the immediate abandonment of nuclear power and another referring to an exit from nuclear power in 10 years or so.
 エネルギー・原発問題については、野田首相が2030年代に「原発稼働ゼロ」を目指して政策を総動員する方針を強調した。他の党首から「即時」「10年後をめど」など、脱原発までのスピードを競うような主張も相次いだ。

However, we think such assertions by political parties, which deal with state affairs, are irresponsible as long as they are unable to show clear road maps for achieving zero reliance, by clearly anticipating such factors as economic variables and advances in alternative energy technology.
 しかし、代替エネルギー技術の進歩や経済状況の変化まで見越して、「ゼロ」への道筋を明確に出来ない以上、国政を担う政党として無責任に過ぎよう。

Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe raised the concern that seeking denuclearization could have a negative impact on the nation's economy and employment and discourage engineers from pursuing careers in the field of nuclear energy. Therefore, he said, "Zero reliance shouldn't be called for lightly." This view is reasonable.
 自民党の安倍総裁は、原発ゼロを唱えることで経済・雇用へ悪影響が及び、原子力関係の技術者も育たなくなる、と懸念を示した。「軽々にゼロと言うべきではない」との指摘はもっともである。

Meanwhile, Shintaro Ishihara, the leader of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), played down calls for nuclear zero dependence as "a sort of desire" and expressed his intention to review his party's election pledge calling for nuclear power to be phased out by the 2030s. We think this praiseworthy.
 日本維新の会の石原代表が脱原発を「一種の願望」と一蹴し、公約の「30年代までにフェードアウト」という記述を見直す考えを表明したことも評価できる。

===

Significance of sales tax hikes

As for increases in the consumption tax rate, Noda said, "Without securing a stable revenue source, we can't provide firm reassurances to people regarding receiving pension benefits and medical and nursing care."
 消費税率引き上げに関し、野田首相は「安定財源を確保せずに年金、医療、介護で揺るぎのない安心を作ることはできない」と語った。

Three major parties--the DPJ, the LDP and New Komeito--should explain to the people once again the significance of the integrated reform of social security and tax systems to win public understanding.
民主、自民、公明3党は社会保障・税一体改革の意義を改めて説明し、理解を求めるべきだ。

Nippon Mirai no To (Japan future party), which opposes consumption tax hikes, pledges to thoroughly eliminate wasteful spending before raising the sales tax. But it is obvious that such a policy would only lead the nation's already teetering finances to collapse.
 消費増税に反対する日本未来の党は「消費増税の前に、徹底してムダを削除する」と訴えているが、それでは危機的な財政を破綻に追いやるのは明らかだろう。

Opposing tax increases without offering any specific alternatives to raise funds is nothing but posturing to please the public.
 増税に反対するだけで、何ら現実的な財源策を示さないのは大衆迎合というしかない。

===

Parties at odds over TPP

As for the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and economic pact, Yoshimi Watanabe, leader of Your Party, which supports Japan's participation in the TPP talks, said, "The TPP multilateral framework, which excludes China, has strategic meaning to create a balance of power."
 米国主導の環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)について、交渉参加を掲げるみんなの党の渡辺代表は「中国を除外したTPPの枠組みには、多角的な勢力均衡体系を作って行こうという、戦略的意味合いがある」と指摘した。

This was apparent criticism of the LDP's taking a cautious stance on TPP participation out of consideration for relations with China.
 対中戦略を強調して、参加に慎重な自民党を批判したものだ。

During the debate, Abe only said, "We'd like to handle [this issue] with improved negotiating power while scrutinizing whether we can overcome the hurdle of eliminating tariffs without exception." His remarks on the TPP issue left something to be desired.
 安倍氏が、「聖域なき関税撤廃を突破できるか吟味しながら、交渉力を磨いて対応したい」と言うにとどめたのは物足りない。

The official campaign for the House of Representatives election kicks off Tuesday. The party heads should exercise their leadership by addressing voters' concerns seriously and presenting convincing policy measures rather than merely striving to raise the profile of their parties.
 衆院選は4日、公示される。党首力は、パフォーマンスではなく、有権者の疑問に正面から向き合い、説得力のある政策を提示することにこそ発揮すべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 1, 2012)
(2012年12月1日01時21分  読売新聞)

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パレスチナ 「国家」格上げを和平につなげ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 2, 2012)
Palestine's upgraded U.N. status should lead to peace with Israel
パレスチナ 「国家」格上げを和平につなげ(12月1日付・読売社説)

The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday voted overwhelmingly for a resolution upgrading Palestine's status at the world body from an observer entity to a nonmember observer state.
 国連でのパレスチナの資格を「オブザーバー機構」から「オブザーバー国家」に格上げする決議が、国連総会で賛成多数で採択された。

Unlike a member country of the United Nations, an observer state does not have the right to vote. Nonetheless, it has a significant symbolic meaning for the Palestinian autonomous government to be treated as a state by the international community. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hailed the resolution, saying, "Indeed, today is a historic day."
 正式加盟国と違い、オブザーバー国家に投票権はない。それでも、パレスチナ自治政府にとって、国際社会から「国家」として扱われた象徴的な意味合いは大きい。アッバス議長は採択を「今日は歴史的な日だ」と歓迎した。

Abbas apparently wants to take advantage of the resolution to recover his government's political clout. It is important to capitalize on the international community's support to resume peace negotiations with Israel.
 議長は、これをテコに自治政府の求心力を回復したいのだろう。重要なのは国際社会の後押しを生かし、イスラエルとの和平交渉再開につなげることだ。

===

Involve Hamas in peace talks

However, the reality is harsh.
 しかし、現実は厳しい。

Israel is accusing the Palestinian autonomous government of unilaterally lobbying for support for the resolution upgrading it to an observer state.
 イスラエルは、自治政府が「国家」格上げ決議を推進したことに強く反発している。

Of even greater concern to the autonomous government is the increasing influence of the Islamist group Hamas, its rival within Palestine.
 さらに自治政府にとって深刻なのは、パレスチナ内で対立するイスラム主義組織ハマスの存在感が増していることだ。

Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, which faces the Mediterranean Sea. When it traded fire with Israel in November, many people were shocked to see that rockets Hamas launched from Gaza landed in Tel Aviv, Israel's largest commercial city.
 地中海に面するガザ地区を支配しているハマスが11月にイスラエル軍と交戦した際には、ガザからのロケット弾が、イスラエル最大の商業都市テルアビブにまで届き、衝撃を与えた。

It seems that behind the improvement of Hamas' military capability is military cooperation with Iran.
 軍事能力向上は、イランの軍事協力が背景にあると見られる。

The situation worsened to a perilous crisis in which Israel prepared for a ground invasion of Gaza. However, Hamas and Israel managed to reach a ceasefire agreement at the last minute thanks to mediation by Egypt.
 イスラエルが地上侵攻を準備するという、一触即発の危機となったが、エジプトの仲介で、かろうじて停戦合意が成立した。

However, mutual distrust between Israel and Hamas is deep-rooted. Hamas is urging Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip, while Israel is demanding that Hamas stop smuggling weapons into Gaza. Conditions acceptable to both sides must be created as soon as possible to maintain the armistice.
 しかし、イスラエルとハマスの相互不信は根深い。ハマスはガザ地区への経済封鎖の解除を、イスラエルは武器流入停止を、それぞれ求めている。双方が受け入れ可能な環境作りを急ぎ、停戦の維持を図るべきである。

===

Talks without Hamas unrealistic

It is not realistic for the Palestinian autonomous government to hold peace negotiations with Israel without Hamas if its growing influence is taken into consideration.
 ハマスの台頭を踏まえれば、ハマス抜きにイスラエルと和平交渉することは、現実的ではない。

However, the biggest obstacle is that Hamas adamantly rejects peaceful coexistence with Israel.
 最大の障害は、ハマスがイスラエルとの平和共存をかたくなに認めていないことだ。

Egypt could play a major role to help the parties resume peace talks. For instance, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist himself, is willing to serve as an intermediary between Hamas and Israel. We expect him to encourage Hamas to take a more realistic stance.
 和平交渉再開に向け、エジプトが果たすべき役割は大きい。イスラム主義者であるモルシ大統領はハマスとイスラエルとの仲介に積極的だ。ハマスに、現実路線への転換を働きかけてほしい。

Meanwhile, Japan voted for the U.N. resolution this time, holding the line against the United States, which opposed it. It is significant for Japan to maintain connections with the autonomous government, which have been developed for many years through Japan's assistance to Palestine.
 日本は、今回の国連決議に賛成票を投じ、反対した米国とは一線を画した。日本が長年、援助を通じて培ってきた自治政府との関係を維持することは大切だ。

If Palestine ignites confusions in the Middle East, it would deliver a serious blow to the energy strategy of Japan, which depends on the region for 80 percent of its crude oil imports. Tokyo must keep indirectly helping Palestine and Israel resume peace negotiations.
 パレスチナが発火点となり中東地域が混乱すれば、原油輸入の8割以上を中東に依存する日本のエネルギー戦略は、深刻な打撃を受ける。今後も和平交渉再開へ側面支援を続ける必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 1, 2012)
(2012年12月1日01時21分  読売新聞)

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2012年12月 1日 (土)

都知事選告示 東京の将来像示す政策論議を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 1, 2012)
Tokyo candidates must present vision of ideal future for capital
都知事選告示 東京の将来像示す政策論議を(11月30日付・読売社説)

The official start of the Tokyo gubernatorial campaign Thursday began the process of choosing either a continuation of the policies Shintaro Ishihara pursued during his slightly more than three terms in office, or a significant shift away from the political atmosphere of the past 13-1/2 years.
 東京都知事選が告示された。4期13年半に及んだ「石原都政」の継承か転換かを問う選挙だ。

Voting and vote counting will be held Dec. 16, the same day as the national House of Representatives election. Due to the rare double election, voter turnout rate is expected to be higher than is usually seen in single elections.
 衆院選と同じ12月16日に投開票される。異例の同日選となり、投票率アップが見込まれる。

The focus now turns to how voters who have no specific party affiliation will vote. We hope voters will carefully examine each candidate's platform when deciding how to cast their valuable ballots for the sake of Tokyo's future.
無党派層の投票動向が焦点となるだろう。有権者は各候補の主張を見極め、首都の将来へ1票を投じてほしい。

Nine people are contesting the race. Among the four major candidates, former Tokyo Vice Gov. Naoki Inose has been anointed by Ishihara as his chosen successor. Inose also has the backing of the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party).
 9人が立候補を届け出た。有力4候補のうち、突然辞職した石原慎太郎前知事から後継指名を受けたのが、前副知事の猪瀬直樹氏だ。自民党が支援し、公明党、日本維新の会が支持している。

Kenji Utsunomiya, the former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, is supported by Nippon Mirai no To (Japan future party), the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party of Japan. Former Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa and former LDP General Council Chairman Takashi Sasagawa are running campaigns without the support of any political parties.
 日弁連前会長の宇都宮健児氏は日本未来、共産、社民の各党から支持を受けている。前神奈川県知事の松沢成文氏、元自民党総務会長の笹川尭氏は、特定の政党の支援を受けていない。

===

What to do with Shinginko Tokyo?

The national ruling Democratic Party of Japan, despite holding the largest bloc in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, could not field a candidate and has told party members vote as they see fit.
 政権党であり、都議会でも最大会派の民主党は独自候補を擁立できず、自主投票を決めている。

Inose is arguing that Ishihara's policies should be continued, while the other major candidates are calling for fresh ideas. The greatest divide is over what to do about Shinginko Tokyo, which is seen by many as a negative legacy of the Ishihara era.
 石原都政の継承を訴える猪瀬氏に対し、他の3氏は刷新を主張する。最も対立しているテーマが、石原都政の「負の遺産」である新銀行東京をどう再建するかだ。

Ishihara pushed to establish the metropolitan-backed bank to help small and midsize companies raise capital. However, the bank has fallen into trouble due to poorly planned loans and overall weak performance. The metropolitan government has already sunk 140 billion yen in tax revenue into the venture.
 中小企業の資金繰り支援のため石原前知事の肝煎りで設立されたが、ずさんな融資や業績低迷で経営難に陥った。すでに1400億円の都税をつぎ込んでいる。

Inose says the bank just needs reconstruction, while the three other main candidates have pledged to sell or liquidate it. We believe the burden on metropolitan residents should not be increased any further, and hope the four main candidates will present more concrete plans that can be implemented quickly.
 経営再建を掲げる猪瀬氏に対し、他の3氏は銀行の売却や清算を公約している。これ以上、都民の負担を増やすわけにはいくまい。4氏には、より具体的で迅速な対応策を示してもらいたい。

Regarding the crucial issue of nuclear power, Utsunomiya and Sasagawa argue that Japan should move away from its dependence on atomic energy.
 原子力発電については、宇都宮氏と笹川氏が「脱原発」を打ち出している。

As Tokyo consumes a huge amount of electricity, an unstable electricity supply would paralyze urban functions. Since the governor is responsible for protecting Tokyo residents' lifestyles, we see it as irresponsible for a candidate to support a policy that does not include nuclear power when there is no prospect of securing sufficient alternative energy sources to replace nuclear power.
 東京は電力の大消費地であり、電力の安定供給が崩れれば、都市機能はマヒする。知事には都民生活を守る責務がある。原発の代替エネルギーを確保する見通しがない現状での脱原発は、無責任な主張ではないか。

===

Keep the flame alive

Tokyo is currently seeking to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Three of the candidates have pledged to continue the bid, while Utsunomiya has taken a cautious stance, saying, "I want to decide after listening to the opinions of the people of Tokyo."
 2020年の夏季五輪招致に関しては、宇都宮氏以外の3氏が積極的な姿勢を示している。宇都宮氏は「都民の意見を聞いた上で判断したい」と慎重な構えだ。

Hosting the Olympics would serve as a catalyst to energize the entire country, so we hope the new governor will lead the campaign to bring the games to Tokyo.
 五輪は日本全体を元気づける起爆剤ともなろう。新知事は招致活動の先頭に立ってもらいたい。

It is also important for the new governor to speed up preparations for a major earthquake that could directly strike the metropolitan area. Tokyo needs to further improve its plans for assisting people stranded far from home by a major disaster.
 首都直下型地震への備えを急がねばならない。帰宅困難者対策をより充実させる必要がある。

And finally, as can be seen in the growing problem of elderly people living alone, effective measures to cope with the graying population are an urgent need.
 独り暮らしのお年寄りの増加など、急速に進む高齢化対策は待ったなしだ。

We hope the gubernatorial candidates will engage in lively discussions over the various issues facing Tokyo.
 東京が抱える様々な問題について、活発な論戦を期待したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 30, 2012)
(2012年11月30日01時28分  読売新聞)

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維新の会公約 二枚看板だけの戦いにするな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 1, 2012)
Ishin no Kai must offer more than Ishihara, Hashimoto names
維新の会公約 二枚看板だけの戦いにするな(11月30日付・読売社説)

There can be no denying that the campaign pledges announced Thursday by Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) for the upcoming general election are half-baked and seemingly hastily prepared.
 政策が生煮えで、急ごしらえであることは否めない。

We fear the newly formed party is not ready to achieve its professed goal of taking the reins of government.
これで国政を担えるのだろうか。

In a news conference the same day, party leader Shintaro Ishihara stated his party "will dismantle the rigid administrative control of the central government bureaucrats," declaring the party will drastically review the nation's state of being.
 日本維新の会が衆院選政権公約を発表した。
 石原慎太郎代表は、記者会見で「硬直した中央官僚の支配を壊す」と述べ、国のあり方を抜本的に見直すことを唱えた。

The Democratic Party of Japan too once tooted the horn of "rooting out the vested interests of Kasumigaseki," Tokyo's government district, but the DPJ has failed to realize many of its policy pledges. We cannot help but feel Ishin no Kai is making the same flimsy but treacherous move, which gained the DPJ much publicity but amounted to little.
 かつて民主党も「霞が関の既得権益を一掃する」と大言壮語したものの、多くの公約を実現できなかった。維新の会にも、似たような危うさを感じざるを得ない。

Voters should not be expected to evaluate Ishin no Kai simply through the personal characteristics of Ishihara and the party's acting leader Toru Hashimoto.
 石原、橋下徹両氏の個性だけでは有権者は判断できない。

We urge the party to develop its current platform into a well-thought-out package of persuasive, feasible policies.
やはり、説得力のある実行可能な政策に練り上げていく必要がある。

===

Short on specifics

The party's platform called the pitiful state of government finances "unsustainable," though when it came to how to achieve fiscal rehabilitation, the party equivocated.
 公約は、借金依存の財政について「維持不可能」と断定した。

With social security expenses swelling by 1 trillion yen per year, new revenue sources are urgently needed, but Ishin no Kai failed to mention anything more concrete than creating a special inheritance tax to fund pension payments. Furthermore, the party said the consumption tax--the bulwark that shores up the social security system--should be turned over to full local control.
 しかし、財政再建を実現する道筋は不透明である。年に1兆円ずつ増える社会保障費についても新たな財源は、年金目的の特別相続税の新設などとあるだけだ。しかも、社会保障を支えてきた消費税は地方税化するという。

Ishin no Kai's campaign pledges do not present effective remedies for the nation's challenges, such as the fiscal crisis and constructing a sustainable pension and health-care systems.
 公約を読む限りでは、財政危機への対応や、持続可能な年金、医療制度の構築について、有効な処方箋を示したとは言えない。

Meanwhile, the party seems to be vacillating on its nuclear energy policy.
 原発政策は揺れているように見える。

Its platform sets a goal of "breaking the nation's dependence on nuclear power generation," and says existing nuclear plants would "fade out by the 2030s as a result," but the party failed here as well to get specific.
「脱原発依存」を掲げ、既存の原発は「結果として、2030年代までにフェードアウトする」と言及したが、曖昧だ。

It is also problematic that Ishin no Kai's platform does not explain how to handle the issue of reactivating the nation's mostly idle nuclear reactors. If the party supports continuing to use nuclear power for at least the time being, it should say so in its platform.
 原発の再稼働問題への対応を明記していないことも問題である。当面、原発を活用するのなら、公約にそう書き込むべきだ。

Although the party deserves praise for supporting revisions to the Constitution, we question the advisability of the changes it called for, such as electing the prime minister by popular vote, something we believe would likely devolve into a mere popularity contest, and abolishing the House of Councillors, a goal that would be extremely difficult to achieve.
 憲法改正を打ち出したのは結構だが、人気投票に陥りがちな「首相公選制」や、極めて難しい「参院廃止」などを具体例として挙げたのは理解に苦しむ。

===

Clarify priorities

The unintelligibility of Ishin no Kai's election pledges when seen as a whole is mainly because it juxtaposes policies that need to be addressed immediately with medium- and long-term tasks. The party needs to clarify which of its plans will get the highest priority.
 全体として、公約が分かりにくいのは、すぐに着手する政策と、中長期の課題を一律に並べているからだ。実現の優先順位を明確にしてもらいたい。

Nevertheless, the party is correctly pledging to support Japan's participation in talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, as this would allow the growth potential of the economies of Asia to be tapped. Along with this, it is reasonable that the party wants to reform the agricultural sector to enhance the international competitiveness of Japan's farm produce.
 一方、アジアの発展を取り込むための環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)について「交渉参加」を掲げたのは評価できる。これに備えて農業にメスを入れ、競争力を高めようとする姿勢も妥当である。

The party's platform, for instance, rightly points out the need to limit the number of beneficiaries of the income guarantee system for individual farmers, which was created by the DPJ administration, so that it supports only full-time farm households. We also agree with its call to carry out a drastic review of the nation's agricultural cooperatives.
 例えば、民主党政権が創設した戸別所得補償を専業農家に限定することや、農協組織の大幅見直しを目指すという。

On diplomatic and security policy, the party has incorporated into its platform the goal of freeing the nation to exercise its right to collective self-defense.
 外交・安保政策では、集団的自衛権の行使を盛り込んだ。

Enabling our country to exercise this right would help deepen the alliance with the United States, the core of Japan's foreign policy.
これは外交の基軸である日米同盟の深化に欠かせない。

We strongly hope Ishin no Kai will do its best to help realize this.
ぜひ実現を図ってもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 30, 2012)
(2012年11月30日01時28分  読売新聞)

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