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2013年1月31日 (木)

13年度予算案 デフレ脱却へ問われる積極策

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 31, 2013)
Govt must impose fiscal discipline even while seeking economic growth
13年度予算案 デフレ脱却へ問われる積極策(1月30日付・読売社説)

 ◆中長期の財政健全化を怠るな◆

The fiscal 2013 budget is aimed at propping up the economy with an expansionary fiscal policy. The ability of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to revitalize the economy and overcome deflation--its top priority--is now being tested.
 積極財政で景気テコ入れを狙った予算である。安倍政権が最重視する経済再生とデフレ脱却への実行力が問われる。

The Cabinet approved the fiscal 2013 budget Tuesday. General-account spending totals 92.6 trillion yen, marking the first decline in seven years.
 政府が2013年度予算案を閣議決定した。一般会計の総額は92・6兆円で、7年ぶりの減額予算となった。

Tax revenue is expected to surpass new government bond issuance for the first time in four years. Another point of the fiscal 2013 budget is that policy-related spending by ministries and agencies was limited to 70.4 trillion yen.
 歳入では、税収が4年ぶりに新規国債発行額を上回った。歳出も各省庁の政策的経費を70・4兆円に抑えたのがポイントである。

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso said at a press conference: "We compiled the budget with the fiscal policy framework in mind. It's a tight budget."
 麻生副総理・財務相は記者会見で「財政政策の枠組みを頭に置いて編成した。引き締まった予算になった」と述べた。

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Tax hike depends on recovery
 ◆消費増税へ景気回復を◆

However, the budget is actually the largest ever if a separate reconstruction budget, which was increased significantly to 4.4 trillion yen, is included.
 ただし、4・4兆円に大幅増額した別枠の復興予算と合わせると、過去最大規模である。

The Abe administration calls the fiscal 2012 supplementary budget and fiscal 2013 budget "a 15-month budget" and aims to ensure seamless fiscal stimulus.
 安倍政権は、12年度補正予算案と13年度予算案を「15か月予算」と位置付け、切れ目のない財政出動を目指している。

The administration wants to achieve a clear economic recovery before making a final judgment in autumn over whether to raise the consumption tax rate in April next year. It cannot be helped that the government tries to create an environment for the consumption tax hike by compiling a blockbuster budget.
 来年4月の消費税率引き上げを今秋に最終判断する上で、確実に景気回復を成し遂げたい考えだ。超大型予算の編成で、環境整備を図ることはやむを得ない。

However, 46.3 percent of the fiscal 2013 budget will be financed by new government bond issuance, meaning almost a half of the nation's revenue comes from creating new debt. Outstanding long-term debts owed by the central and local governments will reach 977 trillion yen at the end of the next fiscal year. As this is double the nation's gross domestic product, Japan is a major debt-ridden nation, to a more serious degree than even Greece, which is currently in a fiscal crisis.
 だが、来年度の国債依存度は46・3%となり、国の歳入のほぼ半分が借金だ。国と地方の長期債務残高も来年度末に977兆円に達する。国内総生産(GDP)の2倍に相当し、財政危機のギリシャをしのぐ債務大国だ。

We must take the nation's fiscal situation seriously, as it is the worst among developed countries.
 先進国で最悪の財政状況を深刻に受け止めねばならない。

Another problem is that the government juggled many methods to make the fiscal 2013 budget smaller than the initial fiscal 2012 budget, which was compiled by the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration.
 問題なのは、民主党政権が編成した12年度当初予算より規模を抑え込むため、様々な手法でやり繰りしたことだ。

Compressing expenditures was made possible largely by scrapping a reserve fund to deal with an economic crisis, which totaled nearly 1 trillion yen, and by advancing spending by ministries and agencies into the fiscal 2012 supplementary budget.
 歳出規模の圧縮は、1兆円近い経済危機対応の予備費の全廃や、各省庁が今年度補正予算案に支出を前倒しした影響が大きい。

The government projected rather larger tax revenue based on its estimate that the nation's economy will grow 2.5 percent in real terms, which is far higher than private analysts' estimates, but it is uncertain whether the nation can achieve stable growth.
 政府は来年度経済見通しについて、民間予想よりかなり高い実質2・5%成長とし、税収を多めに見込んだが、安定成長の実現は不透明である。

The government also treated bonds to cover state contributions to basic pension benefits separately. But isn't that just a cosmetic measure to make new bond issuance appear lower?
 基礎年金の国庫負担分を賄う国債を別扱いにしたのも、国債発行額を抑える弥縫(びほう)策ではないか。

Also, trimming expenditures is not enough. The government earmarked 5.3 trillion yen for public works projects in fiscal 2013, about 700 billion yen more than in the previous fiscal year. Aging roads and bridges need to be repaired, but the government must not increase inefficient projects in the name of "strengthening national land."
 歳出面の切り込みも不十分だ。公共事業費は前年度比で約7000億円多い5・3兆円を計上した。老朽化した道路や橋などの改修は必要としても、「国土強靱(きょうじん)化」の名の下に、非効率な事業を増やすことがあってはならない。

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Scrutiny vital for public works
 ◆公共事業は精査が必要◆

Without relying only on public works projects as a temporary shot in the arm, it is essential for the government to bolster its growth strategy in an effort to enhance corporate competitiveness and put the economy on a track for growth.
 景気への一時的なカンフル剤である公共事業に頼るだけでなく、政府は企業の競争力を高める成長戦略を強化し、経済を成長軌道に乗せることが重要である。

The Liberal Democratic Party-led government increased spending for land improvement projects, which had been cut by the DPJ-led government. As for income support to farming households, the government earmarked the same level of funds as in the previous fiscal year, only changing the name that the DPJ-led administration had given the system.
 民主党政権が削減した土地改良事業費を積み増し、農家の戸別所得補償制度も名称を変え、前年度並みの予算を計上した。

This is nothing but a handout policy. It is doubtful whether such a fiscal support system will lead to reinforcing the nation's agriculture in preparation for further opening of the market.
これではバラマキに他ならない。一層の市場開放に備えた農業の体質強化につながるのかは疑問だ。

Fiscal inflexibility became more clearly evident when we looked at other items of spending.
 その他の支出項目でも、財政の硬直化が一段と鮮明になった。

Social security spending swells to about 29 trillion yen due to natural increase and other factors, livelihood protection benefits have been cut by a small margin. It will be necessary to further curb fiscal spending on such programs as pension payments and medical expense benefits.
 自然増などで社会保障費は約29兆円に膨らみ、生活保護費を小幅削減する程度にとどまった。年金や医療費の給付抑制など、さらなる圧縮が必要である。

In the category of national security, the budget vividly reflects the intentions of Prime Minister Abe.
 安全保障分野では、首相の意向を反映した予算が目立った。

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Defense budget rise laudable

Defense spending has been increased for the first time in 11 years. It is laudable that the government has clarified its resolve to protect Japan's territory and waters, including the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.
 防衛費を11年ぶりに増額した。沖縄・尖閣諸島をはじめ、日本の領土と領海を守る意志を明確にしたことを評価したい。

Attaching importance to the defense of the Nansei Islands, extending from Kagoshima Prefecture to Okinawa Prefecture, the government boosted budgets for strengthening patrol and reconnaissance activities and response capabilities for defense of remote islands. Budget allocations for this purpose are reasonable.
 南西防衛を重視し、警戒監視活動や離島防衛の対処能力を強化するもので、妥当な内容だ。

 ◆評価できる防衛費増◆

The government will formulate new National Defense Program Guidelines before the end of this year. It is vital to reform and upgrade the structure and capabilities of the Self-Defense Forces from a medium- and long-term perspective without limiting such efforts to the fiscal 2013 budget alone.
 政府は年内に新たな防衛大綱を策定する。来年度予算限りとせず、中長期的に自衛隊の体制を改革・拡充することが必要だ。

The budget related to the Japan Coast Guard has jumped for the first time in six years. The allocations for maintenance and upgrading of patrol boats and aircraft have been increased by 40 percent over fiscal 2012. Personnel will be augmented, too.
 海上保安庁予算も6年ぶりに増えた。このうち、巡視船艇と航空機の整備費などは前年度比4割増となり、人員も増やす。

China's provocations in connection with the Senkaku Islands have been continuing. It is appropriate that the conventional "scrap-and-build" principle for JCG patrol boats has been abandoned to adopt a policy of increasing the number of such boats.
 尖閣諸島を巡り、中国の挑発行為が続いている。海保の巡視船艇はこれまで「スクラップ・アンド・ビルド」が原則だったが、増加に舵(かじ)を切ったことは適切だ。

A crucial item on the policy agenda for the future will be to pave the way as early as possible for achieving fiscal reconstruction in the medium and long term. If fiscal discipline remains lax, it is feared that Japanese government bonds will lose their international credibility.
 今後の重要課題は、中長期的な財政再建の道筋を早急に付けることにある。財政規律が緩んだままでは、日本国債に対する国際的な信認を失いかねない。

Trimming tax grants to local governments for the first time in six years for the purpose of cutting payments to local government employees, it may be said, is a step forward.
 地方公務員の給与引き下げを念頭に、地方自治体に配分する地方交付税を6年ぶりに削減したのは一歩前進と言える。

The Abe administration has inherited the DPJ-led administrations' policy target of getting the primary balance into the black in fiscal 2020. But the hurdles on the way to this goal are high.
 安倍首相は、民主党政権が掲げた「20年度に基礎的な財政収支を黒字化する」との政府目標を踏襲したが、このハードルは高い。

It will be indispensable to streamline fiscal spending while trying to secure fiscal resources through tax system reforms centering on the implementation of consumption tax hikes. The government must meet the heavy challenge of achieving economic growth and fiscal discipline at the same time.
 消費増税を柱とする税制改革で財源確保を図るとともに、歳出合理化が不可欠である。成長と財政規律の両立という重い課題を克服しなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 30, 2013)
(2013年1月30日02時01分  読売新聞)

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