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2013年1月 8日 (火)

日本経済再生 デフレ脱却の成果が問われる

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 8, 2013)
Government, BOJ must lead Japan out of deflation
日本経済再生 デフレ脱却の成果が問われる(1月7日付・読売社説)

 ◆活性化へ企業競争力を高めよ◆

The Abe administration has set economic revitalization as the top priority on its policy agenda.
 安倍政権が最優先課題に掲げているのが、日本経済の再生だ。

Can it bring about a business recovery and lead Japan out of deflation to lay the foundation for stable growth in the medium and long term? The "two lost decades" that followed the bursting of the economic bubble must be brought to an end this year.
 景気回復とデフレ脱却を実現し、中長期的な安定成長に道筋をつけられるかどうか。今年こそ、バブル経済崩壊から続く「失われた20年」にピリオドを打ちたい。

The government needs to come up with concrete measures for what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has touted as "economic policy on a different level from previous ones," and implement them flexibly.
 安倍首相が掲げる「これまでとは次元の違う経済政策」の具体策を早急にまとめ、機動的に実行することが肝要だ。

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Overcome zero growth
 ◆ゼロ成長に甘んじるな◆

Nominal gross domestic product, which more accurately represents sentiment felt by households and businesses, stands at about 470 trillion yen, unchanged from two decades ago. In contrast with China, whose GDP expanded by about 20 times during the same period, Japan has meandered along as a "zero-growth state."
 家計や企業の実感に近い名目国内総生産(GDP)は約470兆円で、20年前と変わらない。同じ期間にGDPが約20倍に急拡大した中国とは対照的な「ゼロ成長国家」に甘んじている。

Many experts point out it will become increasingly difficult for Japan to attain economic growth due to its shrinking and aging population and chronically low birthrate. Growth can no longer be simply expected for Japan. Some people probably hold such a pessimistic view.
 今後は少子高齢化と人口減少で経済成長はさらに難しくなると、多くの専門家も指摘する。もはや日本で成長は望めない。そう将来を悲観する人もあろう。

But is it any use to sit back and do nothing?
 本当にそれでいいのだろうか。

At a news conference held after he assumed the post of prime minister, Abe said, "There is no future for a country that abandons hope for growth." He is right. If the people lose their hopes and aspirations, this nation will never regain its economic vigor.
首相は就任後の記者会見で「成長をあきらめた国に未来はない」と訴えた。その通りだ。国民が希望と意欲を失えば、経済の活力は決して戻らないだろう。

First and foremost, it is necessary to conquer deflation, which has dragged on for more than 10 years. Failure to do this will kill future prospects for growth before they get off the ground. This is because deflation curbs corporate profits and household income, thereby accelerating economic contraction.
 まず、10年以上に及ぶデフレを退治しないことには、展望は開けない。デフレは企業の利益や家計の収入を減らし、経済の縮小を加速させるからだ。

The Abe administration will try to rebuild a robust economy by implementing the "three arrows" of combined policy initiatives--drastic monetary easing, flexible fiscal management and a growth strategy to encourage private investment. This prescription for growth is reasonable.
 大胆な金融緩和、機動的な財政政策、民間投資を喚起する成長戦略の「3本の矢」で、強い経済を取り戻すという、安倍政権の処方箋は妥当である。

Since late December, the Nikkei Stock Average has been rising sharply and the yen has weakened against the dollar, falling to the 88 yen level to the greenback. This underscores the high hopes pinned on the new administration's economic package.
 年末から年始にかけて、東京市場の平均株価が急騰し、円相場も1ドル=88円台まで円安が進んだ。新たな経済政策に対する期待の大きさを示している。

 ◆物価目標で連携強化◆

In parallel with the Bank of Japan's monetary easing, the government will need to make up for weak demand through such steps as effective public works projects.
 日銀の金融緩和と並行して、政府が効果的な公共事業などで需要不足を補うことが求められる。

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Stronger cooperation vital

Most important in this respect will be to bolster cooperation between the government and the bank.
 特に重要なのが、政府と日銀の連携強化である。

Abe asked central bank Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa to agree on setting a 2 percent inflation target and conclude a policy accord. The bank is likely to introduce an inflation target sometime this month. The government and the bank must set a clear inflation target and share responsibility for achieving it.
 首相は日銀の白川方明総裁に、2%の物価目標と政策協定の締結を要請し、日銀は今月中に導入する見通しだ。明確な物価目標を定め、その達成に政府と日銀が連帯して責任を負うべきである。

Worryingly, Abe and some other Cabinet members have been forward in calling for the central bank to conclude the policy accord and other matters, by linking them with a revision of the Bank of Japan Law and the appointment of Shirakawa's successor.
 気がかりなのは、首相などが日銀法改正や総裁の後任人事と関連づけて、政策協定などを日銀に求める場面が目立つことだ。

During World War II, the government made the central bank buy government bonds, triggering a plunge in government bond prices and hyperinflation.
 戦時中、政府が国債を日銀に引き受けさせ、国債暴落や超インフレを引き起こした歴史がある。

If the Bank of Japan's independence is eroded, it could cause government bond prices to nosedive. We urge the Abe administration to strictly refrain from making comments and taking actions that could be misconstrued as attempts to exert political pressure on the central bank.
 日銀の独立性が揺らげば、国債の急落を招く恐れもある。日銀に政治圧力をかけていると誤解される言動は厳に慎しんでほしい。

Tackling fiscal reconstruction will require ending dole-out policies and steadily raising the consumption tax rate. Such efforts also will be essential to ensure market confidence in government bonds.
 バラマキ政策をやめ、消費税率を着実に引き上げて、財政再建に取り組むことは、国債の信用を維持するためにも大切だ。

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Consider corporate tax cut
 ◆法人税下げの検討を◆

Besides deflation, the Japanese economy is riddled with many problems.
 デフレ以外にも日本経済は多くの課題を抱えている。

It is welcome news that the historically high value of the yen is being corrected. But if the yen falls too far, there will be such side effects as an expansion in the trade deficit.
 歴史的な超円高が解消されつつあるのは朗報だが、円安も行き過ぎれば、貿易赤字拡大などの副作用がある。

In particular, imports of fuel including liquefied natural gas are rising sharply to keep thermal power plants operating at full capacity in place of the mostly idled nuclear power plants.
 特に、原子力発電所の代わりに火力発電所をフル稼働しているため、液化天然ガス(LNG)など燃料の輸入は急増している。

The weaker yen will push up the costs of importing fuel, which will flow on to higher electricity bills. We hope such "bad price increases" can be avoided. Restarting nuclear reactors whose safety has been confirmed is important from the standpoint of easing such side effects of the weaker yen.
 円安で燃料の輸入費が上がり、電気料金の上昇に拍車がかかる。そんな「悪い物価上昇」は避けたい。安全を確認できた原発の再稼働は、円安の副作用を緩和する意味でも重要である。

It is certain that domestic consumer and other markets are heading for contraction as the working generations shrink. Should the number of workers fall, economic growth will slow down.
 現役世代の減少につれて、消費などの国内市場が縮小に向かうのは間違いない。働き手が減れば経済成長力も低下しよう。

Provide more government support to people raising children to help stop Japan's population from declining; Prevent the labor market from shriveling by promoting the employment of women and elderly people; Enhance Japanese companies' international competitiveness by lowering the excessively high corporate tax rate.
 子育て支援の充実で人口減少に歯止めをかける。女性や高齢者の就労促進で労働市場の縮小を防ぐ。高すぎる法人税率を引き下げて企業の競争力を高める――。

It is already known what policies are needed to revitalize the economy.
 活性化に必要な政策のメニューは、すでに分かっている。

In such sectors as health and nursing care, where demand will grow in step with the aging population, there is potential demand for higher-quality services even if they come at a higher cost. We think the government should press ahead with reviews of the rigid rules and regulations in these sectors.
 高齢化で需要の増える医療や介護などの分野には、もっと高額でもいいから質の高いサービスを求める潜在需要がある。硬直化した規制の見直しも進めたい。

The government must inject money and manpower intensively and boldly into effective projects, and implement them quickly.
 政府は効果的な施策に大胆に予算や人員を集中投入し、実行を急がねばならない。

By making good use of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy--which is to be reinstated under the Abe administration--and the newly established headquarters for Japan's economic revitalization, the government must eradicate the evils of bureaucratic sectionalism at government ministries and break down entrenched vested interests.
 再起動する経済財政諮問会議と新設する日本経済再生本部を活用して、府省縦割りの弊害や、さまざまな既得権益を打破することが求められる。

It is essential for Japan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework led by the United States so it can harness demand in foreign markets, including in Asia.
 アジアなど海外の需要を取り込むため、米国が主導する環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)への参加は不可欠である。

Business circles, including the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), are imploring the government to take part in the TPP negotiations soon so as to promote growth. The government should quickly decide on Japan's joining the talks and get involved in formulating the partnership's rules on trade and investment. That will indeed serve the interests of the nation.
 経団連をはじめ経済界は、成長促進のため早期参加を強く求めている。政府が決断を急ぎ、貿易・投資のルール作りに関与することこそ国益にかなう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 7, 2013)
(2013年1月7日01時26分  読売新聞)

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