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2013年2月28日 (木)

補正予算成立 意義ある参院での1票差可決

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 28, 2013)
Passage of supplementary budget in upper house significant
補正予算成立 意義ある参院での1票差可決(2月27日付・読売社説)

The passage of the fiscal 2012 supplementary budget served as an example that the House of Councillors is capable of approving bills submitted by the government even under a divided Diet.
 衆参ねじれ国会の下でも、政府提出の案件が参院で可決できるという実績が現れた。

Is this really "a major first step toward decisive politics" as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared?
 安倍首相が言うように「決められる政治への大きな第一歩」となるだろうか。

At its plenary session Tuesday, the opposition-controlled upper house passed the fiscal 2012 supplementary budget to implement an emergency economic stimulus package worth more than 20 trillion yen. This was accomplished by gaining a majority of votes with the backing of the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and some opposition parties, including Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party).
 事業規模20兆円超に上る緊急経済対策を実施するための2012年度補正予算が、参院本会議で自民、公明両党と日本維新の会などの賛成多数で可決、成立した。

The votes of opposition parties were divided. Ishin no Kai, People's New Party, the New Renaissance Party and others voted for the budget, while the Democratic Party of Japan, Your Party, the People's Life Party, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party voted against it. The number of votes in favor of the budget exceeded the number against it by just one.
 採決で野党の対応が分かれた。維新の会の他、国民新党、新党改革などが賛成し、民主、みんな、生活、共産、社民各党などの反対票をわずか1票差で上回った。

===

New, shifting alliances in Diet

For the ruling parties, passage of the budget was a result of a successful partial alliance strategy, in which the ruling coalition cooperates with the opposition on a policy-by-policy basis.
 与党にとっては、個別の政策ごとに連携を図る部分連合が奏功したということだろう。

Ishin no Kai's role in politics is particularly meaningful. The party claims not to be a conventional opposition group that universally resists government proposals, instead considering each matter individually. Its support of the supplementary budget reinforced this claim.
 維新の会の存在が大きい。従来のような「何でも反対の野党」ではなく、是々非々で対応すると主張してきたが、補正予算の対応はその具体化の一つだと言える。

The DPJ, Your Party, the PLP and the SDP jointly submitted a revised supplementary budget to the upper house, but it was not approved. This was the first time that opposition parties have presented a united front during the current Diet session.
 民主、みんな、生活、社民の4党は、補正予算案の修正案を共同提出し、否決された。今国会での初の野党共闘だった。

The fact that Ishin no Kai did not join this opposition front may influence future Diet deliberations and possible cooperation among opposition parties in the upcoming upper house election, which the DPJ is expected to call for.
 これに維新の会が同調しなかったことは、今後の国会攻防や民主党が呼び掛ける参院選への野党協力にも影響するかもしれない。

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First step in 'Abenomics'

The newly approved supplementary budget will enable the implementation of the Abe administration's fiscal policy, a key factor in "Abenomics," the government's economic policy designed to lift the economy out of deflation.
 今回の補正予算で、デフレからの脱却に向けた安倍政権の経済政策「アベノミクス」の財政政策が動き出すことになる。

The government calls the supplementary and fiscal 2013 initial budgets a collective "15-month budget" targeting full-scale recovery of the domestic economy. It must quickly implement the 2012 supplementary budget to yield results from its emergency economic stimulus.
 政府は、補正予算を13年度当初予算案とともに「15か月予算」と位置づけ、日本経済の本格回復を目指している。補正予算を早期に執行し、緊急経済対策の成果を上げねばならない。

Boosting the economy with the supplementary budget is indispensable for the consumption tax hike from 5 percent to 8 percent to take effect in April 2014. This is because a turnaround in the economy is a prerequisite for the increase and the government will determine whether to raise the consumption tax rate by autumn.
 補正予算による景気浮揚は、来年4月に予定される消費税率の8%への引き上げにも欠かせない。経済状況の好転が増税の条件であり、政府は今秋をメドに消費増税の可否を判断するからだ。

Although reconstruction projects have moved into full gear in areas devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake, public work projects have suffered from delays because the supply of construction materials, such as ready-mixed concrete, and workers are insufficient. In this regard, the government will need to carefully monitor implementation of the supplementary budget.
 復興事業が本格化している東日本大震災の被災地では、生コンクリートなどの建設資材や建設作業員の不足で、公共事業の遅れが指摘されている。政府は、補正予算の執行状況にも十分目を光らせる必要がある。

The DPJ opposed the budget because it said it was based on lavish spending on old-fashioned public works projects. It expressed strong doubts over whether funding such projects will lead to reconstruction of disaster-hit areas and truly promote economic revitalization.
 民主党は、補正予算に反対する理由として「旧来型の公共事業の大盤振る舞いで、被災地の復興や真の経済再生につながるのか疑念が強い」と主張している。

As a matter of course, the government must thoroughly examine proposed projects to ensure effective public works spending.
 無論、政府は事業内容を精査して、効率的な公共事業を実現しなければならない。

Although the government should place priority on economic stimulus through flexible and functional fiscal measures for now, it must also bear in mind the importance of restoring fiscal health.
 機動的な財政出動によって当面景気刺激策を優先すべきであるにせよ、財政健全化への取り組みも忘れてはなるまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 27, 2013)
(2013年2月27日01時27分  読売新聞)

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イタリア総選挙 欧州危機の再燃を招かないか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 28, 2013)
Italy's political gridlock may reignite European crisis
イタリア総選挙 欧州危機の再燃を招かないか(2月27日付・読売社説)

Italy's latest election results indicate that Italians are strongly discontented with the government's fiscal reconstruction policy. The impending political turmoil threatens to ignite another crisis in Europe.
 財政再建路線に対するイタリア国民の強い不満が表れた結果だ。政局混乱で、欧州危機が再燃する恐れが出てきた。

In the general election in which the administration of Prime Minister Mario Monti sought a public mandate for its reformist policies, the anti-austerity center-right coalition led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi garnered more seats than anticipated.
 モンティ政権の改革路線の是非を問う総選挙で、反緊縮派のベルルスコーニ前首相の中道右派連合が、事前の予想を上回る議席を獲得した。

The center-left coalition that generally supports the reformist line secured a narrow majority in the lower house. But in the Senate no political group won a clear majority.
 下院では、改革路線を大枠で支持する中道左派連合が議席の過半数を辛うじて制したが、上院では、いずれの政党連合も過半数獲得には至らなかった。

Following the election results, the euro plunged on foreign exchange markets in Japan and the United States as the yen strengthened against the European common currency. Stock prices dropped across the board on global markets. These moves indicate a wariness over the prospect that the eurozone's third-largest economy could retreat from fiscal reconstruction.
 選挙結果を受け、日米の為替市場ではユーロが急落し、円高・ユーロ安が進んだ。世界各地の株式市場も軒並み株安となった。ユーロ圏3位の経済大国の財政再建後退に警戒感を示したものだ。

The administration that was established by economist Monti in autumn 2011 and consists of technocrats tried to trim fiscal deficits through tax hikes and pension reforms. It also launched structural reforms, including a legal revision to create a flexible labor market.
 2011年秋に発足した経済学者モンティ氏を首相とする実務者内閣は、増税や年金改革などで財政赤字の削減を図った。労働市場に柔軟性を持たせる法改正など構造改革にも乗り出した。

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Reforms fail to progress

Monti's reformist policies were received favorably by the markets but failed to make headway because they were not endorsed by center-right parties.
 市場の評価は高かったが、モンティ首相が進めようとした改革は、中道右派各党の支持を得られず、中途半端に終わった。

The center-right bloc was able to expand voter support by proposing such populist anti-austerity measures as a reexamination of the tax hikes.
 選挙で、中道右派連合は、増税見直しなど反緊縮の大衆迎合的な政策を掲げ、支持を広げた。

The bloc apparently obtained support from voters critical of the increase in the jobless rate caused by the business slowdown.
 景気後退に陥り、失業率が増加したことに批判的な国民の受け皿になったと言える。

A new party, which took existing parties to task over political corruption, fared well to become the third-biggest party. This reflects the people's deep-seated distrust of politics.
 一方で、既成政党の腐敗体質を批判した新党が第3党に食い込んだのは、国民の間に根強い政治不信を反映している。

A focal point in the days to come will be how the center-left bloc moves to form a coalition government. The prospects of a grand coalition with the center-right bloc are uncertain because of wide policy differences.
 今後の焦点は、連立交渉を試みると見られる中道左派連合の政権作りだ。しかし、中道右派との大連立は、政策の隔たりが大きく、先行きは不透明だ。

The political stalemate could possibly be broken by holding another election. However, Italy's political turmoil is expected to continue for some time.
 再選挙で打開を図る可能性もある。いずれにしてもイタリア政治の混迷は長期化しかねない。

===

Bleak prospects ahead

It is highly questionable whether Italy will be able to stabilize its political situation.
 イタリアが、はたして政局を安定させられるかが問われよう。

Europe's fiscal and financial crisis, which was triggered by Greece, showed signs of abating after the European Central Bank purchased a large amount of government bonds and took other rescue measures since autumn.
 ギリシャに端を発した欧州の財政・金融危機は、昨秋以降、欧州中央銀行(ECB)による大胆な国債買い取り方針などで、ようやく沈静化の兆しが見えていた。

However, the economic situation remains extremely sluggish in the eurozone and has fallen into negative growth territory. Future prospects remain stormy.
 ただ、マイナス成長に陥ったユーロ圏では実体経済の低迷は深刻で、今後の展開も波乱含みだ。

Financial unrest is smoldering in Spain and suspicions of illegal donations to its ruling party have emerged. A general election is scheduled for September in Germany in which Chancellor Angela Merkel's handling of the European crisis will become a bone of contention.
 スペインでは金融不安がくすぶり、与党への不正献金疑惑も浮上している。9月にはドイツで、メルケル首相の欧州危機対応が争点となる総選挙が控えている。

Italy's reforms must be prevented from falling by the wayside to avoid adversely affecting the world economy, let alone the eurozone.
 ユーロ圏全体はもちろん、世界経済に悪影響を与えないよう、イタリアの改革が頓挫する事態は避けなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 27, 2013)
(2013年2月27日01時27分  読売新聞)

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朴大統領就任 日韓関係の改善を期待したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 27, 2013)
Can Park open the door to better Japan-S. Korea ties?
朴大統領就任 日韓関係の改善を期待したい(2月26日付・読売社説)

We hope the chilled relationship between Tokyo and Seoul will thaw under the new South Korean administration.
 韓国新政権発足を機に日韓関係が改善に向かうことを期待したい。

On Monday, Park Geun Hye took office as the first female president of South Korea, a country currently facing plenty of challenges. Park's father is the late former President Park Chung Hee, and this is the first time an offspring of a former South Korean president has assumed the top post.
 課題山積の中で、韓国の朴槿恵氏が大統領に就任した。初の女性大統領であり、朴正煕元大統領との初の親子2代にわたる大統領だ。

The new president held talks with Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, who attended Park's inauguration ceremony. It is praiseworthy that the two agreed on the necessity of cooperating closely and building a future-oriented relationship between the two countries.
 朴氏は、就任式に出席した麻生副総理と会談した。日韓両国が未来志向で緊密に協力していく必要性で一致したのは評価できる。

However, the current state of Japan-South Korea relations is severe. It deteriorated rapidly after Lee Myung Bak, Park's predecessor, visited the Takeshima islands last year and demanded the Emperor apologize for the wartime past. Seoul recently lodged a complaint with Tokyo over the attendance of a Cabinet Office parliamentary secretary at a commemoration ceremony on Takeshima Day, an event hosted by the Shimane prefectural government.
 ただ、現状は厳しい。李明博前大統領の竹島訪問と「天皇の謝罪」要求発言で日韓関係は悪化したからだ。島根県主催の「竹島の日」式典への内閣府政務官出席に韓国政府は抗議したばかりである。

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Learn from past mistakes

Previous South Korean administrations also have trumpeted future-oriented relationships. However, in the end, they have derailed these diplomatic efforts through their actions on territorial issues and historical perceptions. Park's leadership will be tested over whether she can prevent her administration from repeating the mistakes of her predecessors.
 歴代の韓国政権は、未来志向をうたいながら、歴史認識や領土問題で結局は対日外交を暗礁に乗り上げさせた。その轍(てつ)を踏まないのか、朴氏の指導力が問われる。

Dark clouds are hovering over South Korea's economy, which had been performing solidly for years. That country's growth rate dropped to the 2 percent level last year, and its export-led economy has been buffeted by a headwind caused by the won's appreciation. South Korea's chaebol conglomerates have developed rapidly by riding the tide of globalization, but this has not led to the creation of jobs.
 好調を維持してきた韓国経済にはかげりも見える。経済成長率は昨年、2%台にまで落ち込んだ。輸出主導モデルにウォン高の逆風が吹いている。グローバル化の潮流に乗って財閥は発展したが、国内の雇用創出につながらない。

With a declining birthrate and aging population, South Korea needs to improve its pension and health insurance systems to dispel public anxiety over what life holds for them in old age.
 少子高齢化時代が到来し、老後不安の解消へ年金や医療保険制度の充実を図らねばならない。

Park pledged to tackle such problems in her inauguration speech. She referred to the "miracle on the Han River," the dramatic economic development achieved under her father's administration, and stressed she would bring about a "second miracle on the Han River."
 こうした課題の解決に向け、朴氏は就任演説で、経済発展を成し遂げた父・正煕氏の「漢江の奇跡」に言及し、「第2の奇跡」を起こすと強調した。

It will be crucial for her to materialize her plan to expand domestic demand and employment by reinforcing the competitiveness of small and midsize South Korean companies and nurturing venture firms.
 中小企業の競争力強化や、ベンチャー企業の育成によって、雇用と内需の拡大につなげる構想を、具体化することが必要だろう。

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Cooperate more with allies

Regarding diplomacy and national security, Park demanded North Korea "abandon its nuclear ambitions without delay." She also showed willingness to hold talks with Pyongyang by saying, "I will move forward step-by-step on the basis of credible deterrence to build trust between the South and the North."
 外交・安全保障を巡っては、朴氏は北朝鮮に「一日も早い核放棄」を求めた。「確実な抑止力を土台に、南北の信頼関係を積み重ねる」と、対話へ意欲も示した。

South Korea has recently accelerated the reinforcement of its defense capability, such as by extending the range of its ballistic missiles, as the security threat posed by North Korea grows. According to an opinion poll, more than 60 percent of respondents supported South Korea acquiring nuclear weapons.
 増大する北朝鮮の脅威に対し、韓国では弾道ミサイルの射程延長など国防力を強化する動きが顕著だ。世論調査では、韓国の核武装を支持する声も60%を超える。

It will be essential for countries neighboring North Korea to cooperate more closely to deal with heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Park was quite right to mention she will work to strengthen trust with countries including "the United States, China, Japan and Russia" to ease tensions and conflicts in Asia and promote peace and cooperation in the region.
 緊張が高まる朝鮮半島情勢に対処するには、周辺国の連携強化が欠かせない。朴氏が、アジア地域の緊張・対立の緩和と平和・協力の推進へ、「米国、中国、日本、ロシア」などと信頼を築き上げると述べたのは当然だろう。

China has a dominant presence in South Korea. South Korea's trade with China exceeds that with the United States and Japan combined. The annual flow of people between China and South Korea exceeds that between Japan and South Korea by more than 1 million.
 韓国で、中国の存在感は圧倒的だ。対中貿易は、対米、対日を合計した額を凌駕(りょうが)しており、中韓の人的往来は日韓のそれを年間100万人以上も上回っている。

All eyes are closely watching whether South Korea will cozy up more to China as it boosts its presence on the peninsula, as this issue certainly has security implications for Japan.
 韓国が、朝鮮半島で存在感を増す中国への傾斜を深めるかどうかは、日本の安全にも影響する問題だけに、目を離せない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 26, 2013)
(2013年2月26日01時21分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月27日 (水)

日銀総裁人事案 官僚出身を理由に排除するな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 27, 2013)
Being an ex-bureaucrat not good reason for rejection as BOJ chief
日銀総裁人事案 官僚出身を理由に排除するな(2月26日付・読売社説)

A key personnel decision will determine whether the nation can overcome deflation. The ruling and opposition parties should smoothly carry out procedures to ensure the Diet approves the government's appointments for the next governor and two deputy governors of the Bank of Japan.
 デフレ克服の成否を左右する重要な人事だ。与野党は、日銀の次期総裁と副総裁を選ぶ国会同意人事の手続きを円滑に進めるべきである。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has met with New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi, to explain the impending appointments of the three top central bank officials to replace the current officeholders, who will step down on March 19.
 安倍首相は公明党の山口代表との党首会談で、3月19日付で退任する日銀の正副総裁3人の後任人事案を説明した。

The government is set to tap Haruhiko Kuroda, former vice finance minister for international affairs and current president of the Asian Development Bank, to replace Masaaki Shirakawa as governor of the central bank. Gakushuin University Prof. Kikuo Iwata and Bank of Japan Executive Director Hiroshi Nakaso are candidates to fill the deputy governor posts.
 白川方明総裁の後任に元財務官の黒田東彦・アジア開発銀行総裁を充て、副総裁には岩田規久男・学習院大教授と中曽宏・日銀理事を起用するという。

After his talks with Abe, Yamaguchi showed a positive stance on accepting the prospective candidates, saying, "They basically fit the requirements [for the posts]."
 会談後、山口代表は「要件を基本的に備えている」と述べ、前向きに検討する考えを示した。

The government will formally submit the personnel proposals to the Diet shortly.
 政府は近く、正式にこの人事案を国会に提示する。

Kuroda directed a massive currency market intervention to stop the appreciation of the yen when he served as vice finance minister for international affairs--the post responsible for international monetary policies--for 3-1/2 years. He assumed the ADB presidency in 2005.
 黒田氏は国際金融政策を担う財務官を3年半務めた際、円高阻止のための大規模な為替介入の指揮をとった。2005年にはアジア開銀の総裁に就任した。

===

Kuroda meets Abe's criteria

He has insisted on the need to carry out bold monetary easing measures, including the introduction of an inflation target. He also has criticized the central bank, saying the cause of deflation is attributable to its failure in monetary policies.
 これまで、インフレ目標の導入など大胆な金融緩和の必要性を主張し、デフレの原因は金融政策の失敗にあるとして日銀の対応を批判してきた。

Abe is using what is referred to as "Abenomics" to overcome deflation.
In explaining the requirements of the new Bank of Japan governor, Abe said he wants "someone who understands my views on monetary policy and tackles the issue with a resolute determination and ability." We consider his choice meets these criteria.
 「アベノミクス」でデフレ克服をめざす首相は、「金融政策に関する私の考えを理解し、確固たる決意と能力で課題に取り組む人」を日銀総裁の条件に挙げている。それに沿った人選と言える。

Whether the government can obtain Diet approval for Kuroda to assume the central bank governor's post hinges on the House of Councillors, where the opposition bloc holds a majority. In essence, approval largely depends on whether the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition party, supports Kuroda.
 黒田氏の総裁就任が国会で同意を得られるかどうかは、野党が多数を占める参院にかかっている。中でも最大野党である民主党の対応がカギを握る。

Kuroda's qualifications match those the DPJ considers vital for the governor's post in terms of practical expertise in financial affairs, broad international personnel networks, ability to communicate and capacity for organizational management.
 黒田氏であれば、金融実務に精通し、国際的な人脈の広さや情報の発信力、組織運営の能力など、民主党が重視する総裁の資質にも合致している。

The DPJ will have no reason to flatly oppose the appointment if it can confirm Kuroda's willingness to proactively work to achieve a 2 percent inflation target and cooperate with the government when he gives his opinions before both houses of the Diet.
 衆参両院で行う所信聴取で、2%のインフレ目標達成や政府との連携に積極的に取り組む姿勢を確認できれば、民主党が真っ向から反対する理由はあるまい。

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Will DPJ cooperate?

Five years ago, the DPJ caused a situation in which the central bank governor's post became vacant because the party refused to name a former bureaucrat to the post. This time, Your Party is opposed to having a former bureaucrat appointed to that post. We consider it unwise to question someone's professional background without considering the person's qualifications.
 民主党は5年前、官僚OBの排除にこだわり、日銀総裁空席の事態を招いた。今回は、みんなの党が官僚出身者の起用に反対している。人物本位で判断せず、経歴を問題にするのは不見識である。

Some DPJ members consider it problematic that the government's personnel plans were reported by the media before being formally submitted to the Diet. Although it was once decided the Diet would reject the government's personnel appointments if they were leaked by the media prior to being officially submitted, this ridiculous rule has been scrapped. It will be a problem if the DPJ brings up the issue and tries to resurrect this rule.
 民主党内には、国会への正式提示前に人事案が報道されたことを問題視する声も出ている。事前報道された場合は受け付けないとした悪(あ)しきルールは撤廃された。これを蒸し返し、ご破算を画策するようでは困る。

The judgment each opposition party makes on the Bank of Japan personnel proposals, which the government considers most important, will determine to what extent they will keep the Abe administration at arm's length or whether they will cooperate.
 政府が最重要課題とする日銀人事案に、野党各党がどんな判断を示すかは、政権との距離感や連携の行方にも影響を与えよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 26, 2013)
(2013年2月26日01時21分  読売新聞)

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原発風評被害 放射能の基準から考え直せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 26, 2013)
Time to overhaul radiation safety criteria
原発風評被害 放射能の基準から考え直せ(2月25日付・読売社説)

The government should make a sweeping review of safety standards for radioactivity. The recent change of administration offers a golden opportunity to do this.
 放射能の安全基準について政府は根底から考え直すべきだ。政権交代はその好機と言えよう。

The Consumer Affairs Agency will reinforce efforts to deal with damage caused by radiation rumors since the crisis began at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Masako Mori, state minister for consumer affairs, said, "The Democratic Party of Japan-led administration increased consumers' anxieties." She has issued an order to study concrete measures to alleviate these fears.
 消費者庁が、東京電力福島第一原子力発電所事故による風評被害の対策を強化する。森消費者相は、「民主党政権は消費者の不安を募らせた」と述べ、具体策の検討を指示した。

Agricultural products harvested in Fukushima Prefecture are shipped after they have been confirmed safe to eat, but they do not sell well unless their prices are set lower than other products. Their distribution volume is barely expanding.
 福島県産の農産物は、検査で安全を確認し出荷されているが、価格を安くしなければ売れない。流通量もなかなか増えない。

Mori hit the nail on the head when she said a reason for this is that consumers harbor "doubts and concerns about the safety standards."
 森氏が、「安全基準への疑問や不安があると思う」と指摘したのは、もっともである。

The administration of former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda adopted stricter standards for radiation contained in food than those in place overseas. The Radiation Council, a government advisory panel, had warned about possible adverse effects this might cause, but then Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoko Komiyama pushed through the new criteria.
 野田政権は、食品中の放射能基準を海外より厳格化した。政府の放射線審議会は、弊害が出ると警告したが、小宮山厚生労働相(当時)が政治的に押し切った。

This resulted in more food containing radiation that exceeded the restricted levels. Shipments of wild mushrooms were even halted when a check detected a radioactive substance that could only have been caused by past nuclear tests.
 その結果、基準超過が増え、食品の信頼回復は進まない。過去の核実験の影響としか考えられない放射性物質が検出され、出荷停止となった野生キノコもある。

===

Stricter threshold set

The problem is that the Noda government set the yearly radiation exposure of one millisievert as the threshold between safe and dangerous. The one millisievert a year level, which is nothing but a management standard legally set for facilities that handle radioactive substances, was adopted for food safety standards.
 問題なのは、野田政権が年1ミリ・シーベルトの被曝(ひばく)線量を安全と危険の境界線としたことだ。年1ミリ・シーベルトは法的に放射性物質を扱う施設の管理基準に過ぎないのに、この線引きを食品基準にも適用した。

The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) also considers it advisable to set the permissible annual radiation dose at no more than one millisievert. But the difference between the ICRP's position and that of the Noda administration is that the former does not consider it dangerous immediately even if radiation exposure exceeds the threshold.
 国際放射線防護委員会(ICRP)も、年1ミリ・シーベルト以下が望ましいとしている。ただ、野田政権との違いは、これを超えても直ちに危険とは見なさないことだ。

The international commission believes health effects cannot be detected clearly if the total radiation exposure is held to 100 millisieverts. Thus, the one millisievert a year considered by the ICRP is a ceiling deemed far lower than its safety standard, and comes with the condition that the exposure target can be achieved reasonably.
 ICRPは総量で100ミリ・シーベルトまでなら明確な健康影響は検出できないとの立場だ。ICRPが考える1ミリ・シーベルトは、安全性に余裕を見込んだ数値で、合理的に達成できるなら、との条件も付く。

Some places in the world are exposed to radiation of 10 millisieverts a year that comes from the ground, among other sources. A radiological examination at a hospital exposes the patient to about seven millisieverts.
 世界には、大地などから年10ミリ・シーベルトの放射線を浴びる地域がある。病院の放射線診断で1回に約7ミリ・シーベルト被曝することもある。

The one-millisievert threshold also has become a factor delaying the return of nearly 160,000 evacuees from the nuclear crisis to their hometowns.
 1ミリ・シーベルトでの線引きは、16万人近くの避難者の帰還を遅らせる要因にもなっている。

===

Gap with international standards

The commission considers that a radiation dose of up to 20 millisieverts a year is permissible when affected areas are in the reconstruction stage, and efforts must be made as much as possible to reduce the annual exposure to less than one millisievert.
 ICRPは、被災地の復旧過程では、年20ミリ・シーベルトまで許容し、可能な範囲で年1ミリ・シーベルト以下にするとの考え方を示している。

Then Environment Minister Goshi Hosono, however, stressed the importance of achieving the decontamination target of one millisievert or less. Unlike the ICRP's thinking that equally emphasizes protecting affected residents' daily lives and decontamination, the DPJ-led government gave too much weight to decontamination efforts.
 だが、細野環境相(当時)は、1ミリ・シーベルト以下への除染を強調した。ICRPの考え方は、住民の生活確保と除染の両立だが、除染が偏重される結果となった。

A mistaken political message also was given by Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida. He condemned the disposal by the prefecture's Kashiwazaki and Sanjo cities of disaster debris from Iwate Prefecture as general waste as a "criminal act."
 政治の誤ったメッセージと言えば、泉田裕彦新潟県知事も同様だ。柏崎市、三条市が岩手県のがれきを一般ごみとして処理したことを「犯罪行為」と非難した。

But radiation levels of debris from Iwate Prefecture are the same as trash collected within Niigata Prefecture. We urge Izumida, the head of a local government, not to exacerbate damage caused by nasty radiation rumors.
 しかし、がれきの放射能は県内のごみと変わらない。首長が風評被害を増長させては困る。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 25, 2013)
(2013年2月25日01時19分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月26日 (火)

民主党大会 新綱領で一致団結できるか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 26, 2013)
Can DPJ unify itself with new party platform?
民主党大会 新綱領で一致団結できるか(2月25日付・読売社説)

The Democratic Party of Japan has an opportunity to reinvent itself after approaching the brink of catastrophe. The party held its regular convention Sunday and adopted a platform stipulating its basic philosophy and goals. It also issued a report summing up its management of the government and the major defeat the party suffered in the latest House of Representatives election.
 文字通り、崖っぷちからの再出発である。
 民主党が定期党大会を開き、党の基本理念・目標を定める綱領や、政権運営・衆院選惨敗を総括する第1次報告を採択した。

In his address to the convention, DPJ President Banri Kaieda called for solidarity, saying, "Let's unite under a new party platform."
 海江田代表はあいさつで、「新しい綱領の下に一致団結しよう」と党の結束を呼びかけた。

The platform stipulates that the DPJ is a reform party whose aim is to fight vested interests and collusion for the benefit of ordinary citizens, taxpayers, consumers and workers.
 綱領は、民主党が生活者、納税者、消費者、働く者の立場に立ち、「既得権や癒着の構造と闘う改革政党」だと明記している。

When the party was inaugurated in 1998, it produced a paper titled "Our basic philosophy." This time, it created a formal "platform," although belatedly.
 1998年の結党時に「私たちの基本理念」という文書を作成してはいるが、今回、遅ればせながら、正式な「綱領」を制定した。

The platform avoided using such ideological language as "middle-of-the-road democracy" or "liberal," in light of objections from conservative members of the party.
「民主中道」「リベラル」といったイデオロギーを掲げなかったのは、保守系が反対したためだ。

===

A party divided

It cannot be denied that the party remains "a congeries of many households" and "mutual election support groups" whereby Diet members from such ideologically different parties as the Liberal Democratic Party and the Japan Socialist Party gathered under the slogan "anti-LDP."
 自民党から社会党まで、様々な出身母体を持つ議員が「反自民」で結集した「寄り合い所帯」「選挙互助会」的な体質が今なお残っていることは、否定できない。

Standing out in the platform are abstract key phrases such as "symbiotic society" and "the new public." But its axis of confrontation with the LDP is hardly clear.
 綱領は、「共生社会」「新しい公共」といった抽象的なキーワードが目立つが、自民党との対立軸が明確とは言い難い。

With regards to the Constitution, in particular, the party remains unclear as to its future course. The platform includes the opinions of members who support the current Constitution and those who want to amend it. The platform says the party "will realize the fundamental spirit of the Constitution" and "will form a future-oriented Constitution."
 特に憲法では、「憲法の基本精神を具現化する」「未来志向の憲法を構想していく」と、護憲派、改正派の双方に配慮した両論併記となり、目指す方向が不明確だ。

As before, the party has merely put off the problem in the sake of harmony at least for now.
従来同様、当面の党内融和を優先した問題の先送りに過ぎない。

In its course of action for fiscal 2013, the party has portrayed the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election and the House of Councillors election, scheduled for this summer, as "critical political battles with the party's fate at stake." The party's understanding is reasonable. It faces a crucial moment that may determine whether it can continue playing a part in the two-party system.
 2013年度活動方針は、今夏の東京都議選と参院選を「党の存亡を賭けた重大な政治決戦」と位置づけた。当然の認識だ。2大政党の一翼を担い続けられるかどうかの正念場となろう。

===

Conditions worse than before

The current environment surrounding the DPJ is even harsher than before.
 民主党を取り巻く現在の環境はかつてなく厳しい。

On Friday, two upper house members whose seats were up for election submitted letters of resignation from the party. They may have concluded they would not get enough votes if they stayed in a party that voters no longer trust.
 22日には、夏に改選を迎える参院議員2人が離党届を提出した。有権者が不信を募らせる民主党では戦えない、という判断もあるのだろう。

In the city assembly election of Kitakyushu held late last month, the DPJ placed fourth in the number of seats won, following the LDP, New Komeito and the Japanese Communist Party.
1月末の北九州市議選で民主党は、自民、公明、共産に次ぐ第4党に転落した。

Over Diet affairs, the so-called united front of opposition parties is in disarray, with the DPJ opposing a supplementary budget for fiscal 2012 and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) supporting it.
 国会対応でも、民主党が12年度補正予算案に反対したのに対し、日本維新の会は賛成するなど、野党共闘の足並みは乱れている。

In the party convention, senior members of both Ishin no Kai and Your Party, who had left the DPJ, made guest speeches, criticizing the DPJ for such failings as its dependence on labor unions.
 民主党大会では、いずれも民主党を離党した維新、みんなの党の幹部が来賓挨拶(あいさつ)を行い、民主党の労組依存体質などを批判した。

With the upper house election ahead, DPJ campaign cooperation with other opposition parties such as Ishin no Kai and Your Party will become an issue of great importance, but differences over key policies have hampered progress.
 参院選に向けては、維新、みんな両党などとの選挙協力が重要課題となるが、政策面の違いが障害となり、進んでいない。

If the DPJ pursues cooperation with Ishin no Kai and Your Party, it will have to to take more realistic approaches on key policy issues such as the Constitution, diplomacy and national security.
 民主党が両党との連携を追求するなら、憲法や外交・安全保障など政策面で、より現実的な路線をとることが求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 25, 2013)
(2013年2月25日01時19分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月25日 (月)

日米首脳会談 アジア安定へ同盟を強化せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 25, 2013)
Strengthen Japan-U.S. alliance to boost Asia stability
日米首脳会談 アジア安定へ同盟を強化せよ(2月24日付・読売社説)

 ◆TPP参加の国内調整が急務だ◆

The high expectations the U.S. government holds for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became clear during his visit to Washington. To live up to the U.S. trust placed in him, the prime minister should restore the vitality of Japan's politics and economy.
 安倍首相に対する米政府の期待の大きさが鮮明になった。首相は政治、経済両面で「強い日本」を復活させ、その信頼に応えるべきだ。

Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama held their first talks at the White House and agreed to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance.
 安倍首相とオバマ米大統領がホワイトハウスで初会談し、日米同盟を強化することで合意した。

"The U.S.-Japan alliance is the central foundation for our regional security, and so much of what we do in the [Asia-]Pacific region," Obama said.
 大統領は「日米同盟はアジア太平洋地域の安全保障にとって中心的な礎だ」と述べた。

Abe replied that he wants to declare the strong bond of the Japan-U.S. alliance has been restored completely.
首相は「日米同盟の強い絆は完全に復活したと宣言したい」と応じた。

===

Cooperation on energy
 ◆エネルギー協力も重要◆

Asia has many destabilizing factors, such as China and North Korea. To maintain peace and prosperity in this part of the world, Japan and the United States must properly play their respective roles based on the robust, stable bilateral alliance that is "public property" of the region.
 アジアは、北朝鮮、中国など多くの不安定要因を抱える。地域の平和と繁栄を維持するには、強固で安定した日米同盟という「公共財」を基盤に、両国がそれぞれの役割を果たすことが肝要だ。

Japan-U.S. ties became disoriented while Democratic Party of Japan-led administrations held power for more than three years. Seemingly going hand-in-hand with this, Japan's relations with China and South Korea also deteriorated.
 日本の民主党政権の3年余、日米関係は迷走し、連動するように日中・日韓関係も悪化した。

The Obama administration apparently believes that restoring U.S. relations with Japan under the Abe administration would bring greater stability to the entire Asian region and benefit its own strategy that gives greater priority to Asia.
 オバマ米政権も、安倍政権との間で日米関係を再構築することがアジア全体の安定につながり、自らのアジア重視戦略にも資する、と判断しているのだろう。

The two leaders issued a joint statement on Japan's possible participation in Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement negotiations. Abe and Obama confirmed "it is not required to make a prior commitment to unilaterally eliminate all tariffs upon joining the TPP negotiations," though they maintained the basic principle that all goods would be subject to the negotiations.
 焦点だった日本の環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉参加について、日米両首脳は共同声明を発表した。全品目を交渉対象にするとの原則を堅持しながら、全ての関税撤廃を事前に約束する必要はないことを確認した。

Before his visit to the United States, Abe reiterated he would uphold his Liberal Democratic Party's election pledge that the party opposes joining the TPP talks as long as it mandates all tariffs must be eliminated without exception.
 首相は訪米前、「聖域なき関税撤廃を前提とする交渉参加には反対する」との自民党政権公約を順守する方針を強調していた。

The latest Japan-U.S. agreement, which allows Abe to maintain his pledge and join the TPP talks, carries great significance.
 公約と交渉参加を両立させる今回の日米合意の意義は大きい。

TPP participation, which will enable Japan to harness the vitality of emerging Asian economies, is expected to become a major pillar for the growth strategy of the Abe administration's "Abenomics" economic policy and help the recovery of the nation's economy.
 成長著しいアジアの活力を取り込むTPP参加は、安倍政権の経済政策「アベノミクス」の成長戦略の重要な柱となり、経済再生を促進する効果が期待されよう。

However, some LDP members and agricultural organizations remain strongly opposed to the TPP. Abe must exercise leadership and carefully explain the aims of the trade pact to calibrate opinions within the country as soon as possible to make Japan's participation in the agreement a reality.
 自民党内の一部や農業団体には反対論が根強い。だが、首相は、経済連携の狙いを丁寧に説明して指導力を発揮し、TPP参加へ国内調整を急がねばならない。

The participation of Japan, the world's third-largest economy, in the TPP will have advantages for the United States, too. Formation of a free trade area featuring the Japan-U.S. partnership will have the effect of putting pressure on emerging China.
 米国にとっても、世界3位の経済大国の日本がTPPに参加するメリットがある。日米が連携した自由貿易圏作りは、台頭する中国への牽制(けんせい)効果を持つからだ。

During their meeting, Abe asked Obama to promptly approve U.S. exports of shale gas to Japan. The president replied that his government always takes the importance of Japan as its ally into consideration.
 安倍首相が米国産シェールガスの対日輸出の早期承認を求めたのに対し、大統領は「同盟国の日本の重要性は常に念頭に置いている」と応じた。

Some observers said restrictions on shale gas exports could be lifted as early as March, opening a way for Japan to procure cheap natural gas.
3月にも輸出が解禁され、割安なガスを調達する道が開けるとの見方がある。

Abe also stressed that he would review the policy set under the DPJ-led government to shut down all of Japan's nuclear reactors by the end of the 2030s.
 首相は、「2030年代の原発稼働ゼロ」という民主党政権の方針を見直す考えを強調した。

It is important that Japan and the United States cooperate extensively on economic issues, including energy and nuclear policies.
 エネルギー・原発政策を含め、経済面での日米協力を幅広く進展させることが大切だ。

===

Increase pressure on N. Korea
 ◆対「北」圧力を強めよ◆

In the security field, Abe explained that he would proactively tackle such issues as a revision of the National Defense Program Guidelines, clarifying whether the nation can exercise its right to collective self-defense, and reviewing the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation.
 安全保障分野で安倍首相は、防衛大綱の改定や、集団的自衛権の行使問題、日米防衛協力指針(ガイドライン)見直しなどに積極的に取り組む方針を説明した。

All of these issues are essential for reinforcing the substance of the Japan-U.S. alliance. We hope the government gives priority to these issues and steadily achieves tangible results.
 いずれも日米同盟を実質的に強化する重要課題だ。優先順位をつけて、着実に実績を上げたい。

The two leaders agreed to proceed with a plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station from Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to the Henoko district in Nago, also in the prefecture, based on an agreement reached by the Japanese and U.S. governments.
 米軍普天間飛行場の移設問題では、日米合意に基づき辺野古移設を進める方針で一致した。

Although the Okinawa prefectural government insists the air station should be relocated outside the prefecture, the Henoko plan is the shortest way to reduce the burdens of communities that currently host the base. The government must steadfastly persuade people involved in this matter to support this option.
 沖縄県は「県外移設」を求める立場を崩していないが、地元の基地負担の軽減には辺野古移設が最も近道だ。粘り強く関係者を説得することが求められる。

As for North Korea's recent nuclear test, Abe and Obama confirmed such provocations cannot be tolerated, and that North Korea should not be rewarded for these actions.
 北朝鮮の核実験について、日米両首脳は「挑発行為を容認すべきではないし、報奨を与えるべきでもない」と確認した。

While both leaders agreed to seek the adoption of a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing additional sanctions on Pyongyang, they also agreed to consider sanctions independently enforced by such parties as Japan and the United States.
 国連安全保障理事会での追加制裁決議の採択を目指すとともに、日米などによる独自の制裁を検討することでも合意した。

After North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006, the administration of then U.S. President George W. Bush cut a deal in which Pyongyang said it would abandon its nuclear facilities and Washington removed North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. North Korea should not receive any such benefit for conducting its third nuclear test this year.
 2006年の北朝鮮の第1回核実験後、ブッシュ米政権は、核施設廃棄と「テロ支援国家」指定解除との取引に応じた。今年の第3回核実験によって、北朝鮮が利益を得ることは避けるべきだ。

===

Form intl tie-up on Senkakus
 ◆尖閣問題で国際連携を◆

Although the Security Council should adopt an effective sanctions resolution, China has shown a cautious stance. It is important that ways to apply "pressure," other than a Security Council resolution, be considered under the initiative of Tokyo, Washington and Seoul.
 本来は、実効性ある安保理の制裁決議を採択することが望ましいが、中国は慎重姿勢を示している。日米韓3か国を中心に、安保理決議以外の「圧力」を具体的に検討することが重要である。

During a bilateral foreign ministerial meeting held after the Abe-Obama meeting, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in reference to Japan-China relations, expressed a view that the Senkaku Islands are covered by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and fall under the scope of U.S. defense obligations to Japan.
 首脳会談後に行われた日米外相会談では、ケリー国務長官が日中関係に関連し、尖閣諸島には日米安全保障条約が適用され、米国の対日防衛義務の対象に含まれるとの見解を表明した。

We welcome Kerry's adherence to the stance of his predecessor, Hillary Clinton.
 クリントン前長官の見解を踏襲したことを歓迎したい。

Japan, for its part, should calmly address this issue without being rattled by such provocations as the use of fire-control radar by Chinese forces. At the same time, Japan should strengthen the warning and surveillance operations conducted by the Self-Defense Forces and the Japan Coast Guard. To urge China to exercise self-restraint in its saber-rattling, Japan must deepen cooperation with the United States and other nations concerned.
 日本は、中国軍の火器管制レーダー照射などの挑発に動じず、冷静な対応を続ける一方、自衛隊と海上保安庁による警戒監視活動を強化すべきだ。中国に示威活動の自制を促すため、米国など関係国との連携も深めねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 24, 2013)
(2013年2月24日01時42分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月24日 (日)

竹島の日 政務官の式典出席は妥当だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 24, 2013)
Govt right to send appropriate official to Takeshima Day event
竹島の日 政務官の式典出席は妥当だ(2月23日付・読売社説)

The government made a well-balanced decision on Takeshima Day by expressing a firm stance on the territorial issue while at the same time displaying diplomatic consideration toward South Korea.
 領土問題に真剣に取り組む姿勢を示しつつ、韓国にも外交的に配慮した点で、バランスの取れた対応と言えよう。

The administration sent Aiko Shimajiri, a parliamentary secretary of the Cabinet Office, to a commemoration ceremony held Friday in Shimane Prefecture.
 政府が、島根県の主催する「竹島の日」記念式典に島尻安伊子内閣府政務官を派遣した。

Though this was the eighth ceremony of its kind, Shimajiri was the first government representative to participate. Additionally, a record number of 19 Diet members attended the event.
式典は8回目だが、政府代表の出席は初めてだ。その他、国会議員も過去最多の19人が出席した。

Shimane Prefecture in 2005 established an ordinance designating Feb. 22 as Takeshima Day to commemorate the 1905 cabinet decision to incorporate the islands into the prefecture. Since 2006, the Shimane prefectural government has organized the annual ceremony to cement the nation's sovereignty over the Sea of Japan islands as soon as possible by raising public awareness of the issue. Takeshima is currently under South Korea's effective control.
 島根県は、1905年に竹島を県に編入した2月22日を「竹島の日」と定める条例を制定し、2006年以降、毎年、式典を開いている。竹島の領有権の早期確立を目指し、国民世論の啓発を図ることが目的である。

===

Diplomatic courtesies extended

It is the job of the government to expand public interest in and understanding of territorial issues because such matters pertain to national sovereignty. The central government should organize a Takeshima Day event.
 日本の主権にかかわる領土問題への国民の関心を高め、理解を広げるのは政府の仕事である。本来は政府が式典を開催すべきだ。

Last summer, South Korean President Lee Myung Bak broke diplomatic norms by visiting Takeshima and demanding the Emperor's apology for Japan's behavior during colonial times. In response, the Liberal Democratic Party pledged to organize a government-sponsored Takeshima Day ceremony in its policy platform for the last House of Representatives election.
 昨夏、韓国の李明博大統領は竹島訪問を強行し、天皇陛下への謝罪要求発言と合わせて、外交常識の一線を越える言動を行った。これを踏まえて、自民党は衆院選政策集で、「竹島の日」の政府式典の開催を打ち出している。

However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government decided not to take the lead on the ceremony this year. It also postponed its plan to unilaterally refer the territorial dispute with Seoul to the International Court of Justice. The Abe administration has refrained from such actions to build a future-oriented bilateral relationship with South Korea in cooperation with President-elect Park Geun Hye.
 しかし、安倍政権は今年の式典主催を見送った。国際司法裁判所(ICJ)への竹島問題の単独提訴も先送りしている。朴槿恵次期大統領との間で、未来志向の日韓関係の構築を目指すためだ。

In January, former Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga visited South Korea as the prime minister's special envoy. Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso will also attend Park's presidential inauguration ceremony on Monday.
 1月には額賀福志郎元財務相が首相特使として韓国を訪問した。今月25日の朴氏の大統領就任式には麻生副総理が出席する。

Shimane Prefecture requested Abe and his Cabinet ministers attend its Takeshima Day ceremony, but the government sent only the parliamentary secretary as its representative. This was yet another example of the administration's consideration for South Korea.
 島根県が首相や閣僚の式典出席を要請しているのに対し、出席者を政務官にとどめたのも、韓国への配慮の一環にほかならない。

Nonetheless, a spokesperson of South Korea's Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry said the parliamentary secretary's attendance at the event was regrettable, and Seoul strongly protested the act.
 だが、韓国外交通商省報道官は政務官出席について「非常に遺憾で、強力に抗議する」との声明を発表した。これはおかしい。

We resolutely disagree.

===

Bilateral cooperation crucial

First of all, Shimane Prefecture's ceremony was a domestic event. Even if Japan and South Korea confront each other over the territorial dispute, reprimanding the other country for sending its representative to a local government's event is uncalled for, as such behavior can be considered meddling in domestic affairs.
 そもそも島根県の式典は国内行事だ。いくら領土問題で対立しようと、他国が地方行事の出席者にまで口出しするのは、明らかな内政干渉で、行き過ぎである。

Furthermore, the partnership between Japan and South Korea is now more vital than ever to ensure peace and stability in East Asia. This is particularly true in light of North Korea's recent nuclear test and launch of a long-range missile, and China's continued heavy-handed demonstrations in the East China Sea.
 一方で、北朝鮮が核実験や長距離ミサイル発射を行い、中国が東シナ海で強圧的な示威活動を続ける中、東アジアの平和と安定のために日韓両国が連携する必要性はかつてないほど高い。

There are also several pending economic matters that could benefit both Japan and South Korea, such as a potential free trade agreement, if they can cooperate with one other.
 自由貿易協定(FTA)など経済面でも、日韓協力が双方の利益となる分野は少なくない。

The change in the South Korean presidency provides a good opportunity to mend the deteriorated Japan-South Korea relations. The Takeshima dispute may remain unsettled for quite some time. To explore ways to prevent the issue from stifling bilateral ties, Tokyo and Seoul must work together by maintaining careful communications.
 大統領の交代は、悪化した日韓関係を改善する好機だ。領土問題の解決には相当な時間を要するとしても、この問題が両国関係全体を停滞させないように、日韓双方が注意深く対話を重ね、知恵を出すことが肝要である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 23, 2013)
(2013年2月23日01時27分  読売新聞)

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北方領土交渉 「仕切り直し」へ戦略練り直せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 24, 2013)
New strategy needed to resume talks over northern territories
北方領土交渉 「仕切り直し」へ戦略練り直せ(2月23日付・読売社説)

The government's aim of smoothing the way for future talks between Japanese and Russian leaders has been achieved. The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe now faces a test on whether it can devise a specific diplomatic strategy to make progress in negotiations to solve the dispute over the northern territories.
 日露首脳会談への地ならしという狙いは達成された。具体的に交渉をどう進めるか、安倍外交の戦略が問われよう。

Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori met recently with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow.
 森喜朗元首相が、ロシアのプーチン大統領とモスクワのクレムリンで会談した。

During the meeting, Putin said it is abnormal that the two countries have yet to conclude a peace treaty due to the obstacle of the territorial issue.
 プーチン氏は、北方領土問題が障害となり、日露両国が平和条約をいまだ締結していないことを「異常な事態」と表現した。

Drawing a picture of a judo competition area on paper, Putin stated his intention to make a fresh start in the negotiations. He said Japan and Russia cannot compete because both countries stay at the edge of the competition area, and that they should be pulled to the center to start over.
 柔道の試合場をメモ用紙に描いて、「両国は試合場の端にいてプレーが出来ない。真ん中に引っ張ってきてそこから始めるということだ」とも語り、交渉を仕切り直す意向を明らかにした。

Putin's predecessor, Dmitry Medvedev, visited Kunashiri Island, one of the four islands in the northern territories, while he was Russian president. During the visit, Medvedev took a hard-line stance on the issue, saying: "This is our native land. We will not give away an inch."
 メドベージェフ前大統領は自ら国後島を訪問し、「我々の古来の土地だ。一寸たりとも渡さない」と強硬な姿勢を見せつけた。

===

Figure out Russia's real intent

Abe must appropriately interpret Putin's positive signal on the territorial issue. We hope the Abe administration will negotiate with Russia patiently while trying to figure out what Moscow really has in mind.
 安倍首相は、領土問題に前向きなプーチン氏のシグナルをきちんと受け止めなければなるまい。その真意を見極めつつ、粘り強く交渉に当たってもらいたい。

During the talks, Mori asked Putin to clarify his remarks in March last year that he would seek "hikiwake"--a judo term meaning a draw--to solve the issue. Putin reportedly said it was meant to be a solution that creates neither a winner nor a loser, but he did not elaborate.
 森氏はプーチン氏との会談で、北方領土問題について昨年3月「引き分け」を目指すと発言したことの意味を質(ただ)した。プーチン氏は「勝ち負けなしの解決だ」と述べるにとどめたという。

Putin apparently regards the 1956 Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration as a starting point for negotiations on the territorial row. The declaration stipulates the Habomai islets and Shikotan Island should be returned to Japan after the two countries sign a peace treaty. In recent years, Russia has allocated funding for developing infrastructure in the northern territories to steadily "Russianize" them, especially on the other two islands of Kunashiri and Etrofu.
 歯舞、色丹2島の引き渡しを明記した1956年の日ソ共同宣言が、領土交渉におけるプーチン氏の立場の原点だ。ロシアは近年、国後、択捉両島などの基盤整備に予算を投入し、北方領土の「ロシア化」を着々と進めている。

On a TV program last month, Mori mentioned the possible option of Russia first returning three of the islets--with the exception of Etrofu Island--not all four at once. He made such remarks apparently in the belief that the nation should quickly aim for a realistic solution.
 森氏が先月、テレビ番組で択捉島以外の3島の先行返還に言及したのは、現実的な解決を急ぐべきだと考えるからだろう。

When he was foreign minister, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso floated the idea of dividing the four islands equally in terms of size.
 麻生副総理も外相時代に4島全体の面積を2等分する「面積等分論」に言及したことがある。

However, bilateral negotiations between the Abe and Putin administrations have yet to take place. If Tokyo takes a concessional approach before the talks start, Moscow may take further advantage of it. In the same way as previously, Japan should aim for the return of all four islands in the negotiations.
 だが、安倍、プーチン両政権による交渉はこれからである。交渉前から譲歩姿勢を示せば一層つけこまれかねない。従来通り4島返還を掲げて交渉に臨むべきだ。

===

Expanded cooperation key

At the meeting with Mori, Putin also expressed his hopes of expanded bilateral cooperation in the energy sector, such as in oil and natural gas. He also said his country wants to take advantage of Japan's agricultural technology in developing its vast Far East region.
 プーチン氏は、石油や天然ガスなど、エネルギー分野での日露協力の拡大に強い期待感を示した。広大な極東で日本の農業技術を生かしたいとも語った。

Japan's economic strength and technology would be attractive to Russia, which has increased its focus on development of the Far East and Siberia. If the territorial dispute is resolved, Japan and Russia will be able to cooperate in more areas beneficial to both countries. Such expanded bilateral cooperation also could put a brake on China, a growing economic and military power.
 日本の経済力や技術力は、極東・シベリア開発に力を入れるロシアにとって魅力だろう。領土問題が解決すれば、日露両国がともに利益を享受できる分野は一段と広がるはずだ。経済・軍事面で膨張する中国への牽制(けんせい)ともなる。

It is vital for both Japan and Russia to increase their shared awareness that bilateral cooperation is strategically important. This could pave the way to solving the territorial issue.
 日露協力の戦略的重要性について共通認識を深めていくことが大切だ。それが、北方領土問題解決への環境整備につながろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 23, 2013)
(2013年2月23日01時27分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月23日 (土)

混合診療 適用拡大が患者の利益になる

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 23, 2013)
Wider use of mixed treatment beneficial to patients
混合診療 適用拡大が患者の利益になる(2月22日付・読売社説)

Everyone wants to receive advanced, effective medical treatment. The medical insurance system should be improved from the viewpoint of patients.
 先進的で効果のある治療であるなら、誰でも受けたい。患者の立場で、保険医療制度を改善していくべきだろう。

The government's advisory panel on regulatory reform has put expanded application of so-called mixed treatment on its list of topics to to be discussed.
 政府の規制改革会議が「混合診療」の適用範囲の拡大を検討課題に掲げた。

Mixed treatment is defined as the combination of medical practices, such as examination and medication, that are covered by public health insurance with those that are not. Currently, it is permitted only in exceptional cases in the health insurance system.
 混合診療とは、公的医療保険で認められた検査や投薬とともに、保険が適用されていない治療法を併用することだ。現在は例外的にしか認められていない。

Mixed treatment is currently limited to about 100 types of treatments designated by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, including heavy particle radiotherapy, which is an advanced radiation therapy for cancer, and genetic diagnosis for hereditary Alzheimer's disease.
 その対象は、高度がん放射線療法の重粒子線治療や、家族性アルツハイマー病の遺伝子診断など、厚生労働省が指定した約100種類にとどまる。

If patients receive new treatments that have yet to be approved by the ministry, they have to pay all the medical bills, including examination and hospital expenses that otherwise would be covered by the insurance system.
 指定外で未承認の新しい治療を受けると、本来は保険が適用される検査や入院費用も含め全額が自己負担となってしまう。

Even if patients want to receive advanced therapies for cancer and intractable diseases, therefore, they often have to give up on that hope for economic reasons.
 がんや難病の患者が最先端治療に希望を託したくても、経済的理由であきらめざるを得ないケースもあるのが現状だ。

===

Right path to take

The government panel named mixed treatment as a topic for discussion because it considers deregulation of the medical treatment sector a part of growth strategy.
 規制改革会議が混合診療の見直しを検討課題に挙げたのは、医療分野の規制緩和を成長戦略の一環と位置付けているからだ。

Expanding the application of mixed treatment to all types of medical techniques, including regenerative medicine, is a reasonable step to take.
 再生医療を含む先進的な医療技術全般に混合診療の適用範囲を拡大するのは妥当と言えよう。

In its campaign platform for the House of Representatives election in December, the Liberal Democratic Party called for swift introduction of the latest drugs, medical equipment and therapies that could help patients. Reexamining mixed treatment will be a first step toward realizing the party's campaign pledge.
 自民党は昨年の衆院選の公約で、患者の利益にかなう最先端の薬や医療機器、治療法の迅速な導入を掲げた。混合診療の見直しは公約を具体化する一歩となる。

If the government takes a definite stance to support advanced medical treatments, it could encourage doctors to adopt new medical techniques more actively.
 政府が先進的な医療を後押しする姿勢を明確に打ち出すことで、医師が新しい医療技術に積極的に取り組む効果が期待できる。

===

Certain restraint needed

However, mixed treatment cannot be allowed to expand without restrictions.
 ただし、混合診療を野放図に拡大するわけにはいかない。

The health ministry has banned mixed treatment in principle, on the grounds it might foster treatments not grounded in science.
 厚労省は一貫して混合診療を原則禁止としてきた。科学的根拠のない治療を助長する恐れがあるという理由からだ。

The Supreme Court upheld the ministry's policy in 2011. In a lawsuit filed against the state by a cancer patient who received new, yet-to-be-approved treatment, the top court judged that the policy was "legitimate from the viewpoint of ensuring the quality of medical treatment and in light of fiscal constraints."
 最高裁も2011年、この政策を追認した。未承認の新治療を受けていたがん患者が国を相手取った訴訟の判決で、「医療の質の確保や財源面の制約を考えると適法」との判断を示した。

The top court also pointed out that the policy was meant "to deter medical practices that threaten to undermine the safety and effectiveness" of medical treatment.
 「安全性や有効性を脅かす医療行為を抑止する意味がある」とも指摘している。

It is true that if mixed treatment is approved without restriction, expensive, dangerous drugs and medical treatments whose safety has not been confirmed may become widespread.
 確かに、混合診療を無制限に認めると、高額なうえに効果が実証されていない危険な薬や治療が横行することが懸念される。

In light of what the top court pointed out, a certain amount of restraint will be necessary.
 最高裁判決の趣旨からも、何らかの歯止めは必要である。

As an effective way of applying mixed treatment, we suggest it be limited to medical techniques approved by domestic medical societies, as well as to drugs and therapies confirmed to be effective overseas.
 混合診療の対象は、海外で効果が確認された薬や治療法のほか、国内の医学会などが認めた医療技術に限定するのも有効な方法ではないだろうか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 22, 2013)
(2013年2月22日01時14分  読売新聞)

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3人死刑執行 凶悪犯罪の抑止につなげたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 23, 2013)
Execution of death-row inmates must serve as deterrent to crime
3人死刑執行 凶悪犯罪の抑止につなげたい(2月22日付・読売社説)

Three death-row inmates were executed Thursday. They were the first executions carried out under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration, which was launched in December.
 3人の死刑囚に対する刑が21日、執行された。昨年12月に発足した安倍政権の下で、初めての執行である。

Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, who ordered the executions just two months after he was appointed to his post, told a press conference after the executions, "The spirit of the law shouldn't be disregarded." His statement shows he attaches grave importance to the Criminal Procedure Code, which stipulates that death sentences should be implemented within six months of being finalized.
 就任2か月で執行を命じた谷垣法相は、執行後の記者会見で「法の精神を無視するわけにはいかない」と述べた。死刑確定から6か月以内に刑を執行しなければならないと定めた刑事訴訟法を重視した発言だ。

The statement also indicates his stance to carry out in a somber manner the duties of the justice minister, who bears a heavy responsibility.
 法相に課せられた重い職責を、粛々と遂行していく姿勢を示したと言える。

===

134 people now on death row

Under the Democratic Party of Japan-led administrations, few executions were carried out. There was even a period of about 20 months in which there were no executions, due to the successive appointments of justice ministers who were critical of the death penalty. As a result, the number of inmates whose death sentences had been finalized increased to 137, including the three most recently executed, the largest figure in the postwar period.
 民主党政権では、死刑の執行が少なく、約1年8か月にわたり途絶えた時期もあった。死刑制度に批判的な法相の就任が続いたためだ。その結果、確定死刑囚は今回の執行前で、戦後最多の137人に上っていた。

Internationally, countries that have abolished or suspended capital punishment outnumber those who maintain the system.
 死刑制度については、国際的には維持する国より、廃止か停止した国の方が多い。

In Japan, on the other hand, 85 percent of the public approves of the death penalty, according to an opinion poll by the Cabinet Office.
 一方、日本では、内閣府の世論調査で死刑容認が85%を占めている。

"At the moment it's unnecessary to review the system," Tanigaki said, taking into consideration this public sentiment.
谷垣法相が「制度を現時点で見直す必要はない」と語ったのも国民感情を踏まえたものだ。

Death sentences have been given in lay judge trials, in which ordinary citizens participate in the trial process, and the sentences for three inmates under that system have been already finalized.
 国民が参加する裁判員裁判で死刑判決が出されるようになり、既に3人の死刑が確定している。

Considering these circumstances, we urge justice ministers to implement the death penalty system in a strict manner, after closely examining finalized death sentences.
そんな現状も考慮すれば、確定判決を精査した上で、厳正に制度を運用していくことが求められる。

The three inmates whose sentences were carried out most recently include a man who kidnapped and killed a young girl in Nara Prefecture in 2004, and a man who killed or injured nine people near JR Arakawaoki Station on the Joban Line and at another location, both in Ibaraki Prefecture, in 2008.
 今回、刑が執行されたのは、2004年に奈良県で女児を誘拐し殺害した男や、08年に茨城県のJR常磐線荒川沖駅などで9人を殺傷した男らだ。

All three cases were contemptible, cruel crimes that horrified society. The victims and their bereaved family members suffered grievous harm. The bereaved families want the culprits to be harshly punished.
 いずれも、社会を震撼(しんかん)させた、卑劣かつ残虐な犯罪だ。被害者・遺族が受けた傷は大きく、処罰感情も厳しいものがある。

In the case of kidnapping and murder in Nara Prefecture, the perpetrator abducted a first-grade primary school student who was on her way home from school in order to sexually molest her. He even sent an e-mail with a picture of the girl's dead body to her mother's cellphone. The case was extremely malicious.
 奈良の誘拐殺人事件では、帰宅途中の小学1年の女児をわいせつ目的で連れ去り、遺体の写真を女児の母親にメール送信するなど、悪質性が際立っていた。

===

Prevention of repeat offenses

This is the case that clarified the trend toward toughening the penalties in murder cases so that people who commit atrocious sexual crimes will face capital punishment even if they have only killed one person.
 殺害した被害者が1人であっても、凶悪な性犯罪では極刑を免れないという厳罰化の流れが明確に示されたケースだろう。

The Nara Prefecture case spurred the government to study measures to prevent the recurrence of sexual offenses, as the perpetrator had a criminal record of sex offenses.
 奈良の事件は、死刑囚に性犯罪歴があったことから、再犯対策の検討を迫る契機となった。

The Justice Ministry now provides the National Police Agency with information on where people with criminal records of sexual offenses involving children live after their release from prison. Sex offenders in prison are required to attend programs to prevent repeat offenses, in which they are taught ways to control their emotions.
 法務省は、子供に対する性犯罪の前歴者について、出所後の居住地情報を警察庁に提供するようになった。刑務所では性犯罪者に再犯防止プログラムを受講させ、感情をコントロールする方法を身に着けさせている。

However, there is no sign of a significant decline in the number of sex offenses. We should think again about the fact that one purpose of implementing death sentences is to deter atrocious crimes.
 しかし、性犯罪の被害は後を絶たない。死刑執行は、凶悪犯罪の抑止が目的の一つであることを改めて考えたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 22, 2013)
(2013年2月22日01時14分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月22日 (金)

明石歩道橋事故 強制起訴の課題示す免訴判決

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 22, 2013)
Ruling highlights problems in mandatory indictment system
明石歩道橋事故 強制起訴の課題示す免訴判決(2月21日付・読売社説)

It was a bitter pill for relatives of the victims in the July 2001 crush incident in Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture, who sought criminal responsibility for a former police officer in charge of crowd control at a fireworks show.
 雑踏警備の監督責任者に刑罰を科すことを求めてきた遺族にとっては、厳しい結論だ。

The Kobe District Court on Wednesday dismissed a case in which a former deputy chief at the Akashi Police Station was indicted over failing to prevent the fatal accident on a pedestrian overpass that killed 11 people. A prosecution inquest committee had decided on the mandatory indictment in this case.
 2001年7月、花火大会の見物客11人が死亡した兵庫県明石市の歩道橋事故で、神戸地裁は、強制起訴された明石署元副署長に「免訴」を言い渡した。

The ruling effectively acquitted the defendant by ending the trial.
 裁判を打ち切り、元副署長を事実上、無罪とする判決である。

Based on the decision by the prosecution inquest committee, the former deputy chief was indicted on suspicion of professional negligence causing injury and death over the accident, as he allegedly shared complicity with a former officer at the station who was directly responsible for crowd control. The latter received a prison sentence.
 元副署長は、警備の現場責任者だった明石署の元地域官(実刑確定)と共犯関係にあったとして、検察審査会の議決により、業務上過失致死傷罪で強制起訴された。

This was the first case in which the mandatory indictment system was applied since its introduction in 2009.
09年導入の強制起訴制度が適用となった初めてのケースだった。

The ruling concluded the five-year statute of limitations had expired by the time of the mandatory indictment in April 2010. The court apparently had no other choice but to dismiss the case as it found the statute of limitations had run out.
 判決は、強制起訴された10年4月の時点で、時効(5年)が成立していたと判断した。時効が成立していれば、免訴とするしか選択肢はなかったと言える。

===

Questions on statute of limitations

Court-appointed lawyers who served as prosecutors insisted the statute of limitations had not expired, citing the fact that the former officer--with whom they said the former deputy chief was complicit--was on trial at that time, and the Criminal Procedure Code that stipulates the period is interrupted during the trial of an accomplice.
 検察官役の指定弁護士は、「共犯関係にある元地域官は当時、公判中だったため、刑事訴訟法の規定により、元副署長の時効は成立していない」と主張していた。

Wednesday's ruling, however, denied the former deputy chief's fault. "He did not get any request from officers working at the scene to prevent more people coming onto the overpass," the ruling said. "It was also difficult for him to assess the danger by watching security cameras at the station."
 これに対し、判決はまず元副署長の過失を否定した。「現場から歩道橋への流入規制要請はなく、署内のモニターでも危険は察知できなかった」との理由からだ。

The ruling also concluded that the former deputy chief was not complicit with his subordinate because he did not bear any fault, thus acknowledging the statute of limitations had run out in this case.
 その上で、過失がない以上、元地域官との共犯関係も存在しない、として時効成立を認めた。

Even if the former deputy chief escapes criminal responsibility, however, the police were obviously at fault over their security and safety measures for the fireworks display, given the accident's serious casualties.
 しかし、刑事責任は別としても、被害の甚大さから見て、警察の警備や安全対策に落ち度があったことは間違いない。

The ruling also pointed out that the police had an inadequate security plan for the event, saying, "The use of authority by the deputy chief--who was supposed to assist the chief of the police station--was insufficient."
判決も「署長の補佐役である副署長の権限行使は不十分だった」と批判し、警備計画の不備も指摘した。

After the fatal crush, the National Police Agency told prefectural police to appoint officers to oversee crowd control measures. It is most important to take every possible measure to prevent the recurrence of a similar accident.
 事故後、警察庁は、雑踏警備の指導責任者を新たに置くよう全国の警察に通達を出した。再発防止の徹底が何より重要である。

There have been seven mandatory indictment cases nationwide, and Wednesday's ruling was the fourth handed down by a district court. So far, only one guilty sentence has been given in a case involving the mayor of Ishii, Tokushima Prefecture.
 強制起訴は全国で7件あり、1審判決は今回で4件目だった。これまでに有罪判決は、徳島県石井町の町長の1件のみだ。

===

Excessive burden on lawyers

These cases, including the former deputy chief's one, have revealed one problem in the mandatory indictment system--the excessive burdens on court-appointed lawyers.
 今回の裁判も含め、共通した問題点は、指定弁護士にかかる過度な負担だろう。

It is not easy for them to gather the evidence necessary to win a guilty sentence in cases prosecutors decided to drop.
検察が不起訴とした事件で、有罪を得る証拠を集めるのは容易でない。

Therefore, it may be worthwhile to study creating a framework under which assistant officers for prosecutors can help court-appointed lawyers in examining evidence and other related work.
検察事務官に証拠分析などを補佐させる仕組みを検討すべきではないか。

It is important to provide legal advice to members of prosecution inquest committees, who are selected from members of the public. This becomes more important when they deal with cases like the former deputy chief's, in which the focus was put on whether the statute of limitations had expired by the time of indictment.
 一般市民が務める検察審委員に対しては、法律的助言が大切だ。時効がポイントとなった今回のような場合は、なおさらである。

In this sense, one lawyer is not enough to serve as an assistant to a prosecution inquest committee.
助言するのが審査補助員の弁護士1人だけでは十分とは言えまい。

To help the mandatory indictment system take root, it is crucial to review trials of relevant cases and improve flaws in the system.
 強制起訴制度を根付かせるには、裁判例を検証し、課題を改善していくことが欠かせない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 21, 2013)
(2013年2月21日02時00分  読売新聞)

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民主衆院選総括 自己批判を再建に生かせるか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 22, 2013)
Self-criticism not enough; DPJ must learn from the past
民主衆院選総括 自己批判を再建に生かせるか(2月21日付・読売社説)

Self-critical phrases were found throughout a Democratic Party of Japan report reviewing the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election. The report was quite unusual for an official document of a political party, but the real issue is whether the DPJ can use it to rebuild itself.
 まさに自己批判のオンパレードである。政党の公式文書としては異色だが、問題は、これを党再建にどう生かすかだ。

The report on the party's humiliating defeat and its handling of the government for about three years and three months was approved Wednesday at a general meeting of the secretaries general of local DPJ chapters. Dubbed a "plan to reform and recreate the DPJ," the report will be officially approved at a party convention scheduled for Sunday.
 民主党は全国幹事長会議で、衆院選の惨敗や3年3か月余の政権運営を総括する「党改革創生案」を了承した。24日の党大会で正式決定する。

In the report, the party carefully avoided pointing fingers at anyone as a direct cause of the defeat. However, it did point out a "chain of errors committed by party heads," including those of three prime ministers--Yukio Hatoyama's haphazard handling of the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, Naoto Kan's remarks suggesting a consumption tax hike and Yoshihiko Noda's failure to properly set the date for a lower house dissolution.
 衆院選の敗因については、名指しを避けながら、鳩山元首相による米軍普天間飛行場移設問題の迷走、菅元首相の「消費税発言」、野田前首相の衆院解散時期の見定めを例に挙げて、「トップによる失敗の連鎖」を指摘した。

The report also admitted that the secession of party members, notably former party President Ichiro Ozawa and his followers, dealt a huge blow to the DPJ's image. This made the public feel "it was inappropriate to entrust the helm of government to a group unable to govern itself," the report said.
 小沢一郎元代表らの離党で「党内を治めることさえできない集団に国家の舵(かじ)取りを任せられない」と国民に見られたとも認めた。

===

Responsibility of 'troika' leaders

Those analyses all have a point. We believe Hatoyama, Kan and Ozawa--once dubbed the troika of the DPJ--are especially responsible for the defeat. If the DPJ really wants to rally from the historical defeat and once again become a rival of the Liberal Democratic Party, it is essential to wholeheartedly examine past mistakes and thoroughly learn from them.
 いずれも当然の指摘である。特に、鳩山、菅、小沢3氏のトロイカの罪は重い。民主党が歴史的大敗から立ち直り、自民党の対抗勢力として復活するには、過去の過ちを徹底的に検証し、真剣に反省する作業が欠かせない。

In addition to the faults of the party leadership, we should not overlook the DPJ's lack of governance--a chronic problem for the entire party. Failure to communicate with bureaucrats, party management that lacks unity, members' lack of awareness that they should uphold the party's decisions--all the things pointed out in the report were on the mark.
 執行部の責任に加え、党全体の統治能力の欠如も見逃せない。官僚との意思疎通不足、まとまりのない党運営、決定事項を守るルールの緩み、政権を支える意識の希薄さ……。改革創生案が列挙した課題は、どれも的を射ている。

However, the problem is that all those problems had already been pointed out during the time the DPJ held the reins of government. Instead of taking effective measures to deal with them, the party spent all its energy on intraparty conflicts, such as the battle between the pro- and anti-Ozawa groups.
 問題なのは、与党時代に、こうした批判を再三受けながら、何ら有効な対策を取らないまま、「親小沢対反小沢」といった党内抗争に明け暮れていたことだ。

Based on its review of the general election defeat, the reform plan made seven proposals for the DPJ.
 改革創生案は、衆院選総括を踏まえ、7項目の提言をしている。

They include suggestions such as "carry the flag of a reformist party and march toward the realization of our reform goals," and "listen to the wide array of public opinions, utilize the knowledge of experts and reinforce our ability to convey our messages to the public."
「改革政党の旗を掲げ、実行に向けまい進する」「広く国民の声を聞き、専門家の知見を活用しつつ発信を強化する」などだ。

===

Proposals too abstract

Frankly speaking, we were disappointed with the abstractness of the proposals. The proposals were supposed to be the centerpiece of the report to help the party fight in the House of Councillors election scheduled for this summer. However, they seem far from serving this aim.
 夏の参院選に向けて最も肝心な提言が抽象的な内容にとどまり、物足りないのは残念である。

The party needs to promptly decide on institutional reforms, such as how the party's decision-making system should be shaped and the status of its Policy Research Committee. The DPJ has been struggling with such reforms since it took power.
 試行錯誤を続けた党の意思決定システムや政策調査会の位置づけなどの制度改革については、早急に結論を出す必要がある。

The reform proposal said the DPJ "will offer counterproposals to ruling parties' policies, to fulfill the role of an opposition party capable of creating new values." Having said that, it will be important for the party to utilize the experience of holding the reins of government and tenaciously stick offer viable alternatives to the government's policies.
 「与党の政策に対する対案をまとめて、創造的野党の役割を果たす」と提言する以上、政権党の経験を踏まえて、「対案路線」を徹底することも重要だ。

Currently, the Diet is divided with the DPJ holding the most seats in the upper house. Thus the party shares the responsibility to move politics forward. If the party examines the policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration appropriately and gives constructive criticism as a responsible opposition party, it will lend a disciplined atmosphere to the national administration.
 民主党は今、参院第1党として衆参ねじれ国会の下、政治を前に動かす責任の一端を担っている。健全な野党として、安倍政権の政策をしっかり点検し、適切な注文をつけることは、国政に緊張感を持たせる効果を持つ。

At the same time, it will be important for the DPJ not to hesitate in cooperating with the ruling parties to realize policies that serve the national interest, as such an attitude could be an important step in restoring the public's trust.
 一方で、国益に資する政策には協力を厭(いと)わないことが、有権者の信頼回復を図る一歩となろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 21, 2013)
(2013年2月21日02時00分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月21日 (木)

国会同意人事 事前報道ルール撤廃は当然だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 21, 2013)
Scrapping prior media coverage rule a wise decision
国会同意人事 事前報道ルール撤廃は当然だ(2月20日付・読売社説)

The rules on personnel appointments requiring approval in both houses of the Diet, which have caused much confusion of late, have finally been reviewed.
 様々な混乱を招いてきた国会同意人事のルールがようやく見直された。

The Diet must steadily push through procedures to select officials for important posts, including the Bank of Japan governor.
国会は、日本銀行総裁など重要ポストを選任するための手続きを着実に進めなければならない。

The ruling and opposition parties have agreed to scrap the so-called prior media coverage rule. The rule states that the Diet can reject in principle the government's personnel appointment proposals if they are leaked by the media before officially becoming public.
 政府の国会同意人事案が事前に報道された場合、原則として国会への提示を認めないとする「事前報道ルール」について、与野党が撤廃することで合意した。

It is appropriate to abolish this useless and damaging rule that has just been used by opposition parties to put pressure on the government since its introduction in 2007. Approval of proposed personnel appointments should be based on candidates' abilities and knowledge. It is unreasonable to turn down an appointment simply because it was reported in the news beforehand.
 2007年の導入以来、野党が政府を揺さぶる手段としてきた無用で有害なルールを廃止したのは当然である。政府の人事案の可否は本来、候補の能力や識見で判断すべきであり、報道を理由とした門前払いは筋違いだ。

===

Further delays must be avoided

When the Democratic Party of Japan was in power, it insisted the rule be scrapped. However, the DPJ recently rejected the government's offer to discuss the proposed appointment of former Administrative Vice Finance Minister Kazuyuki Sugimoto as the next chairman of the Fair Trade Commission, on the grounds that the plan was reported by the media in advance. This is a purely senseless act that only amplifies public distrust in politics.
 民主党は与党当時、ルールの撤廃を主張していた。ところが、今回、公正取引委員長に杉本和行元財務次官を充てる人事案について事前報道を理由に提示を一時拒否した。政治不信を増幅する浅慮と言うほかない。

In their latest agreement, the ruling and opposition parties urge the government to ensure thorough information management for its personnel appointment proposals. The agreement also states that if the government's plans are reported by the media in advance, the parties will ask the government to launch an investigation into the leak and report its findings to the Diet after presenting the personnel plans for approval.
 与野党は新たな合意で、政府に人事案の「情報管理の徹底」を求めた。事前報道があれば、提示後、政府に情報漏えいの調査と、国会への報告を求めるとしている。

Still, there may be some cases in which high-profile government appointments are reported by news agencies before they are officially announced. We find it troubling if the new agreement is aimed at regulating the media.
 だが、国民の関心が高い人事案の場合、報道機関が独自に取材し、事前に報じることは十分あり得る。それを規制する狙いがあるとすれば、大きな問題である。

Personnel appointments for a total of 253 posts in 36 organizations currently require Diet approval.
 国会同意が必要なポストは、全部で36機関の253人に上る。

Under the divided Diet, the former DPJ-led administration had difficulty finalizing its selection of candidates, delaying many appointments and disrupting national politics.
 衆参ねじれ国会の下、民主党政権が人選に手間取ったこともあって、多くの人事が停滞し、国政に支障を来している。

For example, the FTC chairman post has been vacant since September last year. The post of Board of Audit president also remains unfilled, along with four of the seven expert positions on the Council for Science and Technology Policy.
 例えば、公取委員長の空席は昨年9月から続いている。会計検査院の院長も不在で、総合科学技術会議は7人の有識者議員のうち4人が欠けている。

The ruling and opposition parties must endeavor to smoothly expedite the latest personnel appointment plans based on the new agreement.
 与野党は、新たな合意に基づき、こうした人事案の円滑な処理に努めねばならない。

===

More work ahead

In addition to the problematic prior media coverage rule, many other issues have been highlighted with regard to personnel appointments subject to Diet approval.
 国会同意人事については、事前報道ルール以外にも多くの問題点が指摘されている。

There used to be a provision for some posts that set the supremacy of the House of Representatives over that of the House of Councillors. This allowed the government to officially announce personnel appointments with only the approval of the lower house if it could not obtain the consent of the upper house. However, such provisions have been abolished one after another at the request of the upper house and for other reasons.
 参院の同意が得られない場合、政府は衆院の同意だけで人事を発令できるとする「衆院の優越」規定が、かつて一部のポストにあった。しかし、参院側の要請などで次々と廃止された。

Another provision allows officials to remain in their posts even after completing their terms if their successors are left undecided. However, this can only be applied for certain positions.
 後任者が未定の場合、任期が満了しても職務を継続できる規定もあるが、一部に限られる。

Furthermore, for discussion will probably be nesessary on the issue of whether to expand the scope of people who give their opinions in the Diet before voting begins on personnel appointments.
 同意の議決に先立ち、所信を聴取する対象者を拡大するかどうかも検討課題となろう。

In addition to the latest agreement, the ruling and opposition parties should strive to further improve the system for personnel appointments requiring Diet approval.
 与野党は、今回の合意にとどめず、同意人事のあり方について一層の改善を図るべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 20, 2013)
(2013年2月20日01時38分  読売新聞)

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石炭火力発電 技術開発テコに活用続けたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 21, 2013)
Govt must continue pushing coal thermal power generation
石炭火力発電 技術開発テコに活用続けたい(2月20日付・読売社説)

As a nation that relies on foreign energy resources, Japan needs to secure a stable supply of cheap electricity.
 エネルギー資源を海外に依存している日本は、安価な電力を安定的に確保する必要がある。

In the wake of the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, almost all nuclear reactors in the nation have been idled. Thermal power generation using coal, which is cheaper and more readily available than oil and other fossil fuels, is worth taking another look at.
 東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の事故を受け、大半の原発が停止している。発電コストが安く、石油などより燃料の調達先が多様な石炭火力発電に改めて注目したい。

As part of its management reconstruction, TEPCO aims to procure electricity from new coal-fired thermal power plants to be built by other companies.
 東電は経営再建の一環として、他社が新設する石炭火力発電所から電力調達を目指している。

Within the government, however, opinion on whether to promote the plan is divided. The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry is in favor of the plan, while Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara appears to be against it. Under such circumstances, private businesses will be unable to freely undertake construction projects for coal-fired thermal plants without worry.
 経済産業省がこの計画を支持しているのに対し、石原環境相が難色を示すなど、政府内で評価が分かれている。これでは、民間事業者は安心して石炭火力発電所の新設に乗り出せまい。

Considering how difficult it will be to build new nuclear power plants given the current situation, the government must put forth a policy to push forward with the continued use of coal-fired thermal power.
 原発の新増設が難しい現状を踏まえ、政府は石炭火力の活用を続ける方針を打ち出すべきだ。

===

Ways to overcome drawbacks

The biggest advantage of coal-fired thermal power generation is its low cost. According to estimations by a government expert panel, thermal power generation using coal costs 9.5 yen per kilowatt-hour, lower than the 10.7 yen per kWh for liquefied natural gas and 22.1 yen for oil.
 石炭火力の最大の利点は、低コストにある。政府の有識者会議の試算では、石炭火力の発電コストは、1キロ・ワット時あたり9・5円で、LNG火力の10・7円や石油火力の22・1円より安い。

However, one major drawback of relying on coal is that it creates a relatively large amount of greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired plants are about twice that from LNG-fired plants.
 一方、石炭火力は温室効果ガスの排出が多い欠点がある。二酸化炭素(CO2)の排出量はLNG火力の約2倍だ。

Technological progress has been made in curbing CO2 emissions at coal-fired plants, but more ways to make up for such drawbacks must be found.
 石炭火力でCO2発生を抑制する技術は進歩している。弱点をいかにカバーするかが問われる。

The Environment Ministry has put the brakes on constructing new coal-fired thermal plants based on its environmental assessment, a measure it considers necessary to deal with global warming.
 環境省はこれまで地球温暖化対策を理由に、環境影響評価(アセスメント)で石炭火力の新設にブレーキをかけてきた。

Orix Corp. and Toshiba Corp. were forced to reexamine and scrap their coal-fired thermal plant projects in 2006, as coal was deemed to create too much carbon dioxide. The same happened to Nippon Kasei Chemical Co. in 2010. In fact, no new coal-fired thermal plant construction project has been approved in the past decade.
 2006年にオリックスと東芝が、10年には日本化成などが「CO2の排出量が多い」として計画の見直しを迫られ、発電所建設が断念に追い込まれた。この10年、新設が認められた例はない。

There are no definite standards set on permissible CO2 emission levels. Some observers have noted it is problematic that the Environment Ministry has arbitrarily discouraged the construction of new coal-fired plants.
 許容されるCO2排出量に明確な基準がなく、環境省が恣意(しい)的にストップをかけるのは問題だと指摘する声もある。

===

Regulatory reform needed

Last week, the government's advisory panel on regulatory reform announced it would study easing and clarifying the requirements for constructing new coal-fired plants. This is a reasonable step. Regulations that have effectively hampered construction must be urgently reexamined.
 政府の規制改革会議が先週、石炭火力の新設要件の緩和・明確化を、検討テーマとする方針を示したのは妥当だ。発電所の開発を事実上、阻んできた規制の見直しを急いでもらいたい。

Japan faces the task of securing a stable power supply while simultaneously implementing measures against global warming. Achieving this became more difficult after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant. It is important to maintain diversified electricity sources, including coal firing, in addition to restarting nuclear reactors once their safety has been confirmed.
 日本は、電力の安定供給と温暖化対策の両立が課題だ。原発事故で、この目標のハードルは一段と高くなった。安全を確認できた原発を活用するとともに、石炭火力を含め、電源の多様性を維持することが重要である。

Many coal-fired plants in emerging countries, such as China and India, are inefficient. If these nations are to utilize Japan's high-performance equipment, however, it can act as a favorable contribution toward dealing with a global environmental issue.
 中国やインドなど新興国には効率の悪い石炭火力発電所が多い。日本が新興国に、高性能の石炭火力発電設備を普及させることは、地球環境問題への有益な貢献のあり方の一つと言えよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 20, 2013)
(2013年2月20日01時38分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月20日 (水)

米航空大手合併 世界の空を競う新時代の到来

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 20, 2013)
American-US Airways merger marks new era of global rivalry
米航空大手合併 世界の空を競う新時代の到来(2月19日付・読売社説)

The U.S. airline industry has reached the end of more than 10 years of mergers and acquisitions among major carriers. This indicates the dawn of a new era in which the three big U.S. carriers will take the lead in the global airline industry, as well as in Asia.
 10年以上にわたる米航空業界の合従連衡に、大きな区切りがついた。米3強が、アジアなど世界の空を主導する新たな競争時代の到来だ。

American Airlines and US Airways, the world's fourth and 11th-largest carriers, respectively, have agreed to merge this autumn. Under the deal, the new airline will surpass United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, the current No. 1 and No. 2 carriers, as the largest in the world.
 航空世界4位のアメリカン航空と11位のUSエアウェイズが今秋に合併することで合意した。1位と2位だった米ユナイテッド航空と米デルタ航空を抜き、世界最大の航空会社になる。

It can be said that the latest development is the result of American and US Airways' shared intention to survive global competition by streamlining operations and expanding their customer base.
 業務効率化や顧客基盤の拡大で国際競争を生き残ろうと、両社の思惑が一致した結果と言える。

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, major U.S. carriers fell like dominoes due to economic slowdowns, soaring fuel prices and aggressive sales drives by low-cost carriers.
 2001年の米同時テロ以降、米航空大手は、景気悪化や燃料費高騰、格安航空会社の攻勢などでドミノ倒しのように破綻した。

Later, these collapsed carriers consolidated after restructuring under bankruptcy protection. For instance, Delta merged with Northwest, while United absorbed Continental.
 その後はデルタとノースウエスト航空、ユナイテッドとコンチネンタル航空など、破綻を経た大手間の統合が繰り返された。

===

U.S. carriers to take leading role

The latest merger is also a move for airlines to find ways to survive through the same formula for recovery.
 今回の合併も「再生の方程式」に活路を見いだす動きだ。

American entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection proceedings in autumn 2011 following delays in cost-cutting efforts and other factors. The airline still faces many challenges, as it has been unable to single-handedly put itself back on the corporate reconstruction track.
 アメリカンは11年秋、コスト削減の遅れなどから、米連邦破産法の適用を申請し、経営破綻した。自力再建が軌道に乗らない苦境が今も続いている。

On the other hand, US Airways, which first entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2002 and again in 2004, is smaller than American in terms of passenger traffic, but has recently been performing relatively steadily.
 一方、02年と04年に2度の経営破綻を経験したUSエアは、規模ではアメリカンに劣るものの、最近の経営は比較的順調だった。

The carrier is apparently aiming to shed its excessive dependence on domestic flight services and hoped to mutually complement each other with the merger with American, which has a solid network of international flights.
 米国内偏重からの脱却を狙い、USエアは強固な国際線網を持つアメリカンとの補完関係に期待して合併を図ったのだろう。

The focal point in the months ahead will be how quickly the two airlines can demonstrate the cost-reducing effect of the merger.
 今後の焦点は、いかに迅速にコスト削減などの合併効果を発揮できるか、である。

The new company plans to capture fast-growing markets, including those in Asia. It is certain that global competition in the airline industry will intensify further, with the three major U.S. carriers taking a pivotal role.
 新会社は、成長著しいアジア市場などの攻略を目指す構えだ。米3強が軸になり、世界競争が一段と激化するに違いない。

Currently, there are three global airline alliance networks that allow partner carriers to have codeshare flights and share mileage reward systems.
 世界には、共同運航やマイレージ共有などで提携する三つの航空会社連合がある。

===

ANA, JAL must act quickly

The American-US Airways merger, in which both carriers belong to different alliances, may trigger a global realignment that goes beyond existing alliance networks.
所属が異なるアメリカンとUSエアの合併は、連合を超えた世界再編の引き金になる可能性も秘めている。

The two major Japanese airlines--All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, both of which run relatively small-scale operations--must raise their sense of urgency. We hope the two carriers will enhance their competitiveness by making further cost-cutting efforts and improving their services.
 経営規模が小さい全日本空輸と日本航空の国内2社は、危機感を強めなければならない。一層のコスト削減やサービス充実で、競争力を高めてほしい。

Yet the Boeing 787, which both consider their leading, next-generation aircraft, has been forced to suspend operations due to mechanical troubles. This negative effect is a matter of concern.
 ただ、両社が次世代の主力機と位置付けるボーイング787がトラブルで運航停止に追い込まれている。その影響が懸念される。

Hindered by its complicated electronic system and joint development through Japanese, U.S. and European manufacturers, there has been little progress in investigating the cause of recent incidents involving Boeing 787s, leaving no prospect for resuming operations even though a month has already passed since the planes were suspended.
 複雑な電子システムや日米欧にまたがる開発体制が支障となって原因究明は進まず、1か月が経過しても運航のめどが立たない。

If the suspension is extended, both Japanese airlines must review their business management plans centering on the 787s.
 長期化すれば、787導入を前提とした両社の経営計画見直しは必至だ。

We hope both Japanese and U.S. authorities expedite their cooperative efforts to shed light on the cause of the incidents.
日米当局は協力して原因究明を急いでもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 19, 2013)
(2013年2月19日01時22分  読売新聞)

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東通原発 規制委の評価は公正さを欠く

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 20, 2013)
Assessment of fault risks at Higashidori N-plant unfair
東通原発 規制委の評価は公正さを欠く(2月19日付・読売社説)

We cannot help but suspect the assessment was made on the premise that idled reactors at nuclear power plants should not be allowed to restart.
 原子力発電所を再稼働させないことを前提とした評価ではないのか、と疑わざるを得ない。

An expert team of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, which examined faults running within the premises of Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, has compiled a draft assessment report. In it, the team concluded the faults were highly likely active ones that moved sometime during the past 110,000 years.
 青森県の東北電力東通原発敷地内の断層を調査していた原子力規制委員会の専門家チームが、「過去11万年以内に動いた活断層の可能性が高い」との評価報告書案をまとめた。

Furthermore, the team said in the draft report it is necessary "to further consider" the activity of short faults right under a nuclear reactor building. The team thus did not deny the possibility that these faults could be active. We think views are divided over whether these faults are worth serious consideration as truly active faults.
 さらに、原子炉建屋真下の短い断層についても「更なる検討が必要」と、活動する可能性を否定しなかった。本当に活断層として重視すべきかどうか、議論が割れるところだろう。

Under the safety guidelines on nuclear reactors, key facilities cannot be built just above active faults. Although Tohoku Electric had planned to restart the plant's reactor in the summer of 2015, it will be difficult to do so unless the NRA changes its assessment.
 原発の安全基準では活断層の真上に重要施設は建てられない。東北電力は東通原発を2015年夏に再稼働させる目標を掲げてきたが、規制委が評価結果を変えない限り、再稼働は難しい。

===

Consumers face higher rates

Tohoku Electric has already asked the government for approval to increase electricity charges. If the utility remains unable to restart the reactor, it will inevitably hike charges further. We are concerned this would affect reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
 すでに東北電力は電気料金値上げを政府に申請している。再稼働できないと、追加値上げは避けられまい。東日本大震災からの復興に響くことが懸念される。

It is problematic that the team ordered reinvestigations not only within the premises of the Higashidori plant but also in wider areas that include the Shimokita Peninsula, where the plant is located. This is because the team judged ground movements over a wide area resulted in the emergence of active faults that run both vertically and horizontally at the nuclear plant.
 難題は、専門家チームが敷地内だけでなく、東通原発がある下北半島を含め幅広い再調査を指示したことだ。広域に地盤が動いた結果、敷地内に縦横に走る活断層が生じたと判断したためだ。

The expert team told Tohoku Electric it had to "present data that prove the faults could not possibly be active." By doing so, the team in effect ordered the utility to prove it is 100 percent sure there are no active faults.
 専門家チームとして「活断層である可能性を否定するデータが必要だ」と東北電力に求めている。事実上、「100%活断層なし」の証明を課したことになる。

This stance reflects the views of Kunihiko Shimazaki, an NRA commissioner who leads the five-member expert team. We doubt the selection of Shimazaki, as well as the four other team members, was unbiased.
 5人の専門家チームを統括する規制委の島崎邦彦委員の考えを反映している。他の4人も含め、人選に偏りがないのか。

===

Standard impossible to meet

In the first place, it can be said a request for such certainty is impossible to meet given the current state of seismology. Moreover, the expert team concluded that, even if the faults are active, the intensity of their activity is low. We consider it more realistic to check if the plant's quake resistance is sufficient.
 そもそも、今の地震学の水準では不可能な要求と言える。しかも専門家チームは活断層であったとしても活動度は低い、と評価している。原発の耐震性が十分かどうかを評価する方が現実的だ。

Actually, new safety guidelines on nuclear reactors, which the NRA is drafting, are based on the premise that it is difficult to completely grasp the status of active faults. The envisaged safety guidelines require that necessary levels of quake resistance should be determined on the assumption that active faults may exist even if none are found.
 実際、規制委が策定中の原発の新安全基準でも、活断層の完全な把握は困難であることが前提になっている。活断層が見つからなくても、活断層の存在を仮定し、必要な耐震強度を決める手順だ。

We also consider the expert team's assessment processes unfair.
 専門家チームの評価作業も、公正さを欠いている。

Tohoku Electric was not informed of the content of the draft report until the day of the team's meeting that approved the assessment. It thus was almost impossible for the utility to make counterarguments in response to the harsh arguments made by the expert team.
 報告書案の内容は、これを決めた評価会合当日まで東北電力に知らされなかった。専門家チームから厳しい指摘があっても、東北電力が反論できるはずがない。

We think it would improve the safety of nuclear reactors more if discussions were based on relevant data and parties concerned were provided with copies of a draft report in advance in an orderly manner.
 手順を踏んで事前に報告書案を送付し、適切なデータに基づいて論議した方が、原発の安全性向上には有益なのではないか。

The NRA will assess faults at up to eight other nuclear power plants. We think the way assessments are made should be reviewed.
 規制委は今後、最大8か所の原発で断層評価を進める。評価手法の再考が必要である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 19, 2013)
(2013年2月19日01時22分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月19日 (火)

学校週6日制 学力向上へ土曜を活用したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 19, 2013)
Use Saturdays to enhance children's scholastic ability
学校週6日制 学力向上へ土曜を活用したい(2月18日付・読売社説)

To enhance the scholastic ability of children, it is necessary to secure enough class hours. Making use of Saturdays for this purpose can be a valid option.
 子供たちの学力向上には、授業時間の確保が必要だ。土曜日の活用は有力な選択肢だろう。

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry has begun discussing a review of the current five-day school week system, with the introduction of a six-day school week that includes Saturday classes in mind.
 文部科学省が、公立学校で実施されている「学校週5日制」を見直し、土曜日に授業を行う「学校週6日制」の導入に向けた検討を始めた。

This idea is one of the policies the Liberal Democratic Party advocated in its manifesto during the most recent House of Representatives election.
自民党が先の衆院選で政権公約に掲げていた政策の一つである。

The ministry's new official guidelines for school teaching, aimed at moving away from "pressure-free education," have been fully put into operation at primary schools since the 2011 academic year and at middle schools since the 2012 academic year, greatly increasing the content taught and class hours.
 「脱ゆとり」教育を目指した新学習指導要領が、小学校では2011年度から、中学校では12年度から完全実施され、学習内容や授業時間が大幅に増えた。

As a result, primary schools have to hold six classes on some days, even for children in the lower grades.
 その結果、小学校低学年でも1日に6コマの授業を行う日を設けなければならない。

We can understand the ministry's intention to lessen the burden on children while at the same time enhancing their degree of comprehension, by transferring some of the weekday classes to Saturdays.
平日の授業の一部を土曜日に移すことで子供の負担を減らし、学習の理解度を高めようとの狙いは理解できる。

The five-day school week system was introduced after the Ad Hoc Council on Education advocated it and the Japan Teachers' Union strongly called for it in the 1980s.
 学校週5日制は1980年代に臨時教育審議会が提唱し、日本教職員組合も強く要請して実現された。

===

5-day system didn't meet goals

It originally came about following the adoption of the five-day workweek for public-service workers, a measure taken in response to calls from the United States and European countries for shorter working hours, against a backdrop of trade friction.
そもそも、貿易摩擦を背景とした、欧米からの労働時間の短縮要求に応えるため、公務員の週休2日制が先行した経緯がある。

At public schools, the five-day school week system was introduced in stages, starting with once a month in September 1992, twice a month in fiscal 1995, and then fully put into place in fiscal 2002.
 公立学校では、92年9月から月1回、95年度から月2回と段階的に導入され、2002年度から完全実施されてきた。

The idea was to help children spend more time at home and in their local communities, letting them gain more experience in social and natural environments with a sense of latitude.
 導入の趣旨は、子供が家庭や地域で過ごす時間を増やし、ゆとりの中で社会体験や自然体験をさせる、ということだった。

Yet it is hard to say such aims have been achieved. It has also been said that the decrease in class hours due to the adoption of pressure-free education has led to a decline in children's scholastic ability.
 だが、そうした目的が達成されているとは言い難い。ゆとり教育による授業時間の減少が、学力低下を招いたとも批判された。

Meanwhile, many private schools hold classes on Saturdays. Some observers have said the five-day school week system for public schools has brought about a discrepancy between public and private schools in terms of their students' academic ability. It is only reasonable that calls to revive Saturday classes have grown among the parents of public school students.
 私立の学校では、土曜日に授業を行うところが多い。週5日制が公私の学力格差の一因になっているとの指摘もある。保護者の間から土曜授業の復活を望む声が高まったのも無理はない。

===

Vacation days problematic

Yet one problem is how to secure days off for teachers and school officials. It may become necessary to work out a framework whereby teachers or school officials who have worked on Saturdays can take substitute days off in a block during summer or winter recess.
 問題の一つは、教職員の休日をいかに確保するかである。土曜に出勤した分の休日を夏休みや冬休みにまとめて振り替える仕組みなどを整える必要が出てこよう。

A growing number of local governments have already introduced Saturday classes. While keeping in mind the purpose of the five-day school week system, these local governments have revived Saturday classes as an exception.
 土曜授業については既に、週5日制の趣旨を踏まえながら、その特例として実施に踏み切る自治体が増えつつある。

In Tokyo, more than 40 percent of public primary and middle schools hold at least six Saturday classes a year, with some of the classes open to parents and local residents. Some schools in Tokyo hold Saturday classes twice a month.
 東京都では4割を超える公立の小中学校が、保護者や地域住民に公開する形で年間6日以上、土曜授業を行っている。中には、月に2回実施している学校もある。

Similar efforts have been taken in other prefectures, including Saitama and Fukuoka.
 埼玉県や福岡県などでも同様の取り組みが始まっている。

For a six-day school week to be adopted widely in the country, it is important to closely examine these practices and discuss from various angles how often Saturday classes should be held and in what ways.
 学校週6日制を全国に拡大するには、こうした実践例をしっかり検証し、土曜授業の実施頻度や方法について、多角的な検討を進めることが大切である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 18, 2013)
(2013年2月18日01時26分  読売新聞)

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通貨安競争 対立の火種を残したG20声明

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 19, 2013)
G-20 meeting failed to resolve cause of conflict
通貨安競争 対立の火種を残したG20声明(2月18日付・読売社説)

Industrialized nations--including Japan, the United States and European countries--and China and other emerging nations have agreed to avoid "currency competition" in which currencies are guided lower.
 自国通貨の為替レートを安く誘導する「通貨安競争」を避けることで、日米欧の先進国と中国など新興国が一致した。

It is laudable that the Group of 20 meeting in Moscow avoided naming Japan in connection with recent weakening of the yen, but it did not quench the underlying fire that could blaze up again into a new confrontation.
 最近の円安に関し、日本が名指しの批判を回避できた点は評価できるが、対立が再燃する火種を残したと言えよう。

The meeting was attended by finance ministers and central bank chiefs from 20 principal economies.
 主要20か国・地域(G20)財務相・中央銀行総裁会議が、モスクワで開かれた。

Since its inauguration in December, the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has adopted an economic policy dubbed "Abenomics" that combines drastic monetary easing with flexible fiscal measures, but which has led to the rapid weakening of the yen. This was a focus of G-20 discussions because emerging and some other member countries suspect Japan intentionally induced a weakening of the yen.
 安倍政権発足後、大胆な金融緩和と機動的な財政政策を組み合わせた経済政策「アベノミクス」が導入され、急速に円安が進んだことが焦点になった。新興国などから、「円安誘導策ではないか」という指摘が出ていたからだ。

The joint statement adopted by the G-20 economies stated they would refrain from "competitive devaluation" and "will not target our exchange rates for competitive purposes." No reference was made to Japan in this regard although it was a matter of concern.
 採択された共同声明は、「通貨の競争的な切り下げを回避する。為替レートを競争力を高める目標にしない」と明記した。懸念された日本への言及はなかった。

Finance Minister Taro Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, denied Japan intentionally weakened the yen and explained that the government's aim was to lift Japan out of deflation. It seems his explanation won a certain degree of understanding.
 麻生副総理・財務相が円安誘導策を否定し、「デフレからの早期脱却を目指す」という日本の政策目標を説明したことで、一定の理解が得られたようだ。

===

Oblique warning to Japan

Concerning monetary policy, the statement said it should be "directed only at price stability and economic recovery" and adverse impacts would be monitored closely and minimized. This could be interpreted as a warning to Japan that its economic policy should not adversely affect exchange and other markets.
 ただし、声明は金融政策について、「国内の物価安定や経済回復に当てられるべきだ。負の波及効果を監視して最小化する」と強調した。為替市場などに悪影響を与え過ぎないよう、日本の政策にクギを刺したと解釈できる。

Brazil, Mexico and other emerging economies are vigilantly watching excessive capital inflows and the strengthening of their currencies, which could follow the monetary easing measures of Japan, European countries and the United States. Their vexation may strengthen if the yen depreciates further.
 ブラジル、メキシコなど新興国では、日米欧による金融緩和に伴う過剰な資本流入や、自国通貨高への警戒感が強い。円安がさらに進むと不満が高まりかねない。

For this reason, the government and the Bank of Japan need to exercise care as they carry out Abenomics to lead Japan out of deflation.
 それだけに、政府・日銀はデフレ脱却に向け、アベノミクスの成果を着実に上げる必要がある。

===

Promote growth strategy

The government should not rely only on the yen's weakness. Instead, it must step up efforts to put together concrete measures for the growth strategy that it lists as one of its "three arrows." The other "arrows" are monetary easing and fiscal stimulation.
 円安に頼るだけでなく、金融緩和と財政政策と並ぶ「3本の矢」である成長戦略についても、具体化を急がねばならない。

There is a growing belief in industrial circles that the recent weakening of the yen represents nothing more than a slight correction of its exchange rates that rose to historically high levels and that the currency remains relatively strong.
 産業界などでは、最近の円相場は、歴史的な超円高がやや是正されたに過ぎず、まだ相当の円高だという見方が出ている。

It is essential for the government and the central bank to call on other countries to understand Japan's situation. But at the same time, Cabinet ministers and special advisers to the Cabinet must refrain from making comments on exchange rates that could affect the markets.
 政府・日銀はそうした状況への理解を他国に求めることが大事だが、併せて、閣僚や内閣官房参与らは具体的な為替水準に言及する口先介入を慎むべきだ。

Bright signs have emerged for the world economy as the worst of the protracted European financial crisis appears to be over and the United States has avoided falling off its so-called fiscal cliff.
 長期化した欧州危機が最悪期を脱し、米国の「財政の崖」もいったん回避されるなど、世界経済に明るい兆しが出てきた。

But the G-20 statement acknowledges that global economic growth is still too weak. This observation is quite natural. The G-20 economies face the heavy challenges of achieving growth and fiscal reconstruction at the same time.
 だが、G20声明が「世界の成長はまだ弱すぎる」と指摘したのはもっともだ。成長と財政再建の両立も各国の重い課題である。

Japan will have to expedite efforts to break away from deflation and achieve economic revitalization, thereby contributing further to the stabilization of the world economy.
 日本はデフレ脱却と経済再生を急ぎ、世界経済の一層の安定に寄与することが期待される。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 18, 2013)
(2013年2月18日01時26分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月18日 (月)

自賠責保険 合理化努力を値上げの前提に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 18, 2013)
Streamline car insurance program before price hikes
自賠責保険 合理化努力を値上げの前提に(2月17日付・読売社説)

If drivers are going to be required to shoulder a greater financial burden, the government must shed light on every problem in the compulsory automobile liability insurance program and reform it into a more transparent, rational system.
 ドライバーに負担増を求めるのなら、問題点を洗い出し、透明で合理的な制度に見直す取り組みが欠かせない。

Premiums for the compulsory auto insurance that every car owner must take out will be increased by an average of 13.5 percent from April. This is the second significant increase following the 11.7 percent hike in fiscal 2011.
 自動車保有者に加入が義務付けられている自動車損害賠償責任(自賠責)保険の保険料が4月から平均13・5%引き上げられる。2011年度の11・7%アップに続く大幅値上げである。

The planned increase is attributed to the deteriorating financial condition of the insurance program. Its accumulated deficits will exceed 500 billion yen at the end of fiscal 2012.
 収支悪化が引き上げの理由だ。12年度末の累積赤字は5000億円超に達する。

Revenues decreased after premiums for the insurance were drastically lowered in fiscal 2008, while insurance payouts for deaths and injuries caused by traffic accidents have increased.
08年度に保険料を大幅に値下げして保険料収入が減る一方、交通事故の死傷者への保険金支払いが増加した。

The purpose of the compulsory auto insurance program is to help victims of traffic accidents. Since the program cannot be sustained unless its financial conditions are improved, we think premium hikes cannot be avoided.
 自賠責の目的は、事故被害者の救済にある。収支を改善しなければ制度を維持できず、保険料の値上げはやむを得まい。

However, we are concerned that insurance payouts have remained high even though the number of traffic accidents and the number of people killed or injured in them have been declining.
 ただ、交通事故の発生件数と死傷者数が減少し続けているのに、保険金支払いが高止まりしていることが懸念される。

Behind it may be an increase in claims made for mild injuries, which are not included in traffic accident statistics, and assessments of damage by nonlife insurance companies, which tend to be more lenient than those for voluntary auto liability insurance.
 事故統計に含まれない軽傷者の請求の増加や、損保会社の査定が任意保険に比べて甘くなりがちな事情が背景にあるのだろう。

===

Check payments

Private nonlife insurance companies manage the compulsory insurance program. The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, the Financial Services Agency and other government offices should work together to develop a system to check whether insurance money is paid appropriately.
 自賠責の運営は民間の損保会社が担っている。国土交通省や金融庁などが連携し、保険金支払いが適正に行われているかどうかを検証する体制を整えるべきだ。

Returns from the insurance premiums are accumulated in reserve funds to use for various projects, including one to help people who suffered permanent damage in traffic accidents. But how the reserve funds are used is problematic, too.
 重度後遺障害者の救済事業などに充てるため、保険料の運用益をためた積立金の扱いも問題だ。

The ministry manages the funds in its special account. To alleviate fiscal difficulties, however, about 1 trillion yen from the reserve funds was transferred to the general accounts in fiscal 1994 and fiscal 1995.
 積立金は、国交省が特別会計で管理している。財政難の穴埋めを狙って、積立金のうち約1兆円が1994~95年度に一般会計に繰り入れられた。

The repayment deadline has been extended repeatedly, so about 600 billion yen has not been returned yet.
返済期限は度々延期され、現在も約6000億円が戻されていない。

With the account balance down to 200 billion yen, the principal of the reserve funds has been used and shrunk because returns from the funds alone no longer cover the costs of running the projects.
 積立金の残高は2000億円程度まで減少し、最近は運用益だけでは費用をまかなえず、積立金を取り崩している。

Diverting the reserve funds to help traffic accident victims is not the purpose of the compulsory auto insurance. We expect the Finance Ministry and the transport ministry to swiftly carry out their pledge to restore the full amount by fiscal 2018.
 被害者支援の原資となる積立金の流用は、自賠責の趣旨に合わない。財務省と国交省は、18年度までに全額返済するという約束を確実に実行してもらいたい。

===

In line with the times

Projects to help traffic accident victims and prevent accidents, which are run by the government, nonlife insurance companies and JA Kyosai (Zenkyoren or National Mutual Insurance Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives) with returns from the funds, should also be checked.
 国、損保会社、JA共済が積立金の運用益で実施している被害者支援や事故防止対策の事業もチェックする必要がある。

Projects to help victims of traffic accidents are important, but it is worth noting that the three organizations' activities often overlap, as with a project to distribute helicopters carrying doctors. Many should be financed by the government's general account or be conducted by nonlife insurance firms as their contribution to society. It is important to scrutinize the necessity and efficiency of the projects.
 被害者支援は重要だが、ドクターヘリ普及策など3者の重複が目立つ。国が一般会計で手当てすべき事業や損保が社会貢献として行うべき事業も多い。必要性と効率性を精査することが肝要だ。

The government will need to plan a new insurance program in line with the times, such as one with discount premiums for highly safe vehicles equipped with automatic braking systems to prevent accidents.
 事故を回避する自動ブレーキを装備した安全性能の高い車両には保険料を優遇するなど、今後は時代に合わせて全体の制度設計を検討することも求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 17, 2013)
(2013年2月17日01時26分  読売新聞)

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桜宮高教諭免職 暴力許す風潮の一掃を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 18, 2013)
Sakuranomiya case a chance to stamp out violence at schools
桜宮高教諭免職 暴力許す風潮の一掃を急げ(2月17日付・読売社説)

We hope the firing of a teacher over the suicide of a student at Sakuranomiya High School in Osaka will become an opportunity to stamp out the scourge of violence at schools.
 教育現場から暴力を一掃する契機としたい。

The Osaka Municipal Board of Education has sacked the teacher who was coach of the public school's basketball club. A boy killed himself after being physically abused by the teacher.
 大阪市立桜宮高校の男子生徒が、所属するバスケットボール部の顧問教諭から暴力を振るわれ自殺した問題で、市教育委員会が教諭を懲戒免職とした。

It has become apparent that the teacher was poorly suited to being a coach. The board of education was quite right to punish him severely.
 教諭が指導者としての適格性を著しく欠いているのは明らかだ。厳しい処分は当然である。

The board's decision followed a report by an independent investigation panel consisting of lawyers, which acknowledged that the student committed suicide after being abused by the teacher.
 市教委は、弁護士で構成される外部監察チームがまとめた、暴力と自殺との因果関係を認定する報告書を基に判断した。

According to the report, the teacher repeatedly slapped the boy's face over his performance in a practice match the day before he killed himself.
 報告書によると、教諭は生徒が自殺する直前、練習試合のプレーを理由に、何度も平手で顔をたたいた。

"The student suffered physical and mental distress because he was violently abused in front of others," the report said. "There is no way these actions can be justified."
「人前での暴力が肉体的・精神的苦痛を与えた。正当化する余地はない」と指摘している。

Moreover, the report pointed out that the teacher regularly meted out violent punishment to several other students in the club, mainly by slapping and kicking them. By using the expression "violence," not "corporal punishment," the report showed that the teacher's behavior did not fall within the definition of coaching.
 さらに、この教諭が複数の部員に対して恒常的に平手打ちや足蹴りなどの暴力を振るっていた事実も挙げた。報告書が、体罰ではなく暴力という言葉を使っているのは、指導を逸脱した行為だったことを物語っている。

===

Attitudes must change

The teacher reportedly believed that hitting students was "an effective part of coaching." Some parents of students at the school regard the teacher as a devoted coach, and a petition has been submitted to the board of education calling for him to be treated leniently.
 この教諭は、「生徒への暴力は指導の一環で効果がある」との考えを持っていたという。桜宮高の保護者の中には、この教諭を熱心な指導者と受け止める人もいた。寛大な処分を求める嘆願書も市教委に提出された。

However, schools and parents should take it to heart that attitudes like this have allowed some teachers to commit relentless and unreasonable abuse against students.
 だが、そうした考え方が、執拗(しつよう)で理不尽な暴力を容認する背景にあることを、教育現場も保護者も重く受け止める必要がある。

The board of education has suspended for six months another teacher at Sakuranomiya who is head coach of its boys' volleyball club because he physically punished a student in November last year. This teacher had been suspended for three months in 2011 for similar actions.
 市教委は、2年前に体罰を理由に停職3か月の懲戒処分とされながら、昨年11月に体罰を繰り返した桜宮高男子バレーボール部顧問の教諭を停職6か月とした。

The board also has replaced the school's principal. This reflects the fact that he failed to make a prompt report to the education board after becoming aware that the teacher had again used violence in the volleyball club.
 校長も更迭した。バレーボール部での再度の体罰を把握していながら、市教委に報告しなかったことを重視した措置だ。

To help Sakuranomiya get back on its feet, most teachers working there should be replaced and extensive training programs must be implemented for new teachers so they will never resort to physical punishment.
 学校の再生には、人事の刷新とともに、教諭が体罰を二度とせぬよう、再発防止の研修を充実させていくことが求められる。

===

Other cases exposed

In addition to Sakuranomiya, a string of cases involving corporal punishment have been revealed during club activities at other schools, including powerhouses such as a track and field club at an Aichi prefectural government-run high school and a wrestling club at a Kyoto prefectural government-run high school.
 桜宮高以外にも、全国で部活動に伴う体罰が次々と発覚している。愛知県立高校の陸上部や京都府立高校のレスリング部のように、強豪校の名門部も目立つ。

These reports seem to prove that the misguided perception that some physical punishment can be allowed for the sake of sports victories remains entrenched among many coaches.
 勝利を得るためなら少々の体罰は許されるとの誤った認識が、指導者の間に根強く残っていることの証左ではないか。

Allowing this issue to go unaddressed will ensure there is no end to the vicious cycle in which students who suffered corporal punishment commit similar actions when they later become coaches.
これを放置しては、体罰を受けた生徒が指導者になった時、再び体罰を行う悪循環を断ち切ることはできまい。

Boards of education nationwide have been conducting surveys on physical punishment following an instruction from the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry. They must uncover every single case so corporal punishment can be wiped out from schools.
 文部科学省の指示を受け、全国の教委は体罰の実態調査を進めている。徹底的に洗い出し、体罰の根絶を図らねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 17, 2013)
(2013年2月17日01時26分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月17日 (日)

PC遠隔操作 サイバー捜査の強化が急務だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 17, 2013)
Police should upgrade skills in fight against cybercrime
PC遠隔操作 サイバー捜査の強化が急務だ(2月16日付・読売社説)

The arrests of four innocent men in a computer virus case has left indelible stains on the reputation of the police. We expect them to investigate the incident thoroughly.
 警察にとって、4人の誤認逮捕という消しがたい汚点を残した事件である。全容の徹底解明を求めたい。

But the police investigation into the case has made significant progress. This month, the joint investigation headquarters consisting of the Metropolitan Police Department and others arrested a 30-year-old information technology company employee in Tokyo on suspicion of interfering with third-party businesses.
The new suspect allegedly obstructed the activities of a major Tokyo comic book show by posting a murder threat on an Internet bulletin board.
 パソコン遠隔操作事件が大きな進展を見せた。インターネット掲示板に殺人予告を書き込み、漫画イベントを妨害したとして、警視庁などの合同捜査本部は東京都内のIT会社社員(30)を威力業務妨害容疑で逮捕した。

However, he denied the allegation, saying he was not the real culprit.
 だが、会社員は「真犯人は別にいる」と容疑を否認している。

It should be remembered that two of the four men mistakenly arrested in separate incidents related to this case made false confessions. The police appear to have coerced them into confessing.
 誤認逮捕された4人のうち2人は虚偽の自白をしていた。取り調べで不適切な誘導などがあったことがうかがえる。

===

Collect objective evidence

Strong-arm investigations cannot be tolerated. It is important to accumulate objective evidence to get to the bottom of the case. The police need to analyze data in the suspect's computer, which has been seized as evidence, to look for signs of the production of a virus to operate other people's computers by remote control.
 強引な捜査は許されない。客観的な証拠を積み重ね、事件の真相に迫ることが肝要だ。押収したパソコンなどを解析し、遠隔操作ウイルスを作成した痕跡などを見つけ出す必要がある。

The investigation headquarters believes that the most recently arrested man is the person who sent e-mails to news media and a lawyer, claiming to be the true perpetrator behind the computer virus incidents.
 捜査本部は、この会社員が「真犯人」を名乗って、報道機関や弁護士などに犯行声明のメールを送りつけた人物とみている。

The police found a memory device attached to a cat's collar on Enoshima island in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture--exactly as had been described in one of the e-mails. The device was confirmed to contain data on the design of the remote-control virus used in the incidents.
 神奈川県・江の島で、そのメールの内容通りに、猫の首輪から記録媒体が見つかり、事件で使われた遠隔操作ウイルスの設計情報が確認された。

Meanwhile, a security camera on Enoshima captured a scene that appeared to show a person who looked like the current suspect approaching the cat. This video footage was a clue leading to the suspect's identification.
 江の島の防犯カメラは、会社員らしい男が猫に近づく姿をとらえていた。これが会社員を特定する端緒になった。

But if he had not emerged from cyberspace and gone into the real world, would the investigation have gone anywhere?
容疑者がサイバー空間から抜け出し、現実の世界に姿を現さなかったら、果たして捜査は進展しただろうか。

===

Partnership with private firms

Cybercrime perpetrators are said to always be one step ahead of the police. To fight such crimes, how could police improve their investigative abilities? The question has yet to be answered.
 犯罪者が常に一歩先を行くと言われるサイバー犯罪に対し、捜査能力をどう高めていくか。課題は依然、残ったままである。

In the spate of computer virus incidents, "The Onion Router" (or Tor for short), a software program enabling online anonymity, was used. Tor can hide a user's identity by sending messages via several servers abroad.
 一連の遠隔操作事件では、海外の複数のサーバーを経由して発信元を分からなくする匿名化ソフト「Tor」が使われていた。

Investigators were sent to the United States and returned with some relevant data, but there has been no actual progress in tracking the culprit online.
渡米した捜査員が一部の記録を持ち帰ったものの、ネット上での追跡は進んでいないのが現状だ。

Until they can find culprits hiding in cyberspace, police will not be able to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.
 サイバー空間に潜伏する犯人にたどり着けなければ、同様の事件の再発を防ぐことはできない。

It is important to train police investigators to be computer experts, but it will take a long time. The National Police Agency has therefore decided to enhance its cooperation with private information security companies. It will be beneficial if the knowledge and experience of companies watching and fighting against computer viruses are incorporated into police investigations.
 専門知識を持つ捜査員の養成は重要だが、時間もかかるだろう。警察庁は民間の情報セキュリティー会社との連携強化を打ち出した。ウイルスの監視・対策を手がけてきた企業のノウハウを捜査に取り込むのは有益だ。

The police should build cooperative relations with the private sector after considering how to control investigative information.
 捜査情報の管理のあり方を検討した上で、民間との協力関係を築いていくべきだ。

Investigative authorities in the United States and Europe are considering taking countermeasures against the Tor program. The police in Japan must work with investigators in other countries through such methods as sharing information on viruses.
 欧米の捜査機関では、Tor対策に乗り出す動きがある。ウイルス情報の共有など、各国の捜査官の連携も欠かせない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 16, 2013)
(2013年2月16日01時50分  読売新聞)

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日本版NSC 「外交安保」強化へ縦割り排せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 17, 2013)
Abe's envisioned security council must be strong, well organized
日本版NSC 「外交安保」強化へ縦割り排せ(2月16日付・読売社説)

Setting up a government command and control body is significant for dealing with various national security issues.
 日本の安全保障にかかわる様々な危機に対処するため、政府の司令塔を作る意義は大きい。

A government panel of experts considering the creation of a Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council held its first meeting Friday. With the panel planning to compile a report this spring, the government aims to submit related legislation during the current ordinary Diet session.
 国家安全保障会議(日本版NSC)の創設を検討する政府の有識者会議が初会合を開いた。春にも報告書をまとめる。政府は、通常国会への関連法案の提出を目指す方針だ。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has long sought the establishment of a Japanese NSC. This is a second chance for him to take up the challenge.
 日本版NSCの創設は、安倍首相の念願であり、再挑戦だ。

In April 2007, the first Abe Cabinet submitted a bill to set up such a body to the Diet, but it was scrapped after deliberations on the issue saw little progress due to reasons such as the Liberal Democratic Party's loss in the House of Councillors election in July that year.
2007年4月に第1次安倍内閣が関連法案を提出したが、同年7月の参院選敗北などで審議は進まず、廃案になった経緯がある。

Recently, Japan saw a series of incidents that threatened its security, such as North Korea's nuclear test and a Chinese warship directing weapons-targeting radar at a Japanese vessel.
 最近、北朝鮮の核実験、中国軍艦船のレーダー照射など、日本の安全を脅かす事態が相次いだ。

The government's existing security council has lost substance, merely serving as a forum in which the prime minister and other ministers confirm reports from bureaucrats. It is an urgent task to create a real decision-making body in which the prime minister and Cabinet members, including the chief cabinet secretary and foreign and defense ministers, will have substantial discussions on important diplomatic and security matters.
 だが、政府の安全保障会議は形骸化し、事実上、首相と関係閣僚が各省の官僚の報告を追認する場に過ぎない。首相、官房長官、外相、防衛相らが外交・安保の重要課題を実質的に協議し、決定する場を設けることが急務である。

===

2 key tasks for Japanese NSC

A Japanese NSC would face two crucial tasks.
 日本版NSCには、二つの重要な役割が期待される。

One is that it will make appropriate political decisions swiftly and give specific orders to better respond to ongoing emergencies. Another is that it will draw up medium- and long-term security strategies and set the direction of the nation's policy and actions to prepare for a crisis.
 一つは、現在進行中の緊急事態について、迅速かつ適切な政治判断を行い、具体的な対処を指揮することだ。もう一つは、中長期的な安全保障戦略を策定し、危機に備える政策の立案と訓練の方向性を示すことである。

To that end, it is vital to eliminate the divided administrative functions of the status quo, under which government bodies such as the Foreign and Defense ministries and the police handle security issues separately, and create a new system that will enable all government entities to work together to support the Prime Minister's Office.
 そのためには、外務、防衛、警察など関係省庁の縦割り対応を排し、政府全体で首相官邸を支える制度を構築することが肝要だ。

The government already has a body, part of the Cabinet Secretariat, that comprehensively coordinates government policies. It is led by assistant chief cabinet secretaries who deal with security, crisis management and diplomatic issues.
 現在も、政策を総合調整する内閣官房の事務局として、安全保障・危機管理担当や外交担当の官房副長官補が率いる組織がある。

It is unrealistic to think the envisaged Japanese NSC will handle every security issue, and if its functions overlap with the existing entity's, the NSC could create inefficiency in government functions. The secretariat of the Japanese NSC basically should be small and staffed with capable personnel while being designed to take full control of relevant ministries and agencies.
 日本版NSCがあらゆる案件を担うのは現実的ではないし、既存組織の「屋上屋」になってはかえって非効率化する。日本版NSCの事務局は、基本的に少数精鋭とし、関係省庁を掌握できる仕組みにするべきだろう。

===

Enhance intelligence capability

It is important to enhance the ability of the whole government in gathering and analyzing information, a precondition for making policies.
 政策決定の前提となる政府全体の情報収集・分析能力を高めることも重要である。

The recent hostage crisis in Algeria highlighted the difficulty in obtaining information on terrorism and military affairs in developing countries. It is essential for the government to increase the number of intelligence experts and train such personnel in the medium- and long-term.
 アルジェリアの人質事件では、途上国におけるテロ・軍事情報を入手する困難さが浮き彫りになった。インテリジェンスの専門家を増員するとともに、中長期的に育成していくことが大切だ。

We also call for reforms of the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, which supervises information handled by the whole government. Regarded as an "outpost of the National Policy Agency," the office's current role is far from its original task of allowing government bodies to share and best utilize key information.
 政府全体の情報を統括する内閣情報調査室も改革が求められる。今は「警察庁の出先機関」と見られており、関係省庁が重要情報をきちんと共有し、有効活用する本来の体制には、ほど遠い。

The government also needs to develop a legal basis for counterintelligence to prevent sensitive information provided by the United States and other countries from being leaked.
 米国など関係国から提供された情報などの漏えいを防ぐための情報保全法制の整備も必要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 16, 2013)
(2013年2月16日01時50分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月16日 (土)

iPS研究 実用化を進める法制度が要る

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 16, 2013)
Legal system needed to spur treatment with iPS cells
iPS研究 実用化を進める法制度が要る(2月15日付・読売社説)

What could be a significant first step has been made toward practical medical treatment using induced pluripotent stem cells.
 iPS細胞(人工多能性幹細胞)を使った治療の実用化へ、意義ある第一歩となるだろう。

Clinical research by the Riken Kobe Institute on the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an intractable eye disease, has been approved by the Institute of Biomedical Research and Innovation Hospital, where the research will be conducted.
 目の難病「加齢黄斑変性」をiPS細胞で治療する理化学研究所(神戸市)の臨床研究が、実施先の先端医療センター病院で承認された。

A Riken team will file an application with the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry for the implementation of its clinical research. If approved, clinical research will start in fiscal 2013 at the earliest to confirm the efficacy and safety by conducting iPS cell treatment on patients.
 理研チームは厚生労働省に審査を申請する。承認されれば、患者で効果や安全性を確かめる臨床研究が2013年度にも始まる。

AMD is a disease that advances with age and leads to reduced vision or blindness due to a disorder in some retinal cells. No fundamental clinical treatment has been established. There are reportedly about 700,000 patients in Japan.
 この病気は加齢に伴い、網膜細胞の一部に障害が出て視力が低下するものだ。失明の恐れもある。根本的な治療法はない。国内の患者は約70万人とされる。

The planned treatment calls for applying a cell sheet generated from a patient's stem cells to the damaged retina, thereby restoring the patient's vision.
 今回は、傷んだ網膜に患者のiPS細胞から作った細胞シートを貼り付けて視力の回復を図る。

As for iPS cells, the risk of them becoming cancerous has been pointed out. But eye tissue, including the retina, has little possibility of doing so. It also shows almost no cellular rejection. For these reasons, the treatment of AMD was chosen for the first clinical application of iPS cell treatment.
 iPS細胞は、がん化の危険性が指摘されるが、網膜を含む目の組織はがんになりにくい。拒絶反応もほとんどない。それだけに、この病気の治療が臨床研究の先陣を切ったのだろう。

===

Approval system defective

A matter of concern is that even if sufficient results are obtained through clinical research, it may take some time before approval is obtained from the health ministry for practical application.
 問題は、この研究で十分な成果が得られても、実用化の段階では厚労省の承認までに時間がかかりかねないことである。

First of all, there is no legal system in place for that type of procedure.
 まず法制度が整っていない。

In order for drugs to be approved for use, procedures must be taken in line with the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law. Clinical treatment using iPS cells--generated from patients' own cells--will require screening criteria different from that applied to manufactured drugs, which are foreign to humans.
 医薬品が承認を得るには、薬事法で規定された手続きを取らねばならない。だが、自己の細胞を使うiPS細胞による治療には、人体にとって異物である薬とは異なる審査の基準が必要である。

So the approval system must be revised.
 承認の仕組みも見直すべきだ。

Even in cases of regenerative medicine not using iPS cells, it takes time to obtain approval. Regenerative medicines, such as those using skin and cartilage, have been put into commercial use one after another in South Korea and the United States. In Japan, there are only two such products.
iPS細胞を使用していない再生医療でも、承認までに手間取っている。皮膚、軟骨などが韓国、米国で次々に製品化されているのに、日本はわずか2製品だ。

In South Korea, provisional approval is given on regenerative medicines after their safety is confirmed to a certain degree, thereby encouraging the development of such products.
 韓国では、一定の安全性が確認された再生医療製品に「仮承認」を与え、開発を促進している。

Japan must study a plan to establish a system under which regenerative medical products can be swiftly put into practical use by adopting a temporary approval system similar to South Korea's and giving full endorsement by accumulating safety data after sales begin.
 日本でも仮承認し、販売後に安全性データを蓄積して本承認とするなど、迅速に実用化する仕組みを検討すべきだ。

===

Fiscal assistance vital

It is essential to provide funds to help expand this planned clinical research to the treatment of other diseases, such as heart disease and diseases of the blood. The government will provide 110 billion yen over 10 years to help finance regenerative medicine using iPS cells and the development of new drugs. Research centers must be continuously expanded.
 今回のような臨床研究を、心臓や血液など他の病気に広げる支援も重要である。政府はiPS細胞による再生医療や薬の開発に10年で1100億円を支援する。継続的に研究拠点を整備すべきだ。

It must be noted, however, that hopes regarding regenerative medicine have led to the emergence of treatment methods whose safety is questionable. The health ministry plans to regulate such practices with a new law. Safety is important but legitimate research should not be constrained.
 ただ、「再生医療」への期待に便乗し、安全性に疑問のある治療まで出現している。厚労省は、これを新法で規制する方針だ。安全は大切だが、正当な研究に支障が出ないようにしてもらいたい。

As symbolized by the fact that Prof. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University received a Nobel Prize for production of iPS cells, Japan's basic research on regenerative medicine is among the world's best. The country should not fall behind in practical applications, either.
 iPS細胞を作製した山中伸弥・京都大教授のノーベル賞受賞に象徴されるように、日本は基礎研究でトップレベルにある。実用化でも後れを取ってはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 15, 2013)
(2013年2月15日01時20分  読売新聞)

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レスリング落選 五輪のマットが遠くなった

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 16, 2013)
Wrestling, Japanese sports need more influential advocates
レスリング落選 五輪のマットが遠くなった(2月15日付・読売社説)

Wrestling is likely to be removed from the 2020 Summer Olympics, which Tokyo is bidding to host.
 東京都が招致を目指す2020年夏季五輪の実施競技から、レスリングが除外される可能性が大きくなった。

We believe this is regrettable, as wrestling has long been a sport Japan has excelled in, with many of the nation's Olympic gold medals coming from wrestling victories. For instance, Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho both won their third straight women's golds at the 2012 London Olympics.
 ロンドン五輪で吉田沙保里、伊調馨両選手が五輪3連覇を成し遂げるなど、日本がメダルを量産してきたお家芸だけに、残念な事態である。

At an executive board meeting of the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday, members chose wrestling from among five candidate sports to be dropped from the 2020 Games, in a bid to revitalize the Summer Olympics by replacing the core sports.
 国際オリンピック委員会(IOC)理事会が、競技の入れ替えで五輪の活性化を図るため、除外候補の5競技の中から投票によりレスリングを選んだ。

Now wrestling has to compete with seven other sports such as baseball/softball and karate to win one open spot for the 2020 Games, but its resurrection is likely to be difficult.
 今後、野球・ソフトボールや空手など7競技と残り一つの枠を争わなければならず、“復活当選”するのは難しい状況だ。

===

Unexpected decision

Wrestling is a sport with a long history, and was even part of the ancient Games. It also has been part of every Olympics since the inaugural Modern Olympics in 1896, except for the second Games. Since the sport is so closely related to the history of the Olympics, many people were shocked by the voting results.
 レスリングは古代オリンピックでも行われた伝統ある競技だ。1896年に始まった近代五輪では第2回大会を除き、実施されてきた。五輪の歴史に深くかかわってきた競技だけに、投票結果を意外に感じる人は多いだろう。

Apart from wrestling, modern pentathlon, taekwondo, hockey and canoeing were voted on as potential sports to be dropped from the Games. The executive board reportedly studied data of each sport such as statistics regarding athletes and viewers of televised games before making its decision.
 今回、レスリング以外で除外候補となったのは、近代五種、テコンドー、ホッケー、カヌーだ。IOC理事会は選考の際、競技の普及状況やテレビ中継の視聴者数などを判断材料にしたという。

Pentathlon and taekwondo were seen most at risk of losing out, but both sports had advocates among the 14 members with voting rights on the executive board. The sports' support organizations also lobbied the executive board for their survival.
 近代五種とテコンドーが除外の有力候補とされたが、投票権を持つ14人の理事には両競技の関係者が含まれていた。存続に向けたロビー活動にも取り組んだ。

In contrast, no one represented wrestling among the 14 executive board members. Wrestling organizations were not careful enough, believing it would never be dropped because of its status as a core Olympic sport. Representatives of the sport in Japan said the voting results seemed to come out of the blue.
 これに対し、14人の理事にレスリング関係者はいなかった。レスリング界には「五輪の根幹のスポーツだから大丈夫」という油断があった。日本のレスリング関係者が投票結果に「寝耳に水」と驚いたのが、それを物語っている。

The executive board might have felt wrestling was no longer attractive for the IOC because athletes from West European countries, which comprise a major force in the committee, have performed poorly in recent Games.
 近年の五輪で、IOCの大勢力である西欧の選手は振るわず、IOCにとって魅力の乏しい競技と判断された可能性もある。

===

Japan's declining influence

The latest development is also due to Japan's declining influence in the IOC. Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda is a member of the body but does not hold an executive board post.
 今回の事態はIOCでの日本の発言力低下とも無縁ではあるまい。日本オリンピック委員会(JOC)の竹田恒和会長が現在、IOC委員に名を連ねているが、理事のポストは得ていない。

It will be very difficult for Japan to lobby its interests and obtain accurate information within the IOC unless it gains a spot on the executive board.
 組織の中核に人材を送り込まなければ、日本の利益を運営に反映させるのは困難だ。正確な情報を入手するのも難しいだろう。

Japan has a similar disadvantage within other sporting organizations besides the IOC. The nation has already suffered from past experiences, such as when the rules on ski jumping were changed to allow taller athletes to use longer ski plates.
 IOCに限らず、各競技団体でも同様だ。スキーのジャンプで、長身の選手ほど長い板が使えるようにルールが変更されるなど、日本には苦い経験が数々ある。

It is a general truth that one must quietly accept the rules made by somebody else unless he or she joins the side of the people making and changing the rules. This is not limited to sports.
 ルールを作ったり直したりする側に回らなければ、与えられたルールを甘んじて受け入れるしかない、というのが現実だ。何もスポーツだけの話ではない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 15, 2013)
(2013年2月15日01時20分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月15日 (金)

レーダー照射 危険な習総書記の対外姿勢

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 15, 2013)
Xi Jinping must reconsider dangerous hard-line stance
レーダー照射 危険な習総書記の対外姿勢(2月14日付・読売社説)

The Chinese military's actions have produced a potentially explosive crisis and markedly damaged the stability of East Asia. General Secretary Xi Jinping of the Chinese Communist Party should be fully aware of this and must change his hard-line diplomatic stance.
 瀬戸際まで危機をあおる中国軍の行為が地域の安定を著しく損なっている。中国共産党の習近平総書記は、そのことを十分に認識し、対応を改めるべきだ。

About the incidents in which Chinese Navy vessels directed fire-control radar at a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer and an MSDF helicopter, the Chinese National Defense Ministry denied that they ever happened, saying it did not use fire-control radar. Furthermore, it explained away whatever actions it did take as "normal observation and alert" using observation radars.
 中国海軍艦艇による海上自衛隊護衛艦へのレーダー照射事件について、中国国防省は火器管制レーダーを「使用していない」と事実関係を否定した。さらに警戒用レーダーによる「通常の監視」とも言い繕っている。

The Japanese government carried out a detailed analysis of the frequency of radar waves and other data and found that differences between the two types of radar are apparent. The Chinese side's claims cannot be accepted at all.
 日本政府はレーダーの周波数などを詳細に分析しており、両レーダーの違いは明白だ。中国の主張は全く受け入れられない。

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta strongly criticized the radar lock-on incidents, stating that they "could create an even greater crisis."
パネッタ米国防長官も「より大きな危機を招く可能性がある」と述べ、レーダー照射を強く批判した。

Japan should cooperate with the United States, which shares its concerns, to convince the international community by all possible means of the unreasonableness of China, which tries to evade responsibility for its dangerously provocative actions.
 日本は懸念を共有する米国と連携し、危険な挑発を行いながら責任転嫁を図ろうとする中国の不当性を、あらゆる手段を講じて国際社会に訴えなければならない。

===

Xi tilts toward military

Behind the radar incidents is Xi's notable hard-line stance.
 事件の背景にあるのは、習氏の際立った強硬姿勢である。

In mid-November last year, Xi simultaneously took over the offices of party general secretary and chairman of the party's Central Military Commission from Chinese President Hu Jintao.
 習氏は昨年11月中旬、前任の胡錦濤国家主席から、総書記と軍トップの党中央軍事委員会主席の両ポストを同時に引き継いだ。

Unlike Hu, who assumed the post of military commission chief nearly two years after he became party general secretary, Xi was pressed by the need to rapidly solidify his power over the People's Liberation Army. To that end, we believe, he must have judged it indispensable to maintain a hard-line stance toward other countries.
 総書記就任後2年近くたってから軍事委主席に就いた胡氏と異なり、習氏は急ピッチで軍の基盤を固める必要に迫られた。そのためには対外強硬姿勢を保つことが不可欠との判断があるのだろう。

In just two and a half months after assuming the top military post, Xi inspected the army, navy and air force, the armed police forces and also a satellite launch center in western China, which is an integral part of the country's military technology development. He also met party representatives from a strategic missile corps. What stands out in this series of activities are his "brave" statements.
 習氏は就任後わずか2か月半の間に、陸海空軍や武装警察の部隊、軍事技術開発の一翼を担う中国西部の衛星発射センターを視察し、戦略ミサイル部隊の党代表とも会見した。一連の活動で目立つのは習氏の勇ましい発言である。

When he inspected the Lanzhou Military Region in early February, he ordered reinforcement of military readiness, saying, "Expand and deepen combat preparedness." He also stressed in December last year when he visited Guangdong Province that to achieve the dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation the country must fully achieve the dream of a strong army.
 習氏は2月初めの蘭州軍区視察で「軍事闘争の準備の深化に力を入れよ」と語り、即応態勢を強化するよう命じた。昨年12月にも、広東省で、「中華民族の偉大な復興の夢とは強軍の夢だ」と強調している。

===

Can military be kept in check?

Such an attitude on the part of Xi is seen as enabling the provocative actions of the military, which has become increasingly confident due to the military expansion.
 こうした習氏の姿勢が、軍拡で自信をつけた軍の挑発行為を助長しているとも見られている。

Xi is a civilian but has experience working for the PLA. Due to his experience, the military side may expect further expansion of military budgets. We fear there may be no stopping military expansion under the Xi administration.
 習氏は文民ながら、軍勤務経験がある。それだけに軍には軍事費の一層の拡大への期待感があろう。習氏の下で軍備膨張に歯止めがかからない恐れがある。

Except for Xi, all members of the military commission, which is the leadership of the Chinese military forces, are military personnel. Some observers see an institutional problem, asking whether civilian control can effectively function in such a system.
 中国軍の首脳部である軍事委で習氏以外はすべて軍人だ。文民統制が有効に機能するのかという制度上の問題も指摘されている。

Can the Xi administration control the military and prevent its forces from running loose? We hope Xi understands such concern, shared among members of the international community, before taking his next actions.
 習政権が軍を統制し、「暴走」を抑えられるか。そうした国際社会の共通の懸念を、習氏はきちんと受け止め、行動してほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 14, 2013)
(2013年2月14日01時05分  読売新聞)

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オバマ演説 「北の核」対処へ行動が肝心だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 15, 2013)
Obama to face global challenges over the next 4 years
オバマ演説 「北の核」対処へ行動が肝心だ(2月14日付・読売社説)

U.S. President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize by declaring it was time to seek "a world without nuclear weapons."
However, the president has been hit by a harsh reality from North Korea that is contradictory to this ideal.
 「核兵器のない世界」の実現を目標に掲げてノーベル平和賞を受賞したオバマ米大統領は、そうした理想とは逆の深刻な現実を、北朝鮮から突きつけられたと言えよう。

Obama laid out Tuesday his priorities for the year ahead in his first State of the Union address for his second term in office.
 大統領は、2期目最初の一般教書演説を行い、今後1年間の施政方針を示した。

The president issued a warning to North Korea, which went ahead with a nuclear test before the speech, making it clear that the United States will take "firm action" against Pyongyang.
その中で、核実験を強行した北朝鮮に強く警告し、「断固とした行動」を取る姿勢を明確にした。

Obama said "provocations" like the test "will only isolate [North Korea] further." The United States will "lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats," he added.
 核実験のような挑発行為をすれば、「北朝鮮は孤立するだけだ」と述べ、米国が「世界の先頭に立って」、厳しく対処していく決意を表明した。

Obama also pledged his country will work to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, while engaging Russia to seek further reductions in nuclear warheads.
イランの核開発を阻止し、ロシアとは核弾頭削減の取り組みを進めるとも述べた。

The United States should eliminate nuclear threats by putting pressure on North Korea through sanctions, while at the same time working closely with other countries concerned through various diplomatic channels. We hope that the president will take concrete action.
 制裁で圧力をかけ、関係国と緊密に連携し、外交を駆使して、核の脅威をなくす必要がある。大統領の行動力に期待したい。

===

U.S. determined to take lead

In addition to nuclear issues, Obama emphasized that the United States will take steps against cyberterrorism, champion freedom and democracy, and provide support to Middle Eastern and African countries in their fight against extremists.
 核問題以外でも、サイバーテロ防止、自由と民主主義の擁護、中東やアフリカの過激派対策支援に積極的に関与すると強調した。

The speech conveyed Obama's strong determination that the United States should play the leading role in maintaining global security as the world's sole superpower, by working closely with other countries at a time when the country plans to withdraw more troops from Afghanistan.
 アフガニスタン駐留米軍の撤収を進めつつ、国際協調を軸に、唯一の超大国として、世界の安全維持に主導的な役割を果たそうとする強い意欲がうかがえる。

The question is how he will achieve results.
 どう結果を出すかが問題だ。

Tuesday's speech did not discuss what a strategy placing importance on Asia actually means or how the United States should regard China. These issues, however, are also among key issues in the diplomatic and security fields for Obama's second term.
 演説で語られなかったアジア重視の中身や、中国をどう位置づけるのかも、2期目の外交・安全保障政策の焦点である。

The speech also focused on fiscal reconstruction and reviving the U.S. economy as priority challenges for domestic affairs.
 一方、内政で優先課題に挙げたのが財政再建と経済再生だ。

Early last month, the United States avoided the fiscal cliff--the expiration of large-scale tax cuts and the automatic imposition of mandatory spending cuts--after the president and Congress reached a deal.
 大型減税失効と歳出の強制削減が重なる「財政の崖」からの転落は、今年初め、大統領と議会の妥協の末、ひとまず回避された。

However, the U.S. fiscal administration remains on a tightrope as the two sides have been divided over implementation of drastic fiscal reconstruction measures. There are just weeks left until March 1, the date to which the automatic spending cuts were delayed under the deal.
 しかし、抜本的な財政再建策を巡って対立し、財政運営の綱渡りは続く。先延ばしした歳出削減の発動が3月1日に迫る。

===

Looming clash with Republicans

In the speech, Obama said it is important to "reignite the true engine of America's economic growth--a rising, thriving middle class." He showed his focus on middle-income earners and called for Republicans to make major concessions to achieve fiscal reconstruction mainly through overhauling the medical insurance and social security systems, which face ballooning costs.
 大統領は「成長のエンジンとなる中間所得層の再活性化」を訴えた。中間層を重視し、膨張する医療保険や社会保障の改革などを柱とした財政再建の実現へ、共和党に大幅譲歩を求めたものだ。

As Obama took a clearly confrontational approach to Republicans, the two sides are expected to go through a still fiercer tug-of-war.
 一段と対決色を鮮明にしたことで、激しい攻防が予想される。

However, mandatory spending cuts would have a negative impact on the U.S. economy, which is just getting onto a recovery path. Major cuts in defense expenditures also might jeopardize U.S. security systems in Asia and other parts of the world.
 ただ、強制的に歳出削減されると、回復基調にある米国経済に悪影響を及ぼす。国防費の大幅削減はアジアなどでの米国の安全保障体制にも支障を与えかねない。

Obama also expressed his determination to complete negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework as part of efforts to expand employment in his country. Japan should accelerate efforts to take part in it.
 大統領は雇用拡大を図るため、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)の妥結を目指す決意も表明した。日本は参加を急ぐべきだ。

With piles of issues at home and abroad, Obama's leadership will be called into question. He will surely face a series of challenges.
 内外に課題が山積する中で、問われるのはオバマ氏の指導力だ。挑戦と試練が続くに違いない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 14, 2013)
(2013年2月14日01時05分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月14日 (木)

階段昇降機「リフテック」 これは便利ですね!

学校、病院などの公共施設はもとより、個人の二階建て住宅にも設置することが出来ます。
階段の上り下りが不自由なお年寄りにとっては、まさに福音ではないでしょうか。
サイトの写真を見ただけで、実地体験はまだございませんが、これは使えそうですね。

原理は階段の手すりに、昇降用の階段昇降機「リフテック」を取り付けるだけなので、とても簡単そうですね。
階段昇降機「リフテック」設置後は、それに座って安全ベルトを締めるだけ。
スイッチポンで二階までスイスイと運んでくれます。

学校、病院の他にも、公営の図書館に設置するってのはどうでしょうか。
博物館などにも設置したいですよね。

アベノミクスの威力で円安誘導されてしまって、国内のある企業たちはほくほくですが、海外年金生活者は、今月から年金受給金額が15%ほど減額となり生活苦を強いられます。アベノミクスは両刃の剣だと言うことが出来ます。
先日のG7会議でもバッシングを受けていましたが、日本はそれを理解出来ないで居るようでした。

いずれにしても、障害者や老人などの弱者に優しい社会の形成が必要だと思います。
景気対策は、こちらの分野から進めて欲しいなって思いました。

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北朝鮮核実験 国際連携で制裁を強化せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 14, 2013)
World must unite to halt Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions
北朝鮮核実験 国際連携で制裁を強化せよ(2月13日付・読売社説)

 ◆習近平政権の厳格対応が問われる
North Korea's nuclear weapons development has entered a more dangerous stage. In light of the deteriorating security environment, Japan should strengthen its deterrence against Pyongyang in cooperation with the United States and other countries.
 北朝鮮の核兵器開発が一段と危険な段階に入った。安全保障環境の悪化を踏まえ、日本は米国などと連携し、対北朝鮮抑止力を強化すべきだ。

On Tuesday, North Korea went ahead with its third underground nuclear test. It was the first nuclear test under the regime of Kim Jong Un.
 北朝鮮が12日、3回目の地下核実験を強行した。金正恩政権にとっては初めての核実験だ。

Pyongyang boasted that it successfully conducted a "high-level" nuclear test using "a miniaturized and lighter" nuclear device with greater explosive force than those used in the previous tests in 2006 and 2009. North Korea apparently aims to develop a nuclear warhead.
 2006年、09年の過去2回に比べ、強力で「小型化、軽量化」した核爆弾による「高水準」の実験に成功したと喧伝(けんでん)している。核弾頭の開発を図ったのだろう。

Given that North Korea also tested a long-range ballistic missile in the guise of a satellite launch in December, marking a dramatic extension of its missile range, there is no doubt that the country has moved a step closer to bringing nuclear missiles to the stage of practical use.
 昨年12月の「人工衛星」と称する長距離弾道ミサイル発射による射程の大幅延伸の成功と合わせて、北朝鮮が核ミサイルの実用化に近づいたのは間違いない。

===

Serious threat to Japan
 ◆日本への深刻な脅威だ

It was only natural for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to make a statement strongly condemning North Korea's nuclear test, saying it is "totally unacceptable" as it "constitutes a grave threat to Japan's security."
 安倍首相が、「我が国の安全に対する重大な脅威」として、北朝鮮の核実験強行を「断じて容認できない」と強く非難する声明を発表したのは当然である。

Japan will come under the most serious threat due to deployment of nuclear missiles by North Korea. This is because Japan is within striking distance of North Korea's medium-range Rodong missiles, about 200 of which are believed to have already been deployed.
 核ミサイルの配備で最も深刻な脅威にさらされるのは日本だ。約200基が配備ずみとされる中距離弾道ミサイル「ノドン」の射程に入っているからだ。

It is essential to improve Japan's missile defense capability based on cooperation between the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military as well as to guarantee the reliability of the U.S. "nuclear umbrella," which Japan, a nonnuclear nation, relies on as a deterrent.
 自衛隊と米軍の協力を基礎にミサイル防衛能力を向上させるとともに、核を持たぬ日本が抑止力とする米国の「核の傘」の信頼性を担保することが重要だ。

We commend Abe for immediately tightening Japan's unilateral sanctions against North Korea by banning the reentry of vice chairmen and other senior officials of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) if they leave for North Korea. The prime minister should discuss additional measures.
 首相が、在日本朝鮮人総連合会(朝鮮総連)副議長らが訪朝すれば再入国を認めない、との日本独自の制裁強化を直ちに実施したことは評価できる。追加の措置も検討してもらいたい。

Although it suspended production of plutonium for nuclear weapons, North Korea has resumed its enrichment of uranium. Therefore, it could begin mass production of nuclear weapons using enriched uranium. The international community must make all-out efforts to stop North Korea's further nuclear and missile development.
 北朝鮮は、核兵器用のプルトニウムの生産は中断したが、新たにウラン濃縮活動を始めており、高濃縮ウラン型の核兵器の量産に入る恐れがある。これ以上の核・ミサイル開発を阻止するため、全力を挙げねばならない。

The latest nuclear test by North Korea is a major test also for South Korean President-elect Park Geun Hye, who will officially take office on Feb. 25. The Japan-U.S. alliance must be strengthened as a matter of course and it is also crucial to establish a crisis management system between Japan, the United States and South Korea.
 25日に就任する韓国の朴槿恵次期大統領にとっても、この核実験は大きな試練だ。日米同盟の強化は無論、日米韓で危機管理体制を構築することが不可欠である。

===

Stronger U.N. sanctions needed
 ◆国連決議の強化を図れ

The U.N. Security Council must adopt a new resolution calling for stronger sanctions against North Korea.
 国連安全保障理事会は、制裁強化を新たに決議すべきだ。

On Jan. 22, the Security Council adopted a resolution to expand sanctions against North Korea after it fired a missile in December and warned of "significant action" if North Korea went ahead with a nuclear test.
 安保理は1月22日、昨年12月にミサイル発射を強行した北朝鮮に対する制裁強化決議を採択し、核実験を強行すれば「重大な行動を取る」と警告していた。

But North Korea has conducted missile and nuclear tests repeatedly in defiance of Security Council resolutions because the adopted sanctions lacked practical effect.
 北朝鮮が安保理決議を無視してミサイル発射と核実験を繰り返したのは、従来の制裁措置が実効性を欠いていたためだ。

To break this vicious circle, the Security Council should adopt comprehensive and practical sanctions and implement them thoroughly.
 この悪循環を断ち切るため、安保理は今度こそ包括的で実効性ある制裁を決定し、その実施を徹底すべきである。

In connection with nuclear and missile development, North Korea has deep relations with Iran and Pakistan. With Iran, North Korea concluded an agreement on science and technology cooperation last autumn. The international community must strictly restrict and monitor the movement of goods, money and personnel to prevent North Korea promoting nuclear and missile development.
 核とミサイルの開発を巡り、北朝鮮はイラン、パキスタンと深い関係にある。イランとは昨秋、科学技術協力で合意した。国際社会は、モノやカネ、ヒトの移動を厳しく制限、監視して、開発に歯止めをかけねばならない。

It is necessary to study comprehensive financial sanctions while bringing into perspective a plan to include financial institutions that do business with North Korea on the sanctions list. It is also important to impose mandatory inspections of cargoes suspected to be banned trade items such as weapons of mass destruction and related materials.
 北朝鮮と取引する金融機関を対象に含めることも視野に、包括的な金融制裁の実施を検討すべきだ。大量破壊兵器・関連物資など禁輸品の疑いがある貨物の検査の「義務化」も目指す必要がある。

North Korea said it will regard ship inspections as a blockade at sea and retaliate with a "military strike." Its moves must be constantly watched.
 北朝鮮は船舶検査を海上封鎖とみなし、「軍事的打撃で対応する」と恫喝(どうかつ)した。警戒が怠れない。

The role of China, a permanent Security Council member, is crucial.
 安保理常任理事国・中国の役割は重要だ。

China accounts for 70 percent of North Korea's trade. The country has transshipment ports for many vessels from North Korea. It holds the power of life or death over North Korea as the biggest supplier of energy and food aid.
 中国は、北朝鮮の貿易量の7割を占める。北朝鮮からの多くの船舶が貨物積み替えを行う港湾を持つ。エネルギーや食料の最大の援助国として生殺与奪権をも握っている。

Ostensibly, Beijing expressed its "absolute objection" to North Korea's nuclear test. But it hesitated to impose sanctions for fear of the Korean Peninsula being destabilized, thereby tacitly encouraging North Korea's nuclear development.
 中国は表向き、北朝鮮の核実験に「断固反対」を唱える。だが、朝鮮半島が不安定になることを恐れて制裁には及び腰だったことが北朝鮮の核開発を助長した。

The Global News, a Chinese newspaper affiliated with the People's Daily, the organ of the Chinese Communist Party, has insisted on not hesitating to cut assistance if North Korea conducted a nuclear test. The Chinese government led by Xi Jinping must deal with North Korea sternly and put strong pressure on it to give up its nuclear ambitions.
 中国共産党機関紙「人民日報」系の環球時報は、北朝鮮が核実験をすれば援助削減を「ためらうな」と主張していた。習近平政権は、北朝鮮に厳しく対処し、核開発断念へ強い圧力をかけるべきだ。

===

Economic recovery unlikely
 ◆遠のく「北」の経済再建

Kim Jong Un's slogan of "improving the people's livelihoods" shows no sign of being achieved. It seems he has no means of winning over the military and public sentiment other than boasting of nuclear and missile tests.
 金第1書記の掲げる「人民生活の向上」は一向に果たされないように見える。核とミサイルの成果を誇示する以外、軍と民心をひきつける術(すべ)がないのではないか。

Fear of being targeted by a North Korean missile attack is growing even in the United States. With this as leverage, the Kim regime intends to open the possibility of dialogue with Washington. It probably aims to have economic sanctions lifted and to gain U.S. assurances of the safety of the current regime, all while keeping its nuclear arms.
 北朝鮮の核ミサイルの標的になりかねないという脅威認識は、米国でも広がりつつある。金政権には、それをテコに米国との対話の道を開き、核兵器を保有したまま、経済制裁解除と現体制の安全の保障を得る狙いがあろう。

But negotiations with Pyongyang should not be conducted easily. The international community should not lift sanctions on North Korea as long as it does not take concrete action to relinquish its nuclear ambitions.
 だが、安易に交渉に臨むのは禁物だ。北朝鮮が核放棄へ具体的行動を取らない限り、国際社会は制裁を解除してはならない。

Pyongyang must be aware that its own behavior will ultimately undermine its regime.
 北朝鮮は、自らの行動が結果的には体制の脆弱(ぜいじゃく)化を招くことを自覚すべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 13, 2013)
(2013年2月13日01時17分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月13日 (水)

電力制度改革 安定供給の実現を大前提に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 13, 2013)
Power industry reform must ensure stable power supply
電力制度改革 安定供給の実現を大前提に(2月11日付・読売社説)

Reform of electric power systems must contribute to the achievement of a cheap and stable supply of electricity.
 電力制度改革は、安価で安定した電力供給の実現に資するものでなければならない。

The government should carefully proceed with reform of the power industry by fully considering its effectiveness and side effects.
 政府は効果と副作用にしっかり目配りし、慎重に改革を進めるべきだ。

An Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry panel of experts has compiled a draft plan for reform of power systems. It proposes full liberalization of retail sales of electric power by 2016 and the separation of power generation business and power transmission and distribution business in five to seven years by requiring power companies to set up separate group companies for those businesses.
 経済産業省の有識者会議が、電力システムの改革案をまとめた。3年後の2016年に電力の小売りを全面自由化し、5~7年後には、電力会社の発電部門と送配電部門を分社化する「発送電分離」を実現させるという。

In the wake of power shortages after the Great East Japan Earthquake and increases in electricity charges implemented by Tokyo Electric Power Co., users have become increasingly discontent with the current regional monopolies held by utilities, under which users cannot freely choose which power company to use.
 東日本大震災後の電力不足や、東京電力による料金値上げをきっかけに、電力会社を自由に選べない「地域独占」に対する利用者の不満は高まっている。

We understand the aim of the reform plan to widen the range of options for users by facilitating new entries into the markets and increasing competition among power companies.
 新規事業者の参入や電力会社間の競争を促進し、利用者の選択肢を広げる狙いは理解できる。

===

Many expecting lower rates

Many people probably expect lower electricity charges as a result of competition in liberalized markets. But there are many problems associated with hasty reform.
 自由化による競争で電気料金が下がるのでないかと期待する人は多いだろう。しかし、性急な制度改革には問題が多い。

As for contracts with companies and other large-lot users, retail sales and electricity charges have already been liberalized. Despite this, the share of newcomers in sales stands at somewhere between a mere 3 percent and 4 percent. Indeed, major power companies enjoy powerful monopolies.
 企業向けなどの大口契約は、電力の小売りや料金がすでに自由化されている。にもかかわらず、新規事業者の販売シェア(占有率)は3%台にとどまる。大手電力会社による独占のカベは厚い。

If the markets were fully liberalized under these circumstances, "unregulated monopolies" may undermine any benefits to users and instead increase electricity charges. We call for further innovative efforts to create an environment to allow newcomers to easily enter the markets.
 こうした状況で全面自由化すると、「規制なき独占」が利用者の利益を損ないかねず、むしろ料金が上がる恐れがある。新規参入しやすい環境の整備について、さらなる工夫が求められる。

It also is necessary to consider the current electric power shortage, with only two of the nation's 50 nuclear reactors operating. The shortage should be quickly solved through such measures as restarting nuclear reactors whose safety is confirmed.
 全国50基の原子力発電所のうち稼働中は2基という電力不足の現状も踏まえる必要がある。安全を確認できた原発の再稼働などで、電力不足の解消を急ぎたい。

===

Adjusting power supply difficult

Meanwhile, separating power generation and transmission businesses would make it more difficult to fine-tune the amount of power generated in line with demand, compared to the current combined system for power generation and transmission. And if competition intensifies, business operators may hesitate to make necessary investments in facilities and equipment by placing priority on cutting costs.
 一方、発送電を分離すると、現在の一貫供給体制に比べ、電力需要の変動に応じて発電量をきめ細かく調整することが難しくなる。競争が激化すればコスト削減が優先され、必要な設備投資が抑制される可能性も出てくる。

Large-scale blackouts have taken place in other countries due to a lack of cooperation between power generation and transmission businesses or curbed investment. Implementing reforms before ensuring a vitally important stable power supply would truly be putting the cart before the horse.
 海外では、発電と送電の連携不足や投資抑制が原因で、大規模停電を起こした例がある。電力制度改革によって肝心の電力供給が不安定になったのでは、まさに本末転倒と言えよう。

It will be essential to update power infrastructure, including power plants and transmission grids, in a well-planned manner, and establish systems to maintain it. The government should carefully design systems in its reform to prevent adverse effects from occurring.
 発電所や送電網などの電力インフラ(基盤)を計画的に整備し、維持・管理する体制作りが欠かせまい。政府は弊害の防止に向け、綿密に制度設計すべきである。

During the process of shaping the reform plan, unexpected issues not currently in the spotlight are likely to emerge.
 改革を具体化する段階で、現時点では顕在化していない新たな課題も出てくるはずだ。

It is important to flexibly review the draft road map produced by the panel of experts depending on circumstances by considering the timing of implementation of the reform plan as merely rough targets at this time.
 有識者会議が示した改革の実施時期はあくまで現時点の目安ととらえ、状況の変化に応じて工程を柔軟に見直すことが大切だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 11, 2013)
(2013年2月11日01時12分  読売新聞)

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農業政策 攻めの戦略で自由化に備えよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 13, 2013)
Prepare for liberalization with aggressive agricultural strategy
農業政策 攻めの戦略で自由化に備えよ(2月11日付・読売社説)

Japanese agriculture obviously needs to enhance its competitiveness and reform itself to withstand further trade liberalization.
 競争力を高め、一層の貿易自由化に耐えうる体質に変えていく。日本農業の課題は明らかだ。

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry has established a headquarters for promoting aggressive agricultural, forestry and fishery industries. The headquarters will reportedly discuss steps to expand agricultural exports, and those steps will be reflected in a growth strategy the government plans to compile.
 農林水産省が「攻めの農林水産業推進本部」を設置した。農産品の輸出拡大などを検討し、政府がまとめる成長戦略に反映させるという。

In the headquarters' first meeting, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said, "We want to help producers to increase their added value, well satisfying consumer demand, and to tap the full extent of the latent strengths of the agricultural, forestry and fishery industries."
 林農相は初会合で「生産現場が需要を敏感につかんで付加価値を高め、農林水産業の潜在力を最大限に引き出したい」と語った。

We have no objection to this basic policy. The question is whether the government can introduce measures to back it up.
 基本的な方針に異論はない。問題は、それを裏付ける政策を打ち出せるかどうかである。

So far, discussions of agriculture under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe can hardly be considered aggressive.
 安倍政権の農業論議は、とても「攻め」の姿勢とは言えない。

The fiscal 2013 budget symbolizes this. The agriculture-related budget increased for the first time in 13 years, but we wonder how much it will strengthen the competitiveness of the nation's agriculture.
 2013年度予算案が象徴的だ。農業予算は13年ぶりに増額されたが、どこまで農業の競争力強化に役立つだろうか。

===

Throwing money at farms

Expenditures for land improvement projects, significantly cut when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power, have been restored. Taking the fiscal 2012 supplementary budget into consideration, this expenditure amounts to about 600 billion yen.
 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た。12年度補正予算案と合わせると約6000億円に上る。

The income compensation system for individual farming households, under which subsidies are handed out uniformly, has been left untouched. Its budget remains basically the same as in the previous year, when funds were earmarked for it under a different name.
補助金を一律にばらまく農家の戸別所得補償制度も手つかずで、名称を変えて前年度並みの予算を計上した。

Government policy that attached too much importance to rice, which is produced mostly by part-time farmers, caused a decline in agriculture. Meanwhile, there is no sign that the graying of the farm population will stop.
 兼業農家が主体のコメを偏重した政策が、農業の地盤沈下を招いた要因である。就業者の高齢化にも歯止めがかからない。

The government must thoroughly promote a policy of expanding the size of farms by increasing the number of vigorous young new entrants, including those from different industries, as well as by concentrating farmland and funds into core farms with excellent management sense.
 異業種を含めて意欲ある若手の新規参入者を増やし、経営感覚に優れた中核的な農家に農地や資金を集中する規模拡大政策を徹底しなければならない。

The "multifunctionality direct payment system" that the Liberal Democratic Party has begun to discuss, with the aim of introducing it in fiscal 2014, is also problematic.
 14年度の導入を目指して自民党が検討に乗り出した「多面的機能直接支払い制度」も問題だ。

Considering that farmlands have multiple functions such as protecting national land and communities, the envisaged system will provide income compensation to all farmers maintaining farmlands.
 農地には国土や集落を守る多面的な機能があるとして、農地を維持するすべての農家を所得補償の対象にする仕組みである。

Merely further expanding subsidy-laden agricultural policies will never brighten the prospects of the nation's agriculture.
 補助金漬け農政をさらに拡大するだけでは、展望は開けない。

===

Focus on productivity, value

The proportion of full-time farmers is high among vegetable, fruit and dairy farmers. They increase the added value of their products on their own initiative and compete with products from overseas in the market.
 野菜、果樹、酪農などは専業農家の比率が高く、自助努力で商品の付加価値を高め、海外産品と市場で競い合っている。

Rather than offering subsidies as an easy solution, it is necessary to create a system to increase productivity and expand sales channels at home and abroad.
 安易な補助金より、生産性を向上させ、国内外に販路を拡大する体制づくりが求められよう。

Regulatory reform is essential to nurture agriculture as a growing industry. The government's reinstated Regulatory Reform Council should also take a scalpel to the Agricultural Land Law as well as such regulations as the agricultural cooperative system--both of which hinder companies from entering agricultural businesses.
 農業を成長産業に育てるには、規制改革が欠かせない。復活した政府の規制改革会議では、農ビジネスへの企業進出を阻んでいる農地法や農協制度などの規制にも切り込んでほしい。

Opposition has been growing within the LDP against the country's entering into negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral free trade framework.
 自民党内では、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)の交渉参加への反対論が勢いを増している。

To prevent "aggressive agriculture" from ending up as an empty slogan, Abe should decide to enter the TPP negotiations at an early date. It is necessary to accelerate agricultural reforms and prepare for the TPP.
 「攻めの農業」を掛け声倒れに終わらせないためにも、安倍首相は交渉参加を早期に決断すべきである。農業改革を加速し、TPPに備えることが必要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 11, 2013)
(2013年2月11日01時12分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月11日 (月)

集団的自衛権―首相は何をしたいのか

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 9
EDITORIAL: What is Abe's real motive for collective self-defense?
集団的自衛権―首相は何をしたいのか

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken a first step toward allowing Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense. At Abe's request, an advisory council of experts has begun to discuss the issue.
 集団的自衛権の行使に道を開くため、安倍政権が、有識者による懇談会で検討を始めた。

Abe says the move is aimed at strengthening Japan's security alliance with the United States.
 それによって日米同盟を強化するのだと安倍首相は言う。

In what way, then, does he want to change the bilateral alliance? Won't the change that he envisions set the stage for a gradual erosion of the pacifist principles of the postwar Constitution?
 では、日米同盟をどう変えたいのか。平和憲法の原則をなし崩しにすることはないか。

Abe should offer clear answers to these and other key questions at the outset of the policy debate on this issue.
議論の出発にあたり、首相はまずそのことを明確にすべきだ。

If Japan were to exercise its right to collective self-defense, it would regard an attack on the United States, Japan’s ally, as an attack against itself and mobilize its Self-Defense Forces to fight against the attacker along with the United States.
 同盟国である米国が攻撃されたら、それを日本に対する攻撃とみなし、米国を守るために自衛隊が戦う。集団的自衛権の行使を日本に当てはめれば、こういうことだ。

In the postwar period, Japan has consistently held the position that its use of armed force must be limited to the minimum necessary for self-defense under the restrictions imposed by the war-renouncing Constitution.
 日本は戦後、憲法の制約のもと、自衛のための必要最小限の武力行使しか許されないとの立場をとってきた。

According to the traditional interpretation of the government, Japan would cross the line and violate the Constitution if it enters war to help defend the United States when Japan has not been attacked directly.
 日本が直接攻撃されていないのに米国を守るのはこの一線を越え、憲法違反だというのがこれまでの政府の解釈である。

Abe, however, argues that Japan needs to change this interpretation so that it will be able to defend the United States in certain situations. Otherwise, he says, the trust between Japan and the United States will collapse.
 この解釈を改め、いくつかのケースでは米国を守れるようにしよう。さもないと日米の信頼関係が壊れると首相は唱える。

Tension has been mounting between Japan and China due to a fresh flare-up of their territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, while North Korea has continued test-firing missiles and carrying out nuclear tests in defiance of international calls for an end to these weapons programs. Abe's push for collective self-defense is likely designed partly to put pressure on these neighbors.
 尖閣諸島をめぐって日中間の緊張が続き、北朝鮮がミサイル発射や核実験を繰り返すなか、それへの牽制(けんせい)の意味もあるのだろう。

In making his case, Abe has often cited the following scenarios: an attack has been launched against a U.S. warship operating close to an SDF vessel; or, a missile that could be headed toward the United States is detected by Japanese radar.
 首相がしばしば挙げるのが次のようなケースだ。
 ▽自衛艦の近くにいる米艦が攻撃を受けた▽米国に向かうかもしれないミサイルを日本のレーダーが捕捉した――。

According to the government's current view, however, in cases where a U.S. vessel sailing alongside a Japanese ship comes under attack, the SDF ship is permitted to strike back as a way to defend itself.
 だが、政府の見解では、日米の艦船が並走しているようなときに攻撃を受ければ、自衛艦がみずからを守る名目で、これに反撃できる。

As for the second scenario, Japan's current missile defense system doesn't have the ability to shoot down a missile flying toward the United States.
 さらに、現在のミサイル防衛には、米本土に向かうミサイルを撃ち落とす能力はない。

Moreover, the defense systems of Japan and the United States are already linked closely and strongly.
 一方で、日米の防衛体制はすでに深く結びついている。

In modern warfare, certain kinds of information are crucial for securing a victory, such as the locations of submarines and signs of missile launches and their trajectories, and the two countries share a broad array of such vital information.
例えば、現代戦のゆくえを決するのは、潜水艦の位置や、ミサイル発射の兆候や軌道などの情報だが、日米は多くの情報を共有している。

What, then, does Abe want to realize beyond the current level of bilateral defense cooperation?
 これ以上、いったい何をしたいというのか。

The security situation in East Asia is changing dramatically, and it is probably necessary to adjust the bilateral security cooperation flexibly in response to these changes. But why should that require Japan to commit itself to collective self-defense?
 東アジア情勢は大きく動いている。日米協力のあり方も、状況にあわせて変える必要はあるだろう。だからといって、なぜ集団的自衛権なのか。

Abe's Liberal Democratic Party is seeking to enact a fundamental law for national security that would allow Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense in a wide range of situations.
 自民党は、その行使を幅広く認める国家安全保障基本法の制定をめざしている。

Is Abe trying to use this legislation to brush aside the constitutional principle of limiting the use of armed force to the minimum necessary for self-defense and the safeguards Japan has built up over the years to protect that principle?
 これによって、憲法が求める「必要最小限の自衛」という原則や、それを具体化するために積み上げてきた数々の歯止めを一気に取り払おうとしているのではないか。

If so, his initiative will only undermine Japan's national interests.
 だとすれば、かえって国益を損なうだけである。

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復興庁1年 現場主義で地域再生加速せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 11, 2013)
1-year-old Reconstruction Agency must listen to front-line voices
復興庁1年 現場主義で地域再生加速せよ(2月10日付・読売社説)

Sunday marks the first anniversary of the establishment of the Reconstruction Agency, which supervises government efforts to reconstruct areas hard-hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
 東日本大震災の被災地を再生させる司令塔である復興庁の設置から、10日で1年を迎える。

There are many disaster-related issues to be dealt with, such as collective relocation of people in affected areas, development of social infrastructure and countermeasures against the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government should do its best to accelerate reconstruction projects.
 被災者の集団移転、社会資本の整備、原子力発電所事故対応など、未解決の課題は多い。安倍政権は、復興事業を全力で加速させるべきだ。

This month, the agency established a head office for the reconstruction of Fukushima Prefecture from the March 11, 2011, disaster, and appointed Yukiyoshi Minehisa, former vice minister of the agency, as its first secretary general.
 復興庁は今月、福島復興再生総局を設置し、事務局長に峰久幸義前次官を起用した。

The new office was established to supervise three outposts of relevant ministries in Fukushima Prefecture: the agency's Fukushima reconstruction bureau, the Environment Ministry's Fukushima environment restoration office and the Cabinet Office's local headquarters to deal with the nuclear crisis at the crippled Fukushima plant. It aims to correct sectional approaches to reconstruction of the area.
福島復興局、福島環境再生事務所、原子力災害現地対策本部の3組織を統括し、縦割り対応を改める狙いだ。

Restoration of Fukushima Prefecture is lagging behind that of Miyagi and Iwate prefectures. We praise the agency for building a system to listen to the voices of people in the area and to make necessary policy decisions quickly by stationing Minehisa in the prefecture as head of the new office.
 原発事故の被害を受けた福島県の復興は、宮城、岩手両県と比べて遅れている。峰久前次官を現地に常駐させ、現場の声を聞いて、迅速な政策決定ができる体制を構築したことは評価できる。

The agency will also establish a Tokyo headquarters for reconstruction of Fukushima Prefecture comprising directors general of relevant government offices. The agency said efforts for reconstruction of the prefecture would be enhanced with two "head offices," one in Tokyo and the other in the prefecture.
 復興庁にも、関係省庁の局長級による福島復興再生総括本部を設置し、東京・福島の「2本社体制」で取り組みを強化するという。

===

Much of budget still unused

As of September, only 51 percent of the reconstruction budget had been paid out. The implementation rate was particularly low--only 18 percent--for funds appropriated for nuclear decontamination, mainly because development of interim storage facilities for radioactively contaminated soil and other materials has been delayed, including securing land for such facilities.
 昨年9月時点で、復興予算の執行率は51%にとどまり、中でも除染は18%と低い。汚染土などの中間貯蔵施設の場所確保・整備が遅れていることが最大の原因だ。

With the establishment of the head office, the government should work harder to negotiate with local governments concerned and seek their agreements to host such facilities.
 再生総局設置を機に、関係自治体と調整し、施設受け入れの同意取り付けを急ぐ必要がある。

In the fiscal 2013 draft budget, the government allocated 4.38 trillion yen, up 608.6 billion yen from the fiscal 2012 budget, to the special account for disaster reconstruction. The government also raised the ceiling of the reconstruction budget by 6 trillion yen from the original 19 trillion yen over five years.
 政府は2013年度予算案で、復興特別会計に前年度比6086億円増の4兆3840億円を計上した。5年間で19兆円だった復興予算の枠も6兆円増額した。

The Democratic Party of Japan-led government was criticized when a huge amount of funds was found to have been allocated for many projects irrelevant to reconstruction of the disaster-hit areas, under the name of "nationwide disaster management projects."
 民主党政権では、「全国防災事業」として、被災地の復興と乖離(かいり)した多額の予算が発覚し、批判された。

It was appropriate that the allocation of money for nationwide disaster management projects was narrowed down in the fiscal 2013 draft budget to 130 billion yen from 941.2 billion yen at the budget request stage, by limiting use of the budget to projects directly related to protection of human life.
13年度は、人命に直結する事業に使途を限定し、昨夏の要求段階の9412億円から1300億円に絞り込んだのは当然だ。

===

Eliminate wasteful spending

The reconstruction budget is financed mainly with revenues from income, residential and other taxes that were raised to aid reconstruction. The budget must be concentrated on projects that are absolutely necessary, without allowing any wasteful spending. We expect the government to scrutinize the cost-effectiveness of the projects and work with private companies to achieve synergy.
 復興予算は、所得税や住民税などの復興増税が主財源である。ムダな歳出は許されず、本当に必要な事業に予算を集中させなければならない。事業の費用対効果を精査し、民間企業と連携して相乗効果を上げてもらいたい。

Reconstruction grants for 40 projects under five ministries, such as development of public housing for people affected by the disaster and redevelopment of residential areas, were doubled to 591.8 billion yen.
 災害公営住宅整備、市街地再整備など5省40事業を対象とする復興交付金は、5918億円に倍増された。

However, governments of small municipalities affected by the disaster still often cannot spend their grants because they do not have enough expert staff specialized in engineering.
ただ、小規模の被災自治体では依然、技術系の専門職員が不足しており、交付金を使い切れない例が少なくない。

It is important to enhance assistance for such governments in terms of human resources by utilizing retired public servants and engineers from the private sector.
 公務員OBや民間の技術者を積極的に活用し、人材支援を強化することが大切だ。

The government allocated 10 billion yen, more than double the figure in fiscal 2012, to the reconstruction promotion budget to support projects such as holding events and disseminating information, which involve multiple government offices.
 イベント開催、情報発信など、複数の府省にまたがるソフト事業を支援する復興推進調整費も、前年度の2倍の100億円が計上された。

The government should take careful action based on the actual needs of the areas affected by the disaster.
現地のニーズを踏まえた、きめ細かな対応が求められる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 10, 2013)
(2013年2月10日01時02分  読売新聞)

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アフリカとテロ 武装勢力封じ込めが急務だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 11, 2013)
Time to slam the door on terrorist forces in Africa
アフリカとテロ 武装勢力封じ込めが急務だ(2月10日付・読売社説)

Armed Islamist extremists have been expanding their influence over regions in the outer reaches of the Sahara Desert. They have stepped up terrorist attacks, abductions and other criminal acts. Ten Japanese were killed when Islamist militants took dozens of hostages in Algeria in January.
 イスラム武装勢力がサハラ砂漠周辺で勢力を拡大し、テロや誘拐などの犯罪行為を激化させている。アルジェリアで発生した人質事件では、邦人10人が犠牲となった。

To prevent North and West Africa from becoming a breeding ground of terrorism, now is the time for the international community to think hard about how to beef up assistance to these areas.
 北・西アフリカをテロの温床にしないよう、国際社会で知恵を絞り、支援を強める時である。

A European Union summit meeting decided Friday on a package of measures to help North African countries bolster border controls and reform their security organs.
 欧州連合(EU)は8日の首脳会議で、北アフリカ諸国に対し、国境管理の強化や治安機関の改革で協力する方針を決めた。

It can be said the need for assisting these nations' efforts to enhance security has become a matter of urgency, in addition to aid for speeding up democratization and extending economic assistance to them. This reflects the growing sense of crisis among EU members over the increasing rampancy of Islamist militants, who can easily cross national borders.
 民主化促進と経済援助という従来の支援に加えて、治安向上に助力することが緊急の課題になったと言える。国境を難なく越える武装勢力の暗躍ぶりに、危機感を募らせたことの表れだろう。

The tumult in northern and western Africa was spawned by the Arab Spring that started two years ago, in which dictatorial regimes in such countries as Egypt and Libya were toppled one after another. During their transition to new political systems, some of these nations have made little headway toward democratization and their economies have remained in the doldrums. Furthermore, their ability to maintain public security has declined.
 こうした状況の発端は、2年前に始まった「アラブの春」で、エジプト、リビアなどで独裁体制が次々と倒れたことにある。新政権への移行過程で、民主化が難航し、経済が停滞する中、国家の治安維持能力は低下している。

===

Arms, ex-mercenaries from Libya

The chaos in major powers in Africa has opened the door to rising Islamist extremists, whose activities had been kept under control previously. The turmoil in Mali is representative of this.
 地域の大国の混迷が、それまで抑え込まれていたイスラム過激派の跳梁(ちょうりょう)を招いた。その象徴が西アフリカ・マリの混乱だ。

Former mercenaries and weapons from Libya have flooded into Mali, touching off ethnic conflicts and triggering a military coup d'etat that rocked the government. During the confusion, armed Islamist forces swooped in and took control of northern Mali.
 リビアから元傭兵(ようへい)や武器が大量に流入して、民族抗争に火がつき、軍のクーデターで政権が動揺した。その隙に、イスラム武装勢力が北部を支配下におさめた。

The fight against terrorism in Africa is focusing at this moment on overcoming the armed Islamist forces in Mali.
 アフリカにおけるテロとの戦いの目下の焦点は、マリの武装勢力を制圧することだ。

The intervention by French forces has helped recapture major Malian cities from the militants. However, containing the Islamist militants will require the cooperation of foreign militaries for the time being.
 仏軍の介入が功を奏し、主要都市は政府側が奪回したが、武装勢力の封じ込めには、今後も外国軍の協力が不可欠だ。

To prevent areas in and around the Sahara from becoming terrorist strongholds, countries in the region must strengthen their security capabilities.
 サハラ周辺地域がテロの舞台とならぬよう、地域諸国は治安能力を強化しなくてはならない。

European countries that have strong historical ties with Africa should assume particularly heavy responsibilities in this respect.
歴史的にアフリカと関係が深い欧州が負うべき責任は、特に大きい。

===

TICAD V to be held in June

Security issues in Africa cannot be divorced from Japan. Many Japanese companies have operations in parts of Africa with rich natural resources and where rapid economic growth is expected. The importance of this country's cooperation with African nations is increasing.
 アフリカの治安は日本にも無縁ではない。資源に富み成長が期待されるアフリカの各地に、日本企業が進出している。アフリカへの協力は重要性を増しつつある。

Following the hostage-taking incident in Algeria, the Japanese government decided to extend assistance to help stabilize regions near the southern edge of the Sahara, northern Africa and the Middle East. At the Donors' Conference on Mali held in late January in Addis Ababa, Japan pledged funds for the relief of refugees and construction of a U.N. training center for peacekeeping operations.
 日本政府は、アルジェリア事件を受け、サハラ砂漠南縁・北アフリカ・中東地域の安定化支援を行う方針を決めた。先月末のマリ支援国会合では、難民支援や国連平和維持活動(PKO)訓練センターへの資金拠出を表明した。

In addition, Japan will host the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) in Yokohama in June. Japan has held TICAD conferences every five years since 1993 and invited leaders from African countries.
 さらに6月に横浜で、第5回アフリカ開発会議(TICAD5)を開催する。1993年から5年に1度、アフリカ諸国の首脳らを招いて開いてきた会議だ。

Efforts to boost international cooperation to fight poverty and disease in Africa are still important, but assistance to improve security there must be ramped up.
 貧困や疾病との戦いへの協力は今後も重要だが、治安改善に向けた支援も強化すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 10, 2013)
(2013年2月10日01時02分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月10日 (日)

東電経営悪化 現実的な政府支援が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 10, 2013)
TEPCO needs govt aid to deal with Fukushima compensation
東電経営悪化 現実的な政府支援が必要だ(2月9日付・読売社説)

Management reconstruction of the troubled Tokyo Electric Power Co. is becoming increasingly uncertain.
 東京電力の経営再建の行方が、一段と不透明になってきた。

If its business erodes further, the power company might have difficulty dealing with the crisis at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and stably supplying electricity to its customers. The government should consider additional official assistance as quickly as possible.
 経営が揺らぐことで、福島第一原子力発電所事故への対応や、電力の安定供給に支障が出かねない。政府は、新たな公的支援の検討を急ぐべきである。

TEPCO has revised downward its projection of its after-tax deficit in the fiscal year ending in March to 120 billion yen from its initial expectation of 45 billion yen.
 東電は2013年3月期の税引き後利益の赤字見通しを、従来の450億円から1200億円へ、大きく下方修正した。

The drastic revision was made because the firm's business has come under heavy pressure from soaring costs of fuel for thermal power generation, needed to make up for the shortage of electricity resulting from the substantial delay in the restart of TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture.
 柏崎刈羽原発の再稼働が大幅に遅れ、電力不足を補う火力発電の燃料費が、東電の業績を圧迫しているのが主因だ。

Its business has been harmed by the yen's recent appreciation, which has driven up import prices of liquefied natural gas and other fuels for thermal power generation. The comprehensive business plan made last spring to rehabilitate TEPCO has apparently gone wrong in its very first fiscal year.
 火力発電燃料である液化天然ガス(LNG)などの輸入価格が、最近の円安で高騰したため、業績悪化に拍車がかかった。
 東電再生に向けて昨春に策定された総合特別事業計画は、初年度から目算が外れたと言えよう。

===

TEPCO plan hindered

TEPCO also aims to purchase electricity from outside coal-fired thermal power stations because their fuel costs are lower than those of plants using oil or LNG. However, Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara has frowned on the idea, saying, "It will have a negative effect on our efforts to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide."
 東電は、燃料費の安い石炭火力発電所からの電力調達を目指しているが、石原環境相は「二酸化炭素の排出削減にネガティブ(不向き)だ」と述べ、難色を示した。

This policy has turned out to be a hindrance for the rehabilitation of TEPCO.
結果として東電再建を阻む動きが政府内にもある。

TEPCO is planning to reactivate nuclear reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in phases, starting in April.
 東電は4月から柏崎刈羽原発を順次、再稼働する計画だ。

The restart of each reactor is estimated to improve the firm's balance sheet by nearly 80 billion yen a year. Whether nuclear reactors can be reactivated will determine the success or failure of TEPCO's rehabilitation.
1基稼働すれば東電の収支は年800億円近く改善する計算となる。経営再建のカギを握るのは、原発の再稼働ができるかどうかである。

However, the Nuclear Regulation Authority is to lay down new safety standards on nuclear plants in July. The new standards are expected to demand additional safety measures such as the installation of filtering vents, which can discharge steam while removing radioactive substances, for the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant. That will make the restart even more difficult.
 ただし、原発の新たな安全基準を原子力規制委員会が策定するのは7月だ。柏崎刈羽原発は、放射性物質を除去するフィルター付きベント(排気)の設置も義務づけられる見通しで、再稼働へのハードルは一段と高くなる。

Reactors must be reactivated smoothly once their safety is confirmed. To achieve this, the government has to establish trust with the communities hosting nuclear plants by carefully explaining to them the safety and necessity of nuclear reactors in advance.
 安全を確認した後、円滑に再稼働することが肝要だ。政府があらかじめ、原発の安全性や必要性について丁寧に説明し、地元との信頼関係を築かねばならない。

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Risk of financial failure

Unless TEPCO's business improves in accordance with the initial business plan, lenders might refuse additional financing for the utility, putting it in danger of financial collapse.
 東電の業績が事業計画通りに回復しないと、取引銀行が追加融資を打ち切り、経営破綻の危機に直面する恐れもある。

Some observers also said TEPCO might be forced to raise electricity charges again, as it did last year. To avoid that, the comprehensive business plan must be revised to a more feasible one at the initiative of the government.
 東電が昨年に続いて電気料金の値上げを迫られるとの見方も出ている。それを避けるためにも、政府主導で実現可能な計画に改めることが欠かせまい。

The total amount of compensation TEPCO has paid to people affected by its nuclear crisis has reached 3.2 trillion yen and is expected to increase further. Some experts project the total cost related to the nuclear crisis, including those for nuclear decontamination and decommissioning of the reactors at the crippled plant, is likely to be 10 trillion yen.
 原発事故の被害者に対する賠償額は3・2兆円に達し、さらに拡大が見込まれる。除染と廃炉を含めた費用は、10兆円規模に膨らむ可能性も指摘されている。

The current system dealing with the crisis, which ultimately lays every yen of the gigantic costs on TEPCO, is not feasible. The government, which has promoted nuclear power generation, should shoulder its own share of the burden of compensating people for damage caused by the nuclear crisis.
 巨額のコストを最終的にすべて東電に押しつける現行制度には無理がある。原子力政策を推進してきた政府も、原発事故の損害に応分の負担が求められる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 9, 2013)
(2013年2月9日01時40分  読売新聞)

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集団的自衛権 安全保障法制を総点検したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 10, 2013)
Legal basis for national security must be thoroughly reviewed
集団的自衛権 安全保障法制を総点検したい(2月9日付・読売社説)

When formulating national security policy, it is vital to first think about what should be done, not just what can be done under the current Constitution and laws.
 安全保障政策の立案では、「現行の憲法や法律で何ができるか」にとらわれるだけでなく、「何をすべきか」を優先する発想が肝要だ。

A government advisory panel discussing reconstruction of the legal basis for national security has submitted a report to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has proposed allowing the nation to exercise its right to collective self-defense.
 政府の「安全保障の法的基盤の再構築に関する懇談会」が、集団的自衛権の行使容認を提言する報告書を安倍首相に提出した。

The panel, which was set up by the first Abe administration, compiled the report in June 2008 after Abe left office, and specifics were never worked out. This is a second opportunity for Abe to take up the issue.
 第1次安倍内閣が設置した懇談会は、首相退陣後の2008年6月に報告書をまとめたが、具体化されなかった。安倍首相にとっては今回が「再チャレンジ」だ。

The report is significant in terms of ensuring Japan's security. We want Abe to use it to pave the way for comprehensive legal arrangements.
 日本の安全確保に画期的な意義を持つ報告書であり、本格的な法整備につなげてもらいたい。

The report calls for Japan's exercise of the right to collective self-defense, enabling the nation to counterattack if, for example, U.S. Navy vessels are attacked during joint military drills or if ballistic missiles are fired at the Untied States.
 報告書は、共同訓練中の米軍艦船が攻撃された際や、米国へ弾道ミサイルが発射された際、日本が集団的自衛権を行使し、反撃・迎撃を可能にするよう求めた。

For international peacekeeping operations, the report proposes that the Self-Defense Forces be allowed to use force to defend other countries' troops who come under attack nearby.
 国際平和活動では、近くの他国軍が攻撃された際の「駆けつけ警護」を自衛隊が行えるようにする。

It also seeks a review of the government's current interpretation that logistical support for other countries' militaries constitutes a breach of the Constitution, as such an act is regarded as an integrated part of the use of force by the countries that receive the support.
「武力行使と一体化」する他国軍への後方支援は憲法違反とする政府解釈も見直すとしている。

===

Govt's interpretation bizarre

If Japan refrains from protecting U.S. Navy vessels and intercepting missiles launched against the United States based on the bizarre constitutional interpretation that Japan has the right to collective self-defense but is not allowed to exercise it, the Japan-U.S. alliance will collapse.
 「集団的自衛権を持つが、行使できない」との奇妙な政府の憲法解釈を理由に、日本が米艦防護やミサイル迎撃を見送れば、日米同盟は崩壊する。

The current situation, in which only SDF members are excessively bound by legal restrictions during international peacekeeping missions, should be improved swiftly.
国際平和活動で自衛隊だけが過剰に法的制約を受ける現状も早急に改善すべきだ。

The report also calls for actions such as Cabinet approval of a basic security policy and measures to avoid abuse of the right to collective self-defense, including establishing related laws. The content of the report appears good enough to obtain understanding both at home and abroad.
 報告書は、基本方針の閣議決定、関連法整備などの歯止め措置も提案している。国内外の理解が得られる内容と言える。

Of course, it is no easy task to establish related laws under the divided Diet, in which the ruling camp controls the House of Representatives while opposition parties hold a majority in the House of Councillors. Even New Komeito, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's junior coalition partner, and the Cabinet Legislation Bureau are cautious about a review of the current constitutional interpretation.
 無論、衆参ねじれ国会の下、関連法整備は簡単ではない。公明党や内閣法制局も憲法解釈の見直しには慎重だ。

It is inevitable that specifics of the report will be worked out after this summer's upper house election. However, it is important for the government and ruling parties to discuss the issue thoroughly in advance.
報告書の具体化が夏の参院選後になるのはやむを得ないが、まず政府・与党内でしっかり議論しておくことが大切だ。

===

Narrow legal gap

Meanwhile, Abe has asked the advisory panel to look into security issues that could require legal arrangements, with the exception of four cases already examined by the panel. We view this as an appropriate call to respond to Japan's deteriorated security environment, nearly five years after the report was compiled.
 安倍首相は、報告書で結論が出た4類型以外に、法整備が必要となる安全保障の課題についても検討するよう懇談会に要請した。報告書策定から5年近く経過し、より悪化した日本の安全保障環境に対応するには、適切な判断だ。

Near the Senkaku Islands, the Chinese military has continued provocative acts. It is a high priority for the government to task the SDF with a new territorial defense mission and address such issues as the use of force to narrow the legal gap between the right to policing an area and the right to self-defense.
 尖閣諸島周辺では中国軍の挑発・示威活動が続いている。自衛隊に「領域警備」の新任務を付与し、武器使用のあり方を含め、警察権と自衛権の法律の隙間を埋める作業は優先度が高い。

We also urge the government to consider expanding those protected by Japan's collective self-defense to include not only U.S. military vessels nearby but also those operating in distant waters and U.S. military aircraft.
 集団的自衛権の問題でも、防護対象を、近くにいる米軍艦船だけでなく、離れた海域で活動する艦船や、米軍の航空機などに拡大することも検討していい。

We call on the government to comprehensively examine security issues with the aim of establishing permanent laws, including a fundamental law on national security and others concerning the overseas dispatch of SDF personnel.
 安全保障基本法や自衛隊の海外派遣に関する恒久法の整備に向けて、安保課題を総点検したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 9, 2013)
(2013年2月9日01時40分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月 9日 (土)

国会同意人事 事前報道で拒む参院民主の愚

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 9, 2013)
DPJ must not repeat folly over government appointments
国会同意人事 事前報道で拒む参院民主の愚(2月8日付・読売社説)

We cannot help but be flabbergasted at the attitude of the Democratic Party of Japan in the House of Councillors. It is as if the DPJ has reverted to its outdated pattern of dogmatic "out-and-out opposition."
 「抵抗野党」に先祖返りしたかのような参院民主党の態度には、唖然(あぜん)とするしかない。

Azuma Koshiishi, the head of the DPJ's upper house caucus, said in a news conference Thursday that his party intends to reject a government offer to discuss a plan to appoint former Administrative Vice Finance Minister Kazuyuki Sugimoto as the next chairman of the Fair Trade Commission.
Koshiishi said the offer will be rejected on the grounds that the government's candidate for the position was made public in The Yomiuri Shimbun and other media prior to the official announcement.
 民主党の輿石東参院議員会長が記者会見し、公正取引委員会委員長に杉本和行元財務次官を充てる政府の人事案を読売新聞などが報道したとして、「党としては政府からの提示を受けない」との意向を示した。

Koshiishi's argument leverages a rule that government appointments reported in advance in the media should in principal be rejected by the Diet.
 政府が国会に人事案を提示する前に、それが報道された場合、原則として当該者の提示は受け付けないとする与野党の「事前報道ルール」を振りかざしたものだ。

The DPJ leadership, apparently unnerved by Koshiishi's remark, is seeking to shift its policy in favor of holding discussions on the nomination if the government provides a convincing explanation about the news reports that emerged prior to its submission of the plan to the legislature.
 輿石氏の発言にあわてた民主党執行部は、政府から事前報道について納得のいく説明があれば人事案の提示を受けると軌道修正を図っている。

===

Media's freedom threatened

The latest hubbub has again highlighted the DPJ's inability to muster a unified response to issues surrounding its policies.
 党の方針を巡ってまとまった対応の出来ない民主党の姿をまたもや露呈したとも言えよう。

The rule on nominations requiring Diet approval was set when the Diet became divided after the 2007 upper house election, which saw the ruling camp lose its majority in the upper house but retain control of the House of Representatives.
 このルールは2007年参院選で衆参ねじれ国会になったことを機に設けられた。

At that time, the DPJ and other opposition parties that held a majority in the upper house sharply objected to the fact that several government nominations to executive posts of government bodies were reported in the media prior to their official announcements. They argued that advance media reports were tantamount to stripping Diet deliberations of their substance and importance.
一部の同意人事案が、提示前に新聞報道されたことに対し、参院で多数を占める野党の民主党などが国会審議の形骸化を招くと反発したためだ。

There may yet be, however, other cases where high-profile government personnel appointments may be reported before being officially announced.
 だが、国民の関心が高い人事は、政府の提示前でも報じられることが十分あり得る。

The rule carries significant risk of eroding the freedom of the press to gather and report news. It could also be exploited through the deliberate leaking of information to the media to nullify the government's intended appointments. The rule is clearly more harmful than beneficial, and must therefore be scrapped.
事前報道ルールは、報道規制につながりかねない上、情報の意図的な漏えいによって、人事案をつぶすことも可能だ。廃止すべき悪弊である。

In July, during the DPJ-led administration, the opposition Liberal Democratic Party opposed the government's appointment of the head and other executives of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, as reporting of the planned appointees preceded the official announcements. Has the DPJ already forgotten that it proposed the abolition of the rule at that time?
 民主党政権下の昨年7月、原子力規制委員会の人事案が事前に報道された時には、野党だった自民党が反対した。民主党はその際、ルール廃止を提案したことをもう忘れたのだろうか。

===

End futile bickering

Shortly before Koshiishi's statement, DPJ Secretary General Goshi Hosono went on record in favor of the rule's abolition, saying, "When we were in power, [the rule] annoyed us."
 民主党の細野幹事長は、「与党時代に苦しんだ」として廃止に賛意を示していた。

As the ruling and opposition blocs had been operating in the current Diet session under the basic assumption that the rule would be abolished, Koshiishi's rash statement constitutes a serious stumbling block to cooperation.
今国会では与野党がルールの廃止を確認する方向で協議してきたのに、輿石氏の発言は、それを“ちゃぶ台返し”するようなものだ。

This futile bickering, with the DPJ and the LDP changing their positions in relation to which party currently holds power, must end.
 与野党が攻守所を変えた不毛な争いはやめるべきである。

Many personnel appointments requiring Diet approval are high on the agenda, including such important posts as FTC chief and head of the NRA.
 今国会では、公取委員長や原子力規制委員長など重要な国会同意人事案件が多数控えている。

Of particular note is the issue of who will take the helm of the Bank of Japan to replace current Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa, who will resign March 19.
 注目されるのは3月19日に辞任する白川方明日銀総裁の後任だ。

The government's previous nomination for the head of the central bank in 2008 was voted down in the upper house due to opposition from the DPJ, which was then out of power. As a result, the crucial post was left vacant for nearly one month.
前回08年に政府が示した人事案は野党だった民主党が反対して参院で否決され、1か月近くも総裁が空席となる事態を招いた。

Is Koshiishi really determined to persevere with his adherence to this detrimental rule?
 輿石氏は、あくまで事前報道ルールを盾に抵抗する姿勢を貫くのだろうか。

The DPJ's return to the old-fashioned opposition party tactic of objecting for objection's sake, despite lessons drawn from the experience of being in power, will likely cause voters to turn their back on the party.
 与党としての経験を生かすことなく、抵抗野党に戻るようでは有権者に見放されよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 8, 2013)
(2013年2月8日01時27分  読売新聞)

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衆院予算委 首相はTPP参加へカジ切れ

Abe must steer toward participation in TPP talks
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 9, 2013)
衆院予算委 首相はTPP参加へカジ切れ(2月8日付・読売社説)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must look positively at participation in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral trade and economic framework to realize economic revitalization, which is the top priority of his administration.
 安倍首相は、最優先課題の経済再生を実現するためにも、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉参加に前向きに取り組むべきである。

Deliberations of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, the first full-fledged Diet debate since the launch of the Abe administration, have started.
 安倍内閣の発足後、初めての本格的な国会論戦となる衆院予算委員会での質疑が始まった。

In response to questions from lawmakers over participation in the TPP negotiations, Abe did not stray from the Liberal Democratic Party's latest election pledge of opposing participation in the negotiations as long as the premise is the abolition of tariffs without exception. Regarding the Japan-U.S. summit meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama scheduled for late February, Abe only said, "I don't have to bring up participation in the TPP negotiations."
 首相のTPP交渉参加に関する答弁は、「例外なき関税撤廃を前提とする限り反対する」との自民党公約の域を出なかった。今月下旬の日米首脳会談についても「参加に言及しなければならないことはない」と語るにとどめた。

This shows a half-hearted attitude.
 何とも腰の引けた姿勢だ。

===

Exercise negotiating power

Abe probably took into consideration that wariness within the Liberal Democratic Party toward participation in the TPP negotiations has been gaining momentum. Many LDP members fear losing the support of major LDP support organizations such as agricultural cooperatives with this summer's House of Councillors election in sight.
 夏の参院選を控え、自民党内で、農協など支持団体の離反を恐れた慎重論が勢いを増していることに配慮したのだろう。

The LDP is now summarizing members' opinions on the TPP at its Research Commission on Regional Diplomatic and Economic Partnership, but we think there must be difficulties forming a consensus.
 自民党は、外交・経済連携調査会でTPPの見解を取りまとめる作業に入っているが、意見集約の難航が予想される。

Before the lower house election last year, Abe emphasized that the LDP has "bargaining power." As the LDP is now back in the seat of power, it now must make the necessary arrangements to exercise its bargaining power and steer toward participation in the negotiations.
 首相は昨年の衆院選前、自民党には「交渉力がある」と強調していた。政権に復帰した以上、「交渉力」発揮に必要な体制を整え、参加へカジを切るべきだ。

LDP Policy Research Council Chairwoman Sanae Takaichi said during a TV program last month, "There is a small possibility for us to leave the talks after participating in the negotiations if our desired conditions are not met."
 高市政調会長は先月のテレビ番組で、「交渉に参加しながら、条件が合わなければ脱退する選択肢もゼロではない」と指摘した。

Japan must first participate in the negotiations of the pan-Pacific economic partnership agreement and work toward formulating trade rules that will benefit Japan's national interests.
 まずは交渉に参加し、日本の国益にかなう通商ルールづくりを目指さなければならない。

However, the prevailing atmosphere within the LDP is that even the level of commitment in Takaichi's statement should not be allowed.
 だが、自民党内は、この程度の発言も許さない雰囲気だ。

Some LDP members opposed to participation say there has been no explanation of any concrete advantages of Japan's participation in the TPP.
 反対派の中には「TPPに参加した場合の具体的メリットの説明がない」との声もある。

Participation in the TPP, which is designed to take advantage of the vitality of emerging Asian economies, can become a major pillar for Japan's growth strategy. The government needs to sufficiently explain this and other advantages to the Diet and the public.
 アジアの活力を取り込むTPP参加は、成長戦略の柱となり得る。政府は、こうした利点をきちんと説明する必要がある。

===

Continuously work on China

Meanwhile, ruling and opposition members alike expressed strong concern at the committee meeting about the continuing provocations by China against Japan in the East China Sea.
 一方、東シナ海における中国の相次ぐ挑発行為に対しては、与野党から強い懸念が示された。

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the locking of fire-control radar on a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer by a Chinese Navy ship is equivalent to a "threat of force." He also pointed out the possibility the action may have violated the U.N. Charter.
 小野寺防衛相は、中国軍艦艇による自衛艦への火器管制レーダー照射について「武力の威嚇に当たる」として、国連憲章に抵触する可能性を指摘した。

Abe expressed eagerness to improve relations with China, saying, "We have problems with China, and that's why we should advance dialogue with them."
 首相は「問題があるからこそ対話を進めるべきだ」と中国との関係改善に意欲を示した。

As a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, China bears a great responsibility in maintaining global peace and stability. Japan must cooperate with other nations, including the United States, to continuously and strongly call on China to observe the rules of the international community.
 中国は、国連安全保障理事会常任理事国として世界の平和と安定の維持に大きな責任を持つ。米国などと連携して、国際社会のルールを順守するよう中国に強く働きかけねばなるまい。

Rising tensions in East Asia will adversely affect both the Japanese and Chinese economies. It is vital for the government to continuously try to persuade China to understand returning bilateral relations to normal will benefit both nations.
 東アジアの緊張が高まることは日中両国の経済に悪影響を与える。政府は、日中関係の正常化が両国の利益につながることを中国に説き続けることが肝要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 8, 2013)
(2013年2月8日01時27分  読売新聞)

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アラフォーの婚活を支援するサイトをご紹介いたします 有料ですが確実です

今朝は結婚相談所の話題です。
統計によると、長い間の不況を反映して、男女とも結婚出来ないでいる人の数が増えているらしいですね。
ここは結婚相談所の利用というのも選択肢のひとつに加えたいものです。

それは、アラフォー結婚相談所 アイビジョン(I Vision)です。
有料ですが、成功率90%近くの実績があるらしいのです。
男女とも40歳を超えると、結婚するのが難しくなりますからね。
ここは、まず気軽に、この有料サイトに登録してみませんか。

入会金は3万円からですが、4万件ほどのデータベースを駆使して、あなたのベターハーフを探し出します。
医師専門コース、自衛官専門コース、アラフォー専門コース、中高年・再婚専門コースなど様々なコースを選ぶことができるので、大変に便利ですね。

今年の初めになってから、日本は大きく変わろうとしています。
民主党政権の時に続いた、超円高がアベノミクスで、わずか一月の間で是正されたのですからね。
東証株価もまさに昇り龍で、4年前のリーマンショックの直前の値までもどしています。
婚活だって、この流れにあやかりたいものですね。
きっと実現できますよ。
ガンバレ日本、頑張れアラフォー。

ご幸運をお祈りいたします。



結婚相談所 アイビジョン

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2013年2月 8日 (金)

思いつくままに 1-4

長い人生も終盤を向かえました。
私が死んでも娘たちが淋しくないように準備中です。
遺族年金の準備をしています。
大使館に相談済みです。

思いつくままに
思いつくままに2
思いつくままに3
思いつくままに4

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レーダー照射―危険極まる中国の挑発

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 6
EDITORIAL: China’s provocative acts are raising the risk of a military clash
レーダー照射―危険極まる中国の挑発

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera revealed Feb. 5 that a Chinese warship locked its fire-control radar on a Japanese destroyer operating in the East China Sea last month. In doing so, the Chinese vessel essentially signaled it was preparing to open fire.
 中国軍艦が先月、東シナ海で自衛隊の護衛艦に射撃用の管制レーダーを照射したと、小野寺五典防衛相が明らかにした。

In a separate incident earlier in January, a Chinese frigate apparently locked on to a helicopter belonging to Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, according to Onodera.
 別の日には、海上自衛隊のヘリコプターにも同様の照射があったとみられるという。

It remains unclear what caused tensions to suddenly ramp up like this. But what is clear is that the Chinese ships engaged in dangerously provocative acts that could easily have triggered a military clash. Thus, the Chinese actions are completely unacceptable. The Japanese government did the right thing when it lodged a strong formal protest with Beijing over these incidents.
 状況に不明な点は多いが、一歩間違えば軍事衝突に発展しかねない危険な挑発行為だ。断じて許されるものではない。日本政府が、中国政府に抗議したのは当然である。

The dispute over sovereignty of the Senkakus has escalated since the Japanese government purchased some of the islands from a private landowner last September. Chinese ships have repeatedly intruded into Japanese territorial waters around the group of islets.
 日本政府が昨年9月、尖閣諸島を購入して以来、中国の公船が繰り返し尖閣周辺の日本領海を侵犯している。

In December, a propeller plane operated by China’s State Oceanic Administration entered Japanese territorial airspace over the islands in the East China Sea. That also added to tensions as China scrambled fighter jets in response to patrolling and monitoring operations by SDF aircraft and U.S. reconnaissance planes.
 昨年12月には、国家海洋局のプロペラ機が領空を侵犯。その後、警戒する自衛隊機や米軍偵察機に対し、中国軍機が緊急発進するなど、空でも緊張が高まっていた。

But the act of putting a radar-lock on a Japanese ship and a helicopter are far more serious in nature than anything that had occurred previously in connection with the dispute.
 ただ、今回のレーダー照射はこれまでとは質が違う。

It has been reported that some members of the Chinese military, as well as the public, are even clamoring to start a war with Japan over the sovereignty issue. It is possible that Beijing is escalating its provocative behavior due to pressure from such belligerent voices at home. If so, this is something we must not overlook. We strongly urge China to exercise self-restraint.
 中国の軍部や世論の一部には「戦争も辞さず」という声さえ上がっているという。そうした声に押され、挑発をエスカレートしているとしたら見過ごせない。自制を強く求める。

We are deeply concerned that current tensions between Japan and China over the island dispute could touch off an accidental armed clash. The governments of the two countries should act swiftly to establish an effective channel of communication to prevent such a crisis from happening.
 心配されるのは、こうした緊張状態が偶発的な衝突につながることだ。まずは危機回避のためのチャンネルづくりを、日中両国政府は急ぐべきだ。

Some encouraging signs of diplomatic efforts by both countries to improve the strained bilateral relations finally emerged recently.
 日中間ではここに来て、関係改善を探る動きがようやく始まっていた。

Last month, Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of New Komeito, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s junior coalition partner, visited China carrying a personal letter from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In his meeting with Yamaguchi, Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping, the country’s new leader, stressed the importance of acting from a “broader perspective” for the sake of further development of the bilateral relationship.
 先月には、公明党の山口那津男代表が安倍首相の親書を携えて訪中。会談した習近平(シーチンピン)総書記は、日中関係の発展のため大局に目を向けるよう求めた。

But the radar-locking incidents could shut the window of opportunity for constructive dialogue between the two countries that has finally opened.
 ようやく見え始めた対話への糸口が再び遠のきかねない、今回のレーダー照射である。

China’s Communist Party has set up a new organization for coordinated actions concerning the Senkaku Islands dispute among the military, the State Oceanic Administration and other bodies concerned. The new organization is headed by Xi himself.
 中国共産党は、尖閣問題で軍や国家海洋局などが連携して対応するよう、新たな組織を立ち上げた。そのトップは習氏だ。

It is not clear whether Xi was aware of the military’s use of the radar against a Japanese ship and a helicopter. But he is clearly responsible for what happened. What are his thoughts about these provocative acts, which are totally inconsistent with his call for behavior based on a “broader perspective?”
 レーダー照射という行為まで習氏が把握していたのかは不明だが、責任は免れない。「大局」を求める自身の言葉とは全く相いれない今回の事態をどう考えるのか。

Other countries are becoming increasingly concerned about the tense standoff between Japan and China.
 日中の対立に、関係国も懸念を強めている。

Last month, before her retirement from office, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a strong warning against further provocative acts by China in connection with the islands dispute. In a news conference after her meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Clinton said, “We oppose any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration” of the islands.
 クリントン前米国務長官は退任前の先月、日米外相会談後の記者会見で、尖閣をめぐって「日本の施政権を損なおうとするいかなる一方的な行為にも反対する」と、中国の挑発行為を戒めた。

Beijing has effectively ignored this message from the U.S. government.
 中国は、この米国のメッセージも無視した形だ。

The international community is becoming increasingly uncomfortable about China’s militant behavior. Beijing should realize that.
 力を振りかざす中国の姿に、国際社会は違和感を強めている。そのことを中国は自覚すべきである。

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原子力規制委 組織の運営方法に問題がある

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 8, 2013)
Nuclear agency should correct operational problems
原子力規制委 組織の運営方法に問題がある(2月7日付・読売社説)

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has been operating since its launch last year without Diet approval for the government's appointments of its commissioners. This irregular situation will finally come to an end.
 国会の同意がないまま原子力規制委員会が活動する不正常な状態に、ようやく終止符が打たれることになった。

The House of Representatives and the House of Councillors have started procedures to retroactively approve the appointments of Chairman Shunichi Tanaka and four other officials. Both chambers aim to vote on the appointments by the end of next week.
 衆参両院は、規制委の田中俊一委員長と4委員の人事案に対する事後承認の手続きに入った。来週までの議決を目指す。

"We'll make fair, independent decisions from scientific and technical viewpoints," Tanaka said when he attended a hearing by the lower house's Committee on Rules and Administration on Wednesday.
 田中氏は6日、参院議院運営委員会の所信聴取で「科学的、技術的見地から公正中立、独立して意思決定を行う」と語った。

We hope Tanaka will manage the organization just as he said.
言葉通りの運営を求めたい。

Even after the NRA was launched in September, the Cabinet of then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda postponed Diet voting on the appointments of its commissioners out of fear that some members of his Democratic Party of Japan would rebel against the party's leadership.
 規制委は、昨年9月に発足したが、野田内閣が民主党内の造反を恐れて国会同意の議決を先送りしてきた。

It is natural for the new Cabinet led by Noda's successor, Shinzo Abe, to ask the Diet to give its approval.
今回、安倍内閣が同意を求めたのは当然だ。

The Diet is likely to approve the appointments because both Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and the DPJ have decided to vote for them.
 すでに自民、民主両党は賛成する方針を決めており、同意が得られるのは確実と見られる。

===

Screening schedule undecided

The NRA presented last month a draft outline of new safety standards, which include countermeasures against severe nuclear accidents. It will seek public opinion and work out details before setting down new rules by July.
 規制委は先月、重大な原発事故防止策を含む新安全基準の骨子を示した。一般の意見を聞いた上で細部を詰め、7月までに決める。

The new standards will be used as the basis for determining whether idled nuclear complexes can be reactivated.
これを受け、原子力発電所の再稼働の審査が始まる。

However, Tanaka said he "can't specify" a screening schedule for resuming operations of nuclear reactors. Such an attitude fails to present a clear prospect for ensuring the nation's stable supply of electricity.
 だが、再稼働の審査スケジュールについて、田中氏は「明確にできない」と述べるにとどまった。これではエネルギーの安定供給の見通しが立たない。

As NRA operations have tended to be delayed since its launch more than four months ago, we wonder if the organization has systemic problems.
 規制委の発足から4か月以上たっているのに対応が遅々として進まないのは、体制に問題があるからではないか。

For example, the NRA has failed to separate the roles of its commissioners and advisory experts.
 例えば、規制委員と専門家との役割分担が出来ていない。

At the hearing, Tanaka said the commissioners will compile the new safety standards "by taking advantage of their respective expertise."
田中氏は聴取の中で、新安全基準について「各委員がそれぞれの専門を生かしてまとめる」と述べた。

At the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)--after which the NRA is modeled--commissioners do not carry out day-to-day operations, but are tasked with making judgments on rules compiled by its secretariat or advisory experts, among other matters.
 規制委がモデルとする米原子力規制委員会(NRC)の委員は、実務に関与せず、事務局と専門家がまとめたルールなどの是非を判断するのを職務としている。

===

NRA officials play double roles

At the NRA, in contrast, the commissioners also serve as advisory experts. It seems odd that one of the commissioners is obsessed with checking whether active faults run near nuclear facilities.
 これに対し、規制委では、各委員が専門家の業務を兼ねているのが現状だ。委員の1人が活断層の有無の確認に、過度にこだわっているのは異常にも見える。

Even though the NRA plans to set up advisory panels, it has yet to appoint their members. The NRA should establish a system modeled after the NRC to enhance its operational efficiency.
 規制委は、設置を予定している審議組織の専門委員さえ任命していない。NRCを参考に、効率よく業務を遂行する仕組みを整えるべきである。

The NRA faces many other issues as well--for example, measures to deal with the aging of nuclear reactors, ways to dispose of radioactive waste and establishing safety standards related to decommissioning some of the reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the site of the nuclear crisis following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
We will feel anxious if the NRA moves swiftly forward on these issues without changing its current system.
 このほかにも課題は山積している。原発の老朽化対策、放射性廃棄物の処分方法、福島の原発の廃炉処理に伴う安全基準などを、現在の運営方法で滞りなく前進させられるのか不安を禁じ得ない。

The NRA also should have more robust personnel arrangements. For this purpose, it should change its position of excluding experts previously involved in the nation's nuclear regulation policies, so as to carry out its operations by garnering knowledge from a wider range of people.
 陣容も強化してもらいたい。そのためには、過去の原子力規制に携わった専門家を一律に排除してきた姿勢を改め、幅広く知見を集めて対処すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 7, 2013)
(2013年2月7日01時17分  読売新聞)

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レーダー照射 中国軍は危険な挑発を慎め

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 8, 2013)
China should stop playing dangerous game over Senkakus
レーダー照射 中国軍は危険な挑発を慎め(2月7日付・読売社説)

The Chinese Army has crossed a line, taking an action against the Maritime Self-Defense Force that went beyond global military norms. We can hardly tolerate this provocative, and also extremely dangerous, action.
 軍隊の国際常識の一線を越えた、極めて危険な挑発行為である。到底看過できない。

The Japanese government recently revealed that a Chinese Navy frigate locked its fire-control radar onto an MSDF destroyer north of the Senkaku Islands on Jan. 30.
 中国軍のフリゲート艦が1月30日、尖閣諸島北方海域で海上自衛隊の護衛艦に火器管制レーダーを照射していたことが明らかになった。

Fire-control radar is used to guide hostile fire--such as missiles--toward a target. Locking the radar onto a target is regarded as tantamount to an attack. Another step in the wrong direction could lead to a military clash.
 レーダー照射は、ミサイルなどで攻撃する標的に照準を合わせるもので、武器使用に準ずる行為である。一歩間違えば、軍事衝突に発展しかねない。

China has repeatedly provoked Japan on a number of occasions, such as having its ship-based helicopters approach MSDF vessels at extremely close range and sending airplanes from its State Oceanic Administration to intrude into Japanese territory. However, China's latest provocations rise to a new level of outrage.
 中国は従来、艦載ヘリコプターによる海自艦船への異常接近や、国家海洋局の航空機による領空侵犯などの挑発を繰り返してきたが、今回は度を越している。

It was totally appropriate for the Japanese government to reveal the radar incident to the public and lodge a protest with China. "We will urge China to restrain its actions and prevent similar actions from recurring," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.
 政府がレーダー照射を公表し、中国に抗議したのは当然だ。安倍首相も「中国側に再発を防止するよう自制を求める」と語った。

===

Global concerns raised

China's high-handed behavior against its neighbors over the East China Sea and the South China Sea has been a concern of Asian countries for some time, but now it has become a common concern of the global community.
 中国の東シナ海や南シナ海での周辺国に対する強圧的な行動は今や、アジアだけでなく、国際社会共通の懸案となっている。

Japan should strengthen its cooperation with the United States and countries in Southeast Asia and urge China to rectify its problematic behavior. At the same time, it is important for the government to respond calmly to the matter to keep the situation from escalating further.
 日本は、米国や東南アジア各国との連携を強め、中国に問題行動の是正を促すべきだ。一方で、冷静に対応し、事態がエスカレートするのを避けることが重要だ。

The government must also realize that tensions with China in areas around the Senkaku Islands have ratcheted up to an even more dangerous level. The SDF will be required to cooperate more closely with U.S. forces and the Japan Coast Guard to reinforce preparedness for any contingency in the area.
 尖閣諸島周辺の日中の緊張関係がより危険な段階に入ったと覚悟する必要もある。自衛隊は、米軍や海上保安庁と密接に協力して、不測の事態への警戒体制を強化しなければなるまい。

During a party meeting held Jan. 28, Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping rejected the possibility of making any compromise on the nation's "core interests, sovereignty, security and development interests."
 中国共産党の習近平総書記は1月28日の会議で、「核心的利益や主権、安全、発展的利益」の問題で譲歩する可能性を否定した。

However, experts are divided on whether Xi knew about the Chinese frigate's action beforehand or some military officers made the radar decision on their own initiative.
 ただ、今回の挑発行為まで容認していたのか、あるいは軍の一部の独断で行われたかについて、専門家の見方は分かれている。

China's Foreign Affairs Ministry said it will confirm the facts of the incident. Having said so, the ministry has a responsibility to thoroughly investigate the incident and reveal the results to the public. It must not try to set the matter aside without clarifying the whole picture.
 中国外務省は「事実関係を確認する」と言う以上、きちんと調査し、結果を公表する責任がある。あいまいな決着は許されない。

===

Rise of 'China threat theory'

During his meeting with New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi on Jan. 25, Xi stressed the importance of dialogue between the two countries. However, after the talks, China perpetrated both the radar incident and a 14-hour intrusion into Japanese waters by a marine surveillance ship--the longest intrusion ever. The incidents present serious problems.
 習総書記は1月25日の山口公明党代表との会談で、日中対話の重要性を強調した。ところが、中国がその後、今回の行為や、過去最長の14時間に及ぶ海洋監視船の領海侵犯を起こしたのは問題だ。

Before leaving office, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton clearly stated she opposes China's strong-arm actions aimed at changing the current status of the Senkaku Islands. On Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland expressed concern over China's latest provocative action.
 中国が実力で尖閣諸島の現状変更を図る動きに対し、クリントン前米国務長官は「反対」を明言した。米国務省報道官は今回の挑発に「懸念」を表明している。

It is likely that countries concerned about China's territorial claims will raise their level of caution against the nation due to the radar incident. It will also likely accelerate the rise of a "China threat theory."
 関係国は今後、中国に対する警戒感を一層強めるし、中国脅威論の高まりにも拍車がかかろう。

If the Chinese leadership wants to avoid such situations, it should issue clear instructions to its military to contain itself and refrain from provocative behavior.
 中国指導部がそうした事態を回避したいと考えるのなら、軍に対し、挑発行為を自制するよう明確に指示すべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 7, 2013)
(2013年2月7日01時17分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月 7日 (木)

海洋研究―深海の春が待っている

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 5
EDITORIAL: Japan surrounded by an exciting new field of research
海洋研究―深海の春が待っている

The seabed has tectonic plates that can cause devastating earthquakes, but it is also a treasure trove of natural resources. New discoveries concerning the seabed were made after the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011. Japan, a scientific and technological powerhouse surrounded by the sea, should more aggressively research and develop the seabed.
 海底はプレートが動いて巨大地震を引きおこす場所であり、資源の宝庫でもある。震災後の新しい発見もあった。海とともにある科学技術の国として、その研究と開発に挑むときだ。

Japan is small, but it is surrounded by territorial sea and an exclusive economic zone that add up to about 4.47 million square kilometers--the sixth-largest in the world. Since some of these waters are quite deep, Japan ranks fourth in the world in terms of the volume of water that surrounds it.
 日本は国土こそ狭いが、領海と排他的経済水域をあわせた海洋面積は約447万平方キロメートル、世界第6位である。体積だと世界4位、それだけ深い海に囲まれている。

Japan now has the means to explore these deep waters.
 その深海に探求の手が届くようになった。

The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology's manned research submersible Shinkai 6500 and the drilling vessel Chikyu are finding new things about the seabed. In the supplementary budget for fiscal 2012 that ends in March 2013, the government has earmarked 11.4 billion yen (about $122 million) for the construction of vessels that can look for natural resources in wide seabed areas.
 海洋研究開発機構の有人深海調査船「しんかい6500」や、海底を掘る地球深部探査船「ちきゅう」などの活躍で、発見が続く。資源を探す海底広域研究船の建造費114億円も補正予算に盛りこまれた。

With both the sea and vessels available for research, there is no reason not to take advantage of both.
 研究の場と手段、その両方がある。生かさぬ手はない。

Marine life is the focus of special attention. Because of the absence of light and the extreme scarcity of nutrients in the sea bottom, conventional wisdom held that few creatures could survive in such an environment.
 とりわけ注目されるのは海の生物だ。とくに深海底は光が届かず、栄養分もきわめて乏しいため、あまり生物がいるとは思われていなかった。

But 15 years ago, the unmanned submersible Kaiko, which can dive about 11,000 meters deep, discovered a large number of shrimp in the Mariana Trench, south of Japan, the deepest part of the world's oceans. These crustaceans have an enzyme that efficiently changes cellulose, a plant fiber, to glucose. The application of this enzyme could lead to the production of biofuels and food.
 1万1千メートル級の無人探査機「かいこう」によって世界最深部のマリアナ海溝で大量のエビが見つかったのは15年前だ。このエビは植物繊維のセルロースを効率的にブドウ糖に変える酵素を持ち、バイオ燃料や食料生産に使える可能性がある。

Some of the deep sea creatures that survive in severe environments, such as mud volcanoes that erupted in the sea due to earthquakes, are resistant to high heat or carry toxins in their bodies. Their genes could become valuable resources.
 地震で海底から噴きだした泥火山など厳しい環境で生きる生物は、熱に強かったり、有毒物質を使っていたり。その遺伝子は貴重な資源になるだろう。

The Great East Japan Earthquake resulted in mass breeding of microorganisms in the hypocentral region. This is believed to have been caused by the generation of methane, which occurred when huge volumes of hydrogen were released from cracked rocks. The methane probably "woke up" the microorganisms, which until then must have been in long "hibernation" for lack of nutrients.
 東日本大震災の震源域では微生物が大増殖していた。栄養がなくて長く冬眠状態だったが、地震で岩石が割れたときに水素が大量に出てメタンができ、春を迎えたように活動し始めたのでは、と考えられている。

We may learn something about the history of our planet from microorganisms that lurk deep down on the ocean floor and have extremely slow-paced lives.
 海底の地下深くにひそみ、生命活動がきわめて遅くて、ゆっくりと時を刻んできた微生物たちが、地球の歴史を教えてくれる可能性もある。

The United States and Europe are paying more attention to the new field of geomicrobiology, which comprehensively covers rocks and marine life. In addition to being a scientifically fascinating field, it could lead to the use of them as resources.
 岩石から生命体までを総合的にとらえる、地球微生物学という新しい分野に、欧米諸国は力を注いでいる。科学的に興味深いことにくわえ、資源として利用の道もあるからだ。

We encourage Japan's young scientists to transcend their narrowly defined disciplines and challenge this highly promising field. It is a bit disappointing for Japan that overseas researchers were the first to show interest in genetic analysis of microorganisms living in the seabed.
 若い研究者は、分野の壁を超えてこの可能性あふれる領域に挑んでほしい。海底の微生物の遺伝子解析に真っ先に関心を示したのは海外の研究者だったそうだ。これはちょっと寂しい。

Japan needs to develop a system that encourages and values researchers who take on such new challenges. Universities and other institutions should collaborate actively not only in research but also in developing young talent.
 挑戦を励まして評価する仕組みがいる。研究機関や大学は、研究はもちろん、人材の育成でも積極的に連携すべきだ。

As a maritime nation, Japan's ideal attitude would be to aim for a brighter future through marine research and development.
 海から未来をひらく。
 そんな気概で、これからの海洋国をめざしたい。

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F35部品輸出 3原則の例外扱いは妥当だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 7, 2013)
F-35 exception to weapons export ban makes sense
F35部品輸出 3原則の例外扱いは妥当だ(2月6日付・読売社説)

It is essential that a defense equipment policy, such as on weapons exports, is implemented from a comprehensive perspective to ensure Japan's national security and interests are safeguarded.
 武器の輸出など防衛装備政策では、日本の安全保障と国益を踏まえた総合的な視点が肝要だ。

The government is coordinating views in the direction of exempting domestically manufactured parts of the F-35 jet--the Air Self-Defense Force's next-generation fighter--from the nation's de facto ban on arms exports.
 政府は、航空自衛隊の次期主力戦闘機F35について、日本企業が製造した部品の輸出を武器輸出3原則の例外として認める方向で調整している。

This exception to the rules will not only deepen Japan-U.S. defense technology cooperation and fortify the bilateral alliance, but also help maintain and develop Japan's defense technology and production base. We think the government's move toward allowing exports of F-35 components makes sense.
 日米の防衛技術協力を深め、同盟関係を強固にするだけでなく、日本国内の防衛技術・生産基盤の維持や育成にも役立とう。輸出容認は妥当な判断である。

The previous administration under Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda drastically eased the three principles on weapons exports in December 2011 and worked out new criteria, lifting bans on joint development and production of arms with other countries.
 野田政権は2011年12月、武器輸出3原則を大幅に緩和し、武器の国際共同開発・生産を解禁する新基準を策定した。

While maintaining the conventional principle of "avoiding any possible aggravation of international conflicts," the new criteria call for strict export controls and make it mandatory for any nation with which Japan will develop weapons to agree to such conditions as gaining Japan's prior approval for any transfer of these arms to a third nation.
 「国際紛争の助長を回避する」との従来の理念は踏襲しつつ、厳格な輸出管理や、武器の第三国移転における日本の事前同意などを共同開発国に義務づけている。

===

Joint output has advantages

Developing fighter jets and warships requires huge expenditures. In recent years, the trend has been for two or more countries to undertake such development jointly by harnessing their latest technologies.
 巨額の費用を要する戦闘機や艦船などの開発は近年、複数の国が最新技術を持ち寄り、共同で実施するのが国際的な潮流だ。

If Japan alone shuts itself off from weapons technology while adhering to the rules on its arms export ban, it will fall behind in arms technology and end up having to pay higher prices for weapons. The adverse effects would be immense.
 日本だけが武器輸出3原則を墨守し、“技術鎖国”を続ければ、技術面で各国の後塵を拝するし、武器も一段と割高になる。その悪影響は甚大である。

The impact will be especially serious in the production of fighter jets. Domestic production ceased in September 2011, and there are fears the industry will decline. For this reason, Japan's participation in the joint production of F-35s is significant.
 特に戦闘機分野では、11年9月に国内生産が終了しており、産業衰退の恐れも指摘されている。それだけに、日本がF35の共同生産に参加する意義は大きい。

The F-35 is a next-generation jet that will be produced jointly with the United States. It has stealth capability that makes it virtually invisible to radar. Israel, which has tense relations with some neighboring nations, plans to introduce the F-35. For that reason, some observers have suggested Japan's production of the fighter could fuel international conflicts.
 日米が共同生産するF35は、レーダーに捕捉されにくいステルス性を持つ次世代機だ。周辺国と緊張関係にあるイスラエルが導入することについて「国際紛争の助長」を懸念する声も一部にある。

===

Japan's involvement limited

However, the F-35's development and production are primarily undertaken in the United States. Japan's role is limited because Japanese firms will be involved only in manufacturing some parts such as engines and radars. Even if Israel adds the F-35 to its fleet, it will not lead directly to destabilizing the Middle East region.
 だが、F35の開発・生産の主体は米国である。日本が製造するのはエンジンやレーダーなど一部の部品にすぎず、その役割は限定的だ。イスラエルがF35を導入しても、中東地域の不安定化に直結するわけではあるまい。

If the principle of avoiding any possible aggravation of international conflicts is applied more strictly than required, even exports of weapons to the United States--an ally of Japan--cannot be permitted. This is an unrealistic policy option.
 そもそも国際紛争を助長しないという基準を過度に厳格適用すれば、同盟国の米国への輸出さえ成り立たず、非現実的である。

The security environment surrounding Japan has been deteriorating due to China's military buildup and North Korea's nuclear and missile development. China has been ramping up demonstrative activities in waters around the Senkaku Islands and is developing its own stealth aircraft.
 日本の安全保障環境は、中国の軍備増強、北朝鮮の核・ミサイル開発によって悪化している。中国軍は尖閣諸島周辺などで示威活動を活発化させ、国産ステルス機の開発にも力を入れている。

Japan needs to press ahead with a plan to introduce 42 F-35s that started this fiscal year. Along with this, it is indispensable to put joint production of F-35s on track and strengthen international cooperation with the countries involved.
 日本は、今年度から始まった計42機のF35の導入を着実に進めるとともに、F35の共同生産体制を軌道に乗せて、関係国との国際連携を強めることが欠かせない。

At the same time, the government must explain to the people the reasoning behind its decision on the F-35 to obtain public understanding of its weapons export policy.
 同時に、政府には、こうした状況をきちんと国民に説明し、理解を広げる努力が求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 6, 2013)
(2013年2月6日00時55分  読売新聞)

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ネット選挙 早期解禁へ弊害抑止の議論を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 7, 2013)
Damage from use of Internet in campaigns must be prevented
ネット選挙 早期解禁へ弊害抑止の議論を(2月6日付・読売社説)

While the convenience of the Internet can be useful in election campaigns, its potentially harmful effects must be minimized. It is essential to carefully create a mechanism to ensure fairness in elections.
 選挙にインターネットの利便性を生かす一方、弊害は最小限にとどめなければならない。選挙の公正さが損なわれないように、周到な仕組みづくりが欠かせない。

The Liberal Democratic Party has compiled a bill to revise the Public Offices Election Law, with the aim of lifting a ban on the use of the Internet in campaigns for this summer's House of Councillors election.
 自民党が、夏の参院選でのネットによる選挙運動解禁を目指し、公職選挙法改正案をまとめた。

Passage of the LDP's bill will enable political parties and candidates to update their websites and send out e-mails. The use of blogs, microblogs such as Twitter and social networking services such as Facebook will also be liberalized.
 政党や候補者のホームページの更新に限らず、電子メールの送信を可能とする。ブログや簡易投稿サイト「ツイッター」、会員制交流サイト「フェイスブック」も利用できるようになる。

As the Democratic Party of Japan, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party also support removing the ban in the near future, the ruling and opposition parties will soon begin discussions on the matter. The current times require a review of the outdated law, which was not designed with the use of the Internet for election campaigns in mind.
 民主党、日本維新の会、みんなの党なども、早期のネット解禁に前向きで、近く与野党協議を開始する。選挙でのネット利用を想定していない公選法の旧態依然とした規定を見直すことは、時代の要請と言えよう。

===

Increased voter participation

By using the Internet, political parties and candidates will be able to easily distribute information on their policies to a wide range of voters. The Internet can also serve as a means for candidates' swift rebuttal when negative information is circulated about them.
 政党や候補者は、ネットを活用して、幅広い有権者層に手軽に政策を伝えることが可能となる。候補者が自分に不利な情報を流された場合、速やかに反論する手段にもなりうる。

Since low voter turnout among people in their 20s has become a concern, the use of the Internet in election campaigns will help galvanize young people's interest in politics. Additionally, voters living overseas will probably feel closer to politics at home.
 20代の低い投票率が問題になる中、ネットの利用は政治に対する若者の関心を高める一助となる。海外の日本人有権者にも日本の政治がより身近になるだろう。

The LDP plan proposes a system in which e-mail messages are allowed to be sent only to people who agree to receive them, instead of to many unspecified recipients.
 自民党案は、不特定多数ではなく、受信を了承した人にだけメールを送る仕組みにしている。

A legal penalty is also included to counter spoofing, in which people falsely assume candidates' names. Furthermore, websites and e-mails must provide e-mail addresses to identify the people in charge of websites and senders of political e-mails.
 候補者の名を騙(かた)る「なりすまし」対策として、罰則を設けた。ホームページやメールには、発信者を明らかにするためメールアドレスの記載を義務付けている。

===

Effective measures imperative

We applaud the LDP plan for restraining the use of the Internet to some extent rather than allowing unregulated use, to prevent potentially damaging repercussions.
 野放図なネット利用を認めるのではなく、弊害防止へ一定の制約を課したことは評価したい。

Nevertheless, are these measures sufficient to root out the possibility of malicious obstruction of political parties' and candidates' campaigns? It is important to prepare effective measures by studying relevant cases in countries where Internet usage is prevalent as a reference.
 しかし、これだけで政党や候補者への悪意ある妨害を排除できるだろうか。ネット先進国の事例も参考に効果的な対策を取れるようにしておくことが大切だ。

The LDP plan also allows not only political parties and candidates but also general voters to engage in election campaigns via the Internet. For example, anyone will be able to send an e-mail calling for support for a certain candidate.
 自民党案は、政党や候補者のみならず、一般の有権者にもネット利用の選挙運動を認めている。誰でも特定の候補者への支持を呼びかけるメールを送ることなどができるようになる。

However, this could lead to rampant negative campaigns in which voters slander candidates they oppose. We are concerned that Internet campaigns waged to cause a candidate to lose, which have spread in the past in South Korea, may also become widespread in Japan.
 とは言え、これでは当選させたくない候補への中傷によるネガティブ・キャンペーンが横行しかねない。かつて韓国で広がったネットでの「落選運動」が盛んになることが懸念される。

Each political party needs to thoroughly discuss measures to prevent the Internet from distorting elections and having an adverse impact on their outcome. If effective countermeasures are not implemented, the ban on the use of the Internet in election campaigns should only be partially lifted.
 選挙が歪(ゆが)められ、その結果に悪影響を及ぼさないようにする方策について、各党は、しっかり話し合う必要がある。実効性ある措置が取れない場合には、ネットの部分的な解禁にとどめるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 6, 2013)
(2013年2月6日00時55分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月 6日 (水)

医療機器入超 承認の遅れは競争力を殺ぐ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 6, 2013)
Slow medical device approval hinders intl competitiveness
医療機器入超 承認の遅れは競争力を殺ぐ(2月5日付・読売社説)

We want Japanese makers of medical devices to strengthen their international competitiveness. The government should remove any obstacles that prevent excellent products from being more widely used.
 日本の医療機器メーカーの国際競争力を強化させたい。優れた機器の普及へ、障壁を取り除く政府の役割は重要だ。

The health ministry has decided to shorten the time required for approval and certification of medical devices. To expand the range of products allowed for screening by private certification bodies, the ministry plans to submit a bill to revise the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law to the current Diet session.
 厚生労働省は、医療機器の承認や認証にかかる期間を短縮する方針を決めた。民間の認証機関に審査を任せる対象製品を拡大するため、今国会に薬事法改正案を提出する考えだ。

This decision was made after the government's Industrial Competitiveness Council, which is holding discussions on growth strategy, called for deregulation in this field. The Regulatory Reform Council also will take up medical issues. We believe the ministry has taken a proper course of action.
 成長戦略を議論している政府の産業競争力会議が、規制緩和を求めたことを受けたものだ。規制改革会議でも医療はテーマになる。妥当な判断と言えよう。

In Japan, an average of about three years is needed from the development of medical devices to approval by the health ministry. As this is about two years longer than in the United States, the time lag is significant.
 日本では現在、医療機器の開発から厚労省による承認まで平均3年程度かかり、米国と比べて約2年も長い。大幅な承認遅れだ。

This has deprived domestic makers of their competitiveness. Although their technological strength is extremely high, commercialization of their products takes far too long, making them reluctant to develop new products or enter the market.
 これが、国内メーカーの競争力を殺(そ)ぐ要因となっている。高い技術力がありながら、製品化に時間がかかり、新商品開発や市場参入に二の足を踏むからだ。

===

Domination by foreign rivals

Cardiac pacemakers and heart valves, for example, are dominated by foreign companies, with most of them being imported. Imports of medical devices exceed exports by about 600 billion yen annually, indicating how serious the situation is.
 例えば、心臓ペースメーカーや人工心臓弁は海外企業に押され、ほぼすべてを輸入に頼っている。医療機器は年間約6000億円の輸入超過という深刻な状況だ。

Medical devices are a promising growth market. The current situation in which Japanese makers lag far behind foreign rivals must be rectified.
 医療機器は成長が見込まれる有望市場である。日本メーカーの劣勢を挽回しなければならない。

It is crucial to revitalize the domestic industry, strengthen strategies to compete in markets abroad and boost Japan's economic growth.
 国内業界を活性化させ、世界の市場を攻略する戦略を強化し、日本の経済成長に弾みをつけることが急務である。

If cutting-edge products become available for immediate use by shortening the time it takes to approve products, it also will help patients.
 承認期間の短縮によって、効果が高い最先端の機器が国内ですぐに使えるようになれば、患者にとっても有益だろう。

The latest decision by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is aimed at expanding the range of products allowed for certification by private entities to those that involve relatively higher risks.
 厚労省の今回の決定は、民間機関の認証対象を比較的リスクの高い製品にも拡大する内容だ。

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Simplify regulatory process

The range of products--now limited to magnetic resonance imaging and a few other devices--is expected to be expanded to generic versions of contact lenses, dental implants and other products.
 MRI(磁気共鳴画像装置)などに限られている対象をコンタクトレンズ、歯のインプラントなどの後発品に広げる。

In Europe, private entities generally certify medical devices, allowing them to be commercialized quickly. In Japan, we want to accelerate the commercialization and sales of products. Further expansion of the range of products permitted to be certified by private entities is an issue that must be addressed.
 欧州では原則として民間機関が医療機器を認証し、迅速に製品化している。日本も速やかな製品化で販売を加速してもらいたい。対象の一層の拡大も課題だ。

Naturally, the safety of medical devices must not be neglected. The government should oversee certification bodies and consider measures to enhance the quality of screening processes.
 無論、医療機器の安全性の確保を忘れてはならない。国が認証機関を監督して、審査の質を高める方策を検討する必要がある。

Regarding subcontractors producing devices for major makers, the health ministry plans to simplify the regulatory process by shifting to a notification system from one in which permission is necessary. This is expected to allow companies to develop products and enter the market more easily.
 厚労省はまた、大手メーカーの下請けの製造事業者について、許可制から届け出制に簡素化する。製品開発に取り組みやすい環境が整い、企業の新規参入を促す効果が期待できよう。

Slow market penetration is also attributable to the difficulty in carrying out clinical trials for medical devices, in which the effectiveness and safety of products are tested on patients. It is essential to review the current system through such measures as expanding joint clinical trials with overseas institutions.
 医療機器普及の遅れの背景には、患者に使って機器の効果や安全性を調べる治験が進まないこともある。海外との共同治験の拡大など体制の見直しが肝要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 5, 2013)
(2013年2月5日01時40分  読売新聞)

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警察不祥事 治安の維持へ悪影響が心配だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 6, 2013)
Police scandals threaten nation's public security
警察不祥事 治安の維持へ悪影響が心配だ(2月5日付・読売社説)

Scandals involving police officers, whose task is to protect the safety of the people, show no signs of decreasing. This is a matter of grave concern.
 国民の安全を守る警察官の不祥事が後を絶たない。ゆゆしき事態だ。

If police lose the public's trust, it may have a negative impact on maintaining public security, as it would become harder for them to obtain public cooperation in investigations. The National Police Agency and prefectural police headquarters must realize the urgency of the problem.
 警察が信頼を失えば、捜査協力が得られず、治安の維持に悪影響が出かねない。警察庁や都道府県警察は強い危機感を持つべきだ。

According to the NPA, 458 police officers--including administrative workers--were punished in 2012. Among them, 62 officers were dismissed and 128 were suspended. Ninety-three officers were arrested, the highest figure in the past 10 years.
 警察庁によると、昨年1年間に懲戒処分を受けた全国の警察官、警察職員は458人に上った。このうち、62人が免職、128人が停職処分を受けた。この10年で最も多い93人が逮捕された。

Topping the list of the reasons for disciplinary measures were sexual offenses including assault and molestation; theft and embezzlement.
 懲戒処分の理由では、痴漢やわいせつ行為などの性犯罪、窃盗や横領などが上位を占めた。

Those arrested included an assistant police inspector of the Toyama prefectural police who was held on suspicion of killing an elderly couple he knew and setting fire to their house. An assistant police inspector of the Fukuoka prefectural police was arrested on suspicion of leaking investigative information to men with links to a crime syndicate, and a senior policeman of the Osaka prefectural police was held over sexually assaulting a girl at a swimming beach. All of these incidents were malicious.
 逮捕された警察官には、知人夫婦を殺害し放火した容疑の富山県警警部補や、暴力団関係者に捜査情報を漏らした福岡県警警部補、海水浴場で少女にわいせつ行為をした容疑の大阪府警巡査長らが含まれる。悪質な事件ばかりだ。

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Young officers lack morals

Why are scandals occurring so frequently among police officers? Police believe the declining quality of young police officers is one reason. After being arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a girl, a policeman of the Kanagawa prefectural police was quoted as saying: "I've been a chronic molester since I was a high school student. I thought I would be able to quit it if I became a police officer."
 不祥事が多発する背景として、警察内では、若手警察官の質の低下が問題視されている。強制わいせつ容疑で捕まった神奈川県警の巡査は「高校時代から痴漢をしていた。警察官になれば、やめられると思った」と供述した。

It is astonishing that a police officer could so lack a sense of ethics.
 倫理観の欠如にあきれる。

In recent years, the NPA and prefectural police headquarters have increased employment as baby boomers hired en masse began retiring. More than 10,000 police officers have been hired each year recently.
 全国の警察では、大量採用の団塊世代が退職期に入ったため、新人の採用を増やして人員を補充している。新規採用の警察官は毎年、1万人以上に上る。

It has become increasingly important to recruit people who are competent both physically and mentally. Police should work out methods to scrutinize candidates more effectively, such as putting more emphasis on interviews in order to understand their personalities and internal strengths rather than focusing on written examinations and physical tests.
 心身両面で質の高い人材を集めることが以前にも増して重要になっている。筆記や体力テストよりも、人柄や内面を見る面接試験を今以上に重視するなど、資質を見極める工夫が求められる。

It is also crucial to increase study and training sessions for young police officers to inculcate them with the philosophy that the duty of police is to serve the public.
 若手警察官を対象にした研修の機会を増やし、国民への奉仕者であるという使命をしっかりと教え込むことも欠かせない。

===

Senior officials lack experience

We also should not overlook another problem: the deterioration of abilities of police officers in managerial positions. Cases that illustrate this tendency have been increasing in recent years, such as senior police officials failing to notice fictitious statements in investigation records prepared by subordinates. Some observers point out that due to the rapid generation shift in senior officials in recent years, more and more police officers are assuming managerial positions without sufficient hands-on experience.
 管理職の能力低下も見過ごせない。部下が作成した虚偽の調書などを見抜けないケースが増えている。世代交代の波で、実務経験が乏しいまま管理職に就いた警察官が目立つとの指摘がある。

Police need to work harder to assess officials' administrative abilities more accurately through performance evaluations and promotion exams.
 人事評価や昇任試験などを通して、実務能力を的確に把握する必要があるだろう。

In the late 1990s, police came under harsh public criticism due to their mishandling of such incidents as the stalking and murder of a female college student in Okegawa, Saitama Prefecture. In response to such criticism, a panel of experts was established, and it made proposals on reforming the nation's police system in 2000. Following the proposals, police later introduced strict punishments for officers involved in scandals, among other reforms.
 警察は1990年代末、埼玉県桶川市のストーカー殺人事件などの不適切な対応で強い批判を浴びた。その反省から2000年、警察改革として有識者による「警察刷新会議」が提言をまとめ、厳しい処分基準などを導入した。

Initially, the number of police officers subject to disciplinary actions dropped, but three years ago, the figure began increasing sharply. This is a worrying trend. The entire police organization should go back to the basic philosophy of the police reform, and work hard to tighten discipline.
 当初は処分者が減ったが、3年前から懲戒処分の件数が著しく増えているのは問題だ。警察組織全体が改革の原点に立ち返り、綱紀粛正に努めねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 5, 2013)
(2013年2月5日01時40分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月 5日 (火)

社説:安倍政権の予算 財政再建の道は険しい

January 30, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Budget draft shows gov't faces uphill battle in fixing debt-ridden finances
社説:安倍政権の予算 財政再建の道は険しい

The fiscal 2013 state budget draft, which the government has approved, shows that the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces an uphill battle in rehabilitating debt-ridden state finances.
 来年度予算の政府案が決まった。

In drafting the budget, the government trimmed new bonds that it will issue during next fiscal year to below the amount of estimated tax revenue -- for the first time in four years. The government also managed to avoid increasing the total amount of the budget draft from that of the current fiscal year. The budget draft has sent the public a clear message that the Abe administration is determined to save the economy from the prolonged downturn while improving its fiscal discipline.
4年ぶりに新たな借金(新規国債発行額)を税収以下に抑えたという。総額の実質増も何とか回避できた。景気対策と財政規律を両立できる政権だと訴えたい気持ちがにじむ。

However, it must be kept in mind that the budget was drafted on the optimistic assumption that an economic stimulus package and other policy measures to be implemented by the government will drastically improve economic conditions. Despite broad tax breaks for businesses, the government estimates that Japan's tax revenue will increase nearly 800 billion yen in fiscal 2013 from the current fiscal year because it projects that Japan's economy will post 2.7 percent nominal and 2.5 percent real-term growth.
 だが、安倍政権の緊急経済対策などにより景気が大きく好転するという、期待に満ちた予測に支えられている点を忘れてはなるまい。さまざまな企業向け減税にもかかわらず、名目2.7%、実質2.5%という高い成長率想定のお陰で、税収は12年度より8000億円近く増える計算になった。

In the budget draft, the government is expected to issue less than 43 trillion yen worth of bonds, below the 44 trillion yen upper limit set by the previous administration led by the Democratic Party of Japan. However, this is also based on the optimistic assumption that interest rates will not increase.
 一方、新たな借金は43兆円弱と、民主党政権時のルールだった「44兆円以内」が守られた形だ。しかしこれも、金利は上がらないという希望的見通しのお陰と言えそうだ。

When it released the budget framework for fiscal 2013, the Finance Ministry estimated that it would need to set aside a record 24.6 trillion yen to repay state debts and pay interest on outstanding bonds. However, the government reduced the amount to 22.2 trillion yen in the budget draft because it lowered the assumed interest rates from 2.2 percent in the budget framework to 1.8 percent.
 財務省は昨年9月に概算要求した際、国債残高の増加と金利上昇への備えのため、国債費を過去最高の24.6兆円とはじいていた。国債費とは、国が過去に借りたお金の返済や利払い費のことである。ところが予算案では22.2兆円に圧縮された。
想定金利を下げたためだ。

If the government were to predict a boost in the economic situation, it should estimate that interest rates will rise. This reflects the latest market interest rates, but the government should have drafted a budget that can respond to any possible deterioration in the fiscal situation to a certain extent if it intended to maintain fiscal soundness.
Prime Minister Abe proudly said that the government has restored fiscal health because the estimated tax revenue is above the projected amount of state bonds the government will newly issue. However, Japan's fiscal condition is not as sound as the prime minister believes, considering that 5.5 trillion yen worth of construction bonds will be issued to finance public works projects incorporated in the fiscal 2012 supplementary budget.
 景気の好転を予測するなら、むしろそれに伴う金利上昇を織り込むべきだろう。だが概算要求時(2.2%)よりも12年度の想定(2.0%)よりも低い1.8%に設定した。最近の市場金利を反映したとはいえ、ある程度の状況悪化に耐えられる予算にしておくのが、健全な財政の発想ではないか。経済危機対応の予備費を省いて約1兆円を浮かせた結果でもあり、税収が借金を上回る「正常な状態の回復」(安倍晋三首相)と胸を張れる話では到底ない。5.5兆円もの建設国債発行を伴う大型の12年度補正予算と合わせて考えれば、財政健全化を重視した予算編成だとは言えない。

Moreover, the fiscal 2013 budget draft has raised concerns that emphasis may be placed on quantity rather than quality and on construction projects rather than people. Livelihood assistance benefits will be substantially reduced, but public works spending will increase 16 percent from the current fiscal year although a massive amount of funds to finance construction projects have been allocated for such projects from the fiscal 2012 supplementary budget.
 予算の中身はどうか。生活保護の支給基準が引き下げられる一方、公共事業費は前年度比16%の伸びとなった。1年分に相当する公共事業費を補正予算に盛り込んだばかりというのに、である。質より量、人よりコンクリートとならないか心配だ。

Defense spending will be also increased for the first time in 11 years. The government needs to gain understanding from the public even in repairing and replacing aging infrastructure such as roads and bridges as well as increasing defense outlays, considering Japan's serious state finances.
 防衛費も11年ぶりに増額された。老朽化した道路や橋などの整備も、防衛体制の強化も、厳しい財政状況を考えれば、国民の理解を得ながら進めていく必要があるだろう。

There are signs that Japan's economy will pick up as the value of the yen has declined and share prices have risen.
 久々の円安と株価上昇で、変化の兆しも見える日本経済である。

However, the question is whether the government can sustain steady economic growth.
しかし勝負は成長を持続させられるかどうかだ。

If concerns spread about the government's free spending policy while the Bank of Japan has boldly relaxed its monetary grip, it could lead to an increase in interest rates as a result of a sharp fall in the market prices of bonds and eventually to a collapse of the government's economic recovery plans.
日銀が大規模な緩和を続ける中、放漫財政への不安が広がれば、悪い金利上昇(国債価格の急落)が起こり、成長のシナリオは崩れてしまう。

Opposition parties have come under mounting pressure to grill the Abe Cabinet over its fiscal rehabilitation policy through Diet deliberations.
野党には、国会論戦を通じ、安倍政権の財政再建方針を厳しく問いただしてもらいたい。

毎日新聞 2013年01月30日 02時31分

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自転車事故 厳罰で危険運転にブレーキを

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 5, 2013)
Use harsh penalties to stop dangerous bicycle riding
自転車事故 厳罰で危険運転にブレーキを(2月4日付・読売社説)

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office made a drastic change last month in its policy toward traffic violations involving bicycles.
 東京地検が自転車の交通違反に対する方針を先月、大きく転換した。

Prosecutors will now deal strictly with cyclists who repeatedly violate traffic regulations, bringing criminal charges against them.
 悪質なルール違反を繰り返す自転車運転者に、刑事罰を科す厳しい姿勢で臨むというものだ。

As cyclists cause accidents, such a policy shift is necessary. We hope the prosecutors spare no effort to make the new policy known widely, thereby curbing traffic accidents.
 交通規則を守らない運転が事故を誘発している以上、やむを得ない対応だろう。周知徹底し、事故抑止につなげたい。

As driver's licenses are not needed for bicycles, violators will be given a red ticket notifying them that prosecutors will send papers regarding their case to the prosecutors office and begin criminal procedures against them, rather than a blue ticket informing them of administrative punishment.
 自転車に運転免許はないため、違反者には行政処分の青切符ではなく、送検して刑事手続きに入ることを示す赤切符が切られる。

Previously, prosecutors did not prosecute violators. Under the new procedures, those who violate regulations twice or more will be given summary indictments for violating the Road Traffic Law.
 検察はこれまで違反者を一律不起訴にしてきたが、運用見直しにより、2回目の違反からは道路交通法違反で略式起訴する。

===

Violators will acquire record

If a violation is confirmed by a summary court, the perpetrator will be fined up to 50,000 yen. Like other criminal offenders, they will have a criminal record.
 簡裁で違反が確定すれば、5万円以下の罰金を命じられる。他の刑法犯と同様、前科も残る。

The prosecutors office in Tokyo will initially focus on summary indictments for those who run red lights, a major cause of serious accidents in Tokyo.
東京地検は当面、重大事故の主たる原因となっている信号無視を中心に略式起訴するという。

Prosecutors did not prosecute offending cyclists in the past because they considered criminal punishment too harsh, as automobile drivers got off with administrative punishments for minor violations.
 自転車の違反を不起訴としてきたのは、自動車の軽微な違反が行政処分で済むのに比べ、刑事罰は厳しすぎるとの考えによる。

However, the Tokyo office has shifted its policy at the request of the Metropolitan Police Department, to reduce dangerous bicycle riding and curb accidents.
 だが、東京地検は、自転車の悪質運転を減らし、事故を抑止することを目的に、警視庁の要請を受けて方針を転換した。

In Tokyo, accidents involving bicycles account for nearly 40 percent of traffic accidents. The incidence is about two times higher than the national average.
 東京都内では、全交通事故のうち、自転車のかかわる事故が4割近くを占める。全国平均の約2倍という発生率だ。

Fatal accidents have occurred in which cyclists collided with pedestrians and automobile drivers tried to avoid cyclists making sudden and unexpected movements.
 歩行者と衝突して死亡させた事故もあれば、車のドライバーが急に斜行した自転車をよけて死亡事故に至ったケースもある。

Accidents were caused by such factors as running red lights, failure to look ahead properly and erratic riding. Cyclists have been particularly to blame.
事故の原因は、信号無視のほか、前方不注意や蛇行運転など、自転車側の過失が目立っている。

Recently, there has been an increase in accidents triggered by cyclists who were talking on cell phones. Many pedestrians have also been put at risk by sports bicycles speeding along crowded walkways.
 最近は携帯電話で通話しながらの運転が事故につながるケースが増えている。スポーツタイプの自転車が人通りを猛スピードで走り抜ける危険な運転に、脅かされている歩行者も多いだろう。

===

Govts, police must spread word

Improving cyclists' riding etiquette is vital for enhancing traffic safety.
 自転車のマナー向上は、交通安全のために欠かせない。

Local municipal governments in Tokyo will have an important role to play in making people aware of the latest change, as will the police.
 住民に今回の見直しを周知するには、警察に加え、区市町村の役割も重要である。

We hope they will make such efforts as holding courses on the safe use of bicycles and distributing leaflets, with the cooperation of local schools and factories where there are many cyclists.
自転車利用者の多い学校や工場の協力を得て、講習会の開催やパンフレットの配布などに取り組んでもらいたい。

There was a civil court case in which a cyclist who caused a fatal accident was ordered to pay tens of millions of yen in compensation. Cyclists must be aware that dangerous riding will lead to their being held as responsible for accidents as if they were driving a car.
 民事裁判では、死亡事故などを起こした自転車運転者に数千万円の賠償が命じられた例もある。自転車の危険運転は、自動車事故と同等の責任を負うという自覚を利用者が持つことも必要だ。

What measures should be taken against bicycle accidents is an issue not just for urban communities but for the entire nation.
 自転車事故の対策は、都市部に限らず、全国的な課題である。

The efforts taken by Tokyo will be helpful to other regions.
東京の取り組みは、他の地域の参考になるだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 4, 2013)
(2013年2月4日01時39分  読売新聞)

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中国の海洋戦略 「強国化」は地域の安定損ねる

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 5, 2013)
China's maritime strategy could threaten regional stability
中国の海洋戦略 「強国化」は地域の安定損ねる(2月4日付・読売社説)

China's expansion of its maritime interests has been heightening tensions with neighboring countries. All possible measures must be taken to ensure Japan does not crack under coercive Chinese pressure.
 中国による海洋権益の拡大が周辺国との緊張を高めている。中国の威圧に屈しないよう万全の備えが欠かせない。

The Chinese government led by Xi Jinping has set this year as the first year in China's bid to become a strong maritime power. As China's military might grows, its expansionist strategy calls for enclosing the East China Sea and the South China Sea and making it a "China Sea."
 中国の習近平政権は、今年を海洋強国化の元年と位置づけている。軍事力の増強を背景に、東シナ海や南シナ海を「中国の海」として囲い込もうとする拡張主義的な戦略だ。

China has set the goal of doubling the value of its maritime-related sectors such as seabed resources development and fisheries, which will be calculated in its gross domestic product, in 2020 compared with 2010 levels. China probably intends to accelerate the development and expansion of offshore natural gas fields and fishing grounds.
 中国は、国内総生産(GDP)のうち、海底資源の開発や漁業など海洋関連分野の額を、2020年に10年と比べて2倍にする目標を設定した。海洋での天然ガス田や漁場の開発、拡張を一段と加速させる意図があるのだろう。

Its friction with Vietnam and the Philippines over the sovereignty of the Spratly Islands will unavoidably intensify.
 南沙諸島の領有権を争うベトナムやフィリピンとのあつれきが拡大するのは避けられない。

The director of China's State Oceanic Administration declared early last month that Beijing will repel any attempt to infringe on its interests, and mentioned Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan by name. China reportedly will continue its demonstrative activities around the Senkaku Islands.
 中国国家海洋局長は1月上旬、ベトナムとフィリピン、日本を名指しして、「権益侵害活動」を阻止すると明言した。尖閣諸島への示威行動も継続するという。

===

Specter of patriotism

China's self-righteous behavior flies in the face of efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region. The Japanese government must strongly call on Beijing to exercise self-restraint while persistently informing the international community about China's misdeeds.
 地域の平和と安定に逆行する独善的な行為である。日本政府は、中国政府に自制を強く促すとともに、国際社会に中国の非を粘り強く訴えていかねばならない。

Of further concern is that the Xi administration has laid out a policy of bolstering patriotic education in connection with the protection of maritime interests.
 さらに問題なのは、習政権が最近、海洋権益保護に関する愛国主義教育を強化する方針を打ち出したことである。

Based on the lessons of modern history in which China was pushed around after the 19th-century Opium Wars by Japan and West European nations, whose maritime forces were superior to China's, Beijing has justified the augmentation of its navy and is attempting to enhance its national prestige. TV programs aimed at arousing patriotic sentiment among Chinese will undoubtedly increase.
 19世紀のアヘン戦争以来、海軍力に勝る日本や西欧諸国に中国が屈した近代史を教訓に、中国海軍の拡充を正当化し、国威発揚を図るのが狙いだ。国民の愛国意識をかき立てるためのテレビ番組の放映も増えるに違いない。

China's patriotic education of the 1990s planted distorted anti-Japan feelings among young Chinese that eventually led to the spread of anti-Japan rallies and rioting. The "maritime version of patriotic education" will likely be a spiritual prop when the Chinese government and military take a hard line toward neighboring countries in connection with maritime interests.
 1990年代の愛国教育は、若者に歪(ゆが)んだ「反日意識」を植え付け、反日デモの拡大や暴動化を招いた。「海洋版の愛国教育」は、中国政府や軍が海洋権益を巡り、周辺国に強硬姿勢をとる上での精神的な支柱となるだろう。

===

Cool heads needed

There appears to be no end in sight to intrusions into Japanese territorial waters by Chinese government ships.
 中国政府船による日本の領海への侵入が収まる気配はない。

Japan must respond calmly. At the same time, the Japan Coast Guard's structure must be bolstered to deter attempts to infringe on this country's sovereignty.
 日本は冷静に対応する必要がある。同時に、主権侵害を阻止するため、海上保安庁の体制強化を進めなければならない。

The core of these efforts is a plan to establish a special force tasked with patrols and surveillance around the Senkakus. The plan calls for deploying 12 large patrol boats within three years.
 その柱が尖閣諸島を警戒監視する「専従部隊」の新設だ。大型巡視船12隻を3年以内に配備する。

As things stand, the JCG has no alternative but to operate in turn patrol boats deployed from across the country to strengthen its protection of waters around the Senkakus. Setting up this special task force will not obstruct the JCG's regular operations such as maritime rescues, and would be significant in contributing to maintaining a long-term patrol system.
 海保は現在、尖閣諸島周辺の警備強化に伴って、全国の巡視船のやり繰りを余儀なくされている。専従部隊を置くことで、海難救助などの通常業務に支障を来すことなく、長期の警備体制の維持が可能となる意義は大きい。

Japan needs to keep order on the seas in cooperation with the United States and other nations on the assumption that China will intensify its maritime strategy.
 中国の攻勢が一層強まることも想定し、日本は米国などとの連携で海洋秩序を守る必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 4, 2013)
(2013年2月4日01時39分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月 4日 (月)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:90代の詩人の励まし /東京

February 03, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Encouragement from an elderly poet
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:90代の詩人の励まし /東京

Poet Toyo Shibata has died at the age of 101. The late-bloomer began writing poetry in her 90s, grabbing attention after sending her writings to a newspaper. Shibata's first published poetry collection sold over 1.5 million copies.
 101歳の詩人、柴田トヨさんが亡くなった。90代になってから詩を作り始め、新聞に投稿。それが話題となり、第一詩集「くじけないで」は150万部を超えるミリオンセラーとなった。

In one of her poems, she writes: "I had hard times, but I'm glad I have lived." It is easy to try to encourage young people by telling them that good things will come to them in their lives, but it is more meaningful coming from Toyo, who was in her 90s when she penned the words.
 詩集の表題作となった「くじけないで」には、こんなフレーズがある。「私 辛(つら)いことが/あったけれど/生きていてよかった」。「生きていればいいことがあるよ」と若い人を励ますのは簡単だが、90代のトヨさんが言うのだから説得力が違う。

Furthermore, when Toyo wrote that poem, her collection had not been released yet, and she was not a best-selling author. She had been living alone as a widow for many years, and though she had appeared on television a few times, her home was not huge or new, just a small, cozy dwelling.
 しかも、トヨさんがこの詩を書いたときはまだ詩集も出ていなかったはずだから、ベストセラー作家でもない。それどころか、トヨさんは夫を亡くしてから長いあいだ、ひとり暮らしをしてきた。テレビなどで何度か紹介されたが、豪華な邸宅でも新しいマンションでもなくこぢんまりした一軒家だった。

So why did Toyo then think it was good she had lived? Reading her poetry, one can see why -- she lived while gaining encouragement from the sunlight, the wind, and reliving memories of her youth.
 では、その頃のトヨさんは、どうして「生きていてよかった」と思えたのだろう。トヨさんの詩を読んでいると、ひとりでいるときにも日ざしや風を感じたり、若い頃のことを繰り返し思い出したりして、そこに喜びや自分への励ましを感じながら暮らしていることがよくわかる。

We tend to not feel value in our lives unless we are complimented, given raises and promotions. Immersing ourselves in memories is also sometimes criticized as clinging to the past. We think that if we are not being active and receiving praise now, we are living lonely and empty lives.
 私たちはともすれば、誰かにはっきりと「すごいね」とほめられたり、収入や昇進などで評価されたりしなければ、生きている意味がないと思いがちだ。昔の思い出に浸ることも、「すぎたことにしがみつくな」と否定されることもある。いま活躍していたり、もてはやされたりしなければ、それは寂しくむなしい生活だと思ってしまうのだ。

However, that is not true. We can talk about the kind moonlight, a seasonal flower, the rain and the snow, and have our hearts set alight. We can receive encouragement from the memories of those who we interacted with. If we can do that, even if we are alone now, or if our lives are far from ideal, we should be able to say we are glad we lived.
 しかし、本当はそうではないはずだ。やさしい月の光、季節の花、雨や雪にも心をときめかせ、それらと対話できる。誰が見ていてくれなくても、過去の思い出やその時代にかかわりがあった人たちが、時間の中から「がんばってるね」「ちゃんと見ているよ」とささやいてくれる声を聞いたっていいはずだ。それができれば、いくらいまはひとり暮らしでも、自分の理想とは異なる生活だったとしても、「生きていてよかった」と思えるのではないだろうか。

In my consultation office, there was a patient who said, "I'm alone, so I do not laugh or talk." I think if that person comes again, I will talk to them about Toyo and say, "If you are alone, it's OK to laugh out loud and talk to someone, even if you can't see them."
 診察室で「ひとりなので、笑うことも話すこともない」とつぶやいた人がいた。今度、その人が来たらトヨさんの話をして、「ひとりでも、声に出して笑ったり目に見えない何かと話したりしていいんですよ」と言ってみることにしよう。「それってオカルトですか」などと言われないことを祈りつつ。

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年01月29日 地方版

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生活保護削減―歯止めはどこなのか

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 3
EDITORIAL: Deflation a baffling excuse to reduce welfare benefits
生活保護削減―歯止めはどこなのか

The government’s decision to cut welfare benefits has raised concerns about an endless decline in “the minimum standards of living,” which is guaranteed by the Constitution.
 憲法にうたわれた「最低限度の生活」が際限なく切り下げられるのではないか。そんな懸念さえ抱く。

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to reduce the budget for the livelihood protection program in the new fiscal year. Financial support to help the needy cover their living expenses will be effectively slashed by 6.5 percent over the next three years.
 政府が新年度から、生活保護予算を削減する方針を決めた。生活費にあたる「生活扶助」を3年かけて、実質的に6・5%減らす。

The benefits paid out under the program, which started in 1950, were trimmed only twice in the past, by 0.9 percent in fiscal 2003 and by 0.2 percent in fiscal 2004. The planned reduction will be exceptionally large.
 今の制度が始まった1950年以来、引き下げは03年度(0・9%減)と04年度(0・2%減)の2回だけ。今回の引き下げ幅はたいへん大きい。

The government says that 58 billion yen (about $625 million) of the 67-billion-yen cutback will represent an adjustment for the general decline in prices from 2008 through 2011.
 削減する670億円のうち580億円は、08年から11年までの物価下落(デフレ)分を反映させたという。

That’s a baffling claim.
 奇妙な話である。

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has reviewed the levels of the benefits provided under the program to ascertain that they are neither too high nor too low compared with the levels of spending by general low-income households.
 厚生労働省は、一般の低所得世帯の消費実態と比べ、生活扶助が多すぎたり少なすぎたりしないよう、検証したはずだ。

A panel of experts for the ministry actually carried out the review in 13 meetings that were open to the public. The panel concluded that the benefits to help cover living expenses should be relatively high for families of a husband and wife with children and relatively low for households consisting of a single elderly person.
 審議会の専門家が公開の会合を13回重ね、「生活扶助は子どものいる夫婦世帯では高め、高齢単身世帯は低め」といった結果を公表したではないか。

An adjustment of the benefits in line with the panel’s conclusion would reduce the budget for the program by only 9 billion yen. But the government has decided to prune the budget by an amount that is more than six times larger under the pretext of deflation.
 この通りに基準を見直して減る予算は90億円。ところが、その6倍以上の金額がデフレを理由に削減される。

It is indeed necessary to ensure that the levels of livelihood protection benefits are appropriate. Unlike the pension program, however, the livelihood protection program does not have a mechanism to reflect changes in prices on the amounts of benefits. The cutback for deflation adjustment has only been hastily introduced in line with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s desire to cut the benefits by 10 percent in principle.
 生活保護費を適正な水準にする必要はある。だが、そもそも年金とは違い、生活保護には物価の変動を反映させるルールはない。デフレ要因は、「給付水準の原則1割カット」を掲げる自民党の意向で、急きょ持ち出された理屈にすぎない。

The government should ask experts to re-examine the drastic decline in benefits from the viewpoint of the actual cost of living. The government would be acting in a rash and careless manner if it starts cutting the livelihood protection benefits based solely on its political decision without seeking opinions from experts. On the other hand, the administration is set to spend as much as 190 billion yen to reduce medical fees actually paid by elderly patients at hospitals.
 まず専門家による実証的な検討をすべきだ。それなしに、政治判断だけで生活保護に切り込むのは拙速である。一方で、高齢者医療の窓口負担軽減には1900億円も使うのだ。

Would the Abe administration raise the amounts of benefits if its 2-percent inflation target is achieved?
 安倍政権の目標である2%の物価上昇が実現したら、生活保護は引き上げるのだろうか。

The government’s move has brought to the fore the disturbing fact that there is no clear limit to cuts in livelihood protection benefits.
 今回、明らかになったのは、生活保護の引き下げに明確な歯止めが存在しないことだ。

When the economy kept growing and the levels of welfare benefits were constantly raised, there was probably no strong need for serious and exhaustive debate on the exact meaning of “the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living,” which is guaranteed by the Article 25 of the Constitution.
 経済が成長し、保護水準が引き上げられてきた時代には、憲法25条が保障する「健康で文化的な最低限度の生活」とは何かを、考え抜く必要性は薄かったかもしれない。

The only definition of the “minimum standards of living” that has ever been formulated in the history of the livelihood protection program is “having enough nutrition to be able to get out of bed in a daily life,” according to one study. This definition was established shortly after the end of World War II when the scars of the war still remained unhealed.
 生活保護の歴史で確認できる「最低限度の生活」の定義は、戦争の傷痕が残るころの「日常生活で寝起きが可能な程度の栄養所要量を充足すること」だけとの研究もある。

But times have changed.
 しかし、時代は変わった。

What are the “minimum standards of living” that should be guaranteed to all members of society?
 同じ社会に生きる人すべてに保障すべき「最低限度の生活」とは何か――。

This question is assuming greater importance for the security of life in today’s Japan, where the population is aging and the employment situation is becoming increasingly unstable.
 高齢化と雇用の不安定化が進む日本で、私たちが安心して暮らすために、この問いの重みは増している。

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大津いじめ報告 調査結果を再発防止に生かせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 4, 2013)
Panel's report must be used to prevent school bullying
大津いじめ報告 調査結果を再発防止に生かせ(2月3日付・読売社説)

An investigative report has been released that clearly recognizes that relentless bullying was the direct cause of a boy's suicide.
 いじめが自殺の直接要因になった、と明確に認める報告書である。

The report, released by an independent committee of the Otsu municipal government, concerned the suicide of a second-year middle school student in the autumn of 2011.
 一昨年秋に大津市の市立中学2年の男子生徒が自殺した問題で、市の第三者調査委員会が調査結果をまとめた。

The municipal government plans to publicly release the report's contents as widely as possible.
 大津市は今後、報告書を広く公開する方針という。

Given that school bullying has shown no signs of ceasing, boards of education, schools and teachers are strongly urged to draw lessons from the Otsu case and increase efforts to prevent such tragedies.
深刻ないじめが後を絶たない中、全国の教育委員会や学校、教師が教訓を生かし、再発防止につなげていくことが大切である。

The panel's report has recognized that in the month prior to his suicide, the boy was tormented by his classmates, such as by being forced to remove his trousers frequently.
 報告書は、自殺に至るまでの1か月間、男子生徒が同級生から何度もズボンを脱がされるなど、執拗(しつよう)ないじめを受けていたと認定した。

"The bullying humiliated the victim, leading to a feeling of despair and sense of helplessness that culminated in a desire to die," the report said.
「いじめが屈辱感、絶望感と無力感をもたらし、死を望む気持ちを抱かせた」とも指摘した。

The investigative panel questioned 56 students and other people and analyzed in detail relevant documents seized by police at the school and the education board.
 調査委は、生徒ら延べ56人から聞き取りを重ね、警察の押収書類も分析した。

===

Lack of communication

The panel's report referred to the school's failure to prevent the boy's suicide and the board of education's halfhearted approach in looking into the cause of the incident. The report's in-depth analysis of the case deserves praise.
自殺を防げなかった学校や、原因究明に及び腰だった市教委の問題点にも言及した。踏み込んだ内容と言える。

Another major point brought up by the report is the lack of communication among teachers.
 報告書から浮かび上がるのは、教師間の意思疎通の欠如だ。

Even though students told teachers about the bullying prior to the boy's suicide, the teachers failed to share this information and did not instruct the bullies to cease their activities.
生徒の自殺前、他の生徒からの訴えがありながら、情報が共有されず、適切な指導ができなかった。

The panel suggested that the teachers might have been uneasy that the bullying, if brought to light, would smear the reputation of the school.
 いじめが表面化すると学校のイメージダウンになるという意識が教師間にあったのではないか、との見方も示した。

In addition, the report questioned the irresponsible responses by the school and the board of education in the wake of the boy's suicide. From the beginning, the education board left the task of investigating the incident up to the school.
 報告書は、自殺後の学校や市教委のずさんな対応も問題視した。市教委は当初から調査を学校に丸投げした。

Only three days after the suicide, there are indications the school may have decided not to recognize any direct link between the boy's death and bullying, bringing the school's fact-finding investigations to a premature end, the report noted.
自殺の3日後にはいじめとの因果関係を認めない方向性を決めた形跡があり、実態調査も早々に打ち切った。

It was a matter of course for the report to condemn the school and education board for "abdicating their responsibility" to clarify what happened.
 報告書が「解明作業を放棄した」と批判したのも当然だ。

The municipal board of education indicated that the victim's home environment was a factor behind the suicide. The report, however, dismissed this argument as baseless.
 市教委は自殺した生徒の家庭に問題があるかのように言及をしてきたが、調査委は「そうした事実はなかった」と結論づけた。

===

Role of news organizations

If a story was fabricated to make it appear the boy's home environment was a major reason for the suicide to avoid legal responsibilities in the event of a lawsuit, the school and education board must be severely criticized for their malevolent conduct.
 報告書が指摘したように、訴訟を起こされた場合の法的責任を回避するため、自殺の原因は家庭問題にあるとの虚構を作り出したとしたら、極めて悪質である。

The tendency of the school and board in placing priority on self-preservation can be said to have slowed efforts to uncover the truth and caused the bereaved family to suffer even more mental anguish.
 組織防衛優先の対応が真相究明を遅らせ、遺族に精神的な苦痛を与えたと言える。

It is worth noting that the report referred to an article in The Yomiuri Shimbun in December reporting the investigative panel's suspicions that there was a direct connection between the bullying and the boy's suicide. "The news report led to a complete severing of any relationship of trust between the panel and the bullies, which led to the obstruction of our investigation," the panel said.
 一方、いじめと自殺の因果関係を明示する調査委の方向性を報じた昨年12月の読売新聞記事について、報告書は「報道により加害生徒との信頼関係が壊れ、調査活動に支障が生じた」と言及した。

News organizations have the duty to report incidents of public interest to society.
 報道機関には社会的関心に応える責務がある。

By examining anew how we should cover such problems as bullying, we believe it important to expand public understanding about the role of news organizations.
いじめの解明を巡る取材・報道の在り方を検証し、報道機関の役割について理解を広げていきたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 3, 2013)
(2013年2月3日01時36分  読売新聞)

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首相沖縄訪問 普天間移設へまず信頼回復だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 4, 2013)
Govt should restore trust with Okinawa to solve Futenma issue
首相沖縄訪問 普天間移設へまず信頼回復だ(2月3日付・読売社説)

The efforts that many people have made for 17 years since the United States agreed in 1996 to return the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to Japan must not be wasted. The government should do its utmost to advance relocation of the air station.
 1996年の米軍普天間飛行場返還の日米合意から17年にも及ぶ、多くの関係者の努力を無に帰させてはなるまい。政府は、普天間移設の前進に全力を挙げてもらいたい。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the prefecture on Saturday for the first time since taking office and held talks with Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima. Abe told Nakaima that the government had increased appropriations for the economic development of the prefecture in the fiscal 2013 budget and sought his understanding for relocating the air station to the Henoko district of Nago in the prefecture.
 安倍首相が就任後初めて沖縄県を訪問し、仲井真弘多知事と会談した。2013年度予算案で沖縄振興費を増やしたことを説明するとともに、普天間飛行場の名護市辺野古移設に理解を求めた。

Nakaima praised the increase in funding and expressed his gratitude.
 知事は、沖縄振興予算の増額を高く評価し、謝意を表明した。

In fiscal 2012, then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's government increased the budget for development of Okinawa Prefecture by 25 percent. The current Abe administration has allocated 300 billion yen, up 4 percent, in fiscal 2013.
 沖縄振興予算は、野田政権が12年度に25%増やしたのに続き、安倍政権も13年度は4%増の3000億円を計上した。

The government is also planning to shorten the construction period of the second runway at Naha Airport by more than one year from the seven years initially scheduled.
那覇空港第2滑走路の工期も当初の7年から1年以上短縮する方針だ。

===

Achieve tangible results

The trust between the central government and Okinawa Prefecture, which was broken by the Democratic Party of Japan-led government under then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, must be restored so progress can be made on the long-standing issue of Futenma. We can understand the Abe government's intention to expand measures for development of the prefecture as the first step toward that goal.
 長年の懸案である普天間問題の進展には、民主党の鳩山政権が崩壊させた沖縄県との信頼関係の再構築が欠かせない。安倍政権が沖縄振興策の拡充をその第一歩にしようとする意図は理解できる。

But the government must achieve tangible results. The DPJ-led government paid due consideration to the prefecture by giving preferential treatment to the budget for its development. But it failed to make progress on Futenma because it rigidly clung to the premise that the development budget and the issue of U.S. bases were not connected.
 重要なのは、きちんと結果を出すことだ。民主党政権は、振興予算の特別扱いなどで沖縄県に配慮したが、「振興予算と米軍基地問題は関連させない」といった建前論に終始し、肝心の普天間問題を前進させられなかった。

During his talks with the prime minister, Nakaima said Okinawan residents strongly desire the Japanese and U.S. governments to relocate Futenma outside the prefecture.
 会談で仲井真知事は、普天間問題について「県民には県外に出してほしいとの強い願いがある」と語った。

"Futenma can't remain [at the present location]," Abe replied. "I'd like to proceed [with the issue] within the framework of the Japan-U.S. agreement."
首相は「普天間の固定化はあってはならない。米国との合意の中で進めたい」と応じた。

After his talks with Nakaima, Abe said the government would not apply for permission from Okinawa Prefecture to reclaim coastal areas of Henoko before he visits the United States late this month. We think this is part of his efforts to restore the trust between the central and Okinawa prefectural governments.
 首相は会談後、今月下旬の訪米前は辺野古沿岸部の埋め立てを沖縄県に申請しない考えを示した。信頼関係構築の一環だろう。

===

Exhaustive talks necessary

So far, there is no appropriate place other than Henoko to transfer the functions of the air station in Ginowan. If the government fails to get permission from the governor to reclaim land, the dangerous situation at Futenma is highly likely to be unchanged for an extended period of time.
 今のところ、辺野古以外に現実的な普天間の移設先はない。知事の埋め立て許可が得られない場合、普天間の危険な現状が長期間固定化する恐れが濃厚だ。

To avoid the worst-case scenario, the government and Okinawa Prefecture should hold serious and exhaustive discussions on the issue from various perspectives.
 そうした最悪の事態を避けるよう、政府と沖縄県は真剣に多角的な協議を尽くす必要がある。

One idea is for the central and prefectural governments to discuss with the city of Ginowan how to use the plot of land that hosted the air station once it is returned to Japan.
 普天間飛行場返還後の跡地利用策について、地元の宜野湾市を交えて話し合うのも一案だろう。

The lack of plans to efficiently use the sites of U.S. military facilities after they are given back often makes the Japanese owners reluctant regarding their return and delays the process.
跡地の有効利用策がないため、地主らが消極的になり、米軍施設の返還が遅れる例も少なくない。

It is also important to alleviate the burdens on local communities by achieving the return of the marines' Camp Foster (Zukeran) and other U.S. facilities, and by relocating some U.S. military training facilities outside the prefecture.
Besides, the government should steadily move forward with consultations with Okinawa Prefecture on development of the northern part of the prefecture, along with the relocation of Futenma to the Henoko district.
 キャンプ瑞慶覧など他の米軍施設の返還と一部訓練の県外移転による地元負担の軽減や、辺野古移設に伴う県北部の地域振興の協議も着実に進めることが大切だ。

Past governments led by the Liberal Democratic Party had a good track record of having numerous talks with people concerned in local communities since 1996, to expand their understanding of the relocation of Futenma.
 自民党政権は96年以降、地元関係者と地道な対話を重ねて、普天間移設への理解を広げた実績がある。

Now it is the time for the government and the ruling parties to work together to accelerate their persuasion of local communities.
今こそ政府・与党が一体となり、説得作業を加速すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 3, 2013)
(2013年2月3日01時36分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月 3日 (日)

防衛予算増額 領土を守る体制拡充の一歩に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 3, 2013)
Defense spending increases should serve national security
防衛予算増額 領土を守る体制拡充の一歩に(2月2日付・読売社説)

The abnormal situation in which Japan alone kept slashing its defense spending while neighboring countries were substantially increasing theirs has been brought to an end. This is a significant development.
 周辺国が大幅に国防費を伸ばす中、日本だけが防衛費を減らし続ける異常事態に終止符を打った意義は大きい。

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to boost defense-related spending, excluding financial support for municipalities that host U.S. military bases, to 4.68 trillion yen in a draft budget for fiscal 2013, up 35.1 billion yen, or 0.8 percent, from the previous fiscal year. This is the first defense spending increase in 11 years.
 安倍政権が2013年度予算案で防衛関係費(米軍基地の地元負担軽減分を除く)に4兆6804億円を計上し、前年度より351億円(0・8%)増やした。防衛費増額は11年ぶりだ。

Compared with China, which has seen double-digit rises in its defense spending every year, Japan's increase is insufficient. However, we highly regard the government's emphasis on protecting Japan's territories.
 国防費の伸び率が毎年2ケタ台の中国と比べれば、日本の増額は十分でないが、領土を守る姿勢を示したことは評価できる。

In tandem with a review of the current National Defense Program Guidelines, which is expected to be carried out this year, it is vital to send a message to the international community in the medium and long term that Japan takes its security seriously.
 年内に予定している防衛大綱の見直しと連動して、「日本は安全保障を真剣に考えている」というメッセージを国際社会に中長期的に発信することが肝要である。

===

SDF eyes capacity buildup

We think it reasonable that the fiscal 2013 budget reflects the government's focus on the Senkaku Islands and other southwestern Japanese territories, placing importance on a capability buildup for surveillance and defense of remote islets.
 13年度予算が、尖閣諸島など南西方面を重視し、警戒監視活動や離島防衛などの対処能力の強化に重点を置いているのは妥当だ。

The Maritime Self-Defense Force plans to introduce the new P-1 patrol aircraft and aims to extend the useful life of a total of 16 escort vessels and submarines by five to 10 years through repair. The Air Self-Defense Force also plans to reinforce the ability of its equipment, such as the Airborne Warning and Control System, the early-warning E2C aircraft, and the radar system on Miyakojima island in Okinawa Prefecture.
 海上自衛隊は、新しい哨戒機P1を導入し、護衛艦、潜水艦計16隻の艦齢を修繕により5~10年延ばす。航空自衛隊も、空中警戒管制機(AWACS)や早期警戒機E2C、沖縄・宮古島のレーダーなどの能力を向上させる。

The Ground Self-Defense Force intends to deploy a coastal monitoring unit on Yonaguni Island and expand the scale of joint exercises with U.S. marines.
 陸上自衛隊は、与那国島に沿岸監視部隊を配置し、米海兵隊との共同訓練を拡充する。

These buildup plans are in line with a national "dynamic defense" vision that places priority on increased mobility and troop operations. The plans are likely to boost deterrence toward the nation's neighboring countries.
 いずれも部隊運用や機動力を重視する「動的防衛力」構想に合致したもので、周辺国に対する抑止力の強化につながろう。

The government also has included in the draft budget research costs on the Global Hawk high-altitude reconnaissance drone and the upgraded Osprey transport aircraft. The Global Hawk is fit for lengthy surveillance activities while the Osprey would be instrumental in protecting remote islands. The government should consider introducing them more aggressively.
 高高度無人偵察機グローバルホークと新型輸送機オスプレイの調査費も計上した。無人機は長時間の警戒監視活動に、オスプレイは離島防衛などに威力を発揮する。導入を前向きに検討すべきだ。

===

Questions raised over priority

Meanwhile, we question why the government has decided to divide the 287 newly recruited SDF members almost equally among its branches--94 for the GSDF, 96 for the MSDF and 97 for the ASDF. This is a typical example of horizontal egalitarianism.
 疑問なのは、287人の自衛官増員の内訳を、陸自94人、海自96人、空自97人とほぼ同じにしたことだ。悪(あ)しき横並びの典型だ。

Given that China's provocations around the Senkaku Islands could continue for a long time, Japan's top priority is clearly to strengthen surveillance by the MSDF and ASDF. The government would be able to deploy more GSDF personnel to southwestern Japanese territories simply by shifting them from Hokkaido and other regions, instead of increasing their number.
 尖閣諸島周辺における中国の示威活動の長期化を踏まえれば、最優先課題は、明らかに海自と空自の警戒体制の強化である。陸自の南西方面の増員分は、純増でなく、北海道など他の地域の人員を減らすことで確保できるはずだ。

After the Cold War ended, the nation's National Defense Program Guidelines were revised three times, but the respective percentages of the budget allocated to the GSDF, MSDF and ASDF remain almost unchanged. Such allocations should be reviewed in response to changes in national threats, but bureaucratic tribalism and organizational defense structures are said to hamper such a review.
 冷戦終結後、防衛大綱は3回改定されたが、陸海空3自衛隊の予算配分比率はほとんど変わっていない。脅威の変化に応じて配分比率を見直すのが筋なのに、陸海空の縦割り意識や組織防衛が障害になって実現しなかったという。

Amid fiscal difficulties, the government would find it difficult to significantly boost the defense budget. It therefore needs to reduce the number of GSDF members and streamline procurement of defense equipment further when crafting new national defense guidelines and budgets for fiscal 2014 and after.
 厳しい財政事情を考えれば、今後、防衛予算を大幅に伸ばすことは困難だろう。新たな防衛大綱や14年度以降の予算では、陸自の定数削減や装備調達の合理化を一層進める必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 2, 2013)
(2013年2月2日01時24分  読売新聞)

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北朝鮮拉致問題 国際連携強め事態を打開せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 3, 2013)
Stronger intl ties key to solve issue of abductions by N. Korea
北朝鮮拉致問題 国際連携強め事態を打開せよ(2月2日付・読売社説)

How can the government make a substantial breakthrough on the issue of abductions by North Korea? The government is now under pressure to have a well-prepared strategy on the issue.
 膠着(こうちゃく)状態に陥っている北朝鮮の日本人拉致問題をどう打開するか。周到な戦略が問われよう。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his intention to solve the issue in the first meeting of his second administration's government Headquarters for the Abduction Issue. All Cabinet ministers are members of the headquarters.
"I would like to solve the problem while I am the supreme officer on the issue," Abe said at the meeting. The government plans to make all-out efforts for the immediate return of all abduction victims, uncover the truth about the abductions and extradite the abductors.
 安倍首相は、全閣僚が参加する拉致問題対策本部の初会合で「私が最高責任者であるうちに解決したい」と表明した。全被害者の即時帰国、拉致の真相究明、実行犯の引き渡しに全力を挙げる方針だ。

The administration also newly established the Liaison Council of Government and Ruling and Opposition Parties Institutions for Measures against Abduction Issue.
 政府と与野党による連絡協議会も新設された。

The abduction of Japanese citizens is a grave crime against national sovereignty and the lives and safety of people. Regardless of their political affiliations, all lawmakers must work together to rescue the victims. We praise the government's efforts in pursuing this issue in such a dedicated manner.
拉致は国の主権と国民の生命・安全に関わる犯罪である。与党も野党もない。被害者救出への知恵を絞るべき時だ。意欲的な体制作りは評価できる。

===

U.N. human rights panel eyed

As an immediate task, Abe said the government will work to establish an investigation committee on human rights issues in North Korea at a March meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council. He revealed the government has begun discussions with relevant countries on the issue.
 当面の課題として首相は、3月の国連人権理事会で北朝鮮の人権問題に関する調査委員会を設置することを目指し、関係国と協議を開始したことを明らかにした。

The United Nations has adopted resolutions to express concern over abductions and serious human rights violations against political prisoners, among others in recent years. They were adopted after initiation by Japan and the European Union, but North Korea has ignored them.
 国連では近年、政治犯に対する深刻な人権侵害や拉致問題などに憂慮を表明し、改善を求める決議が採択されてきた。日本と欧州連合(EU)の主導によるものだが、北朝鮮は無視し続けている。

Even if such an investigation committee was established, North Korea would refuse to cooperate. However, a thorough investigation by experts will surely boost the international pressure against North Korea.
 調査委員会が設置されても北朝鮮は協力を拒むだろう。しかし、専門家による徹底的な調査は、北朝鮮に対する国際的な圧力を高める効果を持つに違いない。

Under the administration of Kim Jong Un, an official bilateral dialogue between the Japanese and North Korean governments occurred in November last year for the first time in four years. The Japanese side strongly demanded that North Korea take Japan's calls on the abduction issue seriously and respond to them.
 日朝間では、金正恩体制下の昨年11月、4年ぶりに正式な日朝政府間協議が実現し、日本側は拉致問題への対応を強く求めた。

Without dialogue, it is impossible to find a way to solve the problem. The government needs to advance aggressive diplomacy toward reopening of bilateral talks specifically on the abduction issue.
 対話なくして問題解決への糸口はつかめない。政府間協議の再開に向け、積極的な外交を展開する必要がある。

Out of 17 abduction victims officially recognized by the government, only five of them ever came back to Japan. In addition to the officially recognized abductees, there are hundreds of "missing Japanese probably related to North Korea," who went missing in cases that cannot be ruled out as abductions by North Korea.
 政府の認定する拉致被害者17人のうち、帰国が実現したのは5人だけだ。北朝鮮による拉致の疑いが排除できない「特定失踪者」も多数に上っている。

Members of abductees' families are elderly and complain of the hellish suffering they have to endure. The government should waste no time in dealing with this issue.
 被害者家族は高齢化し、「地獄の苦しみ」を訴えている。政府は悠長に構えてはいられない。

===

Dialogue and pressure

In December last year North Korea went ahead with launching a long-range ballistic missile despite repeated warnings by the international community. Reacting against the U.N. Security Council's resolution for beefed up sanctions, the country even indicated the possibility of conducting its third nuclear test. This behavior cannot be overlooked.
 一方で北朝鮮は、昨年12月、国際社会の度重なる警告にもかかわらず長距離弾道ミサイル発射を強行した。国連安全保障理事会の制裁決議に反発して、3回目の核実験の実施にも言及している。こうした態度は看過できない。

If North Korea actually conducted another nuclear test, Japan should closely cooperate with the United States and South Korea, as well as China, to further toughen sanctions against the reclusive country.
 北朝鮮が核実験に踏み切れば、日本は米韓両国や中国と緊密に連携し、北朝鮮に対する制裁を一層強化すべきである。

The Abe administration should advance its North Korea policy, while firmly maintaining the position of "dialogue and pressure."
 安倍政権は、「対話と圧力」を堅持して、対北朝鮮政策を前に進めていかなければならない。

For normalizing Japan-North Korea relations, together with reaching a solution to the nuclear and missile problems, solving the abduction issue is essential. Concrete measures to make North Korea understand this should be considered with the whole country as a united team in an "all-Japan" manner.
 日朝国交正常化には、核・ミサイル問題とともに拉致問題の解決が不可欠だ。それを北朝鮮に自覚させる具体的な手立てをオールジャパンで考えたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 2, 2013)
(2013年2月2日01時24分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月 2日 (土)

園田監督辞任 選手を追い詰めた責任は重い

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 2, 2013)
Women's judo coach Sonoda should feel heavy responsibility
園田監督辞任 選手を追い詰めた責任は重い(2月1日付・読売社説)

The head coach for the national women's judo team has expressed his intention to resign after a number of team members accused him in a letter of acting violently toward them.
 日本の女子柔道を担う選手たちに連名で暴力行為を告発された監督が辞任の意向を表明した。

The coach, who also hounded the female judoka psychologically, is not qualified to continue to instruct them.
 選手たちを精神的にも追い詰めた監督に指導者を続ける資格はない。

The coach is Ryuji Sonoda, a member of the Metropolitan Police Department. He apologized during a press conference Thursday, saying, "I regret that my behavior and words caused trouble for the athletes." Sonoda bears a heavy responsibility for causing the public to lose confidence in the judo world.
 告発されていたのは、警視庁所属で全日本女子監督の園田隆二氏だ。記者会見で「私の行動、言動で選手に迷惑をかけたことを反省している」と謝罪した。柔道界の信頼を失墜させた責任は重い。

The incident came to light when 15 female judoka, including some who participated in the London Olympics, submitted a letter of complaint to the Japanese Olympic Committee in December. In the letter they said they were subjected to violence and harassment.
 ロンドン五輪の代表を含む15人の選手が昨年12月、「暴力とパワーハラスメント(職権による人権侵害)を受けた」とする告発文書を日本オリンピック委員会(JOC)に提出したことで「事件」が表面化した。

===

Judo federation sloppy

The players said Sonoda and another coach struck them with their hands and a kendo shinai, a bamboo sword, on different occasions, including a special training camp for the Olympics. At least one athlete was threatened with expulsion from the Japanese team when she complained about the violence.
 選手たちは五輪の強化合宿などの際、園田監督と男性コーチから素手や竹刀などで暴行を受けた。不服を訴えると、「代表から外すぞ」と脅されたという。

After receiving the letter from the JOC, the All Japan Judo Federation conducted an inquiry on Sonoda and decided the contents of the letter were almost entirely true.
 JOCから告発文書を受けた全日本柔道連盟(全柔連)は、監督からの聞き取り調査の結果、告発内容はほぼ事実だと判断した。

The federation learned in September that Sonoda had been violent toward one of the team members involved in a special training program. However, as Sonoda admitted the accusation and apologized to the woman, the federation reportedly considered the problem to be settled.
 園田監督を巡っては昨年9月、強化選手1人に暴力を振るったとする情報が全柔連に入った。監督は事実を認め、選手に謝罪したことから、全柔連は、問題は決着済みと認識していたという。

The federation initially planned to keep Sonoda as head coach until the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, but it was only natural that a mutually trusting relationship could not be built between a coach and players who made such complaints.
 全柔連は当初、園田監督をリオデジャネイロ五輪まで続投させる方針だったが、告発にまで至った選手との間に、信頼関係を築けるはずもなかった。

We also see a serious problem with the judo federation's lack of crisis management ability, as it could not grasp the situation until the 15 judoka submitted the letter to the JOC. The 15 gave the letter to the JOC instead of the federation apparently because they distrusted the AJJF.
 15人の告発まで事態を把握できなかった全柔連の危機管理能力の欠如は深刻だ。15人が全柔連でなくJOCに告発したのは、全柔連への不信感からと言えよう。

As judo is considered Japan's particular forte, people tend to think it is natural for Japan's judoka to win in the Olympic Games. Therefore coaches must feel heavy pressure, much more than in other sports. There must be occasions when they have to sternly instruct judoka whose performance in their matches has been unsatisfactory.
 柔道は、日本のお家芸とされ、五輪では「勝って当たり前」という風潮が強い。それだけに、指導者も、他の競技以上に重圧を感じるに違いない。ふがいない試合をした時などには、厳しく指導することもあるだろう。

===

Chain of violence?

However, behavior and statements that judoka interpret as violence or harassment should never be allowed.
 しかし、選手が暴力やパワハラと感じる行為は、どのような場合であっても許されない。

Since the corporal punishment case at Osaka municipal Sakuranomiya High School came to light, people are turning much sterner eyes on violence in situations where athletes are trained.
 大阪市立桜宮高校の体罰問題を契機に、スポーツの指導現場での暴力に、これまで以上に厳しい目が注がれている。

Players who were punched by coaches may interpret these actions as an expression of their enthusiasm, and use violence themselves when they are eventually in a position to instruct athletes. We suspect there may be such a chain of violence.
 指導者から殴られたことを「愛のムチ」と感じた選手が、教える立場になると、同じように暴力を振るうという「暴力の連鎖」はないのだろうか。

Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hakubun Shimomura has instructed the JOC to investigate the situation in sports other than judo as well. Japan's entire sports world needs a thorough checkup.
 下村文部科学相は、柔道以外の競技についても、JOCに実態調査を指示した。スポーツ界全体で総点検が必要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 1, 2013)
(2013年2月1日01時17分  読売新聞)

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原発の新基準 安全と再稼働の両立を目指せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 2, 2013)
N-plant restarts, safety concerns must be reconciled
原発の新基準 安全と再稼働の両立を目指せ(2月1日付・読売社説)

Remember this: Setting safety criteria for nuclear power plants is tantamount to passing judgment on the rights and wrongs of operating them.
 原子力発電所の安全基準は稼働の是非を判断するためのものだ。それを忘れてはならない。

An expert panel meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) worked out on Thursday a draft outline of new safety standards based on the lessons of the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
 原子力規制委員会の専門家会合が、東京電力福島第一原発事故を踏まえた新安全基準の骨子案をまとめた。

To prevent another nuclear disaster, the draft outline calls for mandatory countermeasures against severe accidents, citing specific steps that should be taken. Such measures have so far been left up to the utilities' voluntary efforts.
 事故再発を防ぐため、これまで電力会社の自主的な取り組みにゆだねられてきた過酷事故(シビアアクシデント)対策を、具体的な必要事項を挙げて義務付けた。

After seeking public opinion on the nuclear safety standards, a set of NRA rules are to be set down by the end of July.
 国民の意見を求め、7月までに規制委規則として定める。

On the basis of the NRA rules, the government will screen long-idled nuclear complexes to determine whether they may be reactivated.
これに基づき、政府が長期間停止させている各原発について、再稼働を認めるか否かを審査する。

===

Avoid blanket application

Restarting nuclear plants is a prerequisite for ensuring the nation's stable supply of electricity.
 電力の安定供給には、原発の再稼働が不可欠である。

The new standards must be used to enhance the actual safety of nuclear power generation, not as a means of making nuclear plant operations impossible.
新基準を原発を止めておく道具とせず、安全性向上に活用すべきだ。

To deal with potential incidents similar to the Fukushima disaster, the draft outline seeks to oblige power companies to set up a second control room capable of remotely controlling the cooling reactor containment vessels. This is meant as preparation for a scenario in which an ordinary control room is rendered unusable for reasons such as a loss of power supply.
 骨子案では、福島第一原発のような過酷事故に対処するため、原子炉の冷却作業を遠隔操作できる第2制御室の設置を求めた。通常の中央制御室が停電などで使えなくなった場合に備えたものだ。

Regarding fire-prevention measures at power plants, the draft calls for making it obligatory for power utilities to boost the fire resistance of their nuclear facilities. On measures against earthquakes, the draft seeks to require power companies to even more closely scrutinize any possible active faults beneath the facilities.
 火災対策としては、施設の耐火性強化を義務づけ、地震対策としては、敷地内の活断層を従来より綿密に調べるよう求めた。

Concerning tsunami, the draft outline envisions having power companies look into the greatest tsunami known to have struck areas where plants are located. On the basis of the examinations, specific mandatory safety measures should be imposed, such as construction of sea walls, according to the draft.
津波についても、原発ごとに過去の最大津波を調査し、それに応じて防潮堤建設などの措置を取らせる。

We hope the NRA will tailor these rules and measures to the specific circumstances of each plant, rather than applying them in a blanket manner.
 規制委には、これらの対策を一律にではなく、項目や原発ごとに柔軟に適用するよう求めたい。

In the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, every nuclear facility has already augmented its electric power sources and emergency water injection functions in accordance with government instructions. Layers of precautions against severe accidents are now in place.
 東日本大震災の後、政府の指示に基づき、各原発で電源や注水機能が補強された。過酷事故を防ぐ手だては何層も増えている。

Safety enhancements requiring large-scale construction work, such as a second control room, should be given a grace period, allowing them to be completed as medium- or long-term projects.
 第2制御室のように大規模な工事を要するものは、中長期的に整備するなど、猶予期間を設けることを検討してもらいたい。

===

Many experts' views needed

As for active faults, it would be meaningless to conduct examinations solely aimed at 100 percent confirmation of their nonexistence.
 活断層も、100%ないと確認することだけを目標にするのでは意味がない。

If there is a possibility of an active fault beneath a nuclear facility, it is definitely important and realistic to study measures to minimize the risks of radiation leakage by strengthening the earthquake-resistance of the facility.
活断層の可能性があれば、施設の耐震強度を引き上げて、放射能の漏洩(ろうえい)リスクを抑える方策を検討することが重要で現実的な対応と言えよう。

A colossal amount of money will certainly be needed to put into effect the measures sought under the new safety standards.
 新基準で求められる対策には巨費がかかる。

Some power companies may be left with no choice but to decommission their reactors.
廃炉を選択する電力会社も出てくるかもしれない。

NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka has dismissed these concerns, saying, "We have no intention whatsoever of taking such matters into consideration." Some members of the expert meeting reportedly objected to this stance, calling the safety requirements "excessively stringent."
 規制委の田中俊一委員長は「そういうことは一切、考慮しない」と突き放したが、専門家会合のメンバーからは「要求が過大だ」との異論も出ている。

The draft outline this time has been put together by a handful of experts and the secretariat of the NRA.
 今回の骨子案は、少数の専門家と規制委事務局でまとめた。

Opinions from a broader spectrum of experts should be listened to in the process toward eventual legislation of new nuclear safety standards.
最終的な法制化に当たっては、幅広く専門家の声を聞く必要がある。

Regulatory measures for nuclear safety must be efficient as well as reasonable.
 規制は合理的かつ効率的であるべきだ。

An unnecessarily long time must not be spent on safety screening procedures for reactivation of nuclear plants.
再稼働の審査にいたずらに時間をかけてはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 1, 2013)
(2013年2月1日01時17分  読売新聞)

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2013年2月 1日 (金)

アルジェリア事件:「逃げる日本人射殺」現地従業員証言

January 31, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Islamist militants gunned down fleeing Japanese: local staffer
アルジェリア事件:「逃げる日本人射殺」現地従業員証言

ALGIERS, Algeria -- Two of the 10 Japanese killed in the recent gas plant hostage crisis here were gunned down trying to flee as Islamic militants swept into the facility on Jan. 16, an Algerian plant worker has told the Mainichi.
The two victims were Bunshiro Naito, 44, and Rokuro Fuchida, 64, 30-year-old Abdel Hamid told the Mainichi during a Jan. 30 interview. Both men worked for companies affiliated with engineering firm JGC Corp. The Algerian has been an office employee at the plant in In Amenas, southern Algeria, since March 2012.
 【アルジェ秋山信一】アルジェリアの人質事件で、イスラム武装勢力が16日朝、南部イナメナス近郊のティカントリの天然ガス関連施設の従業員居住区を襲撃した状況が、プラント大手「日揮」のアルジェリア人従業員の男性の証言で分かった。「日本人2人が通勤バスに乗り込んだ際に武装勢力と遭遇し、バスから降りて逃げたときに撃たれた」という。男性は何とか逃げ延びたが、「100%、自分も殺されると思った」と振り返った。
 男性はアブドルハミーダさん(30)。12年3月から現地事務所に勤務し、30日に毎日新聞の取材に応じた。

According to the local employee, the two Japanese workers were boarding minibuses in the residential quarter of the natural gas plant when they ran into the invading militants. The Algerian employee survived the ordeal, but said he was certain he would be killed.
The attack began at around 5:40 a.m. on Jan. 16, when the 30-year-old was preparing for work. He saw red lights outside his room in the residential quarter at about the time some 10 JGC employees were scheduled to board buses bound for their office at the plant. What was actually happening, however, was a faceoff with the militants. The driver threw the bus into reverse and tried to escape, only to be stopped when the vehicle hit a rock, according to the employee.
 証言によると、武装勢力が襲撃したのは16日午前5時40分ごろ。アブドルハミーダさんが自室で身支度をしていると窓の外で赤いライトが見えた。日揮の従業員ら約10人が、ガス施設近くの日揮事務所にミニバスで出発する時刻だった。武装勢力に遭遇し、運転手はバックして逃げようとしたが、岩に当たってバスは止まった。

The passengers got off the minibus and tried to flee, but Fuchida and a Malaysian worker were shot in their tracks before they could reach the safety of a nearby building. The militants then killed Naito and a Filipino worker in their hiding place in another structure.
 従業員らは降車して、逃げたが、日本人とマレーシア人の2人が居住区の建物に逃げ込む前に撃たれて死亡。さらに建物内に逃げた日本人とフィリピン人の2人も殺害されたという。外で撃たれたのは渕田六郎さん(64)、建物内で撃たれたのは内藤文司郎さん(44)だったという。いずれも日揮の協力会社の社員だった。

According to the local employee, Fuchida would always greet him with a smile, saying, "Good morning" in Arabic, whenever they got on the same bus to work. He said Japanese workers were kind, adding that he didn't know what to say about what happened to them.
 アブドルハミーダさんによると、渕田さんは通勤バスに乗り合わせるとアラビア語で「おはよう」といつも笑顔で声をかけてくれたという。「日本人は親切で良い人たちだった。こんなことになって、何と言っていいか分からない」と話した。

The 30-year-old himself hid under his bed when the militants opened fire, locking the door and turning off the air conditioner and lights. One of the attackers tried to open the door but soon gave up and moved to the next room.
 一方、アブドルハミーダさんは襲撃時、自室の鍵をかけてエアコンと電気を消し、ベッドの下に伏せていた。武装勢力のメンバーらしき人物がドアを開けようとしたが、施錠を確認するとすぐに隣へ移ったという。

At about 9 a.m., the 30-year-old tapped out an email to his father on his mobile phone, telling him the residences were being attacked by terrorists and asking him to call police. He also asked his father not to worry his mother by telling her what was going on. Later, during the five hours of sporadic gunfire that followed the initial assault, the employee heard voices in English and Tunisian-accented Arabic saying they wouldn't harm Muslims, but he was too scared to come out.
 午前9時ごろに携帯電話からショートメールを父親に送った。「ティカントリの住居でテロリストに襲われている。警察に通報してほしい。心配するからお母さんには言わないで」。室外からは「イスラム教徒には危害を加えない。出てこい」などと呼びかけるチュニジアなまりのアラビア語や英語が聞こえたが、銃撃音は約5時間続き、怖くて出る気にはなれなかった。

The local employee finally fled his room on the morning of Jan. 17 when a friend called to him from just outside his window, asking him to flee together. They joined around 40 people making their escape, including a Japanese JGC worker. They saw the bodies of their murdered coworkers on the way but, desperate to get away, they ran on. The 30-year-old was dizzy and breathless by the time they reached the dormitory of a nearby Algerian state-run firm, where he was taken to a clinic.

The next morning, he and other workers made the 30 minute walk to another facility where other survivors were gathered. Along the way, he saw a vehicle that had been destroyed by an Algerian attack helicopter. He also saw six other Japanese survivors of the ordeal. He was taken to an airport on the back of a truck and was finally reunited with his wife and child at their home on Jan. 19. He had lost 12 kilograms over the three days. He told the Mainichi that he was still scared even now, and that he could have been killed had the gas plant been blown up.

An earlier interview with sources close to a hospital in In Amenas -- about 50 kilometers east of the gas plant -- has revealed that two Japanese were killed in air attacks by Algerian forces, while at least five other Japanese had been shot, though it remains unclear by whom. In total, 38 workers were killed in the hostage crisis.

毎日新聞 2013年01月31日 11時20分(最終更新 01月31日 12時46分)

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防衛力見直し―首相の説明が足りない

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 28
EDITORIAL: Abe must offer a clear explanation about his defense policy review
防衛力見直し―首相の説明が足りない

The Abe administration has set out to review Japan's defense policy.
 安倍政権による防衛態勢の見直し作業が始まった。

It was decided at a Cabinet meeting last weekend to revise the current defense program outline and scrap the new midterm defense program, which were both crafted under the previous government led by the Democratic Party of Japan. The Abe administration plans to hammer out a new defense outline and a midterm defense plan by the end of this year.
 先週末の閣議で、民主党政権下の10年にできた防衛計画の大綱の見直しと中期防衛力整備計画の廃止を決めた。新たな大綱と中期防は年内につくる。

The government also plans to increase defense spending in the budget for fiscal 2013, which starts in April, for the first time in 11 years.
 13年度予算では防衛費も11年ぶりに増やす方向だ。

Japan and the United States are also now in talks on revising guidelines for bilateral security cooperation again.
 日米防衛協力のための指針(ガイドライン)の再改定をめぐる日米協議もスタートした。

The Abe administration has taken those steps in rapid succession.
 まさに矢継ぎ早である。

The security environment in East Asia has changed dramatically in recent years. In particular, China's dramatic military buildup and growing naval presence in the Pacific Ocean have drawn concern. The country is also embroiled in a territorial dispute with Japan over the Senkaku Islands, which has created tension between the two countries. North Korea has also become a bigger threat to regional security with its repeated missile launches and nuclear tests.
 ここ数年、東アジアの安全保障環境は大きく変わった。とりわけ中国の軍備拡張、海洋進出は著しく、日本との間でも尖閣諸島問題で緊張が続く。ミサイル発射や核実験を繰り返す北朝鮮の脅威も増した。

It is fully appropriate for the Japanese government to make a periodic reassessment of its defense strategy in response to changes in the international situation. As the United States has begun to shift the focus of its defense strategy toward the Asia-Pacific region, it is also necessary for Japan to strengthen the bilateral security alliance.
 国際情勢の変化をふまえ、防衛のあり方を不断に点検するのは当然のことだ。米国が「アジア太平洋重視」を打ち出すなか、日米の同盟関係を深化させることも必要だろう。

But Abe's move could end up heightening tension in the region if it is seen by Japan's neighbors as a reckless departure from the nation's traditional defense policy. We cannot help but have concern about the Abe administration's headlong rush to change defense policy so drastically.
 一方で、防衛政策をやみくもに変えていると受け止められれば、かえって地域の緊張を高めかねない。安倍政権の前のめりの姿勢を見ると、そんな懸念がぬぐえない。

Since the end of World War II, Japan has imposed tight restrictions on its exercise of the right to self-defense based on the pacifist principle laid down by Article 9 of the Constitution. For instance, the Self-Defense Forces are prohibited from using armed force abroad. Nor is the SDF allowed to exercise the right to collective self-defense, which would enable it to fight alongside U.S. forces in hostile situations overseas.
 言うまでもなく、戦後の日本は憲法9条の平和原則のもと、自衛権の行使にみずから厳しい制約を課してきた。自衛隊による海外での武力行使は禁じる、集団的自衛権の行使は認めない、などである。

Abe, however, has already indicated his desire to give the green light to Japan's use of its right to collective self-defense. The Abe administration's series of steps to review national security strategy was apparently based on the premise that the right to collective self-defense will gain parliamentary approval.
 ところが、安倍首相は集団的自衛権の行使容認に意欲を示している。一連の見直し作業もそれを前提にしたものだろう。

If so, what form of defense cooperation between Japan and the United States does he envision and under what kind of situations? We fear that the approval of the right to collective self-defense will give the SDF unlimited powers. Abe has a duty to address this concern.
 では、どのような事態のもとで、どんな形の日米協力を想定しているのか。自衛隊の活動を際限なく広げるようなことにならないか。首相は明確に説明する責任がある。

Unless he does so, his actions could cause great alarm among Japan's neighbors and trigger a fierce arms race.
 そうでないと、周辺国の警戒感を高め、激しい軍拡競争に陥りかねない。

Wanton expansion of defense spending is also unacceptable.
 防衛費の野放図な拡大も許されない。

The current defense program outline adopted the concept of "dynamic defense capability." This approach is aimed at achieving greater efficiency in SDF operations amid the fiscal crunch that forced the government to cut defense spending in the first place.
 現大綱は「動的防衛力」という考え方を打ち出した。防衛予算が削減されるなか、自衛隊を効率的に運用する狙いだ。

Due to the nation's dire fiscal situation, there is an ever-present need to scrutinize the SDF's equipment, manpower and activities from the viewpoint of cost efficiency. Ramping up the budget allocation to the Japan Coast Guard could be a more efficient way to enhance the nation's capability to defend its borders against foreign intrusions in southwestern sea areas, including those around the Senkaku Islands.
 厳しい財政事情のもと、今後も装備や人員、活動を精査することは欠かせない。尖閣をふくむ南西海域の警備強化には、海上保安庁に予算を重点配分する方が効果的な面もある。

Dealing effectively with China is a difficult and complicated challenge. Tackling this challenge requires a comprehensive strategy that incorporates diplomatic and economic efforts. It would not be wise to focus solely on bolstering defense capability.
 中国との向き合い方は一筋縄ではいかない。外交や経済をふくむ総合的な戦略を描く必要がある。防衛力強化だけを突出させるべきではあるまい。

As the Abe administration works on the new security policy, it needs to offer clear and convincing explanations about its intentions and avoid creating unnecessary tensions. This is the essence of security policies.
 説明を怠らず、無用の緊張をあおらない。これが安全保障政策の要諦(ようてい)である。

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代表質問 経済再生へ建設的論戦深めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 1, 2013)
Parties should hold constructive debate to revive economy
代表質問 経済再生へ建設的論戦深めよ(1月31日付・読売社説)

We urge the ruling and opposition parties to engage in constructive debate on how to rejuvenate the economy, the most urgent task facing Japan.
 現下の最重要課題である日本経済の再生へ、与野党は建設的な論戦を展開してもらいたい。

On Wednesday, party leaders began questioning Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policy speech at the Diet. It was the first clash between Abe and Banri Kaieda, the new president of the Democratic Party of Japan, as party leaders in that venue.
 安倍首相の所信表明演説に対する各党代表質問が始まり、首相と民主党の海江田代表が初めて対決した。

Kaieda expressed concern over the 2 percent inflation target set jointly by the government and the Bank of Japan, saying the target could result in a drop in real wages and a rise in long-term interest rates. "We can't ignore the side effects [of the inflation target] on people's daily lives," Kaieda said.
 海江田氏は、政府と日銀による2%の物価目標について、実質賃金の低下や長期金利の上昇など、「国民生活への副作用も無視できない」と懸念を示した。

Kaieda also attacked Abe's stimulus measures. "Old-fashioned economic measures that depend on public works projects are less effective," he said.
 政府の景気対策についても「公共事業に偏重した旧来型経済政策は効果に乏しい」と批判した。

Regarding the possible side effects of his monetary easing policy, Abe rebutted Kaieda, saying, "I'll deal with them through flexible macroeconomic measures."
 首相は、金融緩和の副作用について「機動的なマクロ経済運営などで対応する」と反論した。

Abe defended his stimulus policy by saying that his administration will pay close attention to fiscal discipline. "We'll achieve the two goals of restoring fiscal health and rejuvenating the economy simultaneously," Abe said.
景気対策では、財政規律にも配慮するとして、「財政健全化と経済再生の双方を実現する」と語った。

===

Beating deflation top priority

Kaieda has a point. However, it is a fact that the yen's value and stock prices are continuing to improve as the market reacts favorably to Abe's announcement of his "three arrows" approach to the economy--combined policy initiatives of bold monetary easing, flexible fiscal spending and a growth strategy that induces public investment.
 海江田氏の指摘には一理ある。だが、金融・財政政策と成長戦略の「3本の矢」を連動させる安倍政権の方針が好感され、円安・株高が続いているのは事実だ。

Conquering deflation is a long-standing issue for the nation. Measures with a stronger punch than conventional steps are needed to achieve that goal. It is important for the government and the central bank to cooperate more closely to bolster the economy.
 長年の課題であるデフレ脱却を実現するには、従来以上に強力な手段が求められている。政府と日銀がより緊密に連携し、景気にテコ入れすることが重要だ。

Regarding the government's energy policy, Kaieda asked Abe whether his administration will adopt the previous DPJ-led administration's goal of achieving "zero nuclear power by 2030." Abe clarified that his administration will review it.
 エネルギー政策では、海江田氏が「2030年代に原発稼働ゼロ」を目指す民主党政権の戦略を維持するかどうか質問したのに対し、首相は見直すと明言した。

We believe it is inevitable for the government to review the zero nuclear policy, as there are still no feasible ideas how to secure the alternative power sources necessary for a stable power supply.
 電力の安定供給に必要な代替エネルギー確保の見通しがない中、見直しは当然だ。

The government should draw up a new energy policy aimed at utilizing safe nuclear power plants after sufficient discussion with local governments that host nuclear power plants and countries concerned.
政府は、原発立地自治体や関係国と十分協議し、安全な原発は活用する方向で新戦略を策定する必要がある。

===

DPJ shouldn't stick to old tactics

Kaieda also referred to his party's role as an opposition party. While stressing that the DPJ will fulfill the role of checking the government run by the LDP and New Komeito, Kaieda also said, "As an opposition party that has experience holding the reins of government, we'll promote politics that can move important issues forward."
 海江田氏は、民主党の役割について「自公政権のチェック機能を果たす」一方で、「政権運営の経験を持つ野党として『決める政治』を前進させる」とも語った。

We believe Kaieda's philosophy is appropriate. The DPJ has the most seats in the House of Councillors. Under the divided Diet--in which the DPJ and other opposition parties have a majority in the upper house--the DPJ should never forget it shares an important role of moving politics forward.
 妥当な認識だ。衆参ねじれ国会の下、参院第1党の民主党は、政治を動かす責任の一翼を担っていることを忘れてはなるまい。

When the DPJ previously sat on the opposition bench, the party gave priority to blocking the ruling parties through tactics such as opposing government personnel appointments that are subject to Diet approval. If the party uses such tactics again, it will be natural for the party to be labeled an opposition party whose identity is to oppose everything.
The public would be unlikely to support such a party, and it would be a step back for the party's reform.
 以前の野党・民主党のように、国会同意人事などで政府を揺さぶることを優先するような「抵抗野党」の国会戦術は国民に評価されず、党の再生にも逆行しよう。

Takeo Hiranuma, head of the Diet members' caucus of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), said his party would decide whether to oppose the LDP-led government on an issue-by-issue basis. Hiranuma even responded favorably to Abe's economic policy, saying, "I feel affinity with the prime minister's stance [on the economy]."
 日本維新の会の平沼赳夫国会議員団代表は、政府・与党に「是々非々」で臨む考えを示した。経済政策などでは「首相の姿勢に共感を覚える」とエールも送った。

The cooperation of opposition parties is essential for the early passage of the fiscal 2013 budget and related bills.
 予算案や関連法案の早期成立には野党の協力が欠かせない。

Abe said he would like to "gather the wisdom of all ruling and opposition parties" to deal with the nation's problems.
To do so, he himself must exercise flexibility by sincerely listening to the assertions of the opposition parties and reflecting them in government measures if necessary.
 安倍首相は「与野党の叡智(えいち)の結集」を呼びかけた以上、野党の主張にも耳を傾け、適切に施策に反映させる柔軟性が求められる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 31, 2013)
(2013年1月31日01時39分  読売新聞)

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春闘スタート 景気回復へ問われる労使協調

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 1, 2013)
Business, labor groups should cooperate for economic recovery
春闘スタート 景気回復へ問われる労使協調(1月31日付・読売社説)

This year's shunto spring wage negotiations have just began, as the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to revitalize the nation's economy and pull Japan out of deflation. Leaders of business and labor groups surely will have a fierce tug-of-war over wage hikes.
 安倍政権が日本経済の再生とデフレ脱却を目指す中、今年の春闘がスタートした。賃上げを巡る労使の攻防は一段と白熱するだろう。

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) insists that overall salaries must be raised by 1 percent--in addition to a seniority-based regular wage increase--saying salary hikes are necessary to boost personal spending and ultimately pull the nation out of deflation.
 連合は「個人消費の拡大には賃上げが必要だ。それがデフレ脱却につながる」として、定期昇給とは別に、給与総額の1%引き上げを要求した。

Wage levels have been falling for more than a decade--a factor cited by Rengo as discouraging consumers from spending money and causing the nation to suffer a sluggish economy and deflation.
 賃金水準は10年以上も低落が続いている。これが消費意欲を冷え込ませ、景気低迷とデフレをもたらす要因と主張している。

The Japanese Business Federation (Keidanren) counters such arguments by saying top priority should be placed on securing employment and therefore there is no room for a pay-scale increase.
 これに対し、経団連は「雇用確保が最優先。ベースアップを実施する余地はない」と反論する。

There are large differences between opinions of the labor and management sides.
労使の主張の隔たりは大きい。

===

An indication from Abe

A major focus of attention is how much this year's spring wage negotiations will reflect Abe's policy to put top priority on pulling Japan out of deflation.
 今後、注目されるのは、デフレ脱却を最重視する安倍首相の方針が交渉にどう反映されるかだ。

"We aim to help companies become more profitable so as to expand employment and increase wages," Abe said during a press conference earlier this month at which he announced an emergency economic package. "We'd like to seek cooperation from company executives."
 首相は緊急経済対策を発表した今月の記者会見で「企業の収益を向上させ、雇用や賃金の拡大につなげたい。企業の経営者にも協力をいただきたい」と述べた。

The prime minister has also announced a measure to reduce corporate taxes on companies that raise wages.
 賃上げした企業には、法人税を軽減する措置も打ち出した。

As the government and the Bank of Japan have set a 2 percent inflation target, Abe apparently does not want to see "bad inflation," under which only prices rise while wages do not.
 政府と日銀は2%のインフレ目標を決めただけに、賃金が上がらずに物価だけが上昇する「悪い物価上昇」を避けたいと首相は考えているのだろう。

Such strong signals from the prime minister may put some wind in the labor unions' sails. However, it is not clear whether they can achieve wage increases.
 首相の“援軍”は労働側には追い風だが、賃上げが実現するかどうかは不透明である。

The most important thing is to help companies improve their productivity so they become strong enough to increase salaries.
 何よりも重要なのは、企業の生産性を向上させ、賃上げできるよう経営体力を強化することだ。

The nation's businesses have been fighting an uphill battle mainly due to the prolonged sluggishness of the economy and fierce competition with overseas manufacturers. Quite a few companies also remain overstaffed.
 長引く不況や海外メーカーとの競争など、産業界には逆風が吹く。依然として余剰人員を抱える企業は少なくない。

The hyperappreciation of the yen is being rectified, while stock prices are rising. These are among the positive signs since December's general election brought a change of government from the Democratic Party of Japan to Abe's Liberal Democratic Party.
 政権交代後、超円高の是正が進み、株価が上昇するなど明るい材料も見え始めた。

Nonetheless, different companies perform differently even in the same industry. One approach would be for companies that are doing relatively well to be the first to increase salaries.
ただ、同じ業種でも企業によって業績は異なる。体力のある企業から賃上げを実施するのも一つの方策だろう。

===

Older and nonregular workers

Another major issue in this year's spring wage negotiations is retaining workers until the age of 65.
 65歳までの再雇用も、今年の春闘の大きなテーマだ。

From April, companies will be obliged to retain workers until that age if they want to work beyond the current retirement age of 60. Keidanren has expressed its view that companies will suffer a huge burden of increased labor costs due to the measure.
 4月から希望者全員の再雇用が企業に義務付けられる。経団連は「人件費の増大が企業の大きな負担になる」との見方を示している。

We hope the labor and management sides will hold deeper negotiations on the issue to make the system work well for both sides.
労使双方に望ましい制度とするため、議論を深めてもらいたい。

Another important issue is improving the working conditions of nonregular workers, who account for 35 percent of the workforce.
 働き手の35%を占める非正規労働者の待遇改善も重要課題だ。

Increases in the number of nonregular workers--who get lower salaries and suffer unstable employment compared to their full-time counterparts--have also triggered sluggish consumer spending.
 正社員に比べて低賃金で雇用が不安定な非正規労働者の増大は、消費低迷の要因でもある。

Regarding nonregular workers, Rengo has called for introducing a system to change their status to full-time workers and creating clear rules on how they may enjoy pay hikes. Correcting gaps in working conditions between the two groups will surely encourage workers in general to spend more money.
 連合は非正規労働者について、正社員への転換制度の導入や昇給ルールの明確化を求めている。正社員との格差是正は、労働者全体の消費拡大にもつながろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 31, 2013)
(2013年1月31日01時39分  読売新聞)

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