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2013年3月 8日 (金)

新公取委員長 「市場の番人」が担う重い責任

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 8, 2013)
New FTC chairman bears heavy responsibility as market guardian
新公取委員長 「市場の番人」が担う重い責任(3月7日付・読売社説)

The chairmanship of the Fair Trade Commission--which ensures fair competition as a guardian of the market--was empty for about six months. We welcome the recent resolution of this irregular situation.
 公正な競争を実現する「市場の番人」のトップが約半年不在という異常事態が解消されたことを歓迎したい。

Kazuyuki Sugimoto, a former administrative vice finance minister, assumed the post earlier this week after being approved by both chambers of the Diet.
 衆参両院の同意を経て公正取引委員会の新委員長に杉本和行元財務次官が就任した。

The seat had been empty since September, following the retirement of Sugimoto's predecessor, Kazuhiko Takeshima, because the Cabinet of then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda did not even submit an appointment proposal to the Diet.
 竹島一彦前委員長が昨年9月に退任後、野田内閣は後任人事を示せず、空席が続いていた。

It was irresponsible for Noda's administration to leave the FTC unable to function without a leader. It was appropriate that the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors approved the proposal by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to appoint Sugimoto as the commission's new chairman.
 公取委の機能不全を放置したのは無責任と言うしかない。安倍内閣が示した人事案に衆参両院が同意したのは妥当である。

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan caused confusion when it rejected a government offer to discuss Sugimoto's appointment on the grounds that it was leaked by the media before officially being made public. The ruling and opposition camps should use this case as a chance to normalize Diet procedures for approving personnel nominations proposed by the government.
 民主党は事前報道を理由に一度は人事案の提示を拒否し、混乱を招いた。与野党は公取委員長人事を契機に、国会同意人事の正常化を定着させなければならない。

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Vows to promote competition

The FTC will play an important role in Abenomics, the economic policy of Abe's administration through which it aims to help companies become more competitive.
 公取委は、企業の競争力強化を目指す安倍政権の「アベノミクス」で重要な役割を担う。

"We will ensure fair, free competition," Sugimoto said during a press conference upon assuming the post. "We will strictly deal with violations of the Antimonopoly Law."
 杉本氏は就任記者会見で、「公正な自由競争を確保する。独占禁止法違反には厳正に対処する」と述べた。

We hope Sugimoto will exercise his leadership as the commanding officer for the competition policy.
競争政策の司令塔として指導力を発揮してもらいたい。

The FTC strengthened its functions during Takeshima's 10-year tenure.
 公取委は、竹島前委員長時代の10年間に機能を強化した。

In addition to raising financial penalties for companies violating the law, the commission adopted a system to reduce or waive surcharges on companies that voluntarily report their violations. This has helped the FTC uncover a number of serious cases.
 違反企業の課徴金額を引き上げたほか、違反行為を自己申告した企業の課徴金を減免する制度を導入し、相次いで大型事件を摘発する成果を上げた。

The FTC also speeded up screenings of corporate mergers, with an eye on the fact that companies have been facing fiercer competition with foreign rivals.
 激化する国際競争を踏まえ、企業の統合審査も迅速化した。

How can the FTC help companies become more competitive and ultimately revive the nation's economy? The Sugimoto-led commission bears a heavy responsibility.
 企業競争力をいかに強化し、経済活性化につなげるか。「杉本公取委」の責任は重い。

The commission's immediate task is to enable small and midsize companies to increase their prices by the amount of the consumption tax when its rate is increased in 2014 and 2015. It should prevent major companies from abusing their dominant positions to force weaker contractors to shoulder the tax increases.
 当面の課題は、2014年と15年の消費税率引き上げ時に、中小企業が増税分を円滑に価格転嫁できる環境をつくることだ。大企業が優越的地位を乱用し、立場の弱い下請け企業に増税分を負担させる動きを防がねばならない。

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Protect smaller firms

The government will submit a bill during the current ordinary Diet session to allow the FTC to warn companies if they prevent contractors from reflecting the tax increases in their prices, or to make the names of such firms public. The FTC should fulfill its supervisory functions.
 政府は今国会に、価格転嫁を拒んだ業者に公取委が勧告し、公表する仕組みを盛り込んだ特別措置法案を提出する。公取委は監視機能を十分に発揮すべきである。

When Sugimoto attended a hearing at the Diet before receiving its approval, he was asked about the resale price maintenance system, under which newspapers and book publishers, along with makers of other items, are authorized to set retail prices on their products. Sugimoto said he does not think the system should be revised.
 新聞や書籍などの小売価格を発行会社が指定できる再販売価格維持制度について、杉本氏は国会での所信聴取で「見直しは考えていない」と明言した。

Sugimoto also said it is unnecessary to abolish the designation of newspapers as an exception to the Antimonopoly Law, which enables anyone to buy the same newspaper at the same price anywhere in the nation.
 同一の新聞なら全国どこでも同じ価格で購読できる「特殊指定」も撤廃不要との考えを示した。

The resale price maintenance system and the exception play important roles in maintaining the newspaper industry's home delivery system and promoting print culture. We applaud Sugimoto's remarks.
 再販制度や特殊指定は、新聞の戸別配達システムを支え、活字文化振興に重要な役割を果たす。杉本氏の発言は評価できる。

There are some issues on which decisions should not be made just on the principle of competition. The FTC is encouraged to show a sense of balance by taking into account real situations when examining issues.
 競争原理の観点だけで判断すべきでない問題もある。公取委は、事案の実態に十分配慮するバランス感覚も求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 7, 2013)
(2013年3月7日01時21分  読売新聞)

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