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2013年5月25日 (土)

日航支援検証 公正な競争を保つ指針作りを

The Yomiuri Shimbun May 25, 2013
Rules needed to ensure fairness in extending govt aid to airlines
日航支援検証 公正な競争を保つ指針作りを(5月24日付・読売社説)

If corporate rehabilitation of failed companies after the injection of public funds is to be truly successful, the side effects of such aid, which distort fair competition in the market, should not be left unaddressed.
 公的資金の投入で企業の再生が成功しても、公正な競争をゆがめる副作用は放置できない。

Rules are needed for both “assistance” and “competition” to coexist.
 「支援」と「競争」を両立させるルールが必要だ。

An expert panel of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry has compiled a report to reexamine whether the government’s assistance to Japan Airlines, which went bankrupt in January 2010, was appropriate.
 国土交通省の有識者委員会は、2010年1月に経営破綻した日本航空への公的支援を検証する報告書をまとめた。

Although the report said the government’s aid was necessary to maintain both domestic and international airline networks, it also pointed out: “Measures to secure a fair, competitive environment were insufficient. Consideration for competing companies was lacking.” We think the panel’s findings are appropriate.
 国内線、国際線の航空網を維持するため、政府の支援は必要だったとしながらも、「競争環境を確保する観点が不十分で、競合他社への配慮に欠けていた」と総括した。妥当な認識である。

JAL pushed through business reforms such as personnel cuts and withdrawal from unprofitable routes to achieve a V-shaped recovery in its business performance. In September, the company succeeded in relisting its shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The company’s speedy reconstruction can be said to have been well handled.
 日航は、人員削減や不採算路線からの撤退といった経営改革を進めて業績をV字回復させ、昨年9月には株式の再上場を果たした。スピード再建は評価できよう。

However, it cannot be denied that the injection of about 350 billion yen in public funds and preferential treatment such as exemption from corporate taxes pushed up JAL’s profits far more than the effects of the corporate restructuring measures.
 だが、リストラ効果以上に、約3500億円の公的資金や法人税の免除などの優遇措置が利益を押し上げた面は否定できない。

ANA Holdings Inc.--the holding company of JAL’s rival All Nippon Airways--posted the biggest-ever operating profits in its consolidated financial statement for the business year 2012, which ended in March. However, JAL’s operating profits for the same business year were double those of ANA.
 13年3月期の連結決算で、ライバルのANAホールディングスは最高の営業利益を計上した。ところが、日航の営業利益は、さらにその2倍に達した。

Sound criticism on JAL case

ANA’s criticism of the situation is quite understandable, as fair competition in the market was distorted due to the government’s excessive assistance of JAL. If JAL were to offer new services or price cuts using its current corporate management strength, the operations of rival companies would be hit hard and JAL’s price control power in the market would likely be bolstered further.
 ANAが、日航への手厚い支援で健全な競争がゆがめられていると批判するのももっともである。経営体力を武器に日航が新サービスや値下げなどに走れば、ライバル社の経営に打撃を与え、日航の価格支配力が強まりかねない。

If airline passengers are inconvenienced as a result, it will be problematic.
 利用者の利便性が低下する事態になれば、問題だ。

The panel’s report called on the ministry to continue its monitoring of JAL until the end of fiscal 2016, when JAL’s current medium-term business plan is set to end. The ministry must keep an eye on the airline to avoid a situation in which JAL leverages its advantageous position to further hamper fair competition in the market.
 報告書は、日航の中期経営計画が終了する16年度まで、国交省に日航の監視継続を求めた。国交省は、日航が過度に有利になって公正な競争が阻害されることのないよう目を光らせるべきだ。

We also urge the government to establish an appropriate procedure to follow when failed airlines are given government assistance, and a mechanism for placing limits on their businesses.
 航空会社が公的支援を受ける際の手続きや事業制限の仕組みを整えておくことも求められる。

Increasing policy transparency

It is understandable that the report proposed a system to hear the opinions of parties concerned for consideration when a rehabilitation plan is compiled, based on guidelines from the European Union. The transparency of government policy will be increased if various opinions, including those of rival companies in the airline market, are taken into account.
 報告書が、欧州連合(EU)の指針を参考に、再建計画策定時に関係者に意見聴取する制度を提言したのは理解できる。競合他社などの多様な意見を反映させれば、政策の透明性も高まろう。

On the other hand, the report did not propose restrictions such as those on the expansion of flight routes that are stipulated in the EU guidelines. There may be concerns that excessive restrictions will hinder the rehabilitation of failed companies. We feel this issue should be discussed further.
 報告書は、EU指針のように路線拡大の制限などには踏み込まなかった。行き過ぎた規制は再建の足を引っ張るとの懸念もあるのだろう。検討課題にしてほしい。

The report also pointed out the need for cross-industrial guidelines.
 報告書は、産業横断的な指針を作る必要性も指摘した。

Due to global competition, companies in some fields in the manufacturing industry are facing difficulties in running their businesses. In principle, a firm’s corporate rehabilitation must be carried out under its own steam. It is thus undesirable for the government to extend a helping hand to ailing firms so easily. If rules governing multiple industries are to be created, it is important to ensure that the necessity of extending public assistance is assessed in a fair manner.
 グローバルな競争で、一部の製造業が経営不振に陥っている。再建は自助努力が基本であり、安易な支援は望ましくない。産業界の共通ルールを策定する場合も、支援の必要性を公正に判断できる仕組みにすることが重要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 24, 2013)
(2013年5月24日01時02分  読売新聞)

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