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2013年5月 1日 (水)

参院山口補選 安倍政権の勢い映した前哨戦

The Yomiuri Shimbun April 30, 2013
By-election victory for LDP candidate reflects strength of Abe administration
参院山口補選 安倍政権の勢い映した前哨戦(4月29日付・読売社説)

Sunday's upper house by-election result appears to reflect the current strength of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration, which was inaugurated four months ago.
 発足から4か月を経た安倍政権の勢いを、そのまま反映したかのような結果である。

In the by-election of the Yamaguchi constituency of the House of Councillors--the first Diet election held since the second Abe Cabinet was launched--Kiyoshi Ejima, a first-time candidate on the Liberal Democratic Party ticket, won by a wide margin. His opponents included newcomer Hideo Hiraoka, a former justice minister endorsed by the Democratic Party of Japan.
 第2次安倍内閣の発足後、初の国政選挙となった参院山口選挙区補欠選挙は、自民党公認の新人、江島潔氏が民主党などの推薦で元法相の新人、平岡秀夫氏らを大差で破った。

Kingdom of conservatives

Yamaguchi Prefecture is where Abe's electoral district is located and is known as the "kingdom of conservative forces," with all four single-seat constituencies held by LDP members.
 山口県は、安倍首相の地元で、衆院全選挙区を自民党が独占する「保守王国」だ。

Ejima, who also was endorsed by New Komeito, waged a strong campaign.
江島氏は公明党の推薦も取り付けて、選挙戦を終始優位に展開した。

Abe himself paid his constituency a visit to support Ejima, appealing to local voters' expectations for an economic recovery. "The only way to save the nation from deflation is the current path we're taking. Let's recover Japan's vigor from here in Choshu," Abe said, referring to the name of a feudal domain of the Yamaguchi district during the Edo period.
 首相もお国入りし、「今進んでいる道以外にデフレからの脱却はできない。長州から日本を取り戻そう」と、県民の景気回復への期待感に訴えた。

The Abe administration is working hard to rebuild the Japan-U.S. alliance in light of the growing threat of North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and missiles, while China has repeatedly intruded into Japan's territorial waters. Such a stance by the administration may have supplied a nice tailwind for Ejima.
 北朝鮮の核・ミサイルの脅威が高まり、中国が領海侵入などを繰り返す中、安倍政権の日米同盟の立て直しを急ぐ姿勢も、江島氏への追い風になったといえよう。

On the other hand, Hiraoka advocated "rallying the strength of political forces to counter the LDP," and heavily criticized the Abe administration's Abenomics economic policy, Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade accord talks and the policy of amending the Constitution.
 一方、平岡氏は「自民党に対抗する政治勢力の結集」を掲げ、安倍政権の経済政策「アベノミクス」や、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉への参加、憲法改正の方針をことごとく批判した。

Yet Hiraoka failed to win wide support from voters.
だが、支持は広がらずに終わった。

The DPJ failed to build a campaign alliance with other opposition parties to fight the LDP by running an "independent candidate endorsed by the parties," led by the DPJ.
 民主党を中心に「無所属・党推薦」候補を擁立し、野党各党が結束して自民党と戦う、という構図も作り切れなかった。

Supported by such politicians as former Prime Minister Naoto Kan of the DPJ, Hiraoka advocated "abandoning nuclear power generation" and attacked Chugoku Electric Power Co.'s planned construction of the Kaminoseki nuclear power plant in the prefecture.
 平岡氏は、民主党の菅元首相らの支援を受け、山口県内で中国電力が進める上関原発の建設計画を争点に据えようと、「脱原発」を主張した。

N-issue did not catch on

Although Hiraoka attempted to present a common front with the Social Democratic Party and Midori no Kaze, or Green Wind Party, against nuclear power generation, the issue apparently failed to gain traction.
社民党やみどりの風との共闘を図ったものの、主要な争点にならなかったといえる。

His stance of rejecting nuclear power, while presenting no prospect of securing alternative sources of energy, apparently failed to convince voters.
 代替エネルギー確保の見通しもなく、原発を否定するだけでは説得力を持たなかったのだろう。

DPJ President Banri Kaieda, who considered the Yamaguchi by-election a prelude to the coming elections of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly and the upper house, appealed to voters by saying, "Let's say 'No to Abe politics' from this land of Yamaguchi," but to no avail.
 民主党の海江田代表は、山口補選を都議選や参院選への前哨戦と位置づけ、「山口の地から『安倍政治ノー』という声をあげたい」と訴えたが、浸透しなかった。

The DPJ needs to rethink its campaign strategy for the upcoming upper house election.
 民主党は、参院選戦略の練り直しが迫られよう。

As the result of the latest election, the LDP parliamentary group in the upper house will gain an additional seat. Meanwhile, DPJ members are deserting the party one after another. As a result, the DPJ, which holds the largest bloc in the upper house, may soon find itself tied with the LDP in the number of seats they hold in the house at 84 each.
 今回の補選の結果、参院の自民党会派は1議席増える。民主党で離党者が相次いでいることもあって、参院では近く、最大会派の民主党と自民党の議席がそれぞれ84で並ぶ見通しだ。

Inevitably, the DPJ will see its clout in the management of the Diet business weaken, too.
 国会運営でも、民主党の発言力低下は避けられない。

It is even possible that more DPJ members may come to think they no longer have a fighting chance in this summer's election as long as they remain in the party.
 参院選に向け、もはや民主党の看板では戦えないと考える議員がさらに出てくる可能性もある。

Far from rebuilding itself from its devastating defeat in the House of Representatives election, the DPJ has instead been thrown into increasing chaos. It must squarely face the reality that it is failing to regain voters' support.
 民主党は衆院選惨敗から立ち直るどころか、むしろ混迷を深めるばかりだ。なぜ支持を回復できないのか、現状を直視すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 29, 2013)
(2013年4月29日01時10分  読売新聞)

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