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2013年6月 4日 (火)

財政再建目標 達成と景気回復の両立を図れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun June 4, 2013
Govt must make fiscal rebuilding compatible with business recovery
財政再建目標 達成と景気回復の両立を図れ(6月3日付・読売社説)

To reinvigorate the national economy and put it on a sustainable growth path, it is imperative to restore fiscal soundness.
 日本経済を再生し、安定した成長軌道に乗せるには、財政健全化が不可欠だ。

The government must address the challenge of ensuring compatibility between fiscal reconstruction and business recovery.
政府は財政再建と景気回復の両立を図らねばならない。

The Fiscal System Council, an advisory organ to the finance minister, has compiled a report calling on the government to hold fast to its avowed goal of rebuilding public finances. Regarding the primary budget balance deficits of the central and local governments, it sets a target of “halving the ratio of the budget deficits to gross domestic product in fiscal 2015 from the level in fiscal 2010, and achieving a primary budget surplus in fiscal 2020.”
 政府の財政制度等審議会は報告書をまとめ、国と地方の基礎的財政収支を国内総生産(GDP)比で「2015年度に10年度から半減し、20年度に黒字化」という財政再建目標の堅持を求めた。

Worst debt burden

Japan’s public debt burden is the worst among industrially advanced economies. The outstanding balance of the combined long-term debts of the central and local governments stands at slightly less than 1 yen quadrillion, twice the size of the nation’s GDP.
 日本の財政は、国と地方の長期債務残高がGDPの2倍の1000兆円弱に達し、先進国最悪の状態にある。

Primary budget balance figures represent the extent to which government spending on policy implementation, excluding debt-servicing costs, can be funded with tax revenues without depending on debt. The combined deficit of the central and local governments for fiscal 2013 is expected to swell to a level equivalent to 6.9 percent of GDP.
 基礎的財政収支は、政策的経費を借金に頼らず税収でどれだけ賄えているかを示すもので、13年度の国と地方の赤字はGDP比6・9%に拡大する見通しだ。

Under the circumstances, it appears extremely difficult to attain the goal of halving the deficits in fiscal 2015 and returning the budget to a primary surplus by fiscal 2020.
15年度半減や20年度黒字化の目標達成は高いハードルと言えよう。

In addition, the Bank of Japan, in line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies to end deflation, has embarked on bold monetary easing steps by purchasing massive amounts of government bonds.
 加えて、安倍政権の経済政策「アベノミクス」の一環で、日本銀行が大胆な金融緩和を実施し、大量の国債を購入している。

The council’s report released on May 27 correctly warned that the government must take adequate precautions to avoid giving rise to suspicions that Japan may attempt to offset the public debt through the central bank’s bond purchase.
 報告書が、財政赤字の穴埋めをしているという疑念を招かないよう警告したのは、もっともだ。

If confidence in government finances is shaken, government bond prices could drop precipitously, possibly causing interest rates on long-term loans to climb further. As a result, the willingness of companies to spend on capital investment could decline, chilling business prospects that have finally become brighter, while jacking up government bond-servicing costs. The government must remain alert to avoid fiscal deficits swelling further.
 財政の信認が揺らげば、国債価格が急落して長期金利が一段と上昇しかねない。企業の投資意欲が減退して明るさが見えてきた景気を冷やし、国債の利払い費も増大する。財政赤字がさらに膨らむことに警戒が必要だ。

Based on the council’s report, the government plans to incorporate its aim to achieve fiscal discipline into a “Basic Policy for Economic and Fiscal Reform,” scheduled for release this month.
 政府は、今回の報告書を踏まえて、6月に発表する「経済財政改革の基本方針(骨太の方針)」に目標達成の決意を盛り込む。

In a joint statement at a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 major economies in April, Japan was pressed to come up with a credible medium-term fiscal plan.
 日本は、4月の主要20か国・地域(G20)財務相・中央銀行総裁会議の共同声明でも、「信頼に足る中期財政計画を策定すべきだ」と指摘された。

While it is important to assist current business conditions through flexible fiscal measures, medium-term fiscal reconstruction steps also should be worked out.
 機動的な財政政策で足元の景気をテコ入れすることは重要だが、中期的な財政再建の道筋を描かねばならない。

The report also emphasized the need for curbing social welfare expenditures and a growth strategy aimed at increasing tax revenues. A growth strategy is vital to resuscitate the national economy.
 報告書は、社会保障費の抑制や税収を増やす成長戦略の必要性も強調した。経済再生を確実にするカギは、成長戦略にある。

Spending pressures

To make this a reality, it is essential to adopt policies aimed at acquiring new markets through deregulatory steps, while at the same time expediting technological innovations in the private sector. The government now faces the task of bringing about a steady business recovery, as it moves toward raising the consumption tax rate.
 それには、規制改革で新たな市場を開拓するとともに、民間の技術革新を促進する政策が欠かせない。景気回復を着実に実現しながら、消費税率の引き上げを目指していくことが政治の課題だ。

With the House of Councillors election scheduled for July, the government faces mounting pressure to expand outlays for public works projects. It is also being pressured to provide more support as for farming and other sectors due to Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral free trade negotiations.
 7月の参院選を前に、公共事業や、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉参加をにらんで農業分野などで歳出圧力が高まっていることが懸念される。

The government must make careful decisions on government-subsidized project spending by weighing whether they are really necessary and make efficient use of budgetary appropriations.
 政府は事業の必要性や効率性を十分に吟味し、メリハリのついた支出を徹底すべきだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 3, 2013)
(2013年6月3日01時17分  読売新聞)

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