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2014年1月20日 (月)

国会改革 党首討論をもっと活用せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun January 19, 2014
Reform Diet with more debate among party leaders, electoral system review
国会改革 党首討論をもっと活用せよ(1月19日付・読売社説)

 ◆選挙制度の見直しは不可避だ

The Diet must respond appropriately to changes in and outside Japan and deal quickly with the issues it faces. To realize this, it is essential to reform the nation’s political decision-making system, which is often trapped in the old mold.
 内外の変化に的確に対応し、直面する懸案を迅速に処理していかねばならない。そのためには、旧弊にとらわれがちな政治の意思決定システムの改革が欠かせない。

The ordinary session of the Diet is to be convened Friday, and parliamentary reforms must be carried out as quickly as possible.
 通常国会が24日に召集される。国会改革を急ぎたい。

Reduce PM’s burden
 ◆必要な首相の負担軽減

Under the current system, the prime minister and other cabinet ministers are tied up in Diet deliberations far longer than their counterparts in Britain and Germany. It is important for the government to be completely accountable. But, if it prevents the ministers from working on domestic and foreign affairs, it is like putting the cart before the horse.
 首相や閣僚は英独などに比べてはるかに長時間、国会審議に縛られている。政府が説明責任を果たすことは大切だが、内政、外交の支障になるのでは本末転倒だ。

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, New Komeito, last month proposed a review of Diet management.
 自民、公明両党は先月、国会運営の見直し案を提示した。

The proposal calls for debates among party leaders in the Diet, which were held only twice last year, to be held once a month, although the prime minister is required only to attend plenary sessions of the Diet and budget committee meetings to answer basic questions. If cabinet ministers have to skip deliberations to attend international conferences or to deal with disasters, vice ministers or parliamentary secretaries should fill in for them, it says.
 昨年わずか2回しか開かれなかった党首討論を毎月1回必ず開催する。代わりに、首相の出席は本会議や予算委員会の基本的質疑などに限る。閣僚が国際会議や災害対応で欠席する際は副大臣、政務官が対応するといった内容だ。

We think the proposal’s basic direction is appropriate.
 方向性は妥当だろう。

“The proposal will give the prime minister and cabinet ministers an excuse to avoid Diet deliberations,” the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan said.
This objection is far from convincing because, when it was in office, the party proposed flexible management of the Diet “from the viewpoints of national interests and foreign policy.”
 民主党は「首相や閣僚が国会審議から逃げる口実になる」と反発しているが、これは説得力を欠く。与党時代には、「国益及び外交的な観点から」弾力的な国会運営を提案していたからだ。

After a change in government, a ruling party becomes an opposition party. Both the ruling and opposition parties should work together to constructively make new rules.
 政権交代すれば、野党も与党になる。建設的な姿勢でルール作りを進めることが肝要だ。

The substance of Diet deliberations must be enriched and the Diet’s management streamlined. A battle of words between the ruling and opposition parties tends to be nothing more than a tug-of-war about Diet schedules, with the ruling parties trying to pass bills as quickly as possible and the opposition parties attempting to scrap bills by drawing out the deliberations so they cannot be passed before the end of a Diet session. A typical example of that is the process to enact a bill to protect special state secrets.
 運営の効率化だけでなく、審議の内容も充実させねばならない。与野党攻防は、法案成立を急ぐ与党と会期末での審議未了、廃案を狙う野党との日程闘争に陥りがちだ。臨時国会の特定秘密保護法の成立過程が典型的だった。

In Japan, the cabinet submits most bills to the Diet. To make the Diet more functional as a legislature, more bills should be sponsored by Diet members.
 法案の大半は内閣提出である。国会が立法機関としてより機能するには、議員立法をもっと活発化させねばなるまい。

Since the state of the divided Diet in which the opposition controlled the House of Councillors has ended, the Diet must make preparations for a similar situation to occur in the future. For instance, it is necessary to review the system of a joint committee of both houses that is formed when different decisions are made by the two Diet chambers.
 国会は、衆参のねじれを解消した今こそ、将来の再度のねじれを想定し、備えておくべきだ。例えば、衆参の議決が異なった場合に設けられる両院協議会の在り方を見直すことである。

In practice, members of the committee, 10 each from the upper and lower houses, are all selected from the majority party at each chamber. This practice has robbed the committee of its substance and made it a place where 10 supporters and 10 opponents to a certain bill meet but can never reach an agreement, except to confirm that negotiations failed.
 現在は衆参各院の委員10人全員が、各院の多数派から選ばれるのが慣例だ。このため、法案の賛成者10人、反対者10人が出席して、結論が出ず、物別れを確認するだけで形骸化している。

We expect Diet members to come up with ideas to help the committee reach agreement, such as by changing the number and composition of its members, for instance.
 委員の数や構成を変えるなど、合意形成に役立つ運営方法を考えてもらいたい。

It is also necessary to come up with a decision on what to do about Yui no To, a party formed near the end of last year by defectors from Your Party, as it has been prevented from forming a new parliamentary group in the Diet.
 昨年末、みんなの党から分裂して旗揚げした結いの党が、国会で新会派を結成できない問題にも早急に結論を出す必要がある。

Resolve Yui no To issue
 ◆会派離脱問題にケリを

Yui no To, which comprises 15 lawmakers, submitted on Jan. 7 an application to the secretariats of both houses of the legislature for registration as a parliamentary group, but the secretariats turned it down.
 結いの党の15人は衆参両院に会派結成届を出したが、受理されなかった。

As Your Party rejected the defections of 13 of the 15 lawmakers, who won Diet seats in proportional representation contests, the application was blocked due to the Diet practice of leaving the authority for filing an application allowing certain members of a parliamentary group to secede up to the group’s top leader.
みんなの党が比例選出議員13人の離脱を認めず、会派代表者が届け出る慣例に阻まれた。

The result is that Yui no To has neither a waiting room nor has an interpellation slot been allotted to it. It also is ineligible to receive funds to cover legislative investigative activities that are paid from the state coffers to parliamentary groups. Under the circumstances, the party has difficulty in engaging in Diet activities.
 結いの党には控室や質問が割り振られない。立法事務費も受け取れない。国会活動は困難だ。

Your Party has demanded that the defectors who obtained Diet seats on the strength of ballots that were garnered in the name of the party in the proportional representation segments of the Diet elections should resign as legislators and return their seats to Your Party.
 みんなの党は、党の得票で当選した比例選出議員に辞職して議席を返上するよう求めている。

Your Party’s argument is reasonable, considering they were elected to the Diet solely on the strength of votes cast for the party in the proportional representation contest. It is also understandable, however, that the LDP has said the insistence of Your Party seeking to make Yui no To members remain in Your Party’s parliamentary group “in spite of their disagreements with Yui no To should be deemed unnatural.”]
 党名だけで選ばれた比例単独候補なら一理あるが、自民党が言うように「ケンカしているのに、同じ会派と言い続ける方が不自然」なのも確かである。

At a meeting of directors of the lower house’s Rules and Administration Committee, it was agreed that “the will of individual house members should be respected regarding their withdrawal from a parliamentary group.”
 衆院の議院運営委員会理事会は、会派の離脱に関して、「個人の意思を尊重する」と申し合わせている。

There have been a number of cases in which lawmakers who won seats through proportional representation and later broke away from their parties to be subsequently acknowledged as withdrawing from parliamentary groups.
これまでも、離党した比例選出議員の会派離脱が認められたケースは少なくない。

Participation of such a lawmaker who defects to a new party is allowed under the Public Offices Election Law. Preventing lawmakers from seceding from one parliamentary group to join another will hamper political realignment moves.
 比例選出議員が新党に参加できることは公職選挙法に根拠がある。その際、会派離脱も認めないと政界再編の足かせとなる。

If there are no prospects of resolving conflicts involving a parliamentary group, the speaker of the lower house or the president of the upper house should mediate to resolve the problem.
 当事者間で話がつかないのであれば、衆参両院議長が調整に乗り出すべきだろう。

A problem like that between Your Party and Yui no To can recur at any time. It is desirable to establish a set of rules governing the formation of a new parliamentary group and procedures concerning secession from an existing one.
 こうした事態は、今後も起きうる。会派結成・離脱についてルール化しておくことが望ましい。

Also problematic in this connection is that there has been little progress in reforming the electoral systems of both houses.
 選挙制度改革が、遅々として進んでいないことも問題だ。

Regarding the disparity in the value of votes in the lower house election in December 2012, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that it was in a “state of unconstitutionality.” In lawsuits concerning the upper house poll in July last year, 13 high courts in various parts of the country ruled the election to be “in a state of unconstitutionality,” while three others bluntly called the election “unconstitutional.”
 一昨年12月の衆院選での「1票の格差」について、最高裁は「違憲状態」と判断した。昨年7月の参院選に対する全国の高裁判決は「違憲状態」が13件で、「違憲」は3件だった。

Don’t stick to seat cuts
 ◆定数削減にこだわるな

The courts all called for the legislature to tackle the task of drastically reforming the election system to rectify vote value disparities between the most and least represented constituencies.
 いずれも格差を是正する観点から、立法府に抜本的な制度改革を求めている。

Both the ruling and opposition camps in the lower and upper houses must realize the seriousness of the current state of affairs, which the judiciary refuses to call “constitutional.”
衆参両院とも司法から「合憲」と見なされていない現状を、与野党はもっと深刻に受け止めねばならない。

The main factor hindering an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties on electoral system reform is the difference in views concerning the reduction of lawmakers.
 与野党の合意を妨げる最大の要因は、議員定数の削減に関する考え方の違いである。

The parties should redouble efforts to come up with truly desirable and feasible electoral systems, by setting aside trimming the number of Diet seats, which has been influenced by opportunistic party interests intended to pander to the public.
大衆迎合的な色彩の強い定数削減は切り離して、望ましい制度の在り方を優先して議論すべきだろう。

If the ruling and opposition parties remain unable to craft specific reforms because of their partisan maneuvering, there is no other option than to leave the matter up to deliberations by an expert third-party organ, an idea proposed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
 与野党が「党利党略」に固執し、具体案をまとめられないのなら、安倍首相が提案しているように、有識者による第三者機関に検討を委ねるしかない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 19, 2014)
(2014年1月19日01時29分  読売新聞)

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