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2014年3月21日 (金)

国民投票法改正 与野党は共同提案へ合意急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun March 17, 2014
Ruling, opposition camps must act swiftly for referendum law revision
国民投票法改正 与野党は共同提案へ合意急げ(3月17日付・読売社説)

The likely resolution of a long-pending legislative task for both the ruling and opposition camps is at last in sight. Efforts must be expedited to formulate an accord to ensure the law’s revision during the current Diet session.
 与野党に課せられた宿題の解決にようやくめどがついてきた。合意形成を急ぎ、今国会中の法改正を実現すべきだ。

Three major parties—the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the Democratic Party of Japan—have reached a broad agreement to jointly submit a bill to amend the National Referendum Law, which stipulates procedures for constitutional revision.
 自民、民主、公明の3党が、憲法改正手続きを定めた国民投票法の改正案を共同提案することで大筋合意した。

It is praiseworthy that working-level discussions have been under way among officials of seven parties, including the LDP, Komeito and the DPJ, on the advisability of jointly sponsoring a National Referendum Law revision bill.
 自民公はじめ7党の実務者が、共同提案に向けて協議を重ねていることを前向きに評価したい。

Before the Diet can initiate a revision of the Constitution, approval by at least two-thirds of the members of both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors is required. It is of crucial significance for the ruling and opposition parties to build a relationship of mutual trust by bearing in mind the possibility of collaboration among political parties at some point in the future.
 国会による憲法改正の発議には、衆参各院の3分の2以上の賛成が必要である。将来の連携も念頭に、今から与野党間の信頼関係を築いていくことが重要だ。

The National Referendum Law was enacted in May 2007 while the first Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in office. At the time of that legislation, two tasks for both the ruling and opposition parties were laid down as supplements to the law.
 国民投票法は2007年5月、第1次安倍内閣で成立した。その際、法律の付則に与野党の課題が明記された。

One was to take legislative measures after studying the advisability of lowering the minimum voting age under the Public Offices Election Law and the legal age under the Civil Code from the current 20. The referendum law sets the minimum voting age for a national referendum on revising the Constitution at 18.
 一つは、国民投票の投票年齢を「18歳以上」としたが、その前提として公職選挙法の選挙権年齢や民法の成人年齢も「20歳以上」から引き下げるよう検討し、法制上の措置を講じることを求めた。

A draft recently compiled by the ruling parties calls for the supplements to be deleted and instead have the minimum age for voting in such a national referendum automatically lowered to 18 four years after the enforcement of a revised National Referendum Law. The DPJ has been arguing, however, for the minimum voting age to be lowered to 18 immediately after the revised law comes into force.
 与党案は、この付則を削除したうえで、国民投票年齢は「改正法施行から4年後」に、自動的に18歳以上に引き下げるとした。民主党は「直ちに」18歳以上にするよう求めている。

Neutrality of civil servants

Given the differences in views, a compromise has been struck between the ruling and opposition blocs to study the matter further by jointly setting up a dedicated working-level consultative body.
 このため、与野党間で作業部会を設けてさらに検討することで折り合った。

Officials from both the ruling and opposition camps have indicated they will strive to reach an agreement on lowering the minimum voting age for the referendum, as well as elections for public office, within two years of the revised referendum law’s enforcement.
国民投票と選挙権年齢の引き下げを2年以内に実施することを目指すという。

In many countries around the world, the minimum voting age and legal age of adulthood are both set at 18. It is desirable to make not only the minimum voting age in a constitutional referendum and elections, but also the legal age of adulthood, conform to international standards.
 ほとんどの国の選挙権や成人年齢は18歳以上だ。国民投票、選挙権だけでなく、成人年齢も国際標準と同じである方が望ましい。

Altering the legal age, however, will make it necessary to change numerous laws, including the Juvenile Law and the Law for Preventing Minors from Drinking. Such changes will be certain to have a major impact on society. The ruling and opposition parties should deepen discussions on this issue.
 だが、成人年齢を変更すると少年法、未成年者飲酒禁止法など多くの法改正が必要だ。社会への影響も大きい。与野党は議論を深めてもらいたい。国民の理解を広げていくことも欠かせない。

Another related key task is a review of the National Public Service Law and Local Public Service Law, which restrict the political activities of public servants. This is needed because arguments have been made in favor of allowing government employees to engage in political activities in light of the great importance of revising the Constitution.
 もう一つの課題は、公務員の政治活動を制限している国家公務員法と地方公務員法の見直しだ。憲法改正の重要性を踏まえ、公務員にも政治活動の自由を認めるべきだという議論が起きている。

The ruling camp’s draft for revising the referendum law favors allowing government employees to solicit opinions from the public and express their own views prior to a national plebiscite on constitutional revision, but on the condition that public servants should be banned from conducting such activities systematically.
 与党案は、公務員が賛否の呼び掛けや意見表明をするのは認める一方、組織的な運動を主導するのは禁止するとしてきた。

As a result of the discussions between the ruling and opposition parties, an agreement seems to have formed to delete the ban on the political activities of public servants from the envisioned bill, and instead incorporate the matter as an item for future study into a supplement to the planned legislation.
 この禁止規定については法案から削除し、付則に検討課題として盛り込む方向となった。

This has resulted from concessions on the part of the ruling parties out of consideration for the DPJ, which has strongly opposed such restrictions on political activities, as the party is backed by trade unions representing civil servants.
 公務員の労働組合から支持を受ける民主党が、強く反対していることに配慮して、譲歩した。

It is extremely important, however, that public servants remain in a position of impartiality and neutrality.
 ただ、公務員が公正かつ中立的な立場であることは重要である。

A degree of restriction should be placed on systematic political activities by government employees.
組織的な運動には、何らかの制限を設ける必要があろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 17, 2014)
(2014年3月17日01時59分  読売新聞)

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