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2014年4月29日 (火)

鹿児島2区補選 安倍政権の政策遂行に追い風

The Yomiuri Shimbun 6:56 pm, April 28, 2014
LDP victory in Kagoshima by-election seen serving as a spur for Abe Cabinet
鹿児島2区補選 安倍政権の政策遂行に追い風

That public expectations are still considerably high for the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been verified afresh. And yet the government, as a matter of course, should not become complacent with the current situation, continuing instead to forge ahead with resolving a pile of pending issues.
 安倍政権になお期待するということだろう。これに慢心することなく、懸案となっている課題を推進してもらいたい。

In the closely watched House of Representatives by-election on Sunday in the Kagoshima Constituency No. 2, Masuo Kaneko, who was officially endorsed by the Liberal Democratic Party and supported by its coalition partner New Komeito, defeated Akashi Uchikoshi, an independent jointly backed by four opposition parties, and four other candidates.
 衆院鹿児島2区補欠選挙は、自民党公認で公明党に推薦された金子万寿夫氏が、野党4党が推薦した無所属の打越明司氏らを破って当選した。

The by-election was to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Takeshi Tokuda as a lower house member, who had seceded from the LDP in connection with the violation of the Public Offices Election Law by major hospital chain Tokushukai in his 2012 election campaign.
 補選は、医療グループ「徳洲会」の公職選挙法違反事件に絡み、自民党を離党した徳田毅前衆院議員が辞職したために行われた。

Given the race was the first national-level election since the consumption tax rate was hiked to 8 percent on April 1, it attracted a lot of attention on what verdict voters would hand down.
消費税率が8%に引き上げられて初の国政選挙であることからも、有権者の判断が注目された。

What can be cited as the major reason for Kaneko’s triumph in the Kagoshima race, a contest deemed a “midterm election” with public confidence in the Abe administration at stake, was the all-out battle waged by the LDP, which sent Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba and other top party leaders to the electoral district to stump for the party candidate.
 金子氏の勝因としては、自民党が、安倍政権の信任を得る「中間選挙」と位置づけて石破幹事長ら党幹部を送り込み、総力戦を展開したことが大きいのだろう。

In his campaign speech in support of Kaneko, Abe stressed positive effects of his package of economic policies dubbed Abenomics. In reference to reasons for the consumption tax hike, Abe declared it was a matter of urgency to “enhance the quality of government child-rearing support by dealing effectively with growing costs of social welfare programs.”
 安倍首相は遊説で、経済政策「アベノミクス」の成果を強調するとともに、消費増税の理由について「伸びていく社会保障費に対応し、子育て支援も充実していく必要がある」と訴えた。

Thanks to the surges in voter expectations for the Abe Cabinet’s economic policies, it seems that the problem of “money and politics,” the cause of the by-election taking place in the wake of Tokushukai’s money scandal involving the election campaign for Tokuda, had no major impact on the Kagoshima contest.
 経済政策に対する期待感で、補選の原因となった「政治とカネ」の問題が、選挙戦には大きな影響を及ぼさなかったと言える。

Opposition in disarray

Considering that the Kagoshima Constituency No. 2 is in an area where the farming industry holds sway, it was fortunate for Kaneko that the Japan-U.S. talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral free trade framework that were held at the same time as the by-election campaign failed to come up with details about how to handle tariff rates, particularly on the highly sensitive “five important categories” of agricultural products.
 農業が盛んな選挙区であり、環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉の日米協議で、農産物の「重要5項目」の関税の扱いについて明確になっていないことも、金子氏には幸いしたと見られる。

Regarding the election outcome, the government and the ruling coalition parties appear to believe that Abenomics and the higher consumption tax have successfully obtained at least a degree of public understanding.
 政府・与党は、アベノミクスや消費増税に一定の理解が得られたと受け止めている。

Sufficient caution is a must, however, over possible adverse impacts of the tax hike on business conditions. The Abe administration in this respect should redouble efforts for early implementation of the national budget to realize its growth strategy with the aim of reinvigorating the private sector.
 ただし、増税による景気への影響にはなお注意が必要だ。安倍政権は、予算の早期執行に努め、民間活力を引き出す成長戦略の具体化に力を入れねばならない。

Meanwhile, the attempt led by the Democratic Party of Japan to form a united front against the ruling camp was unsuccessful.
 一方、民主党が主導した野党共闘は、実を結ばなかった。

In the Kagoshima race, Uchikoshi was jointly backed by the DPJ, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), Yui no To and People’s Life Party. What the four parties aimed at—an attempt to rally opposition forces by criticizing the LDP’s “money power politics”—is understandable.
 打越氏は、民主党、日本維新の会、結いの党、生活の党の推薦を受けた。自民党の「金権政治」を批判して、野党勢力の結集を図るという狙いは理解できる。

The cause of their failure to have their message spread among voters, however, may be that the content of the opposition parties’ argument remained ambiguous.
 だが、支持が広がらなかったのは、肝心の政策の主張があいまいだったからではないか。

Regarding the issue of reinterpreting the Constitution to allow the exercise of the country’s right to collective self-defense for which the prime minister has taken the initiative, the DPJ has opposed changing the constitutional interpretation, while Ishin no Kai is set to approve the reinterpretation.
 首相が主導する集団的自衛権の行使を巡る憲法解釈見直し問題について、民主党は反対だが、維新の会は容認する立場だ。

Pros and cons of reactivating Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant did not become an electoral issue in the Kagoshima race.
 九州電力川内原子力発電所の再稼働の是非に関しても、選挙の争点にはならなかった。

Although DPJ head Banri Kaieda rallied for voter support for the party’s view characterizing the by-election as an “election for putting the brakes on the Abe administration,” his argument, too, was short of specifics.
 民主党の海江田代表は「安倍政権にブレーキをかける選挙」と訴えたが、これも具体性を欠いた。

With unified local elections scheduled for next spring, the opposition parties will have to address the challenge of how to present a united front against the ruling camp.
来春の統一地方選に向けて、野党共闘のあり方が問われよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 28, 2014)

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