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2014年8月31日 (日)

概算要求 「選択と集中」で歳出の抑制を

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Use ‘selection and focus’ strategy to control growth of govt spending
概算要求 「選択と集中」で歳出の抑制を

Japan’s national debt already tops ¥1 quadrillion. Given the severe financial situation buffeting the nation, it is imperative to put the brakes on swelling state expenditures.
 国の借金が1000兆円超という厳しい財政事情を踏まえ、歳出の膨張に歯止めをかけなければならない。

Total budget requests for fiscal 2015 have exceeded ¥100 trillion, the first time this line has been breached. The figure is significantly higher than the ¥96 trillion allocated for the initial fiscal 2014 budget.
 2015年度予算の概算要求総額が、初めて100兆円を超えた。14年度当初予算の96兆円を大きく上回る規模である。

The government’s goal of achie-ving a primary balance surplus for central and local governments in fiscal 2020 appears difficult to reach, even when revenue accrued from the hike in the consumption tax rate and other factors are taken into account. Given these circumstances, the Finance Ministry must screen budget requests even more strictly to weed out wasteful expenditures.
 20年度までに国と地方の基礎的財政収支を黒字化する政府の目標は、消費増税などを見込んでも達成が難しい状況だ。財務省には、より厳しい査定が求められる。

The government set a rule of capping requests for discretionary policy spending, such as public works projects, at 10 percent below the level of the fiscal 2014 budget.
 政府は、公共事業などの「裁量的経費」の要求上限を、14年度予算より10%低い水準に抑えるルールを設けた。

Meanwhile, a “special spending quota” to be shared among priority policies of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, such as promoting his economic growth strategy, have been allo-cated about ¥4 trillion. Requests to tap into this quota came in at the upper limit, pushing up the total budget requests.
 一方で、成長戦略の推進など安倍政権の優先課題に重点配分するために設けた4兆円の特別枠に、上限いっぱいの要求が集まり、総額は膨らんだ。

Some requests for money from the special quota were conspicuously old-fashioned, such as for road construction on the pretext of helping to revive regional economies. Such requests need to be vigorously whittled down.
 特別枠には、地方活性化などを名目とした道路建設など、旧来型の要求も目立つ。思い切った絞り込みが求められる。

In some cases, different ministries and the Cabinet Office have made budget requests for similar policies. The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry and the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry have both sought money for a project to establish regional core cities where hospitals, commercial complexes and other facilities would be concentrated.
 別々の府省から類似の施策が要求されるケースもある。総務省と国土交通省はそれぞれ、商業施設や病院などを集約する地方の拠点都市を設ける事業を要求した。

The Finance Ministry will need to try to eliminate overlaps through its assessment of budget requests, and urge coordination between each ministry and headquarters set up for specific policy issues.
 財務省は査定を通じ、各府省や特定の政策課題のために置かれた本部などに調整を求め、重複の解消を図る必要がある。

Ax dubious projects

Some projects of dubious value appear to have snuck into the requests to use the special spending quota.
 特別枠には、効果に疑問のある施策も紛れ込んでいるようだ。

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has asked to establish a system that would provide subsidies of about ¥200,000 to companies that draw up plans to make better use of their female employees’ skills and experience. We wonder what sort of meaningful effect this scheme of lavishing money so widely and in such small amounts could have.
 厚生労働省は女性の活用計画を立てた企業に20万円程度の助成金を支給する制度の創設を求めた。広く薄くお金をばらまく仕組みでどんな効果があるのだろうか。

A closer look at budget requests by category reveals a considerable jump in public works projects.
 概算要求を分野別に見ると、公共事業の大幅な伸びが目立つ。

Of course, we have no argument with investing money to protect the lives and assets of the people of Japan through repairs to aging roads and bridges and disaster-prevention measures to prepare for earthquakes, tsunami and landslide disasters.
 むろん、老朽化した道路や橋の改修、地震・津波や土砂災害に備える防災対策など、国民の命や財産を守る投資は大事だ。

However, the costs of public works projects are increasing due to skyrocketing material expenses and higher personnel costs needed to attract workers amid a labor shortage. Slashing nonessential and nonurgent projects through a policy of “selection and focus” has become even more important.
 ただ、人手不足による人件費の上昇や資材費の高騰のあおりを受け、公共事業のコストが増大している。不要不急の事業を大胆に削減する「選択と集中」の重要性は一段と高まっている。

Snowballing social welfare costs show no sign of being reined in. The welfare ministry requested almost ¥32 trillion, which includes a natural increase of almost ¥1 trillion required to meet expenses inherent in a graying society.
 社会保障費の拡大にもブレーキがかからない。厚労省の要求額は高齢化などによる1兆円近い自然増を含め約32兆円に上った。

Social welfare costs soak up almost one-third of government spending. Whether these expenses can be capped holds the key to restoring the nation’s fiscal health.
 歳出の3分の1に迫る社会保障費を抑制できるかどうかが、財政健全化のカギを握る。

In addition to simple efforts such as expanding the use of relatively cheap generic drugs, the government will need to undertake major reforms that will not be pain-free, such as trimming medical and pension benefits. The Council for the Promotion of Social Security System Reform and other entities involved in this issue should speed up talks on such matters.
 割安な後発医薬品の利用拡大など地道な取り組みに加えて、医療や年金の給付削減など、痛みを伴う大胆な改革も避けられまい。社会保障制度改革推進会議などの議論を加速すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 30, 2014)Speech

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