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2014年12月16日 (火)

衆院選自公圧勝 重い信任を政策遂行に生かせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Big win for LDP, Komeito must lead to humble, gracious govt steering
衆院選自公圧勝 重い信任を政策遂行に生かせ

 ◆謙虚で丁寧な政権運営が必要だ◆

There has now been a clear expression of the people’s will to see the Abenomics economic policy package continue, to ensure that the nation’s economy snaps out of prolonged deflation.
 経済政策「アベノミクス」を継続し、デフレ脱却を確実に実現してもらいたい。そんな国民の意思が明確に示された。

In Sunday’s 47th House of Representatives election, the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior ruling coalition partner Komeito achieved a crushing victory, winning more than 320 seats combined, well exceeding a two-thirds majority in the lower chamber. Following a win in last year’s House of Councillors poll, this occasion marks the second consecutive triumph for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration.
 第47回衆院選は、与党の自民、公明両党が、定数の3分の2を上回る計320超の議席を獲得し、圧勝した。安倍政権にとっては、昨年の参院選に続く勝利である。

It is very important for the coalition government to effectively utilize this expression of the people’s will as a driving force to push ahead with a range of important policy tasks over which public opinion has been divided — including a new security-related legal framework and the advisability of restarting nuclear power plants — so the nation’s politics can move forward.
 今回示された民意を、新しい安全保障法制の整備、原発の再稼働など、世論の分かれる様々な重要政策の推進力として活用し、政治を前に進めることが肝要だ。

‘Blitz dissolution’ a success
 ◆奏功した「電撃解散」

During an unusual period that saw a new prime minister every year from 2006 to 2012, Japan’s politics remained mired in stagnation and dysfunction as a result. A majority of voters in the latest lower house contest have given passing marks to the second Abe Cabinet’s work in the two years since that period ended. This verdict by the electorate can be seen as a decision to give the prime minister a mandate, at least for the time being, to take the helm of government with a stable power base.
 2006年から12年まで毎年、首相が交代する異常事態が続き、日本の政治は停滞、迷走した。その後の2年間の第2次安倍内閣に及第点を与え、当面は、首相に安定した体制で国政運営を託そう。これが有権者の判断だろう。

Abe’s decision to postpone by 18 months a consumption tax rate hike from 8 percent to 10 percent that had been scheduled for October 2015 can also be said to have gained popular support in the election.
 来年10月に予定されていた消費税率10%への引き上げを1年半先送りする方針も、支持された。

Tailwinds did not seem to be blowing for any particular political party in Sunday’s general election. Under the circumstances, Abe reiterated his campaign slogan of “This is the only way,” defending his policy initiatives. His tactic of stressing the phrase to note his administration’s achievements while calling for the electorate to compare them with those of the Democratic Party of Japan — which was unresourceful during its time in power when it came to addressing such problems as the stronger yen — has undoubtedly produced a certain degree of favorable results for the ruling camp.
 どの党にも追い風はなかった。その中で、安倍首相が、「この道しかない」と強調し、政権の実績と、円高などに無策だった民主党政権との比較を有権者に問う戦略を取ったことが、一定の成果を上げたのは間違いない。

Abenomics has brought about the depreciation of the Japanese currency, sending stock prices soaring. The employment situation has also improved, with wages having entered an upward phase.
 アベノミクスは、円安を実現し、株価を高騰させた。雇用情勢は改善し、賃金も上昇傾向にある。

The flip side of the policy package, such as widening gaps between major companies and small and midsize enterprises, as well as economic disparities between urban and rural regions, and rising import costs, has been pointed out. Yet expectations that the benefits of Abenomics will eventually spread across the country have remained markedly high.
 大企業と中小企業、都市部と地方の格差や、輸入品の価格上昇などの弊害も指摘されるが、アベノミクスの恩恵が全国に広がることへの期待は依然、根強い。

It can safely be said that the realistic and effective handling of economic policy must be continued to maintain the basic direction of the ruling camp’s policy goals, while certain aspects of the package, such as growth strategies, should be beefed up.
 政策の基本的な方向は維持し、成長戦略など一部を補強することが、今の日本にとって、現実的かつ効果的な経済運営と言える。

Caught off guard by the prime minister’s sudden dissolution of the lower house, the DPJ was slow to prepare for the electoral fight and could not avoid fielding the smallest number of lower house candidates in the party’s history, failing to capture swing voters and others. The DPJ leadership of Banri Kaieda should be severely brought to task for failing to recognize the need to “always be ready for combat” in the political arena.
 首相の電撃的な衆院解散に対して、選挙準備が遅れた民主党は、過去最少の候補者擁立となり、無党派層などの受け皿になれなかった。「常在戦場」の構えを怠った海江田執行部の責任は大きい。

The DPJ’s attempts to coordinate with the Japan Innovation Party and others to field jointly backed candidates fell far short of yielding tangible results.
 維新の党などとの候補者調整の効果も限定的にとどまった。

Abe, for his part, is in no position to comfortably celebrate his success in maintaining a political landscape where the LDP is the sole dominant party.
 一方、首相は、自民党が突出する「1強多弱」体制を維持しても手放しで喜べる状況ではない。

This is partly due to the fact that the ruling parties, which have a solidly organized support base, are believed to have been aided by the fact that the Dec. 14 voter turnout plunged to a record low for the postwar era, and by blunders on the part of the opposition bloc.
野党の失策に加え、戦後最低に落ち込んだ投票率が、固い組織票を持つ与党に有利に働いたからだ。

The ruling parties must be keenly aware that current public support for them is not so much proactive as based in the more or less negative judgment that the ruling camp may be “slightly better” than the opposition parties.
 与党に対する国民の支持は、積極的ではなく、「野党よりまし」という消極的な面が強いことを、きちんと自覚する必要がある。

Opposition forces incompetent
 ◆野党は受け皿となれず

The prime minister is set to launch a new Cabinet on Dec. 24, the third to be formed under his leadership. We believe Abe’s next Cabinet should first and foremost continue to pursue the goal of revitalizing the economy.
 安倍首相は24日に第3次内閣を発足させる。経済再生を最優先する方針を維持すべきだ。

With the overall picture of the election results becoming clear after Sunday’s vote, the prime minister said, “I’m determined to avoid arrogance. I want to carefully explain my policies to the people and then try to make progress in carrying them out.” It is important for Abe to avoid using coercion in running his government, which is essential in fulfilling his words.
 首相は、衆院選の大勢判明後、「慢心することなく、丁寧に国民に説明しながら政策を進めたい」と語った。その言葉通り、強引な政権運営は慎むことが大切だ。

The DPJ took more lower house seats than in the 2012 general election, which inflicted a historic defeat on the then ruling party. However, the leading opposition party still struggled in Sunday’s race, falling far short of its preelection target of 100 seats. The DPJ’s failure in this respect was symbolized by party leader Kaieda’s unsuccessful reelection bid.
 民主党は、歴史的大敗だった前回よりは議席を増やしたが、目標の100議席には遠く及ばず、伸び悩んだ。海江田代表が落選したのが象徴的だ。

The major opposition party is poised to elect a new leader after Kaieda steps down as DPJ president. This should be complemented by efforts to explore what went wrong with the party’s election campaign.
海江田氏の辞任を受けて、代表選が行われるが、衆院選の総括が求められる。

The DPJ blasted the Abe administration during its campaign, parading slogans meant to be pleasing to voters, such as promises to “restore an affluent middle-class segment” and “invest [resources] in people.” However, these policy pledges were hardly convincing as alternative for the Abenomics policy package.
 民主党は今回、安倍政権を批判し、「豊かな中間層の復活」「人への投資」など、有権者に心地よいスローガンは掲げた。だが、アベノミクスに対抗する政策ビジョンとしては説得力に欠けた。

The DPJ’s inadequacy also seemed to hold true with its national security policies. The fact remains that the main opposition party has not even been able to form an official view about our nation’s right of collective self-defense, because of conflicting opinions among party members regarding the pros and cons of exercising the collective self-defense right. We feel voters may have seen through the DPJ in this respect.
 安全保障政策でも、集団的自衛権の行使の是非に関して、党内に賛否両論を抱え、党見解さえまとめられない実情を有権者に見透かされたのではないか。

It is still difficult for the DPJ to regain the public’s trust, which declined because of a number of errors during the party’s time in power.
 政権時代の失政で低下した国民の信頼の回復は依然、険しい。

Sunday’s election was also an uphill battle for so-called third pole parties. They were the center of hope among voters discontented with the LDP and DPJ in the 2012 lower house election. However, this was followed by repeated mergers and breakups, a major factor behind their failure to accomplish tangible achievements as political parties.
 「第3極」の政党は苦戦した。前回は、自民、民主両党に飽き足らない有権者の期待を集めたものの、離合集散を繰り返し、目に見える実績を残せなかった。

During its election campaign, the Japan Innovation Party emphasized its readiness to promote reforms that would inflict pain on the public sector. However, it is difficult to say that the party put forward a convincing road map for that reform. The JIP also remains unsure about what should be done to realign opposition forces, though it indicated a willingness to achieve the target even before the lower house was dissolved for a general election.
 維新の党は今回、「身を切る改革」を唱えたが、説得力ある改革の道筋を示せたとは言い難い。解散前から意欲を見せる野党再編の展望も開けていない。

The Party for Future Generations lost a considerable number of seats in the latest election. The People’s Life Party also made a poor showing.
 次世代の党は議席を大幅に減らし、生活の党も不振だった。

Meanwhile, the Japanese Communist Party achieved a remarkable advance. The JCP successfully attracted a number of voters who were uncertain about which party they should vote for, in a protest against the government.
 代わって躍進したのが共産党だ。行き場を失った政権批判票の取り込みに成功した。

However, it should be noted that if the JCP continues to insist just on stopping the Abe administration from doing whatever it pleases, the JCP may find it difficult to increase its strength.
ただ、「安倍政権の暴走をストップさせる」と訴え続けるだけでは、更なる勢力拡大を図るのは難しかろう。

Electoral reform pending
 ◆1票の格差是正が急務

The latest election was called despite the lack of measures to fundamentally rectify the geographical disparities in the relative weight of one vote. The zero-increase, five-reduction formula adopted in the election’s single-seat constituency race was all that was carried out to address the issue. It is therefore highly probable that judicial authorities will conclude that the results of the latest election are in “a state of unconstitutionality,” if a lawsuit is filed to challenge the validity of the outcome.
 今回の衆院選は、「1票の格差」の是正が小選挙区の「0増5減」にとどまり、抜本的な格差是正は実現しないまま実施された。再び「違憲状態」などの厳しい司法判断が下される可能性が高い。

No time must be wasted in reforming the lower house election system, an issue linked to the legitimacy of the status granted to elected members of the chamber. Drastic reform of the electoral system should be promptly accomplished through expedited efforts to discuss pertinent issues at an independent panel of experts.
 衆院選挙制度の抜本改革は、選出された議員の正統性にも関わる待ったなしの課題だ。有識者による第三者機関の検討を加速し、抜本改革を早期に実現すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 15, 2014)Speech

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