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2014年12月15日 (月)

きょう投票 日本の将来創る確かな1票に

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Diet members need vision, insight on issues both at home and abroad
きょう投票 日本の将来創る確かな1票に

 ◆平和で活力ある社会を築こう◆

When it comes to ensuring Japan’s future prospects as a peaceful, thriving country, which political parties and candidates can be said to have come up with realistic, appropriate solutions and shown the ability to achieve them? Every voter must be thoroughly scrupulous in rendering a judgment on this issue as they exercise the invaluable right to vote.
 平和で活力ある日本を創るため、どの政党、候補者が現実的な処方箋を示し、実行力を持つのか。しっかりと見極め、大切な1票を投じたい。

Today, Sunday, is the polling date for the 47th House of Representatives general election.
 第47回衆院選はきょう、投票日を迎えた。

Can the nation exit the long tunnel of deflation to put its economy on a growth track? What can be done to overcome the challenges of a rapidly shrinking population and the declining strength of regional communities? What steps can be taken to deal with the security environment surrounding this country, which has seen an alarming deterioration?
 デフレから抜け出し、経済を成長軌道に乗せられるか。急速に進む人口減少と地方の衰退をいかに克服するか。日本の安全保障環境の悪化に、どう対処するのか。

This is an election of great importance. The trustworthiness of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, which has addressed a mountain of problems at home and abroad for the past two years, is at stake.
 山積する国内外の課題に取り組んできた安倍政権の2年間の信任が問われる重要な選挙である。

Trust in Abe govt the focus
 ◆安倍政治の信任が焦点

It is unusual for the lower chamber to be dissolved for a snap general election two years before its members’ term of office has expired. However, the prime minister’s seeking of a public mandate afresh through the lower house contest may be instrumental in boosting his administration’s momentum so that it can carry through with its policy tasks.
 衆院議員の任期を2年残した解散・総選挙は異例である。だが、衆院選で新たな民意を獲得することで、政策遂行の推進力を高める意義は小さくあるまい。

The biggest focal point in the race is whether the Liberal Democratic Party will maintain its overwhelming dominance in the powerful chamber, or if there will be a shift from the preelection political landscape — in which the LDP has been the sole predominant force in the legislature.
 自民党が圧倒的な勢力を維持するのか、それとも「1強多弱」の構図に変化が生じるのか。これが最大の焦点である。

The past three lower house elections saw landslide victories by the LDP and then the Democratic Party of Japan, followed by the LDP again. Two successive changes of power took place through the three electoral battles. But this time, the circumstances are substantially different.
 過去3回の衆院選は、自民、民主、自民の各党の順に大勝した。2回連続で政権が交代したが、今回は様相が異なる。

Due to delays in the DPJ’s preparations for the election campaign, the number of candidates on the party’s ticket has fallen short of a majority in the 475-seat lower house.
 民主党は選挙準備が遅れ、定数の過半数の候補を立てられなかった。

The major opposition party is at a crossroads in terms of whether it can recoup enough lost ground from its devastating defeat in the 2012 poll to gain a foothold for retaking the helm of government in the future.
2012年の前回衆院選の惨敗から巻き返し、政権復帰の足がかりを築けるか、正念場だ。

The so-called third-pole parties, which made remarkable headway in the previous lower house contest, have since undergone rounds of alliance formation and rupture that have resulted in the disbanding of Your Party.
 前回躍進した「第3極」の政党は、離合集散を繰り返し、みんなの党は解党した。

Will two opposition parties — the Japan Innovation Party and the Party for Future Generations — ultimately be formidable enough to represent the non-LDP and non-DPJ voter segments through this lower house election?
維新、次世代の両党は、非自民・非民主の有権者の受け皿になれるだろうか。

The yardstick for judgments at the polls lies in how voters rate Abe’s leadership of the government.
 投票の判断材料となるのは、安倍政治に対する評価である。

In the past two years, the Abenomics package of economic policies has pushed up stock prices and improved the employment situation. The nation’s economy, however, has continued to log negative growth due to such factors as a consumption tax rate hike from 5 percent to 8 percent in April.
 この2年間、経済政策「アベノミクス」により、株価は上昇し、雇用情勢は改善した。だが、4月の消費税率8%への引き上げの影響などでマイナス成長が続く。

Stressing the need to push ahead with Abenomics, the prime minister declared in his campaign, “Nothing good can come out of the country going back to dark periods of chaos, such as when the DPJ was in power.”
 安倍首相は「民主党政権の暗い混乱の時代に戻って良いわけがない」と述べ、アベノミクスの推進の必要性を強調した。

For his part, DPJ leader Banri Kaieda has underscored a need to change key policies by highlighting problems with the Abe administration, including the widening economic disparities within society. The DPJ has placed great emphasis on “investment in people,” such as increasing government assistance for child rearing.
 民主党の海江田代表は、格差の拡大などを指摘し、政策転換を訴えた。子育て支援など「人への投資」を重視する。

Meanwhile, the JIP has been arguing for the need to beef up growth strategies through such means as deregulatory reform.
 維新の党は、規制改革など成長戦略の強化を主張している。

There are also divergent views among political parties on how to deal with issues related to the consumption tax hike.
 消費増税への対応でも、各党の見解は分かれた。

Breakdown of issues
 ◆責任ある主張の吟味を

The ruling parties have decided on a policy to postpone the consumption tax hike to 10 percent, originally scheduled for October 2015, for 1½ years. The DPJ and the JIP both approve of the postponement, but have not indicated when the tax should be raised again. The Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party have called for the tax hike plan to be revoked and repealed.
 与党は10%への増税を15年10月から1年半延期する方針を掲げた。民主、維新両党は、増税の先送りを是認するが、再増税の時期は示していない。共産、社民両党は増税の中止・撤回を訴える。

A steady supply of electricity is also essential to economic revitalization.
 経済の再生には、電力の安定供給も欠かせない。

The LDP has presented a policy to utilize nuclear power plants whose safety has been confirmed. The policy stipulates that renewable energy will be introduced to reduce dependence on nuclear energy.
 自民党は、安全性が確認された原発を活用する方針を示した。再生可能エネルギーを導入し、原発依存度は低減させるという。

The DPJ has called for the reduction of the nation’s nuclear power generation to zero in the 2030s, while the JIP has argued for ending reliance on nuclear energy.
 民主党は「30年代の原発稼働ゼロ」を訴え、維新の党は「原発依存からの脱却」を唱える。

We hope voters will closely examine which parties have expressed responsible, forward-looking views on the coexistence of economic growth and fiscal rehabilitation, along with well-balanced energy policies.
 経済成長と財政再建の両立や、バランスの取れたエネルギー政策について、将来を見据えた責任ある主張を展開しているのは、どの党か。十分に吟味したい。

Security has also been a point of contention in the election.
 安全保障も争点となった。

The intrusion of Chinese government vessels into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands has become a frequent occurrence. The first Japan-China summit meeting in about three years was realized in November, though the Japanese government has remained on alert in the waters. The nuclear threat from North Korea has not changed.
 中国公船は、尖閣諸島周辺で領海侵入を常態化させている。約3年ぶりの日中首脳会談が11月に実現したとはいえ、警戒が怠れない。北朝鮮の核の脅威も変わらない。

Aiming to heighten deterrence by strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance and international cooperation, the Abe administration approved in July a new government interpretation of the Constitution that allows the nation to exercise the right of collective self-defense in limited situations.
 安倍政権が7月、集団的自衛権の行使を限定的に容認する新見解を決定したのは、日米同盟と国際連携を強化し、抑止力を高めるのが目的だ。

The LDP has presented a policy to promptly prepare a security-related legal framework on the basis of the government’s new interpretation. The DPJ and others have called for a repeal of the Cabinet decision on the collective self-defense right.
 自民党は、見解に基づき、安全保障法制を速やかに整備する方針を示している。民主党などは、閣議決定の撤回を求めた。

It is important to establish a system that enables the nation to envision various possible situations and execute seamless security responses in peacetime. It is regrettable that each party did not deepen discussions on the subject by providing appropriate concrete examples.
 重要なのは、様々な事態を想定し、平時から切れ目ない対応を可能にする仕組みの構築だ。具体的な事例に即した論戦が深まらなかったのは残念である。

Urgency in critical times
 ◆候補の見識が問われる

The state of the world at large, which offers no cause for optimism, has remained unpredictable.
 国際情勢は予断を許さない。

China’s military buildup and other factors have destabilized East Asia. In the Middle East, the extremist militant group Islamic State has expanded its forces, and the situation in Ukraine has yet to emerge from chaos.
 中国の軍事力増強などで、東アジアは不安定化している。中東では過激派組織「イスラム国」が勢力を拡大し、ウクライナ情勢の混迷も出口が見えない。

In Japan, where a low birthrate and the aging population are serious concerns, there is an increasing number of issues where interests must be coordinated through the political leadership so that they are not passed down to subsequent generations.
 少子高齢化が進む日本では、次世代にツケを回さないため、政治主導で利害を調整しなければならない案件も増えている。

What is now required of Diet members is a high level of vision and insight into trends in Japan and abroad, as well as problem-solving abilities. It is also the responsibility of eligible voters to choose talent that can meet such requirements.
 国会議員には今、国内外の動向に対する高い見識や洞察力、課題解決能力が求められている。そして、こうした人材を選ぶことが有権者の責務である。

It is feared that the voting rate will fall even lower in this election.
 投票率の低下が懸念される。

Public indifference toward electoral politics will not cause any anxiety for political parties and politicians. We hope as many people as possible will exercise their right to vote.
 国民が政治に無関心でいては、政党や政治家に緊張感を与えられない。一人でも多くの人に、選挙権を行使してもらいたい

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 14, 2014)Speech

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