社説:安倍政権の予算 財政再建の道は険しい

January 30, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Budget draft shows gov’t faces uphill battle in fixing debt-ridden finances
社説:安倍政権の予算 財政再建の道は険しい

The fiscal 2013 state budget draft, which the government has approved, shows that the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces an uphill battle in rehabilitating debt-ridden state finances.
 来年度予算の政府案が決まった。

In drafting the budget, the government trimmed new bonds that it will issue during next fiscal year to below the amount of estimated tax revenue — for the first time in four years. The government also managed to avoid increasing the total amount of the budget draft from that of the current fiscal year. The budget draft has sent the public a clear message that the Abe administration is determined to save the economy from the prolonged downturn while improving its fiscal discipline.
4年ぶりに新たな借金(新規国債発行額)を税収以下に抑えたという。総額の実質増も何とか回避できた。景気対策と財政規律を両立できる政権だと訴えたい気持ちがにじむ。

However, it must be kept in mind that the budget was drafted on the optimistic assumption that an economic stimulus package and other policy measures to be implemented by the government will drastically improve economic conditions. Despite broad tax breaks for businesses, the government estimates that Japan’s tax revenue will increase nearly 800 billion yen in fiscal 2013 from the current fiscal year because it projects that Japan’s economy will post 2.7 percent nominal and 2.5 percent real-term growth.
 だが、安倍政権の緊急経済対策などにより景気が大きく好転するという、期待に満ちた予測に支えられている点を忘れてはなるまい。さまざまな企業向け減税にもかかわらず、名目2.7%、実質2.5%という高い成長率想定のお陰で、税収は12年度より8000億円近く増える計算になった。

In the budget draft, the government is expected to issue less than 43 trillion yen worth of bonds, below the 44 trillion yen upper limit set by the previous administration led by the Democratic Party of Japan. However, this is also based on the optimistic assumption that interest rates will not increase.
 一方、新たな借金は43兆円弱と、民主党政権時のルールだった「44兆円以内」が守られた形だ。しかしこれも、金利は上がらないという希望的見通しのお陰と言えそうだ。

When it released the budget framework for fiscal 2013, the Finance Ministry estimated that it would need to set aside a record 24.6 trillion yen to repay state debts and pay interest on outstanding bonds. However, the government reduced the amount to 22.2 trillion yen in the budget draft because it lowered the assumed interest rates from 2.2 percent in the budget framework to 1.8 percent.
 財務省は昨年9月に概算要求した際、国債残高の増加と金利上昇への備えのため、国債費を過去最高の24.6兆円とはじいていた。国債費とは、国が過去に借りたお金の返済や利払い費のことである。ところが予算案では22.2兆円に圧縮された。
想定金利を下げたためだ。

If the government were to predict a boost in the economic situation, it should estimate that interest rates will rise. This reflects the latest market interest rates, but the government should have drafted a budget that can respond to any possible deterioration in the fiscal situation to a certain extent if it intended to maintain fiscal soundness.
Prime Minister Abe proudly said that the government has restored fiscal health because the estimated tax revenue is above the projected amount of state bonds the government will newly issue. However, Japan’s fiscal condition is not as sound as the prime minister believes, considering that 5.5 trillion yen worth of construction bonds will be issued to finance public works projects incorporated in the fiscal 2012 supplementary budget.
 景気の好転を予測するなら、むしろそれに伴う金利上昇を織り込むべきだろう。だが概算要求時(2.2%)よりも12年度の想定(2.0%)よりも低い1.8%に設定した。最近の市場金利を反映したとはいえ、ある程度の状況悪化に耐えられる予算にしておくのが、健全な財政の発想ではないか。経済危機対応の予備費を省いて約1兆円を浮かせた結果でもあり、税収が借金を上回る「正常な状態の回復」(安倍晋三首相)と胸を張れる話では到底ない。5.5兆円もの建設国債発行を伴う大型の12年度補正予算と合わせて考えれば、財政健全化を重視した予算編成だとは言えない。

Moreover, the fiscal 2013 budget draft has raised concerns that emphasis may be placed on quantity rather than quality and on construction projects rather than people. Livelihood assistance benefits will be substantially reduced, but public works spending will increase 16 percent from the current fiscal year although a massive amount of funds to finance construction projects have been allocated for such projects from the fiscal 2012 supplementary budget.
 予算の中身はどうか。生活保護の支給基準が引き下げられる一方、公共事業費は前年度比16%の伸びとなった。1年分に相当する公共事業費を補正予算に盛り込んだばかりというのに、である。質より量、人よりコンクリートとならないか心配だ。

Defense spending will be also increased for the first time in 11 years. The government needs to gain understanding from the public even in repairing and replacing aging infrastructure such as roads and bridges as well as increasing defense outlays, considering Japan’s serious state finances.
 防衛費も11年ぶりに増額された。老朽化した道路や橋などの整備も、防衛体制の強化も、厳しい財政状況を考えれば、国民の理解を得ながら進めていく必要があるだろう。

There are signs that Japan’s economy will pick up as the value of the yen has declined and share prices have risen.
 久々の円安と株価上昇で、変化の兆しも見える日本経済である。

However, the question is whether the government can sustain steady economic growth.
しかし勝負は成長を持続させられるかどうかだ。

If concerns spread about the government’s free spending policy while the Bank of Japan has boldly relaxed its monetary grip, it could lead to an increase in interest rates as a result of a sharp fall in the market prices of bonds and eventually to a collapse of the government’s economic recovery plans.
日銀が大規模な緩和を続ける中、放漫財政への不安が広がれば、悪い金利上昇(国債価格の急落)が起こり、成長のシナリオは崩れてしまう。

Opposition parties have come under mounting pressure to grill the Abe Cabinet over its fiscal rehabilitation policy through Diet deliberations.
野党には、国会論戦を通じ、安倍政権の財政再建方針を厳しく問いただしてもらいたい。

毎日新聞 2013年01月30日 02時31分

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srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク

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