消費税率8%へ 景気と財政へ首相の重い決断

The Yomiuri Shimbun October 3, 2013
Abe must ensure economic recovery, fiscal reconstruction are compatible
消費税率8%へ 景気と財政へ首相の重い決断(10月2日付・読売社説)

 ◆来春から必需品に軽減税率を◆

The true value of the Abe administration, which emphasizes the revitalization of the economy, will be put to the test as it tackles the task of realizing economic recovery alongside fiscal rehabilitation.
 景気回復と財政再建をどう両立させるか。日本再生を掲げる安倍政権の真価が問われよう。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday that the government will raise the consumption tax rate from 5 percent to 8 percent in April as planned. He also said the government will implement a ¥5 trillion economic stimulus package, including a corporate tax cut.
 安倍首相が、来年4月に消費税率を5%から8%に予定通り引き上げると表明した。企業減税など5兆円規模の経済対策も打ち出す。

We believe the tax hike planed for next spring should have been postponed to accomplish the main task of dragging the nation out of its deflationary phase. However, now that the prime minister has made this important decision, we have no choice but to accept it.
 デフレからの脱却を最優先し、来春の増税を先送りすべきであるが、首相が自らの責任で重い決断をした以上、これを受け止めるしかあるまい。

It would be terrible if the consumption tax hike stalled the economy. The government must ensure that its economic management policy is sound.
 消費増税で景気を腰折れさせては本末転倒だ。政府は経済運営に万全を期さねばならない。

Job recovery halfway
 ◆雇用の回復は道半ば◆

At a press conference Tuesday, Abe explained the reason for going ahead with the tax increase, saying: “By helping the nation regain hope, vitality and confidence…we’re determined to pass a sustainable social security system to the next generation. This is the responsibility my Cabinet must fulfill.”
 首相は記者会見で、増税を決断した理由について、「国の信認を維持し、社会保障制度を次の世代にしっかり引き渡すことが私の内閣の責任だ」と説明した。

Securing a stable revenue source for ever-rising social security expenses—such as public pension, health care and nursing care programs—through the consumption tax hike is the foundation for implementing comprehensive social security and tax reforms agreed on by the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the Democratic Party of Japan.
 膨張する年金、医療、介護など社会保障費の安定財源を消費税増税で確保することは、自民、公明、民主の3党が決めた社会保障と税の一体改革の根幹である。

The central government’s debts have grown beyond the ¥1 quadrillion mark, the highest among major economic powers.
In the financial market and elsewhere, there had been concerns that if the government postponed the consumption tax hike planned for next April, government bond prices would nosedive.
 国の借金は既に1000兆円を超え、先進国で最悪だ。市場などでは、来春の消費増税を見送れば、国債が暴落しかねないといった懸念も出ていた。

In light of the rapid acceleration of graying society and the chronically low birthrate, we believe the course of action taken toward raising the tax rate is reasonable.
 少子高齢化の急激な進行を踏まえれば、消費税率を引き上げる方向性は正しい。

What is problematic is the possibility that the economy, which has at long last started turning upward, will lose steam due to the tax rate hike.
 問題なのは、ようやく景気が上向いてきた日本経済が来春の消費増税で失速しないかどうか、不透明なことである。

The Bank of Japan’s closely watched Tankan survey showed that business sentiment among major companies improved significantly in September, posting the highest reading since the collapse of the Lehman Brothers in autumn 2008. Yet the pace of recovery is expected to slow down in the months ahead.
 日銀の9月企業短期経済観測調査(短観)で、大企業の景況感は大きく改善し、リーマン・ショック前の水準に戻った。だが、今後はペースが鈍るとみられる。

Even more worrisome is the employment situation. The jobless rate in August rose to the 4 percent level for the first time in three months, while wages of salaried workers have continued to decline.
 さらに懸念されるのは雇用情勢だ。8月の失業率は3か月ぶりに4%台に上昇し、サラリーマンの給与も減少が続いている。

“By resolutely implementing bold economic measures, we’ll seize this opportunity for economic recovery,” Abe said.
 首相は、「大胆な経済対策を果断に実行し、景気回復のチャンスを確実にする」と述べた。

Tax cuts urgently needed
 ◆法人税率下げは急務だ◆

Among the government’s economic stimulus measures is a corporate tax cut for companies that raise their workers’ wages, as well as tax reductions aimed at prompting capital investment and implementing research and development activities.
 経済対策には、民間設備投資や研究開発を促す政策減税のほか、従業員の賃上げに踏み切った企業を対象にした税負担の軽減策拡充などを盛り込む。

The new set of pump-priming measures also includes a plan to consider ending a temporary increase in the corporate tax rate aimed at helping finance reconstruction projects following the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. After studying the pros and cons of scrapping the current special tax hike one year earlier than initially planned, the government aims to arrive at a conclusion on the matter by the end of the year.
 震災復興のため法人税に上乗せしている「復興特別法人税」についても、1年前倒しで廃止する方向で年内に結論を出す。

It is undoubtedly essential to secure a source of revenue that can supplant the special corporate tax increase to fund postquake rebuilding policies and programs. Under such circumstances, the prime minister had every reason to say, “Nothing should hamper reconstruction efforts.”
 無論、特別法人税に代わる復興財源をしっかり確保することが不可欠だ。首相が「復興に支障が生じることがあってはならない」と述べたのは当然である。

He also urged the ruling parties to consider lowering the effective corporate tax rate immediately. As things stand, the rate, which is the ratio of corporations’ national and local tax payments to their taxable incomes, is higher than those levied in other major economies. No time should be wasted in boosting the international competitiveness of Japanese companies while at the same time attracting greater foreign investment to Japan.
 首相はまた、主要国に比べて高い法人税の実効税率引き下げについても、与党に速やかな検討開始を求めた。企業の国際競争力強化や、海外からの対日投資の拡大は喫緊の課題と言える。

In this regard, the prime minister’s initiative in drawing up a road map for reducing the effective corporate tax rate is quite significant.
 首相の主導で実効税率引き下げに道筋をつけた意味は大きい。

However, Abe’s plan to raise the consumption tax rate, coupled with envisaged corporate tax cuts, has drawn fire from the public, as well as the ruling and opposition parties, for what they see as “preferential treatment for companies.”
 ただし、消費税を増税する一方で、企業減税することに対し、国民や与野党から「企業優遇だ」などの批判が出ている。

Private-sector corporations are key players in the pursuit of economic growth. By taking advantage of the government’s support measures, they should play a role in facilitating a positive growth cycle through such measures as using their internal reserves for capital and other investment, as well as wage increases.
 経済成長の主役は民間企業である。政策支援を追い風に、企業も内部留保を投資や賃上げに活用するなど、経済成長の「好循環」に貢献することが求められる。

The new economic stimulus package is worth about ¥5 trillion, equivalent to the amount of revenue that could be raised through a two percentage point hike in the consumption tax rate. If it is reduced to a package of mostly show, but little substance, the set of pump-priming measures would do little to underpin the economy.
 経済対策は約5兆円と、消費税率2%分の規模を確保するが、「見かけ倒し」では、景気を十分に支えることはできまい。

The question is whether a wide range of corporations will adequately take advantage of the tax cuts and other planned steps. The government needs to closely examine what will ensue from the package.
 減税措置などを幅広い企業が利用するかどうか、政府は成果を検証する必要がある。

The government should avoid counting on a revenue increase that could be made possible through the consumption tax rate hike, anticipating it could increase the number of public works projects, including nonessential ones.
 消費税の増収分を当て込み、不要不急の公共事業を拡大することも避けるべきだ。

An extraordinary Diet session is scheduled to convene in mid-October, with a number of important items on the agenda, including a bill for increasing industrial competitiveness. The legislation is a major part of the Abe administration’s growth strategy.
 今月中旬に始まる臨時国会は、安倍政権の掲げる成長戦略の柱である産業競争力強化法案など、重要なテーマが多い。

We hope the government and the ruling parties will do all they can to ensure the upcoming Diet session proceeds smoothly, while also achieving their intended goals as swiftly as possible. This is essential as the Diet session should serve as a forum for discussions on how to set our nation’s growth strategy in motion.
 名実ともに「成長戦略実現国会」となるよう、政府・与党は円滑な国会運営に全力を尽くし、迅速に成果を上げてもらいたい。

Simple allowance not enough
 ◆簡素な給付では力不足◆

It will take some time for the benefits of the planned corporate tax cuts to reach consumers through wage hikes. With this in mind, it is necessary to take measures that will benefit them in the short term to prevent a decline in personal consumption.
 企業減税の効果が賃金上昇を通じて消費者に波及するまでには、一定の時間がかかるだろう。個人消費の落ち込みを防ぐため、即効性のある手立てが要る。

The government intends to implement what it calls “a simple allowance-granting measure” targeting low-income households in the form of a payment of ¥10,000 to ¥15,000 per person. However, there is a limit to what can be gained through such temporary handouts.
 政府は、低所得世帯を対象に1人当たり1万~1万5000円を支給する「簡素な給付措置」を講じる構えだが、一時的な現金支給では効果は限定的である。

We believe a wider range of consumers, including people in the lower-income bracket, would benefit more from lower consumption tax rates for rice and other daily necessities, as well as newspapers that support democracy and a culture that values printed material.
 コメなどの生活必需品や、民主主義と活字文化を支える新聞の消費税率を抑える「軽減税率」の方が、低所得層など広範な消費者に持続的な恩恵が及ぶはずだ。

The LDP and Komeito have said they will seek to introduce lower tax rates for basic necessities when the consumption tax rate is raised to 10 percent. But we believe a reduced tax scheme should be put in place when the consumption tax rate is increased to 8 percent next spring to reduce the burden shouldered by ordinary households.
 自民、公明両党は、消費税率を10%にする際に軽減税率の導入を目指すというが、来春の8%への引き上げ時に導入し、家計の負担を和らげるべきだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 2, 2013)
(2013年10月2日01時31分 読売新聞)

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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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