日本浮上へ総力を結集せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun January 1, 2014
Deal with economy, China to ensure Japan can rise again
日本浮上へ総力を結集せよ(1月1日付・読売社説)

 ◆「経済」と「中国」に万全の備えを

This nation must be saved from drowning in the sea of deflation, a challenge essential for putting its economy onto an upward trend.
 デフレの海で溺れている日本を救い出し、上昇気流に乗せなければならない。

Doing so will definitely require success in achieving the targets set in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policy line, known as Abenomics, through efforts to ensure his administration is kept running even more stably.
 それには、安倍政権が政治の安定を維持し、首相の経済政策「アベノミクス」が成功を収めることが不可欠である。

With this in mind, the government should place priority on economic growth over fiscal reconstruction for the time being, a task necessary to revitalize the economy and increase tax revenue.
 当面は、財政再建より経済成長を優先して日本経済を再生させ、税収を増やす道を選ぶべきだ。

This must be accompanied by efforts to disburse financial resources in such fields as pensions, medical and other forms of social security, along with national security, crisis management and energy. Success in that endeavor is indispensable for boosting Japan’s national strength from the mid- and long-term standpoints.
 そのうえで、年金・医療などの社会保障、安全保障・危機管理、エネルギーなどの政策分野に投資し、中長期的に国力を上昇させていくことが肝要である。

In promoting good external relations, the government needs to ensure stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
 対外的には、アジア太平洋地域の安定が望ましい。

China has been escalating its high-handed behavior in the East China Sea and in the sky above the area in recent months. Few eyebrows would be raised if an accidental conflict erupted between Japan and China at any time. This situation will likely continue for the foreseeable future.
 中国が東シナ海とその上空で、強圧的な行動をエスカレートさせている。日本との間に偶発的衝突がいつあってもおかしくない、厳しい情勢が続く。

Perceived military tensions in this region must be relaxed through repeated dialogue between Japanese and Chinese diplomatic and defense authorities, coupled with efforts to improve the functions of the Japan-U.S. alliance.
 日中両国の外交・防衛当局者による対話を重ねつつ、日米同盟の機能を高めることで、軍事的緊張を和らげねばならない。

The economy and China will likely be the two major focuses of government policy this year. Failure to squarely confront the two tasks—one domestic, the other external—will render useless any attempt by Japan to start rising to prominence, economically or otherwise.
 今年も「経済」と「中国」が焦点となろう。この内外のテーマに正面から立ち向かわずに、日本が浮上することはない。

Crunch time for Abenomics
 ◆アベノミクスに試練

One year has passed since Abe inaugurated his second Cabinet. The prime minister was at the forefront of his ruling coalition’s victory in the House of Councillors election last summer, a triumph that sealed an end to the divided Diet. This has enabled the Liberal Democratic Party to emerge as the sole dominant power in the political arena, reducing all other parties to lesser forces.
 第2次安倍内閣が発足して1年が経過した。首相は昨年夏の参院選で衆参両院のねじれを解消し、自民党が突出する「1強多弱」体制を作り上げた。

His Cabinet has consistently enjoyed a high popular support rating. Despite a drop in the rating due to turmoil arising from the enactment of the state secrets protection law during an extraordinary Diet session last year, the figure still stands in the 50 percent range.
 内閣支持率は一貫して高い。昨年の臨時国会での特定秘密保護法成立の混乱によって低下したが、なお50%台を維持している。

This should be solely attributed to Abe’s focused efforts on economic recovery, a task that comes first in the list of his policy priorities.
 安倍首相が、政策課題に優先順位をつけ、専ら「経済」に力を注いできたからにほかならない。

The prime minister’s pursuit of his Abenomics policy is accomplishing a certain degree of success. This is evident in the fact, for example, that two of the three pillars stipulated in his policy—bold monetary relaxation and flexible fiscal stimulus—have apparently caused the economy to pick up. This has been accompanied by realizing higher stock prices and a decline in the value of the yen. There is no doubt that the current situation has helped make Japan’s presence felt more strongly in the international community.
 アベノミクスは、3本の矢のうち、大胆な金融緩和と機動的な財政出動の2本の矢によって、日本の景気を持ち直し、株高・円安も実現するなど、一定の成果を上げている。日本の国際社会での存在感が増したことも確かだ。

However, it is still uncertain whether—and how, for that matter—the Bank of Japan will be able to bring the annual price increase rate to 2 percent, a target set by the central bank to overcome protracted deflation. Furthermore, there is a limit to how long the benefits of the fiscal measures taken by the government to underpin the economy will endure. The Abe Cabinet’s high support rating is primarily because the public expect he will be able to recharge the economy. His high popularity does not mean people actually feel their living conditions are improving under the current administration.
 だが、日銀がデフレ克服の目標に掲げる「2%の物価上昇率」の実現への道筋は、なお不透明だ。景気を下支えする財政出動は持続力に限りがある。世論の支持も、景気回復への期待が先行し、必ずしも生活向上を実感できたからではない。

Given this, the Abenomics policy will be tested over whether it can truly achieve its purpose this year.
 今年は、アベノミクスの真価が問われる。

The prime minister’s decision in October to implement a consumption tax rate hike, as initially planned, means the rate will rise from 5 percent to 8 percent in April.
 首相の決断によって、4月に消費税率が5%から8%に引き上げられる。

The economy will likely remain more or less upbeat until the end of March, partly due to last-minute rise in demand for such commodities as consumer durables. In April and beyond, however, the economy could take a downturn due to dampened consumer appetite in reaction to the tax rate increase.
 3月までは、耐久消費財などの「駆け込み需要」もあって、景気は回復基調で推移するだろう。だが、消費が冷え込む「反動減」が予想される4月以降は、景気が腰折れしかねない。

To minimize the effect of the tax hike on consumption, the government put together an economic stimulus package worth about ¥5.5 trillion at government expense, the main pillars of which include financial and other support for business corporations and public works projects. With a similar purpose in mind, the government has devised a bloated budget for fiscal 2014.
 政府は消費増税の影響を最小限に抑えるため、企業支援や公共事業を柱に国費で5・5兆円規模の経済対策を打ち出した。2014年度予算案も大きく膨らんだ。

However, we think the package is less than satisfactory when it comes to supporting ordinary household finances. It includes a one-shot financial support for low-income households, or what the government calls “simple benefit payment.” Meanwhile, the government decided not to introduce a lower tax rate for such essential goods as foodstuffs and newspapers. We hope the government and the ruling parties will prepare to introduce a mitigated tax rate system covering such necessities when a planned rate hike from 8 percent to 10 percent is implemented.
 一方、家計への支援は物足りない。低所得者へ1回限りの「簡素な給付措置」が盛り込まれたが、食料品や新聞への軽減税率は導入が見送られた。政府・与党は10%への消費増税と同時導入を期して準備を進めてもらいたい。

Abe must lead from front
 ◆成長戦略は首相主導で

The third pillar of Abenomics calls for translating a growth strategy into action. Success in ensuring the government’s growth strategy fulfills its aim is essential for accomplishing a sustainable economic growth led by the private sector, aided by job creation and higher wages that could be made possible through Abenomics.
 アベノミクスが雇用や賃上げに波及して、民間主導の持続的な経済成長を実現するには、成長戦略という3本目の矢が、的を射なければならない。

However, it is uncertain whether the growth strategy will accomplish its goal. This was underlined by the large cut in the number of deregulatory steps to be implemented in what are called national strategy special zones, due to objections from various government offices and organizations that would be affected by this deregulation.
 だが、国家戦略特区で行う規制緩和のメニューが各府省や関係団体の抵抗で大幅に後退するなど、戦略の実効性は心もとない。

The prime minister should play a leadership role in encouraging the private sector to inject its vitality, economic or otherwise, into growth markets, thus accelerating the effects of the third pillar of Abenomics.
 首相が指導力を発揮し、民間活力を成長市場へ誘導することで、3本目の矢を加速させたい。

A recent rise in consumer prices cannot be considered a favorable trend triggered by increased demand, given that a surge in the prices of imported goods and higher electricity bills are major factors behind the situation. A favorable cycle—in which private corporations buoyed by improved business performance raise wages for their employees, which in turn improves family budgets and leads to increased consumption—must be created.
 最近の消費者物価の上昇は、輸入物価や電気料金の値上げが背景にあり、需要増を契機とした「良い物価上昇」とは言えない。業績を上げた企業が賃金を引き上げ、家計の収入増が消費を拡大する好循環を実現せねばならない。

Success—or the lack thereof—of this policy depends on whether a stable supply of inexpensive electricity will be secured.
 その成否のカギを握るのが、安価な電力の安定供給である。

Operations at all 50 reactors at nuclear power plants in Japan remain suspended. As things stand, the nation must shoulder a hefty ¥10 billion in additional costs for imported fuel for power generation such as liquefied natural gas each day. The additional burden is to operate thermal power plants to their fullest, thus making up for an electric power shortage while nuclear power reactors remain idled. This is an extra drain of national wealth to energy resource exporting countries.
 原子力発電所は全50基が停止している。電力不足を火力発電所のフル稼働で補うため、液化天然ガスなど輸入発電燃料の追加負担は1日100億円に上る。国富が資源国に余計に流出している。

Nuclear power stations must be steadily brought back online once they have been confirmed safe to operate.
 安全が確認できた原発を着実に再稼働させなければならない。

One worrisome factor is the delay in the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety checks that must be conducted before nuclear reactors can be brought back online. Given the time needed to obtain consent from local governments concerned and other necessary procedures, the reactors now being screened will be able to resume operations in summer at the earliest.
 気がかりなのは、原子力規制委員会による原発再稼働の審査が遅れていることだ。地元の了解などの手続きを考慮すれば、再稼働は早くて夏ごろになってしまう。

With its low energy self-sufficiency rate, how Japan ensures a stable supply of electricity will be directly linked with its national strategy.
 エネルギー自給率の低い日本が今後、どう電力を確保していくかは、国家戦略にも直結する。

The Abe administration plans to position nuclear energy as an “important basic energy source” in its basic plan on energy to be adopted by the Cabinet in January. We support the administration’s decision to drop the Democratic Party of Japan’s irresponsible “zero nuclear power” policy, leaving open the possibility of building new nuclear power plants or reactors.
 安倍政権は1月中に閣議決定するエネルギー基本計画で、原発を「重要なベース電源」と位置づける。民主党政権の無責任な「原発ゼロ」路線と決別し、新増設に含みを残した点は支持したい。

Japan possesses some of the world’s most sophisticated nuclear technologies. Constructing safe, next-generation nuclear power stations is also necessary from the viewpoint of maintaining and nurturing human resources in this field. The nation also needs to expand exports of nuclear power infrastructure to boost economic growth.
 日本は世界有数の原子力技術を保持している。安全な次世代型原発の新増設は、人材維持・育成の観点からも必要だ。原発のインフラ輸出を成長にも生かしたい。

In addition, the government must accelerate discussions on preparing an optimal combination of nuclear power, thermal power, solar power and other renewable energy sources.
 政府は、電源として原子力、火力、太陽光発電など再生可能エネルギーをどう組み合わせるか、という議論を加速させるべきだ。

Accidental clashes
 ◆偶発的衝突の恐れも

China is attempting to change the status quo in the Asia-Pacific region by force, intensifying friction with its neighbors.
 アジア太平洋地域では、中国が力による現状変更を試み、周辺国との摩擦を強めている。

Touting a policy of increasing wealth and military power it has labeled the “Chinese dream,” the administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping is increasingly conducting naval and airspace drills with its fleet and aircraft in the West Pacific, and strengthening its effective control of the South China Sea. China’s anti-access area-denial strategy against the United States is poised to bear fruit.
 中国の習近平政権は、「中国の夢」と称する富国強兵路線を掲げて、西太平洋での艦隊・航空機演習や南シナ海の実効支配強化の動きを活発化させている。米軍への接近阻止・領域拒否(A2AD)戦略が実を結ぼうとしている。

As for Japan, Chinese state vessels are stationed almost around-the-clock around the Senkaku Islands and repeatedly intrude into Japanese waters. Its unmanned aircraft fly over Japanese waters. Furthermore, it unilaterally declared an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea that included the Senkaku Islands.
 日本には、尖閣諸島周辺での公船常駐化と領海侵入、無人機の海上飛行を繰り返し、さらには尖閣を含む東シナ海上空に一方的に防空識別圏を設定した。

China has demanded that all aircraft flying within the ADIZ submit flight plans in advance, and threatened to adopt “emergency defensive measures” by the Chinese military against any plane that refuses to obey its instructions. We think it is extremely problematic that China treats the ADIZ like its territorial airspace.
 中国は、識別圏内を飛行する全航空機に飛行計画の提出を求め、従わないなら「防御的緊急措置」の対象だと警告している。領空のごとく扱うのは極めて問題だ。

If this situation remains in place, Japan could become entangled in a military clash. The two countries urgently need to set up a liaison mechanism to help prevent an unexpected situation from erupting between the Self-Defense Forces and the Chinese military.
 このままでは日本が武力衝突の当事者になりかねない。自衛隊と中国軍との間に、不測の事態を回避する連絡メカニズムを構築することが急務となる。

China must not use Abe’s recent visit to Yasukuni Shrine as an excuse to refuse dialogue with Japan.
 安倍首相の靖国神社参拝が、中国側に対話を拒む口実に使われることがあってはならない。

It will also be important to hold China in check by deepening the Japan-U.S. alliance.
 日米同盟の深化によって、中国を牽制(けんせい)することも重要だ。

The United States maintains the position that the Senkaku Islands fall within the scope of Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which stipulates U.S. defense obligations to Japan. To ensure this article functions without fail, Japan will need to boost the roles it can play with the United States.
 米国は尖閣諸島に対し、日米安保条約の対日防衛義務を定めた条項が適用される、という立場を変えていない。この条項が確実に機能するよう、米国との間で日本の役割も増強しなければならない。

It is timely that the Abe administration will review the Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines at the end of this year.
 安倍政権が今年末に、日米防衛協力の指針(ガイドライン)を見直すのは時宜にかなっている。

The new guidelines should stipulate what additional assistance the SDF can provide to U.S. forces and the U.S. forces’ expanded involvement in the defense of Japan’s remote islands such as the Senkakus so Tokyo and Washington can jointly operate smoothly and handle any crisis as it escalates from a time of peace to a contingency.
 平時から有事へ、危機の拡大に応じた継ぎ目のない日米共同対処ができるよう、自衛隊の米軍支援の拡充、尖閣など離島防衛での米軍の関与拡大を打ち出したい。

It will also be unavoidable for the government to change its interpretation of the Constitution to enable Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense.
 集団的自衛権の行使を可能にする憲法解釈の変更に踏み切ることも、避けて通れない。

The government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are considering a new interpretation under which exercising the right to collective self-defense will be part of the “minimum necessary” exercise of force for self-defense. Given the worsening security environment surrounding the country, expanding the scope of what constitutes the “minimum necessary” exercise of force is quite understandable.
 政府・自民党は、自衛のための「必要最小限の武力行使」に、集団的自衛権の行使も含める、とする新しい解釈を検討している。安全保障環境の悪化を受けて「必要最小限」の範囲を広げるのは、十分理解できる。

Along with the right to collective self-defense, it will also be necessary to deepen discussions on the right to individual self-defense. For instance, if intruders disguised as fishermen unlawfully occupy a remote island, a development that does not reach a military attack, how would the SDF respond? It will be necessary to spell out rules on the possible use of weapons in a scenario like this that could be described as the exercise of “the minor right to self-defense.”
 集団的自衛権とともに、個別自衛権の議論も深めたい。例えば、偽装漁民による離島占拠という武力攻撃に至らない段階で、自衛隊は、どう対処するのか。こうした「マイナー自衛権」の武器使用の問題も詰めておく必要がある。

Contribute to regional stability
 ◆地域の安定に寄与せよ

The relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture recently saw a development. Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima has approved the central government’s request to carry out a land reclamation project in waters off the Henoko district in Nago in the prefecture, a necessary step for ultimately relocating the air station to the district. His decision has cleared the path for an issue that has remained unresolved between Japan and the United States since 1996.
 沖縄県の米軍普天間飛行場移設問題は、進展を見せている。仲井真弘多知事が名護市辺野古の公有水面埋め立てを承認したことで、1996年以来の日米間の懸案が解決に向かいつつある。

Relocating the air base to Henoko would significantly reduce the burden Okinawa Prefecture shoulders by hosting U.S. bases, and enhance the deterrent provided by U.S. forces.
 辺野古への移設が実現すれば、沖縄の基地負担軽減と、抑止力の向上に大きく貢献するだろう。

In December, the government decided on its first National Security Strategy. It urges China to play responsible and constructive roles for peace, stability and prosperity in the region. It also stipulates that Japan will continue to respond firmly but calmly against China’s attempts to forcibly change the present situation.
 昨年12月に初めて決定された国家安全保障戦略は、中国に、地域の平和と安定、繁栄のために責任ある建設的役割を果たすよう促すとともに、力による現状変更の試みには、冷静かつ毅然(きぜん)として対応していく、と記している。

With its birthrate declining and population aging, China’s working and manufacturing populations have started to decline. Under these circumstances, will China’s economic growth slow? How long will the United States place priority on the Asian region? How will such changes affect Japan’s security and economy?
 中国は、少子高齢化が進行し、労働生産人口が減少し始めた。経済成長はどう鈍化していくのか。米国のアジア重視はいつまで続くのか。日本の安全保障や経済にどう影響を与えるのか。

Unlocking the answers to such questions will require analyzing information and drawing up strategic policies toward China.
 情報を分析し、戦略的な対中政策を練り上げねばならない。

In the mid- and long-term, it is crucial for Japan to continue to contribute to the region’s security. In cooperation with the United States and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan must continuously persuade China to be aware of its responsibilities as a member of the international community, and to act accordingly. That is a key duty of Japan.
 中長期的には、日本が地域の安全保障に寄与することが肝要だ。米国や東南アジア諸国連合(ASEAN)などと連携し、中国に対し、国際社会の一員としての責任を自覚して行動するよう説得し続けることが日本の責務である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 1, 2014)
(2014年1月1日00時57分 読売新聞)

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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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