通常国会開幕 「戦後の岐路」問う論戦を

–The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 5
EDITORIAL: Lawmakers can’t be allowed to obscure issues on Japan’s future course
(社説)通常国会開幕 「戦後の岐路」問う論戦を

This year’s ordinary Diet session convened on Jan. 4, immediately after the traditional three New Year holidays, an unusually early start of the national legislature’s work.
通常国会がきのう開幕した。三が日が明けて早々、異例に早い召集となった。

This is an extremely important Diet session.
極めて重要な国会である。

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to initiate an amendment to the Constitution after the Upper House election slated for this summer.
夏に参院選がある。安倍政権はその後、憲法改正の国会発議を視野に入れている。

The unusually early summoning of the Diet is a move to push ahead with a constitutional amendment.
異例の早期召集は、そのための布石でもある。

The early beginning of the regular Diet session also makes it possible to hold simultaneous elections for both houses.
この時期の召集なら、衆参同日選も可能だ。

Although it is unclear if Abe will actually adopt this electoral tactic, simply having this option makes it easier for the ruling camp to create a division within the opposition bloc.
実際に踏み切るかはさておき、同日選の選択肢を手にするだけで野党を分断しやすくなる。

The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner, Komeito, already controls more than a two-thirds majority in the Lower House. The Abe administration is aiming to secure a two-thirds majority also in the Upper House to rewrite the Constitution. Such a presence in both chambers is needed to initiate any constitutional amendment process.
衆院は自公両党で発議に必要な総議員の3分の2以上の勢力をもつが、参院でも3分の2の「改憲勢力」を確保したい。それが政権の狙いだ。

ABE CHANGES STANCE AFTER ELECTIONS
■選挙前後の使い分け

At the Upper House election, Japanese voters will have to decide on whether to give Abe a clear and lopsided mandate to pursue his political agenda. The election could shape up as a major turning point for postwar Japan.
「安倍1強政治」を加速させるか、転換させるか。夏の参院選は、戦後日本の大きな分岐点になる可能性がある。

This Diet session will offer an important opportunity for the public to think about the nation’s future course before the Upper House election. We urge both the ruling and opposition camps to hold in-depth debates on key policy issues to give the voting public a well-founded basis for their decisions at the polls.
この国会は、国民にとって、参院選を前に日本の針路を考える重要な機会となる。判断材料となるような、深みのある論戦を与野党双方に求める。

In his New Year news conference on Jan. 4, Abe said he wants to start tackling “new challenges for building a new future for the nation” in 2016, stressing his policy efforts to create “a society where 100 million people will play active roles,” his vision for Japan’s future.
「新しい国づくりへの新しい挑戦を始める年にしたい」
安倍首相はきのうの年頭会見で抱負を語り、1億総活躍社会づくりなどを強調した。

But we cannot take these words at face value. The Abe administration has a history of emphasizing economic issues before elections and then forcing through its favorite policy initiatives by using the power of numbers after winning the polls. The administration has often used this political ploy on the strength won through an election.
だが、額面通りには受け取れない。選挙前は経済最優先と言いながら、選挙に勝てば、自らこだわる政策を数の力で押し通す――。選挙至上主義とも言えるそうした政治手法が、安倍政権では際立つからだ。

This was the case after the 2013 Upper House election, when the administration successfully sought the enactment of the state secrets protection law, and also after the 2014 Lower House election, when it pursued, again successfully, the passage of new national security legislation.
2013年の参院選後の特定秘密保護法のときも、14年の総選挙後の安保法制のときも、そうだった。

Lawmakers of both the ruling and opposition camps now believe that Abe’s next political goal is a constitutional revision.
次は憲法改正を持ち出すだろう、というのが与野党一致した見方である。

In a late November meeting of a group of conservative politicians he himself leads, Abe made the following remark: “We need to recall the original political goal adopted (by the LDP) at its foundation, which was to change the various systems created during the period of occupation (of Japan by the Allied Powers), including amending the Constitution.”
昨年11月末、安倍首相は自ら率いる右派系議員の会合で、こう述べている。
「憲法改正をはじめ、占領時代に作られた様々な仕組みを変えていこうという(自民党の)立党の原点を呼び起こさなければならない」

If the ruling coalition wins in simultaneous elections for both Diet houses, the administration will have three years to pursue its policy agenda without having to face any national poll. Even if Abe does not opt to dissolve the Lower House for simultaneous elections, a victory in the upper chamber will give the coalition more than two election-free years.
仮に参院選で与党が勝てば、同日選なら3年間、参院選単独でも2年以上、大きな国政選挙に臨まなくても済む「時間」を手にすることになる。

That will create a political environment that allows the Abe administration to make even bolder political moves than those it has already taken, including initiating a constitutional amendment.
改憲の発議を含め、これまで以上に思い切った手を打てる環境が整う。

BLOCK ATTEMPTS TO OBSCURE REAL ISSUES
■争点隠しを許さない

The Abe administration has shown a clear tendency to change its policy narrative after elections in various areas, including the economy.
「選挙前」と「選挙後」を使い分ける政権のやり方は、これにとどまらない。
一つは、経済だ。

One typical approach used by the administration involves talking only about “benefits” for voters before elections, delaying any reference to a painful increase in the burden on taxpayers until after the polls.
有権者受けする「給付」を先行させる一方、痛みを伴う「負担増」は選挙後に先送り。そんな手法が目立つ。

The draft supplementary budget for the current fiscal year, for instance, contains 330 billion yen ($2.77 billion) of spending to pay 30,000 yen each to old people with small pension pots.
今年度補正予算案には、年金額が少ない高齢者に1人あたり3万円、総額3300億円を配ることを盛り込んだ。

This spending will put a heavy financial burden on future generations while its beneficiaries include many people with ample assets.
低年金者には資産を多く持つ人もいるのに、巨額の給付のツケが将来世代に回される。

As for the proposed food exemptions from the scheduled consumption tax rate hike in April 2017, the administration has postponed its decision on how to finance the 1 trillion yen needed for the measure.
17年度から導入する消費税の軽減税率も、1兆円もの税収減の財源探しを先送りした。

The administration has also shown a habit of changing its political tune in the area of national security.
もう一つは、安全保障だ。

Although the security legislation that passed the Diet last year is slated to come into force in March, the administration has decided to put off, until after the Upper House election, the addition of one important task to the list of new missions the Self-Defense Forces is expected to perform in United Nations peacekeeping operations under the laws.
The task is to rescue foreign forces or other organizations that have come under attack in areas away from the zone where the SDF is engaged in PKO activities.
安保法制が3月に施行されるが、政権は国連平和維持活動(PKO)に派遣する自衛隊への「駆けつけ警護」任務の追加を参院選後に先送りする。

The administration has also postponed submitting a bill to the Diet that would revise Japan’s Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) with the United States to expand the scope of the SDF’s logistic support for U.S. forces. The revision would allow the SDF to provide ammunition to U.S. forces, for example.
米軍への弾薬提供など、後方支援を広げる日米物品役務相互提供協定(ACSA)改定案の国会提出も先送りだ。

Public opinion is sharply and equally divided over the security legislation. The administration apparently wants to avoid stirring up fresh public opposition to the legislation before the vital election.
安保法制に対する世論は二分されている。重要な選挙を前にして、反発を再燃させたくないという判断だろう。

The opposition parties have the heavy responsibility to prevent the ruling camp from obscuring key policy issues during the last Diet session before the election and ensure in-depth discussions on these topics.
選挙前の最後の論戦となる国会で、与党の「争点隠し」とも言える動きをどう覆し、議論を深めていくか。
野党の責任は重い。

OPPOSITION PARTIES SHOULD SEEK BROAD COOPERATION
■幅広い国民と連帯を

What kind of role should the opposition parties perform to counter the Abe administration’s dominant power?
「安倍1強政治」に対抗するために、野党がいま、果たすべき役割は何か。

First and foremost, they should offer a realistic alternative to Abe’s government through effective maneuverings at the Diet, electoral cooperation and joint policymaking.
まず国会対応や選挙協力、政策づくりを通じて、1強に代わりうる「もう一つの選択肢」を国民に示すことだ。

Calls for repealing the security legislation, which is strongly suspected to be unconstitutional, and protecting constitutionalism, which the Abe administration has failed to respect, can galvanize opposition parties into joining forces against the powerful ruling coalition.
違憲の疑いが濃い安保法制を白紙に戻す。安倍政権が軽視する立憲主義を守る。それが結集軸になるはずだ。

As long as the opposition camp remains fragmented, there will be no political force that can effectively represent people concerned about the direction in which the government is trying to lead the nation.
野党がバラバラなままでは、今の政治に危惧を抱く民意は行き場を見いだせない。

More than anything else, opposition parties need to seek cooperation with a broad spectrum of people by responding sympathetically to their wishes and concerns.
そして何より、幅広い国民の思いや不安と共感しながら、連帯をはかることである。

Last year, the government’s initiative to enact the security legislation provoked various civil actions against the move, including demonstrations in front of the Diet building.
昨年、安保法制をめぐって国会前の街頭活動など市民の動きが呼び起こされた。

What opposition parties should recall now is the fact that decisions on the future of the nation are, after all, up to the people with whom sovereign power resides.
野党が改めて思い起こすべきは、国の針路を最終的に決めるのは、主権者たる国民だということだ。

The Diet can initiate constitutional amendments, but they must be approved by the people with a majority vote in a special referendum.
憲法改正も、国会議員による発議だけでは決まらない。国民投票による過半数の賛成が必要である。

The vital choice facing the nation is between politics simply driven by the power of a majority won through an election and politics more based on broad consensus built through sympathy and solidaity with the public.
選挙での勝利や、議員の数の力で押し切る政治か。国民との共感と連帯に基づく、合意形成を重視するのか。

This choice offers hope for new politics.
その問いに、新たな政治の可能性が見えてくる。

The voting age will be lowered to 18 from the current 20, starting with the Upper House election.
今回の参院選から18歳選挙権が認められる。

The Diet has a duty to debate key policy issues from a long-term perspective that encompasses not only the present but also the future when the new young voters will play leading roles in society.
今だけでなく、彼らが生きて行く未来を見すえた論戦をしなければならない。

広告

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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