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郵政株主総会 西川社長再任は条件付きだ

2009-06-30 17:38:40 | 英字新聞
The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jun. 30, 2009)
Nishikawa's return subject to conditions
郵政株主総会 西川社長再任は条件付きだ(6月30日付・読売社説)

Will the reappointment of Japan Post Holdings' incumbent directors improve the corporate culture of the scandal-tainted company?
 数々の不祥事を起こした日本郵政の体質が、これで変わるだろうか。

The government, as the company's sole stockholder, approved the reappointment of all of Japan Post Holdings' nine directors, including Yoshifumi Nishikawa as president, at a general meeting of shareholders held at its head office in Kasumigaseki, Tokyo, on Monday. The decision on personnel was then finalized with the approval of Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Tsutomu Sato, who is responsible for overseeing Japan's postal system.
 29日に開かれた日本郵政の株主総会で、国は西川善文社長ら取締役9人全員の再任を承認し、佐藤総務相も人事を認可した。

The government decided to let the current management continue to operate Japan Post after it examined and accepted the company's responses to its business improvement order--imposed after the envisaged sale of Kampo no Yado hotels and resort facilities at unreasonably low prices came to light--and the company's punitive actions against the employees involved, including pay cuts for Nishikawa and the other directors.
 「かんぽの宿」売却に関する業務改善命令への回答や、西川社長ら役員の報酬カットなど社内処分を受け入れ、現経営陣にかじ取りを任せた。

However, a majority of the public are very critical of Nishikawa's reappointment, according to several opinion polls. The opposition Democratic Party of Japan said that it would fire Nishikawa if the party wins the upcoming House of Representatives election and takes power. Nishikawa should run the company in a humble manner, considering his reappointment as Japan Post president is subject to conditions.
 しかし、続投については国民の多くが強く批判しており、民主党も衆院選で勝利して政権を取った場合は、更迭する意向を表明している。西川社長は、あくまで条件付きの再任と受け止め、謙虚に経営にあたらねばならない。

The bidding on the Kampo no Yado hotels was handled in a very suspicious way with higher bids not chosen and no record kept of the negotiation process.
 「かんぽの宿」の入札では、高額での購入提案が選ばれず、交渉過程の記録もないなど、極めて不自然だった。

===

Staff held accountable

Four of the company's senior officials, who came from Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and were known as "Team Nishikawa," have been held responsible for that and will be dismissed soon to return to the bank. But, Nishikawa, too, bears heavy responsibility for letting his staff get out of control.
 こうした責任を問われ、三井住友銀行出身で、「チーム西川」と呼ばれた幹部4人は近く解任されて、銀行に戻る。部下の暴走を許した西川社長の責任は重い。

According to the company's business improvement plan, Japan Post will establish a new management advisory committee to monitor its problem-plagued management system. The company will also create a new post of chairman and appoint one of the external board members to the post. The chairman will double as head of the committee. To accomplish the improvement plan's aims, the current external board members who overlooked the scandals should not stay, but should be replaced with new members invited from outside the company.
 多くの問題が見つかった経営手法を監視するため、経営諮問会議を新設する。議長は社外取締役から選ぶ会長が兼任する。趣旨を生かすには、不祥事を見過ごしてきた現在の社外取締役でなく、外部から新たに招くのが筋だ。

According to Japan Post's plan, the Kampo no Yado enterprise, which is the original cause of the whole problem, posted a deficit of 5.4 billion yen in fiscal 2008 but should move into the black in fiscal 2011.
 問題の発端となったかんぽの宿は、2008年度に54億円の赤字だった事業を、11年度に黒字にする計画という。

The turnaround is intended to allow Japan Post to sell the resort facilities at higher prices, but can Japan Post end the hotels' chronic deficits through only such conventional measures as developing a new customer base and reducing labor costs?
 高値で売却するためだが、新規顧客の開拓や人件費削減などありきたりの方策で、長年の赤字体質から抜け出せるのだろうか。

===

Deadline looming

The Kampo no Yado hotels are required to be either sold or shut down and liquidated by autumn 2012. If business conditions remain tough, such as lingering doldrums in real estate prices, Japan Post should consider the option of disposing of those facilities with huge deficits first, but waiting for better circumstances to sell the others.
 かんぽの宿は2012年の秋までに売却か廃止が義務づけられている。不動産価格の低迷が長引くなど環境が悪ければ、赤字の大きい施設などは処分しつつ、有利な売り時を待つ選択肢もあろう。

In the privatization of postal services, it is necessary to both promote efficiency and and preserve the universality of services such as mail delivery. We must closely monitor the postal service privatization to prevent it from focusing exclusively on efficiency and make it an instance of privatization the public can consider a success as the internal affairs and communication minister said.
 民営化では、効率アップと郵便などのサービス維持の両立が求められる。効率一辺倒になっていないか、佐藤総務相の言う「国民が良かったと思う民営化」にできるか厳しく監視せねばならない。

Both Japan Post Bank and Japan Post Insurance will be fully privatized by October 2017.
 ゆうちょ銀行とかんぽ生命保険は、2017年10月までに完全民営化する。

But, the two companies will be criticized for "oppressing private companies" if they try to expand their businesses to seek sufficient revenues in preparation for full privatization. It is essential for them to sufficiently explain their actions to win the public's understanding.
 独り立ちに必要な収益を求めて業務を拡大すれば、「民業圧迫」の批判も出るだろう。理解を得るための説明が欠かせない。

However, Nishikawa seems to be insincere at times as he refused to hold press conferences on some important occasions, such as when he gave the final business improvement report to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry. We would like to ask him to be fully accountable as president of Japan Post Holdings.
 西川社長は、総務省への最終報告など節目で記者会見に応じないなど、誠実さに欠ける面も見られた。説明責任をしっかり果たすよう求めたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 30, 2009)
(2009年6月30日01時59分 読売新聞)
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日韓首脳会談 忍耐強く「北」に圧力をかけよ

2009-06-29 08:08:38 | 英字新聞
The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jun. 29, 2009)
United front needed in confronting N. Korea
日韓首脳会談 忍耐強く「北」に圧力をかけよ(6月29日付・読売社説)

As long as North Korea does not change its provocative attitude, it is important for the international community to patiently continue to put pressure on the country.
 北朝鮮が挑戦的な姿勢を改めない以上、国際社会は忍耐強く圧力をかけ続けることが肝要だ。

During a summit meeting in Tokyo on Sunday, Prime Minister Taro Aso and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak reaffirmed that "Pyongyang's nuclear development poses a serious threat and is not acceptable." They also agreed on the importance of bilateral cooperation, as well as working with the United States, in dealing with North Korea, aiming for the "faithful implementation" of a U.N. Security Council resolution on sanctions against North Korea.
 麻生首相と李明博韓国大統領は28日の会談で、北朝鮮の核開発は「重大な脅威で容認できない」(麻生首相)と改めて確認した。日米韓が連携し、国連安全保障理事会の制裁決議の「忠実な履行」(李大統領)を目指すことでも一致した。

After North Korea conducted a nuclear test in 2006, the United States lifted its own financial sanctions against North Korea to get the country back to the six-party talks. In addition, the United States continued to take a soft approach by supplying heavy oil and removing the country from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
 3年前の核実験後、北朝鮮を6か国協議に復帰させるため、米国は独自の金融制裁を解除した。さらに、重油支援やテロ支援国指定の解除とアメを与え続けた。

However, the process of verifying that Pyongyang's declared nuclear programs had been halted and all its existing nuclear facilities had been disabled was left unfinished.
 しかし、北朝鮮の核計画の申告や核施設の無能力化作業は中途半端で、検証も実現しなかった。

The same mistakes should not be repeated. It is natural not to reward North Korea for returning to the six-party talks and it is indispensable to impose harsh punishment on reckless deeds that ignored the warnings of the international community.
 今回は、その轍(てつ)を踏んではなるまい。協議への復帰に見返りを与えないのは当然であり、国際社会の警告を無視した暴挙には厳罰で臨むことが不可欠だ。

===

China's role vital

The success of the U.N. Security Council resolution on sanctions against North Korea, including cargo inspections, depends on how China deals with North Korea because Beijing has a large influence on Pyongyang through trade and food and energy assistance.
 貨物検査など国連決議の履行の成否は、貿易や食糧・エネルギー支援を通じて北朝鮮に影響力を持つ中国の対応にかかっている。

China also clearly said that it will not allow possession of nuclear weapons by North Korea. Strengthening military deterrence among Japan, South Korea and the United States to counter Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threats is not desirable for China.
 中国も、北朝鮮の核保有を認めないと明言している。北朝鮮の核とミサイルに対抗するため、日米韓が軍事的抑止力を高める構図は中国に望ましいものではない。

It is extremely important to continue to urge China to make a "responsible response" to North Korea, including putting pressure on the country.
 中国に対し、北朝鮮への圧力を含む「責任ある対応」を促し続けることが極めて重要となる。

Many observers pointed out that the aim of Pyongyang's missile launches and nuclear tests is not to just strengthen its bargaining chip against the United States, but also are tied to the domestic situation and the need to solidify the regime of the successor to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
 北朝鮮のミサイル発射や核実験の狙いが、単なる対米交渉カードの強化ではなく、金正日総書記の後継体制を固めるという国内事情にある、との見方が多い。

If this is true, it is possible North Korea could turn a deaf ear to warnings by relevant countries and dare to launch longer-range missiles. The international community needs to prepare for a long war.
 事実なら、北朝鮮が今後も、関係国の働きかけに耳を貸さず、より長射程のミサイル発射などに走る可能性が否定できない。国際社会は長期戦の覚悟が必要だ。

===

Deeper discussions

Meanwhile, it is important to discuss a new type of consultation in preparation for a future return of North Korea to the six-party talks. If the talks continue as five-party talks without North Korea, as proposed by Lee, such an occasion would be a good opportunity to deepen the discussion for that purpose.
 一方で、北朝鮮がいずれ対話に戻る時に備えて、新たな協議のあり方を検討しておくことが大切だ。李大統領の提唱する日米中韓露の5か国協議が実現すれば、その議論を深める機会となろう。

The framework of the six-party talks itself is reasonable and it should be maintained in terms of the role it affords Japan in handling issues related to North Korea. Furthermore, participating countries should rack their brains for measures to apply the brakes to any future nuclear test by Pyongyang and ways to lead North Korea toward nuclear disarmament .
 5か国と北朝鮮による6か国協議の枠組み自体は合理的であり、日本の発言権を確保する観点からも維持したい。さらに、北朝鮮に二度と核実験を行わせないための歯止め措置や、核廃棄に誘導する方法論に知恵を絞るべきだ。

In Sunday's summit meeting, Aso and Lee also agreed to promote cooperation on assistance for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and on antipiracy efforts off Somalia.
 首脳会談では、アフガニスタン・パキスタン支援やソマリア沖の海賊対策について、日韓協力を推進することでも合意した。

Since the start of Lee's administration in February 2008, the bilateral relationship between Japan and South Korea has strengthened in a wide range of fields. We hope that the two countries will establish a stronger relationship of trust by achieving tangible results.
 昨年2月の李政権発足以来、日韓関係は幅広い分野で強化されてきた。具体的な実績を上げ、より強固な信頼関係を築きたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 29, 2009)
(2009年6月29日01時43分 読売新聞)
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平成農地改革 農業再生の第一歩となれば

2009-06-28 09:02:33 | 英字新聞
The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jun. 28, 2009)
Farmland reform aims to revitalize agriculture
平成農地改革 農業再生の第一歩となれば(6月28日付・読売社説)

The idea of arresting the decline of agriculture by shifting the focus of the farmland system from ownership to effective use informs the revised Agricultural Land Law, which recently passed the Diet.
 農地制度の軸足を「所有」から「利用」に移して農業の衰退に歯止めをかける。こんな狙いを込めた改正農地法が、国会で成立した。

This is a major revision in that the owner-cultivator system maintained since the postwar farmland reform, which gave ownership of farmland to those who cultivate it, was overhauled. The revised law allows letting and leasing of farmland in principle and has eased regulations on the entry of corporate entities into agribusinesses.
 農地解放以来の「農地は耕作者のもの」とする「自作農主義」を見直す大改正だ。農地の貸借を原則自由とし、企業の農業への参入規制も緩和する。

The biggest problems that the nation's agriculture industry faces are a dearth of farmers and low productivity. It is an urgent task to promote the entry of corporations into the agribusiness sector as a major player in the industry and improve efficiency. The enactment of the revised law should serve as the first step toward revitalizing the nation's agricultural sector, and the so-called Heisei-era farmland reform should be carried out as soon as possible.
 日本の農業の最大の課題は、担い手不足と低い生産性にある。企業の農業参入を促して新たな担い手とし、効率化を進めることが急務だ。改正農地法の成立を農業再生の第一歩とし、「平成の農地改革」の実現を急ぐべきだ。

===

Fears over rise in land misuse

Farmland that companies may lease had been limited mainly to abandoned land. But under the new system, companies may also lease prime land. Tenure, which had been limited to 20 years, has been extended to 50 years.
 企業が借りられる農地はこれまで耕作放棄地などに限られていたが、今後は優良農地も借りられるようになる。最長20年だった貸借期間も50年に延長された。

At the same time, consolidation of farmland for lease is expected to be promoted. Regardless of who is the lessee, the government will provide subsidies to farmers who let their land. Municipal governments and agricultural cooperatives will systematically provide information on farmland available for lease to prospective lessees.
 同時に、貸し出す農地の集約事業も進める。借り手を問わずに農地を貸し出す農家に国が交付金を出し、市町村や農協が農地をまとめて借り手に紹介する。

It will be easier to improve efficiency with the use of agricultural machinery if farmland is consolidated. It also is expected that abandoned farmland, which totals about 400,000 hectares nationwide, will be reduced by letting it in combination with prime farmland.
 まとまった農地なら、機械化による効率経営を進めやすい。他の農地と「まとめ貸し」をすることで、全国に約40万ヘクタールある耕作放棄地を減らす効果も期待できる。

But there still is much work to do to ensure that farmland is used more efficiently.
 ただ、農地の有効利用には、なお残された課題も多い。

There are concerns that the law revision may lead to an increase in the number of cases in which borrowed land is illegally diverted for such purposes as parking lots and garbage dumps.
 心配なのは、借りた農地を駐車場やごみ捨て場などに不正転用するケースが増えることだ。

In 2008 alone, farmland with an area equivalent to 121 Tokyo Domes was illegally diverted for other purposes. In 90 percent of such cases, local governments reportedly rubber-stamped the misuse of the land in question, thus benefiting those acting illegally.
 2008年だけで、東京ドーム121個分の農地が不正に転用されている。その9割は自治体が不正転用を追認しており、「やり得」というのが実態だ。

Under the revised law, the upper limit of fines imposed on companies that illicitly use farmland for purposes other than farming has been raised from the previous 3 million yen to 100 million yen. But this toughened penalty will have only a limited effect.
 改正法では不正転用した企業に科す罰金の上限を300万円から1億円に引き上げたが、罰則の強化だけでは限界がある。

===

Watchdogs must stay alert

Municipal governments' agricultural committees are in charge of checking whether farmland is being used illegally. But it is indispensable to drastically review the function of these committees. It is said that registries containing such information as the size of farmland and its ownership are not updated in some cases. Concerned officials should first grasp the actual situation in the areas they administer and crack down on the illegal use of farmland.
 転用の監視役は市町村の農業委員会だが、その抜本的見直しが不可欠だ。農地面積や権利関係を記した基本台帳すら、過去の記録のまま放置されている例があるという。まず地域の実態を把握し、厳しく転用を取り締まるべきだ。

The increase in the maximum tenure period raises the risk that leased farmland will not be returned within the due period, or that it will be misused. If farmers, feeling concerned about such potential problems, become reluctant to let their land, the entry of companies into the agribusiness industry will not be facilitated. Companies will not be able to win trust from landowners if they withdraw from agribusinesses just because they failed to make a quick profit.
 貸借期間が長期化すれば、期限が来ても返されなかったり、改廃されたりする恐れが高まる。農家がこれを嫌って貸し出しを渋れば企業の参入は進まない。企業が目先の収益だけで撤退するようでも貸し手の信頼は得られない。

To ensure that the revised law does not end up pie in the sky, it is important for farmland letters and lessees to have mutual understanding. Pursuing efficiency and cost-effectiveness alone is unlikely to lead to the stable management of the agribusiness sector. Companies, as a vital player in the industry, must bear this in mind as they seek synergy with regional agriculture.
 改正法を絵に描いたモチに終わらせないためには、貸し手と借り手の相互理解が重要だ。効率化やコスト意識だけでは、安定した農業経営はできない。担い手の一人として、企業は地域農業との共生を忘れてはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 28, 2009)
(2009年6月28日01時36分 読売新聞)
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物価大幅下落 デフレ退治に最善を尽くせ

2009-06-27 09:33:25 | 英字新聞
The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jun. 27, 2009)
Take every step to fight deflation
物価大幅下落 デフレ退治に最善を尽くせ(6月27日付・読売社説)

Are we seeing the start of a vicious circle in which both the economy and prices decline simultaneously?
 景気と物価が同時に落ち込むデフレの悪循環が始まったのだろうか。

The nationwide consumer price index fell 1.1 percent in May, year on year, recording the largest drop since the end of World War II.
 5月の全国消費者物価は前年同月比1・1%低下して、戦後最大の下落率を更新した。

The previous biggest fall in the CPI was 1 percent, recorded in May 2001. At that time, the Bank of Japan was fighting deflation, using the quantitative easing policy for the first time.
 これまで最大の下落率は1・0%、記録したのは2001年5月だった。当時、日銀は初の量的金融緩和でデフレと戦っていた。

Prices have dropped more steeply than those at that time, and the pace of decline is expected to quicken.
その時より物価は下がり、今後さらに下落率は拡大が見込まれる。

In the summer of 2000, the central bank lifted its zero-interest-rate policy on the strength of its optimistic view on the outlook for the economy. The move aggravated deflation.
 2000年夏、日銀は景気の先行きを楽観してゼロ金利政策を解除し、デフレを悪化させた。

This time, one misstep could lead to deflationary spiral. Now that the economy has shown slight signs of recovery, every measure needs to be taken to fight deflation.
今回も一歩誤れば、連鎖が止まらぬ「デフレスパイラル」を招きかねない。景気に薄日が差す今こそ、デフレ退治に最善を尽くすべきだ。

The effects of falls in crude oil and grain prices, which skyrocketed last year, are huge. However, prices of items excluding gasoline and food are increasingly falling. Even disregarding these special factors, current circumstances will tend to push the economy further into deflation.
 前年に高騰した原油や穀物の価格が、一転して下がった影響は大きい。だが、ガソリンや食料を除いた物価も下げ幅の拡大が続いている。特殊要因を除いても、デフレ圧力は強いと見た方がいい。

===

Domestic demand anemic

One major factor is the slump in domestic demand, including consumption.
 主な原因は、消費をはじめとした内需の低迷である。

Department store sales have posted declines for 15 months in a row, and supermarket sales have fallen for six straight months.
 百貨店は15か月連続、スーパーも6か月連続で売上高が減った。

Many stores have cut the prices of items they sell and brought forward summer sales. This is because goods tend not to sell unless they are marked down. Department stores are struggling to sell clothing items, but low-price brand stores are doing good business.
夏のセールの前倒しなど、値下げの動きが広がるのは、安くしないと売れないからだ。百貨店で不振の衣料品も、低価格ブランドの専門店は売れ行き好調という。

With shrinking incomes due to corporate restructuring and cuts in overtime work, households are have been sharply reining in their spending. As a result, companies are engaged in price wars, leading to a decline in profits. This in turn translates into wage cuts.
 リストラや残業カットで収入が減り、家計は少しでも安い商品を選ぶようになる。その結果、企業は値下げ競争に走って利益が減り、さらなる賃下げを招く。

Curtailing spending is the right choice for individuals, but at the macroeconomic level, it prolongs a slump. In this regard, deflation is an intractable disease that robs an economy of dynamism.
 節約は個人の正しい選択だが、経済全体の停滞は長く深くなる。デフレは、経済の活力を奪う「難病」なのだ。

One major problem is the 45 trillion yen demand-supply shortfall. So that the effects of current economic measures can kick in, the government must come up with new policies seamlessly.
 問題は日本経済全体で45兆円の需要不足にある。景気対策の効果が息切れしないよう、切れ目ない政策対応が必要となる。

Measures that can boost demand--such as programs to fight unemployment, aid for medical and nursing care, and promotion of growing businesses, such as those in the environmental and energy-saving fields--must be given priority. Belt-tightening polices such as across-the-board cuts in social security spending are a no-no under deflation.
 失業対策や医療・介護現場への支援、環境・省エネなど成長産業の振興など、高い需要創出が見込める事業を優先したい。社会保障費の一律カットなど緊縮政策は、デフレ下では禁物である。

===

Quantitative easing needed

If pessimistic views that deflation will deepen prevail, the economic situation may drastically deteriorate.
 「デフレが深刻になる」という悲観論が広がると、事態が急激に悪化する恐れが出てくる。

To combat the financial crisis that started in autumn, the Bank of Japan has supplied a large amount of funds to the market by purchasing long-term government bonds and corporate bonds, and the market has calmed down.
 日銀は昨秋からの金融危機を沈静化させるため、長期国債や社債の買い入れで資金を大量供給し、市場は落ち着きを取り戻した。

The main battlefield of monetary policy likely will shift to deflation. The central bank would be advised to come up with comprehensive quantitative easing measures with numerical targets and pledge those measures will be maintained until prices start to rise.
 今後はデフレが金融政策の主戦場となろう。数値目標を掲げる全面的な量的緩和に踏み切り、物価がプラスになるまで続けると約束してはどうか。

The Bank of Japan needs to show its determination to fight against the malignancy of deflation.
 日銀は、悪性のデフレを防ぐ決意を示してほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 27, 2009)
(2009年6月27日01時28分 読売新聞)
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官製談合 あきれ果てた国交省の体質

2009-06-26 10:34:39 | 英字新聞
The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jun. 26, 2009)
Transport ministry needs to recheck its checks
官製談合 あきれ果てた国交省の体質(6月26日付・読売社説)

Another bid-rigging case involving officials at the Construction and Transport Ministry has bubbled to the surface. The ministry needs to seriously reflect on the preventive measures it has taken following previous scandals.
 またも国土交通省の官製談合が発覚した。これまでの再発防止策は、一体何だったのか。国交省は猛省すべきだ。

Suspecting that ministry officials were involved in bid-rigging practices related to official vehicle services for the ministry's Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau, the Fair Trade Commission issued the ministry with a remedial action under a law that forbids collusive bidding by government officials.
 公正取引委員会は、国交省の出先機関、北海道開発局が発注した公用車の運転・管理業務の談合に職員が関与していたとして、官製談合防止法に基づき、国交省に改善措置を求めた。

The FTC issued the order, citing a violation of the Antimonopoly Law, to stop bid-rigging practices by 10 companies that had won contracts for official vehicle services for the ministry's Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau and eight other regional bureaus, slapping the firms with a total of about 2.6 billion yen in penalties.
 北海道開発局と八つの地方整備局の公用車業務を受注した10社には、独占禁止法違反で排除措置命令を出し、計26億円の課徴金納付を命じた。

Former ministry officials who landed lucrative posts at these private companies are said to be involved in bid-rigging concerning contracts of the Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau and five regional bureaus.
開発局と5地方整備局の発注分では、OBも再就職先で談合にかかわっていたという。

===

Flawed logic

Collusive bid-rigging practices by government officials have occurred repeatedly at the Construction and Transport Ministry. Not only is it the only ministry that has been ordered to take remedial action, it is also the second time it has been ordered to do so, the first coming after a bid-rigging scandal concerning floodgate construction projects in 2007.
 国交省では官製談合が繰り返されてきた。中央官庁で改善措置要求を受けたのは、国交省だけだ。しかも、2007年の水門設備工事談合に続き、2回目である。

In 2008, the then director general of the ministry's Hokkaido Bureau was arrested on suspicion of interfering with a public tender by preadjusting the prices on bids for improvement work on the Ishikarigawa river during his time as a department chief of the ministry's Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau. He was convicted on the charges.
 08年には、現職の北海道局長が北海道開発局の部長時代に談合に加担したとして競売入札妨害容疑で逮捕され、有罪が確定した。

Behind all of this lies the collusion and cozy ties of former bureaucrats who work for private companies after leaving the ministry. A pattern forms in which current ministry officials leak information on public biddings and award orders to companies at which their former superiors and colleagues now work.
 背景にあるのは、天下りしたOBとのなれ合い、癒着だ。現役職員が、かつての先輩や同僚が再就職した会社に入札情報を漏らし、受注させる構図である。

In this latest bid-rigging story, more than 50 former ministry officials took on jobs at the three companies that were awarded most of the orders.
 今回の談合で受注の多い3社には、一時、計50人を超すOBがいた。

The 2008 bid-rigging case involving the head of the ministry's Hokkaido Bureau was partly aimed at ensuring that bureaucrats would have lucrative jobs when they enter the private sector. However, the Sapporo District Court in its verdict criticized this as a selfish motive based on the institution's flawed logic.
北海道局長の事件でも職員の再就職先確保が一因だったが、札幌地裁判決は「組織の論理に基づく身勝手な動機」と批判した。

===

Outside oversight a good start

In response to the 2007 bid-rigging scandal concerning floodgate projects and the 2008 scandal of the Hokkaido Bureau chief, the Construction and Transport Ministry on both occasions compiled reports through committees that included outside experts examining the cases. The committees proposed reviews of bid contract methods and the nature of reemployment for retired ministry officials, as well as a strengthening of compliance.
 水門談合や北海道局長の事件を受けて、国交省はその都度、第三者を交えた対策検討委員会で報告書をまとめた。入札契約方式や再就職のあり方の見直し、法令順守の強化などを打ち出した。

The committee said in a report submitted at the end of April that the management of ministry staff, including any reemployment at private companies, should be handled in an integrated manner by the development administration department of the Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau.
 4月末に出した報告書では、北海道開発局について、「再就職を含む職員管理は開発監理部で一元的に実施する」とした。

The report aims to prevent senior officials at each operating division, such as rivers and ports and harbors projects, from engaging in bid-rigging in an attempt to secure jobs in private companies after retirement.
河川や港湾など各事業部門の幹部が、職員の再就職先確保のため、談合に関与するのを防ぐ狙いだ。

However, in the bid-rigging related to ministerial vehicle services, it was the chief and deputy chief of the development administration department of the Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau who relayed bidding information to former bureaucrats working at private companies.
 だが、公用車談合でOBの社長らに情報を漏らしていたのは、この開発監理部の部長や次長らだった。

The ministry again set up a committee to examine this case. However, there also needs to be a look into past preventive measures.
国交省は今回も対策検討委を設けているが、こうした過去の再発防止策も見直す必要がある。

Ensuring the efficacy of preventative measures is crucial. Just this month, the Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau appointed an FTC official for the newly created post of bid contract inspector. This move--the hiring of an outside expert--is one of the ways to help ensure the strength of the inspection department.
 肝心なのは、対策の実効性をどう担保するかだ。北海道開発局は今月、新設の入札契約監察官に公取委職員を起用したが、外部の専門家を拡充するなど監察部門の強化もその一つだろう。

With the move to decentralize administrative power, the review of branch ministerial offices, including regional development bureaus, has become an important task. The current situation in which these matters lie beyond the reach of local assemblies and residents should be changed.
 地方分権改革で、地方整備局など国の出先機関の見直しは重要なテーマになっている。議会や住民の監視の目が届きにくい現状は、変えていかねばなるまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 26, 2009)
(2009年6月26日01時59分 読売新聞)
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