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中国人民元は世界の基軸通貨となることができるのか(インタビュー)

2012-01-31 02:39:47 | 英字新聞

飽きもせず、英字新聞社説を毎日読むこと数年、日本の英字新聞だったら、相当のスピードで読めるようになりました。アジアの新聞だって、昔にくらべたら、随分読めるようにはなりました。
ワシントンポスト、ニューヨークタイムズの記事は難しいけれども、通常のスピードで読み下して、理解率50%は超えています。
ですが、タイム紙になると、これは、まったく歯がたちません^^。ちなみに、スーチーさんの、ビルマよりの手紙(毎日新聞掲載)はタイム紙レベルなのです。辞書なしに理解することは、難しいのです。これは使っている単語のレベルが違うということでしょうね。
今朝は、朝日新聞の電撃インタビュー記事を一息に読み下しました。


中国の経済担当カウンセラーに朝日新聞記者が電撃インタビュー、
中国人民元は世界の基軸通貨となることができるのか?

インタビュー骨子:
あと30年は米ドルの天下。
米国はドルを大量(無制限に)印刷できる世界で唯一の特権を手にしているので、ドルの安定に尽力すべき。
そうしないと、大量のドルを抱え込んでいる中国だって、大迷惑を被ってしまう。
中国は香港を窓口として、世界為替市場に積極的に参加はするが、完全自由化はまだ先のこと。
現時点で、アメリカの言うなりに人民元を解放する(変動相場)ことは、あまりにも中国にとって危険である。
日本は落ち目、経済状況は米国と同じで欧州より悪い。
ヨーロッパはそれなりに伝統があるので頑張ってもらいたい。挽回してもらわないと中国経済にも悪影響が出る。
中国の人民元はやがて世界の基軸通貨となるかも知れないが、それは30年以上あとの話だ。
それに向けた対策を徐々に、段階的に切り替えて対策をとっていく。
西洋の急激なききめのある薬ではなくって、漢方薬のようにじっくりと効き目が後からついてくるような政策を展開する。

中国人民元に象徴されるアジア通貨が世界の基軸通貨となるのが理想的だが、それには時間がかかる。
アジア諸国は欧州と比べると歴史的な問題をかかえているし、政治の体系も異なっている。さらに経済の発展の度合いは国によりまちまちである。それでも、今後はアジアが経済の中心となって行くのは間違いのないところではある。アジア諸国が一致協力して、為替の安定を図り、経済的に発展していくことを願う。

(スラチャイ)

January 28, 2012
INTERVIEW/ Xia Bin: China’s senior economic advisor talks about strategy to promote renminbi
中国人民元は世界の基軸通貨となることができるのか(インタビュー)

By KEIKO YOSHIOKA / Correspondent
The global currency market is in a state of flux, as the euro is in serious trouble and international confidence in the dollar is also eroding. The outlook for the yen, which has appreciated sharply against the two leading currencies, is also murky because of Japan's mounting economic woes.

Amid this currency turmoil, China's renminbi is attracting increasing international attention as the unit of a country expected to eventually become an economic superpower rivaling or even surpassing the United States. Is Beijing maneuvering to make the renminbi a world currency that challenges the greenback for world hegemony?

In a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun, Xia Bin, a councilor of the State Council who served as top official at the country's central bank and securities regulatory body and is now advising Premier Wen Jiabao, discussed Beijing's strategy to raise the currency's international stature. Excerpts of the interview follow.

Q: Since the global financial crisis started in 2008, the Chinese government has been calling for reform of the international currency regime. What are your complaints?

Xia Bin: The problem is the instability of the dollar. Since the dollar is the key reserve currency, the United States can borrow as much money as it wants from the rest of the world. Unlike other debt-ridden countries, the U.S. doesn't go bankrupt because it can pay back its debt by printing dollars. Since the U.S has such an exclusive privilege it has the obligation to ensure the stability of the dollar. But the country has kept running a current-account deficit (which works to depress the value of the dollar), thereby undermining the stability of the entire world economy.

As the national power of the U.S. has declined, the world is becoming increasingly multipolar, not only economically but also politically. If China's economy becomes larger in size, expanding its cross-border linkages, the renminbi will gradually gain greater influence in the international market as a natural consequence.

Q: The U.S. current-account deficit is certainly huge, but its principal cause is excessive spending. Profligate spending by American consumers has been supporting China's export-driven economic growth. On the other hand, China has also been supporting the U.S. and global economies by using the money it has earned to buy U.S. government bonds.

A: China's dollar assets, which are the fruits of hard work by Chinese people, are now in danger of falling in value. Currently, excessive production capacity in China is supporting excessive consumption in the U.S. It can be argued that China has been dragged into this situation by a wrong-headed U.S. policy. Since the 1980s, China has been under pressure to build up its foreign reserves by expanding its exports in order to alleviate a shortage of capital (needed by its industries) at home. China has also been gripped by excitement about its growing national power. Now, however, we need to rethink our policy.

Q: What kind of options are available for fixing the situation?

A: Many countries, including China, have dollar assets. We don't want to see the dollar weaken rapidly. The U.S., which is bent on protecting its privilege, is resisting necessary reforms. The dollar is drawing strength from its widespread use. For the time being, several rival currencies will compete with each other (for supremacy), and a balance of power will emerge among them as they limit each other's power. Over the next two or three decades, the dollar will remain to be the leading currency, with many others battling with each other for greater influence in the world.

Q: And do you believe the renminbi will be one of these competing currencies?

A: Yes. Experts around the world see the Chinese currency as one of the players that will create a new balance of power (in the currency market). China is trying to expand its influence within international organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank so that the views and positions of emerging and developing countries will be more reflected in the process of developing international financial rules.

Q: But the Chinese government is keeping the renminbi artificially undervalued to promote the country's exports, isn't it?

A: We cannot liberalize at once flows of money that cross our borders, nor can we shift to a complete floating exchange rate system immediately. The primary lesson from the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s is the danger of making a developing country's economy fully open to international flows of capital. Huge amounts of foreign capital suddenly flew into these Asian countries and then suddenly poured out of them, causing serious confusion.

Beijing should expand the renminbi's trading band gradually. This way, it can buy time for necessary reforms at home including reform of its financial markets while ensuring the stability of the currency's exchange rates by taking advantage of the relatively high international confidence in the dollar. In addition, more people will want to hold the renminbi if the currency is generally expected to rise in the future.

Q: There are many restrictions on trading in the renminbi, including controls on cross-border transactions and regulations on Chinese financial markets. It is said that China's foreign exchange rate system is as strictly controlled as Japan's was in the 1970s. Would the Chinese currency gain international popularity even if such restrictions remain?

A: The amount of the renminbi circulating in the world is growing through Chinese companies' investments overseas using the domestic currency and the Chinese government's financial aid to developing countries. We are receiving many proposals to create a market for trading in the renminbi from various foreign financial centers including London and Singapore.

China's approach to reform can be compared to Chinese herb medicine. Progress is made gradually through a holistic process with emphasis on the harmony of the whole. We are going to ease our currency regulations in line with the progress we make in reforming the domestic economy and financial markets. With as many as 1.3 billion people to feed, we put the top policy priority on creating jobs and maintaining social stability in our country. China is still a minor financial player. We cannot introduce systems in mature, industrial nations at a stroke.

Q: China's mainland financial markets are not yet sufficiently open to foreign investors. Opening these markets would facilitate renminbi-denominated investments, wouldn't it?

A: As long as we keep financial markets in the mainland closed, we will use Hong Kong, which is an international financial center. That way, we can undertake new initiatives in financial markets in the mainland while keeping them insulated from certain risks. In Hong Kong, not only a market for renminbi-denominated deposits but also markets for renminbi-based trading in bonds and stocks are growing. When China still restricted international trade in goods, Hong Kong served as the connection point between the mainland and the rest of the world. Hong Kong will play that role again in the area of financial transactions.

The United States is pressing China to ease its financial regulations in pursuit of new business opportunities for its financial institutions. We cannot simply play ball with Washington. The internationalization of the renminbi has barely begun. It would be amazing if the share of the renminbi in the foreign reserves of countries rise to several percent, on a par with the current shares of the yen and the British pound, in 10 years. We will take steps to internationalize the renminbi in stages, starting with efforts to reform domestic markets during a period of preparation that will probably last until around 2020. We will first try to make the renminbi a leading currency in Asia, where we have strong economic ties with other countries.

Q: Then will it be a key global currency?

A: It will depend on what kind of economic growth China will maintain in coming years. In addition, this is not a purely economic challenge. Even if a period of competing currencies will continue for the time being, it is possible for China to make the renminbi a major currency in the world through mutual cooperation with other countries without getting embroiled in international conflict.

A country's currency is an indicator of its power. The Chinese economy is expected to become the world's largest in the mid-21st century. But the difficulty of understanding China's policy positions and goals is creating anxiety among other countries. China needs to clearly explain its financial and currency policies to the world and make it clear it is trying to achieve economic growth together with other countries.

Q: In China, we often hear policymakers talk about lessons from the 1985 Plaza Accord, an agreement among the five leading economic powers at that time to devalue the dollar. They argue that the accord is the cause of Japan's economic problems. By succumbing to U.S. pressure and accepting the yen's appreciation, they say, Japan allowed its businesses to lose international competitiveness, its economy to lose steam and financial market bubbles to form and then burst.

A: I don't think Chinese bureaucrats involved in policymaking believe such a simplified theory. Back then, the era of Japan's rapid, emerging country-type economic growth was already over as the number of young workers was decreasing. After many years of double-digit economic growth, China will also see its economy slow gradually in coming years. A nation cannot maintain its economic growth without carrying out necessary economic and social reforms in response to its development. The yen's appreciation was not the only challenge facing Japan. This is the biggest lesson we should learn from Japan's experiences during that period.

Q: Japan and China have reached an agreement on financial cooperation featuring measures to promote trade settlements using the yen and the renminbi, to develop a Chinese bond market for Japanese investors and cross-holdings of government bonds. It was first proposed by Japan, wasn't it?

A: From China's strategic viewpoint, dealing with Japan, which was the first country to become a major economic power in Asia and has an international currency, is a delicate matter. It is uncomfortable for China to seek Japan's cooperation for efforts to internationalize the renminbi. It would be embarrassing for China to make such a proposal only to be rejected by Japan. If Japan makes such a proposal that is in line with China's policy direction, however, there is no reason for China to decline it.

The internationalization of the renminbi will only accelerate irrespective of Japan's will. The Japanese government probably realized that the yen could be marginalized or Japanese companies could miss out on important business opportunities unless it expanded such financial cooperation with China.

Q: So this is a mutually beneficial deal?

A: Both countries can reduce foreign exchange risks and costs by using their own currencies for trade instead of using the dollar. The development of a market for trading in bonds denominated in Asian currencies would make it easier to invest money earned through trade within the region. It would also make it unnecessary for both countries to hold a huge amount of dollars as part of their foreign reserves. This is definitely beneficial for both sides.

If this cooperation between Japan and China works out well, it would lay a foundation for regional financial cooperation. If China wins the trust of its neighbors by providing solid support to the efforts, it could also gain regional confidence in the renminbi and improve the environment for its currency's rise to the status as a major regional currency.

Q: The world is paying a lot of attention to whether China will help solve the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

A: Since it is benefiting from the world economy, China is really hoping that Europe will regain financial stability quickly. Having said that, I would also say that whether or not China will help Europe with this problem is not an issue. Many European countries are in better fiscal health than Japan or the U.S. They are rich countries with per-capita gross domestic product far larger than China's. Europe has clearly the wherewithal to sort out the situation. In particular, the principal question is what Germany, which has been benefiting greatly from the euro's weakness, will do.

In case the Chinese government considers using part of its foreign reserves to make an investment in Europe, it will assess carefully whether the investment will yield a satisfactory return.

Q: What is your assessment of the probability of a common Asian currency?

A: It may be an ideal, but I don't see any possibility of such a currency becoming reality in the near future. In contrast with Europe, there are some historical problems among Asian countries, and the political systems and the levels of economic development greatly differ from country to country. But Asia is now at the center of global economic growth. There are many challenges Asian countries should tackle together in order to ensure stability in exchange rates and promote the development of financial markets in the region.

***

Xia Bin: Born in 1951, Xia Bin is currently counselor of China's State Council and honorary director of the Financial Research Institute of the State Council's Development Research Center. He is also a member of the People's Bank of China's Monetary Policy Committee. He graduated from the Graduate School of the People's Bank of China.

By KEIKO YOSHIOKA / Correspondent

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米ゼロ金利継続 景気低迷に警戒強めたFRB

2012-01-29 23:45:19 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 29, 2012)
Fed's super-low rate policy aimed at boosting economy
米ゼロ金利継続 景気低迷に警戒強めたFRB(1月28日付・読売社説)

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board has decided to keep its de facto zero benchmark interest rate well into the future.
 米連邦準備制度理事会(FRB)が、事実上のゼロ金利政策を長期間続ける方針を打ち出した。 

The Fed's new timetable indicates it is increasingly concerned about the future of the U.S. economy.
 米国経済の先行きに警戒を強めたのだろう。

In deciding to maintain its close-to-zero interest rate policy, the Fed said in a statement released Wednesday that current U.S. economic conditions "are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014."
 FRBは声明で、ゼロ金利政策について、「少なくとも2014年終盤まで異例の低金利が正当化される可能性が高い」と指摘した。

This new policy is highly significant as the Fed is prolonging its super-low interest rate a year and a half beyond its earlier stance that an extremely low interest rate should be maintained until the end of the first half of 2013.
「13年半ばまで」としてきた従来の方針と比べ、1年半程度も延ばす意味は大きい。

The unemployment rate in the United States has remained high at more than 8 percent, while its post-inflation economic growth this year is projected to be below 2 percent.
 米国の失業率は8%台に高止まりし、今年の実質成長率も2%弱に低迷する見込みだ。

U.S. business activities have yet to regain their strength.
景気の回復力はまだ緩慢である。

The European sovereign crisis, which was triggered by Greece and has not yet been resolved, threatens to destabilize the global economy.
 ギリシャに端を発した欧州危機は収束せず、世界経済を揺るがせている。

Should the European crisis deteriorate because of a delay in implementing countermeasures, the consequences could deal an even heavier blow to the U.S. economy.
対策の遅れで危機が深刻化すると、米国経済に一段と打撃を与えかねない。

===

Fed action praiseworthy

The Fed boldly decided to prolong its super-low federal funds rate policy to encourage declines in interest rates on long-term loans in the hope of shoring up business activities and stimulating fixed investments and other business areas.
 FRBは、ゼロ金利政策を思い切って長期化させて、長期金利の低下を促し、設備投資などを刺激する景気下支え効果を狙った。

It seems that in its latest policy meeting, the Fed could not brush aside growing uncertainties shrouding the global economy as seen in the eurozone's rapidly deteriorating business conditions and the world's alarmingly unstable financial markets.
 ユーロ圏の急減速や不安定な市場など、世界を覆う不透明感を軽視できなかったと言えよう。

The United States has no room for a further reduction of the federal funds rate, and the scope of measures to handle financial policies is limited.
 金利引き下げの余地はなく、金融政策が打てる手は限られている。

The Fed's resolve to take all possible measures to bring about a strong economic recovery in spite of these circumstances is a welcome development.
それでも現状で可能な限りの姿勢を示したのは評価できる。

The U.S. central bank has made public its outlook for a benchmark interest rate for the first time, indicating that many of its 17 members do not anticipate the need to tighten its monetary policy in the near future.
 FRBは今回初めて、政策金利の見通しを示し、早期の金融引き締めを想定していないメンバーが多いことを明らかにした。

The Fed also set an acceptable rate of price increases at "2 percent from a year before," another noteworthy change that enhances the transparency of its policy handling.
 長期的に望ましい物価上昇率の目安を「前年比2%」と設定した点も、政策の透明性を高めるもので注目すべき変化である。

The 2 percent "inflation goal" is different from a formal "inflation target" that would make it mandatory for the Fed to take measures immediately after price increases exceed 2 percent on an annual basis.
 物価上昇率の「目安」とは、上昇率が2%から外れた時に、直ちに政策対応が必要な「インフレ目標」とは異なる。

The announcement of the inflation goal, or what the Fed believes is an acceptable inflation rate, however, is sufficiently effective to convey a clear-cut message that it places great importance on an inflation figure of 2 percent.
だが、2%を重視するメッセージは鮮明だ。

===

Yen's appreciation to linger

A protracted ultraeasy monetary policy may bring the risk of higher prices.
 超金融緩和が長引くと、物価上昇圧力が高まる恐れがある。

Bearing such anxieties in mind, the Fed has firmly stated it will continue to place top priority on price stabilization, an action that will reassure businesses and households.
そうした懸念に対し、FRBが物価安定をあくまで最優先していく姿勢を示したことは、企業や家計に安心感を与えるだろう。

The focus from now on will be whether the Fed, in the event of further financial market destabilization, will opt for Phase 3 of large-scale quantitative monetary easing, the so-called QE3.
 今後の焦点は、金融市場が一段と不安定になった場合、FRBが第3弾の大規模な量的緩和策(QE3)に踏み切るかどうかだ。

Phase 2--QE2--ended last summer, but it came under criticism for causing inflation in emerging economies to worsen.
 昨夏に終了した第2弾のQE2は、新興国のインフレを招く副作用をもたらして批判された。

Therefore, a number of hurdles need to be surmounted before QE3 can be adopted.
QE3へのハードルは高いが、

The Fed will have a difficult time carrying out policies, while keeping an eye on how the European crisis evolves.
FRBは欧州危機の推移などを注視し、難しい舵(かじ)取りが求められる。

Japan, for its part, must consider the great possibility that the appreciation of the historically strong yen against the dollar will continue, as the Fed's ultraeasy monetary policy is bound to increase selling pressure on the greenback.
 日本にとっては、米国の超金融緩和策でドル売り圧力が強まり、歴史的な円高・ドル安が続くことに注意が必要である。

The government and the Bank of Japan must do everything they can in working out measures to stem the yen's appreciation and take measures to prevent the strong yen from worsening business activities in this country.
政府・日銀は、円高是正や円高対策に万全を期さねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 28, 2012)
(2012年1月28日01時14分  読売新聞)

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一般教書演説 再選へ意欲を見せたオバマ氏

2012-01-29 02:19:38 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 27, 2012)
Obama shows determination to win reelection
一般教書演説 再選へ意欲を見せたオバマ氏(1月26日付・読売社説)

U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday delivered the annual State of the Union policy address, which made clear his confrontational stance against Republicans in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
 再選に向けて、共和党との対決姿勢を際立たせた演説だった。

In his address, he cited sustainable economic growth and help for the middle class as top-priority issues.
 オバマ米大統領は、一般教書演説で、持続的な成長と中間所得層への支援を最優先課題にあげた。

Apparently determined to win reelection later this year, he said he would aim to rejuvenate the economy by revitalizing the manufacturing sector at home, developing natural gas and other domestic sources of energy, improving the skill of American workers and creating more jobs.
 国内製造業の復活や、天然ガスなど国産エネルギーの開発、米労働者の技術向上と雇用創出などで経済の再生を目指すとし、再選へ強い意気込みを見せた。

Although the U.S. economy has been picking up, there is a strong sense of uncertainty about its future prospects.  米国経済は持ち直してきたとはいえ、景気の先行き不透明感は強い。

Housing prices remain low, while the jobless rate hovers around 8.5 percent.
住宅価格は低迷し、失業率は8・5%に高止まりしている。

Obama's approval ratings remain in the lower half of the 40 percent range, primarily due to widening income inequality.
 大統領の支持率が40%台前半にとどまっているのも、所得格差が広がっているのが原因だ。

With the president having been unable to give the people their fair share of the fruits of economic recovery, despite his promise to bring about "change," prospects for his reelection are becoming murky, with the light turning to the yellow of caution.
 「チェンジ(変化)」を約束しながら、景気回復の果実を与えられない現状では、大統領再選に黄信号がともる。

===

Frustration with Republicans

No matter how much he wants to implement employment measures and other economic stimuli, they cannot be realized without congressional support.
 雇用対策などの景気刺激策を打ち出そうにも、議会の支持なしには実行できない。

In Congress, the rivalry between the Republicans and the Democrats has been intensifying, making it ever more difficult for bills vital for implementing policies to be passed.
その議会では、共和党と民主党の対立が激化し、政策遂行に不可欠な法案が通りにくくなっている。

In his speech, Obama said he would fight "with action" those who obstruct the realization of his policies, which can be taken to indicate his strong frustration at the Republicans who dominate the House of Representatives as the majority party.
 大統領が、一般教書演説で、政策の実現を阻むものには「行動で戦う」と宣言したのは、多数派として下院を支配する共和党への強いいらだちがあるからだろう。

One important agenda item for his administration in the days ahead is tax system reform.
 大統領にとっての今後の重要な課題の一つは、税制改革だ。

In his speech, Obama called for higher taxes on wealthy people who pay a lower tax rate than middle-income earners, while also making efforts to trim social security spending.
 一般教書で、大統領は社会保障費の歳出削減に努める一方で、中間所得層よりも低い税率で納税している富裕層については、増税しなければならない、と訴えた。

Obama was apparently conscious of the fact that wealthy Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and one of the leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, has been criticized for paying a tax rate of only 14 percent on the millions of dollars he made in 2010.
 共和党の有力大統領候補の一人で、資産家のロムニー前マサチューセッツ州知事が、課税率がわずか14%だったと批判を浴びたことも意識したに違いない。

Romney paid a lower tax rate than many Americans do because of the preferential taxation of investment income compared to earned income. But Obama also intends to target Republicans who have consistently opposed tax hikes for the wealthy.
 投資による所得への税率が、勤労所得よりも優遇されているためだが、大統領には、富裕層への増税にも一貫して反対する共和党を標的にする狙いがある。

===

Japan's stake in outcome

While the race for the Republican presidential nomination advances, the presidential election will also go into full swing from now on.
 共和党の候補選びが進み、これから大統領選も本格化する。

The future course of the U.S. economy will have a strong impact on the Japanese economy.
米国経済の行方は日本経済にも大きく影響する。

We would like to pay close attention to the verbal battle regarding the economic rejuvenation during the presidential election campaign.
大統領選での、経済再生を巡る論戦を注視したい。

In the area of diplomacy and national security, Obama expressed once again his national defense strategy, which emphasizes Asia.
 外交・安全保障分野で、大統領は、アジアを重視する国防戦略を改めて示した。

As part of the fiscal deficit reduction, the United States will cut defense spending by about 500 billion dollars (about 38 trillion yen) over the next 10 years.
 財政赤字削減の一環で、米国は国防費を10年間で約5000億ドル(約38兆円)削減する。

Yet if Congress fails to reach an accord on concrete measures to cut the deficit by more than 1 trillion dollars within this year, more drastic budget cut will be made.
だが、年内に1兆ドル超の財政赤字削減の具体策が議会で合意できなければ、さらに大なたがふるわれる。

Such a development will have a serious impact on the national security of Japan.
 それは、日本の安全保障に重大な影響を及ぼす。

We should also pay attention to the battle of words regarding deficit reduction.
財政赤字削減の論議の行方も注目したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 26, 2012)
(2012年1月26日01時13分  読売新聞)

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施政方針演説 「決断する政治」への戦略持て

2012-01-27 00:54:35 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 26, 2012)
Noda must have strategy to pursue 'decisive politics'
施政方針演説 「決断する政治」への戦略持て(1月25日付・読売社説)

In his policy speech to the Diet on Tuesday, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda boldly said, "I will aim...to break away from 'the politics that can't decide,'" and, "This is the time for us to fix our eyes upon the 'big picture' rather than 'political situation.'"
We admire Noda's will and vision. However, the problem lies in whether his administration has a well-planned strategy that will be able to translate his words into reality.
 「決められない政治からの脱却」、「政局ではなく大局を」――。
 意欲と志はいい。問題は、それを実現するだけの周到な戦略が、野田政権にあるかどうかだ。

An ordinary Diet session was convened Tuesday.
 通常国会が開幕した。

In his speech, Noda quoted from policy speeches given by two former prime ministers from the Liberal Democratic Party, which was in power before Noda's Democratic Party of Japan took the reins of government.
野田首相の施政方針演説は、政権交代前、自民党の首相が行った施政方針演説を引き合いに出した。

He quoted former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who said, "It is precisely the responsibility of those in politics vis-a-vis the people to ensure that the ruling and opposition parties conduct thorough discussions...to conduct the affairs of state."
 福田首相は「与野党が話し合い、国政を動かすことこそ政治の責任」と述べた。

And he referred to a promise former Prime Minister Taro Aso made in his speech: "We will take necessary legal measures by fiscal 2011...to undertake...fundamental reform of the tax system, including that of the consumption tax."
麻生首相は「消費税を含む税制抜本改革を行うため2011年度までに必要な法制上の措置を講じる」と約束した。

===

LDP, Komeito must start talks

Noda likely used these quotes to point out that the current attitude of the LDP contradicts these statements. Indeed, the opposition party has not responded to calls to start discussions on integrated reform of the social security and tax systems.
 こうした発言と、社会保障・税一体改革の協議に応じない今の自民党の姿勢とは食い違うと、野田首相は言いたいのだろう。

Because the DPJ itself had repeatedly resisted moves by the LDP and New Komeito when they were the ruling coalition, members of the now opposition parties reacted fiercely to Noda's speech.
 自公政権当時、さんざん抵抗したのが民主党だったことから、野党側から激しい反発が出た。

However, both the LDP and Komeito need to agree to start talks to rehabilitate the current critical state of the nation's finances and establish a sustainable social security system.
しかし、今の危機的な財政を立て直して持続可能な社会保障制度を築くために、自民、公明両党は協議に応じる必要がある。

The government and the DPJ, too, must change their attitude.
 政府・民主党も、これまで通りの対応では済まない。

First, they have to sincerely explain to the public why the consumption tax rate needs to be increased.
まず、消費税率引き上げの必要性を意を尽くして国民に説かねばならない。

Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada last week abruptly announced, "Revenue from the five-percentage-point increase will be used entirely to fund social security programs, and will thus be returned to citizens."
This marked a major shift from the previous stance of using 10 percent of the extra revenue to cover government procurement costs that are expected to increase due to the tax hike.
 岡田副総理は先週、唐突に「消費増税分は、全額を社会保障財源化し、国民に還元する」と、表明した。

The Noda administration probably changed its stance in a desperate attempt to make the public more accepting of the consumption tax hike.
何とか国民の理解を得ようと考えたのだろうが、

However, the administration will likely be challenged over the inconsistency with its previous explanations.
従来の説明との整合性は問われよう。

===

Give unclear manifesto the boot

Komeito has been demanding the government clarify its future vision for the social security system.
 公明党は社会保障制度の将来像を明確にするよう求めている。

In its manifesto for the 2009 House of Representatives election, the DPJ promised to integrate the nation's pension programs and create a minimum guaranteed pension of 70,000 yen a month by 2013.
 民主党は政権公約(マニフェスト)で、13年までに年金一元化や月額7万円の最低保障年金など新たな年金制度を創設すると掲げている。

Komeito says it cannot see any connection between these campaign promises and the comprehensive reform.
この公約と一体改革との関係がわからないというのが、公明党の主張である。

In response to Komeito's demand, DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi apparently hopes to bring the two main opposition parties to the discussion table by revealing the full picture of social security reform.
 民主党の輿石幹事長は、これに応じ、社会保障改革の全体像を示すことで、野党側を協議につかせたいと考えているようだ。

Indeed, it will be necessary for the DPJ to show a rough outline of its plan if it wants to ask for the opposition's understanding on the integrated reform.
おおまかな全体像を示し、一体改革に理解を求めることは必要だ。

However, discussions with opposition parties will not get off the ground if the DPJ insists on trying to implement its manifesto, which does not even clearly indicate how its promises will be funded.
 その際、財源すら不明確なマニフェストの実現にこだわり続けていては、野党との協議は始まるまい。

Noda should not forget the manifesto has become a major obstacle to the "politics that makes decisions" he is seeking.
首相はマニフェストが、「決断する政治」を妨げる要因であることを忘れてはならない。

If Noda wants to carry out the reform, he should not hesitate to retract the manifesto.
 改革のためにはマニフェストの撤回をためらうべきではない。

In his policy speech, Noda quoted an old saying, "Undertaking the actions we call on others to take."
 施政方針演説の中で、「まず隗(かい)より始めよ」として、

He then pointed out it is important for individuals responsible for political and administrative affairs to put themselves on the line and serve as models.
He is absolutely right.
政治と行政を担う者が身を切り、範を示すことが重要だと指摘したのは当然だ。

We hope Noda will exercise strong leadership to cut the number of lower house members and the salaries of national government employees.
首相は、国会議員の定数削減や国家公務員給与削減に強い指導力を発揮してもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 25, 2012)
(2012年1月25日01時13分  読売新聞)

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独法・特会改革 肝心なのは政府支出の削減だ

2012-01-26 01:19:07 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 25, 2012)
Cuts in govt spending key to administrative reform
独法・特会改革 肝心なのは政府支出の削減だ(1月24日付・読売社説)

A review of organizational structures is only the first step in administrative reform.
 組織形態の見直しは最初の一歩にすぎない。

To expand the people's acceptance of a tax hike, it is indispensable to link it with a substantial cut in government spending.
増税への国民の理解を広げるには、政府の財政支出の実質的な削減につなげることが重要だ。

The Government Revitalization Unit has decided on reform proposals for independent administrative entities and special accounts.
 政府の行政刷新会議が独立行政法人や特別会計の改革案を決定した。

The government will submit related bills to an ordinary session of the Diet to realize the reform.
通常国会に関連法案を提出し、実現を図る。

The proposed reform calls for abolishing seven of 102 independent agencies, including the Public Foundation for Peace and Consolation, and privatizing seven entities, including the National Hospital Organization.
 102ある独法のうち、平和祈念事業特別基金など7法人は廃止し、国立病院機構など7法人は民営化する。

Thirty-five agencies, including the Riken research institute, will be consolidated into 12 entities.
理化学研究所など35法人は12法人に統合する。

As a result, the number of such agencies will be trimmed by nearly 40 percent.
全体の法人数は4割近く減る予定だ。

In its draft proposal, the government called for abolishing or privatizing a total of five agencies.
 政府原案の廃止・民間移管は計5法人だった。

To show the government's determination to carry out administrative reforms, the number of such entities being downsized or abolished has increased remarkably in line with the ruling parties' philosophy that politicians, not bureaucrats, should take the initiative in formulating policies.
The reductions lay the foundation for integrated reform of social security and tax systems.
社会保障と税の一体改革の環境整備として行革の姿勢を示そうと、政治主導で削減数を増やした。

The reform plan this time, it can be said, is more drastic than the one proposed by the coalition government of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito in terms of the number of agencies to be cut.
数に限れば、自公政権時より踏み込んだと言える。

===

Old wine in new bottles

But the entities to be abolished include those to be transferred to state jurisdiction. Many of those to be privatized represent a mere change of names. It is undeniable that priority was given to manipulating numbers.
 ただし、廃止には、国に移管される独法が含まれる。民営化も看板の掛け替えが多い。「数合わせ」を優先した感は否めない。

Even if the number of executives is trimmed by absorbing other independent administrative entities in charge of completely different affairs, it is feared the changes could lead to the creation of bloated organizations if the staff of each agency remains intact.
 全く別の業務を担当する独法を統合し、トップの数を減らしても、各法人の体制を温存すれば、組織が逆に肥大化する恐れもある。

The biggest concern is that the government has not revealed how much it will curtail government spending on independent administrative agencies, which totals 3 trillion yen a year.
 最大の問題は、年間3兆円を超す独法への政府支出の削減額が示されていないことだ。

In line with organizational reforms, it will be necessary to downsize staff and reduce or abolish nonessential and nonurgent operations.
 組織改革に合わせて、職員のリストラや、不要不急の事業の廃止・縮減に本格的に取り組む必要がある。

It is important to transfer operations that can be entrusted to local governments and the private sector as much as possible, thereby eliminating dual administration and other administrative waste.
自治体や民間に任せられる事業は積極的に移管し、二重行政などを廃することが大切だ。

Big agencies hold the key to spending cuts.
 歳出削減のカギは大物法人だ。

Concerning the Urban Renaissance Agency and the Japan Housing Finance Agency, panels of external experts will be formed to draw conclusions on spending cuts this summer.
都市再生機構と住宅金融支援機構については、外部有識者の検討会を設置し、今夏に結論を出す。

We hope for reasonable results.
きちんと成果を上げてほしい。

Agencies that continue to exist will be classified by type of function into such categories as financing, human resources development and research and development, and the most appropriate supervisory system will be introduced at each agency.
 一方で、存続する独法は、金融業務、人材育成、研究開発型など機能別に分類したうえ、それぞれ最適な監督体制を導入する。

===

Continuous reform needed

This is because it is unreasonable to manage independent agencies with different purposes and operations under one system.
 様々な目的・事業を持つ独法を同一の制度で運営するのは無理があるためで、狙いは理解できる。

Continuous reforms are called for.
継続的な改革が求められる。

The number of special accounts will be reduced from 17 to 11 through abolition or integration of such accounts as the one on social capital investment.
 特別会計は、社会資本整備事業特会などの統廃合によって、17から11に削減する。

But mere cuts in the number of special accounts will not lead to reduced spending and enhanced efficiency.
 特会の数を減らすだけでは、歳出削減や効率化に直結しない。

The former Road Improvement Special Account was used regardless of profitability to construct highways whose necessity was considered low.
Allocating budgets to higher-priority areas while eliminating such a sanctuary would produce results.
旧道路整備特会が、採算性を無視して、必要性の低い高速道路を造り続けたような“聖域”をなくし、優先度の高い他の分野に予算を振り替えてこそ、効果を生む。

According to the Board of Audit, 1.8 trillion yen in surplus funds for fiscal 2009 was not used in the following fiscal year and was carried over to fiscal 2011.
 会計検査院によると、2009年度の剰余金計1・8兆円が翌年度も使われず、11年度に繰り越されたことが判明している。

If possible, surplus funds should be transferred to the general account and used effectively.
 可能なものは一般会計に繰り入れるなど、有効活用すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 24, 2011)
(2012年1月24日00時59分  読売新聞)

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