首相スピーチ 「日本は買い」を確かなものに

2013-09-30 04:44:28 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 29, 2013
Abe must make sure to implement economic growth policies effectively
首相スピーチ 「日本は買い」を確かなものに(9月28日付・読売社説)

The determination of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is trying to advertise Japan overseas to give an additional push to his economic rejuvenation policies, has become very clear. What he must do now is demonstrate his ability to implement policy measures to realize his goal.

Abe, who is visiting the United States, delivered a speech at the New York Stock Exchange and explained his Abenomics economic policies. “Buy my Abenomics,” he said during the speech. The three words symbolize the prime minister’s aim.
 米国訪問中の安倍首相がニューヨーク証券取引所で講演し、経済政策「アベノミクス」を説明した。「Buy my Abenomics(アベノミクスは買いだ)」――。この言葉に、首相の狙いが象徴的に表れている。

Specifically, he emphasized that the government would do its best to create an environment to facilitate investment.

As part of his growth strategy, he said he would push through a “bold tax reduction” to promote proactive investment by companies. He also made clear that he would push regulatory reform to realize economic revitalization.

Corporate tax cuts and deregulation can also be expected to help lure foreign investment to Japan.

Abe must now demonstrate his leadership in implementing his growth strategy, which is now an “international pledge,” and in reviewing various regulations.

During the speech at the NYSE, Abe also publicized Japan’s state-of-the-art technologies.

He emphasized the high levels of safety technology in the nation’s nuclear reactors and said that Japan will “continue to make contributions to the world” with the technology. He also stated that Japan will not abandon its nuclear power generation technology.

He thus clarified his stance of actively utilizing nuclear power plants. For resource-poor Japan, this is an appropriate choice.

He explained that introduction of a high-speed railway system using Japan’s superconducting magnetic levitation technology could connect New York and Washington “in less than an hour.”

Supporting women

Infrastructure exports such as nuclear reactors and railway systems are considered a major pillar of Japan’s growth strategy. Cooperation between the public and private sectors must be reinforced to promote such exports.

During his speech at the U.N. General Assembly, Abe said Japan would positively contribute to the peace and stability of the international community from the standpoint of a “proactive pacifism” based on the recovery of its economic might.

Gaining a greater voice and influence in the international community will likely positively affect the Japanese economy. It is important to generate such a virtuous circle.

It is noteworthy that Abe positioned support of women as one of Japan’s important international contributions and declared Japan would implement official development assistance in excess of $3 billion to that end over the next three years.

Abe also said clearly that he would bring about “a society where women shine.”

Through ODA, Abe explained, Japan will tackle the promotion of women’s active participation in society, improvement of health and medical care for women, and securing the safety of women in times of conflict.

Utilizing the potential of women would also result in economic growth. “Womenomics,” in Abe-speak, should be concretely realized.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 28, 2013)
(2013年9月28日01時30分  読売新聞)


集団的自衛権 「積極的平和主義」を追求せよ

2013-09-29 06:33:33 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 28, 2013
Realize right to collective defense in pursuit of ‘proactive pacifism’
集団的自衛権 「積極的平和主義」を追求せよ(9月27日付・読売社説)

This country must make a more proactive contribution to peace and stability in Asia and the world.

A review of the government interpretation of the Constitution concerning the right to collective self-defense is a prerequisite to realizing the new ideal of “proactive pacifism” declared by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Delivering a speech Wednesday in New York on the subject of Japan’s right to collective self-defense, Abe expressed his strong desire to change the Japanese government’s interpretation of the Constitution, in which the government has adopted the view that this country has the right to collective self-defense but is banned from exercising it.

Abe cited two cases in which this constitutional constraint could pose problems. In one scenario, the Self-Defense Forces would not be able to help foreign troops working with the SDF in a U.N. peacekeeping operation even if the foreign troops came under attack. In the other, Japan would not be able to help a U.S. warship operating around Japan if the ship were attacked by an airplane in international waters.

The prime minister rightly pointed out in the speech that “threats see no borders” in the world today. Such menaces as ballistic missiles, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorist activities, as well as cyber-attacks, have undeniably been increasing.

In addition to enhancing its own defense capabilities, it is essential for this country to enhance the Japan-U.S. alliance, while also expanding cooperation with other countries concerned.

To this end, the task of enabling this country to exercise its right to collective self-defense must urgently be addressed.

In the years immediately after World War II, it was somewhat worthwhile to interpret as strictly as possible the security-related stipulations of the Constitution, restricting the role of the SDF. Today, however, the nation must squarely face up to the reality that rigid interpretation of the supreme law is hobbling efforts to ensure the nation’s security.

Requirements of the times

Over the period from the war’s end to this day, the security environment surrounding the country and the public’s evaluation of the SDF have changed dramatically. A review of the interpretation of the Constitution is definitely in line with the requirements of the times.

In a meeting with reporters later Wednesday, Abe said he was not in favor of a “geographical philosophy of [ruling out action on] the other side of the world.” He also said he weighs “what is closely linked with the people’s life, property and national interests.”

His remarks apparently alluded to concerns being expressed by some regarding constitutional interpretation that Abe may want SDF troops to be dispatched to far-flung locales to fight alongside U.S. forces.

The intention not to impose geographical constraints on the SDF, while deciding flexibly on SDF activities in accordance with developments in events, is quite reasonable.

For instance, it is conceivable that SDF troops could be in charge of removing mines in the Persian Gulf to ensure the safety of sea lanes in the Gulf used by Japan. Should an event occur in which Japanese nationals are once again taken hostage in Africa, SDF troops could be sent to their rescue.

Obviously, there should be some curbs on SDF activities, but it should be noted that accurately foreseeing the possibility of a grave emergency is a near impossibility. To enable this country to cope effectively with a diverse range of emergencies, endeavors to secure a wide range of legal alternatives are the core of national security.

As a matter of practical thinking, whether to have SDF troops actually take part in international operations, and what activities they should engage in, should be the subject of a comprehensive judgment by the government in place when a crisis arises, while appropriate limitations on SDF activities should be ensured through such means as requiring approval by the Diet.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 27, 2013)
(2013年9月27日01時03分  読売新聞)


軽減税率 消費税8%時に導入を目指せ

2013-09-28 05:19:42 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 27, 2013
Introduce reduced tax rate when consumption tax is raised to 8%
軽減税率 消費税8%時に導入を目指せ(9月26日付・読売社説)

If the government would like to soften the public’s feeling of shouldering a burden when it raises the consumption tax rate, it is essential to introduce a reduced tax rate to keep the tax on daily necessities at the current level.

The government and ruling parties must start taking concrete steps toward introducing the reduced tax rate simultaneously with the increase of the consumption tax rate to 8 percent.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reportedly decided to increase the consumption tax rate from 5 percent to 8 percent in April next year. He is now trying to compile a ¥5 trillion-level economic stimulus package to keep the economy from a possible slowdown after the tax rate is raised.

Although the economy has started to pick up, the recovery is not full-fledged. The road to overcoming deflation, for instance, is still unclear. It would be best for the government to shelve the tax rate increase to 8 percent. However, we understand that aiming at introducing an economic package is the second-best option.

That said, we think the measures contained in the package currently being studied by the government to curb a possible downturn in personal spending are insufficient.

The consumption tax has a regressive character, meaning the burden it places on low-income earners is relatively heavy. For this reason, the government is now studying a “simplified benefit plan,” under which it will provide ¥10,000 to ¥15,000 per head in benefits to low-income households, such as those earning too little to have to pay resident taxes.

However, the effects of such a temporary cash provision plan in supporting household finances after the tax hike will be short-lived. It is only reasonable to introduce a reduced tax rate that a wide range of people, including low-income earners, can expect to benefit from.

As part of the economic stimulus package, the government and ruling parties are studying an option of moving ahead the abolition of a special corporate tax for reconstruction by one year. The tax was added to the regular corporate tax to provide a revenue source for reconstruction from the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

Reduce rate for basics

With the investment tax credit, a main pillar of the stimulus package, the government aims at establishing a virtuous cycle by prompting corporate earnings growth, which could in turn result in a pay hike.

Consumers have strongly criticized the measures as preferential treatment of corporations. Also, we are worried that it will take time for the effects of the prop-up measure for companies to reach households.

On the other hand, a reduced tax rate has the advantage of making consumers feel that they are shouldering less of a financial burden in their daily purchases.

The government and ruling parties have been pressing their aim to introduce the reduced tax rates when the consumption tax rate is raised to 10 percent, not when it is raised to 8 percent.

However, a 3 percentage point rise all at once would have a significant impact on household finances. It is important to introduce the reduced rate when the government raises the tax rate to 8 percent and to keep it at the current 5 percent for selected items.

Items subject to the reduced tax rate should be narrowed down to basic food products that are indispensable for daily life, such as rice and miso bean paste, as well as newspapers, which support democracy and print culture, among other things.

European countries have adopted reduced tax rates. Many nations set their value-added tax, the counterpart of Japan’s consumption tax, at about 20 percent. As reduced tax rates have already taken root in these countries, people are more likely to accept high tax rates.

As it is commonly recognized that a tax should not be levied on knowledge, most of these countries made newspapers subject to the reduced tax rate system. Japan must learn from such examples.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 26, 2013)
(2013年9月26日02時28分  読売新聞)


薄被告無期判決 共産党政権の危機感の表れだ

2013-09-27 04:56:36 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 26, 2013
Chinese court’s ruling on Bo indication of Communist Party’s fears for future
薄被告無期判決 共産党政権の危機感の表れだ(9月25日付・読売社説)

The Chinese court ruling on former senior politician Bo Xilai was politically motivated and placed top priority on stabilizing Chinese Communist Party rule. However, public discontent is simmering and there is uncertainty over the country’s future.

The court handed down a life sentence to Bo, a former Politburo member and Chongqing city party leader, who was charged with taking bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power. It is unusual for a former party leader to receive such a severe sentence.

Although China is supposedly ruled by law despite being a one-party state, rulings on important trials are basically decided by the Chinese Communist Party. China has a two-tiered justice system, but it is highly unlikely Bo’s sentence will be overturned, even if he appeals.

The administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping decided to sentence Bo to life in prison apparently to show ordinary Chinese that it would never forgive corruption, even if senior party officials are involved. It also must have been intended to condemn Bo’s demagogic style, which could cause the party’s rule to disintegrate.

When he was party chief in Chongqing, Bo placed priority on the ideal of equality, which the party must have originally touted, and implemented policies to correct disparities, such as constructing affordable housing for the poor.

Bo aimed to join China’s supreme leadership. He had people sing revolutionary songs from the Mao Zedong era to show how much the people supported him.

The Xi administration probably feared that Bo’s style could ignite the people’s frustration against the current situation and lead to a flurry of criticism against the party.

Popularity still high

However, the court only examined the abuse of power charge in connection with Bo’s career as Chongqing party chief. His political style itself was not considered problematic in the ruling.

Bo still has strong public support, particularly among the poor. The Xi administration must have feared that the ruling, if it referred negatively to Bo’s political style, might have unnecessarily riled the public.

The fact that messages posted on the Internet, sympathetic to Bo and opposed to the ruling, were deleted indicates how alert the Chinese authorities were on the matter.

Bo categorically denied the charges and adopted a confrontational attitude. The life sentence apparently was intended to silence Bo and prevent the emergence of “another Bo Xilai,” who would stir up the people.

At around the same time as the trial, the Xi administration launched a corruption probe into senior officials of an oil company linked to former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, who was said to support Bo. This is aimed at dealing a blow to people linked to Bo and solidifying Xi’s power base.

Xi plans to hammer out economic structural reform measures at the general meeting of the party’s Central Committee scheduled for November.

Corruption and disparity problems will remain even if Bo is out of the picture. How Xi overcomes public discontent will hold the key to the party’s future.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 25, 2013)
(2013年9月25日01時43分  読売新聞)



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