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郵貯限度額上げ 自民党提言の「含意」はどこに

2015-06-30 12:24:53 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun
What are implications of LDP move to raise limit on Japan Post deposits?
郵貯限度額上げ 自民党提言の「含意」はどこに

Is there any convincing reason for hastening an increase in the deposit limit at the state-owned Japan Post Bank Co.? The wisdom of raising the ceiling is extremely questionable.
 郵便貯金の限度額引き上げを急ぐ必要があるのか、甚だ疑問である。

The Liberal Democratic Party has worked out a set of proposals that would increase the per-person deposit ceiling for postal savings from the current ¥10 million to ¥30 million in stages.
 自民党が、ゆうちょ銀行の貯金限度額を1000万円から段階的に3000万円に引き上げるべきだとする提言をまとめた。

The LDP has also set out a policy seeking to boost the maximum amount of life insurance coverage at Japan Post Insurance Co. to ¥20 million from the present ¥13 million. The party is calling for the government to put the proposals into force by the end of September this year.
 かんぽ生命保険の加入限度額についても、現在の最大1300万円から2000万円に増額する方針を掲げた。政府に対し、今年9月末までの実施を求めている。

The proposals say the current limit on postal savings is excessively low when taking into consideration such factors as convenience for depositors. However, the additional Diet resolution that accompanied the April 2012 enactment of the revision of the Postal Service Privatization Law stated explicitly that the deposit cap will “not be raised at least for the time being.”
 提言は、利便性などを考えれば、現行の限度額は低すぎると指摘している。しかし、2012年4月の郵政民営化法改正時の付帯決議は、限度額を「当面は引き上げない」と明記している。

This move by the LDP is clearly running counter to the spirit of the additional Diet resolution.
この趣旨に反するのは明らかである。

Japan Post Group is a state-owned, privately run enterprise with the government holding 100 percent of its paid-in capital. Should Japan Post Bank scramble to increase its total deposits on the strength of an implicit government guarantee, there could be a drain on deposits at private-sector regional financial institutions that compete with the postal bank.
 郵政グループは、政府が100%出資する国有民営の企業だ。政府の信用を背景に貯金集めに走れば、競合する地域金融機関から預金が流出することになろう。

It is only natural that the banking world is strongly concerned that an increase in the postal bank deposit cap would squeeze private businesses in the financial sector.
 金融業界が、限度額の引き上げによる「民業圧迫」に強い懸念を示しているのは当然である。

The proposed deposit cap increase is also inconsistent with the business strategy of Japan Post Bank, which aims to facilitate collaboration with regional financial institutions through such means as formulating business ties with them. The government should carefully consider the advisability of the LDP proposals.
 地域金融機関との業務提携などを目指すゆうちょ銀の経営戦略とも整合性を欠く。政府は、提言の是非を慎重に検討すべきだ。

Japan Post Group is scheduled to list the stocks of three companies, Japan Post Holdings Co. and two units under its umbrella — Japan Post Bank Co. and Japan Post Insurance Co. — at the same time this coming autumn or later.
 郵政グループは、持ち株会社の日本郵政と傘下のゆうちょ銀、かんぽ生命の計3社の株式を、今秋以降、同時に上場する予定だ。

Post offices’ vote-drawing power

The pace at which the three companies’ stocks will be put on the market remains unclear, however. Fully privatizing Japan Post Bank and the others by selling all their stocks is just a nonbinding goal to strive for.
 ただ、3社の株式がどのようなペースで市場に売却されるのか不透明である。ゆうちょ銀株などを全て売却する完全民営化は、努力目標に過ぎない。

Preparations for raising the deposit limit should be launched only after the specific path toward full privatization of the Japan Post Group firms is clarified, after the sale of their shares to the public gets on track.
 限度額の引き上げは、株式の売却が軌道に乗り、完全民営化への道筋がはっきりした段階で着手するのが筋だ。

The outstanding deposits at Japan Post Bank are estimated at ¥180 trillion, nearly double the figure for any one of the nation’s private mega-banks.
 ゆうちょ銀の貯金残高は約180兆円とメガバンクの2倍近い。

Its huge sum of government bond holdings, which account for more than half the assets of the postal bank, has excessively low interest rates, making it difficult for the postal bank to secure profits from holding them.
巨額の資産の半分以上を占める国債は低金利で、運用益は思うように上がっていない。

If the postal bank continues increasing its savings without any promising outlook for using them, it will become even harder for it to manage its deposits.
展望もなく貯金を増やせば、運用難に拍車をかける恐れがある。

Japan Post Co. President Taizo Nishimuro said at a news conference in April that although he believes the deposit cap should eventually be eliminated, he wondered whether abolishing the ceiling “would really be a move in the right direction when viewed from the perspective of the financial world as a whole.”
 日本郵政の西室泰三社長は4月の記者会見で、限度額撤廃が望ましいとしつつ、「金融界全体からみて正しい方向かどうか疑問を持っている」と述べた。

However, the National Association of Postmasters (Zentoku), the nationwide organization of local post office chiefs, has been seeking a higher cap on the deposits, because raising the cap will increase commission revenues for individual post offices.
 ただ、個々の郵便局は貯金額などに応じて手数料が増えるメリットがあり、全国郵便局長会(全特)は引き上げを求めている。

In the 2013 House of Councillors election, a candidate from Zentoku ran in the proportional representation contest on an LDP ticket and won with the largest number of votes of any LDP candidate.
 一昨年の参院比例選で、自民党の全特出身候補が党内トップ当選を果たした。

The ruling party subsequently included a review of the postal bank deposit cap in the electoral platform in last year’s House of Representatives election.
自民党は昨年の衆院選公約に限度額見直しを掲げた。

The LDP may be eager to see post offices give full play to their vote-gathering abilities in next year’s upper house election as well.
来年の参院選でも郵便局に集票力を発揮してほしい。

The party’s recent proposals may have been designed to serve such a purpose.
そんな意図を込めた提言ではないか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 29, 2015)

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日露電話会談 G7合意踏まえた対話が重要

2015-06-29 08:52:20 | 英字新聞

idioms and words in this news,
leave no stone unturned  八方手をつくす.
(srachai)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Vital for Japan to continue dialogue with Russia, based on G-7 agreement
日露電話会談 G7合意踏まえた対話が重要

It is vital that Japan continues to hold dialogue with Russia, and to firmly criticize it over the current situation in Ukraine.
 ウクライナ情勢では批判をきちんと加えつつ、ロシアとの対話を重ねることが大切である。
 
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone. Abe again invited Putin to visit Japan this year, and both leaders agreed to continue bilateral dialogue.
 安倍首相がプーチン露大統領と電話会談し、年内の来日を改めて招請した。日露間の対話継続でも一致した。

Abe called on Putin to play a constructive role toward the complete implementation of a ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine. It is quite natural that Japan is in step with other members of the Group of Seven advanced nations in refusing to accept Russia’s unilateral attempts to change the status quo in Ukraine.
 首相はプーチン氏に、ウクライナ東部での停戦合意の完全な履行に向けて建設的な役割を果たすよう求めた。ウクライナ情勢でのロシアによる一方的な現状変更は容認できず、先進7か国(G7)の足並みをそろえるのは当然だ。

This was the first conversation between Abe and Putin since they met in Beijing in November 2014. During their talks, the two leaders agreed Putin would visit Japan “at an appropriate time” before the end of this year.
 両首脳の対話は、昨年11月の北京での会談以来だ。この会談では、今年の「適切な時期」のプーチン氏来日で合意している。

The government will soon dispatch Shotaro Yachi, chief of the National Security Council’s secretariat, to Russia to help coordinate arrangements regarding the schedule for Putin’s visit and summit talks between Abe and Putin in third nations this autumn. A visit to Russia by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is also under consideration. We hope these opportunities for constructive exchanges of opinion at various levels will continue.
 来日日程や今秋の第三国での首脳会談を調整するため、政府は近く谷内正太郎国家安全保障局長をロシアに派遣する。岸田外相の訪露も検討中だ。様々なレベルで建設的な意見交換を続けたい。

Abe has been navigating a tortuous path as he seeks to make progress in Japan-Russia relations in a bid to resolve the northern territories issue. Western nations have imposed a travel ban on Sergei Naryshkin, speaker of Russia’s lower house. But when Naryshkin visited Japan in May, Abe boldly pushed for a meeting and showed his stance of attaching great importance to improving Tokyo-Moscow ties.
 首相は、北方領土問題の解決を目指し、日露関係の前進を図ろうと、難しい舵かじ取りを続けている。米欧が入国禁止対象とするナルイシキン露下院議長が5月に来日した際、あえて会談し、対露関係を重視する姿勢を示した。

In an interview with heads of foreign news agencies in mid-June, Putin said it is possible to resolve any problem and showed his willingness to hold a summit meeting with Abe.
 プーチン氏も今月中旬、外国通信社幹部との会見で、「すべての問題は解決可能だ」と述べ、日露首脳会談に意欲を見せている。

Fishing ban a poke at Japan?

At a time when Russia’s economy is increasingly feeling the pinch due to economic sanctions imposed by the United States and European nations, taking steps that could invite deterioration in relations with Japan is not a smart policy for Putin.
 米欧の経済制裁の影響でロシア経済が厳しさを増す中、プーチン氏にとっても、対日関係の悪化を招くのは得策ではあるまい。

It is unfortunate that both houses of the Russian Federal Assembly passed a bill that will ban drift-net fishing for salmon and trout from January within Russia’s exclusive economic zone, which extends for 200 nautical miles from that nation’s coast.
 残念なのは、ロシア上下両院が、同国沿岸から200カイリの排他的経済水域(EEZ)内でのサケ・マスの流し網漁を来年1月から禁止する法案を可決したことだ。

This ban will come into force if Putin signs it. If this happens, Japanese fishing boats will, in effect, become unable to operate in waters off the Chishima islands and some other areas.
 プーチン氏が署名すれば施行され、千島列島沖などで日本漁船は事実上、操業できなくなる。

It has been estimated that if this ban comes into effect, the economic impact on industries in eastern Hokkaido could reach up to ¥25 billion annually.  その場合、北海道東部の経済への影響額が年250億円に上るとの試算もある。

The government will need to leave no stone unturned as it devises countermeasures to minimize the impact of this blow.
打撃を最小限に抑えるため、政府は、対策に知恵を絞らなければならない。

Russia has justified the bill by saying it is intended to protect marine resources. However, the Japanese government has argued there are sufficient resources in these waters.
 法案は「漁業資源の保護」を理由としており、日本側は「資源は十分ある」と反論してきた。

During his phone conversation with Putin, Abe called on the Russian side to give consideration “to what is a very alarming situation for fishermen in the region.” About four hours after this request, the bill was passed.
安倍首相も電話会談で「地域の漁民には大変憂慮すべき事態」とロシア側の配慮を求めたが、その約4時間後に法案は可決された。

It is regrettable that Japan’s plea was not accepted.
 日本の主張が受け入れられなかったのは遺憾である。

Russia has extended for one year its ban on imports of agricultural products from the United States, the European Union and elsewhere, which it launched in response to sanctions that have been slapped on Moscow.
 ロシアは、対露制裁を続ける米国や欧州連合(EU)などから農産物の輸入を禁止する対抗措置を1年間延長した。

It seems to us that Russia might, under the guise of resource protection, be trying to shake Japan’s sanctions.
資源保護を名目に、日本の制裁にも揺さぶりをかけてきたのではないか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 28, 2015)

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米大統領交渉権 TPPの早期妥結につなげよ

2015-06-28 07:09:31 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun
U.S. legislation on fast-track authority must lead to early TPP trade accord
米大統領交渉権 TPPの早期妥結につなげよ

The conditions are finally in place to significantly push forward negotiations regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact.
 環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉を大きく進展させる環境が、ようやく整った。

Japan, the United States and 10 other participating countries should speed up negotiations to seal a multilateral trade deal as early as possible.
 日米など参加12か国は交渉を加速し、早期妥結を実現させるべきだ。

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed a Trade Promotion Authority bill that will grant President Barack Obama fast-track authority on trade deals. The bill was earlier approved by the House of Representatives and will become law after Obama signs it.
 米上院が、オバマ大統領に通商一括交渉権(TPA)を与える法案を可決した。下院ではすでに可決しており、大統領の署名を経て成立する。

There was concern that if a trade deal was reached without Obama being given TPA, any accord agreed to by the United States would be nullified due to U.S. congressional opposition. This prevented other participating nations from rallying the momentum to reach a broad TPP agreement.
 大統領がTPAを持たずに合意しても、議会の反対で約束が反故ほごにされる恐れがある。このため参加国では、TPP大筋合意への機運が高まらなかった。

With the TPA legislation, the participating countries will aim to hammer out a broad accord at a ministerial meeting in July. For now, we welcome the TPP negotiations’ entry into a new phase.
 TPA成立を受け、参加国は7月中の閣僚会合で大筋合意を目指す。交渉が新たな局面に入ったことを、ひとまず歓迎したい。

TPP is an ambitious vision for creating a high-level free trade zone in the Asia-Pacific region. If realized, it will contribute greatly to the development and stability of the region. But tough negotiations lie ahead for all the participating countries because they are confronted with domestic opponents calling for protection of their domestic industries.
 TPPは、アジア太平洋地域に高いレベルの自由貿易圏を創出する野心的な構想だ。実現すれば、地域経済の発展と安定に大きく寄与する。ただ、各国とも国内産業の保護を唱える反対派を抱え、難しい交渉を迫られている。

The Obama administration’s stance is to promote the TPP deal. But the Democratic Party, which is supposed to support Obama, takes a strongly cautious view of the deal because the party is backed by labor unions. In contrast, most lawmakers from the Republican Party are in favor of pushing the TPP deal.
 オバマ政権は、TPP推進の立場だが、身内のはずの民主党は、労働組合を支持層としていることもあり、慎重論が根強い。一方、共和党では、TPPに前向きな議員が多数派を形成する。

Overall perspective vital

Due to the differences in opinion between the president and the Democratic Party, the TPA bill was in limbo for more than two years.
 大統領と民主党の意見の食い違いが災いし、TPA法案の扱いは2年以上も迷走した。

The lack of leadership by Obama, who is passive about winning over the opposing legislators, is undeniably to blame for exacerbating the turmoil surrounding the matter.
 議会の説得に消極的だったオバマ氏の指導力不足も、混迷に拍車をかけたことは否めまい。

Now that the battle in Congress has been settled, the focus has shifted to the fate of the TPP negotiations themselves. But it cannot be predicted how the talks will unfold.
 米議会での攻防が収束し、焦点はTPP交渉そのものに移る。その行方は予断を許さない。

Japan and the United States have made progress in their bilateral negotiations on such matters as tariff cuts on beef and pork imports. The issues left unresolved include expansion of U.S. rice imports by Japan, on which Tokyo is reluctant to concede, and the timetable and range of U.S. tariff cuts on automobile parts imported from Japan.
 日米交渉は、牛・豚肉の関税引き下げなどで進展している。ただ、日本が難色を示してきた米国産コメの輸入拡大や、米国の自動車部品関税引き下げの時期や範囲など、残された課題もある。

Tough battles have continued between the United States and emerging countries in negotiations related to intellectual property rights, including the protection period and range for newly developed medicines.
 米国と新興国は、新薬開発データの保護期間など知的財産権の分野で厳しい対立を続ける。

Top priority must be given to preventing the negotiations from drifting off course. As the countries to lead the TPP talks, Japan and the United States must cooperate to work out a final agreement as early as possible from a comprehensive standpoint.
 交渉全体の漂流を回避することが最優先だ。TPP交渉を主導する日米が大局的な見地に立ち、最終合意を急ぐことが肝心だ。

The significance of TPP is not limited to economic benefits accruing from the expansion of trade and investment. The TPP framework is also expected to serve as a check on China, which has been increasing its presence in both the economic and security spheres.
 TPPの意義は、貿易や投資の拡大を通じた経済的な利益にとどまらない。経済と安全保障の両面で存在感を高める中国を、牽制けんせいする役割も期待される。

China has been making steady progress in pushing for such plans as establishment of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank while expanding its aggressive maritime activities in the East and South China seas. If the TPP plan breaks apart in midair, it will help China become more aggressive and assertive. The participating countries should share this concern.
 中国はアジアインフラ投資銀行(AIIB)の設立などを着々と進め、東・南シナ海で強引な海洋進出を図っている。TPPが空中分解に終われば、中国の攻勢はさらに強まろう。交渉参加国は、危機感を共有すべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 26, 2015)

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米中戦略対話 「責任ある競争相手」に程遠い

2015-06-27 18:17:57 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun
After high-level talks with U.S., China still far from ‘responsible stakeholder’
米中戦略対話 「責任ある競争相手」に程遠い

The United States found a stage to deliver a stern reminder to China, which is continuing its high-handed behavior in maritime areas and in cyberspace, that it needs to follow the rules and fulfill its responsibilities as a major power.
 海洋やサイバー空間で独善的な行動を続ける中国に、ルールを守り、大国としての責任を果たすよう、米国が厳しくクギを刺す場となった。
 
The seventh round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue has been held in Washington. Over two days, high-level officials from both nations held discussions on a wide spectrum of issues ranging from national security to economic matters.
 第7回米中戦略・経済対話がワシントンで行われ、双方の閣僚級が2日間、安全保障から経済まで幅広い課題を巡って議論した。

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on China to halt its land reclamation around reefs and military facility construction in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. “We do have a strong national interest in freedom of navigation and overflight,” Kerry said.
 南シナ海のスプラトリー(南沙)諸島での中国による岩礁埋め立てと軍事施設の建設について、ケリー米国務長官は「米国は航行、飛行の自由に大きな国益をもつ」と述べ、中止するよう要求した。

Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi hit back, saying China has a “firm determination to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.” China is attempting to unilaterally enclose the South China Sea as “its own sea.” We think this approach, which has no basis under international law, is completely unacceptable.
 中国の楊潔チ国務委員は「海洋問題で領土主権と権益を守る」と反論した。国際法の根拠のないまま、南シナ海を「自国の海」として一方的に囲い込もうとする中国の姿勢は到底容認できない。

In mid-June, the Chinese government announced some of its land reclamation work will be completed soon. This was probably intended to temporarily ease antagonism with Washington ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States in September.
 中国政府は今月中旬、埋め立てを「近く完了する」と表明した。習近平国家主席の訪米を9月に控え、米国との対立を一時的に緩和したい思惑があったのだろう。

However, what some observers have termed “a Great Wall of sand” has already been built due to China’s land reclamation. There appears to be no change in China’s plan to push on with preparing military facilities and a 3,000-meter runway. If this situation continues, distrust of China will only grow.
 だが、埋め立てによる「砂の長城」はすでに築かれている。3000メートル級の滑走路や軍事施設の整備などを続ける方針にも変化は見られない。このままでは、対中不信が高まるばかりだ。

Some progress made

In the economic field, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew issued a sterner-than-usual criticism of China on cyber issues. “We remain deeply concerned about Chinese government-sponsored cyber-enabled theft of confidential business information and proprietary technology from U.S. companies,” Lew said.
 経済分野では、ルー財務長官が「米企業の機密情報や特許技術を盗み取るサイバー攻撃を中国政府が支援していることを深く懸念する」と批判を一段と強めた。

Yang said Beijing supports the principle of developing an “international code of conduct for cyber information-sharing,” but a bilateral working group on cyber issues remains suspended. It would be a stretch to say China provided a sincere response on this issue.
 楊氏は「各国がサイバー情報を共有するため、国際的な行動規範の構築に取り組むべきだ」と語ったが、サイバー問題に関する米中の作業部会は中断している。真摯しんしな対応とは言えまい。

U.S. President Barack Obama also expressed “ongoing U.S. concerns” about China’s cyber and maritime behavior, and he urged China to take “concrete steps” on these issues. It is hugely significant that the president directly called on China to deal with these matters appropriately.
 オバマ大統領も、海洋進出とサイバー問題で中国側に「懸念」を伝え、「具体的措置」をとるよう促した。大統領が直接、中国に善処を求めた意義は小さくない。

With China seeking to build a “new type of major-power relationship” with the United States, it said both sides should “respect and accommodate each other’s core interests.” U.S. Vice President Joe Biden reportedly urged China to be a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system.
 中国側は「新しいタイプの大国関係」構築に向けて、領土・主権など双方の「核心的利益」を尊重することを改めて訴えた。バイデン副大統領は「責任ある競争相手」になるよう戒めたという。

If China genuinely wants to realize a “major-power relationship,” in which it stands on an equal footing with the United States, it should start by fulfilling the responsibilities commensurate with such a position.
 中国が米国と対等の「大国関係」を実現したいのなら、まず相応の責任を果たすべきだろう。

There was progress made elsewhere, as the United States and China reached agreement on a raft of issues including climate change and people-to-people exchanges. They also agreed to expand technological cooperation as a countermeasure to combat climate change. China is scheduled to announce this month its reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions.
 一方、米中が気候変動や人材交流など様々なテーマで合意できたのは成果だ。気候変動対策では、技術協力拡大でも一致した。中国は今月中に、温室効果ガスの排出削減目標を公表するという。

The United States and China are the world’s two largest emitters of these gases. They must steadily make progress in reducing their emissions. The key question will be whether they can produce actual results, not just stage a show of cooperative ties.
 排出量で世界1、2位の中国と米国は着実に削減を進めねばならない。問われるのは、協調関係の演出ではなく、実績である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 26, 2015)

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骨太方針素案 財政再建への踏み込みが甘い

2015-06-26 11:07:08 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Govt must present clear measures to cut spending in fiscal reform plan
骨太方針素案 財政再建への踏み込みが甘い

The basic idea to seek both economic growth and fiscal reconstruction is appropriate, but strong enthusiasm for reducing government spending cannot be felt.
 経済成長と財政再建の二兎にとを追う基本的な考え方は妥当だが、歳出削減への強い意気込みが感じられない。
 
The government has compiled the draft outline of its Basic Policies for Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform.
 政府が、「経済財政運営と改革の基本方針」(骨太の方針)の素案をまとめた。

The government, in the draft outline, sets a medium-term target of cutting the deficit in fiscal 2018 to about 1 percent of gross domestic product as a step toward achieving the government goal of turning the primary balance of the central and local governments into a surplus by fiscal 2020.
 2020年度に国と地方の基礎的財政収支を黒字化する政府目標の達成に向け、18年度の赤字を国内総生産(GDP)の1%程度に抑える中間目標を設けた。

The central government designated the three years until fiscal 2018 as a period for intensive reform and showed a “criterion” of limiting rises in general account spending, excluding redemptions of government bonds and certain other items, to about ¥1.6 trillion for the three years to March 2019. The draft outline calls on the government to limit growth in social security costs, which are expected to increase by ¥1 trillion each year, to ¥1.5 trillion for the three years.
 18年度までの3年間を集中改革期間と位置づけ、政策経費の歳出増加額を計1・6兆円程度に抑える「目安」を示した。毎年1兆円ほど増える社会保障費を、3年で1・5兆円の伸びにとどめる。

Akira Amari, economic revitalization minister, and others were reluctant to put a ceiling on government spending. But without the ceiling, there is a fear that tax revenue increases as a result of economic growth could be used for an expansion of expenditures in an unregulated manner. It is significant that the draft outline put a certain brake on increases in government spending in line with the opinions of Finance Minister Taro Aso and others.
 甘利経済再生相らは、歳出の上限設定に難色を示したが、それでは経済成長による税収増などが、野放図に歳出拡大へ回される恐れがある。麻生財務相らの主張に沿って、歳出増に一定の歯止めを設けた意義はあろう。

It is worrisome that the draft outline is lacking in concrete measures to curtail government spending in the future as planned.
 懸念されるのは、今後の歳出を想定通りに抑制するための具体的な方策が乏しいことである。

The target amount of an increase in general account spending, excluding redemptions of government bonds and certain other items, was determined based on past performance in fiscal 2013 to 2015. With the aging population, there is no guarantee that the government could curtail spending in the future as much as it did in that period. Ceaseless efforts for spending reform are indispensable.
 政策経費の伸びの目標額は、13~15年度の実績をもとに定めた。高齢化は進行しており、今後も同様に抑え込める保証はない。不断の歳出改革が不可欠だ。

Face the pain

However, the draft outline seldom mentioned important issues, such as hikes in out-of-pocket payments for medical fees for high-income senior citizens, or heavier taxation on their pension money.
 ところが、裕福な高齢者の医療費負担増や、年金課税の強化などの重要課題について、素案はほとんど言及しなかった。

The draft outline also did not clear a concrete target date to realize an increase in the use of generic medicine to more than 80 percent, which is a essential to controlling medical costs. In consideration of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, which is cautious about setting the target date, the draft outline said only in an ambiguous manner that the realization should be made “at the earliest date possible in [the period from] fiscal 2018 to the end of fiscal 2020.”
 医療費削減の柱とされた後発医薬品の「普及率80%以上」の実現時期も、踏み込み不足だった。慎重な厚生労働省に配慮し、「18~20年度末のなるべく早い時期」という曖昧な表現に落ち着いた。

Since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in 2008, the government has introduced a system to add extra amounts of money to tax grants from the central government to local governments. The draft outline postponed the abolition of the system, instead only mentioning “trying to make efforts to change the system to the status quo ante.”
 08年のリーマン・ショック後に緊急対策として導入した地方交付税の別枠加算は、「平時モードに切り替えを進めていく」とするにとどめ、廃止を見送った。

We have to say that the government got cold feet in fear of the refutation of the ministries and local governments opposing various expenditure cuts.
 歳出カットに対する各府省や地方自治体の反発を恐れ、腰が引けていると言わざるを得ない。

Japan’s debt has topped ¥1 quadrillion, already the worst fiscal condition among advanced countries. Looking toward fiscal 2025 and later, when the baby boomers pass the age of 75, it is necessary to start painful reforms earlier.
 日本の債務残高は、1000兆円を超え、既に先進国で最悪の財政状況だ。団塊の世代が75歳以上に達する25年度以降を見据えれば、痛みを伴う制度改革にも早めに手をつける必要がある。

From the start, the fiscal reconstruction measures this time are determined based on the assumption of real economic growth of 2 percent. If growth remains at 1 percent, the deficit in the primary balance would increase by ¥7 trillion. The harsh reality should not be forgotten.
 そもそも今回の財政再建策は、実質2%という高成長が前提だ。成長率が1%にとどまれば、20年度の基礎的財政収支の赤字幅は、7兆円も増える。厳しい現実を忘れてはなるまい。

The government should beef up concrete measures for spending reform to steadily realize the goal of turning the primary balance of the central and local governments into a surplus by fiscal 2020 and laying the foundation for future fiscal consolidation.
 20年度の黒字化目標を着実に実現し、その先の財政健全化に布石を打つ。こうした視点から、歳出改革の具体策を補強すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 24, 2015)

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