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srachai
次女カイちゃんと私↑パタヤにて
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妻はタイ人、娘ばかり3人も!

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■近況

2009年の9月15日に脳梗塞を発症、右手が少し不自由になりました。
MRAで脳梗塞の部位を特定でき、素早い処置をとれたので大事に至りませんでした。
快復にむけてリハビリ中です。
(2011/01/01更新)

■自己紹介・リンク

[ はじめに ]
タイのスラチャイです。
英語学習に王道はありません。
毎日毎日の地道な努力の積み重ねが必要です。
スラチャイはNHKのラジオ英語会話で現在の英語力を身につけました。
一日僅か15分の学習でも数年間継続すれば相当な学習効果が期待できます。

[ 名前 ]
松井 清 (スラチャイ)

[ 略歴 ]
・福岡県出身
・国立高知大学卒業
・準大手建設会社に就職
・50歳で会社を早期退職
・99/10 タイ全土を旅行
・00/10 タイに移住
・03/07 カイちゃん誕生
・07/06 シーファーちゃん誕生
・現在タイ国コンケン在住

[ 座右の銘 ]
Slow and steady wins the race.
遅くとも着実な者が勝利する
(NHK基礎英語芹沢栄先生)

[ 学習の手引き ]
・音読して耳から英語を吸収
・Think in English.
・ネイティブ発音付辞書活用
・英英辞典を活用(英和も)
・翻訳和文で専門用語確認

[ English Newspapers ]
Yomiuri
Mainichi
Asahi
Japan Times
Washington Post
Newyork Times
Bangkok Post
The Nations
Phuket Gazette

[ 英字新聞の英和対訳学習 ]
英字新聞(読売)
英字新聞(毎日)
英字新聞(朝日)
英字新聞(朝日2)

[ スラチャイ編集の辞書 ]
タイ日辞書(改訂版)
日タイ辞書(改訂版)
ラオ日辞書
日ラオ辞書

[ 英字新聞リンク ]
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2016年06月04日

参院選 論戦スタートへ 語られざる「改憲」を問う

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 3
EDITORIAL: Amending the Constitution is hidden focus of Upper House poll
(社説)参院選 論戦スタートへ 語られざる「改憲」を問う

The focus of attention in the political community has shifted to the July 10 Upper House election as the brouhaha over the consumption tax hike and the possibility of simultaneous Upper and Lower House elections has blown over.
Debate on key policy issues at the Diet was drowned out in the political noise in the final days of this year’s regular session.
 消費増税と衆参同日選の行方が注目された会期末の喧噪(けんそう)が去り、政界は7月10日投票の参院選に向け一斉に走り出した。

What topics will Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other politicians address during their election campaigns?
 この選挙で、安倍首相はじめ政治家たちは何を語るのか。

Abe has cast his economic policy, or Abenomics, as the central issue of the election and expressed his intention to seek a public mandate for his recent decision to postpone the scheduled consumption tax increase.
 首相は「アベノミクス」を最大の争点とし、消費増税先送りの判断について国民の信を問いたいという。

Voters will naturally consider these issues at the polls. But they don’t have to focus only on the issues played up by the administration.
 投票にあたってそれを考慮に入れるにしても、政権の一方的な争点設定に縛られる必要はない。

One important topic requires careful attention by voters although politicians are not eager to discuss it. That is constitutional amendments.
むしろ政治家があまり語ろうとしないことにこそ、細心の注意を払うべき論点がある。
 憲法改正である。

Abe has said his key target for the Upper House election is securing a two-thirds majority for his Liberal Democratic Party, its junior coalition partner, Komeito, and other parties willing to support his initiative to amend the Constitution.
 安倍首相は、参院選で自民、公明だけでなく改憲に前向きな政党を含めて3分の2の議席獲得をめざすと語っている。

If the target is reached, Abe will have a much better chance of proceeding with his plan to get the Diet to initiate constitutional amendments, through a concurring two-thirds vote of all the members of each chamber, for a national referendum on the proposed changes.
 実現すれば、衆参両院で憲法改正案を発議し、国民投票にかけることが、現実の政治日程にのぼる可能性が高まる。

That will, of course, be the first actual attempt to rewrite the postwar Constitution under the formal procedures for amendments.
 そうなればもちろん、戦後初めてのことだ。

The question of whether to hand an overwhelming two-thirds majority in both chambers to the Abe administration and its political allies is the biggest issue of the upcoming election, even though it is overshadowed by debate on the economy.
 安倍政権とその補完勢力に、衆参そろって3分の2の圧倒的な多数を与えるのかどうか。これが、経済に隠された参院選最大の焦点である。

The results of the election could put the nation at a major turning point in its postwar history.
 その結果は、戦後日本の分岐点となる重みを持つ。

FRESH DEBATE ON SECURITY LEGISLATION NEEDED
 ■安保法を問い直す

Let us look back on what happened in the Upper House, which is called “the Seat of Common Sense,” eight months ago.
 「良識の府」とも呼ばれる参議院。そこで8カ月前に起きたことを振り返ってみる。

At a Sept. 17 session of the special committee on the new national security legislation, committee members suddenly made a dash for the chairman’s seat, triggering a scuffle amid angry roars. From time to time, ruling camp lawmakers stood with both hands raised in response to cues. People watching the session on TV were clueless to what was occurring.
 安全保障関連法案を審議した昨年9月17日の特別委員会でのことだ。議員たちが突然、委員長席に駆け寄り、怒号の中でもみ合いが続く。合図を受けた与党議員が時折、両手を上げて立ちあがる。何が起こったのか、国民にはわからない。

This ugly scene was how the package of security bills, which effectively revises the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, was actually enacted.
 これが9条の実質的な改正に等しい安保法案の採決だった。

In June last year, three constitutional scholars told the Lower House Commission on the Constitution that the legislation is unconstitutional. Their comments led many lawmakers to subscribe to the view that the legislation violates the Constitution, causing a bitter division among the public.
 安保法案については、6月に3人の憲法学者が衆院憲法審査会で「違憲である」と表明。違憲論が国会の内外に広まり、世論は二分された。

The bills should have been carried over to the next Diet session for further debate. Instead of resorting to persuasion by reason, however, the Abe administration extended the session and used the power of a majority to engineer the forceful passage of the bills through the Diet in the face of strong opposition due to doubts about their constitutionality.
 本来は、次の国会に持ち越して議論を尽くすべきだった。なのに、会期延長の末に違憲論をねじ伏せたのは、理による説得でなく、数による強行だった。

The July Upper House poll will offer a great opportunity for fresh debate on the legislation.
 参院選は、この安保法制定を問い直す機会である。

CHANGES IN STANCE BEFORE AND AFTER ELECTIONS
 ■選挙の前後で違う顔

Since the beginning of this year, Abe has made clear his desire to embark on amending the Constitution after the Upper House election.
 安倍首相は年明けから、参院選後に明文改正に踏み込みたい意向を明らかにしてきた。

In January, he pledged in a Diet session to “create a new Constitution with our own hands.” The initiative “has entered the stage of a realistic possibility where discussions are to be held on which provisions should be amended,” he added.
 1月には「自らの手で新たな憲法をつくる。いよいよどの条項について改正すべきか、現実的な段階に移ってきた」と国会で答弁。

In the recent one-on-one Diet debate with Katsuya Okada, president of the Democratic Party, Abe challenged the largest opposition bloc to come up with its own draft amendments to the Constitution, saying there could be no meaningful debate on the topic unless the opposition party did so.
先の党首討論では民進党の岡田代表に「民進党も改正草案を出さなければ、議論のしようがない」と挑発した。

Abe spoke as if changing the Constitution was a given.
 まるで、憲法を変えるのは既定路線だと言わんばかりだ。

In contrast, other senior LDP politicians are not eager to pursue constitutional amendments.
 一方で、首相以外の自民党幹部の熱は低い。

The LDP’s headquarters to promote constitutional amendments has yet to start considering which provisions should be revised. The Lower House Commission on the Constitution didn’t begin substantial debate on the question in the latest Diet session.
 党の憲法改正推進本部は、どの条項を改正すべきかの議論には手をつけていない。衆院の憲法審査会も、先の国会での実質審議を見送った。

Behind its reluctance to wade into debate on the issue is the lack of solid public support to the initiative.
In an Asahi Shimbun survey, 55 percent of the respondents said there was no need to change the Constitution.
 なぜか。朝日新聞の世論調査では、憲法を「変える必要はない」という人は55%に達する。

Toshihiro Nikai, chairman of the LDP’s General Council, pretty much summed up the dominant sentiment within the ruling party when he said a single-minded pursuit of constitutional amendments would make it difficult for the party to win in the election.
「しゃにむに憲法改正の旗を振る姿勢を示したならば、選挙に勝てない」(二階総務会長)というのが党内の空気なのだ。

In the past two national elections, the Abe administration focused its campaign on economic issues that have a direct bearing on people’s livelihoods. The administration is adopting the same campaign strategy for this poll.
 安倍政権は、過去2回の国政選では国民生活に密接にかかわる経済を前面に掲げた。今回も同様だ。

But the administration drastically changed its political posturing after each of the past two elections.
 だが、これまでは選挙が終わると、安倍政権は顔を一変させてきた。

We should not forget the fact that the administration forged ahead with the passage of the state secrets protection law and the security legislation, which both directly concern such basic principles of the Constitution as the people’s right to know and pacifism, after these past elections.
特定秘密保護法に安保法。国民の知る権利や平和主義という憲法の根幹にかかわる法の制定に、一気に進んできたことを忘れてはならない。

THE REAL AIM OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT INITIATIVE?
 ■改憲の狙いはどこに

The Constitution, of course, will not be the only element voters will consider when they make their decisions at the polls in July. Policy issues that affect their daily lives are important factors for their choices that need to be weighed carefully.
 もちろん、有権者が参院選で投票する際の評価軸は、憲法ばかりではない。日々の暮らしにかかわる政策は重要な論点であり、十分な吟味が必要だ。

Let us then examine the economic planks on the parties’ campaign platforms. There aren’t radical differences between the LDP’s vision of a society where 100 million people will play active roles and the Democratic Party’s vision of a “society of symbiosis.” Many parties are proposing more or less similar policies concerning such issues as growth and redistribution, the same wage for same work principle and reducing the number of children on waiting lists for day-care centers.
 ただ、各党の主張をみてみよう。自民党の「1億総活躍」と民進党の「共生社会」、成長と分配、同一労働・同一賃金、待機児童の解消。多くの党が掲げる方向は同じだ。

Given the massive budget deficit and the contraction of the working population, there cannot be wide differences between the ruling and opposition parties in these policies.
財政赤字や労働人口の減少を考えれば、これらの政策に与野党の大きな違いを見いだすのは難しい。

On the other hand, the LDP’s constitutional amendment agenda could radically affect certain values we have enjoyed in the postwar era, such as peace and freedom.
 一方で、いま自民党内で語られている憲法改正論は、私たちが戦後、その恩恵を受けてきた平和や自由といった価値を変質させる可能性をはらむ。

The LDP’s draft constitutional amendments are based on views that place the interests of the state before the freedom of individuals. Lurking at the heart of these views is a sentiment that is close to antipathy toward the human rights and individualism espoused by the current Constitution.
 自民党の憲法改正草案を貫いているのは、国民一人ひとりの自由より、国家を優先させる考え方だ。その根っこには、現憲法の人権や個人主義に対する、敵意に近い感情がうかがえる。

In referring to the LDP’s draft constitutional amendments in a June 1 news conference, Abe toned down his usual rhetoric.
“We are not seeking support from two-thirds (of the members of both chambers) for the initiative by promising to make these amendments,” he said.
 首相はおとといの記者会見で党の草案にふれ、「『これをやりますから賛成する人はだれですか』と3分の2を募っているわけではない」と、抑えた言いぶりにとどめた。

If he secures an electoral victory, however, Abe may start saying the party has won a public mandate to promote the drafts.
If so, which provisions will he try to change for whatever reasons?
 だが、参院選の結果、「草案は信任を得た」と言い出す可能性はないか。そして、どの条文をどのように変えようとしているのか。そこに理はあるか。

Even if Abe doesn’t talk about these questions, voters should ask, as many times as necessary, vital questions about his real stance toward the Constitution.
 首相らが語ろうとはしなくても、有権者として憲法への姿勢を何度でも問い続けたい。
posted by srachai at 11:57| Comment(0) | 朝日英字

2016年06月03日

首相の会見 納得できぬ責任転嫁

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 2
EDITORIAL: Abe shifts blame from himself for his decision to delay tax hike
(社説)首相の会見 納得できぬ責任転嫁

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s explanation about why he decided to delay the scheduled consumption tax hike again is far from convincing.
In a June 1 news conference, Abe tried--but failed--to make his case that there is a compelling case to delay the increase in the consumption tax rate to 10 percent, slated for April 2017.
 とても納得できる説明ではない。安倍首相のきのうの記者会見はそう評価せざるを得ない。

The long and short of what he said at the news conference is this:

 アベノミクスは順調だ。しかし新興国の経済が陰っている。だから来年春の10%への消費増税は延期し、この秋に大胆な経済対策をまとめる。財政再建の旗は降ろさない――。発言を要約すればこうなる。

Far from being convincing, his call for “revving up the engine of Abenomics as much as possible” raises concerns about heightened risks involved in his expansionary economic policy program.
 納得どころか、「アベノミクスのエンジンを最大にふかす」と強調されては、その危うさがさらに膨らみかねないと不安が募る。

This will be the second delay in the tax increase. It was originally scheduled for October 2015, but Abe in November 2014 announced the postponement of the step to April 2017.
Since that announcement, Abe had reiterated that he would go ahead with the plan to raise the tax rate to 10 percent unless Japan is hit by serious economic tumult, like the global crisis triggered by the 2008 collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers or the downturn following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
 リーマン・ショックや東日本大震災のような経済混乱が生じない限り、10%への消費増税は必ず実施する。前回、消費増税の延期を表明した14年11月の記者会見以来、首相はこう繰り返してきた。

In the June 1 news conference, Abe admitted that nothing like the “Lehman shock” crisis is taking shape. He also denied that his change of mind had been caused by the series of strong earthquakes that have rocked Kumamoto Prefecture and surrounding areas since mid-April.
 きのう首相は「リーマン・ショック級の事態は発生していない」と認め、熊本地震を理由にするつもりもないと述べた。

On the other hand, Abe contended that Abenomics had produced notable results, pointing to job and income growth.
一方で、雇用の増加や所得の上昇を挙げ、アベノミクスの成果に自信を見せた。

If that’s his view about the economy, he should raise the consumption tax as planned to cure the government’s fiscal ills and enhance the financial standing of the social security system.
 ならば、財政再建と社会保障財源充実のために、消費増税を予定通り実施するのが筋だ。

In trying to justify his move, Abe mentioned concerns about the economic health of key emerging countries, including China.
 首相が引き合いに出したのが、中国をはじめとする新興国経済の不安である。

During the recent Ise-Shima summit of the Group of Seven major industrial nations, Abe repeatedly referred to the global recession caused by the failure of Lehman Brothers. But the leaders of Britain and Germany refused to buy his argument.
 先の伊勢志摩サミットでは何度もリーマン・ショックに触れ、英独両国の首脳らから異議が出た。

While Abe admitted that the current situation is not similar to the aftermath of Lehman Brothers’ demise, he pointed to overseas economic uncertainties as the reason behind his policy decision. By doing so, he has effectively shifted the responsibility to emerging countries.
今回はリーマン・ショックとは異なることを認めたものの、海外経済の不透明感を増税延期の理由にするのは、新興国への責任転嫁に等しい。

As for pushing back the tax increase by two-and-a-half years to October 2019, Abe claimed that is the maximum possible delay that can be made without giving up the government’s target of restoring fiscal health by fiscal 2020.
 首相は2年半の先送りについて「20年度の財政健全化目標を堅持するギリギリのタイミングにした」と言う。

The fiscal rehabilitation target is an extremely ambitious one that will not be achieved even if the consumption tax is raised as planned and the Japanese economy grows at rates over 3 percent annually.
 健全化目標は、消費増税を実施し、毎年度3%を超える経済成長を達成してもなお及ばない遠い目標だ。

Reaching the target requires constant efforts to review and reform the budget for substantial spending cuts. But Abe’s approach is totally dependent on revenue growth expected from economic stimulus, which is no more than a shot in the arm. Is this the right way to tackle the formidable challenge?
不断に予算を見直し、地道な努力を積み重ねることが不可欠なのに、経済対策というカンフル剤による税収増を当て込むばかりでよいのか。

Abe also said he will seek a public mandate for this policy decision in the upcoming Upper House election.
 首相はこの新たな判断について「参院選を通して国民の信を問う」という。

Few people would welcome a tax hike even if they understand the need for the step.
 増税の必要性は理解してもそれを歓迎する国民は少ない。

In a recent Asahi Shimbun poll, 59 percent of the respondents said the tax increase should be postponed, compared with 29 percent who said the step should not be delayed.
朝日新聞の世論調査でも、10%への引き上げを「延期すべきだ」とした人は59%で「すべきではない」の29%を上回っている。

Abe’s request for voters to support his decision to delay an unpopular measure is tantamount to pushing the pretext that the public has approved his broken policy promise.
 不人気な政策の先送りを問うことで自らの公約違反にお墨付きを得ようとする。

It is actually a scheme to take advantage of public sentiment about the tax hike to shunt his responsibility for the controversial move to the voting public.
これは、国民感情を逆手にとった有権者への責任転嫁でもある。

Voters need to express their views about the prime minister’s self-centered political maneuver in the Upper House election.
 参院選で問われるべきは、むしろこうした首相の身勝手さではないか。
posted by srachai at 11:00| Comment(0) | 朝日英字

2016年06月02日

増税再延期 議論なき決定の異様さ

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 1
EDITORIAL: Abe’s decision to delay tax hike made without proper debate
(社説)増税再延期 議論なき決定の異様さ

Raising the consumption tax rate to 10 percent is a decision that would affect the lives of Japanese people, present and future. A matter of such import must never be left to the discretion of the prime minister alone, nor be settled in the absence of scrutiny by the government and the ruling coalition and thorough Diet deliberations.
 消費増税をどうするかは、将来世代を含む国民の暮らしを左右する重要テーマだ。政府与党内の事前の検討も、国会の議論もないまま、首相の一存で押し切っていいものではない。

But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced yet another postponement of the tax hike, this time for two-and-a-half years, scrapping the scheduled increase in April next year.
 来年4月に予定されていた消費税率10%への引き上げを2年半、再延期する。

Abe dropped this bombshell just days before the June 1 adjournment of the current Diet session. Throughout the past 150-day session, Abe talked of the planned tax hike as a foregone conclusion, saying it will happen “unless the nation is impacted drastically by something like the ‘Lehman shock’ or a catastrophic earthquake.”
 安倍首相のこの方針は、国会会期末間際になって、いきなり持ち出された。それまで150日間の国会審議を通して、首相は「リーマン・ショックあるいは大震災級の影響のある出来事が起こらない限り、引き上げを行っていく」と語っていたはずである。

The process leading up to Abe’s decision on the postponement was definitely irregular. Not one debate was held within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party or the government or the Diet to examine Abe’s proposal. Instead, Abe summoned his senior Cabinet ministers and party executives in person and sought their approval.
 持ち出し方も異様だった。自民党内でも、政府内でも、ましてや国会でも、首相方針をめぐる議論をまったく経ないまま、有力閣僚や与党幹部を個別に呼び、同調を求めていった。

Finance Minister Taro Aso was practically the only Cabinet member who firmly opposed the postponement, reminding Abe that the last time the tax hike was delayed, the administration had promised that the increase would be effected for certain in April 2017.
 「前回延期を決めた時、17年4月に引き上げると約束した」と明確に反対したのは麻生財務相くらい。

But even Aso readily backed off in the end. He was quoted as saying, “If the prime minister says so.”
その麻生氏にしても最後は「総理がそういうなら」とあっさり折れた。

This whole affair is quite symbolic of the distorted nature of the Abe administration’s power structure. With Abe holding and exercising extraordinary power and authority, all the ruling coalition could do was to endorse whatever policy he decided, with no questions asked.
 あまりにも強い首相の力と、その方針を議論なく追認するしかない与党の姿――。安倍政権のいびつな権力行使のあり方が象徴的に表れたと言える。

The Diet adjourns on June 1, having rejected a no-confidence motion against the Abe Cabinet, filed on May 31 by four opposition parties.
 野党4党がきのう提出した内閣不信任案は否決され、国会はきょう閉会する。

Abe's arbitrary decision to postpone the consumption tax hike is such a huge issue that the normal thing to do now is to extend the Diet session for serious discussions among the ruling and opposition camps. Numerous points require scrutiny.
 だが本来なら、国会を延長して与野党で十分に議論すべき大問題である。論点は数多い。

For instance, how appropriate was Abe’s assertion, made abruptly during the Ise-Shima Group of Seven summit, that the global economy is at risk of falling into a crisis?
 伊勢志摩サミットで首相が唐突に言及した「世界経済が危機に陥るリスクに直面している」という主張に妥当性はあるか。

How will the postponement of the consumption tax hike affect the nation’s social security system and fiscal rehabilitation program, and what countermeasures should be taken? Where should the funding for the countermeasures come from?
 増税延期で社会保障や財政再建にどんな影響があり、どんな手立てを打つべきなのか。その財源はどう捻出するのか。

Another question that must be raised is whether the postponement is part of the ruling coalition’s campaign strategy for the upcoming Upper House election.
 近づく参院選をにらんだ選挙対策ではないのか。

Questions must also be posed to the opposition Democratic Party.
 民進党にも問いたい。

During a debate between party leaders in mid-May, Democratic Party President Katsuya Okada pointed out the inevitability of postponing the tax hike because of anemic consumption. In other words, it was the Democratic Party that opened the doors for the delay.
 5月半ばの党首討論で、岡田代表が「消費が力強さを欠くなか、先送りせざるをえない状況だ」と述べ、増税延期論の先鞭(せんべん)をつけたのは民進党だった。

But let us recall the concept of “integrated reform of tax and social security systems,” initiated four years ago by the then-Democratic Party of Japan administration of Yoshihiko Noda and endorsed by the LDP and Komeito.
 4年前、当時の野田民主党政権が主導して自民、公明両党と合意した「税と社会保障の一体改革」を思い起こすべきだ。

The basic purpose of these simultaneous reforms was to raise the consumption tax and use the tax revenue to deal with the nation’s bloating social security costs. This was going to cause pain to the current generation of taxpayers, but the point was to minimize the debt burden of the next generation. We must remember this spirit.
 消費税を引き上げて、膨らむ社会保障の財源に充てる。今を生きる世代に痛みはあっても、将来世代へのつけ回しは極力避ける。そんな一体改革の精神を忘れてはいないか。

Abe is scheduled to explain the tax hike postponement at a news conference after the conclusion of the current Diet session today.
 首相はきょう国会閉幕の記者会見で増税再延期について説明する。

We also expect a clear explanation from Okada when he and Abe present their arguments during the Upper House election campaign.
民進党の岡田代表もあわせ、参院選の論戦を通じて国民への十分な説明を求める。
posted by srachai at 10:57| Comment(0) | 朝日英字

2016年06月01日

消費増税の再延期 首相はまたも逃げるのか

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 31
EDITORIAL: Abe must stop ducking his responsibilities over tax hike
(社説)消費増税の再延期 首相はまたも逃げるのか

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told top government and ruling coalition officials that he has decided to postpone the scheduled consumption tax hike again.
The planned raise in the tax rate from 8 percent to 10 percent will be pushed back by two-and-a-half years from April 2017 to October 2019.
 来年4月の予定だった10%への消費増税を2年半先送りし、実施は19年10月とする。

This will be the second delay in the tax increase. It was originally slated for October 2015, but Abe put it off to April next year.
 安倍首相が、政府・与党幹部に増税延期の方針を伝えた。もともと15年10月と決まっていたのを17年4月に延ばしたのに続き、2度目の先送りである。

But why October 2019?
 なぜ19年10月なのか。

Here’s an explanation circulating within the ruling camp.
Abe’s term as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will expire in autumn 2018, and he wants to avoid a tax hike during his tenure as prime minister. Moreover, unified local elections and an Upper House poll are scheduled for spring and summer, respectively, in 2019. The unpopular measure to increase the tax burden on the public could badly damage the ruling coalition’s performances in these elections. So the step would be best delayed until after the elections.
 首相の自民党総裁としての任期は18年秋まで。首相在任中は増税を避けたい。そして19年春〜夏に統一地方選と参院選がある。国民に負担増を求める政策は選挙で不利になりかねない。だから選挙後にしよう――。
 そんな見方が、与党内でもささやかれている。

PROMISED INTEGRATED REFORM
 ■「一体改革」はどこへ

The current generation of Japanese depends, to a considerable extent, on government borrowing to finance social security programs that are supporting them. That means shifting the burden to future generations.
 私たち今を生きる世代は、社会保障財源の相当部分を国債発行という将来世代へのつけ回しに頼っている。

This structural debt financing of social security spending has left state finances in tatters, with government debt now surpassing a staggering 1,000 trillion yen ($9.01 trillion).
その構造が、1千兆円を超えて国の借金が増え続ける財政難を招いている。

In 2012, the then ruling Democratic Party of Japan (now the Democratic Party), the LDP and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, reached an agreement on so-called integrated reform of tax and social security systems as a way to solve this structural fiscal problem.
だから、税収が景気に左右されにくい消費税を増税し、借金返済に充てる分も含めすべて社会保障に回す。これが自民、公明、民主(当時)3党による「税と社会保障の一体改革」だ。

The reform blueprint calls for raising the consumption tax and using all of the revenue from the levy, which is less vulnerable to changes in economic conditions, to fund social security outlays, including debt repayments.
The integrated reform was designed to ensure that the three parties would be solidly committed to implementing the tax increase, which would force the public to shoulder a heavier financial burden to support the safety net while insulating the measure from election battles and power struggles.
 国民に負担を求める増税を、選挙や政局から切り離しつつ、3党が責任をもって実施する。それが一体改革の意味だった。

Abe’s decision to postpone the step for a second time, apparently motivated by concerns about elections, deserves to be criticized as a petty political maneuver that tramples on the spirit of the integrated reform.
選挙に絡めて増税を2度も延期しようとする首相の判断は、一体改革の精神をないがしろにすると言われても仕方がない。

In his November 2014 news conference to announce his first decision to postpone the tax raise, Abe stressed his commitment to fiscal reform.
 首相は1度目の増税延期を表明した14年11月の記者会見で、次のように語っていた。

“I will never back down from my vow to carry out fiscal rehabilitation,” he said. “The Abe Cabinet will never waver in its determination to secure the international community’s confidence in Japan and pass a (sustainable) social security system to the next generation.”
 「財政再建の旗を降ろすことは決してない。国際社会で我が国への信頼を確保し、社会保障を次世代に引き渡していく安倍内閣の立場は一切揺らがない」

He also said, “I promise that there won’t be another delay (in the consumption tax hike).”
 「(増税を)再び延期することはないと断言する」

Has he forgotten these promises he made to the people?
 この国民との約束はどこへ行ったのか。

FAR FROM ‘LEHMAN SHOCK’
 ■「リーマン」とは異なる

As Abe has repeatedly said, any major economic upheaval like the ones that were triggered by the 2008 collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers or the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake would justify putting off the tax increase.
 首相が繰り返す通り、リーマン・ショック級や東日本大震災並みの経済混乱に見舞われた時は、増税の延期は当然だ。

Indeed, the Japanese economy is not in good shape. Japan’s real economic growth rates in recent quarters have been hovering between minus 2 percent and 2 percent.
 足元の景気は確かにさえない。四半期ごとの実質経済成長率は、年率換算でプラスマイナス1%台の一進一退が続く。

But that is not as bad as the 15-percent economic contraction that occurred immediately after the failure of Lehman Brothers or the shrinkage by more than 7 percent following the devastating quake and tsunami in March 2011.
一方、リーマン直後の成長率はマイナス15%に達した。大震災時の7%を超えるマイナス成長と比べても明らかに異なる。

As a plot to clear the way for delaying the tax increase again, Abe, at the recent Ise-Shima Group of Seven summit of major industrial nations, tried to promote the narrative that the world economy is now at risk of falling into a crisis that cannot be seen as an ordinary downward phase of the economic cycle.
 それでも消費増税を延期したい首相が、伊勢志摩サミットで持ち出したのが「世界経済が通常の景気循環を超えて危機に陥る大きなリスクに直面している」というストーリーだ。

Abe probably wants to convince people that economic concerns in other parts of the world, especially in some key emerging countries, argue against a tax hike now even though his economic program, or Abenomics, is working well.
 アベノミクスは順調だ、だが新興国を中心に海外経済が不安だから増税できない、そう言いたいのだろう。

Given objective economic data, however, it is not at all surprising that some of Japan’s G-7 colleagues, such as Germany and Britain, refused to support his argument.
これに対し、独英両国などから異論が出たのは、客観的な経済データを見れば当然のことだ。

Opposition parties are demanding Abe’s resignation, saying his decision to delay the tax hike again proves that Abenomics has failed.
 一方、野党は増税延期について「アベノミクスが失敗した証拠だ」と首相に退陣を求める。

Before debating whether Abenomics has been successful or not, however, we need to consider afresh whether these policies are an appropriate prescription for Japan’s economic problems.
だがアベノミクスの成否を論じる前に、それが日本経済への処方箋(せん)として誤っていないか、改めて考える必要がある。

One important indicator of a nation’s economic health is its potential growth rate. The government has admitted that Japan’s potential growth rate is less than 1 percent.
 一国の経済の実力を示す指標に「潜在成長率」がある。日本経済のそれはゼロパーセント台にすぎないと政府も認める。

What kind of policy efforts are needed to increase Japan’s growth potential?
 潜在成長率を高めるには、どんな施策に力を注ぐべきか。

First of all, key social security programs, such as child-care and nursing-care support, should be enhanced.
 まず保育や介護など社会保障分野だ。

It is vital to make it easier for people to receive the support they need in these areas through redistribution based on the tax and budget policy.
税制と予算による再分配を通じて、支えが必要な人が給付を受けられるようにする。

It is also crucial to improve the working conditions of child-care and nursing-care workers to expand the nation’s ability to provide these services. Expanding and strengthening the social safety net through increased burdens and benefits would help accelerate the flow of money within the economy and create new jobs.
保育士や介護職員の待遇を改善し、サービス提供力を高めていく。負担と給付を通じた充実が、おカネを循環させて雇用を生むことにつながる。

Also important is deregulation to promote investment in promising areas, such as those related to global warming, energy conservation and artificial intelligence.
 温暖化対策や省エネ、人工知能開発など、有望な分野への投資を促す規制改革も大切だ。

ABENOMICS NEEDS FIXING
 ■アベノミクス修正を

Since these policy measures are unlikely to quickly produce the expected results, it is necessary to prop up the economy with monetary easing and fiscal expansion. But the government needs to take steps to mitigate the negative side effects of this approach as a basic principle of economic management.
 これらの施策は短期間では成果が出にくいから、金融緩和や財政で下支えする。その際に副作用への目配りを怠らない。それが経済運営の王道だろう。

Under Abenomics, the Abe administration has been seeking to raise inflationary expectations among people and businesses through the Bank of Japan’s aggressive “different dimension” credit expansion, or the “first arrow” of Abenomics, as the main incentive for consumer spending and business investment.
 だがアベノミクスは「第1の矢」の異次元金融緩和で物価上昇への「期待」を高め、それをてこに消費や投資を促そうとしてきた。

As for the second arrow--government spending--the administration has stressed “flexible” fiscal policy management, as embodied by a series of large-scale supplementary budgets.
金融緩和を後押しする「第2の矢」である財政では、大型補正予算の編成など「機動的な運営」を強調する。

In the news conference at the end of the G-7 summit, Abe declared, “We will again rev up the engine of Abenomics as much as possible.”
 首相はサミットを締めくくる記者会見で「アベノミクスのエンジンをもう一度、最大限ふかしていく」と強調した。

The BOJ keeps purchasing enormous amounts of government bonds under its unprecedented monetary expansion program. This situation could undermine the government’s fiscal discipline.
 しかし金融緩和の手段として日本銀行が多額の国債を買い続ける現状は、政府の財政規律をゆるめる危うさがつきまとう。

Extra budgets focused on public works expenditures and measures to stimulate consumer spending may shore up the economy temporarily but would cause further deterioration of the nation’s fiscal health, making the people even more worried about their future.
補正予算も公共事業積み増しや消費喚起策が中心では、一時的に景気を支えても財政悪化を招き、将来への不安につながる。

What Abe should do now is not “rev up” his government’s monetary and fiscal expansion drives. Instead, he should confront the limits and negative effects of Abenomics and correct the course of his economic policies. Then, he should deliver on his promise to carry through the integrated tax and social security reform to allay people’s anxiety about their future.
 首相がいまなすべきは金融緩和や財政出動を再び「ふかす」ことではない。アベノミクスの限界と弊害を直視し、軌道修正すること。そして、一体改革という公約を守り、国民の将来不安を減らしていくことだ。

If the prime minister runs away from implementing a necessary policy measure that requires the people to accept pain before an election, he is effectively running away from his fundamental responsibility as the nation’s leader.
 選挙を前に、国民に痛みを求める政策から逃げることは、一国を率いる政治家としての責任から逃げることに等しい。
posted by srachai at 12:40| Comment(0) | 朝日英字
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