英字新聞 (読売、毎日、朝日、英字新聞の社説を学習研究 )

2016-02-11

長期金利低下 マイナスに潜む不安

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 10
EDITORIAL: BOJ's negative interest rate policy positively ineffective
(社説)長期金利低下 マイナスに潜む不安

The benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond yield on Feb. 9 fell below zero percent on the market for the first time. Is this good news or bad? Many people probably don’t know, but they certainly must be feeling anxious.
 これは良いニュースか、悪いニュースか。多くの人がそれさえ理解できないまま、おぼろげな不安だけを感じたのではないか。長期金利の指標となっている10年物国債がきのうの市場で初めてマイナスになった。

In normal transactions, the idea of negative interest rates is absurd.
 本来なら正常な取引でマイナス金利はありえない。

Just think about it: You lend money to someone and you have to pay interest to the borrower? That’s ridiculous. You are obviously better off not lending to anyone because you at least won’t lose any money.
お金を貸した者が借りる者に金利を払うくらいなら、自分でお金を抱えている方が減らないだけましだからだ。

The ridiculous situation surrounding Japanese government bonds was caused by the Bank of Japan’s negative interest rate policy announced on Jan. 29.
 にもかかわらずこんな異常な金利が生じたのは、先月29日に日本銀行が発表した「マイナス金利政策」の影響である。

BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda stressed that adding this negative interest rate policy to his already substantial monetary easing policy “should make for probably the most effective framework in the history of the central bank.”
 日銀の黒田東彦総裁は、これまで実施してきた大規模な量的緩和政策にマイナス金利政策を加えることで「これまでの中央銀行の歴史の中で、おそらく最も強力な枠組み」になると強調した。

In a sense, the outcome has surpassed Kuroda’s expectations. Mortgage rates, which were already historically low, have come down further, and the near-nonexistent interest rates on time deposits have shrunk even more. Financial institutions have stopped selling low-yield fund products.
 その狙いはある意味で想定以上に効果を発揮した。もともと歴史的低水準にあった住宅ローン金利は一段と下がった。わずかばかりの定期預金金利もさらに圧縮された。金融機関は利回りの魅力が乏しいファンド商品の発売を取りやめた。

But will these developments improve the Japanese economy? We believe the opposite will be the case.
 だが、こうした動きが日本経済を好転させるのかといえば、むしろ逆ではないか。

Even if lending rates drop further, it is unlikely that businesses will suddenly start investing more amid sluggish domestic demand. And even if banks further lower interest rates on savings and move on to negative rates, consumers probably will not start spending more so long as their future remains uncertain.
 貸出金利が一段と下がったとしても、国内需要が盛り上がりを欠く中で、企業が急に投資意欲を増すとは考えにくい。銀行が預金金利をゼロに近づけ、さらにマイナス金利にしたとしても、先行きへの不安が解消しないのに人々が急に消費に走るわけでもなかろう。

Switzerland and Sweden have already implemented negative interest rate policies, but their economy-pumping effects have been marginal at best. In fact, there are growing fears of “side effects,” such as people keeping their money under the proverbial mattress and banks losing their earnings.
 マイナス金利政策で先行するスイスやスウェーデンなどでも景気浮揚効果はほとんどなかった。むしろタンス預金の増加や銀行の収益悪化といった副作用のほうが心配されている。

It will soon be three years since Kuroda went ahead with a “new phase” of quantitative and qualitative monetary easing in keeping with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” theory that drastic monetary easing should jump-start the anemic economy.
 強力な金融緩和が経済を押し上げるというアベノミクス路線に乗って走り出した黒田日銀の異次元緩和も開始からまもなく3年になる。

Although Abenomics has raised stock prices and devalued the yen against the dollar, it has brought no significant changes to the nation’s economic growth rate and consumer prices. Because of this disappointing outcome, the Bank of Japan adopted the negative interest rate policy last month.
円安と株高はもたらしたものの、経済成長率や物価はほぼ横ばいで目立った効果はうかがえなかった。その手詰まり感からマイナス金利政策にも手を広げることになった。

On Feb. 9, the Nikkei 225 index fell by more than 900 points, and the yen-dollar exchange rate closed in the lower 114-yen level for the first time in 15 months. These market reactions were the opposite of what all past monetary easing policies brought, and the central bank obviously did not expect this highly irregular outcome.
 きのうの日経平均株価は900円超下げ、円は一時1年3カ月ぶりの円高ドル安の1ドル=114円台前半をつけた。これまでの緩和策への反応とは逆である。これは日銀にとっても想定外の異常事態ではないのか。

If this situation continues, the Japanese economy may well become trapped in a vicious cycle of having to rely on further extreme monetary easing, with no relief in sight. An urgent review of the central bank policy is called for.
 このままでは超金融緩和を続けないと回らない経済へと、はまっていきかねない。出口はますます遠くなるばかりだ。早急に政策の見直しが必要だ。

2016-02-10

北方領土問題 首脳会談で打開の糸口を探れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Abe should find way forward on Northern Territories in talks with Putin
北方領土問題 首脳会談で打開の糸口を探れ

Russia maintains a tough, inflexible position regarding the territorial issue over the northern islands it occupies off Hokkaido. We hope the stalemate will be broken as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe holds more talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
 北方領土問題に対するロシアの姿勢は、硬直的で厳しい。安倍首相がプーチン大統領との会談を重ねる中で、打開の糸口を見つけたい。

Speaking at a national meeting to demand the return of the four islands on Northern Territories Day on Sunday, Abe said, “Negotiations will be conducted tenaciously to work out a final solution through a dialogue of top leaders.”
 首相は「北方領土の日」の7日、返還要求全国大会に出席した。領土問題について「首脳レベルの対話を通じ、最終的解決に向けて粘り強く交渉に臨む」と訴えた。

Arrangements are being made for Abe to meet with Putin in the southern Russian city of Sochi during the extended holiday period from late April to early May. Tokyo and Moscow will also attempt to determine the most appropriate time for Putin to visit Japan.
 4〜5月の大型連休にロシア南部のソチで、プーチン氏と会談する方向で調整している。プーチン氏の来日も、日露両政府が「最も適切な時期」を模索する。

Putin’s decision on the matter is indispensable to resolving the territorial issue. Abe’s desire to seek a solution by visiting Russia is therefore understandable.
 領土問題の解決にはプーチン氏の決断が不可欠なだけに、自らの訪露で問題の前進を図ろうとする首相の意図は理解できる。

But opposition can be expected from the United States and some European countries, which are at odds with Russia over the Ukrainian situation. To realize Abe’s visit to Russia ahead of the Ise-Shima summit of the Group of Seven major powers, which will be chaired by Abe, it is essential to secure the understanding of the other G-7 leaders.
 ただ、ウクライナ情勢を巡ってロシアと対立する米欧の反発も予想される。主要国首脳会議(伊勢志摩サミット)前に議長の首相が訪露することには、他の首脳の理解を求める努力が欠かせない。

Last month, the government established a new representative post on bilateral issues with Russia and appointed Chikahito Harada, former ambassador to Russia. Harada will represent Japan at vice-ministerial meetings with Russia instead of a deputy minister for foreign affairs. The appointment is believed to be aimed at more intensively tackling the territorial issue by establishing a task force for that purpose.
 政府は1月に、日露関係担当の政府代表ポストを新設し、原田親仁・前ロシア大使を起用した。従来の外務審議官に代わって、日露外務次官級協議に出席する。領土交渉の専従体制を作り、腰を据えて取り組むのが狙いだろう。

Abe apparently wants to bolster security relations with Russia, thereby checking China’s increased maritime advancement and North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.
 首相には、ロシアとの安全保障関係を強化し、中国の海洋進出や、北朝鮮の核・ミサイル開発を牽制けんせいしたい思惑もあるようだ。

No ‘token of goodwill’

Russia is also wary over China’s emergence. Due to the drop in crude oil prices and the weakness of the ruble, Russia’s economy has continued to deteriorate, with its gross domestic product falling to less than one-fourth of China’s. Some people have expressed concern about the widening gap in strength between the two countries.
 ロシアにも、中国の台頭への警戒感がある。原油・ルーブル安によるロシア経済の悪化が続き、国内総生産(GDP)は中国の4分の1以下に落ち込んだ。国力の格差拡大を危惧する声もある。

Whether Moscow concurs with Tokyo about the importance of improving bilateral relations in Russia’s rivalry with Beijing could be a factor in making progress on the territorial issue.
 ロシアが中国との対抗上、日露関係を改善する重要性を日本と共有するかどうかが、領土問題を進展させる一つのカギとなろう。

A statement made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a news conference in late January cannot be overlooked. “Conclusion of a peace treaty is not a synonym for resolution of the territorial issue,” he said bluntly.
 看過できないのは、ロシアのラブロフ外相が1月下旬の記者会見で、「平和条約(の締結)は領土問題の解決と同義語ではない」と言い放ったことだ。

Concerning the return of the Habomai group of islets and Shikokan Island, based on the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration of 1956, Lavrov said these islands “would be handed over as a token of goodwill, not returned.”
 1956年の日ソ共同宣言に基づく歯舞、色丹両島の返還についても「返還ではなく、善意のしるしとして引き渡す」と語った。

But since the 1993 Tokyo Declaration on Japan-Russia Relations, both governments have confirmed repeatedly that they would try “to resolve the sovereignty issue over the four islands and conclude a peace treaty.” Thus resolution of the territorial issue and conclusion of a peace treaty are inseparable.
 だが、93年の東京宣言以降、日露両政府は再三、「北方4島の帰属問題を解決し、平和条約を締結する」と確認してきた。領土問題と平和条約は不可分である。

There is no mention of “a token of goodwill” in the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration. Lavrov’s self-serving interpretation cannot be accepted.
 日ソ共同宣言に「善意のしるし」との文言はない。ラブロフ氏の独善的な解釈は容認できない。

While attempting to explore the real intention behind Putin’s reference to resolving the territorial dispute “in a draw,” the government must proceed with negotiations prudently and strategically.
 政府は、「引き分け」による領土問題の解決を唱えるプーチン氏の真意を探りながら、慎重かつ戦略的に協議を進めるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 9, 2016)

2016-02-09

北ミサイル発射 地域の安定を揺るがす暴挙だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
North Korea missile launch needs strong UNSC response
北ミサイル発射 地域の安定を揺るがす暴挙だ

 ◆安保理は厳格な制裁決議を急げ

North Korea’s latest missile launch has further increased the threat from that country, which is shaking the regional peace and stability. The international community must unite in its efforts to deal with the threat.
 地域の平和と安定を揺るがす北朝鮮の脅威が一段と増大した。国際社会は結束し、対応せねばならない。

North Korea has gone ahead with launching a long-range ballistic missile under the pretext of orbiting what it described as a “satellite.” It is an absolute folly.
 北朝鮮が「人工衛星打ち上げ」との名目で、長距離弾道ミサイルの発射を強行した。愚挙の極みである。

In an “important special broadcast,” state-run Korean Central Television announced that the country had launched an Earth observation satellite and successfully put it into orbit.
 国営の朝鮮中央テレビは「特別重大報道」で「地球観測衛星を打ち上げ、軌道への進入に完全に成功した」と発表した。

U.N. Security Council resolutions previously adopted over North Korea’s nuclear weapon and missile development prohibit Pyongyang from any launch using ballistic missile technology. The country’s latest missile launch, along with January’s nuclear test, was a clear violation of the resolutions.
 北朝鮮の核・ミサイル開発を巡る国連安全保障理事会の決議は、弾道ミサイル技術を使った発射を禁じている。今回の発射が、1月の核実験と同様に、決議に違反しているのは明白だ。

Increasing concern
 ◆懸念増す核運搬技術

North Korea’s repeated reckless conducts, which pose a serious challenge to the international order, cannot be tolerated. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had every reason to emphasize his determination, saying, “We will resolutely take measures, acting in cooperation with the international community.”
 度重なる暴挙は、国際秩序への深刻な挑戦であり、決して容認できない。安倍首相が「国際社会と連携して、毅然きぜんと対応していく」と強調したのは当然である。

The missile recently launched by North Korea is believed to have been a three-stage ballistic missile similar to an improved version of the Taepodong 2 missile, a model the country sent aloft in December 2012. According to observations by the U.S. authorities, an object detached from the missile is believed to have circled the Earth.
 北朝鮮が発射したのは、前回の2012年12月の「テポドン2改良型」に類似した3段式の弾道ミサイルとみられている。米当局の観測によると、ミサイルから分離された物体が地球を周回した模様だ。

The fact that it reached outer space like in 2012, illustrates advancement in that nation’s missile technology. Some point out North Korea’s extension of a launchpad last year was part of an effort to increase the size of its missiles, thereby extend the range.
 前回に続いて宇宙空間にまで到達したことは、北朝鮮のミサイル技術の前進を裏付ける。昨年の発射台の延長工事は、ミサイル大型化で射程を伸ばす目的だったとの見方もある。

North Korea’s effort to develop missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and reaching the U.S. mainland is aimed at bringing the United States to the negotiating table.
 北朝鮮は、米本土を核搭載ミサイルで攻撃できる能力を確立することで、米国を交渉の場に引き出すのが狙いだろう。

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, is inexperienced and rules his country through a reign of terror in which close aides are purged one after another. We feel the latest missile launch shows he has become even more incapable of making reasonable decisions.
 経験が乏しい金正恩第1書記は側近を次々に粛清する恐怖政治を敷いている。ミサイル発射は、ますます合理的な判断ができなくなっている証左ではないのか。

The U.N. Security Council is to discuss the latest missile launch at an emergency meeting. It is essential for the council to hammer out effective measures. Japan, a nonpermanent member of the council, needs to proactively work to encourage other members of the U.N. organ to adopt strong sanctions against North Korea.
 安保理は緊急会合で、発射問題を協議する。実効性のある措置を打ち出すことが肝要だ。非常任理事国の日本も、強力な制裁決議の採択を他の理事国に積極的に働きかける必要がある。

China’s responsibility
 ◆中国の責任は重大だ

The problem is that China, which holds a lifeline that can determine whether North Korea can survive economically, remains cautious about strengthening sanctions. Although Beijing said North Korea’s missile launch was “regrettable,” it avoided any strong denunciation of Pyongyang.
 問題なのは、経済面で北朝鮮の生命線を握る中国が、制裁強化に慎重姿勢を崩していないことだ。中国政府は発射に「遺憾」を表明したが、厳しい非難は避けた。

Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke by phone with U.S. President Barack Obama two days before the missile launch and confirmed the need for a coordinated response to North Korea’s actions.
 習近平国家主席はミサイル発射の2日前、オバマ米大統領と電話会談し、連携して北朝鮮に対応することを確認していた。

Yet Xi insisted only on a solution through dialogue and consultation, indicating that it will not compromise with the United States, which called for stronger sanctions.
 しかし、習氏は「対話と協議を通じて問題を解決する」と語るだけで、強力な制裁を追求する米国への歩み寄りを見せなかった。

China’s lukewarm posture may have bolstered North Korea. Shortly after the U.S.-China phone conversation, North Korea notified an international organization that it was bringing forward the start of the window during which it would launch a rocket.
 こうした中国の中途半端な姿勢が、北朝鮮を増長させたのではないか。北朝鮮は、米中電話会談の直後、国際機関に対して発射予告期間の前倒しを通告した。

North Korea has repeatedly conducted nuclear tests and missile launches. It is obvious that previous sanctions are not sufficient.
 北朝鮮は核実験とミサイル発射を繰り返している。従来の制裁が不十分なのは明らかだろう。

China should no longer avoid imposing sanctions on North Korea, which would deal a blow to Pyongyang, and should cooperate with the U.N. Security Council to adopt strong sanctions.
 中国は北朝鮮に打撃を与える制裁をこれ以上回避せず、安保理決議の採択に協力すべきだ。

In criticizing the launch, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said North Korea is trying to advance its nuclear technology and missile capability to deliver a nuclear weapon.
 朴槿恵韓国大統領は、発射を非難し、「北朝鮮は核と、その運搬手段であるミサイル能力を高度化しようとしている」と断じた。

The South Korean government announced that it would begin official talks with the United States to deploy one of the most advanced U.S. missile defense systems in South Korea. Seoul’s decision, made in disregard of China’s opposition, can be construed as a decision to modify its tilt toward China.
 韓国政府は、最新鋭の米ミサイル防衛システムの韓国配備について、米国と公式協議を行うと発表した。中国の反対を押し切っての決定で、対中傾斜を修正する意思の表れだと言えよう。

North Korea is said to have deployed a large number of Rodong ballistic missiles that can reach Japan. If North Korea improves the accuracy of the missiles, they will, together with the country’s ability to develop smaller nuclear weapons, pose a more serious threat to Japan.
 北朝鮮は、日本を射程に収める弾道ミサイル・ノドンを大量に実戦配備しているとされる。ミサイルの精度が向上すれば、核兵器の小型化と相まって、日本にとっても脅威が深刻化する。

Immediately after the missile launch, the Japanese government held a meeting of the National Security Council attended by its four ministers, to analyze intelligence and discuss what actions should be taken in the days ahead.
 政府はミサイル発射の直後に、国家安全保障会議(NSC)の4大臣会合を開いて、情報を分析し、今後の対応などを協議した。

Three minutes after the missile launch, the government reported the relevant information to local governments in Okinawa Prefecture and others, through the J-Alert instant warning system. The smooth transmission of this information was praiseworthy.
 政府は発射の3分後、全国瞬時警報システム「Jアラート」で沖縄県の自治体などに情報を速報した。概おおむね円滑な情報伝達が行われたのは評価できる。

Bolster crisis control
 ◆危機管理体制を万全に

Although the Self-Defense Forces had been ordered to intercept any incoming missiles from North Korea, no measures to intercept were taken, as the SDF judged that there was no possibility of the missile falling onto Japanese territory.
 自衛隊には、「破壊措置命令」が出されていたが、ミサイルが国内に落下する恐れはないと判断し、迎撃措置は取らなかった。

It was appropriate that the SDF, by responding promptly to North Korea’s advancing the start of the window for launching a rocket, had completed its deployment of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air guided missile units and other preparations.
 北朝鮮の発射予告期間の前倒しに迅速に対処し、自衛隊が地対空誘導弾PAC3などの配備を完了させたのは適切だった。

It is essential to examine the latest series of responses and beef up the crisis-management system for the entire country.
 今回の一連の対応を検証し、日本全体の危機管理体制を強化することが欠かせない。

North Korea has also postponed its report on the reinvestigation of the abducted Japanese nationals. The government should consider in earnest the revival or reinforcement of its own sanctions that were lifted earlier.
 北朝鮮は、日本人拉致被害者の再調査の報告も先送りしている。政府は、解除した独自制裁の復活や強化を真剣に検討すべきだ。

As North Korea has continued taking actions that completely run counter to improving its relations with Japan, this country will implement harsh measures commensurate to the steps taken by North Korea. It is important for this country to adhere to the principle of “action for action.”
 北朝鮮が対日関係改善に完全に逆行する行動を続けた以上、日本は、それに見合う厳しい措置を取る。「行動対行動」の原則を貫くことが重要である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 8, 2016)

2016-02-08

地方の未来 移住促進へ文化力を生かそう

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Use cultural power to promote migration to provincial areas
地方の未来 移住促進へ文化力を生かそう

The excessive concentration of people and industry in the Tokyo metropolitan area continues. How can we create a flow of people to provincial areas where the population is decreasing?
 東京圏への一極集中が止まらない。人口減少が続く地方への人の流れをいかに作り出すか。

Attracting people by utilizing their inherent cultures and uncovering alluring features unique to particular areas will be an important consideration.
 地域文化を生かして固有の魅力を発掘し、人を呼び込む視点が肝要だろう。

According to a 2015 population migration report compiled by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, people who moved into the Tokyo metropolitan area numbered nearly 120,000 more than those who had moved out of it. For 20 straight years, the number of people who moved into the metropolitan area exceeded the number of those who moved out.
 総務省の2015年の人口移動報告で、東京圏への転入者が転出者を12万人近く上回った。20年連続の転入超過である。

Among Japan’s three largest urban sprawls, however, more people have left the Osaka and Nagoya areas compared to those who have moved in.
3大都市圏でも、大阪、名古屋圏は逆に転出者の方が多い。

In its comprehensive strategy for “vitalization of local economies,” the government aims to equalize the figures of those moving into and out of the metropolitan area by 2020. However, if nothing is done to change the current situation, it will be impossible to achieve this goal. Genuine efforts must be made to promote the migration of people to provincial areas.
 政府は「地方創生」の総合戦略で、20年に東京圏から地方への転出と転入を均衡させる目標を掲げた。現状を放置していては、目標達成は見通せない。地方移住の促進に本腰を入れる必要がある。

How can the attractions of provincial areas be made to shine and conveyed elsewhere? First, the number of visitors to those areas should be increased by organizing sightseeing, homecoming and migration tours. In addition to migration, the return of people to provincial areas must be carried forward by aiming to realize “residency in two areas” — or the lifestyle of moving back and forth between urban and provincial areas.
 地域の魅力をどう磨き、発信するか。まずは観光や帰省、移住を誘うツアーによる来訪者を増やしたい。移住に加え、都市と地方を往還する「2地域居住」も目指し、地方回帰を進めねばならない。

The cultural powers rooted in each area should be used. There are various kinds of cultural resources — such as history, cultural property, traditional arts, customs, local cuisine and scenery — but some provincial areas have not yet identified their values.
 活用したいのが、地域に根づく文化の力だ。歴史や文化財、伝統芸能、習俗、郷土食、景観など、文化資源は数多いが、価値に気づいていない地域もあろう。

Discovering hidden assets

Both the public and private sectors should unearth hidden cultural resources and disseminate information about them domestically and internationally in a variety of creative ways, including promotional videos.
 埋もれた資源を官民で掘り起こし、PR動画を含め、工夫を凝らして国内外に発信したい。

Good use should be made of “Japan Heritage,” a system launched last year by the Cultural Affairs Agency.
 文化庁が昨年、設けた「日本遺産」をうまく使ってはどうか。

Under the system, cultural resources scattered in provincial areas that are connected by a “story” are considered heritages. So far, 18 resources have been recognized following applications from local governments.
 地域に点在する文化資源を結びつける「物語」を遺産としてとらえる制度だ。自治体の申請に基づき、計18件が認定されている。

For example, the Shikoku Henro, straddling 57 municipalities in the Shikoku region, is considered a piece of heritage based on the culture of pilgrimage routes. Akari Mau Hanto Noto (Noto peninsula of dancing lights) is a piece of heritage focusing on the Kiriko Matsuri traditional lantern float festivals handed down in six Ishikawa Prefecture municipalities.
 四国の57市町村にまたがる「四国遍路」は、巡礼文化をたどる遺産だ。「灯あかり舞う半島 能登」は石川県の6市町に息づく伝統のキリコ祭りにスポットを当てた。

Such heritages should be developed as tourism resources. They are expected to have the effect of attracting not only Japanese people but also visitors to Japan from abroad.
 観光資源として整備したい。日本人だけでなく、訪日外国人客を誘導する効果も期待できる。

Local governments must work jointly with local residents to find candidates for Japan Heritage. Such efforts would also help local people create a sense of pride in their regions, and nurture human resources to lead development of those areas.
 自治体が住民と協力して遺産候補を探すことが大切だ。郷土への誇りを培い、地域づくりを先導する人材の育成にも役立とう。

It is also important to consider the increasing number of vacant houses and retail premises, and abolished school buildings, as assets, and try to reuse them as accommodations and operational bases for migrating workers and other people.
 増え続ける空き家や空き店舗、廃校舎を資源ととらえ、移住者らの滞在施設や活動拠点として再利用する発想も欠かせない。

For example, the village of Higashi-Yoshino, Nara Prefecture, renovated a vacant house into a shared office last year. Working conditions in the mountain village became popular via the Internet, and five people have already migrated to work there.
 奈良県東吉野村は昨年、空き家を共有オフィスに改装した。山里の作業環境がネット上で評判を呼び、既に5人が移住した。

According to a survey by the Cabinet Office, nearly 40 percent of urban residents in their 20s indicated that they wish to settle down in farming, fishing or mountain villages. The attractions of working in traditional village culture should be presented to young people wishing to live outside of urban areas to entice them into provincial areas.
 内閣府調査によると、都会の20歳代の4割近くが農山漁村への定住願望を抱く。里山文化を体感して働く魅力を提案し、ローカル志向の若者を呼び込みたい。

The government should place importance on vitalization of local economies with cultural power. We expect the central government to help local governments tap their cultural resources and connect such efforts to a correction of the excessive concentration of people and industry in the metropolitan area.
 政府は、文化力による地方創生を重視すべきだ。自治体の文化資源の活用を後押しし、一極集中の是正につなげてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 6, 2016)

2016-02-07

首相の改憲論 あまりの倒錯に驚く

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 6
EDITORIAL: Abe’s perverse argument for rewriting Constitution
(社説)首相の改憲論 あまりの倒錯に驚く

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been aggressively signaling his eagerness to rewrite the Constitution, which potentially includes the revision of its war-renouncing Article 9.
 安倍首相が、9条も視野に入れた憲法改正への意欲を積極的に発信している。

He is apparently hoping to pave the way for realizing his long-cherished dream ahead of the Upper House election to be held in summer. His reasoning, however, is strikingly perverse.
 夏の参院選を控え、悲願の実現に向けた地ならしをする狙いがあるようだ。だが、その論法はあまりにも倒錯している。

Seventy percent of constitutional scholars have judged that, in light of the interpretation of Article 9, the very presence of the Self-Defense Forces may violate the Constitution, the prime minister told a session of the Lower House Budget Committee. “There is a prevailing belief that this situation must be eliminated.”
 首相は衆院予算委員会で「憲法学者の7割が、9条の解釈からすれば自衛隊の存在自体が憲法違反のおそれがあると判断している」「この状況をなくすべきではないかという考え方もある」と述べた。

He made the remark in reply to a question from his close aide Tomomi Inada, chairwoman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Policy Research Council, who said, “Constitutionalism is being emasculated somewhat by leaving Paragraph 2 of Article 9, which no longer fits reality, intact.”
 首相に近い自民党の稲田政調会長が「現実に合わない9条2項をこのままにしておくことこそ、立憲主義を空洞化する」と聞いたのに答えたものだ。

In an Asahi Shimbun survey of constitutional scholars last year, 63 percent of the respondents said they believed the presence of SDF troops either “violates” or “may violate” the Constitution. But at the same time, 98 percent of the respondents also pointed out that bills for new security legislation, which the Abe administration had submitted to the Diet after reinterpreting the Constitution to lift Japan’s self-imposed ban on the right to exercise collective self-defense, either “violate” or “may violate” the Constitution.
 確かに朝日新聞の昨年の憲法学者へのアンケートでは、63%が自衛隊の存在は「憲法違反」「憲法違反の可能性がある」と答えている。同時に、安倍政権が集団的自衛権の行使を認める憲法解釈変更をへて国会に提出した安全保障関連法案については、98%が「違憲」「違憲の可能性」を指摘している。

Abe’s Cabinet overrode the opposition of a majority of constitutional scholars and of the public by overturning the constitutional interpretation of successive Cabinets, which long held the view that Japan was not allowed to exercise the right to collective self-defense.
 多数の憲法学者と国民の反対を押し切り、集団的自衛権は行使できないとの歴代内閣の憲法解釈を、閣議決定だけで変えてしまったのは安倍内閣である。

The right course for Abe would be to retract the security legislation if he takes issue with the disagreement between the existence of SDF troops and the views of scholars. He should also engage in serious soul-searching if he finds fault with constitutionalism being “emasculated.”
 自衛隊の存在と学者の見解とのへだたりを問題にするのであれば、安保法制を撤回するのが筋ではないか。「立憲主義の空洞化」を批判するなら、まずは我が身を省みるべきだろう。

“Believing that even a finger should not be laid on the Constitution amounts to abandoning thought,” Abe told a lawmaker of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, who called Abe’s Diet responses into question, during a separate Diet session. “Instead of doing so, the LDP has presented a draft for amendments,” said the prime minister, who challenged the DPJ to present its own.
 首相は国会で、一連の答弁を疑問視する民主党議員に対し、「憲法に指一本触れてはならないと考えることで思考停止になる」「自民党はそうではなく、改正草案を示している」と語り、民主党にも草案を「出してみて下さいよ」と挑発した。

Abe simply steamrolled his reinterpretation of the Constitution in circumventing the process of amending it when he had his Cabinet lift the ban on the right to exercise collective self-defense. But he now proudly says his party has “presented a draft for amendments.” How can he be so opportunistic?
 集団的自衛権の行使容認では憲法改正の手続きを避け、解釈変更を押し通しながら、いまになって「改正案を示している」と胸を張る。ずいぶんと都合のいい話ではないか。

The LDP’s draft for an amended Article 9, which explicitly spells out Japan’s self-defense rights, calls for Japan to possess “Defense Forces,” an upgrade from the SDF.
 自民党の9条改正案は自衛権を明記し、「国防軍の保持」をうたう。

Abe acknowledged, in the meantime, that amending Article 9 has yet to win the support of the public. Asked which part, then, of the Constitution he wants to see amended and exactly how, the prime minister only answered, “Discussions in the Diet and among the public will find a gradual convergence.”
 一方で首相は、9条改正が国民の支持を得ている状況にないと認めている。それでは憲法のどこをどう改正するのかと問われれば、「国会や国民的な議論の中でだんだんと収斂(しゅうれん)していく」と答えるのみだ。

The Constitution is the supreme law to protect the rights of individuals, defend peace and prescribe the status of power and authority. So yes, let the Diet and the public discuss it, including whether it should be amended at all.
 憲法は、一人ひとりの人権と平和を守り、権力のあり方を規定する最高法規である。国会でも、国民的にも、改正の是非を含め論じ合えばいい。

But we never embrace an argument for rewriting the Constitution, wherein amendment has become an end in itself instead of what that amendment actually is.
 ただし、中身ではなく改正そのものが目的化した改憲論には与(くみ)することはできない。