英字新聞 (読売、毎日、朝日、英字新聞の社説を学習研究 )

2014-11-24

社説:安倍政治を問う アベノミクス

その昔、定期預金の金利が7%に届くような時代がありました。
10年間預けているだけで資金(原資、元手)が2倍くらいになりました。
こうして集められたお金には、労働の対価としての価値があります。
この価値ある資金を、やる気のある人たちに貸付け、それで事業を展開してもらう。
お金を借りるほうだって真剣なんです。
一生懸命働き、創意工夫をし、努力して、出来るだけ早く借金の返済をすませる。
銀行などの金融機関は数パーセントのマージンで営業できるし、景気がよくなればそれで利益までだせる。
好循環の典型なんです。

いまはどうでしょうか。
ゼロ金利が定着しています。マイナス金利だって発生しているありさまなんです。
日銀は黒田総裁になってから、中央銀行としての節操がなくなってしまいました。
いくらでも輪転機で紙幣を印刷してそれらを市場に流すのです。(限度はあります)
こちらのお金には残念ながら労働の対価としての価値がありません。
悪貨は良貨を駆逐する。今それが現実になされています。
借り手がいない(少ない)ので、いまでは、自分たちで国債を事実上無制限で引き受けたり、株式投資にうつつを抜かします。
将来の老齢年金支払い準備金270兆円にも手をつけるありさまです。

お金(貨幣、紙幣)は労働の対価として価値があるものでないと経済はなりたちません。
こんなやり方を続けていけばアメリカと同じ二の舞です。
大企業や、株式投資とかFX投資の勝ち組みが富裕層。
そして大半の庶民、高齢者は負け組みとなる構図なんです。
アベノミクスはこの2年間で事実上崩壊しています。
海外投資家と日銀介入による円安株高傾向なんですが、それで景気回復しているとうそぶいています。
円安は多くの国民にとって、ためにはなりません。
逆に円高は多くの国民にとって、とてもありがたいことなんです。

(スラチャイ)

November 22, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: 'Abenomics' will lose support if it relies on people's high expectations
社説:安倍政治を問う アベノミクス

 ◇期待頼みでは続かない

The high approval rating for the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is attributable largely to high expectations that the public has placed on Abenonics, the economic policy mix promoted by his administration. However, expectations are beginning to wane and doubts have been raised over the policy's effectiveness.
   
 安倍政権の高支持率を支えてきたものは、その経済政策「アベノミクス」への期待だったといえよう。だがその期待はしぼみ始め、効果に疑念が向けられつつある。

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) surveys members of the public once every three months over whether they are well off and also about their business confidence. The figure, which is calculated by subtracting the ratio of those who feel that economic conditions would be worse a year later from that of those who believe that economic conditions would be better, drastically improved, and turned positive in March 2013 after the Abe government was inaugurated. It was the first time in seven years that the figure was above zero.
 日銀が一般の国民に3カ月に1度、暮らし向きや景況感を尋ねるアンケートがある。1年後の景気が今より「良くなる」と答えた人の比率から「悪くなる」と答えた人の比率を引いた値が、安倍政権発足後の2013年3月調査で大きく改善し、7年ぶりにプラスとなった。

The figure slightly improved in the following survey before turning downwards. In September this year, the number plunged to levels almost equal to those when the now largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) was in power from September 2009 to December 2012. One cannot help but wonder why people are pessimistic about the economy.
 しかし3カ月後の調査でもう一段小幅改善した後は悪化を続け、今年9月には政権発足以来最低、民主党政権時代と変わらない水準まで落ち込んだ。背景に何があるのか。

 ◇広がらない恩恵

The Abe government, which was launched in late 2012, has placed top priority on overcoming prolonged deflation. His administration attempted to drastically reverse the pessimism prevailing in society as well as people's negative business sentiment by setting a goal of a 2 percent annual inflation rate, pressuring the BOJ to carry out an unprecedented quantitative monetary easing policy and dramatically improving Japan's financial markets.
 12年末、安倍政権は「デフレからの脱却」を最優先課題にスタートした。物価上昇目標を「2%」と明示し、過去にないスケールの金融緩和を日銀に実施させ、市場を大きく動かすことで、世の中の空気、人々の心理を一気に変えようと試みた。

The foreign exchange market reacted sensitively to the move. The dollar, which stood at the 79-yen level two years ago, is now about 118 yen. Led by the weaker yen, share prices at the Tokyo Stock Exchange steadily rose, giving the public the impression that the economic situation has changed.
 顕著に反応したのは為替相場だ。2年前に1ドル=79円台だった円相場は最近では118円台である。円安に導かれ、東京市場の株価もぐんぐん上昇を続けた。「これまでとは違う」という空気が広がった。

In fact, numerous people increased their wealth. According to reports released last month by Capgemini, one of the world's largest consulting companies, and the Royal Bank of Canada, the country's largest bank, the combined total value of assets held by wealthy individuals with disposable assets of over 1 million dollars increased most steeply in Japan of all Asian countries last year. The amount rose 24 percent from a year earlier to reach 5.5 trillion dollars, or approximately 640 trillion yen. This is mainly attributable to a sharp rise in share prices.
 実際に富を増やした人も少なくない。世界的大手コンサルティング会社、キャップジェミニとカナダの最大手銀行、カナダロイヤル銀行が先月公表したリポートによると、売却可能な資産が100万ドルを超える個人富裕層の総資産がアジアで昨年最も増加した国は日本だった。前年より24%増え、5兆5000億ドル(約640兆円)に達したという。株高の貢献が大きい。

However, Abenomics has had a negative impact on most ordinary citizens, particularly low-income earners, because the declining value of the yen caused commodity prices to rise. Increases in wages for workers are not enough to make up for rises in consumer prices in addition to the consumption tax hike.
 しかし多くの国民、特に低所得者層にとってアベノミクスは、円安が招く物価高といった負の影響が大きい。消費増税による価格上昇に終わらず、値上げが波状的に押し寄せ、賃金の上昇はそれに追いつかない。

Some large companies have benefited from the devaluation of the yen while smaller businesses have been hit hard by the weaker currency. Toyota Motor Corp., which benefits by 40 billion yen a year if the value of the dollar rises by 1 yen, projects that its net profit will surpass 2 trillion yen this business year for the first time in its history. However, the devaluation of the yen deals a serious blow to small and medium-sized manufacturers because it pushes up the costs of procuring raw materials and parts.
 企業の間でも明暗は分かれる。1ドルあたり1円の円安で年間400億円の利益が上乗せされるというトヨタ自動車は今年度の最終利益が初めて2兆円を突破する見通しだ。だが、製造業でも多くの中小零細企業にとって円安は原材料や部品のコストを押し上げ、むしろマイナスに働く。

According to a survey conducted recently by the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 54.5 percent of member manufacturers responded that they will be adversely affected if the dollar remains at about 110-yen levels, while only 7.4 percent replied that they will benefit from such a low value of the currency.
 大阪商工会議所が製造業の会員企業に円安について聞いたところ、1ドル=110円程度の水準が続いた場合、「プラス面の影響が大きい」とした企業が7.4%だったのに対し、「マイナス面の影響が大きい」と答えた企業は54.5%を占めた。

The Abe government worked out a scenario in which everybody would be wealthier due to the effects of Abenomics. Actually, however, only a handful of large companies and individuals have become far wealthier thanks to Abenonics while others have not benefited from the economic policy. This is apparently because the government relies heavily on the central bank's ultra-easy money policy, which is the first arrow of Abenomics, and the use of taxpayers' money to finance economic stimulus measures, which is the second arrow, as well as purchases by the Government Pension Investment Fund, the world's largest pension fund, of a massive amount of shares. What happened to the strategy of structural reforms to support growth, which is the third arrow?
 一部の「勝ち組」に、大多数の「恩恵感じず組」。アベノミクスのシナリオでは、次第に恩恵が波及し、みんなが豊かになるはずだが、そうなっていない。第一の矢である異例の金融緩和、第二の矢の財政支援、それに世界最大の年金基金、年金積立金管理運用独立行政法人(GPIF)による株式購入など、大量の公的資金にモノを言わせる手段に頼りきっているからではないか。

 ◇「3本目の矢」はどこに

There are more fundamental problems.
 より根源的な問題もある。

The basic physical strength of the economy, which is indispensable for economic growth, has declined significantly because of a decrease in the working population as well as other factors.
働く世代の人口減などを背景に成長の基礎体力が極端に低下してしまったことだ。

The government will find no solutions if it is to take makeshift steps such as countermeasures against the yen's devaluation, without addressing such structural problems.
そうした構造的変化に着目せず、円安対策など場当たり的に対応しても解決にはなるまい。

Unless drastic reforms with long-lasting effects, such as technological innovation and fundamental changes in the way people work, are carried out, the government must implement additional stimulus measures whenever the effects of previous measures have weakened.
 技術革新や働き方の改革など、効果が長続きする変化が起きなければ、刺激薬の効力が弱まるたびに、追加投与せざるを得なくなる。

Even though it has become clear that Abenomics has its limits, Prime Minister Abe claims that "the three arrows of the economic policy are steadily producing results," and that he will ask the public if the government should continue the policy mix through the Dec. 14 general election.
 限界が見えてきたが、安倍晋三首相は「三本の矢の経済政策は確実に成果を上げつつある」と主張し、継続すべきか否かを選挙で国民に問うと言う。

However, it is problematic for the prime minister to seek a public response to Abenomics in this way.
だが「アベノミクス」をひとくくりに評価を仰ぐのは問題だ。

There are fundamental differences between the first two arrows and the strategy of structural reforms to support growth, which is the third arrow.
最初の2本(日銀の大規模緩和と従来型の財政支出)と3本目(成長戦略)には、根本的な違いがある。

The first two arrows are aimed at quickly reaping benefits while disregarding their costs, negative effects and risks involved. In contrast, the third arrow involves difficulties such as breaking down regulations and intensifying competition, but can produce sustainable effects.
 最初の2本は、そのコストや弊害、リスクにとりあえず目をつぶり最初に手っ取り早く果実を得ようという発想で、3本目は、初めに岩盤規制を崩す苦労や新たな競争による痛みを伴うが、後々、収穫が持続的に期待できるという性質のものだ。

The Abe government has implemented only the first two arrows. In particular, the first arrow, quantitative easing, has actually been done by the BOJ rather than the administration. It appears as if the government evoked a feeling of hope among the public as well as market players with the first arrow and implemented the second after hope began to wane.
 安倍政権が実行したのは最初の2本、とりわけ1本目の、政権自らというより日銀に任せた量的緩和である。そこで人々や市場の期待に訴えかけ、期待が陰り始めると同じ2本を再び射ようという戦略に見える。

The Abe administration does not appear truly serious about eliminating vested interests or encouraging enthusiastic people or businesses to enter sectors that had been regulated, although it has listed up specific programs in its policy.
 肝心の3本目はどうか。メニューは並べたものの、本気で既得権益にメスを入れ、やる気のある人や企業の参入を後押ししようとしているようには見えない。

This is the case with agricultural reforms and measures to encourage women to play more active roles in society.
農協改革しかり、女性の活躍推進しかり、だ。

Through the campaign for the lower house election that kicks off on Dec. 2, the ruling and opposition parties should clarify whether the government will continue to rely on the first and second arrows that are quick-fix solutions to evoke a feeling of hope among voters or get ready to face obstacles and implement the third arrow.
 この先も手っ取り早い第一、第二の矢頼みで期待をあおっていくのか、それとも困難を覚悟で第三の矢中心に転換するのか−−。選挙戦を通じ、明らかにしてほしい。

       ◇

 衆院が解散され、選挙戦が事実上始まった。私たちが最大の争点と考える「安倍政治」についてシリーズで点検する。

毎日新聞 2014年11月22日 02時30分

2014-11-20

(社説)衆院選 首相の増税先送り 「いきなり解散」の短絡

二年前民主党に見切りをつけて自民党に乗り換えたのは正解だったと思います。
ただ見込み違いがひとつだけありました。
自民党にもたくさん派閥があります。
リフレ派が自民党の主導権をにぎったのが悲劇の始まりなんです。

どこまでも円安思考の、大企業と富裕層向けのスキームで、庶民が輸入物価高でどんなに苦しくなろうと、それは日本経済のためになるとうそぶき知らん顔(売国奴黒田日銀総裁)。
これでは国民の大多数を占める庶民はたまったものではありません。

未曾有の少子高齢化社会に突入している日本です。
なぜ毎年毎年2%の物価高をめざすのでしょうか?
それよりも為替レートの安定、ひいては輸入物価の安定を願います。
多くの国民の願いではないでしょうか。

日本はアメリカ式の金融緩和政策を輸入しているわけですが、その規模はGDP比率でアメリカをしのぎます。
アメリカ株式市場はやっと景気回復を果たしていますが、100年に一度とも称される貧富の差を生んでしまいました。

お金がすべて。
そんなつまらない世の中、社会構造を造りだすアベノミクスに反対します。
アベノミクスは欧米ではバンザイノミクスという蔑称をもらっています。
おろかな政策なんです。
(スラチャイ)

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 19
EDITORIAL: Abe's patently self-serving, short-circuited election move
(社説)衆院選 首相の増税先送り 「いきなり解散」の短絡

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Nov. 18 announced he will postpone the additional consumption tax hike scheduled for October next year and dissolve the Lower House on Nov. 21.
 安倍首相が、来年10月に予定されていた消費税率再引き上げの先送りと、21日の衆院解散を表明した。

The latest economic figures, released on Nov. 17, showed Japan’s real gross domestic product had shrunk by 1.6 percent in annualized terms, which was a lot worse than what private-sector analysts had projected.
 おととい発表された直近の国内総生産(GDP)の実質成長率は、年率換算で1・6%の減。事前の民間予測を大きく下回った。

“After 15 years of struggling with deflation, we cannot possibly let go of our chances of overcoming it,” Abe said. But, referring to the 18-month delay, he stated unequivocally that this will be the last time the consumption tax hike will be postponed, and that the public will be the judge of his policy change in the upcoming snap election.
 首相はこれを受け「15年間苦しんできたデフレから脱却するチャンスを手放すわけにはいかない」と判断。ただ、18カ月間の先送り後の再延期はないと断言し、その政策変更の是非を総選挙で問うという。

The GDP decline for the second consecutive quarter was certainly shocking. But if the consumption tax hike has to be delayed because of the economic downturn, all that needs to be done is to amend the consumption tax hike law, and this has the support of the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan.
 確かに2期連続のマイナス成長はショッキングだ。ただ、もとより景気悪化による増税の先送りは消費増税法を改正すれば認められるし、民主党もその判断は受け入れている。

Right now, the Abe administration ought to be focused entirely on revising the law through Diet deliberations and finessing his Abenomics package of growth policies to correct its inherent flaws.
 国会審議をへて法改正し、アベノミクスの足らざる部分を補う。安倍政権がまず全力で取り組むべきことである。

But without doing any of that, the administration has abruptly decided to dissolve the Lower House for a snap election. We can only conclude that the administration has some hidden political motive of its own.
 その努力をする前のいきなりの衆院解散は、短絡に過ぎる。別の政治的打算が隠されていると考えざるを得ない。

JUSTIFICATION FOR SNAP ELECTION?
 ●解散に理はあるか

Stressing the rationale for dissolving the Lower House, Abe noted at a news conference on Nov. 18: “Why was the DPJ routed (in the election) two years ago? That was because the party decided to raise the consumption tax without holding an election, despite having never mentioned (the tax hike) in its campaign statement.”
 首相はきのうの記者会見で、「なぜ2年前、民主党が大敗したのか。マニフェストに書いてない消費税引き上げを、国民の信を問うことなく行ったからだ」と解散の意義を強調した。

In the 2009 Lower House election campaign, the DPJ promised not to raise the consumption tax, and came into power. But failing to generate new revenue sources, the DPJ was forced to switch policies, which caused the party to implode and be trounced in the last Lower House election.
 民主党は09年の衆院選で消費増税はしないと訴え、政権を奪った。ところが新たな財源を生み出せずに政策転換に追い込まれ、党の分裂と前回衆院選での大敗を招いた。

Abe was correct in his analysis of the DPJ’s blunder. But this is irrelevant to his decision to hold an election.
 民主党の失敗についての首相の見方はその通りだろう。だが、今回の首相の姿勢とは同列には論じられない。

In what situations is the prime minister justified to exercise his prerogative to dissolve the Lower House? The general understanding is that in one such case, an issue that was a nonissue during the election campaign suddenly emerges as a contentious topic.
 首相の解散権行使が理にかなうのはどういう場合か。前の選挙では意識されなかった争点が浮上した時、

Another is when a confrontation between the prime minister and the Diet is beyond remedy.
または首相と国会との対立が抜き差しならなくなった時というのが、一般的な考え方だ。

Does either of these cases apply now?
 今回はどうか。

The consumption tax hike law, which is based on an agreement in summer 2012 among the DPJ, the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito on the so-called integrated social security and tax reforms, provides for tax hikes in two stages as well as for a postponement of an increase in the event of an economic downturn.
12年夏の「社会保障と税の一体改革」の民主、自民、公明の3党合意に基づく消費増税法は、2段階の消費税率引き上げを定めつつ、景気が悪化した時の先送り条項も設けている。

After Abe became leader of the opposition LDP, he and then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda promised that the three parties would commit themselves to “painful reforms,” such as reducing the number of Diet seats, in exchange for making the public bear a heavier cost burden. This was a focal issue in the 2012 Lower House election, which returned the LDP and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, to power.
 3党がそろって国民に負担増を求める代わりに、定数削減などの「身を切る改革」を断行する――。安倍氏と当時の野田首相とのこの約束が問われた2年前の衆院選で、自公両党は政権に復帰した。

After the coalition gained control of both chambers of the Diet in the Upper House election last summer, the Abe administration has since enjoyed stable government, and Abe reshuffled his Cabinet only as recently as in September. And yet, he is “sacking” all the Lower House legislators, who still have more than half their term left, before reducing the seats.
 昨夏の参院選でねじれも解消し、首相の政権基盤は安定している。9月に内閣改造もしたばかりだ。それでも任期4年の折り返しにもいたらぬ衆院議員の身を切る前に「首を切る」。

The order is back-to-front.
あべこべではないか。

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF PEOPLE'S WILL
 ●国民の思い逆手に

A tax hike is a painful option for the people as well as their elected representatives.
 増税は、政治家にも国民にもつらい選択である。

Revenues generated by the consumption tax hike will be used for social security spending on such things as child-care support and pension payments that are relevant to virtually all citizens. But even then, it is only natural for people not to want a tax hike.
 消費増税で得られる財源は、子育てや年金などほぼすべての国民に関係する社会保障関係費にあてられる。それがわかっていても、「増税はいや」というのは自然な感情だ。

In fact, an Asahi Shimbun opinion poll conducted earlier this month found 67 percent of the respondents against the tax hike scheduled for October 2015. At the same time, 66 percent of the respondents also said they were worried that not raising the tax would have negative consequences on the social security system. The numbers reveal the public’s conflicted feelings.
 実際、今月の朝日新聞の世論調査では、来年10月の税率引き上げには67%が反対と答えた。同時に、それで社会保障に悪影響が出ることを不安に感じると答えた人が66%もいる。国民の複雑な思いを表した数字だ。

If the consumption tax is to be the sole focus of the snap election, voters will be less motivated to vote against the prime minister’s decision, and even less so if he promotes an economic improvement package at the same time.
 仮に消費税だけが問われる選挙なら、有権者が首相の判断を覆す一票を投じる動機は弱くなる。「景気対策」という名の付録がつけばなおさらだ。

If Abe is aware of all this and still wants the public to vote on whether to postpone the tax hike or not, he cannot escape being criticized as a populist.
 それを知りつつ、あえて先送りの是非を問うなら、ポピュリズムとの批判はまぬがれない。

Dissolving the Lower House for a snap election can be justified only when the forces demanding financial reconstruction make it impossible to revise the consumption tax hike law to delay the tax hike.
 財政再建を重視する勢力の反対で、増税先送りの法改正はできそうにないという状況になって、初めて衆院解散の理屈が立つというものだ。

ABE'S REAL MOTIVE
 ●「信を問う」の本音は

In the process of deliberating the state secrets protection bill last year, as well as when Japan’s participation in collective self-defense was under discussion this past summer, Abe did not even pretend to seek the judgment of the people on these issues, even though these had everything to do with freedom of expression, pacifism and other values entrenched in the Constitution. Moreover, many citizens were vehemently opposed to the Abe administration’s position on these issues.
 首相は昨年の特定秘密保護法案の審議や今夏の集団的自衛権の容認をめぐる議論の過程では、国民の審判を仰ぐそぶりすら見せなかった。
 表現の自由や平和主義という憲法価値の根幹にかかわり、多くの国民が反対した問題であるにもかかわらずだ。

Having refused to let the people weigh in on these highly divisive issues, Abe now invites them to weigh in on whether to postpone the unpopular consumption tax hike. Politics always contains an element of power struggle, but what Abe is doing is patently self-serving.
 国論を二分する争点は素通りし、有権者の耳にやさしい「負担増の先送り」で信を問う。政治には権力闘争の側面があるにせよ、あまりに都合のよい使い分けではないか。

When changing the government's interpretation of the Constitution was the subject of debate during the last ordinary session of the Diet, Abe stated: “The ultimate responsibility lies with me. Based on this fact, we will let the public judge in an election.” These words revealed his pathetic misunderstanding of democracy, as if he thinks he can do anything so long as he wins an election.
 首相は先の通常国会で、憲法解釈の変更について「最高の責任者は私だ。そのうえで私たちは選挙で国民の審判を受ける」と答弁した。「選挙で勝てば何でもできる」と言わんばかりの乱暴な民主主義観である。

From now until next year, the Abe administration will be tackling even more divisive issues, such as restarting nuclear reactors and preparing laws to enable Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense.
 来年にかけて安倍政権は、原発の再稼働や集団的自衛権の行使容認に伴う法整備など、賛否がより分かれる課題に取り組もうとしている。

Before starting debate on these highly sensitive issues, why not get an election over and done with to secure a new, four-year mandate that will give the administration free hand in governance.
 世論の抵抗がより強いこれらの議論に入る前に選挙をすませ、新たな4年の任期で「何でもできる」フリーハンドを確保しておきたい――。

This is what Abe has in mind--and voters must know it.
 そんな身勝手さに、有権者も気づいているにちがいない。

2014-11-19

社説:景気とアベノミクス 首相戦略の誤算と限界

November 18, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: GDP preliminary figures show 'Abenomics' has reached its limit
社説:景気とアベノミクス 首相戦略の誤算と限界

Preliminary figures released on Nov. 17 show Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) for the July-September quarter declined at an annualized rate of 1.6 percent from the previous quarter, falling for two consecutive quarters.  7〜9月期の実質国内総生産(GDP)の速報値は、年率で前期比1・6%減で、2四半期連続の減少だった。

Consumer spending has not recovered sufficiently from a sharp drop following the consumption tax increase in April 2014 while capital investment remains sluggish.
個人消費が4月の消費増税の反動減から回復が遅れ、設備投資も低迷している。

Since it has become clear that Japan's domestic demand is slumping, the possibility cannot be ruled out that the economy has slowed down and even slipped into a recessionary phase.
国内需要の不振が鮮明となっており、景気は失速し、後退局面に入った可能性もある。

The latest GDP reflects problems involving "Abenomics," the economic policy mix promoted by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It is essential to thoroughly analyze the cause of the economic slump and its causes in an effort to ascertain problems with this policy.
 安倍晋三政権が進めてきた経済政策、アベノミクスにとって誤算が相次いでいる。それが今回のGDPの数値になって表れた。政策の限界はどこに見えているのか。景気低迷の原因と背景を徹底分析することが必要になる。

 ◇家計への配慮足りず

The contraction of GDP is attributable primarily to a long delay in the recovery of consumer spending. Consumer spending fell 5 percent in the April-June period from the previous quarter, showing a rebound from last-minute demand before the tax hike. The figure only rose 0.4 percent in the July-September period. Pricey goods, such as automobiles and electric appliances, were not selling well over the last quarter.
 GDPが落ち込んだ最大の原因は、消費の回復が大きく遅れていることだ。消費増税前の駆け込み需要の反動で、個人消費は4〜6月期に前期比5%減と大きく落ち込んだが、7〜9月期も0・4%増にとどまった。自動車や家電など価格が高めの商品の販売が振るわない。

The government and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) have set an inflation target of 2 percent a year in a bid to overcome prolonged deflation. The value of the yen has declined sharply as a result of the central bank's ultra-easy money policy, which is regarded as the "first arrow" of Abenomics, as a result of which the prices of imported goods, particularly foodstuffs, have increased. Although consumer prices have risen, they were caused merely by increases in the prices of raw materials. This problem underlies sluggish consumer spending.
 政府、日銀はデフレ脱却に向け2%の物価上昇を目標としてきた。アベノミクスの第一の矢である異次元の金融緩和で、円安が進み、食材を中心に輸入品の値上がりが続いた。物価は上がったが、原料価格上昇で実現した「悪い物価上昇」だ。これが消費不振の底流にある。

Corporate performances, mainly those of export-oriented businesses, have recovered, causing employees' salaries and bonuses to increase. However, since these wage increases are not enough to make up for rises in commodity prices and the consumption tax raise, workers' real earnings have rather decreased. Such being the case, consumers have held their purse strings tight.
 円安で輸出産業を中心に企業業績は回復し、給料やボーナスは上向いた。ただ、値上げと消費増税の分には追いつかず、給料は目減りしている。中小や零細企業は賃金もなかなか上がらない。こうした影響で消費者は財布のヒモを締めている。

The value of the yen has further fallen as a result of the BOJ additionally relaxing its monetary grip at the end of October. As a result, the prices of spaghetti, instant noodles and frozen foods as well as other foodstuffs will rise toward the end of this year, raising fears that the slump in consumer spending will be prolonged.
 10月末の日銀の追加金融緩和で、円安は一段と進んでいる。来年にかけてスパゲティ、カップめん、冷凍食品などの値上げが目白押しだ。消費の低迷が長引く可能性もある。

When the consumption tax was raised from 5 percent to 8 percent this past April, the government stopped short of introducing lower tax rates for daily necessities such as foodstuffs and failed to implement effective policy measures to financially support consumers, particularly low-income earners, which is responsible for the recent slump in consumer spending.
 4月の消費増税時に、食料品など生活必需品への軽減税率の導入が見送られるなど、低所得者や家計に配慮する政策は後回しにされてきた。そのツケが回ってきたと言える。

The Abe administration did not predict that corporate investment in factories and equipment would fall for two consecutive quarters and still remains sluggish.
 設備投資が2四半期連続で減少し、低迷していることも安倍政権にとって大きな誤算だ。

Under Abenomics, the government places top priority on boosting corporate profits. The government explained to the public that recovery in companies' business performances would increase capital investment and wages, which would in turn put the economy on a track of full-scale recovery.
 アベノミクスは、企業の収益を引き上げることを優先課題としてきた。業績が回復すれば設備投資と賃金が増え、経済が本格的な回復軌道に進むと説明されてきた。

Japan's exports have not grown despite the declining value of the yen, which is supposed to be beneficial to exporters. This is attributable largely to a decline in the international competitiveness of Japanese manufactured goods and Japanese manufacturers' shift of their factories overseas in efforts to reduce expenses. As a result, manufacturers' output has failed to increase, preventing them from increasing their investment in factories and equipment.
 輸出企業に有利な円安が続いているにもかかわらず、輸出は伸び悩んでいる。日本の製造業の製品の国際競争力の低下や、コスト削減を狙った工場の海外移転が背景にある。この結果、企業の生産が伸びず、設備投資に結びついていない。

The government and the BOJ have drawn up a scenario in which a rise in commodity prices would encourage companies to increase their capital investment in anticipation of future inflation. However, this scenario has not come true because companies are hesitant to increase their capital investment in Japan whose population is decreasing.
 政府・日銀は、物価が上昇軌道に乗れば将来のインフレを見越して設備投資は加速するとの道筋を描いていた。だが、そうした動きは広がっていない。人口が減っている国内への投資拡大に企業は慎重なためだ。

Listed companies' performances are relatively brisk on the whole. Such companies' mid-term accounts that ended in September show that their sales figures rose about 5 percent from the corresponding period of last year and their pretax profits increased roughly 10 percent from a year earlier. Their sales figures and profits have returned to levels seen shortly before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.
 上場企業の業績は全体としては好調だ。9月中間決算の集計を見ると、売上高が前年同期比約5%増、経常利益も同10%程度増えており、2008年のリーマン・ショック直前の好景気の水準に回復している。

However, most of these companies enjoying good performances are in export-oriented industries, such as the automobile, electronics and machinery sectors. In contrast, paper manufacturers and oil wholesalers suffered sharp falls in their profits because of the declining value of the yen.
 ただ、好業績は、自動車、電機、機械など製造業の輸出産業に偏っている。一方で、製紙会社や石油元売りは円安が逆風となり大幅減益に陥っている。

Non-manufacturers including wholesalers and retailers have been adversely affected by a sharp fall in domestic demand.
小売り、卸売りを中心とする非製造業も、国内需要の落ち込みの影響を受け苦戦している。

It has long been pointed out that the gap between large companies and small and medium-sized businesses has widened, but the gap between major enterprises is also expanding.
これまで、大企業と中小企業の格差が広がったと言われてきたが、大企業間の格差も拡大している。

 ◇空回りした成長戦略

Under a growth strategy, which is regarded as the third arrow of Abenomics, the government is set to significantly slash corporate taxes and carry out dramatic deregulation in specially designated zones.
 アベノミクスの第三の矢「成長戦略」で、法人税の大幅引き下げや国家戦略特区での大胆な規制緩和が打ち出された。

Prime Minister Abe regards such specially designated zones for deregulation as "drills that break bedrock regulations," and is emphasizing that the government will concentrate funds, human resources and companies in these zones to play a leading role in revitalizing the economy.
安倍首相は特区を「岩盤規制を打破するドリル」と位置づけ、資金、人材、企業を集めて経済再生を主導すると力を込めた。

Despite his enthusiasm, the government has failed to map out specific measures that would encourage businesses to invest in such zones. As such, expectations the public has placed on such special zones have waned.
しかし、意気込みとは裏腹に、企業の投資を呼び込むような具体策は見えておらず、期待感はしぼんでいる。

The use of additional taxpayers' money to implement economic stimulus measures, which is the second arrow of Abenomics, has not produced the intended results.
 アベノミクスの第二の矢である「財政出動」の効果にも誤算が生じている。

The Abe government implemented a 5.5-trillion-yen supplementary budget for fiscal 2013 to offset the impact caused by the consumption tax increase in April this year. Some 1 trillion yen was allocated from the extra budget for public works projects, which the government claimed would be effective in boosting the economy.
安倍政権は、4月の消費増税の影響を下支えする経済対策として、歳出総額5・5兆円の13年度補正予算を執行し、即効性があるとして公共事業に1兆円を注ぎ込んだ。

However, serious doubts remain as to whether these projects have helped prop up the economy amid a shortage of workers and sharp rises in the prices of construction materials.
しかし、人手不足と資材高騰の中で、景気浮揚効果に広がりがあったかというと疑問だ。

The Abe administration is set to dissolve the House of Representatives to call a snap general election by the end of this year to ask voters if they support the government.
 安倍政権は国民の信を問うため、衆院を解散し、総選挙を実施するという。

However, questions have been raised even from within the ruling coalition as to whether it is the right time to call a general election.
だが、「解散すべき時なのか」との疑問の声が与党内からも上がっている。

If the lower house is to be dissolved for a general election, it would delay the compilation of the fiscal 2015 state budget by nearly a month.
 解散・総選挙を行えば来年度当初予算案の編成は1カ月近く遅れる。

The government claims that it will put priority on implementing a supplementary budget for the current fiscal year. 政府は今年度補正予算を先行するというが、

However, rather than implementing an extra budget in a hasty bid to boost the economy, the government should scrutinize problems involving its economic policy.
補正予算で慌てて景気をテコ入れするよりも、政策の誤算と限界を精査、検証すべきだ。

The government should then gauge the impact of rises in commodity prices on consumers and shift its policy into one aimed at boosting consumer spending while paying close attention to low income earners and non-regular workers. そして、物価高で賃金が目減りしている影響の大きさをはかり、低所得層や非正規労働者に目配りして消費を喚起する政策に軸足を移すべきではないか。

The time is ripe for the government to compile a fiscal 2015 budget while working out effective measures to ensure economic recovery.
景気への処方箋をきちんと描きつつ、当初予算案を編成する時だ。

Prime Minister Abe is set to postpone another consumption tax increase from 8 percent to 10 percent scheduled for October 2015.
 安倍首相は、景気情勢を踏まえ来年10月の消費税の再増税を先送りする方針だ。

However, it remains unchanged that a tax hike is inevitable to prevent Japan from passing on its debts to future generations and to establish a sustainable social security system.
ただ、将来世代へのツケ回しをやめ、持続的な社会保障制度を構築するには、増税が避けて通れない道であることに変わりはない。

毎日新聞 2014年11月18日 東京朝刊

2014-11-18

社説:辺野古移設に審判 白紙に戻して再交渉を

November 17, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Return Futenma base relocation negotiations to square one
社説:辺野古移設に審判 白紙に戻して再交渉を

Public opposition within Okinawa Prefecture to the planned relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the city of Nago in the prefecture is never likely to wilt.
 米軍普天間飛行場(沖縄県宜野湾市)の名護市辺野古への移設に反対する地元の民意はもう後戻りしないだろう。

In the Okinawa gubernatorial election on Nov. 16, former Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga defeated incumbent Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima, who had approved the government's application for a landfill project to build a replacement facility for the Futenma base in the Henoko district of Nago. His landslide victory denied Nakaima a third term in office.
沖縄県知事選で、翁長雄志(おながたけし)前那覇市長が3選を目指す仲井真弘多(ひろかず)知事らを破り初当選した。1月の名護市長選に引き続き、またも移設反対派が、安倍政権の全面支援を受けた推進派を退けたことになる。

Relocation of the base to Henoko stood as the primary issue in the election, and locals clearly voiced their opinion. Both politically and morally, it seems impossible for the central government to go ahead with the relocation as it stands. The government should return the relocation plans to the drawing board and resume negotiations with the U.S. government.
 辺野古移設を最大の争点にした選挙でこれだけ明確な民意が示された以上、政府が移設を推進することは、政治的にも道義的にも不可能だろう。政府は移設計画を白紙に戻し、米政府と再交渉すべきだ。

 ◇本土と沖縄に深刻な溝

Onaga's latest victory carries more weight than in previous gubernatorial elections.
 翁長氏の勝利は、過去の知事選に比べてもとりわけ重い意味を持つ。

This is because rather than engaging in a battle between conservatives and reformists, Onaga defined it as one between Okinawa and mainland Japan.
 沖縄の知事選で初めて保革対決が崩れ、翁長氏が「沖縄対本土」という対立構図を強調する中で勝利したからだ。

Onaga is a mainstay in Okinawa's conservative political world.
翁長氏は沖縄保守政界の重鎮だ。

Yet in the Nov. 16 election, some conservative local politicians were able to join hands with the Japanese Communist Party, Social Democratic Party and other reformist parties to support Onaga, and he defeated Nakaima, who had been backed by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and other groups.
保守系地方議員の一部や共産、社民両党など革新政党が支援して保革共闘ができ、自民党などの推薦を受けた仲井真氏に勝った。

Two slogans emerged as part of Onaga's public pledge to oppose construction of a new base: "All Okinawa" and "Identity rather than ideology." These phrases encompass the following about the situation and the people of Okinawa. The message they are saying is:
 翁長氏の公約「新基地建設反対」の合言葉は、「オール沖縄」「イデオロギーよりアイデンティティー」だった。そこには次のような意味が込められている。

"The system of the Japan-U.S. security pact is understandable, but we want all of Japan to bear the burden of Japan's security. It is unreasonable for Okinawa, which comprises just 0.6 percent of Japan's total land area, to house 74 percent of U.S. military facilities. Is this not a form of structural discrimination?
 <日米安保体制は理解するが、日本の安全保障は日本全体で負担してほしい。国土面積の0・6%しかない沖縄に在日米軍専用施設の74%が集中しているのは理不尽で、沖縄への構造的差別ではないか。

"It is mistaken to think that Okinawa could not survive economically without military bases. Base-related revenue has fallen to 5 percent of Okinawa's total. As it stands, the bases represent the single biggest obstacle to Okinawa's economic development.
 沖縄は基地経済がないと立ちゆかないという見方は誤りで、基地関連収入が県経済に占める割合は現在では5%に減った。基地は今や沖縄経済発展の最大の阻害要因だ。

"The process of splitting up into leftists and rightists and conservative and reformist camps over the military base issue, and pressuring parties to decide between bases or the economy represents an old-fashioned way of thinking.  基地をはさんで左右や保革に分かれたり、基地か経済かの二者択一を迫ったりするのは、旧態依然の古い発想だ。

The base issue is no longer one of ideology.
基地問題はもうイデオロギーではない。

Okinawa's identity is the issue, and we will decide on Okinawa's future by ourselves."
沖縄のアイデンティティーの問題であり、沖縄の将来は自分たちの手で決める>

Onaga's victory raises serious questions for the Japanese government and each person in mainland Japan.
 翁長氏の勝利は、日本政府と本土の一人一人に根本的な疑問を突きつける。

Why don't people understand or have any interest in Okinawa's current situation?
なぜ沖縄の現状に無理解で無関心なのか。

Why isn't the public will of the people in Okinawa being faced seriously?
なぜ沖縄の民意に真剣に向き合わないのか。

Doesn't this run counter to democracy?
それは民主主義にもとるのではないか、と。

If the central government ignores the results of the latest election and goes ahead with the relocation as planned, the gap between mainland Japan and Okinawa will only widen, and could produce a decisive rift.
 政府が今回の選挙結果を無視し、移設を強行すれば、本土と沖縄の溝はますます深まり、亀裂が決定的になりかねない。

Okinawa cannot accept an excessive burden of hosting military bases while feeling that it is being discriminated against.
沖縄が不当に差別されているという感情を抱えたまま、過重な基地負担を引き受けられるものではない。

Conflicting positions are certain to destabilize the Japan-U.S. security alliance.
この矛盾は日米安保体制を確実に不安定化させるだろう。

The central government has direct control over security, but this doesn't mean that it can disregard the will of the people.
 安全保障は国の専管事項だが、それは地元の意向を勘案しなくていいという意味ではない。

If security policies don't win understanding from locals or the public as a whole, then they will not stand.
地元をはじめ国民全体の理解がなければ安全保障政策など成り立たない。

In situations like this, in which central government policy and the will of the people clash, the government should make an effort to close the divide. However, it has not sufficiently fulfilled its responsibility in this regard.
今回のように国の方針と地元の民意が対立した場合、政府は両者の溝を埋める努力をすべきだが、責任を十分に果たしてこなかった。

On the contrary, Onaga's victory was fueled by intense anger from people in Okinawa over the way the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proceeded in connection with the Futenma base issue.
 それどころか翁長氏の勝利を後押ししたのは、安倍政権の普天間問題の進め方に対する沖縄の人々の激しい怒りだった。

Nakaima was elected in the previous gubernatorial election after promising to relocate the Futenma base outside Okinawa Prefecture.
仲井真氏は前回知事選では県外移設を公約して再選された。

But at the end of last year, he approved the central government's application to proceed with landfill work off Henoko in recognition of the government's economic stimulus measures -- a violation of his public pledge.
だが昨年末、仲井真氏は政府の経済振興策などを評価し公約に反する形で辺野古埋め立てを承認した。

The pride of the people in Okinawa was hurt by the central government's tactics, under which the government appeared to think it could win Okinawa over if it provided money in the form of stimulus measures.
この過程で振興策というカネさえ積めば沖縄を懐柔できると考えているかのような政府のやり方に、沖縄の人々は誇りを傷つけられた。

 ◇米国内にも計画に異論

With the problem having become so complicated, it is unrealistic to adhere to the current relocation plans.
 ここまで問題がこじれた以上、現行の移設計画に固執するのは現実的ではない。

This summer, the central government started a drilling survey on the seabed off the coast of the Henoko district in line with its land refill plans. It has indicated that it will go ahead with the relocation to Henoko regardless of the latest election results, but the survey should be called off.
政府は今夏、辺野古沿岸部の埋め立てに向けた海底ボーリング調査を開始し、選挙結果にかかわらず移設を推進する方針を示しているが、調査を中止すべきだ。

However, if the Henoko relocation plans are taken back to the drawing board, this must not result in the Futenma base being left where it is.
 ただし、辺野古の白紙化を普天間の固定化につなげてはならない。

The whole point of the Futenma relocation is to remove the danger posed by the base, which, with its close proximity to residential areas, has been described as the most dangerous in the world.
この問題の原点は、「世界一危険な基地」といわれる普天間の一日も早い危険性除去にある。

The Abe administration has promised to halt operations at Futenma within five years, and it must make an effort to lighten the burden posed by hosting U.S. military bases.
安倍政権は今後も沖縄と約束した「普天間の5年以内の運用停止」をはじめとする基地負担軽減策を進めるべきだ。

At the same time, it must not cut back the yearly budget of over 300 billion yen that it has promised to provide Okinawa in the form of stimulus measures.
沖縄振興策も毎年3000億円台の予算を確保するという約束を違えて減額することがあってはならない。

Eighteen years have passed since an agreement was made on returning the Futenma base.
 普天間返還合意から18年。

It is probably no easy task to renegotiate an issue over which Japan and the U.S. have made repeated agreements, but if the Japanese and U.S. indeed see eye to eye on the deep influence of public opinion in Okinawa, then discussions will naturally progress to a new stage.
日本と合意を重ねてきた米国との再交渉に持ち込むのは容易ではなかろう。それでも沖縄の民意がもたらす深刻な影響を日米両政府が共有すれば、おのずと協議は新たな段階に移っていくはずだ。

The Japanese and U.S. governments say that relocation of the Futenma base to Henoko is the "only solution." However, the view that this is unrealistic has emerged within U.S. Congress.
 日米両政府の合意は辺野古移設を「唯一の解決策」としているが、米議会には辺野古は非現実的だとして異なる意見があり、

Senator John McCain and others proposed that Futenma be consolidated with the U.S. military's Kadena air base. マケイン上院議員らが米軍嘉手納基地に統合する案を提案したこともある。

This summer, meanwhile, Joseph Nye, former U.S. deputy to the undersecretary of state for security assistance, pointed out the weaknesses of U.S. military bases on Okinawa, and sought revisions to the deployment of U.S. military forces in Japan.
 ジョセフ・ナイ元米国防次官補は今夏、沖縄の米軍基地の脆弱(ぜいじゃく)性を指摘し、在日米軍の配備見直しを求めた。

So even in the United States, objections have emerged.
米国でも異論が出ているのだ。

The role that the Japan-U.S. security alliance has in providing stability for Japan and other countries in Asia is large.  日米安保体制が日本とアジア地域の安定に果たす役割は大きい。

Considering China's military expansion and maritime advances, and the situation in North Korea, it is necessary to maintain the deterrence provided by U.S. military forces in Japan.
中国の軍備拡張や海洋進出、北朝鮮情勢を考えれば、在日米軍の抑止力は維持する必要がある。

The Japanese government must address friction with Okinawa and seek new negotiations with the U.S. to devise a solution -- even if this is for the worthy purpose of smoothly operating the Japan-U.S. security alliance.
 日米安保体制を安定的に運用していくという大きな目的のためにも、日本政府は沖縄との摩擦を放置せず、米政府に再交渉を求めて問題解決を図るべきだ。

毎日新聞 2014年11月17日 東京朝刊

2014-11-14

(社説)政治と増税 解散に大義はあるか

今回の騒動、安倍首相の指導力を根幹から問われるような事件であると思います。
もしも安倍首相が、内々で消費税再増税延期と衆院解散総選挙を内定していたとなれば、彼は相当は悪人ということになります。
金儲けをするためにはどんなこともやる自民党の手法にはうんざりしています。
庶民のささやかな幸せのことなど眼中にないようです。
その証拠に急激な円安に対する目配りだって、約束したのに、実態は野放しでなんです。
もしも解散総選挙がなされれば自民党には絶対入れません。
(スラチャイ)

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 12
EDITORIAL: No good rationale for calling a snap election
(社説)政治と増税 解散に大義はあるか

First, there were just low whispers that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was considering dissolving the Lower House for a snap election. But before we knew it, the powerful winds of dissolution started whipping up in Japanese political circles.
 「安倍首相が衆院解散を検討している」。こんなささやきが、あれよあれよという間に解散風という突風になって吹き荒れている。

Toshihiro Nikai, chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s General Council, has pledged to “make all necessary preparations (for an election).” Natsuo Yamaguchi, chief representative of Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, has ordered senior party officials to start preparing for a poll.
 自民党の二階総務会長は「万全の態勢を整えていく」と語り、公明党の山口代表も選挙準備に入るよう党幹部に指示した。

Banri Kaieda, president of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, has assumed a brave attitude, saying, “We are ready to take up the gauntlet.”
民主党の海江田代表も「受けて立つ」と勇ましい。

According to one rumored game plan, Abe will postpone the consumption tax rate hike to 10 percent that is slated for October next year following the Nov. 17 release of preliminary gross domestic product data for the July-September quarter. He will then announce his intention to dissolve the Lower House for a snap election to seek a popular mandate for his tax policy decision.
 語られているシナリオのひとつは、こうだ。17日に発表される7〜9月の国内総生産(GDP)の速報値を受け、首相は来年10月に予定されている消費税率の10%への引き上げの先送りを決断、その是非を問うために衆院の解散を表明する。

Abe, who is currently on an overseas tour, has stressed he has made no decision on when he will dissolve the Lower House. He brushed aside news reports about his intention to call an election, saying they are simply based on speculation.
 外遊中の安倍首相は、「解散のタイミングは何ら決めていない。臆測に基づく報道だ」と強調する。

But now the stormy winds of election appear unlikely to die down.
それでも、いったん吹き始めた風はどうにも止まりそうにない。

It is unsettling to see how things are panning out in this nation’s political arena.
 こんな政治のありように、強い違和感を覚える。

The scheduled consumption tax increase, intended as a key component of integrated tax and social security reform, is based on an agreement among the DPJ, the LDP and Komeito that was reached in June 2012 when the DPJ was in power. The agreement has since been enshrined into law.
 消費税率の引き上げは、民主党政権下の12年6月、社会保障と税の一体改革として民主、自民、公明の3党で合意され、法にも明記された。

But a supplementary provision in the law says the final decision on the tax hike should depend on economic conditions.
ただ、法の付則には、経済状況によって最終判断する趣旨の規定がある。

The three-party agreement calls for a measure that will inevitably cause pain to taxpayers. It represents a sort of transpartisan political effort to tackle head-on the grim reality of swelling social security spending amid a serious revenue shortage. It is a painful but important step.
 3党合意は、国民に痛みを強いる内容だ。社会保障費の増大と財源不足という現実に、与野党を超えて政治が正面から向き合うという、苦いけれど重たい意味があった。

At first glance, there seems to be good justification for calling an election to seek a public mandate for the decision to postpone the tax increase, which effectively breaches the three-party accord.
 その合意を破棄する形になる以上、総選挙で信を問うというのはひとつの理屈かも知れない。

But we find it hard to accept this argument at face value.
だが、額面通りにはとても受け取れない。

The Abe administration has said the GDP data for the July-September quarter will be a crucial factor for the tax decision. This has become a common understanding in both the ruling and opposition camps.
 政権は7〜9月のGDPを判断のよりどころにすると言い、それが与野党の共通認識となってきた。

But all this talk about an election is happening before the GDP figures come out.
その数字が明らかになる前のこの騒ぎである。

It is hard not to suspect that the ruling camp is moving toward an election based purely on political motives driven by the fear that raising the consumption tax again in the face of strong public opposition could prove a political disaster.
増税に反対の世論が強い中、これに逆らうことは難しいという政局的な判断が先に立ったのかと疑わざるを得ない。

This view is further supported by certain remarks made by senior ruling party officials.
 加えて、与党幹部から聞こえてくるのはこんな声だ。

A Lower House election next year will be an uphill battle for the ruling party because offline nuclear reactors will restart and Diet debate on bills to legalize Japan’s use of its right to collective self-defense will start, according to one such official.
 「原発再稼働や集団的自衛権の関連法整備が控える来年に衆院選を戦うのは厳しい」

“We are in a strong political position now (to face an election) because opposition parties are not prepared,” said another.
「野党の選挙準備がととのっていない今が有利だ」

This is a picture of purely partisan political theater.
 まさに党利党略。

The tax increase, which puts an additional monetary burden on the public, is designed to secure the long-term financial sustainability of social security.
国民に負担増を求めることになっても、社会保障を将来にわたって持続可能にする――。

The remarks made by senior ruling party officials indicate they think it is more important to ensure that they remain in power than to achieve this vital policy goal.
こうした政策目標よりも、政権の座を持続可能にすることの方が大切だと言わんばかりではないか。

It is not yet clear what Abe really thinks.
 安倍首相の本心はまだ不明である。

But democracy is not a game.
だが、民主主義はゲームではない。

There is no rationale for dissolving the Lower House now.
こんな解散に大義があるとは思えない。