英字新聞

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終戦の日 追悼めぐる論議を深めよ (2/2)



The House of Representatives election to choose the leaders who will be tasked with navigating Japan through uncharted waters will be officially announced Tuesday, opening an 11-day campaign.
 これからの日本を託す指導者を選ぶ総選挙の公示は、3日後に控えている。

Both the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan have mapped out policies they plan to implement should they hold the reins of government. The battle to woo voters will be fierce.
 自民、民主両党が政権構想を示して競い合っているが、

===

Grandfathers' experiences

The current state of affairs no doubt reminds many people of the grandfathers of Prime Minister Taro Aso and DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama.
思い起こされるのは、麻生首相と民主党・鳩山代表の祖父たちのことだ。

Aso's grandfather, former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, served as ambassador to Britain before the war and was a strong proponent of closer ties with Britain and the United States. Yoshida, who engaged with Konoe and other like-minded people in a futile effort to bring the fighting to an end in the closing months of World War II, was arrested by military police and detained for 40 days.
Yoshida fell ill after being released. The war ended while he was recuperating in Oiso, Kanagawa Prefecture.
 麻生首相の祖父、吉田茂は戦前駐英大使を務め、英米との連携を強く主張した。戦争末期には、近衛元首相らと連携して終戦工作に動き、憲兵隊に逮捕された。
 40日間拘束され、釈放されたあと、病に倒れ、神奈川県大磯の別宅で静養中に終戦を迎えた。

Hatoyama's grandfather, former Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama, was a lawmaker focused on party politics who had served as education minister. Hatoyama clashed with Tojo and, as a result, he had to spend some time in seclusion at a villa in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture. He listened to the radio broadcast in which Emperor Showa announced Japan's surrender while he was tucked away in Karuizawa.
 鳩山代表の祖父、鳩山一郎は文相なども務めた政党政治家だったが、東条首相と対立して軽井沢の別荘で隠とん生活を送った。玉音放送も軽井沢で聞いた。

While at his villa, Hatoyama regularly read a book written by Austro-Hungarian diplomat Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, who is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of European integration. The book stressed the need for "fraternal revolution." Hatoyama later translated the book under the title of "Jiyu to Jinsei" (Liberty and Life).
 別荘では、欧州統合の父とされるクーデンホーフ・カレルギーが「友愛革命」を説いた著書を愛読し、「自由と人生」と題して後に翻訳した。

===

Lessons of history

What historical lessons can Aso and Hatoyama learn from the bitter experiences of their grandfathers?
 戦後は首相を務めた2人のかつての苦い経験から、麻生首相と鳩山代表は、どのような歴史の教訓をくみとるだろうか。

Aso will observe the war anniversary for the first time since becoming prime minister. He has said he will not visit Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo because it would be wrong to make "the people who sacrificed their precious lives for the country" a matter of political contention.
 麻生首相は就任後初めて「終戦の日」を迎えるが、靖国神社には参拝しないという。「国家のために尊い命をささげた人たち」を政争の具などにするのは間違っていると、理由を語った。

Fourteen Class-A war criminals, including Tojo and Matsuoka, are enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine along with other war dead.
 靖国神社には、東条元首相や松岡元外相ら、14人の「A級戦犯」が合祀(ごうし)されている。

Some LDP members insist the Class-A war criminals must be enshrined elsewhere. Some other LDP members have advocated constructing a national memorial facility. However, the party has not formulated a united position on the matter.
 自民党内には、靖国神社に合祀された「A級戦犯」の分祀や国立追悼施設の建設の主張もあるが、党の方針は示されていない。

Hatoyama said he would not visit Yasukuni should he become prime minister, and he would urge his cabinet ministers to refrain from going to the shrine. Hatoyama has suggested he favors establishing a national memorial facility for the war dead.
 民主党の鳩山代表は、仮に首相になっても参拝せず、閣僚にも自粛を求めるとともに、国立追悼施設の設置に向けて取り組みを進める方針を示している。

DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada said he wants to have a group of experts discuss building a national facility, possibly making use of the Chidorigafuchi cemetery.
 岡田幹事長も、追悼施設について、千鳥ヶ淵戦没者墓苑を生かすことも含め有識者に議論してもらう考えを表明した。

Emperor Showa expressed concern that the essence of Yasukuni Shrine, a resting place for the spirits of the nation's war dead, has been distorted with the enshrinement of the Class-A war criminals.
 昭和天皇は、戦死者の魂を鎮めるという靖国神社の性格が「A級戦犯」の合祀で変わってしまうのではないかと懸念されていた。

Yasukuni Shrine insists the teachings of Shintoism prevent it from separating the war criminals from the shrine.
 靖国神社は、いったん合祀した「A級戦犯」の分祀は、神道の教学上できないとしている。

However, even if Yasukuni Shrine refuses to separately enshrine the Class-A war criminals, discussions about establishing a national facility will gain momentum regardless of the outcome of this month's general election.
 だが、神社側が分祀に応じない限り、選挙の結果がどうであれ、国立追悼施設建立に向けての議論は、勢いを増していくだろう。

It is time to deepen national-level discussions on the best way to pay tribute to the people who sacrificed their lives for the country, and to settle this issue.
 国のために尊い命を犠牲にした人々の追悼のあり方について、改めて国民的な議論を深め、結論を導き出す時期に来ているのではないだろうか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 15, 2009)
(2009年8月15日01時23分 読売新聞)

年金改革 党派の対立超え接点を探れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 14, 2009)
Compromise necessary for pension reform
年金改革 党派の対立超え接点を探れ(8月14日付・読売社説)

The pension system is the bedrock upon which the citizens of this nation build their postretirement life. However, if this system lacks stability, notions of a strong ultra-aging society will be nothing more than a pipe dream.
 年金制度は老後を支える根幹だ。これが揺らいでは、安定した超高齢社会は築けない。

In the last fiscal year, the rate of contributions paid by subscribers to the national pension scheme, which mainly covers self-employed and nonregular workers, declined to a record low of 62.1 percent. This figure is believed to reflect public distrust in the current system, with many people reportedly concerned about being unable to receive pension benefits, despite having paid premiums over many years.
 自営業者や非正規労働者などが支払う国民年金保険料の納付率は昨年度、過去最低の62・1%まで下がった。保険料を納めても年金を受け取れないのではないか、という不信感を反映したものだろう。

Evidently, the pension system will need to be fundamentally overhauled before public confidence can be restored.
 年金制度への信頼を取り戻すために、思い切った改革が必要であることは明らかだ。

===

Different visions

The Liberal Democratic Party pledged in its policy platforms for the upcoming House of Representatives election to offer help within three years to people who currently receive little or no pension benefits.
 自民党は、無年金・低年金者を3年以内に救済することを公約に掲げた。

More specifically, the party--in a shared pledge with its coalition partner, New Komeito--proposed shortening the minimum period that people are required to pay premiums in order to qualify for pension benefits from the current 25 years to 10 years.
具体的には公明党との与党共通公約として、年金をもらうための最低加入期間を現行の25年から10年に短縮するなどとしている。

In addition, New Komeito proposed improvements aimed at guaranteeing minimum benefits for low-income earners by providing additional financial assistance from the state coffers.
公明党はさらに、低所得者に年金を上乗せして最低保障機能を充実することを唱えている。

Conversely, the Democratic Party of Japan proposed an all-encompassing pension program in which everyone would be asked to pay premiums in proportion to their income. The envisaged program also is designed to guarantee a minimum monthly pension income of 70,000 yen by drawing upon taxpayers' money to provide extra benefits. Such a move would transform the current pension scheme.
 一方、民主党は国民共通の所得比例年金を創設し、受け取り月額が7万円以上になるように税金で最低保障年金を上乗せする案を示した。新しい制度に移行する抜本改革である。

Though the ruling bloc's pension reform plans and the DPJ's ideas are significantly different, they are not completely incompatible.
 与党と民主党の年金改革案は大きく異なる。ただし、全く相いれないものではない。

Up until the previous House of Councillors election, the DPJ had said the basic pension portion of its minimum-guarantee pension scheme would rely entirely on taxpayers' money. This proposal thus gave the impression that the current premium-based system would be rebuilt from the ground up into a system that was fully funded by tax revenues.
 民主党は前回の参院選まで、自らが唱える最低保障年金について「基礎部分をすべて税にする」と説明し、現行の保険料方式を全額税方式に転換するかのように印象づけていた。

However, the party altered its rationale ahead of the upcoming lower house election. Under its newly drafted reform plan, the envisaged pension scheme would be based on benefits linked to the amount of premiums paid into the system by people during their working years, with the minimum-guarantee pension benefits complementing this income-linked pension.
 しかし、衆院選では説明を変えている。基本となるのは保険料による所得比例年金であり、最低保障年金はそれを補完する形に概念図を作り直した。

As a result of this new stance, friction lessened between the ruling and opposition blocs over whether a premium-based or tax-funded program was best suited to the nation's needs.
 この結果、保険料方式か全額税方式かという、これまでの与野党の対立は弱まった。

===

Cross-party challenge

The ruling parties continue to maintain that a domestic unified pension program should be this country's long-term goal.
 与党はかねて「最終的には年金制度の一元化が望ましい」としていた。

We believe the idea of a unified income-linked pension program to be worthy of serious consideration.
すべての国民が保険料方式の所得比例年金に入る構想は到達点として十分検討に値しよう。

However, the DPJ plan would require a long transitional period before the new system could be operated smoothly and effectively. Therefore, as proposed by the ruling parties, the government would need to take measures to financially support those people who had only small pensions, or no benefits at all.
 一方、民主党案も完成させるには長期の移行期間が必要であり、与党が主張するような、現に生じている無年金・低年金者への対策が不要になるわけではない。

The ruling and opposition blocs' pension reform proposals are not completely contradictory. As such, it would be possible to seek a compromise.
 年金改革に関して、与野党の主張は互いを全否定する関係にはなく、接点は見いだしうる。

As for coming debates on pension reform, voters should keep a close eye on which party or candidate seems the most constructively minded on the issue.
 有権者が見極めるべきは、建設的な姿勢で議論しているのは、どの政党、どの候補者か、という点であろう。

Whatever political shape the nation takes after the lower house election, reforming the pension system is a task that must be tackled across party lines.
 衆院選後に政権の枠組みがどうなろうとも、年金改革は超党派で取り組まねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 14, 2009)
(2009年8月14日01時13分 読売新聞)

サイバー攻撃 ネット社会に深刻な脅威だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 13, 2009)
Cyber attacks a threat to modern society
サイバー攻撃 ネット社会に深刻な脅威だ(8月13日付・読売社説)

Cyber attacks are a grave threat to the globe-spanning computer networks that underpin modern society and it is imperative that checks be made to ensure adequate countermeasures are in place to deal with potential problems in this country.
 世界規模でネットワーク化が進んだ現代社会にとって、サイバー攻撃は大きな脅威だ。国内の対策は十分か、点検を怠るべきではない。

In early July, a spate of cyber attacks hit the Web sites of government organizations, banks and stock exchanges in the United States and South Korea.
 米国と韓国で、政府機関や銀行、証券取引所などのウェブサイトが先月上旬、集中的なサイバー攻撃の標的となった。

Internet bots, which can remotely control the computers of unsuspecting users, were used to launch the attacks. Using such hijacked computers, the hackers simultaneously sent enormous volumes of data to particular Web sites, forcing them to shut down.
 使われたのはボット・ウイルスだ。ボットに感染したコンピューターは外部から遠隔操作が可能になる。ハッカーは、乗っ取った多数のコンピューターから、大量のデータを標的のサイトに一斉に送りつけて機能まひに陥らせた。

The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in South Korea were compounded by the destruction of data, which meant it took many of the affected organizations a considerable time to restore their Web sites.
 韓国では、この「DDoS(ディードス=分散型サービス拒否)攻撃」のほかに、データが破壊される被害も重なって、サイトの復旧に時間がかかった。

===

North Korean involvement?

According to global information security experts, the attacks were launched from about 170,000 bot-infected computers in 74 countries. Though it is highly suspected that North Korea or pro-North Korean groups had a hand in the cyber offensives, it is difficult to conclusively identify the attackers.
 各国の情報セキュリティー専門家の解析から、74か国計17万台のボット感染のコンピューターが攻撃に使われ、北朝鮮もしくは親北朝鮮勢力が関与した疑いが濃厚とみられている。ただ、具体的に特定することは困難という。

However, if North Korea was involved in the attacks in some form, it is likely that Japan will be targeted at some point in the future. We hope careful analyses of the U.S. and South Korean cases will help bolster domestic countermeasures against such attacks.
 仮に北朝鮮が何らかの形で関与していたのなら、日本がいつ標的になるとも限らない。米韓の事例を詳細に分析し、国内対策に役立てるようにしてほしい。

As exemplified by these recent events, government Web sites are the prime targets for cyber assaults.
 米韓のケースをみてもわかる通り、政府系のウェブサイトは真っ先に攻撃対象となる。

While government Web sites are becoming increasingly convenient for the public--such as by allowing people to file income tax returns online, among other tasks--the fact that anyone can access these networks leaves such computer systems vulnerable to cyber attacks.
 政府系サイトは、確定申告をはじめオンライン申請できるなど利便性が向上している反面、ネットワークを通じて誰でも接続できるため、サイバー攻撃のリスクがつきまとう。

At the end of July, the Education, Science and Technology Ministry's Web site was tampered with by an unidentified person or group. As a result, it was possible to access with a single click a Web site written in Chinese. Although no real damage was confirmed, this was typical of the kind of malicious behavior that drives hackers to send out computer-infecting bots.
 先月末には、文部科学省のサイトが何者かに改竄(かいざん)された。クリックすると、中国語のサイトにつながる状態になっていた。実害は確認されていないが、ボット感染させる典型的な手口だ。

We hope the government, led primarily by the Cabinet Secretariat's National Information Security Center, will closely monitor the situation and take the requisite steps to ensure security is given high priority.
 内閣官房情報セキュリティセンターを中心に、監視の目が十分行き届くようにしてもらいたい。

===

Vigilance required

In terms of countermeasures, individuals, too, also have an important role to play. It has been confirmed that many Japan-based computers were unknowingly involved in the recent digital bombardment of U.S. and South Korean Web sites. According to a government estimate, there are about 300,000 bot-infected computers in Japan.
 個々人の対策も欠かせない。米韓でのサイバー攻撃では、日本国内のパソコンも多数利用されたことが確認済みだ。政府の推計では、ボット感染している日本国内のパソコンは30万台にのぼる。

The most important single step that users can take to protect their computers is to install antivirus software and make sure that it always runs the latest version. Running an up-to-date operating system, such as Windows, also is an effective countermeasure. The Web site of the government-operated Cyber Clean Center offers users a free check to learn whether their computers are infected with bots.
 基本はウイルス対策ソフトを組み込み、常に最新版に更新しておくことだ。ウィンドウズなど基本ソフトの更新も必要だ。政府が運営する「サイバークリーンセンター」のホームページでは、ボット感染の自己チェックもできる。

Let us hope we can all avoid becoming unwitting accomplices in bot-based cyber attacks.
 知らぬ間にボット感染し、サイバー攻撃の片棒を担がされることのないようにしたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 13, 2009)
(2009年8月13日01時09分 読売新聞)

消費税引き上げ 必要性を率直に国民に説け

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 9, 2009)
Parties must explain need for consumption tax hike
消費税引き上げ 必要性を率直に国民に説け(8月9日付・読売社説)

It is time to answer the question of how to secure the financial resources needed to make the social security system sustainable.
 社会保障制度を持続可能にする財源をどう確保するか、もう答えを出す時ではないか。

Most of the public understand that the consumption tax, which spreads the burden on taxpayers broadly and thinly, is the only tax that can be tapped to provide a stable source of financing.
 安定財源となり得るのは、広く薄く負担を求める消費税しかないことは多くの国民が理解している。

But deep debate on the consumption tax among the ruling and opposition parties in the run-up to the House of Representatives election is yet to occur. Even if the parties argue that priority should be given to economic recovery or thorough expenditure cuts, they also should try to show how a consumption tax rate hike might be achieved.
 だが、衆院選に向けた与野党の消費税議論は一向に深まっていない。景気回復や歳出削減の徹底が先だとしても、与野党は選挙戦を通じて、将来の引き上げの具体像を示すよう努めるべきだ。

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party specifies in its manifesto that it will take the necessary legal steps by fiscal 2011 to implement drastic reform of the taxation system--including consumption tax changes--immediately after the economy turns for the better.
 自民党は消費税を含む税制抜本改革について、「2011年度までに必要な法制上の措置を講じ、経済状況の好転後、遅滞なく実施する」と政権公約に明記した。

The LDP will designate the consumption tax as a special purpose tax, allowing it to allot all the increased revenue to social security programs, while gradually raising the consumption tax rate. The party also stated a deadline for completion of the preparation stage, which seems to be a responsible attitude for a ruling party.
 増収分の全額を社会保障財源に充てる目的税化を行い、税率を段階的に引き上げる。その準備を終える期限を約束したのは、責任ある姿勢といえるだろう。

In the 2005 lower house election, the ruling bloc pledged to implement drastic reform, including consumption tax reform, around fiscal 2007, but failed to fulfill their promise. If it intends to tackle the reform issue seriously this time, it should clearly state what the tax rate will be and when it will be raised.
 与党は05年の前回衆院選で、07年度をメドに消費税などの抜本改革を実現すると公約したが、果たせなかった。今回は真剣に取り組むというなら、税率や引き上げ時期をはっきりさせるべきだ。

===

DPJ must explain position

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan said in its manifesto that it will not raise the consumption tax rate in the coming four years. In the run-up to the 2005 lower house election, the DPJ said it backed a three percentage point consumption tax rate hike. So far, the party has not sufficiently explained to the public why it has decided there is no need to raise the tax rate this time.
 民主党は、今後4年間は消費税率は引き上げないという。前回衆院選では年金目的消費税として、3%の引き上げを掲げていた。なぜ今回は引き上げを不要としたのか、十分な説明はない。

As part of its program for taxation reform announced in December 2008, the DPJ said the importance of the consumption tax would continue to grow and that it intended to draw up a framework for tax reform, including consumption tax changes, during its first term if it gains power.
 昨年暮れの「税制抜本改革アクションプログラム」では、「消費税の重要性はますます高まる」とし、民主党政権の最初の任期中に消費税を含む税制改革の制度設計を進めることを明記した。

If the DPJ intends to use the consumption tax as a financial resource to fund the social security system and begin to draw up a plan for drastic taxation reform, little would separate the DPJ and LDP on the issue. The DPJ therefore needs to admit it is necessary to increase the consumption tax burden and frankly explain the reasons why to the public.
 社会保障財源として消費税を活用し、その制度設計を始めるなら、与党が示した道筋と大差はない。ならば、国民に負担増の必要性を率直に説くべきではないか。

===

Scope for a rate increase

At 25 percent, Sweden has the highest consumption tax rate in Europe, with value-added tax rates in much of the continent, including Britain, France and Germany, ranging from 15 percent to 20 percent. Those of China and South Korea are 17 percent and 10 percent, respectively, making Japan's 5 percent rather exceptional.
 スウェーデンの25%を筆頭に、イギリス、ドイツ、フランスなど欧州の付加価値税の税率は、15~20%が当たり前だ。中国は17%、韓国でも10%だ。日本の5%は、むしろ例外的といえる。

It is necessary to take into consideration the effect on low-income earners whose burden will become larger if the consumption tax rate is raised.
 引き上げで負担が増える低所得者に対する配慮は必要だ。

By allotting some of the increased revenue to the financing of social security programs, the benefits received by low-income earners can be increased. But at the same time, the question of what the reduced tax rate should be on daily necessities will arise. It will be necessary to consider making mandatory an invoicing system in which various taxes would have to be recorded on an itemized bill whenever a purchase is made.
増収分を社会保障に回すことで低所得者への給付は手厚くなるが、同時に生活必需品への軽減税率の適用も課題になる。インボイス(伝票)方式の検討も避けて通れまい。

The DPJ is proposing a system that would see low-income earners given payments equivalent to the consumption tax levied on daily necessities, but this leaves key problems unaddressed, including how to accurately assess each low-income earner's income. So, it is more realistic to first consider applying a lower tax rate on daily necessities than on other items.
 民主党は生活必需品の消費税相当額を低所得者に還元する「給付つき消費税額控除」を提唱しているが、実現には所得把握の方法など難題を抱えている。まず軽減税率を考えた方が現実的だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 9, 2009)
(2009年8月9日01時19分 読売新聞)

政権公約選挙 正しい方向なら変更は当然だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 8, 2009)
Parties should be open to revising election vows
政権公約選挙 正しい方向なら変更は当然だ(8月8日付・読売社説)

Obviously, it is important for politicians to try to stick to election pledges. However, if they treat pledges as if they are set in stone, they may face problems in meeting their political obligations.
 公約を「守る」ことが大切なのは確かだが、金科玉条のごとく「守る」ことだけにこだわれば、現実の政治には不具合が生じよう。

The Aug. 30 poll will be the third House of Representatives election for which political parties have announced their policy platforms, along with proposed revenue sources and deadlines for implementation, since the practice began in 2003.
 各政党が政策ごとに財源や実施期限を明示した政権公約を掲げて衆院選を実施するのは、2003年以来、3度目となる。

Academics who proposed such an approach have stressed the need to review previous election pledges each time a lower house election is held.
これを提言した学者らは、衆院選のたびに過去の公約を点検することが重要だと説いた。

In keeping with this goal, a number of organizations recently held a joint meeting to rate the degree to which the ruling bloc has met manifesto pledges laid out ahead of the 2005 lower house election.
 この提言に沿って、与党の05年公約の達成度を検証する集会が先日、開かれた。

The organizations were critical of the ruling parties, saying that the structural reform drive promoted by the cabinet of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had been gradually adjusted over the past four years.
参加した各団体は「小泉内閣の構造改革路線が、なし崩し的に修正された」と批判した。

However, when judging the ruling parties' success, it is dangerous to simply focus on whether the points as laid out in their manifestos four years ago have been attained.
 だが、4年前の公約通りに実践したかどうかだけを判断基準にするのは危険だ。

===

Changing realities of reform

The negative effects of Koizumi's reform drive, such as widening social and economic disparities, started to become evident after the last lower house election in 2005. In addition, the country later entered a dramatic economic downturn as a result of the global economic crisis that began last autumn.
 格差拡大など小泉改革の「影」の部分が問題化したのは、前回衆院選以降のことだ。経済が急減速したのも、世界同時不況の影響が広がった昨年秋以降である。

If cabinets that succeeded the Koizumi administration had continued belt-tightening policies--neglecting economic current conditions and failing to take into account problems resulting from market-based structural reforms, such as widening disparities--the Japanese economy likely would have been thrown into chaos.
 もし「小泉後」の歴代内閣が、格差拡大を生んだ市場原理主義的な構造改革の弊害を省みず、景気動向を無視して緊縮財政路線を続けていれば、日本の経済は今ごろ大混乱していただろう。

It is therefore essential to maintain flexibility and a willingness to modify policies in response to changing economic and political realities.
 政治や経済の環境変化に合わせて政策を修正する柔軟さまで否定すべきではない。

At the same time, it is important for policymakers to offer a clear explanation to voters of why such adjustments are necessary.
ただ、その前提として、変更の理由は有権者にきちんと説明する必要はあろう。

However, simply judging the ruling parties' pledges while ignoring the implications of the opposition's proposals also is questionable--the Democratic Party of Japan is battling with the ruling parties for power in the upcoming lower house race, and it is therefore only right that its policy pledges come in for scrutiny.
 与党の公約達成度だけを問題にするのも疑問だ。政権の座を争う以上、民主党の公約も厳しくチェックしないとバランスを欠く。

===

DPJ must be flexible

The DPJ stated in its 2005 manifesto that the party would "undertake" a revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement with a view to having U.S. bases in Okinawa Prefecture relocated out of the country.
 民主党は05年の公約に、日米地位協定の改定に「着手」し、在沖縄米軍基地の「国外への移転」を目指すと明記していた。

But if the DPJ had seized power in the 2005 election and followed through with its election pledges, cracks would have been created in Japan-U.S. relations. Acceptance of this reality is evident in the DPJ's decision to change the phrasing regarding the bilateral accord from "undertake" to "propose" and drop the reference to relocation overseas in its latest manifesto.
 05年の衆院選で民主党政権が誕生し、公約通りに行動していれば、日米関係に亀裂が生じる事態に陥っただろう。そのことは、民主党が今回、「着手」を「提起」に改め、国外移転の文言を削除したことが雄弁に物語っている。

Of course, it is not right to judge the DPJ's pledges solely on their consistency--if positive changes are made they should be welcomed.
 無論、民主党の公約点検でも、「ぶれた」かどうかを唯一の物差しにするのは誤りだ。望ましい方向への修正なら、むしろ歓迎すべきことだ。

The DPJ reportedly plans to modify wording on decentralization and a Japan-U.S. free trade agreement in its election pledges.
 民主党は、地方分権や日米自由貿易協定(FTA)の記述で公約の修正を行うという。

Apart from this, there are some pledges whose feasibility is doubtful and which are written in an extremely ambiguous way, especially on security and global environment issues, among others.
 ほかにも、安全保障政策や地球環境問題をはじめ、実現可能性を疑われたり、表現が極めて曖昧(あいまい)だったりする公約がある。

The party must therefore continue to carefully examine and reflect on its manifesto pledges until the election is officially announced, and it must not hesitate to revise them if necessary.
公示まで精査に努め、必要であれば修正もためらうべきではない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 8, 2009)
(2009年8月8日01時23分 読売新聞)

裁判員判決 検証の積み重ねが欠かせない

Lay judge system should be monitored, improved
The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 7, 2009)
裁判員判決 検証の積み重ねが欠かせない(8月7日付・読売社説)

The nation's first lay judge trial has ended. Many more trials in which ordinary citizens participate as lay judges in criminal cases are expected to follow across the country.
 裁判員が関与した初の裁判が終了した。今後も全国で裁判が相次ぐ。

It is vital that people in the judicial world look for any shortcomings or problems in lay judge trials, including the one that just ended Thursday, and rectify them so the lay judge system can be improved.
法曹関係者は今回も含め、問題点を洗い出して検証し、裁判員制度を改善していくことが肝要である。

The first lay judge trial dealt with a murder that took place on a Tokyo street in May. A 72-year-old man had been accused of stabbing to death his 66-year-old female neighbor with a survival knife.
 審理されたのは、東京で5月に起きた路上殺人事件だった。66歳の女性をサバイバルナイフで刺殺したとして、近所の72歳の男が殺人罪に問われた。

The Tokyo District Court courtroom where the trial was conducted looked completely different to courtrooms in the past. Three professional judges in robes were flanked by six lay judges wearing their everyday clothes.
 東京地裁の法廷は様変わりした。法服姿の3人の裁判官の両脇に私服の裁判員6人が並んだ。

Prosecutors and lawyers showed images on monitors and paraphrased hard-to-comprehend technical terms with plain language.
 検察官と弁護人はモニターに画像を映し、難解な専門用語を平易な言葉に言い換えた。

As one example, a prosecutor explained that a "defensive wound"--which was found on the woman's body--is an injury sustained when a victim tries to use their hand, arm or other body part to block an assault by an assailant with a sharp weapon.
 検察官が被害者の「防御創」について、「刃物で刺されそうになった時、とっさに手で受け止めようとしてできる傷のこと」と説明したのは、その典型だ。

We welcome such changes because they will help the general public more easily understand what is discussed during trials.
裁判の内容が一般にも分かりやすくなったのは、歓迎すべきことである。

===

Heavy burdens

The trial focused on determining the punishment for the defendant, who had admitted to killing the woman. The crux of the decision centered on to what degree the defendant had intended to kill the woman.
 被告は犯行を認めていたため、裁判の争点は量刑に絞られていた。どれだけ強い殺意を持って被害者を刺したかが、量刑を決めるポイントだった。

One lay judge asked the defendant why he decided to go and fetch a knife while he was quarreling with the victim. Such questions indicated the lay judges' willingness to determine for themselves the degree of the defendant's intent to commit murder.
 裁判員は、「言い争いになった時、なぜナイフを持っていこうと思ったのか」などと被告に問いかけた。殺意の度合いを見極めようという姿勢がうかがえた。

While prosecutors demanded a 16-year term of imprisonment, the court sentenced the defendant to 15 years in prison, acknowledging that he stabbed the woman with a strong intent despite being aware that doing so would result in her death. The court handed down a ruling in line with the argument put forward by prosecutors.
 懲役16年の求刑に対し、判決は懲役15年だった。「死亡させると分かりながら、強い攻撃意思を持って刺した」と認定した。検察側の主張に沿った判断である。

During the four-day trial, a female lay judge averted her eyes when images of the victim's body were shown on a monitor. Another female judge was unable to appear in court on the third day because she was feeling unwell due to a cold. She was replaced with a male "supplementary" lay judge.
 4日間の公判では、遺体の写真をモニターで見た女性裁判員が、目をそらす場面があった。別の女性裁判員は風邪で体調を崩し、男性の補充裁判員に交代した。

The daily trial undoubtedly placed a heavy strain on lay judges. In cases when lay judges are asked to make even tougher decisions, such as choosing between the death penalty or an indefinite prison term, they likely will bear an even heavier burden.
 連日の公判が、裁判員にとって大きな負担であったことは間違いあるまい。死刑か無期懲役かの判断などを迫られる裁判では、負担は、さらに増すだろう。

In this regard, the Supreme Court must do everything it can to take care of the lay judges' mental condition, such as ensuring the smooth operation of the counseling service counter that has been set up to give advice to lay judges.
 最高裁は、既に設置した電話相談窓口を円滑に機能させるなど、裁判員の心のケア対策に万全を期していく必要がある。

===

Weighty responsibility

Another issue that needs careful consideration is how to select lay judges.
 裁判員の選考方法も検討課題といえよう。

In the Tokyo District Court trial, the six lay judges randomly chosen by the court turned out to be five women and one man. But for trials on cases involving sex offenses, we wonder whether the age and gender balance of the lay judges could subtly affect rulings.
今回、地裁が無作為で選んだ裁判員は、女性5人、男性1人だったが、性犯罪などの裁判で、男女の比率や年齢構成が偏ると、判決内容に微妙な影響が及ぶことはないだろうか。

After the ruling Thursday, the six lay judges and a supplementary citizen judge attended a press conference. "I sincerely felt the heavy responsibility I bore in judging a person," one said.
 判決後、裁判員全員が会見に応じ、「人を裁くという重大なことを担わされている思いをひしひしと感じた」などと語った。

This comment should be kept in mind, given that any of us could be asked to serve as a lay judge any time soon.
いつ自分が選ばれるか分からないだけに、裁判員の生の声は、大いに参考になるはずだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 7, 2009)
(2009年8月7日01時15分 読売新聞)

原爆忌 オバマ非核演説をどう生かす

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 6, 2009)
Obama's nonnuclear goal worthy but difficult
原爆忌 オバマ非核演説をどう生かす(8月6日付・読売社説)

It has been 64 years since atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and this year a ray of light appeared to illuminate the profound desire of those who experienced the terrible devastation of the atomic bombings to see a world free of nuclear weapons.
 広島、長崎への原爆投下から64年がたつ。惨禍を経験した人々の核廃絶への切なる願いに、今年は一筋の光明が差しているようにみえる。

This light was the speech by U.S. President Barack Obama in Prague in April.
 オバマ米大統領による今年4月のプラハ演説である。

In the speech, Obama clarified that "the United States has a moral responsibility" to lead an effort to realize a world without nuclear weapons "as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon."
 大統領は、「核兵器を使用したことがある唯一の核保有国」として、「核兵器のない世界」の実現に向けて「行動する道義的責任」があると明言した。

The speech was not an admission of responsibility by Obama over using destructive weapons on Japan, which was unable to continue fighting at the time.
 むろん、当時、継戦能力を失っていた日本に対し、残虐兵器を使ったこと自体の責任を認めたわけではない。

However, it is no surprise that this speech by the U.S. president, whose country tends to justify the dropping of the atomic bombs, has brought excitement and hope to people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
 しかし、原爆投下を正当化する風潮が、なお根強く残る米国の大統領のこの発言が、ヒロシマ、ナガサキに感動と希望をもたらしたことは、疑いがない。

We hope Obama, without betraying those hopes, exerts leadership by promoting talks on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia as well as leading the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
 オバマ大統領は、この気持ちを裏切ることなく、ロシアとの新核軍縮交渉推進や、米国の核実験全面禁止条約(CTBT)批准に、指導力を発揮してもらいたい。

===

New treaty for new times

We also need to look at another aspect of Obama's speech.
 オバマ演説のもう一つの側面にも、目を向ける必要がある。

Obama said of eliminating nuclear weapons: "This goal will not be reached quickly--perhaps not in my lifetime." The current state of the world's nuclear weapons is precarious.
 大統領は演説で、核廃絶は「おそらく私の生きているうちには達成されない」と述べた。世界の核状況はそれだけ厳しい。

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which bans the possession of nuclear weapons except by five nations--Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States--has become a mere facade since India and Pakistan became nuclear powers. And even among the five nations, China has been building up its nuclear arms.
 米露英仏中の5か国以外の核保有を禁じた核拡散防止条約(NPT)体制は、インド、パキスタンの核保有以降、形骸(けいがい)化の一途だ。5か国の中でも、中国のように核軍拡を進めている国もある。

There also is a growing risk that nuclear weapons and related materials could fall into the hands of terrorists.
 テロリストの手に核兵器・関連物質が渡る危険も増している。

The United States is at last seriously addressing the issue of nuclear disarmament--a responsibility is shoulders as a nuclear power under the NPT--a move being touted as a way to thwart the potential for nuclear terrorism, which the United States fears most.
 核保有国のNPT上の責務である軍縮に、米国がようやく本腰を入れるのも、最も危惧(きぐ)している「核テロ」を阻止するため、と指摘されている。

===

Still under the U.S. umbrella?

Japan also faces serious threats from nuclear weapons.
 日本も、深刻な核の脅威の下にある。

Earlier this year, North Korea aggressively conducted missile launches and a second nuclear test.
北朝鮮は先にミサイル発射や2度目の核実験を強行した。

Japan has to depend on the U.S. nuclear umbrella to be safe from any North Korean nuclear missile and other military threats. After Obama's speech, it is not surprising that the government has tried to reconfirm with the United States the protection of the nuclear umbrella, as Japan fears a weakened nuclear deterrence.
 北朝鮮の核ミサイルなどに対して日本は、米国の「核の傘」に頼らざるを得ない。オバマ演説のあと、日本政府が、核抑止力の低下を懸念して「傘」の再確認に動いているのは当然のことだ。


Meanwhile, Katsuya Okada, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, stressed that Japan should make the United States pledge that it will never preemptively use nuclear weapons.
 他方、民主党の岡田幹事長は、米国に核の先制不使用を宣言するよう主張すべきだと言う。

He explained that this would not prohibit U.S. retaliations if a hostile nation strikes first, which he said would partly expose Japan from the protection of the nuclear umbrella. But doesn't this render useless the protection afforded by the umbrella?
 敵国の先制使用に対して、米国の報復まで禁止するわけでないから、「核の傘」から半分外れると説明するが、これでは「傘」は役立たないのではないか。

While seeking the elimination of nuclear weapons, the grave reality is that we must also depend on the nuclear deterrent. It is vital that nuclear disarmament be tackled without having it threaten Japan's peace and security.
 核廃絶を希求する一方で、核抑止力に依存せねばならぬ重い現実がある。核軍縮も、日本の平和と安全が損なわれないよう、着実に取り組むことが肝要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 6, 2009)
(2009年8月6日01時24分 読売新聞)

防衛有識者会議 大胆な提言を新大綱に生かせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 5, 2009)
New defense guidelines should reflect bold ideas
防衛有識者会議 大胆な提言を新大綱に生かせ(8月5日付・読売社説)

A report was presented to Prime Minister Taro Aso on Tuesday by a group of experts studying the revision of the National Defense Program Guidelines, which define how to maintain Japan's defense capabilities. The panel's report contains a number of daring and important proposals.
 防衛力整備の指針である「防衛計画の大綱」の改定を検討してきた有識者会議が、報告書を麻生首相に提出した。大胆かつ重要な提言が多数含まれている。

To ensure the nation's peace and security amid the changes taking place in the international security environment, it is imperative that traditional taboos be cast aside and that a review takes place of defense policy and the organization of Self-Defense Forces units and the defense equipment available to them.
 国際的な安全保障環境が変化する中、日本の平和と安全を確保し続けるには、従来のタブーを排し、防衛政策や自衛隊の部隊編成・装備を見直すことが肝要だ。

Whichever party takes office after the Aug. 30 House of Representatives election, efforts should be made to reflect the group's proposals as much as possible in the new defense guidelines that are due to be formulated by the end of this year.
 衆院選後の政権をどの政党が担うにせよ、年末に策定する予定の新防衛大綱に、この提言を極力反映させるよう努めるべきだ。

In the report, the experts said that the ability of the United States to be the driving force of "a free and open global system" has weakened in relative terms. Therefore, Japan and European countries need to make up for the United States' declining influence and try to solve international security problems with a joint approach, according to the panel.
 報告書は、「自由で開かれた国際システム」を牽引(けんいん)してきた米国の力が相対的に低下したとの現状認識を示した。そのため、日本や欧州諸国が共同で米国を補完し、国際的な安全保障問題の解決を目指す必要性を主張する。

===

Review PKO participation rules

In concrete terms, the report proposed a review of the nation's five principles for participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations (PKOs) and a revision of the U.N. Peacekeeping Activities Cooperation Law so that SDF troops can more actively participate in peace cooperation activities.
 具体的には、自衛隊が国際平和協力活動に、より積極的に参加するよう、国連平和維持活動(PKO)の参加5原則の見直しやPKO協力法の改正を提唱した。

The threats of international terrorism and piracy in the waters off Somalia symbolize the reality that Japan's security is tied to world peace. The nation has a responsibility to play a part in peace-building efforts by the international community. However, only 39 Japanese were participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations as of June 30, a figure that places Japan only 82nd in the world.
 国際テロや海賊の脅威に象徴されるように、日本の安全は世界の平和と連動している。日本は国際社会による平和構築活動の一翼を担う責任がある。だが、日本の6月末のPKO参加人数は39人で、世界82位にすぎない。

To increase the number of SDF members participating in PKOs, it is important to develop a system enabling the dispatch of troops flexibly in line with the actual circumstances of such missions. It is also necessary to relax existing rules on the use of weapons and develop permanent legislation on the dispatch of SDF members abroad.
 自衛隊の参加を増やすには、PKOの実態に即して、柔軟に部隊を派遣する体制を整えることが大切だ。武器使用権限の拡大と、自衛隊の海外派遣に関する恒久法の整備にも取り組む必要がある。

===

How to interpret Constitution?

In the report, the panel also urged the government to change its interpretation of the Constitution to enable the nation to exercise its right to collective self-defense so that the SDF can intercept ballistic missiles heading toward the United States and protect U.S. Navy ships monitoring missile launches.
 報告書は、集団的自衛権について、米国に向かう弾道ミサイルの迎撃や、ミサイルを警戒する米軍艦船の防護を可能にするよう、政府の憲法解釈の変更を求めた。

When North Korea fired a ballistic missile in April, the SDF and U.S. forces worked together to deal with the situation. To further strengthen confidence in the Japan-U.S. alliance, the government should change its constitutional interpretation as soon as possible.
 4月の北朝鮮のミサイル発射時に自衛隊と米軍は共同対処した。日米同盟の信頼性を高めるには政府解釈の変更を急ぐべきだ。

On the question of whether the nation should possess the capability of attacking bases in enemy territory, the panel stressed in the report that Japan should study the suitability and cost-effectiveness of equipment and operational procedures to this end on the condition that should such contingencies arise Tokyo and Washington would work together to deal with them.
 報告書は、敵基地攻撃能力の保有についても、日米共同対処を前提に、日本として適切な装備体系や運用方法、費用対効果を検討する必要性を強調している。

Calmly discussing what responsibilities Tokyo can share with Washington to help supplement the offensive capabilities of U.S. forces has huge significance.
 米国の攻撃力を補完する形で、どんな役割分担が可能かを冷静に議論する意味は大きい。

The report said the nation's three principles for banning arms exports were preventing Japan from participating in international research projects for developing and producing weapons and that these should be made exceptions to the rules. They also proposed that the ban on the export of weapons to support efforts against terrorism and piracy should also be lifted.
 武器輸出3原則について、報告書は、日本が装備品の国際的な共同開発・生産に参加できない問題を指摘し、3原則の例外化を求めた。テロ・海賊対策支援目的の輸出の解禁も提唱した。

In addition to Japan not being left behind when it comes to state-of-the-art military technology, it should also be a matter of course that Japan allows the export of weapons when this can serve as a contribution to global peace.
 日本が最新の軍事技術から取り残される事態は避けるべきだし、国際平和に寄与する武器輸出は容認するのが当然だろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 5, 2009)
(2009年8月5日02時09分 読売新聞)

私大定員割れ 特色作りで活路を見いだせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 4, 2009)
Specialty key to survival of private universities
私大定員割れ 特色作りで活路を見いだせ(8月4日付・読売社説)

With the shakeout of private universities having finally begun, these institutions must seriously take to heart the fact that those among their number that cannot demonstrate a specialty will no longer be able to survive.
 大学の淘汰(とうた)がいよいよ始まったということだろう。特色を打ち出せない大学は、生き残れない時代だということを肝に銘じなければなるまい。

A survey released Thursday by the Promotion and Mutual Aid Corporation for Private Schools of Japan found that 46.5 percent of four-year private universities were underenrolled at the start of this academic year, almost the same level as last academic year, while 69.1 percent of two-year private junior colleges were in such a situation, a slight increase from last academic year.
 日本私立学校振興・共済事業団が、今年度の大学・短大への入学者数などを発表した。定員割れは昨年度と比べ、4年制大学はほぼ横ばいの46・5%、短大は微増の69・1%に上っている。

Since the beginning of this year, five private universities, including those run by joint-stock companies, have said they will stop accepting new students from next academic year.
 今年に入り、来年度からの学生募集停止を表明した大学は、株式会社立を含め既に5校ある。

Despite the fact that the population of 18-year-olds has been declining due to the low birthrate since academic year 1993, when it fell below 2 million, the number of universities and junior colleges has continued to rise, with the number of four-year private, and state-run and other public universities totaling as many as about 770. It is natural that universities that cannot demonstrate a specialty will be forced to close.
 18歳人口は、200万人を切った1993年度以降、少子化で減り続けているのに、大学数は増え続け、国公立を含めると、4年制大学だけで約770校ある。特色を出せない大学が退場を余儀なくされるのは、当然だろう。

===

Students' needs paramount

Stable university management will not be ensured merely by contriving to continuously recruit students through recommendation-based admission and interview- and essay-based tests, known as "admission office exams." It is very important that private universities offer attractive courses of study and clearly present their education policy and method of developing human resources so young people will be able to envision their future after they are educated there.
 推薦入試やAO入試で安易な学生集めを続けるだけでは、経営の安定は図れない。進学したいと思わせる教育課程を用意し、その教育を受ければどんな将来像が描けるのか、教育方針と人材育成の方法を明確に示すことが肝要だ。

At some private universities, people who have had careers in corporate management serve as president, and faculty and companies in their local community discuss and decide on study goals, textbooks and other educational materials. Other universities have established unique departments, including one specializing in manga.
 企業経営に携わった経験者を学長に据え、教員と地元の企業が協議して授業の目標や教材を決めたり、マンガ学部など独自の学部を設けたりする大学もある。

To increase the number of mature students holding down full-time jobs, which accounts for only about 2 percent of the total, private universities must also provide education that meets such students' various needs.
 2%程度しかいない社会人学生が増えるよう、需要に合った教育内容の提供も必要だろう。

The government's Central Education Council is currently discussing future university education from a mid- and long-term perspective. We hope the council will thoroughly discuss the appropriate number of universities and students.
 中央教育審議会は、中長期的な大学教育のあり方について審議中だ。大学数や学生数の適正規模もしっかり議論してもらいたい。

===

Safety net needed

It is noteworthy that the council's first report, compiled in June, emphasizes that the desirable size and nature of universities should be discussed from the perspective of different targets. The report lists seven such targets, including "nurturing professionals in a wide range of fields" and "social contribution."
 6月にまとめた第1次報告で注目されるのは、大学の規模や質のあり方を分野別に考えるよう強調していることだ。この中で、「幅広い職業人の養成」「社会貢献」など7分野を例示している。

In their respective proposals on human resources development, the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai) and the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) also are calling on universities to increase specialization in their areas of expertise.
 大学が得意分野に重点化していくことは、経済同友会や日本経団連がまとめた人材育成に関する提言でも求めている。

However, the Central Education Council should spell out in greater detail the targets it believes an ideal university should meet. We hope the council will work out this point before compiling its final report.
 ただ、分野別の例は、もっと具体的に示すべきではないか。最終報告までに練り上げてほしい。

The council has also proposed discussions on the establishment of a new higher educational body, specializing in vocational education, other than existing universities and junior colleges. The raison d'etre of junior colleges, whose main objectives include vocational education, therefore comes into question.
 中教審は、大学や短大とは別に職業教育に特化した新高等教育機関の検討も打ち出しており、職業教育を目的の一つとする短大は存在意義が問われている。

Cultivating a specialty is necessary, but it may also be a wise option for junior colleges to actively discuss transforming themselves into four-year universities as well as realigning and integrating.
 特色作りも必要だが、4年制大学への転換や再編・統合をもっと積極的に検討してもよい。

The population of 18-year-olds is expected to hover around 1.2 million for the next decade. Should private universities remain underenrolled, their management will face an increased danger of collapse. The Education, Science and Technology Ministry should prepare measures to deal with a possible collapse of universities, including a system to protect students enrolled in universities that fail.
 18歳人口は、今後も10年間程度は120万人前後で推移する。定員割れが続けば、経営破綻(はたん)の危機は高まる。文部科学省は、在学生が保護される仕組みなど破綻処理策を考えておく必要があろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 4, 2009)
(2009年8月4日00時43分 読売新聞)

最低賃金 まだ残る生活保護との逆転

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 3, 2009)
Minimum wage should always exceed welfare
最低賃金 まだ残る生活保護との逆転(8月3日付・読売社説)

The Central Minimum Wages Council, an advisory panel to the health, labor and welfare minister, has proposed to the minister reference increases for the minimum wage in fiscal 2009 that differ from prefecture to prefecture.
 厚生労働省の中央最低賃金審議会が、地域別最低賃金の今年度の引き上げの目安を示した。

The proposals are to leave unchanged the minimum wage in the 35 prefectures in which the minimum wage exceeds welfare benefit, and to raise the minimum wage in the remaining 12, including Tokyo, by 2 yen to 30 yen an hour.
 最低賃金が生活保護水準を上回る35県は据え置き、それ以外の12都道府県は、時給で2円から30円の引き上げを求める、という内容である。

If the panel's recommendation is adopted, the national average minimum wage would rise by between 7 yen and 9 yen to 710-712 yen an hour, which translates to a net monthly income of about 106,000 yen. Considering current economic conditions, such a hike would be a drastic one.
 この結果、最低賃金は全国平均で7~9円引き上げられ、時給で710~712円、月収換算すると、税などを控除して約10万6000円となる。経済状況からすれば、踏み込んだ決着となった。

A year-on-year comparison of the national average minimum wage shows that increases of 14 yen and 16 yen occurred in fiscal 2007 and 2008, respectively, representing double-digit growth for two consecutive years. But the rate of wage increases for small companies nationwide, which the advisory panel studies when working out the minimum wage reference increases, fell into negative territory in 2009.
 ここ2年は平均14円、16円と2ケタ増が続いたが、目安を審議する際に参考にしている全国の小規模企業の賃上げ率は、今年はマイナスに転じていた。

Panel members selected from labor circles sought an increase of 50 yen an hour in the minimum wage last year, but failed to demand a specific figure this year, no doubt in consideration of the severe business environment.
 昨年は時給50円増を求めた労働側委員も、今回は具体的な上げ幅を示さなかった。経営環境の厳しさを承知していたからだろう。

===

Panel's proposal no panacea

The Minimum Wages Law, which was revised in July 2008, calls for setting the minimum wage by factoring in employers' ability to pay wages and "harmonization of the minimum wage and welfare benefit."
 最低賃金法が昨年7月に改正され、事業主側の賃金支払い能力などに加え、新たに「生活保護との整合性」にも配慮して最低賃金を定めることが盛り込まれた。

Even in the current economic climate, if the panel had abandoned the goal of pursuing "harmonization of the minimum wage and welfare benefit" only two years after the law revision, its raison d'etre would have been called into question.
 景気が悪くても施行2年目でこれを放棄しては、審議会の存在が問われるところでもあった。

The problem of the minimum wage being below welfare benefit in the 12 prefectures will not be solved merely through the implementation of the panel's recommendation. In the case of Tokyo, if the minimum wage is raised in line with the panel's proposal, the amount would be increased from the current 766 yen an hour to a maximum 796 yen. But 796 yen an hour is 30 yen less than the amount of welfare benefit paid in the capital, in hourly terms.
 生活保護と逆転している12都道府県は、今回でそれが解消されるわけではない。東京都の場合、目安どおりアップすれば現状の時給766円から最大796円になるが、まだ時給で30円足りない。

The amount of welfare benefit is categorized in six ranks according to municipality (cities, towns and villages). The national average minimum wage is compared with the average amount of welfare benefit received by young, single people in each prefecture. In most of the 35 prefectures whose minimum wage the panel proposes be left as is, the amount of welfare benefit paid out in the capitals of those prefectures likely will exceed the minimum wage paid in those cities.
 生活保護は市町村ごとに6ランクに分けて決められている。最低賃金は若年単身者の都道府県別の平均額と比較するが、最低賃金が据え置かれた35県の多くも、県庁所在地で比べると、生活保護の方が上回るとみられている。

The advisory panels responsible for setting the minimum wage in each prefecture will decide how much to raise it based on the reference increases proposed by the central government panel, and the raises will be introduced from October. We hope the minimum wage will exceed welfare benefit in all the areas of each prefecture.
 今後、中央審が示した目安を参考に、都道府県ごとに地方審議会が引き上げ額を決定し、10月から改定される予定だ。都道府県内のどの地域でも生活保護を上回ることを目標にしてもらいたい。

===

Deeper discussions needed

If welfare benefit exceeds the minimum wage, workers who receive little more than that amount will lose the motivation to work, while people on welfare will have no incentive to find a job. "Harmonization of the minimum wage and welfare benefit" is an issue that should be seriously discussed next year and after, too.
 生活保護の方が高ければ、最低賃金ぎりぎりで働く人の就労意欲は失われ、生活保護者は職を探す気にならないだろう。「生活保護との整合性」は、来年以降もしっかりと追求していくべきだ。

With the increase in the number of nonregular workers, including part-time workers, the importance of the role of the minimum wage system as a social safety net is growing.
 パートなどの非正規労働者が増加し、安全網としての最低賃金制度の役割は増している。

The manifestos of each opposition party and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's coalition partner, New Komeito, for the next House of Representatives election propose a minimum wage of 1,000 yen an hour. But it is problematic to treat student part-timers on an equal footing with fatherless families when it comes to setting the minimum wage.
 野党各党や公明党は衆院選の公約で「時給1000円」の最低賃金を掲げているが、学生アルバイトと母子家庭では同一に論じられないという側面もある。

More intensive discussions on a fair minimum wage level and how to set such a level should be held, taking into account how this issue affects corporate management.
 企業経営への影響を含め、最低賃金のあり方や決定方法の議論を深めることが重要だろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 3, 2009)
(2009年8月3日01時21分 読売新聞)
クリック募金^^
プロフィール
自己紹介・リンク

■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
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seesaaサイト内リンク一覧:
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08 うまく言えないとき
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14 頼みごとをするとき
15 申し出・依頼を断るとき
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20 値段の尋ね方と断り方
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23 日時・場所・天候を尋ねるとき
24 その他

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01 雨の日にも傘をささないタイ人
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04 タイの市場
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