英字新聞

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2014年02月

徳田議員辞職 政界去っても説明責任は残る

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 26, 2014
Resignation is a start, but Tokuda is still accountable for an explanation
徳田議員辞職 政界去っても説明責任は残る(2月26日付・読売社説)

It is only reasonable that lawmaker Takeshi Tokuda has chosen to resign from the Diet, given the seriousness of the recent scandal concerning his relatives’ alleged involvement in massive election irregularities. We feel that his decision comes too late.
 大がかりな選挙違反に親族が関わった以上、辞職は当然である。むしろ、遅すぎた決断だったと言えよう。

On Monday, House of Representatives member Tokuda submitted a letter of resignation in connection with the scandal over violations of the Public Offices Election Law by people tied to the Tokushukai hospital group. His move comes after he left the Liberal Democratic Party in November.
 医療グループ「徳洲会」の公職選挙法違反事件で、自民党を離党した徳田毅衆院議員が、議員辞職願を提出した。

Since the scandal came to light last autumn, Tokuda has been frequently absent from plenary sessions of the lower house and committee meetings of the chamber. In this respect, he should be criticized as an extremely irresponsible Diet member.
 事件が発覚した昨秋以降、徳田氏は衆院の本会議や委員会を繰り返し欠席している。国会議員として無責任に過ぎる。

Shortly after tendering his resignation as a lawmaker, Tokuda gave a press conference in which he issued an apology for the first time in the ongoing scandal. However, he should have sought accountability when investigators first delved into suspicions surrounding individuals involved in his election campaign.
今回、初めて記者会見で謝罪したが、自らの陣営に司直のメスが入った時点で、説明責任を果たすべきだった。

The Tokushukai group is believed to have put more than ¥200 million to use bribing election campaigners and in efforts aimed at securing Tokuda’s win in the December 2012 lower house election.
 徳洲会は一昨年12月の衆院選で、総額2億円超の資金を運動員らの買収に充てたとみられている。

Prosecutors arrested and indicted his mother, two of his sisters and some other figures in connection with the case, though his father, Tokushukai founder Torao Tokuda, has not yet been charged due to his suffering from an intractable illness. The elder Tokuda formerly served as a lower house member as well.
グループ創業者で、徳田氏の父の虎雄元衆院議員は、難病のため立件されていないが、母親と2人の姉らが逮捕、起訴された。

The sentencing session in the trial of one of Takeshi Tokuda’s sisters is scheduled for Wednesday. During the prosecution’s probe into the case, the sister, the family’s second daughter, acknowledged her involvement in the alleged electoral irregularities.
 捜査段階で事件への関与を認めた次姉の判決公判が、3月5日に迫っている。

Tokuda’s resignation comes just as he was set to be stripped of his seat on the basis of the election law’s guilt-by-association provisions. It is believed that the legislator timed his resignation announcement in consideration of the hearing of his sister’s trial.
公選法の連座制の規定により、徳田氏の失職は避けられない状況になっていた。
 辞職表明は、親族の公判日程をにらんでのことだろう。

Tokuda’s selfish hopes

During Monday’s press conference, Tokuda said, “I’d appreciate it if [the judicial authorities] acted with leniency [in passing judgment on the case].” The remark apparently reflected a desire on Tokuda’s part that his voluntary resignation from the Diet would encourage authorities to consider extenuating circumstances surrounding his relatives and other indicted figures in their sentencing decisions. We find this an extremely self-serving attitude.
 記者会見で、徳田氏は「寛大な措置をお願いしたい」と述べ、自発的に議員辞職することで親族らの情状酌量を求めた。虫が良すぎると言うほかはない。

The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is investigating the case of the questionable transfer of ¥50 million in cash from Tokuda to former Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose. The focus of the probe, led by the prosecution’s special investigation squad, is whether the cash was intended to help finance Inose’s campaign for the Tokyo governorship in late 2012.
 東京地検特捜部は、現金5000万円が徳田氏から猪瀬直樹・前東京都知事に渡った問題について捜査を進めている。現金の趣旨が都知事選の選挙資金だったかどうかが、捜査の焦点だ。

If the money was offered to Inose to fund his election campaign, he and his election staff could be accused of neglecting to write the fund into a report on income and expenditures incurred through his electoral bid.
 仮に選挙資金であったのなら、選挙運動費用収支報告書に記載していなかった猪瀬氏側の刑事責任が問われる可能性もある。

At the press conference, Tokuda declined to comment on the purpose for which the cash was intended, despite having admitted that he and Inose discussed the gubernatorial election when they dined together. “I cannot talk [about the nature of the money],” he said.
 徳田氏は「猪瀬氏との会食で都知事選の話が出た」と述べたが、使途に関しては「私からはお話しできない」と明言を避けた。

Tokuda also declined to speak about the details of his conversation with Inose. He defended his refusal to comment, saying the scandal is under investigation. However, Inose’s acceptance of ¥50 million in cash from Tokuda is already known to the public. Given this, Tokuda, as a key figure in the case, should provide an appropriate explanation of the nature of the money transfer.
 捜査中であることなどを理由に、猪瀬氏とのやり取りも具体的には語らなかった。だが、5000万円の授受は公知の事実だ。徳田氏は一方の当事者として、きちんと説明すべきである。

The press conference also brought to light discrepancies in the explanations given by Tokuda and Inose about the funds. When asked whether Inose had asked him for the loan, Tokuda said, “I think so.”
 猪瀬氏の説明との食い違いも明らかになった。「猪瀬氏から貸してほしいとの依頼があったのか」との質問に、徳田氏は「そのように認識している」と答えた。

However, Inose has asserted that Tokuda himself made the offer to loan the money.
 猪瀬氏は、逆に徳田氏からの申し出だったと主張している。

Once again, we want Tokuda to explain his position on issues relevant to the scandal, including the Tokushukai group’s failed attempt to buy a hospital owned by the struggling Tokyo Electric Power Co.
 徳洲会が取得に動いた東京電力病院の売却問題も含め、徳田氏の詳細な説明を改めて聞きたい。

Tokuda’s resignation will mandate a by-election for his lower house seat in Kagoshima Constituency No. 2 in April. We hope the lessons learned from this scandal will be put into practice in how the election is conducted.
 徳田氏辞職に伴う衆院鹿児島2区の補選は4月に行われる。事件の反省に立った選挙にしたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 26, 2014)
(2014年2月26日01時31分  読売新聞)

ウクライナ政変 安定回復へ欧露の責任は重い

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 25, 2014
EU, Russia have grave responsibility to help Ukraine regain stability
ウクライナ政変 安定回復へ欧露の責任は重い(2月25日付・読売社説)

International cooperation is needed to help Ukraine regain its stability, a country beset by the rival influences of the European Union and Russia.
 欧州とロシアのはざまで揺れるウクライナの安定を回復させるため、国際的な協力が必要だ。

The administration of President Viktor Yanukovych has effectively collapsed, and Yanukovych was forced to leave Kiev in the face of fierce antigovernment protests.
 ウクライナのヤヌコビッチ政権が事実上崩壊した。大統領は、激しい反政府デモの中で、首都キエフからの退去を余儀なくされた。

The parliament has approved opposition leader Oleksandr Turchinov as acting head of state and decided to hold a presidential election in May. Yet, how the current chaotic situation will unfold remains uncertain.
 議会は、野党のトゥルチノフ氏を大統領代行として承認し、5月に大統領選を実施すると決議したが、混乱の行方は不透明だ。

Yanukovych’s downfall was triggered when he reneged on plans to sign an agreement with the EU in November, centering on a free-trade pact.
 ヤヌコビッチ氏失脚のきっかけは、欧州連合(EU)と、自由貿易を柱とする協定で合意したにもかかわらず、昨年11月、署名の段階で見送りを決めたことだ。

Wary of seeing Ukraine move closer to the EU, Russia is believed to have made blatant approaches to the country by promising large-scale economic assistance in return for postponing conclusion of the EU accord.
 ウクライナとEUの接近を警戒するロシアが、協定締結延期の見返りに大規模な経済支援を約束するなど、露骨な働きかけを行ったためと見られている。

The opposition and its supporters strongly protested and launched antigovernment demonstrations. Fighting between the opposition and security forces, which left more than 80 people dead this month, doomed the administration.
 野党とその支持者は強く反発し、反政府デモを始めた。今月に入り、治安部隊との衝突で、80人以上が死亡したことが、政権の命取りとなったと言えよう。

Historically, Ukraine’s western region has been strongly influenced by the West, while the eastern region looks toward Moscow. Ever since its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, pro-Russian groups have attached great importance to the country’s ties with Russia, while pro-EU factions have been trying to bring the country closer to the EU. The rivalry between the two groups resulted in repeated changes in administration.
 ウクライナは、歴史的に、西部は欧州、東部はロシアの強い影響を受けてきた。1991年の旧ソ連からの独立以降も、ロシアとの関係を重視する親露派と、EUとの接近を図る親欧州派が拮抗(きっこう)し、政権交代を繰り返した。

Shift to West likely

Yanukovych, seen as pro-Russian, was forced from power by pro-EU groups, and these groups, including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who had been imprisoned, seized power. Ukraine is likely to shift further toward the EU.
 親露派と見なされたヤヌコビッチ氏が権力の座から追われ、服役中だったチモシェンコ元首相ら親欧州派が実権を握ったことで、ウクライナは今後、EUへの傾斜を強めることになるだろう。

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who hopes to use the success of the Sochi Olympics to move forward with the economic reintegration of the former Soviet bloc, probably feels as if he has been doused with cold water.
 ソチ冬季五輪の成功で、旧ソ連圏の経済的再統合に弾みを付けたいプーチン大統領は、冷水を浴びせられた思いではないか。

If Putin, in an attempt to influence Ukraine, takes such hard-line measures as restricting supplies of natural gas to Ukraine, as Russia has in the past, the current turmoil will only worsen. We hope Russia will be prudent.
 プーチン氏が、ウクライナに影響力を行使しようとして、過去に行った天然ガス供給制限のような強硬措置をとるようなことがあれば、混乱は深刻化するだけだ。自重を求めたい。

The EU should coordinate its views with Russia to prevent the situation in Ukraine from deteriorating. We highly appreciate German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s telephone conversation with Putin in which they agreed that Ukraine’s territorial integrity must be upheld. They also concurred that splitting Ukraine into eastern and western regions should be avoided.
 EUは、事態悪化を防ぐため、ロシアとも調整しつつ関与すべきである。メルケル独首相が、プーチン氏と電話会談し、ウクライナの「領土の一体性維持」の必要性で一致し、東西分裂の回避で足並みをそろえたのは評価できる。

With its massive external debt, Ukraine is said to be in danger of default. Assistance from the international community, including the EU, is the key to the country regaining stability.
 ウクライナは、巨額の対外債務を抱え、債務不履行の危険さえ指摘されている。EUを始めとする国際社会の支援が、安定回復の鍵を握っている。

Ukraine, which experienced the devastating Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, has inked an accord with Japan on nuclear issues, exchanging information and experts. We should keep a keen eye on how developments will turn out in the days ahead.
 チェルノブイリの原子力発電所事故を経験したウクライナは、日本と協定を結んで情報交換や専門家交流を行っている。政権崩壊の行方を注視したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 25, 2014)
(2014年2月25日01時24分  読売新聞)

G20共同声明 世界成長2%底上げへ結束を

2013年に無謀とも思われる異次元金融緩和を実施した結果、円はあっという間にその価値を30%も下げてしまいました。
輸入品価格の高騰を考慮すれば、実質的な生活は苦しくなっているか、良くても横ばいだと思います。
自国の通貨の価値が下がって喜んでいるのは世界で日本だけじゃないでしょうか。
安部首相、三本目の矢はからぶりになる可能性が大です。
一番大切なのが三本目の矢なんですが、ない矢は放てないといったところではないでしょうか。
こちらは、ない袖は振れない状態ですが。
お互い、がんばりましょう^^。
(スラチャイ)

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 24, 2014
G-20 economies must stand together to attain 2% global growth target
G20共同声明 世界成長2%底上げへ結束を(2月24日付・読売社説)

Amid such concerns as the declining values of currencies of emerging economies, Japan, the United States and Europe should strengthen their cooperation with such emerging economies as China and Brazil to help accelerate the growth of the global economy.
 新興国通貨安などへの懸念がくすぶる中、世界の成長加速に向けて、日米欧と、中国、ブラジルなど新興国の連携強化が問われよう。

With both industrially advanced nations and emerging market economies taking part, the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors adopted a joint communique at the close of a two-day meeting in Sydney on Sunday.
 先進国と新興国が参加し、シドニーで開かれた主要20か国・地域(G20)財務相・中央銀行総裁会議は共同声明を採択した。

The communique said, “Despite these recent improvements [in such countries as the United States, Britain and Japan], the global economy remains far from achieving strong, sustainable and balanced growth.”
 共同声明は「世界経済は改善しているが、力強く持続的で均衡の取れた成長にはほど遠い」と分析した。

It went on to declare a new target for raising global growth “with the aim to lift our collective GDP by more than 2 percent...over the coming five years,” a potent message for the future of the world economy.
その上で、「今後5年間で世界全体の成長率を2%以上引き上げる」という新目標を明記したことは強いメッセージである。

The G-20 meeting confirmed that each of its member economies will work out an action plan in time for a G-20 summit scheduled to be held in Brisbane, Australia, in November.
 G20は、11月に豪ブリスベーンで開く首脳会議までに「行動計画」をまとめる方針を示した。

This is the first time the G-20 has set a numerical target for global growth.
 G20が成長率引き上げの数値目標を設定するのは初めてだ。

The establishment of this target comes as not all is well with the global economy, although there are some bright signs. It seems the participants in the meeting agreed on the need to demonstrate their resolve to work together for sustainable growth by laying down a numerical goal.
 その背景には、明るさが出てきたとは言え、世界経済への警戒感を拭えないことが指摘できる。2%という数値目標を設け、持続的成長を目指す決意を示す必要があると一致したのだろう。

The International Monetary Fund has released its global economic outlook, forecasting a year-on-year global growth of 3.7 percent in real terms for 2014 and 3.9 percent for 2015.
 国際通貨基金(IMF)の世界経済見通しによると、2014~15年の世界成長率は実質3・7~3・9%が見込まれる。

Fears over ‘Fragile Five’

The U.S. economy is clearly on its way to recovery, while business activities in the eurozone have become positive at last. Japan’s economy, too, is continuing to gradually recover.
 米国の景気回復が鮮明になり、欧州経済もようやくマイナスからプラス成長に転じた。日本の景気も回復基調が続いている。

What is worrying is that the slowdown of emerging economies, which replaced the industrial economies in propping up the global economy after the 2008 world financial crisis, has become increasingly conspicuous.
 一方、08年の金融危機後に先進国に代わって世界経済を牽引(けんいん)してきた新興国経済の減速が最近目立っていることが懸念材料だ。

With the U.S. Federal Reserve Board having launched its “exit strategy” by tapering its quantitative monetary easing, the value of the currencies of the so-called Fragile Five emerging economies, including Turkey and India, are under increasing downward pressure.
 米連邦準備制度理事会(FRB)が量的緩和策を縮小する「出口戦略」に踏み出したのを機に、トルコ、インドなど「フラジャイル5(脆弱(ぜいじゃく)な5か国)」と呼ばれる新興国で通貨安が加速した。

The depreciation of these currencies has been caused by the fact that the massive amounts of cash, which flowed into from abroad while the Fed’s extraordinary monetary easing policy was in place, are now flowing out of them. It is essential to stem the vicious cycle of the global market being pummeled by erratic situations in emerging economies and slides in their currencies.
 新興国に流れ込んでいた緩和マネーが引き揚げているのが要因で、新興国経済の変調や通貨安によって世界の市場が動揺する悪循環を食い止める必要がある。

Apparently focusing on emerging economies affected by the weakening of their currencies, the G-20 communique this time has rightly noted the need to “further strengthen...macroeconomic, structural and financial policy frameworks.” We hope to see them step up efforts to address such challenges as swelling current account deficits and runaway inflation.
 G20声明が通貨安に見舞われた新興国を念頭に、「経済政策や構造改革を強化すべきだ」と指摘したのは妥当だろう。巨額の経常赤字や高インフレといった課題の克服を加速してもらいたい。

Also incorporated in the communique is a passage to the effect that the United States should consider the effects of the handling of its financial policy on the global economy.
 声明は米金融政策に関連し「世界経済に与える影響に配慮する」との文言も盛り込んだ。

In tapering its monetary easing policy, the Fed should exercise ingenuity in its “dialogue with the market” by noting changes in emerging economies.
FRBは金融緩和策縮小に当たって、新興国経済への目配りなど「市場との対話」の工夫が求められる。

High expectations are placed on Japan’s role in accelerating the pace of global growth.
 世界経済の成長を加速するため日本への期待も大きい。

No time should be wasted in beefing up the third pillar of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policy—growth strategy.
安倍政権の経済政策「アベノミクス」の3本目の矢である成長戦略の強化を急がねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 24, 2014)
(2014年2月24日01時27分  読売新聞)

竹島の日 内外に訴えよ韓国の不法占拠

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 23, 2014
Japan should present case abroad, at home on Takeshima occupation
竹島の日 内外に訴えよ韓国の不法占拠(2月23日付・読売社説)

The Takeshima islands in Shimane Prefecture are an inherent part of Japanese territory, but South Korea has been illegally occupying them. It is important that many more Japanese people share this understanding.
 竹島は日本固有の領土であるのに、現在は、韓国が不法占拠している。この認識を、より多くの国民が共有することが肝要である。

The Shimane prefectural government has held its ninth “Takeshima Day” ceremony. Yoshitami Kameoka, parliamentary secretary of the Cabinet Office, represented the government at the ceremony and said in a speech, “The government will do its best to solve the Takeshima issue rationally and peacefully.”
 島根県が第9回「竹島の日」記念式典を開催した。政府代表の亀岡偉民内閣府政務官は、「竹島問題の冷静かつ平和的な解決に全力で取り組む」とあいさつした。

Feb. 22 is the day that Japan incorporated the Takeshima islands into Shimane Prefecture in 1905. The prefecture enacted the “Takeshima Day” ordinance in 2005 and has been organizing the ceremony on the day every year since 2006. It is highly praiseworthy that the prefecture has steadily continued its Takeshima awareness campaign.
 2月22日は、1905年に竹島が島根県に編入された日だ。島根県は「竹島の日」条例を制定し、2006年以降、毎年、この日に式典を開いている。竹島に関する啓発活動を地道に実施してきたことを高く評価したい。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government last year sent the parliamentary secretary of the Cabinet Office to the ceremony for the first time. Of course, resolving the territorial dispute is not easy and will take a long time, but the persistence of such awareness activities is important.
 昨年、安倍政権が初めて内閣府政務官を派遣した。無論、領土問題の解決は簡単でなく、時間を要するだろうが、こうした活動を着実に継続することが大切だ。

In the past, Japan used Takeshima as a transit point of maritime traffic and a fishing base, and established sovereignty over the islands in the mid-17th century. After the end of World War II, South Korea demanded the United States include Takeshima among territories Japan should give up, but Washington refused.
 日本は、竹島を海上交通の中継地や漁業に利用し、17世紀半ばには領有権を確立した。韓国は第2次大戦後、日本が放棄すべき領土に竹島を含めるよう米国に要請したが、拒否された。

However, Seoul unilaterally established the “Syngman Rhee Line” in 1952 to demarcate the limits of its waters, including the Takeshima islands within its extended territory. It then illegally occupied the islands. South Korea has refused Tokyo’s proposal to settle the dispute at the International Court of Justice.
 ところが、韓国は52年に一方的に李承晩ラインを設定し、その内側の竹島の不法占拠を始めた。国際司法裁判所に付託するという日本の提案も拒否している。

Raise awareness on islands

Results of a Cabinet Office survey released in August showed that 63 percent of Japanese polled knew that South Korea has illegally occupied the islands, and 61 percent realized they were an inherent part of Japanese territory. It is regrettable to say that these figures are not necessarily high. The government must make a greater effort to spread the correct understanding of the issue among the public.
 昨年8月発表の内閣府世論調査で、韓国の不法占拠を知っている人は63%、竹島を我が国固有の領土と認識している人は61%だった。残念ながら高い数字ではない。政府は、竹島に関する正しい理解を広げる努力が求められる。

In January, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry revised instruction manuals for its course of study for middle and high schools to stipulate for the first time that the Takeshima and Senkaku islands are inherent territories of Japan. This should help improve the public’s awareness of the government’s views on the Takeshima and Senkaku islands.
 文部科学省は今年1月、中学と高校の学習指導要領の解説書に竹島や尖閣諸島を日本の領土と初めて明記する改定を行った。こうした領土教育は、政府見解の認知度を高める効果を持とう。

It is also important to disseminate Japan’s views on the territorial issues among other countries in the world. The Foreign Ministry last year uploaded to its website video footage explaining the government views on the territories in 12 languages, which attracted more than 1 million hits.
 世界への情報発信も重要だ。外務省が昨年10月、12か国語で政府見解を説明する動画をホームページに掲載したところ、計100万件超の視聴があったという。

South Korea objected to the observance of “Takeshima Day” and demanded Tokyo stop sending a parliamentary secretary to the ceremony. However, its claim lacks legitimacy and is nothing but intervention in internal affairs.
 韓国は「竹島の日」に反発し、政務官派遣の中止を求めている。だが、その主張に正当性はなく、内政干渉にほかならない。

Tokyo decided not to organize a government ceremony to mark the day as the Liberal Democratic Party had stipulated in its policy pledges for the last House of Representatives elections. It also did not send the prime minister or other ministers to the ceremony, though Shimane Prefecture invited them. We think these are appropriate diplomatic considerations made with the South Korean government in mind.
 政府は、自民党が衆院選政策集に掲げた政府式典の開催や、島根県の求める首相や閣僚の式典出席を見送っている。韓国に対する十分な外交上の配慮と言える。

There are many other issues Japan and South Korea should work on together, such as North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade accord. The foreign ministries of both countries should carefully handle the dispute over the Takeshima islands so it does not become a major factor to hinder improvement of their bilateral relations.
 一方で、北朝鮮の核問題や環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)など、日韓が協力して対処すべき課題は多い。竹島をめぐる日韓対立が、両国関係改善の決定的な障害とならないよう、双方の外交当局は慎重に対応すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 23, 2014)
(2014年2月23日01時41分  読売新聞)

河野談話 慰安婦証言を検証・公開せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 22, 2014
Govt should publicize comfort women testimony cited in Kono statement
河野談話 慰安婦証言を検証・公開せよ(2月22日付・読売社説)

The government should thoroughly get to the bottom of the manner in which a 1993 statement by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on so-called comfort women came to be.
 いわゆる従軍慰安婦問題をめぐる河野官房長官談話がどのように作成されたのか。政府はしっかり解明すべきだ。

At a Thursday meeting of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, current Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he would study whether a government team should be established to examine the process of preparing the Kono statement.
 菅官房長官が、衆院予算委員会で、河野談話の作成過程を検証する政府チームの設置を検討する考えを示した。

The Kono statement expressed “apologies and remorse” to former comfort women. However, it has become clear that testimony by 16 former comfort women from South Korea—on which the statement was based—was not backed up by documents or other evidence.
 河野談話は、元慰安婦に対する「おわびと反省の気持ち」を表明したもので、1993年に発表された。だが、河野談話の根拠となる元韓国人慰安婦16人の証言に、なんら資料的裏付けがないことは、既に明らかになっている。

Suga also said it was desirable to study the issue from academic points of view. It would thus be necessary to make public the transcripts of the former comfort women’s testimony—which are now classified—so historians and other experts can examine their contents.
 菅長官は学術的観点からの検討が望ましいとも述べた。歴史学者らが内容をチェックできるよう、機密扱いになっている元慰安婦の証言録は公開すべきだろう。

Thursday’s meeting was also attended by Nobuo Ishihara, deputy chief cabinet secretary when the statement was issued in 1993.
 委員会には、93年当時に官房副長官だった石原信雄氏も参考人として出席した。

Ishihara, serving as an unsworn witness, said the government conducted interviews with the former comfort women at the urging of South Korea. “The atmosphere would not allow us to demand investigations to back up their testimony,” Ishihara told the committee.
 石原氏は、韓国側の強い要請を受け、元慰安婦から聞き取りを行ったと述べたうえ、「証言の裏付け調査を要求できる雰囲気はなかった」と明かした。

As the statement was issued without solid evidence, the Imperial Japanese Army has been viewed by the world as having forced young women to serve as comfort women.
 だが、確たる証拠もなく談話を発表したため、日本軍が強制的に若い女性を慰安婦にしたという形で世界に受け止められている。

Statement spawns problems

It is undeniable that the Kono statement has spawned many problems.
 河野談話が禍根を残したことは間違いない。

For example, a group of Americans with South Korean roots spearheaded a campaign to erect a statute of a girl symbolizing comfort women last year in Glendale, Calif.
An inscription beside the statue says, “In memory of more than 200,000 Asian and Dutch women who were removed from their homes...to be coerced into sexual slavery...” Such a campaign has started spreading across the United States.
 例えば、韓国系米国人が中心となって米国のグレンデール市に慰安婦像が設置され、碑文には「20万人以上の女性が性奴隷にされた」と記された。米国各地にそうした運動が広がりつつある。

Japan has been unable to wage effective counterarguments against South Korean campaigns, as the Kono statement included expressions that can be construed as acknowledgment by Japan of the forcible recruitment of women.
 河野談話の中に強制連行を認めたかのような表現があるために、日本側は韓国側の主張に有効な反論を展開できない。

As a questioner at the committee meeting, Hiroshi Yamada, a lawmaker from Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restration Party), asked Ishihara to clarify whether the government at that time coordinated the wording of the statement with South Korea while preparing it.
 委員会で質問に立った日本維新の会の山田宏氏は、談話作成の段階で韓国側と文章をすり合わせたのではないかとただした。

“It can naturally be assumed that the wording was coordinated,” Ishihara said, though he said he did not personally confirm it. It is extremely problematic if the core part of the statement—saying that “at times, administrative/military personnel directly took part in the recruitments”—reflected the wishes of the South Korean side.
 石原氏は、直接確認していないが、「すり合わせは当然行ったと推定される」と応じた。談話の核心部分である「官憲等が直接これに加担したこともあった」との表現に、韓国側の意向が働いたとすれば極めて問題だ。

The South Korean government, which had not raised comfort women issues for a while after the Kono statement was released, has brought them up again and again in recent years. South Korean President Park Geun-hye is seeking new solutions from the Japanese government.
 韓国政府は、河野談話が発表された後、しばらくは慰安婦問題を提起することはなかったが、近年、蒸し返している。朴槿恵(パククネ)大統領も、日本政府に対し新たな解決策を求めている。

The government issued the Kono statement to show “good will” toward South Korea in the interest of building a forward-looking relationship between Japan and South Korea. However, it became clear that its intention was never understood. The government must expedite work to examine the Kono statement and correct errors as soon as possible.
 政府は、未来志向の日韓関係を築くために、韓国側に「善意」を示して、河野談話を発表したが、結局は通用しなかったということだ。河野談話の検証作業を急ぎ、誤りを正さねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 22, 2014)
(2014年2月22日01時22分  読売新聞)

集団的自衛権 憲法解釈の変更に問題はない

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 21, 2014
Constitutional reinterpretation of collective defense right not problematic
集団的自衛権 憲法解釈の変更に問題はない(2月21日付・読売社説)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his willingness to review the government’s current constitutional interpretation to enable the country to exercise its right of collective self-defense.
 安倍首相が、集団的自衛権の行使を可能にするため政府の憲法解釈を見直すことに意欲を示している。

The envisaged reinterpretation is undoubtedly necessary to ensure peace and security for the nation, and we throw our support afresh behind the prime minister’s thinking.
日本の平和と安全の確保に必要であり、首相の考えを改めて支持したい。

In Thursday’s House of Representatives Budget Committee session, Abe indicated his intention to seek Cabinet approval of a new constitutional interpretation of the right of collective self-defense after holding discussions with the ruling camp. The discussions will follow a government feasibility study of the reinterpretation focusing on the Cabinet Legislation Bureau and releasing a report by a government-appointed expert panel in April, he said. Abe also told the committee that his administration will subsequently address such tasks as revising the Self-Defense Forces Law.
 首相は20日の衆院予算委員会で4月に予定される有識者会議の報告後、政府が内閣法制局を中心に解釈変更を検討し、与党との調整を経て、新たな解釈を閣議決定する意向を示した。その後、自衛隊法改正などに取り組むという。

Given such developments as advances in military technology and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the time has come when it is difficult for the country to fully ensure the integrity of its land and territorial waters single-handedly.
 軍事技術の進歩や大量破壊兵器の拡散などにより、日本が単独で領土・領海を守り抜くのは難しい時代を迎えている。

In light of such realities as China’s military buildup and maritime expansionism as well as the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles, it is urgent and essential that Japan beef up its alliance with the United States, as well as other aspects of international cooperation, through changes to the government’s interpretation of the Constitution.
 中国の軍備増強や海洋進出、北朝鮮の核ミサイルの脅威などを踏まえれば、解釈変更による日米同盟と国際連携の強化が急務だ。

In response to an interpellation in a Budget Committee session last week, Abe said: “I am the one who is ultimately responsible [for a Cabinet decision on constitutional reinterpretation]. I, not the head of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, am also the one who will be evaluated by the people [regarding the reinterpretation issue] in an election.” His remarks, however, elicited objections even from some members of his own Liberal Democratic Party.
 首相は先週、予算委で「(憲法解釈の)最高責任者は私だ。選挙で国民から審判を受けるのは法制局長官でなく、私だ」と答弁し、自民党内からも異論が出た。

Since the government’s interpretation of the supreme law is statutorily up to the judgment of the cabinet as a whole based on advice from the Legislation Bureau, the prime minister’s statement is not wrong. It is regrettable, however, that his remarks seem to have created the misunderstanding that the prime minister can change the constitutional interpretation on his own as long as he can win an electoral victory. The prime minister is urged to be more scrupulous about providing convincing explanations.
 憲法解釈は、法制局の助言を受けて、内閣全体で判断するもので、首相発言は間違っていない。ただ、選挙に勝てば首相が自由に解釈を変えられるかのような誤解を招いたのは残念である。首相には、より丁寧な説明が求められよう。

Examining constitutionality

On the other hand, some parties including the Democratic Party of Japan are far off the mark in lambasting Abe’s acknowledgement of the exercise of Japan’s right of collective self-defense through a constitutional reinterpretation as being tantamount to violating “constitutionalism.”
 一方で、民主党などが、解釈変更による集団的自衛権の行使の容認を「立憲主義」の否定だ、と批判しているのは、的外れだ。

Constitutionalism comprises two key elements: the guarantee of basic human rights and the separation of the three powers of state—executive, legislative and judicial. It places importance on governance in accordance with a constitution. Though a constitution places the government under constraints, it should not be considered the only thing that may be said about the top law.
 立憲主義の基本的指標は、人権の保障と三権分立にある。憲法に従った統治に主眼がある。憲法の役割は権力者を縛るものだ、という考え方がすべてではない。

The process through which the cabinet comes up with a new interpretation of the Constitution, the Diet approves legislation endorsing the reinterpretation and the judiciary adjudicates the legislation’s constitutionality explicitly conforms to constitutionalism.
 内閣が新たな解釈を示し、国会がそれを裏付ける法律を整備し、司法が違憲立法審査を行うのは、立憲主義にも沿っている。

What the government is now considering is a change of constitutional interpretation for the sake of maintaining the nation’s peace and prosperity in the face of a fast-changing security environment by ensuring a degree of logical consistency with the past government views on the matter.
 政府が検討しているのは、過去の政府見解とも一定の論理的な整合性を保ちつつ、安全保障環境の変化に対応して日本の平和と繁栄を維持するための解釈変更だ。

Yusuke Yokobatake, deputy director general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, who has been said to be wary of altering constitutional interpretation, has said, “If the conclusion is reached that a reinterpretation of the Constitution should be deemed just and proper, it can no longer be said that no changes of interpretation are ever permissible.”
 解釈変更に慎重とされた横畠裕介内閣法制次長も、「解釈変更が至当だとの結論が得られた場合、変更がおよそ許されないものではない」と指摘している。

Changes of constitutional interpretation, as a matter of course, must not be allowed without limits. Should there be a danger of crossing such bounds, it would be more appropriate to revise the Constitution itself rather than its interpretation.
 無論、解釈変更が無制限に許されるわけではない。限界を超える場合は、解釈変更でなく、憲法を改正するのが適切である。

New Komeito, which has so far been reluctant to acknowledge exercise of the right of collective self-defense, has recently begun to indicate readiness to engage in discussions on the reinterpretation of the top law. Komeito Secretary General Yoshihisa Inoue has said on the record that his party does not “entirely oppose” discussing the issue.
 集団的自衛権の行使容認に慎重な公明党も最近、解釈変更の議論に応じる意向を示し始めた。井上幹事長は「真正面から否定するわけではない」と語った。

To increase public understanding on the matter, the prime minister should advocate the Constitution’s reinterpretation as important and necessary with his head held high.
首相は、解釈変更の意義と必要性を堂々と論じ、理解を広げるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 21, 2014)
(2014年2月21日01時33分  読売新聞)

オバマ外交 アジア重視へ日米韓の連携を

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 20, 2014
Ties between Japan, U.S., ROK essential for Obama’s diplomacy
オバマ外交 アジア重視へ日米韓の連携を(2月20日付・読売社説)

To maintain peace and stability in Asia, the United States and its allies, including Japan and South Korea, must deepen their cooperative relations.
 アジアの平和と安定を維持するためには、米国と、同盟国である日本や韓国などが協力関係を深化させねばならない。

U.S. President Barack Obama has started to reshape his administration’s “pivot to Asia” diplomacy in an effort to restructure the currently shaken cooperative relationship among Japan, the United States and South Korea.
 オバマ米大統領が「アジア重視」の外交政策立て直しに乗り出した。揺らいでいる日米韓の連携再構築が重要な課題だ。

Earlier this month, after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Washington, he visited South Korea, China and Indonesia. In late April, Obama is scheduled to make a tour of Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.
 ケリー米国務長官は今月、ワシントンで岸田外相と会談した後、韓国と中国、インドネシアを訪問した。4月下旬には、オバマ氏の日本、韓国、マレーシア、フィリピン歴訪が予定されている。

Within Asia, China has made such conspicuous moves toward expansionism as the declaration of an air defense identification zone. The ongoing instability in North Korea has only heightened the nuclear threat. We believe Obama must have concluded that he ought to place greater emphasis on U.S. engagement with Asia.
 アジアでは、防空識別圏の設定など中国の拡張主義的な行動が顕著になった。北朝鮮では不安定な情勢が続き、核の脅威は増大している。オバマ氏は関与に本腰を入れるべきだと考えたのだろう。

In a meeting with Kerry, Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated his desire to shape a “new type of major country relationship” with the United States. While the United States would like to discourage China from going too far militarily, the two countries’ relationship of mutual economic dependence has served to further increase China’s importance.
 習近平国家主席はケリー氏に、「新しいタイプの大国関係」の構築を再び求めた。米国は中国を軍事的に牽制(けんせい)したい一方で、経済面では中国との相互依存関係が一段と高まっている。

With complicated interests at stake, how can the two countries shape a “major country relationship”? It is indeed a difficult issue.
 複雑な思惑が交錯する両国がどのような「大国関係」を築くのか。難しい課題となろう。

In light of such circumstances, it is all the more indispensable for the United States to beef up cooperative ties with its allies.
 それだけに、米国にとっては同盟国との協力強化が不可欠だ。

Crisis felt by U.S.

Kerry has strongly urged the Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers to improve their nations’ relationship. The U.S. administration must have felt a heightened sense of crisis over the deterioration of unity among Japan, South Korea and the United States, a cornerstone of its Asia strategy, due to Japan-South Korea confrontations over historical and other issues.
 ケリー氏は、日韓両外相に両国関係の改善を強く要請した。アジア戦略の要となる日米韓の結束が歴史問題などを巡る日韓対立によって損なわれていることに、危機感を募らせたからに違いない。

At a joint press conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se, Kerry said, “We urge both of them [Japan and South Korea] to work with us together” to find a solution. His statement is regarded as an announcement that the United States will serve as a mediator between Japan and South Korea.
 韓国外相との共同記者会見では「日韓が米国と共に取り組むことを求める」と述べた。日韓の仲裁に乗り出す方針の表明である。

However, remedying the situation will not be easy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wishes to hold a summit meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye with no preconditions. However, Park has put forth various conditions, including that Japan yield to South Korea over the so-called wartime comfort women issue.
 だが、事態打開は容易でない。日韓首脳会談について、安倍首相は無条件で開催する意向だが、韓国の朴槿恵大統領は、いわゆる従軍慰安婦問題での譲歩など日本に様々な条件を付けている。

We are also concerned that the Japan-U.S. relationship has been on the rocks since the United States announced its “disappointment” over Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine in late December.
 昨年末の安倍首相の靖国神社参拝に米国が「失望」を表明して以来、日米関係がぎくしゃくしているのも気がかりだ。

On the Yasukuni issue, Kerry said at the press conference, “I don’t think we need to dwell on it now.” However, the tone of some U.S. media outlets suggests distrust toward Japan.
 靖国問題について、ケリー氏は会見で「これ以上こだわる必要はない」と強調したが、米国内には対日不信を示す論調もある。

The Japanese side has also expressed dissatisfaction. On a video sharing site, Seiichi Eto, a special adviser to the prime minister, made a public statement criticizing the United States, saying, “It was we who were disappointed that the United States said it was disappointed.” Although he later deleted the upload, his actions caused controversy.
 日本側にも不満が残る。衛藤晟一首相補佐官は、その後取り消したものの、ネット上で「我々の方が失望した」と米国を批判する発言を公開して、物議を醸した。

Japanese Ambassador to the United States Kenichiro Sasae made a local plea for the U.S. government to clarify its stance. “We also want to see the United States make clear” who its friends and allies are, and who the troublemakers are, he said.
 佐々江賢一郎駐米大使も米国で「米国は誰が友人で、誰をトラブルメーカーと考えているのかはっきりさせてほしい」と訴えた。

We ask Obama, who is strengthening his administration’s commitment to Asia, to adopt an attitude that recognizes afresh the importance of the Japan-U.S. relationship.
 日米関係の重要性を再認識する姿勢が、アジアへの関与を強めるオバマ氏に問われよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 20, 2014)
(2014年2月20日01時37分  読売新聞)

国連人権委報告 認定された北朝鮮「国家犯罪」

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 19, 2014
U.N. inquiry finds systematic state-sponsored crimes by N. Korea
国連人権委報告 認定された北朝鮮「国家犯罪」(2月19日付・読売社説)

The United Nations has issued a stern accusation of state crimes committed by North Korea, including abductions of Japanese nationals. The organization’s condemnation is likely to stoke strong international pressure on North Korea, and it will be important to use this international pressure as leverage to bring a resolution to the abduction issue.
 日本人拉致などの北朝鮮の国家犯罪に対する国連の厳しい告発である。北朝鮮には、強い国際的圧力となろう。
 その圧力をテコに、拉致問題の解決につなげていくことが肝要だ。

The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has issued its report on the state of human rights in North Korea.
 北朝鮮の人権に関する国連調査委員会が報告書を公表した。

The report acknowledges “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations” and concludes that these behaviors are “based on state policies.” The report finds that the violations constitute “crimes against humanity,” and the investigation panel recommends that the U.N. Security Council refer the domestic situation in North Korea to the International Criminal Court for action.
 報告書は、北朝鮮による「組織的で広範かつ深刻な人権侵害」の存在を認め、「国家政策に基づくもの」と断定した。これらが「人道に対する罪」にあたるとして、国際刑事裁判所に付託するよう国連安全保障理事会に勧告した。

The investigation panel was established by the U.N. Human Rights Council in March last year, the product of a unanimous vote. The panel’s denunciation of state-sponsored crimes by North Korea is of great significance. The international community should not stand as an impassive observer, watching historic and ongoing human rights violations in North Korea.
 昨年3月に国連人権理事会が全会一致で設置した専門家による調査委が、北朝鮮の国家ぐるみの犯罪を糾弾した意味は大きい。国際社会は、今なお続く北朝鮮の人権侵害を座視してはならない。

The report is based on a massive quantity of testimonies made by many protected victims, witnesses and government officials in various countries. The document provided the entire picture of human rights violations in the country in a comprehensive manner.
 報告書は、多数の被害者や目撃者、各国政府関係者らによる膨大な証言に基づいており、人権侵害の全体像を包括的に立証した。

It details the chilling reality of human rights violations including prison camps, arbitrary detention, torture, public executions, starvation as a policy implement, suppression of freedom and discrimination. The report points out, quite persuasively: “The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.”
 強制収容所、恣意(しい)的な拘束や拷問、公開処刑、政策に起因する飢餓、自由の抑圧や差別など人権侵害のおぞましい実態を詳述している。「これほどの人権侵害がまかり通る国は、現代では類を見ない」との指摘には説得力がある。

In particular, the report states unambiguously that abductions of foreign nationals including Japanese “were approved at the level of the Supreme Leader” under the three-generation dynastic regime of “Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un.” Michael Kirby, the inquiry panel’s chair, spoke of the possibility of examining the responsibility of Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, North Korea’s ruling party.
 特に、日本人を含む外国人拉致は「金日成―金正日―金正恩」の3代世襲の体制下、「最高指導者の承認」で実行されたと明記した。調査委員長は金正恩第1書記の責任を問う可能性にも言及した。

Seeking end to abduction issue

North Korea provided no cooperation at all to the inquiry panel. It reacted strongly against the report, saying that the country “categorically and totally rejects the report.” However, North Korea cannot expect improved relations with the international community, indispensable to the rebuilding of its economy, unless it reverses the current woeful state of human rights in the country.
 北朝鮮は調査委に一切、協力せず、今回の報告書にも「全面的に拒否する」と強く反発した。だが、人権状況を改めない限り、経済再建に不可欠な国際社会との関係改善は望むべくもあるまい。

North Korea must, for example, take very seriously the report’s recommendations calling for the disclosure of complete information on abduction victims and the immediate return of surviving abductees to their home countries.
 北朝鮮は、拉致被害者に関するすべての情報提供や、生存者の速やかな帰国などを求めた報告書の勧告を重く受け止めるべきだ。

The report demonstrated that the abduction issue is a problem not only for Japan, but also a matter of grave concern for the international community as a whole. The panel’s findings can also be seen as one fruit of the diplomatic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who proactively engaged in the establishment of the inquiry panel.
 報告書は、拉致が日本だけの問題ではなく、国際社会の重大な懸念事項であることを示した。調査委設置に積極的に関わってきた安倍首相の外交成果でもある。

We hope the government will seize the opportunity presented by heightened international concern over North Korea’s human rights situation. It must urge North Korea to resume bilateral talks and do its best to realize the immediate return of all abduction victims, the hand-over of the perpetrators of the abductions and the uncovering of the full truth behind the abductions.
 政府は、国際的懸念の高まりを背景に政府間協議の再開を北朝鮮に促し、拉致被害者全員の即時帰国、真相究明、犯人引き渡しの実現に全力を挙げてもらいたい。

There is no end of defectors from North Korea who have been forcibly returned to the country after entering China, and there have been cases in which defectors living in China were abducted by North Korean agents as well.
 中国に入国後、強制送還される脱北者も後を絶たない。中国に居住する脱北者を北朝鮮の工作員が拉致する事件も起きている。

As a major power with influence over North Korea, China has a responsibility of its own to cooperate with the international community to improve the human rights situation in North Korea, including helping to resolve the abduction issue.
 北朝鮮に影響力を持つ大国として、中国には、拉致問題の解決を含めた北朝鮮の人権状況の改善に協力する責任がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 19, 2014)
(2014年2月19日01時39分  読売新聞)

米債務上限問題 不毛な対立の棚上げは前進だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 16, 2014
U.S. Congress takes step forward by shelving showdown over borrowing
米債務上限問題 不毛な対立の棚上げは前進だ(2月16日付・読売社説)

With the turmoil in the U.S. Congress over government finances having been settled at last, the danger of President Barack Obama’s administration plunging into a debt default—the inability to service government bonds—has been averted, at least for the time being.
 米国財政を巡る議会の対立が収束し、政府が国債の元利払いができない債務不履行(デフォルト)に陥る事態は当面回避されることになった。

The ruling Democratic Party and the opposition Republican Party have repeatedly clashed over the debt cap issue, and the resolution for now of the thorny problem that has shackled the U.S. political system can be called a step forward. We welcome the congressional agreement.
 与党・民主党と野党・共和党は混乱を繰り返してきたが、足かせとなってきた難題をひとまず棚上げできたのは前進である。合意の成立を歓迎したい。

The House of Representatives approved by a majority vote last Tuesday and the Senate approved by a majority vote Wednesday an increase in the federal debt limit, with no conditions attached, on the statutory ceiling on government borrowing through March 15, 2015. The ceiling is currently set at about $17.2 trillion.
 議会上下両院は、政府が借金できる限度額を示す法定の債務上限(約17・2兆ドル)について、来年3月15日まで無条件で引き上げる法律を賛成多数で可決した。

Congressional approval was made possible by major concessions from the Republican Party at the initiative of senior Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, that were in line with the assertions of Obama and his Democratic Party.
 オバマ大統領と民主党の主張に沿って、共和党が、ベイナー下院議長ら幹部の主導で大幅譲歩したのがポイントである。

In October last year, a Democrat-Republican standoff prevented the enactment of the federal budget for fiscal 2014, leading to a partial shutdown of government organizations. Government liabilities subsequently reached the maximum allowed, threatening to cause the United States to default on its debts. Republicans came under particularly heavy fire from the public for continuing to take a hard-line attitude.
 昨年10月、民主、共和両党の対立で2014会計年度予算が成立せず、政府機関の一部閉鎖に追い込まれた。連邦債務も上限に達し、デフォルト寸前に陥った。特に厳しい批判を浴びたのが、強硬姿勢を続けた共和党だった。

The ruling and opposition parties later agreed to temporarily nullify the debt ceiling up until Feb. 7 this year, but they failed to reach an accord to raise the ceiling in time for the deadline.
 与野党はその後、今年2月7日までは債務上限を一時無効とすることで合意したが、期限内に引き上げられなかった。

The congressional impasse came against Republican conservatives’ insistence that any increase in the debt ceiling should be met by spending cuts equivalent to the rise in the limit.
 その背景には、共和党の保守派を中心に、債務上限を引き上げる場合には、それに見合う歳出削減を求めるべきだという強硬論が出ていたことがある。

Republicans under fire

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned that the government, even if making the best of budgetary handling, would default on its debts as early as toward the end of February. It seems that renewed turmoil over the debt ceiling would likely intensify public criticism against Republicans.
 ルー財務長官は財政のやり繰りでしのぐとしても、2月末にもデフォルトに陥ると警告していた。混乱が再燃すれば、共和党に対する国民の批判が一層高まるのは避けられなかったのでないか。

Midterm elections will take place in November. Taking public opinion into account, the Republican Party may have found it advisable to lay down its arms at this stage.
 11月には議会中間選挙がある。共和党は世論を意識し、この段階では矛を収めるのが得策と考えたのだろう。

Toward the end of last year, the ruling and opposition parties agreed to set the budget for policy implementation at $1 trillion each in the coming two fiscal years, thus averting the risk of another government shutdown due to failure to pass budget legislation.
 与野党は昨年末、2年間の予算の政策経費をそれぞれ1兆ドルとすることで一致し、予算不成立に伴って政府機関が再び閉鎖されるリスクも回避した。

The settlement of these two issues, which should help stabilize stock and other financial markets, should serve as a tailwind for the U.S. economy, for which signs of recovery have been becoming brighter.
 二つの懸案の決着によって株式市場などの不安要因が解消できたことは、景気回復が鮮明になってきた米国経済にも追い風だ。

Arguments of the ruling and opposition parties, however, have remained wide apart over how the government should steer its fiscal policy. There are said to be people in the Republican Party who still criticize Boehner for being “weak-kneed” toward Democrats.
 ただし、財政政策を巡る与野党の主張は大きく食い違う。共和党内では、ベイナー議長に「弱腰」と反発する声もくすぶる。

As a result, partisan confrontation may intensify all the more toward the midterm elections and the 2016 presidential election.
 このため、中間選挙や16年の大統領選に向け、むしろ党派対立が一段と激化する可能性がある。

Conservatives in the Republican Party, holding up the goal of “small government,” have remained steadfastly opposed to Obama’s health care programs for the elderly and poor.
 「小さな政府」を掲げる共和党保守派では、大統領が推進する医療保険改革(オバマケア)への抵抗が根強い。

We hope to see Democrats and Republicans constructively engaging in policy discussions over a wide range of issues, including measures to the benefit of middle-income families and steps for rectifying economic disparities in the United States.
中間所得層向け施策や経済格差是正策なども含め、建設的な政策論争を期待したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 16, 2014)
(2014年2月16日00時04分  読売新聞)

保険金不払い 顧客軽視の悪弊を断ち切れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 17, 2014
Irresponsible practices of insurance firms must be thoroughly addressed
保険金不払い 顧客軽視の悪弊を断ち切れ(2月17日付・読売社説)

It is a problem if practices of making light of customers still remain in corporate culture in a leading nonlife insurer.
 顧客軽視の企業体質が根強く残っているとすれば問題である。

It came to light recently that Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. had failed to partially pay out automobile insurance benefits that policyholders were entitled to over a period of more than 10 years.
 損害保険大手の東京海上日動火災保険が、自動車保険の保険金の一部を契約者に支払わず、10年以上も放置していたことが判明した。

The unpaid cases concerned special benefits in auto insurance to cover extra costs, such as consolatory money to be paid to victims injured in accidents or otherwise. According to the insurer, there may be more than 100,000 special benefit policies left unpaid.
 不払いが見つかったのは、交通事故でけがをさせた相手への見舞金などを補償する特約で、10万件を超える可能性もあるという。

Through an inspection of the life and nonlife insurance sectors led by the Financial Services Agency in 2005, nonpayment cases were discovered on an alarmingly large scale. The agency imposed a series of administrative punishments, resulting in a wave of corporate manager resignations.
 生命保険と損害保険では、2005年の金融庁検査で大規模な不払いが発覚し、行政処分や経営トップの辞任が相次いだ。

With costly lessons learned, the insurance companies involved have taken measures to prevent a recurrence of nonpayments in the future.
 これを教訓に、保険各社は再発防止策を講じ、新たな不払いは起きにくくなっている。

However, it is a problem that Tokio Marine has decided to exclude the special benefits contracts when the company conducted internal inspections in 2005 and 2006.
 問題なのは、東京海上日動が05~06年に行った社内調査の対象から、これらの特約を除外していたことである。

Claiming that the company had applied the corporate rules of paying out the special benefits only if claims were made, Tokio Marine has still insisted that the company’s previous actions did not constitute nonpayment. However, this argument suggests that the company places the logic within its own circles rather than interests of its customers.
 当時は請求があった分だけに保険金を支払う社内ルールを適用していたとして、今も「不払いにあたらない」との説明を繰り返している。顧客の利益より、内輪の論理を優先した解釈と言えよう。

Some policyholders unfamiliar with insurance contracts failed to claim special benefits, which are in themselves quite diverse.
 保険に詳しくない契約者が、多種多様な特約の請求を忘れることもあろう。

Insurers must explain

Responsibility lies with an insurance company to clearly explain the contract to policyholders, ensuring they do not fail to make their claims when they are most likely to be in a state of confusion after being involved in an accident.
突然の事故に動揺する契約者に丁寧に説明し、請求漏れを防ぐことは、保険会社本来のサービスである。

Tokio Marine said the company changed its policy in July 2003 so that it would pay insurance benefits even if claims are not made. But the company failed to brief policyholders with the change in rules, at a time when they should have solved the nonpayment cases retrospectively.
 東京海上日動は03年7月、請求がなくても保険金を支払うよう対応を変えたという。この時にルールの変更を対外的に説明し、過去の契約にさかのぼって不払いの解消を図るべきだった。

At a press conference, Tsuyoshi Nagano, president of Tokio Marine, said, “We did all we could at the time,” justifying the company’s actions in the past. It is not surprising that the policyholders who were unable to claim their insurance benefits may be left unconvinced with such an explanation.
 東京海上日動の永野毅社長は記者会見で「当時としては最善を尽くした」などと述べ、過去の対応を正当化した。この説明では保険金を受け取れなかった契約者は、納得がいかないのではないか。

Many of them are just as skeptical about the stance of the Financial Services Agency, which considers the insurer’s actions as “not being a problem.”
 金融庁が当時の対応を「問題なし」としている点も、不可解に感じる人は多いだろう。

Consumers may grow more distrustful of insurers that, while they have people sign insurance contracts by capitalizing on various kinds of special benefits, are unwilling to pay insurance benefits when accidents occur. To prevent such feelings, expectations are rising for Tokio Marine to explain itself and sincerely respond to policyholders.
 盛りだくさんの特約を売り物に契約させておいて、事故が起きると保険金を出し渋る――。そんな消費者の保険不信が高まらないよう、東京海上日動には、誠意のある説明と対応を求めたい。

Nagano has said that the company will flexibly deal with benefit payouts if claims are made from now on. But uncertainty hangs in the air because the company stores relevant data for nine years, meaning most of the data related to the unpaid special benefits have already been destroyed.
 永野社長はこれから請求があれば支払いに柔軟に応じる方針を示したが、実効性は不透明である。東京海上日動のデータ保管期間は9年で、当時の記録の大半が破棄されてしまったからだ。

Tokio Marine should do all in its power to remedy the situation by consolidating what details can be gleaned from memory of its employees and examining any remaining copies of relevant documents with great care.
 社員の記憶や書類のコピーなどを丹念に調べ、適正な支払いに全力を挙げねばならない。

Other nonlife insurance companies would do well to heed Tokio Marine’s case not just as “someone else’s misfortune” but as a wake-up call to look out for and address any outstanding nonpayment cases.
 他の損保各社も「対岸の火事」とせず、類似の不払いがないか、念入りに点検してほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 17, 2014)
(2014年2月17日00時04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。
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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 ]
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[ 座右の銘 ]
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(NHK基礎英語芹沢栄先生)

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seesaaサイト内リンク一覧:
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