October 23, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Gov't pressure on private firms to boost investment unreasonable
社説:設備投資の拡大 政府の干渉は筋違いだ

With its establishment of a public-private consultative body aimed at encouraging companies to increase capital investment, the government looks to be shoving a meddling hand into the management machinery of private businesses, all to prop up the economy.
景気をてこ入れしたい政府による事実上の経営介入ではないか。
企業に設備投資の拡大を促すため、政府が経済界代表を集めて設置した会議「官民対話」のことだ。

The government is desperate as a virtuous economic cycle buoying growth and wages has failed to materialize nearly three years after the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched its "Abenomics" policy mix to kick-start the economy.
アベノミクスが目指す「経済の好循環」が見えず、政府の焦りがにじむ。

However, whether to expand capital investments is something that private companies should decide on at their own discretion, and it is unreasonable for the government to intervene in business management.
だが、企業が自主的に判断すべき課題であり、干渉は筋違いだ。

The government believes that companies have chosen to save their profits rather than invest in plants and equipment.
政府は「企業がもうけをため込み投資に回していない」とみている。

Numerous major companies have posted record-breaking profits thanks to the devaluation of the yen and other factors.
大企業の収益は円安効果などで過去最高の水準だ。

Companies' internal cash reserves reached 354 trillion yen in fiscal 2014, an increase of 50 trillion yen from fiscal 2012, before Abenomics shifted into high gear.
企業の内部留保(利益の蓄積)は2014年度に354兆円と、アベノミクスが本格化する前の12年度から50兆円増えた。

In contrast, Finance Ministry statistics shows that corporate capital investment in Japan in fiscal 2014 came to 40 trillion yen, up only 5 trillion yen from fiscal 2012.
一方、主に国内向け設備投資の動向を示す財務省の統計によると、14年度の設備投資は40兆円と12年度比で5兆円増にとどまった。

At the first meeting of the public-private consultative body, Prime Minister Abe urged representatives of companies to "specifically present their prospects for expanding their investments in plants and equipment."
安倍晋三首相は官民対話の初会合で「投資拡大の具体的見通しを示してほしい」と迫った。

Akira Amari, state minister in charge of economic revitalization, also said, "If companies' commitment to capital investment is weak, we'll further urge them to increase these investments."
甘利明経済再生担当相は「投資へのコミットメント(関与)が弱ければ、さらなる強い要請をかけていく」と語る。

Corporate investment in plants and equipment is a key to economic growth.
設備投資は成長のかぎを握る。

Capital investment in areas covered by the term "the fourth industrial revolution," including artificial intelligence and big data, are of growing importance.
人工知能やビッグデータなど「第4次産業革命」と呼ばれる分野への投資も重要性を増している。

Efforts to make effective use of funds for these sectors are indispensable.
資金を有効活用する努力は不可欠だ。

Still, a decision on whether to make capital investments should be left to the discretion of individual companies, as the failure of projects in which companies have invested massive amounts of money could deal a serious blow to their management.
だが、実際に投資するかどうかは、あくまで企業の判断だ。巨額の資金が必要で、失敗すれば、経営不振に陥る恐れもあるからだ。

It is not true that companies have failed to proactively make capital investments.
企業が投資をしていないわけではない。

They are increasing their capital investment overseas, particularly in emerging countries.
新興国中心に海外投資を積極化している。

They do not appear inclined to invest in Japan because the domestic market is contracting due to the low birthrate and depopulation.
国内市場は少子化や人口減で縮小しているためだ。

The value of mergers and acquisitions of foreign businesses by Japanese firms hit a record high total of 8 trillion yen in fiscal 2014.
日本企業による海外企業の合併・買収(M&A)は14年度に8兆円と過去最高を更新した。

Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, said, "Corporate executives are making investments in the most appropriate manner in the global economy."
経済同友会の小林喜光代表幹事は「経営者はグローバル経済の中で最適な投資をしている」と説明している。

The government has also urged companies to raise wages for their employees.
政府は企業に賃上げも促してきた。

The government's request that companies make more capital investments on top of salary hikes has made it look like Japan's economy is managed at the initiative of the government.
これに続く要請は「官製経済」の様相を濃くする。

Such a practice could distort companies' business strategies and dampen private sector dynamism.
企業の経営戦略をゆがめ、民間活力をそぎかねない。

The government's role in expanding corporate capital investment should be limited to creating an environment that will facilitate such growth.
政府の役割は、投資しやすい環境整備に徹することだ。

At the public-private consultative body meeting, an attendee representing the business community pointed out that "reform of regulations that hinder investment should be prioritized."
官民対話では経済界から「投資の妨げになる規制改革などが先決」との声が出た。

The government should promote regulatory reform and introduce tax breaks to encourage businesses to invest in growth fields such as environmental protection and energy.
政府は、環境やエネルギーなど成長分野への投資を促す規制改革や税制措置に取り組むべきだ。

It is also necessary for the government to step up countermeasures against population decline.
人口減対策の充実なども必要だ。

The current economic stagnation is attributable largely to slumping consumer spending.
今の景気停滞は消費の不振も大きい。

The yen has become weaker due to credit easing -- one of the pillars of Abenomics -- and subsequent rises in the prices of foodstuffs and other goods have increased the financial burden on households.
アベノミクスの柱にしてきた金融緩和で円安が進み、食料品などの値上げが家計を圧迫している。

The prime minister has declared that Abenomics has entered its second stage, and set a goal of expanding Japan's gross domestic product to 600 trillion yen.
首相は「アベノミクス第2ステージ」を宣言し、国内総生産(GDP)600兆円の実現を目標に掲げた。

However, the government cannot see a clear road map for propping up the economy even if it encourages companies to increase capital investment without reviewing its past economic policy measures.
しかし、従来政策の検証をせず、企業に投資拡大を迫っても、景気浮揚の道筋は見えてこない。

毎日新聞 2015年10月23日 東京朝刊

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