The Yomiuri Shimbun
Plan for dynamic society must create more than just slogans
1億総活躍会議 スローガン倒れにならぬよう

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has put forth a policy of achieving what he calls “promoting the dynamic engagement of all citizens,” but isn’t it difficult for the people to have a specific image of such a society?
安倍首相は「1億総活躍社会」の実現を打ち出したが、国民は具体的なイメージを描きにくいのではないか。

The national council to discuss concrete measures for the realization of the policy held its first meeting Thursday. After compiling urgent measures before the end of November, the panel plans to put together mid- and long-term steps as early as next spring.
「1億総活躍社会」に向けた具体策を議論する政府の国民会議の初会合が開かれた。11月中に緊急対策をまとめた上で、来春にも中長期的なプランを策定する予定だ。

Chairing the meeting, Abe said, “I hope to create a society where everyone can play an active role, by eliminating all policies that stand in the way of us achieving this.”
議長を務める首相は「みんなが活躍できる社会を作るために、それを阻むあらゆる政策を取り除いていきたい」と強調した。

The government defines “a society that allows the dynamic engagement of its all citizens” as one in which “a population of 100 million [or more] can be maintained even 50 years from now” and “all citizens will be able to lead a fruitful life in their households, workplaces and communities.”
政府は、「1億総活躍社会」の姿について、「50年後も人口1億人を維持」「誰もが家庭、職場、地域で充実した生活を送れること」と説明する。

To realize these goals, Abe has put forth the new three arrows of his policy agenda: boosting the gross domestic product to ¥600 trillion, raising the birthrate hoped for by the people to 1.8 children per woman and reducing the number of workers who quit their jobs to provide nursing care to zero.
それらを実現するため、首相は、「国内総生産(GDP)600兆円」「希望出生率1・8」「介護離職ゼロ」という新たな3本の矢を掲げている。

To prevent these policies from ending up as mere slogans, it is essential for the national council to serve as an engine to promote the integration of concrete targets and road maps.
スローガン倒れにならぬよう、国民会議が推進役となり、具体的な目標と工程表をまとめ上げることが重要である。

Regarding the urgent measures, priority will most likely be placed on enhancing the birthrate and tackling the issue of workers quitting jobs to provide nursing care. Many aspects of these policy goals overlap with the government’s conventional policy initiatives of supporting women’s roles in society, vitalizing local economy to help deal with population decline and the overall growth strategy.
緊急対策では、出生率の向上と介護離職問題に重点が置かれる見通しだ。成長戦略や女性活躍推進、人口減を念頭に置いた地方創生といった政府のこれまでの政策と重なる部分が多い。

New ideas needed

All these issues have also been discussed by such government panels as the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, the Council for Industrial Competitiveness and the Council on Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy in Japan.
政府の経済財政諮問会議や産業競争力会議、「まち・ひと・しごと創生会議」などで議論を重ねてきたテーマでもある。

It is conspicuous that some of the people who are members of these panels are also part of the new national council. This most likely indicates that cooperation with the existing panels was deemed important. To prevent the national council from ending up as an unnecessary addition, it is necessary to define its position clearly.
国民会議には、これらの会議を兼務するメンバーが目立つ。既存の会議との連携を重視したのだろう。屋上屋を架したことにならないよう、国民会議の位置付けをはっきりさせるべきだ。

In line with the government’s policies, local governments have worked out overall strategies for local economy vitalization while businesses have begun to formulate action programs for promoting the appointment of women. It is approaching a critical stage.
政府方針に沿い、自治体は地方創生の総合戦略を策定し、企業は女性登用の行動計画作りを始めている。これからが正念場だ。

We want the council to conduct its discussions while considering whether possible measures in this area are consistent with the conventional policy agendas.
国民会議は、従来の政策分野との整合性を考慮して、議論を進めてもらいたい。

The measures that should be taken in each area have almost all been tabled. The council is expected to support their implementation by clarifying the order of priority and the sectors to be strengthened.
どのテーマも、やるべき対策はほぼ出そろっている。国民会議に期待されるのは、施策の優先順位や強化すべき部分を明確にし、実施を後押しすることだろう。

We urge the council to come up with new ideas, such as lending state-owned land cheaply to build additional special nursing care homes.
特別養護老人ホームを増設するため、国有地を安く貸し出すなど、新たなアイデアを提示することも求められる。

Government ministries and agencies are taking steps — action that was anticipated — to obtain higher budgets for the next fiscal year by linking their measures with the government’s policy to promote “dynamic engagement.” However, the government should not resort to adopting a casual handout policy that tries to fulfill the ruling parties’ desire to please voters ahead of the House of Councillors election set for next summer.
予想されたことだが、各省庁に「1億総活躍」に絡めて来年度予算の増額を狙う動きが見られる。来年夏に参院選を控え、有権者にアピールしたい与党の思惑と相まって、安易なバラマキに陥ることがあってはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 30, 2015)Speech

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