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zoom RSS 社説:景気とアベノミクス 首相戦略の誤算と限界

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

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

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

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

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

 ◇家計への配慮足りず

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 ◇空回りした成長戦略

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

毎日新聞 2014年11月18日 東京朝刊

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