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The NHK crisis of confidence in its recently appointed president has generated more than 20,000 letters of complaint from viewers. Katsuto Momii assumed the job on January 25th and has created controversy over comments about so-called ‘comfort women’ used by Japanese soldiers during World War II. Momii also demanded that the public broadcaster’s senior department heads all offer their resignations.
He subsequently went further saying that all of these divisional heads should only have 1-year contracts, in place of the current 2-year pattern.
The Japanese parliamentary Committee on Internal Affairs & Communications, met March 13th and gave Momii something of a grilling. He told the Committee that 31,900 letters had been received in total, but 5,900 had expressed support. Momii again apologised for expressing what he described as his personal views, and told the parliamentarians he would not be changing his views.
Despite the 20,000 formal letters sent to NHK, there have been other letters of complaint to Japan’s newspapers, and there’s a growing sense that viewers might again stop paying their licence fees.