Japanese transmission rules forbid public broadcaster NHK from simultaneous streaming of its programmes online. However, on March 5th, Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe approved a new law which will now allow NHK to stream its content.
The rules were designed to protect Japan’s private TV networks and cable systems. The only exceptions were natural disasters and some sports programming.
“We would like to meet public demand for watching (NHK) programmes on their smartphones,” said communications minister Masatoshi Ishida. The bill is expected to be enacted in the current [parliament] session and NHK aims to start the service in fiscal 2019, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
The new regulations will make it mandatory for NHK to disclose the overall costs for online distribution, and thus gives authority to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to oversee the distribution operations.