Japan: NHK asked to cut TV licence fee
February 7, 2020
By Chris Forrester
Japan’s public broadcaster NHK has been asked by the government’s Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi to make further cuts in the annual “viewing fee” which every home must pay. Last year Japan’s Supreme Court ruled that every home must pay irrespective of whether NHK is watched or not.
The move was endorsed by the Radio Regulatory Council, and will be submitted to Japan’s ministerial cabinet, then parliament.
There are certain exemptions which NHK has promised to expand, and says that its current budget for 2020 is 6 per cent lower than its expenditure in 2018.
An annual fee (paid in advance) for terrestrial reception is ¥13,990 ($127.43). Add in satellite reception and the overall cost is ¥24,770 ($225.58, including taxes).
NHK has also been told to bring together its various subsidiaries and affiliated businesses.
NHK has often had a challenging relationship with viewers. NHK is responsible for collecting fees and outsources payment collection which frequently causes a negative press for the broadcaster. A report last year compared the fee collectors to “organised crime” and running a “reign of terror”.
There’s even a political organisation to back those threatened by the fee collectors: “Protect The Nation From NHK” which supplies door stickers which – in essence – tell the collectors that the people inside are belligerent time-wasters and not worth the effort of collection.