Japan could fine TV licence non-payers

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Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communications says it plans to introduce legislation to impose extra charges on people who are “illicitly” watching TV sets without paying the reception licence fee.

Public broadcaster NHK depends on the reception fees for its income

But the proposed new rules may not be easy to implement. A government panel of experts has criticised the proposed rules and denied requests from NHK to make it an obligation for users to report when they have a TV set in their homes.

The government already allows NHK to levy a 2 per cent interest surcharge on those who do not pay. The new system would be additional to the surcharge and is intended to target those who falsely claim not to own a TV.

The current system is best described as requiring the “agreement” of the viewer.

The recent discussions saw concerned expert panel members advise said that any modifications would “bring about a big change to the current system,” leading to the proposals being put on hold.

The Ministry now says that there will be further discussions and the aim is to introduce revisions to the existing Broadcasting rules for examination by Japan’s parliament.


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