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NHK licensing fees said valid ten years

Date Posted: 2007-02-10

NHK has an apparent right to pursue outstanding license fee claims against those not paying.

The government levies a license fee to individual households to offset costs of television broadcasts provided to citizens. In the case of Okinawa’s NHK, residents have been uncooperative in making the payments.

House of Representatives member Kantoku Teruya asked the government for a legal ruling about nonpayment of the NHK license fees, and was told there is a monetary obligation for payment in the civil law. An acquisitive prescription for payment can be pursued after ten years, giving NHK the right to send bills to non-paying households.

Teruya said some cases reach back years, citing one where no payment has been made for 27 years and three months, racking up a bill of ¥348,800 ($2,981). He says the payments should be slashed in half for some, because they have been inconvenienced by noise pollution from American military bases such as Kadena Air Base, Ie Island Airfield and Idesuna firing and bombing range.

NHK license fee payments in Okinawa are running roughly half the national average. Last year receipts were achieved on 55.73% of invoices, compared to 90.3% nationwide. In 2004 Okinawa’s NHK was paid only 53.4% of money owed for license fees, compared with 94.45% of money owed in mainland Japan. In 2003 the local license fee receipts were only 52.6%, compared with 96.1% nationwide.

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