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Diet drops mandatory NHK subscription fees

Date Posted: 2007-03-08

In a turn of events triggered by angry protests from consumers, the Diet has opted not to impose legislation making NHK subscription fees mandatory.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications had earlier recommended the Diet pass legislation making the fees mandatory, but now says NHK is being uncooperative in providing information on present fees and its management reform plans. The current Broadcast Law requires homes and businesses to make subscription contracts with NHK, but doesn’t specify a requirement to pay subscription fees. There are no specified penalties for citizens who don’t make the payments.

The bulk of NHK’s budget revenues come from the fees, and NHK had been pressing for rigid penalties to force viewers to pay up. NHK is not pleased with the Ministry decision to withdraw support until it receives requested information from the broadcast giant. “We’d like the ministry to wait until September,” says the NHK Chairman, Genichi Hashimoto.

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