entertainment

Don’t want to pay your NHK TV license fee? Beat Takeshi agrees with you

108 Comments
By Evie Lund, RocketNews24

In Japan, it’s mandatory to pay for a TV license if you own a television set or device that can receive a broadcast signal. The money goes to NHK, Japan’s national broadcasting service. It’s much the same deal as in the UK, where your television license funds the BBC.

But what if you don’t even watch any BBC or NHK channels? Should you still have to pay? Actor, director and outspoken comedian Beat Takeshi doesn’t think so – in fact, he’s calling for the option to “opt-out” of accessing Japan’s NHK’s programming for people who don’t want to pay the license fee.

In the UK, where I’m from, the television license is quite strictly enforced, and you could end up in a great deal of trouble if you don’t pay it. It’s classified as a tax, which means avoidance is a criminal offense. Scary ad campaigns in the past have suggested that “monitoring vans” sent by “Aunty Beeb” can pick up television signals from your home, so they can tell if you’re stealing television. The license costs £145 per year ($225) per year, so it’s hardly cheap. Nevertheless, the BBC needs that money as, since they don’t show commercial advertising, it’s its primary means of support.

But in Japan, the situation is kinda different. The license costs 13,600 yen per year ($114) and, as it happens, the Broadcast Law lists no punitive actions for non-payment. In other words, if you don’t want to pay, they can’t make you.

Naughty foreigners who come to live in Japan often tell funny stories of psyching out the “NHK Man” who goes door-to-door asking people if they have a television. In recent years, a simple “nope” isn’t enough to deter them, and they can be a little persistent. Since your average NHK man tends not to be multilingual, simply smiling a lot and speaking English loudly can be enough to make them decide you’re not worth pursing.

So, back to Beat Takeshi. On the program “Shin Joho 7 Days News Caster” which aired on Feb 21 on TBS, he remarked: “Since we have the freedom to not watch NHK if we choose not to, why can’t they sell televisions which come without access to it?” Takeshi was debating the television license fee at the time with Katsuto Momii, NHK’s 21st Director-General, and Takeshi Shina, a member of the Democratic Party of Japan. “Of course, if NHK has the freedom to broadcast, then we should also have the freedom to opt out of watching it“, he continued.

Here’s what Japan’s netizens had to say about Takeshi’s comments:

“Well said.” “I’ve joined the Takeshi faction”. “I agree with him, but is it okay for him to say this on TV? Has anyone else said anything like this before?” “It’s Beat Takeshi, so he can say this sort of thing.” “I don’t like NHK. If they sold TVs without it I would buy one.” “NHK gets money from other places than just the TV license, so just do whatever you want, I say.” “Pay the license fee if you live at home with a family, but if it’s just you, don’t bother.” “It’s pretty messed up to broadcast stuff into someone’s home without even asking if they want it and then telling them they have to pay for it. Messed up, I say!” “NHK: You’re free to watch or not watch as you like. But we’ll still take your money.” What do you think of Beat Takeshi’s proposal? Should we be obligated to pay for channels we don’t even watch? Perhaps NHK out to switch to a subscription-based model?

Source: Livedoor

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Don’t like drinking with the boss? No Promotion For You -- 4 Japanese beauty fads that Westerners just don’t understand -- Don’t feel constrained by the passage of time – enjoy it instead with the Awaglass!

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108 Comments
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Abolish the fee and fully privatise the NHK - the current arrangement is an anachronism.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

I'm a good sheep so i don't pay

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Due to the fact that NHK has been shown to be a voicepiece for the Abe administration, the requirement to pay does not sit well with me.

33 ( +35 / -2 )

I strongly agree with Beat Takeshi, they should sell TVs with a choice not having NHK on it. Locals are the one enjoying what they paid but foreigners don`t.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

We don't pay either

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Isn't it also the law that NHK must be politically neutral and unbiased? If it is not providing what it is supposed to provide, does one legally have to pay for it?

I have also heard the collectors say that anyone with a smartphone must pay because you can receive it on a smartphone.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

I feel bad for not paying. I like their radio news in English and Japanese courses.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I have also heard the collectors say that anyone with a smartphone must pay because you can receive it on a smartphone.

That's not true. And actually, if you don't use your TV to receive signals (ie - only as a display for a game console, or for a computer monitor), you don't have to pay.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

I don't agree that we should only pay the piper. Some essential social goods are worth paying for even if we don't directly use or receive them. NHK, with its biased and censored reporting, has not proven to be one of these.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

I had this experience a few years ago when a man wearing na NHK ID knocked on my door. In Nihongo, he asked if I have a TV set. I said yes and he started asking me to pay. I told him that although I have a TV, I do not watch TV shows because I use my TV as my computer monitor. He showed my a copy of the law and insisted that I pay. I politely told him that I will not pay and closed my door.

I asked some Japanese friend if they are paying for their Television and the majority answered in the affirmative.

The Television store should tell people who are buying televisions about this license thing. Especially if the buyer is a foreigner.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The license costs £145 per year ($225) per year, so it’s hardly cheap. Nevertheless, the BBC needs that money as, since they don’t show commercial advertising, it’s its primary means of support.

Just speaking about quantity the BBC has 10 TV channels + 16 Radio Stations, while the NHK has 5 TV channels + 3 Radio Stations. So, even though the fee in Japan is about half , I'd guess in Japan you get less of half in terms of quality/quantity compared to the BBC.

Which is very sad, as there I'd love to see a Japanese version of Charlie Brooker, Adam Curtis or Louis Theroux.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Some essential social goods are worth paying for even if we don't directly use or receive them. NHK, with its biased and censored reporting, has not proven to be one of these.

I agree with you on both these points.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I've always said that this NHK payment rule is as stupid as if you were to charge every car owner for three speeding tickets a year JUST BECAUSE THEIR CAR IS CAPABLE OF GOING FASTER THAN THE SPEED LIMIT. That sounds fair, no? /end sarcasm.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

why doesn't this article mention momii's response? and the switch to what NINE netizens think about it is shoddy "journalism" at its best

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Paying for public television should always be voluntary. And any broadcast that is done over the airwaves should be free, unless you need a converter box.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

yep give me the option to refuse NHK broadcasts and ill do it, telling me i must pay something that I dont even use is just wrong. if they want everybodies money then just make it a forced tax that everybody has to pay, punishable by law. but I doubt theyd get that passed through J Gov as a new law & NHK know this. which is why they prefer to keep harrassing people to pay them. youll get blood from a stone be before NHK gets my money.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I've been in japan over 20 years and not about to make a payment to NHK. Years ago I subscribed to WOWOW and paid for their service as it broadcast shows I wanted to watch. if NHK scrambled their signal they'd get people willing to pay who really want to watch NHK. I wonder how many subscribers they'd get ?! Their content after all is not really earth shattering !!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

What was Momi's response on this? Anyone have a link to the interview?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I told them I had a knife of the intercom, lol... Then i started counting down from ten in a Sam L Jackson voice.

I had a weekly NHK problem until that day.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

You should all try the same trick here with the BBC!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

It's not only the fee that I have issue with, it's the often rude & intruding door knockers that really grind my gears. I was 'pressured' (ie. harassed) into paying the damn fee, even though I never watch Japanese TV, let alone NHK. They harassed my g/f at the building's entrance about who she was visiting and if they paid - and then let themselves in when she opened the security door - I mean c'mon...

If NHK actually operated in this century and gave us cutting-edge online content and proper investigative journalism, then it would be worth it. Oh, did I mention that they jacked up the prices last year? For what?!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I didn't enter into a contractual agreement, therefore will not pay.

NHK signals should simply be scrambled, and opt in available via cable providers.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

sighclops

I also never watch any tv, yet the BBC forces me to pay religious just because there is a tv on my living room that never gets switched on!

A refusal to pay results in a fine of over a thousand quid, prison, or both.

Everybody pays it sooner or later, one way or another!

Your reasons for not paying would be laughed at here in the UK.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

In principle you can't get most people to pay for anything, especially media.

---sarcasm--- A latte at Starbucks for 500 yen? Sure! But a song by a songwriter who's invested 10 years of her life practicing guitar, recorded on 40 million yen recording equipment, available for 250 yen on iTunes? Forget it! And even more impossible: supporting a TV channel which is funded without commercials, showing stuff that you won't find on the mind-blistering variety show channels - for 38 yen per day. But wait, what if I don't watch NHK and I don't want to partake in funding it for those who do? It's like tax! And heaven knows we hate taxes, right? Well, why stop there then? I don't use the public park. I don't have a car/mc/bicycle so I don't use roads. I don't have kids so I don't want to pay for schools. Why don't I get tax breaks for those things? ---/sarcasm---

Sometimes we need to see beyond ourselves and focus on what we get, not what is perceived to be "taken from us". Sure, there might be a good bunch of us not liking NHKs programming, but one channel that is a little more free from the dictatorship of viewer ratings and commercialism can only be a good thing. Myself? Practically speaking I rarely watch it, but I do pay for NHK.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Many foreigners don't pay the fee but yet they quickly turn on their sets and set the station to NHK when there is a major event like the earthquake, and tsunami coverage right? While NHK is closely tied to the politics and strong arming the central government into bullying the common taxpayer only to squeeze out what is left after taxes sounds ludicrous but for many NHK does provide quality programming. Besides the way I see it with all the technology advancements it's nice to see the old fashioned collecting guy who is employed and not some robot coming to the door.

-16 ( +2 / -18 )

Perhaps NHK and Abe need a "TV Ambassador" to spread the propaganda of the government.

NHK gets subsidies from the government that no other broadcaster does, and makes it an unfair competition to the other networks and sets a conflict of interest in their news coverage. NHK sells advertizing, the last five minutes and first six minutes of a program are advertizing. The money from average folk is unnecessary.

I paid the fee until I moved to Nagoya from Miyazaki. I have no TV only a computer and I have not missed NHK and its propaganda for 7 years, or any Japanese TV for that matter. I get my news from Bloomberg, MSN, and the New York Times. I watch Discovery Channel, History Channel, and TruTV shows via You Tube. Have not missed a TV.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Strangerland Due to the fact that NHK has been shown to be a voicepiece for the Abe administration, the requirement to pay does not sit well with me

I totally agree with "Strangerland." I'd very much like to go one more step further to find some legal way to stop paying the fees at least until Abe's friend, that self-important guy Momii, steps down as president of NHK.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I wouldn't pay the fee even if I wasn't exempted from it.

Lots of people like pensioners, social welfare recipients, etc are exempted. Plus, I block the NHK channels on my TV anyway, go into the settings and remove them from the list of available channels.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What was Momi's response on this? Anyone have a link to the interview? Takeshi's statement and the response can be heard (no visuals) at the 1 minute mark here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bF4zJPaYD0 He says can't you make a TV which does not receive NHK and someone response if you have a TV receiver then you legally have to pay.

I agree with Kyushuubill. TV is soon to be a thing of the past. I am under the impression you do not have to pay NHK if you don't have a TV antenna or BCAS card (i.e. if your TV does not function as a TV receiver). Hook your TV screen hooked up to a Nintendo and you can watch Hulu and Youtube. The News about earthquakes is faster on the Net too. http://www.jma.go.jp/jp/quake/

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I don't watch nor fund rightwing propaganda. The idea of paying my hard-earned money to this organisation turns my stomach.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Jimizo, I'm with you. The Japanese Prime Minister personally selected the chairman and two other board members to go along with his idiotic revisionist views, on a national channel that is supposed to be politically independent. The BBC is not a propaganda channel for a right-wing extremist government and produces a huge range of programs, many of which are very good. NHK cannot force payment if you don't have a contract, so I won't pay up to support bribery, corruption, nationalism and revisionism.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

if they'd use their money to make better programming (look at the BBC or Arte TV in europe) it'll be much easier to give a obvious reason as to why paying the fee is the right thing to do. As for now, it is like paying to receive brainwash propaganda that a lot of people don't care about/don't agree with.

Somebody told me that NHK is sometimes using variety show talents for their education related shows and such. Why? At least they should use the money and advantage to push things the normal media outlet would never fund. Instead they trying to copy the commercial station and fuse it with their agenda? It looks plain silly...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why can't the government just use tax dollars to fund nhk? That's how we fund public broadcasting like NPR in the states.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Then i started counting down from ten in a Sam L Jackson voice.I had a weekly NHK problem until that day. probably a little too aggressive, all I said to them was I dont watch NHK and the only way youll get me to pay is when there is a law that states I`ll be arrested or fined by the J Gov/police for not paying (with a smile) dumbfounded guy just bowed apologised and has never come back again. over 2 yrs ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am under the impression you do not have to pay NHK if you don't have a TV antenna or BCAS card (i.e. if your TV does not function as a TV receiver

Nothing quite so simple I'm afraid - as your TV still retains the capacity to be used as a TV receiver. The confusion arises from the exemptions clause of the Broadcasting Act - which allows devices whose primary purpose is not to receive TV signals to be exempt from payment. There have been some reasonably strong legal hints that this clause was not designed for individuals to exempt themselves from payment. There's no legal precedent for anything yet, but the courts (and the government) have a fairly long history of supporting NHK.

Also when the article says:

In other words, if you dont want to pay, they cant make you.

It's demonstrably false. NHK can take you to court, and they frequently win (don't ask me how...).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

zorken, I can tell you how. NHK really only wins breach of contract cases. There is one case in a district court in Sagamihara where NHK won a case despite someone not having a contract, but it is being challenged in higher courts. All other rulings have been people who signed a contract for NHK later refusing payment.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

That's not true. And actually, if you don't use your TV to receive signals (ie - only as a display for a game console, or for a computer monitor), you don't have to pay.

It had better be a monitor and not a TV. If the TV is capable of receiving NHK's signal one is "supposed" to pay.

The Broadcast Law of Japan (1950) applies to all residents of Japan, regardless of nationality. NHK is established under this law as a public broadcaster operated on the basis of receiving fees levied fairly on all viewers. Every owner of a television set is thereby required by law to enter into a Broadcast Receiving Contract with NHK and pay the appropriate receiving fee.

http://pid.nhk.or.jp/jushinryo/multilingual/english/index.html#link03

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Depends on the wording in the law does it say specifically a TV or a device that is capable of receiving the signal (more common now).

In South Africa you couldn't even buy a 2nd-hand TV without showing a licence or needed to apply on the spot for it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I must be the only reader on Japan Today who pays the license fee. I think some of their programs are excellent, especially late at night. Their documentaries are good, too. I always watch their "News Watch 9" when I am home and Hiroko Kuniya's "Close-up Gendai" at 7:30 p.m.

In the aftermath of March 11, 2011, it was my main source of English news, as I am sure it was for many JT readers.

Personally, I think any reader who watches NHK and who doesn't pay is a deadbeat and bragging about how rude you act toward the collector just shows how uncouth some of you are.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

I have my girl tell them that she isn't responsible for the bills of the apt. if I'm not home (which is often the case). In the times that I am home when they come, I have also invited them inside my apt. to discuss why I should pay them (in broken Japanese) as I am removing my shirt and bare-chested. That's a sure way to send them scurrying off empty handed yet with a good story for their boss why they couldn't collect. Face-saved!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

First of all Beat is not a comedian. He is verbally and physically cruel to people.

He had a good point about NHK though. If you do not watch it, you should not pay for it.

Personally I pay for it as it is good actually and dirt cheap. Am I the only one on this forum that thinks so?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Pay or pay not.

NHK is just one source for news and information. Personally don't use them granted they got some great documentaries.

But why should I pay for something I don't use.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

But why should I pay for something I don't use.

Well, there are all sorts of examples of things you pay for that you don't use. Highways, health system, other government services etc.

But considering NHK is an admitted mouthpiece of the government, I don't think this is one situation where we should have to pay if we don't morally agree with it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I agree with Brainiac, both about the quality of NHK and about the quality of the low-lifes who brag about how they like to get tough with the fee collectors.

If you don't like the man knocking on your door, pay by bank debit or credit card. It's cheaper if you pay by the year.

-16 ( +3 / -19 )

Beat Takeshi speaks sense

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Good to stand up against this kind of system, I'm glad a lot of people in Japan do. Where I'm from half the country has been brainwashed by the national broadcaster and you can go to prison for not paying them for the privilege.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I had a collector come 2 years ago. He wanted me to pay for NHK.

I was already making payments through my cable TV service. It also had NHK channels.

Tell me why I should pay twice for a TV channel that I already paid for?

I stoutly refused the collector, and he did not have a strong argument against me.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

NBK stopped using collectors a while/years ago. Many are frauds or yakuza.

With digital TV the can simply send a signal stopping your reception. Again that is only for NHK and NHK BS all other channels won't be affected.

Same system that skapa, etc use to control pay channels.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

NBK stopped using collectors a while/years ago. Many are frauds or yakuza.

First I've ever heard of that. Where did you get that from?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

From the news, there were problems as most of them were hired day-labourers working on commission.

Legally they can't even enter your property. All they can do legally is hand you an application form.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

NHK collectors are nothing but henchmen.

My wife (native Japanese) and I had a TV in our old apartment that wasn't connected to the wall (ie. we didn't use NHK). We used it as a computer monitor and a gaming screen ONLY. These barbarians came to our door multiple times and finally harassed my wife to the point of her crying before she finally signed the contract out of grief.

As far as I'm concerned, they trespassed on our privacy, and robbed my family. It's been a year and I'm still enraged by this ridiculous practice.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

'Personally, I think any reader who watches NHK and who doesn't pay is a deadbeat and bragging about how rude you act toward the collector just shows how uncouth some of you are.'

I fully agree. If you watch NHK, you should pay the fee. I stopped paying it after the switch to digital. My telly isn't digital and I couldn't be bothered buying a tuner so I couldn't watch Japanese TV and politely told the NHK man the situation. He was okay about it and there was no need to be rude.

That said, If I buy a new telly capable of receiving NHK, I won't watch NHK nor start paying the fee again. I don't know the political views of other posters but I found the appointment of a man like Momii to the position of head of a public broadcaster detestable and I'm not prepared to fund that kind of organisation. I would very politely tell the NHK people this.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It would appear that as of less than a year ago, they were still using collectors: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2014/05/14/issues/nhk-offer-cant-refuse/

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I agree with him, but is it okay for him to say this on TV? Has anyone else said anything like this before?

It's Beat Takeshi, so he can say this sort of thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I've stopped paying since all the scandals a few years back:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2005/01/26/national/nhk-boss-exits-as-viewers-stop-paying/#.VPQCAP0cQ5s

It was easier than I thought it would be. I simply called the company, and asked them to send me an application for cancellation. They dragged their heels about it, and sent an inspector to query me, but a couple of months later I was free and clear. I haven't been asked to pay since then.

And by the way, some of those NHK men/women (jobs outsourced to collection agencies, I believe) really behave like thugs! I've heard stories of them standing outside doors and yelling "why don't you pay?" or barging into the genkan and demanding to shown the TV remote control, etc. That would be regarded as harassment in just about any other sector.

I agree that some of their documentaries are good, but not worth 22500 yen a year!

As for emergency situations? Surely the local govts. have that sorted by now? All I can say is that when it came to a stay-or-go situation such as 3.11 ... I certainly wasn't relying on a govt. mouthpiece to tell me the truth about "no nuclear meltdowns." No, in fact I was getting my information from foreign news agencies!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Are those hired NHK employees or hired labourers.

The NHK staff know the rules need to show ID first, etc. I am excempted from paying due to medical disability and met both types. Neither got to set a foot inside.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A accidentally clicked submit too soon in my post above, but I meant to say that it's sad that people think he's the only one allowed to say this sort of thing.

Also, I never watched, and never paid. I don't plan on doing either anytime soon considering their ties to the right wing.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

i pay the basic rate but not for BS cause i watch the news but i don't see why they just don't include the fee in the price of the TV to begin with. I can see where they didn't originally way back when cause then it would have made the price too high for average families but no excuse now.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Are those hired NHK employees or hired labourers.

What does it matter - they are collectors, which you said they stopped using.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't own a tv. I don't watch NHK. What is NHK? I have no idea what that means. Don't ask, don't tell. I am TV free!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Strangerland.

Most of the times I agree with you but than you get hung up on details and try to push your point.

Difference between a full employee who was trained and a person hired for the day who works on commission alone. Not so?

Plus there are many fake priests outside stations, etc too. Plenty of fakes about.

When I bought my apartment they came around claiming they need to install X or Y or were authorised to give us a discount = all fake. None were known when we contacted our apartment maintenance company.

Wake up and get informed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Difference between a full employee who was trained and a person hired for the day who works on commission alone. Not so?

I didn't claim there was a difference, but they are collectors whether they are full employees or contractors, and your quote was:

NBK stopped using collectors a while/years ago.

They may have stopped using their own employees as collectors, but the haven't stopped using collectors.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Actually they did, there was a big brouhaha about fake collectors 2-3 yes ago.

Plus, like I said with digital broadcast you got a unique card and they can deactivate that card, how pay-channels here control their subscribers.

No payment a few keystrokes and your Card is blocked. 21st century after all.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't pay, simply because nhk is poor value for the money, they are a govt mouth piece, they self censor, they don't investigate, only a few decent programs.

Basically there are a LOT of problems with nhk, which nothing is being done about it so I don't pay, but then again I have never seen an nhk guy/gal haha!!

But if I did I would try not to be rude, that's not necessary I don't think, BUT I have no problem NOT PAYING for something that CLEARLY has serious issues wrt reporting, impartiality, etc.

As others have correctly pointed out some of the top people of nhk is a NATIONAL DISGRACE!!!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Actually they did, there was a big brouhaha about fake collectors 2-3 yes ago.

On the contrary, as I showed, they were still using collectors as of a year ago, and as far as I know, they are still using them now.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And you can tell a real collector from a fake one by sight alone?

Read up on the official statements issued by NHK on that issue.

Over and out here.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And you can tell a real collector from a fake one by sight alone?

What does that have to do with the fact that they were still using collectors less than a year ago?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

To the people on here comparing NHK to the BBC. One makes quality content, particularly in the online realm. They also fund the most watched TV programme in the world, Top Gear. It has 500m viewers per episode. Why am I paying for NHK again?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

So anyone that knocks on your door and zez he is from NHK is a collector.

Again an official NHK person is NOT allowed to enter your premises, nor allowed to take payment in any form from you. All he is allowed to do is to hand you application papers upon request.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

No body should be imposed a TV channel, if so many people like it they should pay for a subscription but since the only advocates are working or related to NHK, they want to make it look like millions of people voluntarily wants to pay for it. I never watch it and my cable TV took money from me for NHK without my knowledge cuz I don't read but when I found out I discontinued it and the harassment began. It's been more than 5 years and they could continue sending bills every so often. I want the money cable filtered them back. I will never pay voluntarily for something I never contracted

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Jay.

You contracted with NHK, part and parcel of the cable package, if you got a pensioner living with you you can apply for an exception. Rules apply.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If you are not paying, then at least you should have guts/integrity to get rid of your TV.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

I'm paying, but I basically only watch tv if the house just shook so much furniture fell over

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So anyone that knocks on your door and zez he is from NHK is a collector.

??? I have no idea where you got that, or even what you are talking about.

I was simply pointing out that although you said that they stopped using collectors a few years ago, as of May last year, they still were using them.

If you are not paying, then at least you should have guts/integrity to get rid of your TV.

We just don't watch NHK.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@sighclops

Fair point, but the UK fee is basically double the Japanese.

You get what you pay for....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The license costs 13,600 yen per year ($114) and, as it happens, the Broadcast Law lists no punitive actions for non-payment. In other words, if you don't want to pay, they can't make you.

This is just not true. Though there is no criminal penalty for non-payment, NHK can make you pay through civil lawsuit.

Broadcast Law

.Article 64. Anyone who has set equipment that has the ability to receive the broadcast of NHK must enter into broadcast receiving contract with NHK.

Paragraph 2. NHK may not waive the collection of fees from any licensee who has entered into contract per previous paragraph, except by the standards approved by the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communication.

I hope ill-informed will not proliferate due to this article.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

There is technology available for NHK to scramble the signals like cable tv stations do. Since NHK don't then they are offering a free service in my mind much like a Public Broadcaster. Therefore people have the option. That's how I would argue this against the Broadcast Law as being against buy and sell laws.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

sighclopsMar. 02, 2015 - 05:19PM JST

To the people on here comparing NHK to the BBC. One makes quality content, particularly in the online realm. They also fund the most watched TV programme in the world, Top Gear. It has 500m viewers per episode. Why am I paying for NHK again?

You mean just 500,000 viewers and claim the most watched TV programme in the world? Dull "Massan" has a lot more viewers than that.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

"To the people on here comparing NHK to the BBC. One makes quality content, particularly in the online realm."

That's not the view of a ton of people who actually live in the UK and have to put up with repetitions "ad nauseam".

Every single year without fail the Christmas programming is exactly the same (with a slight change here or there).

Soaps that nobody but the most clueless want to watch; movies older than silent ones; dancing on wheels, on ice, on skates, chairs, you name it!

Unless yer thinking that all types of celebrity big brother programs are top notch!!!

Oh, I almost forgot: cookery programmes from dawn to dusk, staffed with people who simply don't scream Oyishi because they don't know the word.

Yeah, quality programming all right!

"Quality content" is what I read from you JT residents, in order to justify a crime; not what we Brits actually think about the BBC.

NHK is a public entity (just like the BBC). The law requires you to pay and pay you must!

There are lots of services I don't use, yet charges are levied on my tax to pay for them.

Am I to stop paying taxes because single mums are going to live off them, not having to work and abode in a gaff 3 time bigger than the Peeping's?

I would love to do just that; unfortunately I would end up with a criminal record and be struck off my profession.

Lucky you guys that Japan is not the UK, and many other places where an open challenge to the State's authority would land you all in rough waters.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

After being totally exhausted day in and day out answering my door bell from an NHK rep, I just asked him politely to show me in writing where I MUST pay their fees. No one ever came to my door again. I have often thought that Japanese pay this fee because if a neighbor found out they did not, then gossip would fly. Group thinking usually prevails. On my cable TV I get a rather large square box if I should happen to turn on NHK or BS1. The box asks me to dial a number and I refuse to. It is the number that will bring a new rep ringing my doorbell again. No, thanks. So many scandals surrounded NHK for years that I am glad I never joined just because I had a TV antennae. I seldom watch Japanese TV anymore. I guess I do go to NHK when an earthquake happens. That is about it. I hope someone will speak up to say they have been able to get out of the contract once they sign up. Maybe someone will, but I have heard it is virtually impossible. The novel 1984 comes to mind when I think of paying NHK fees. I have read some very interesting comments. Thanks for posting them.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"After being totally exhausted day in and day out answering my door bell from an NHK rep, I just asked him politely to show me in writing where I MUST pay their fees."

CH3CHO has already answered above:

Art. 64(1) of Japan's Broadcast Law, (don't know the year, don't have the time to search for it either).

A broadcasting contract is mandatory and peremptory.

I don't have the remainder of the contract, thus can only speculate on the sanctions likely to follow, if there are any!

No, you are not at liberty to choose wheter to have a contract with NHK or not; you MUST HAVE ONE!

Or you should.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Those who do not want to pay NHK yet still living Japan, please establish and create your own "galapagos island-country" and make your own rules and laws. You can build your own OTT/VOD if you like.

Paying 1,350 Yen per month is a noble contribution to the technological advancement in TV technology and Japanese society. NHK-payment law was enacted long before you came here in Japan.

http://www.nhk.or.jp/strl/english/aboutstrl1/

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

I just don't like the idea some old man in a hard hat telling me that I have to pay for something that I didn't subscribe to nor want. When the NHK guy comes calling, I usually just tell him to send me an itemized invoice with my name on it and I will be happy to pay. But of course they can't because they don't even know who you are or even whether or not you really watch NHK

1 ( +5 / -4 )

'please establish and create your own "galapagos island-country"'

What a fantastic idea. I wonder if Ms. Sono thinks we should pay the NHK fee in our future enclaves.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"But of course they can't because they don't even know who you are or even whether or not you really watch NHK"

The BBC's electronic signalling car-mounted tech can tell them which flat has got a telly and even which channel you were feasting yer beautiful eyes on, prior to hiding the apparel and pretending not to have one!

I would be very surprised if "backwards" Japan couldn't do the same, if they wanted to.

But then again, asyou're all too happy to point out, they're just a bunch of inept ignorant and imbecilic creatures.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Guys you know that little Cas-Card in your TV, etc that is how they know who uses, same way channel TV, BS, skapa allows cards to unscramble their signal or not. Those are set remotely.

Each card has a unique address like the mac-address for PC's, etc.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Of course Takeshi doesn't bring up the fact that NHK isn't really independent, because if it were, it might partially justify the mandatory payment. Takeshi wouldn't dare mention that NHK is a mouthpiece for the LDP, because Takeshi is a right-wing (un) tarento, good little soldier.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think non-Japanese speakers should also be exempt. How many English programs are there on NHK? The very brief 7pm news translation? That's about it as far as I can tell. People shouldn't have to pay if they can't understand 99% of the programs. Also, I hear the people who come around to try to collect payments are offered commissions if they can convince people to pay, hence the pushiness.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If you can't understand 99% of NHK(2 channels) why have a TV to receive all the other FREE Japanese only channels.

This is Japan of course most of the TV is in Japanese, how to non-english speakers survive with the TV in USA, UK, Canada, Australia, etc survive.

Sorry, learn the local lingo and less whine with your cheese. This is coming from a non-native English or Japanese speaker.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

People need to stop acting like you don't pay NHK because you don't like the content. Just admit you don't pay because you would rather use that money for booze or Wi-Fi service to download free movies or TV shows to discuss with other gaijin at your office.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

I think non-Japanese speakers should also be exempt. How many English programs are there on NHK? The very brief 7pm news translation? That's about it as far as I can tell. People shouldn't have to pay if they can't understand 99% of the programs.

Japanese is the language of the land. If you cannot understand it, it is your responsibility to learn it. You shouldn't be exempted due to your inability to understand the language of the land.

As such the above reasoning cannot be considered a valid reason for non-payment as far as I'm concerned.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I used to get regular visit from NHK collectors until about 3 years ago when I decided to answer my door. They had been interrupting me 2-3 times in the evening while I was having dinner or watching a movie.

When I answered the door, the woman let me know that I had to pay a fee of ¥2,900 per month. I said I didn't watch NHK. She responded, in the way an adult would to a child, that everyone had to pay and if I didn't like it, I could take NHK to court. I said that I felt the price was too high and suggested that NHK show commercials to raise money. I also told her that I knew people who didn't pay but never received visits from NHK collectors, so the collection system is hardly fair. Her response: "Atama warui desu ka?" ("Are you stupid?" or something like that.) She then went off on a rant for about two minutes which ended with "Kuni ni kaere!" or "Go back to your country!" My wife, who was listening from another room, said she couldn't believe how rude the collector was.

They stayed away for about two years, and have been back 2-3 times in the past year. But I just avoid them now. I pay ¥2,900 a month for J-Sports and ¥1,000 for Hulu, and that's all I need. Why the hell would I pay ¥2,900 for NHK? They'll never get a single yen from me.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Whether you watch or don't watch; whether you pay or don't pay; whether you bait or don't bait; speak softly and conceal a small sony in your hand or on your person at all times.

To a few posters that use the argument(s)

POSTER: 'Then I should not have to pay for highways I do not use'... REPLY: Yes, you do use it. Those highways also are the source for transit of goods; commerce. Societal essentials.

POSTER: 'I should not have to pay for parks ... don't use them'! REPLY: Yes, you do use them. They have trees that contribute to air quality. They are a source of water and shelter ... which may become very important at unplanned times. Essentials. Parks provide alternatives for children (not screwed into mosquito-bike noise-making activities), contributing to their upraising that hopefully will go to make them more well rounded people ... adults as well (to whatever degree).

POSTER 'I should not pay NHK fees for the reason that I do not watch it or for the reason that I do watch it, but there are other sources NHK should exhaust, as it is biased, bla bla bla... REPLY: YES. Contrary to the above, NHK is not contributing to essentials.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

The word 'democracy' doesn't spring to mind if we are forced to pay for a TV station. What if Asahi started charging or Fuji? No complaints then either?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

All other rulings have been people who signed a contract for NHK later refusing payment.* making that first payment is as good as signing a contract. until there is a law punishable by a fine or arrest, resist paying NHK, its is not against Japanese law to pay for a service that you never use or dont want to use.
-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Nonsense. I don't think anyone who doesn't follow the rules in the society that they belong in can say anything reasonable. Bunch of rule breakers... Many of you choose to live in Japan because you like it better than your own country, right? I would appreciate it if you would follow our rules, or at least don't be proud of not following the rules.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

It is a heartless, disheartening job, collecting NHK fees. I once saw a job ad for this work. I was so glad that I was not long-term unemployed here, as some people may age are, and didn't need to consider applying for it. In my own country I have done jobs like that out of need.

One other point, in 30 years and numerous NHK fee collectors in various places I have lived here, all have been male.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

DaDude: "People need to stop acting like you don't pay NHK because you don't like the content. Just admit you don't pay because you would rather use that money for booze or Wi-Fi service to download free movies or TV shows to discuss with other gaijin at your office"

Wrong side of the bed this morning, DaDude? Perhaps you ought to just stop and think that maybe a whole lot of the people who don't want to pay because they don't like or use the service don't want to pay for exactly that reason, and not, in YOUR words, because they'd rather go buy booze or download illegally so they can talk with other gaijin. What's your problem, dude? You seem to take extreme offense whenever people point out things that are factually problematic with this nation, and worse yet even when people are just offering their opinions you call them drunks or gaijin who do stupid things. This article is clearly about a Japanese person who sides with those (Japanese or otherwise) who don't want to pay if they don't want the service. Are those Japanese people also drunks who just want to booze it up and talk with gaijin about pirated shows?

Get off your high horse, my friend.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I do not understand what people talk. I really do not have TV and do not care about Japanese programs. I do not watch them anywhere. I actually hate stupid media not only in Japan. And guess what - NHK guy came to my place, asked my underage child to sign papers he did not understood under my name and now bullying me for unpaid fees. In normal country NHK guy would end in jail for criminal offense against minor. In Japan some people name me rulebreaker? Who is rulebreaker here? Yes I like Japan and follow every rule. It does not mean NHK can make criminal offenses.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I just invite the NHK guy into my place, show him that there is no television. Inevitably they point at my huge computer monitor and I invite them to inspect it and show them that there it is not set up to receive television, nor is there any connection equipment for receiving television, nor do I ever have any intention of using it in that manner.

I had one very persistent young NHK guy last year who tried to argue that I could watch NHK online, so therefore I had to pay fees. At that point I just rolled my eyes and pointed out that by that logic he should be travelling around the world harassing everyone who uses youtube in case they accidently watched some NHK content.

I actually have been much happier since I stopped watching TV. I don't think I've had to watch an advertisement in years, apart from the Superbowl ones, and then its just for novelty value.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Who calls him 'Beat' these days?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think the fee should not apply to smart TV's.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

EVERYBODY pays EVERYBODY gets the option to watch crappy Taiga or interracial marriage dorama

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You cannot compare the BBC to NHK. The BBC has nine TV channels and 15 radio stations (not counting the numerous local stations) and the iPlayer. The BBC also has a better quality of programming.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think a BIG problem with the BBC licence fee is that you have to pay the fee in one lump sum on a per year basis, which I think is a bad idea. I'm surprised that given how most modern banks around the world allow for automatic payments from your bank or credit card accounts for things like cable TV, satellite TV and cellphone bills, the BBC did not adopt the idea of a per month license fee payment automatically paid from bank or credit card accounts.

I wonder has the NHK thought about doing license fee payments on a per month basis if the customer allows for automatic payments? That way, the NHK could substantially cut down on having to get people to go out to actually households to collect the fee.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Raymond

You can pay the BBC licence in installments.

You can pay NHK by monthly bank debits. We do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Raymond. Wrong. You can pay for your licence in the UK and Japan in monthly installments.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't pay - and until it's prison or pay - I will refuse to pay.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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