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NHK may charge viewer fees for Internet, smartphone usage

85 Comments

"NHK is going to start charging viewer fees to owners of smartphones, car navigation units, Nintendo DS game units and the like."

That's the rumor going around political and broadcast media circles, at any rate.

But is there any truth to it? Shukan Taishu (June 24) wonders.

"There's a chance that all households with a TV unit will be saddled with an additional NHK fee of 2,450 yen every two months," says a source in the broadcast industry.

But the magazine points out that it's the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (i.e., the government) that approves viewer fees. Which essentially means the buck stops with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. While Abe is said to have heated disagreements with NHK in the past, more recently, the two sides have reached a modus vivendi.

The mutual hostility appears to date back to 2005, when NHK's educational channel broadcast a special documentary on the wartime sex slaves (euphemistically referred to as "comfort women").

"Just prior to the broadcast, Mr Abe was serving as the deputy-chief cabinet officer," recalls an LDP Diet member. "He said the program's contents were 'too one-sided' and tried to apply pressure to alter the program. The producer reacted by announcing a press conference at which he wept in front of the media, while protesting government pressure.

"Afterwards Abe remarked that the program was 'not true' and the relationship subsequently worsened."

During his previous tenure as prime minister, at which time he suffered health problems, Abe apparently blamed NHK for negative treatment in the media.

Just after Abe was reelected in December of last year, most of the participants who took part in an NHK panel discussion program called "Tettei Toron" (detailed debate) were critics of Abe and his policies.

As recently as April 8, Abe truculently posted on his Facebook page, "NHK has refrained from reporting on my conference with the president of Mexico, so I am posting it here." When he subsequently learned that NHK had in fact reported the meeting on its 19:00 news broadcast he posted an apology.

"The Facebook posting did not create much of a stir," said the previously mentioned broadcast industry source, "But it clearly shows that Abe is oversensitive about NHK in general."

Meanwhile, as a result of NHK's reduction in viewer fees from last autumn, the broadcaster's revenues declined by 1.3 billion yen. The two sides now appear to have announced a cease-fire, and NHK is hoping that in exchange for Abe's good will it can expect government approval on a new fee structure -- a "win-win situation" as Abe likes to call it, according to broadcast journalist Makoto Odagiri.

"From this month, NHK has set up a new 'Media Planning Office,'" says Makoto Kanazawa, a broadcast critic. "It has shown extraordinary interest in charging fees for Internet usage."

Imposing such a fee would, needless to say, bring in enormous revenues, but NHK is not satisfied even with that. Not content to stop at personal computers, it is also said to be considering a fee on any device capable of receiving a TV signal -- as Article 96 of the broadcast law entitles it to do. In other words, mobile telephones, car navigation systems, and even console type video games.

What's more, every single unit would be taxed. So a trucking company with 100 vehicles equipped with navigation systems would pay for its office, plus all the trucks in its fleet -- 101 in total.

Empowered by the laws, NHK will also go after fees from households using cable TV, from which it has not energetically attempted collection up to now.

NHK is also pursuing corporate deadbeats who have neglected to pay. From July 2012 it went to court against the Toyoko Inn and several other business hotel chains, which NHK claims are in arrears for 521 million yen in viewer fees for the TV units in their guest rooms.

From the cozy new relationship between Abe and NHK's ravenous appetite for money to lavish on its overpaid employees -- and abetted by the "spineless" mass media that neglects to report what's going on -- it looks like Japan's sheeple are being set up for another shearing.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

85 Comments
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Good luck with that.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Priem Minister Shinzo Abe. While Abe is said to have heated disagreements with NHK in the past, more recently, the two sides have reached a modus vivendi.

You know using words and phrases not commonly known to the general reader or ESL members does nothing but frustrate people and make JT look bad, particularly when in the same sentence you can't spell a word correctly either!

Modus vivendi has multiple meanings, and it's hard to know from the article itself which meaning is appropriate here; agree to disagree, or an agreement between those whose opinions differ, or it implies an accommodation between disputing parties to allow life to go on. It usually describes informal and temporary arrangements in political affairs.

(For purposes of speed I copied part of the definition from wiki)

JT you CAN do better.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thumbs down to the max for NHK.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

Pffff was to be expected from the Nazi Housou Kyoukai

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Now they are just going too far. I foresee an end to NHK of the pursue these measures. Good riddance!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Before this article is swamped with outrageous comments, please remember three things; the author's name is not listed, it's a kuchikomi article and there are no punishments against not paying NHK's television fees. This article is designed to generate outrage and a lot of "I'll-through-my-computer-into-the-street-before-I'll-pay" kind of comments. Sorry, this fish isn't biting.

23 ( +23 / -1 )

"through" should be "throw"

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good on you NHK. Just like with the BBC, the rightists will always p*ss and moan, but you do a good job. I'm happy to pay my licence fee.

-25 ( +6 / -31 )

Note, this article is stupid and without merit. No need to overreact (which is what the original article wants us to do).

9 ( +15 / -6 )

and there are no punishments against not paying NHK's television fees.

Try telling that to Toyoko Inn, which, if it loses in court, will also have to pay the legal fees. (And NHK's lawsuit is a matter of public record, I read it in the Yomiuri.)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Better to watch this closely , mediocre are always lurking on tax money instead of improving their failing product.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Try telling that to Toyoko Inn, which, if it loses in court, will also have to pay the legal fees.

Good. Theft is theft, whether of cash or TV broadcasts. The idea that not paying the fee is somehow brave or noble is ridiculous.

The licence fee is what allows the BBC to be such a superb service, and the lack of which leads to the bilge put out by Murdoch and his idiot brethren.

-16 ( +6 / -22 )

Although their TV programming is good, I find the fact that going after PCs and smartphones highly unlikely. They essentially want everyone to pay for a service that is government owned and operated. So, with that in mind where are our regular taxes going? They are saying there is not enough revenue from taxes? Eh?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

It's a dumb article that goes on about how NHK and Abe don't like each other. The stuff about charging for internet feels shoehorned in at the last minute.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

NHK is nothing but a government sanctioned extortion agency. With all these taxes, rising interest fees, weakening yen, radiation issues, and now this NHK ludicrousness, moving overseas is starting to look not only better, but necessary.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

NHK can kiss my lily-white bum. I'm not paying for their scandals. Does anyone even watch NHK on a smartphone?? The company's obviously desperate, but anyone willing to pay them because they own a smartphone is stupid.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I don't watch NHK on the TV, but sometimes I watch the news on my iPad. But if I had to have a subscription, I wouldn't pay.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

We don't have a TV, but the NHK guy still comes a few times a year in case we've bought one. Actually, I suspect he doesn't believe me, and so I invited him in several times to check, but he always declines the offer.

And I certainly don't watch NHK on my iPhone or iPad or on the Internet. I don't think it's possible, is it?

So, the same guys who are planting a kiss on Smithinjapan's rear end are welcome to have a go at mine.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Yeah , they need to fleece the average Taro some more to pay the overblown salaries to the leagues of useless chair warming amakudari leeches they employ. It was reported not long ago that NHK employees took a couple of percentage points pay cut that brought their "average" salary down to about 11 million yen per year...11 mill ! Charge extra fees NHK?...get stuffed..

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Seriously, enough of this you can't choose crap. Give people the option to pay, and disconnect all stations for those who don't. I NEVER watch regular TV (aside from the New Year's Gakki no Tsukai, and that's usually with neighbours), so why should I pay?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I'll pay NHK an Internet/Cell Phone fee when they pry my computer or phone from my cold, dead fingers.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Theft is theft, whether of cash or TV broadcasts.

Yes. NHK are thieves.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I'm not quite sure i understand.....

Why are you paying additional for NHK? If you don't want to watch it can you opt out and choose to watch alternative stations/channels? (in this day and age what's the problem?)

Or alternatively is the NHK an employment scheme for Public Servants, funded through taxation and "subscription" fees (and hence can't be allowed to be opted out of)?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@David

It's "compulsory" to pay if you own a telly, but I've never heard of prosecutions for non-payment. Unlike the UK, where you can go to prison if you get caught.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I avoided paying NHK for 9 yrs until one day my wife beat me to the door...now I pay by direct debit. I almost hope this comes true so I can feel the thrill of refusing to pay once again!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Forcing people to pay for a service whether they want it or not is not the action of an ethical company; it's more like what the mob do. Luca Brasi, with a name like that, I commend you for staying in character as you support this shakedown!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

A friend of mine wrote a children's series for NHK TV. She asked me to write the theme tune. I was very happy to do it, played it on my synthesizer, recorded it and sent it along.

It was fun to hear my own music on TV, but when I saw the credits, my joy turned to annoyance. It gave credit to an NHK staff member for the music, and my name was given, in tiny letters, thanking me for my assistance.

I received 40,000 yen for this and the NHK guy, I later found out, pocketed 200,000 yen.

Thieves?

Yes. I would class NHK as thieves.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Bertie -

the NHK guy, I later found out, pocketed 200,000 yen.

NHK employees are sararimen; they don't get paid per programme /song / idea. The person who stole your thunder must have been under contract to provide the music for that particular series; if he were an 'NHK guy' he would get his regular salary, no more, no less. Blame the man who passed your work off as his own, not the people who paid as they were billed.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

What a world...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

haha and how is that going to work, eg you have a DVD which you bought and own but youve got to pay to watch it on each seperate device you own( and I though the hollywood were fraudsters) if the law makes it illegal not to pay people will decide not to buy that second tv,phone, game console. and when the electronic companies start loosing sales because of the downturn theyll put pressure on the Jgov. it will come down to NHK vs Electronics companies/consumers whos going to win!?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

lucabrasi: Good. Theft is theft, whether of cash or TV broadcasts. The idea that not paying the fee is somehow brave or noble is ridiculous. The licence fee is what allows the BBC to be such a superb service, and the lack of which leads to the bilge put out by Murdoch and his idiot brethren.

Well, jolly good for the BBC but NHK is hardly the BBC and even if it were, it's rubbish to force people to pay for it, particularly if they are not watching it and never wanted it in the first place. If the BBC and NHK are as good and as necessary as they think they are, let them appeal to those who want their services to pay a fair market price for them. It may be a law, but to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Henry David Thoreau and Howard Zinn, to name a few, it is your civic duty to disobey bad laws.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@ambrosia

It comes down to how you view the role of government. As an unreconstructed hard-core leftie, I'd view the provision of a well-run, adequately-funded state broadcaster as a government duty, a sign of a civilised society. It's then a question of how to pay for it: through taxes or by collecting fees from television owners. I'd actually favour the former, on the grounds of simplicity.

Of course your libertarians and free-market worshippers howl their protests, but they always hate what benefits the majoriy rather than themselves personally.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

"haha and how is that going to work..."

What NHK is proposing is a) to piggyback an additional surcharge on top of the money that anyone with a TV is currently forced by law to pay to subsidized NHK programming, or b) introduce an entirely new scheme that gives NHK the additional right to collect money from anyone owning a computer with an Internet connection, or a cell phone with Internet capability. It's an astonishingly comprensive shakedown of the public for a public entity that has squandered virtually any credibility it once had.

Between NHK fraud and embezzlement scandals and NHK's apparent inability to resist political pressure from conservatives when it comes to programming content, I can't see how there isn't a more intense backlash against the system as it stands.

FYI: Currently, the number of households with televisions that are refusing to pay the NHK fee hovers at around 20 percent. That's roughy ten million Japanese households.

FYI: NHK spends some 12.9 percent of its annual budget on collecting fees. This works out to some 80 billion yen per year. There's something wrong with an organization that devotes that much of its resources towards shaking down the public.

FYI: These fees? They aren't mandatory and there isn't a legal thing NHK can do to you if you refuse to pay. Not a thing.

For some backgroung on where this impetus to fleece the public for more money, here's an interesting report put together in 2011 by somone named Yoshiko Nakamura, who seems to be fairly knowledgeable on the subject. In particular, look at the section regarding "NHK and Audiences."

http://ripeat.org/wp-content/uploads/tdomf/1434/Nakamura%20Yoshiko.pdf

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@LFR

That's why NHK should be tax-funded. No need to run around collecting fees.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@lucabrasi. Do you work for NHK?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An NHK collector came to my house last year and I just told them straight up, "I don't watch TV, so please go away!" He came back a week later with what must have been an inspector or something and they demanded I pay them. I repeated my previous statement and the inspector dude demanded he come into my house to check for a TV. This is where I got quite peeved at their persistence and said, "You can come inside when you bring a police officer with you." That was over six months ago and they have not been back since. It is extortion at a government level. Yeah, I have a large TV, but I watch cable and use it for my computer. I never watch Japanese TV, so they can go to hell!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

NHK is beginning to sound a bit like 'Auntie Beeb' in Britian

0 ( +1 / -1 )

NHK employees are sararimen;

You are confusing with NHK news. Yes, the journalists are seishain. And they must have some full-time management staff. For the shows, staff are hired per season, and may be renewed. Unless NHK cheats and doesn't pay anything. I saw several shows being shot as my bosses (language and education businesses) were major NHK sponsors, placing full pages ads in the NHK publications, that are sold. So that looked like some documentary on education methods, or regular DIY shows, but clearly directing you to that shop. My point ? You pay 3 times : the NHK extortion tax, the booklet that you buy and the ads.

they don't get paid per programme /song / idea.

Yes, they do. And the guy ringing at your door gets a % of the money he recuperates.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Pay the fee, don't complain and thank God you live in a nation where a state-run broadcaster is considered worthwhile.

-12 ( +4 / -15 )

lucabrasiJun. 14, 2013 - 03:57PM JST It comes down to how you view the role of government. As an unreconstructed hard-core leftie, I'd view the provision of a well-run, adequately-funded state broadcaster as a government duty, a sign of a civilised society. It's then a question of how to pay for it: through taxes or by collecting fees from television owners. I'd actually favour the former, on the grounds of simplicity.

With all due respect lucabrasi, this isn't about the role of the government or state broadcaster. This is an issue of NHK trying to charge me a fee for watching their programmes on device that I do not use to watch their programmes. If they want to charge me a flat tax for NHK as part of general government taxation then I'm fine with that, but charging me for every device I have that's capable of accessing a TV signal... I have about 12!! And I use NONE of them to watch NHK. Now they're just being unreasonable.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@Frungy

No, I'd agree entirely with you. (I think). One flat fee if you have a TV, otherwise nothing. The number of devices you have should be irrelevant. So yes, a flat tax is the way to go....

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

One flat fee if you have a TV,

No reason. Pay per view or subscribe, then they cut access for those that don't pay. Anyway, everybody has a TV. I have one in my computer and one in my cellphone, I can't use them right now with my cheap plans. Like in my old flat, I had TV-VCR combo (I was only watching videos) and the cheap building had no antenna so a guy came with a paper translated in 12 languages that I still had to pay as I owned a TV device. I've pulled him inside and ordered him to show me NHK on my TV. He tried during one hour. He was red, sweating... then he apologized and I was known as the scary gaijin for a while (he put a warning sticker on my door). I never saw NHK men again as long as I lived there.

Pay the fee, don't complain and thank God you live in a nation where a state-run broadcaster is considered worthwhile.

What is "worthwhile" ? The most censored news service in the country ? The "educational programs" that educate nobody ? The samurai carnival that employs has-been tarentos ? The junk filling in between ? I agree with you, they should make the fee a tax, and let MPs discuss what part of that is a public service. Maybe they would prefer creating and financing real distance education, advancing funds for the making of real movies with talented artists given creative freedom.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Knock-knock.

Yes?

I'm with NHK. Do you have access to the Internet, which would imply you are watching NHK and therefore subject to the payment fee?

Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Should take the CBC route in canada... its a publically funded network (not without its own faults mind you) but they certainly don't go door to door collecting. You never see a bill from them and the funds are taken out of tax revenues from the gov't. Its a small part of income tax, you never see it and people don't complain about it.

also, the quality of the shows on the CBC are vastly superior to most of the garbage on NHK

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I wonder why people who never wants to watch NHK program have to pay viewer fee. That is the problem.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Cleo,

The way I got the story - from the friend who wrote the TV series - was that the person in question was employed by NHK. He may have been contracted for a limited time, I don't know. All that I know is that I composed the music and arranged it. NHK gave the guy credit for something he didn't do.

Hell, it wasn't Beethoven's 5th, but a real acknowledgement to the person who actually did the work in the credits might have opened doors.

"Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.'"

(PG Wodehouse)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

last time the NHK fee collector came i throw a bucket of water at him and said sorry iam cleaning the stairs... he never came again.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Lucabrasi,

I don't have a particular beef with public television in general. In fact, I'd be lying if I said I never watched NHK. I like some of the programming I happen to find there. What I don't agree with is the fee collection system. You're right; it should be tax-funded.

But it should have non0governmental oversight to help eliminate the kind of graft and corruption that even Japanese legislators agree is likely widespread and ongoing in a sprawling public entity that employs some 10,000 people.

Also, the fees are in desperate need of recalculation. At 14700 yen per year from some 40 million households, the kind of money NHK is raking in based on the spurious criteria of "If you have a television set" is simply unconscionable. .Extend this catch-all rationale to cell phones and internet connections and it verges on criminal extortion.

Simply possessing a television should not be the critieria. The information in the link to the report I provided above reveals the following:

*"The majority of people who spend more than an hour watching NHK turn out to be those over the age of 60 for both sexes, and both males and females between 13 and 19 and females in their twenties are not avid TV watchers, spending less than two hours watching TV. These young age groups spend only ten minutes [emphasis added] watching NHK."*

How is a mandatory fee fair for these people? Furthermore, how is a mandatory tax fair when it pays for goods or services that are quite arguably uneccesary for society as a whole?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I can also watch NHK streamed online overseas... should I have to pay the fee then? How far will it go?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

NHK News of English version lacks creative reporters and analyst. Maybe NHK is on a shoe string budget and it might not be desireable place to work. If you listen to most of these reporters, you end up with predictable boring and sometimes very amaturish reporting. Most of Japanese reporters definitely lack of command and some have no confidence in English language skills. You expect high profile NHK news quality to be much better, but they are not. The Japanese reporters and analyst that they hire need to take ESL classes and improve their English skills. I would skip on paying anything for NHK when you can get much better news coverage elsewhere for free.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

lucabrasi: Pay the fee, don't complain and thank God you live in a nation where a state-run broadcaster is considered worthwhile.

You're joking, I hope. I could care less about a state-run broadcaster and am perfectly capable of turning the channel or turning on my computer and getting my news from whichever source I choose. If you are that grateful for a state-run broadcaster, then you pay for it. When you start paying for my Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Tv etc. then I'll consider paying for whatever crap channel you freely choose to watch. The gig is up. Everyone knows that NHK isn't the only news source in town and that it's not even close to the best one. This notion of forcing people to pay for something they don't want and don't use is absurd. We're not talking about public education, roads or healthcare, things we all benefit from in one way or the other. So sorry, but this leftie strongly disagrees with you and will most certainly not be thanking any god for NHK.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Cos -

You are confusing with NHK news. Yes, the journalists are seishain. And they must have some full-time management staff. For the shows, staff are hired per season

I'm confusing nothing. We're not talking about news, or journalists, or announcers. The management staff are of course full-time seishain, the artistes and other contributors work on a show-by-show/series-by-series contract.

Bertie, if he was the guy who took the music in to NHK and claimed it as his own, he's the guy they're going to be obliged to pay. Maybe you need a manager.....

These young age groups spend only ten minutes [emphasis added] watching NHK."

How is a mandatory fee fair for these people?

They won't be glued to NHK reports when the next big earthquake/tsunami hits?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

cleo: They won't be glued to NHK reports when the next big earthquake/tsunami hits?

I didn't look at NHK once during the 3/11 earthquake, tsunami or unfolding nuclear disaster. Like I said, there were plenty of other reliable sources from which I was able to get my news and information. It didn't even occur to me to turn to NHK.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The law is the law. Your complain is with the politicians. Have them rewrite the law. Seems to me, the reason the J-gov had NHK charge a fee is that they don't have to call it a tax. It gives the illusion of independence from the government. But the NHK fee is a tax as the politicians wanted it per TV. Probably, originally they thought they could limit people watch TV; the news. If NHK is a public service, they the government should support them. As for cable, it is suprising that they don't go after the cable and satellite companies since they know who and how people are watching their programming. So if the conservative government is looking to give NHK the ability to place a fee on internet devices, maybe it's not NHK but the politicians that want to limit you internet use and let you blame NHK for the fee.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"The licence fee is what allows the BBC to be such a superb service, and the lack of which leads to the bilge put out by Murdoch and his idiot brethren."

Good point, but NHK does not provide a superb service. Apart from some documentaries and educational programmes which may be of a reasonable standard, everything else is mediocre. The BBC, even with various faults of its own like paying two salaries to useless people like Alan Yentob, is far superior. The idea of paying for NHK is the reason I only use my TV for watching DVDs and didn't bother switching to digital.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They won't be glued to NHK reports when the next big earthquake/tsunami hits?

Seriously, Cleo? You're presuming that NHK is the default and sole news disseminator across Japan in the event of natural disasters, an assertion that requires but a moment's consideration to realize is patently silly. Every broadcasting network across Japan provided extensive coverage of the quake and subsequent tsunami.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

LFRAgain,

You're right; it should be tax-funded.

I disagree.

We don't have TV.

My reaction to most of the programs on Japanese TV is annoyance, ranging from "if someone doesn't turn that thing off or the volume down in five minutes, I'm going to turn it off with a brick," in the case of commercial TV to boredom or incredulity with a lot of the NHK televisual offerings.

The closing ceremony of the London Olympics was RUINED by some prat of an NHK announcer gibbering about nothing through the music performances.

We neither have a TV nor do we have any intention of getting one or of watching NHK or anything else on iPad or iPhone.

Why doesn't NHK do it like cable TV or some kind of pay to watch scheme?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The NHK sales people are a bunch of rude gangsters! I had one man try to force his way into my house to see if I had a TV and another two, who persistently rang my bell and kicked my door while shouting profanities! Since they were recorded on my door monitor phone, the owner of the apartment building said he was going to complain to NHK and claim for the damage the salesman did to the door! Good luck NHK, you are not getting one red cent out of me!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

With all those people living and spending on public tax money and govt piggybacking themselves in every single aspect of the society, I am wondering if Japan is not turning into a giant communist country.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I had one man try to force his way into my house to see if I had a TV and another two, who persistently rang my bell and kicked my door while shouting profanities!

Oh, how I so look forward to one of them trying that at my house.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

They've been doing this for a while, haven't they? One of the NHK men came to my friend's apartment and when my friend said he didn't have a TV, the NHK man said my friend should still pay because he had a keitai (probably on the assumption that the keitai was one that could be used to watch broadcasts).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Bernie,

You're right; it should be tax-funded.

I disagree.

We'll have to agree to disagree then. NHK's Kyouiku Television has, IMO, some very interesting and informative programs that one would be hard pressed to find on regular commercial TV. You can agree or disagree with that as much as you care to, but I believe NHK provides content that while perhaps not side-splittingly entertaining does possess value to Japanese society and the civic body as a whole. I have no problem with that content being funded by public funds, much like roads in Hokkaido are, despite me never having cause to use that road in Hokkaido.

Why doesn't NHK do it like cable TV or some kind of pay to watch scheme?

NHK has those channels as well.

You'll get no argument from me about how thoroughly the announcers ruined the closing ceremony of the London Olympics either. But then again, that kind of ego-centric "if it's not in Japan(ese), the it's probably not important" attitude is prevalent throughout Japanese media, from radio to television to Internet sites like Mixi. It's not endemic just to NHK.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I am happy to pay for what I use. I don't now, nor have I ever watched NHK. Until there is a cop at my door saying jail or pay NHK, then NHK can get bent. It is a propaganda channel and the money is wasted.

According to some Japanese legal sites, there is no legal consequence for refusing to pay. NHK cannot search your home for devices. They cannot come in and check what you have.

If they come just dismiss them in Japanese. If that does not work. Speak English to them. If they send someone who speaks English switch to Russian. So far that seems to work pretty well. Again, no legal ding for not paying for something I don't use. As long as that is the case, they will not see a yen.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Just don't open the door to people you don't know. Cold callers never come round to do you a favour.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If my understanding is correct you are under no obligation to speak to the NHK people if they come a knocking. You are certainly under no obligation to answer their questions.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

all they need to do is introduce commercials and problem solved and then they can shut up. If they can't get the ratings then go bankrupt and then shut up.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Anna LouiseJun. 15, 2013 - 11:32AM JST

The NHK sales people are a bunch of rude gangsters! I had one man try to force his way into my house to see if I had a TV and another two, who persistently rang my bell and kicked my door while shouting profanities! Since they were recorded on my door monitor phone, the owner of the apartment building said he was going to complain to NHK and claim for the damage the salesman did to the door! Good luck NHK, you are not getting one red cent out of me!

Anna, if they kicked your door and tried to force their way into your house, then you should have called the police. That is illegal and you can bring charges against them for that.

I am 100% against paying NHK fees, and that is because my family and I DON'T watch it. Not at all. Why should I pay for a network we don't watch. We use our TV almost exclusively for DVD's for our family. There is so much rubbish on the telly recently I don't want my kids being exposed to much of it. I would rather them get educational videos via the net or DVDs. I don't have the internet to play online games, so why should I be forced to pay for a video game channel - it's the same with NHK. I don't watch it, so don't see why I should pay it. That's what I tell the NHK man when he comes around every year or so, and it was just last week he finally came around. I told him exactly what I wrote above politely. He continued to be persistent and I just told him if he wants my money, then he has to come back with a police officer and a lawyer because until then, I'm not paying for something I don't use.

NHK needs commercials rather than stealing money from the public for their rubbish shows.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

News to come: Reports of less people owning computers and cell phones -NHK

3 ( +3 / -0 )

NHK is beginning to sound a bit like 'Auntie Beeb' in Britian

You wish! In your dreams!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Something changed with the antenna of our apartment building and i can no longer see either of the NHK channels. Wonder if that makes me exempt from the NHK charges?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NHK is a joke

6 ( +6 / -0 )

As was mentioned here earlier, in the UK it is an offence not to have a TV licence. Some of the excuses people have used for not having a TV licence have just been reported and are, I think, relevant to this thread:

A homeowner tried to wriggle out of paying their TV licence fee by claiming they merely used the glow from the set as a lamp to help them read.

Another said they did not think they needed a licence because their pet corgi was said to be related to one of the Queen's dogs.

Other excuses included being unable to get to the shops because the Olympic torch relay had made the area too busy.

Another person who was caught said they were unable to pay as they had been barred from their local outlet after being caught shoplifting.

Another is said to have claimed they did not bother to buy one because they had stolen the TV set.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I like some NHK programs, but I hate their collection system! I don't know, maybe they should go to a volunteer payment America uses for PBS. And, they do have some sponsors, but no ads during programming. NHK's system of payment is tacky.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's an absolute joke that I have to pay for something I never use! The system stinks!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You can have it taken out of your bank account. We watch the taiga drama, news, and my granddaughter watches Okaasan to Isshou when she comes to visit. There are two payment levels the(quaintly named) 'Color TV' and 'TV plus BS'. The Color TV is not much, one payment of 13,600 a year. BS is much more.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

when i see an unknown salesperson through my peephole i always answer the door with my 2 piece bikini and say spikuto no japinise and they always blush and walk away.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I have for years not bought into this system and do not plan to. After too many attempts by NHK reps to get me to pay, I just asked them point blank to show me in writing where I HAD to pay. Since they were not able to show me where I had to pay, they finally left me alone. Has anyone ever been successful in taking themselves off the monthly payment to NHK once they have subscribed?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I gave up paying money into NHK years ago. A useless organisation, with mostly deadly dull News and other programs. Now they have the sheer audacity to attempt to impose taxes on us for using Smartphones, computers and other devices capable of picking up their awful programmes? As I always told the NHK feel collector who comes to my door "I dont watch your trash, and I am not going to pay for it." They can try to charge fo their rubbish via taxing my phone and computer, but sorry, I wont pay. Simples.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I can't get NHK now that things have gone digital, but they have good shows. They should, however, receive public funding directly from the government. The current method of fee collection is demeaning for them, and annoying for everyone else.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why do people open their doors to these guys? Just ignore them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

my feelings for NHK is that they r a lazy bum! go out and get sponsors for your tv programs just like other tv channels (in this world). what ever privileges they have should be abolished!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

go out and get sponsors for your tv programs just like other tv channels

And then NHK can also entertain us morning till night with the same eat something and express exaggerated delight and surprise at how good it tastes and hit someone round the head with a plastic mallet lowest-common-denominator rubbish the other channels put out. No thanks.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In that case Mobile phone carriers should also sell their smartphones without the One-Seg option. Smartphones already have dismal battery lives. I am doubtful if people actually buy them to watch TV on them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Since i dont have a tv at home and i told them several times. I guess next time they will come to my door and ask if i have smartphone, car navigation units, Nintendo DS game? Wake up and smell the coffee!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Expect you will see new gadgets on sale. There are so many gadget makers in Japan, Sony, Toshibs, Pnassonic, etc. all of them will create NHK avoiding gadgets, It will not take too long, NHK will lose ad sponsors.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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