NHK goons about to get leaner and meaner

It won’t be pretty:

NHK has eight TV and radio channels: two for terrestrial TV broadcasting (general and education); three for satellite TV, including one for high-definition programs; and three radio channels including an FM service. Heizo Takenaka‘s panel argued that one satellite channel is enough and three radio channels are too many for public broadcasting.

The proposed reduction in the channels should be combined with substantial streamlining and downsizing of NHK’s bloated operations to allow a sharp cut in the viewing fees, the panel says. In return, viewers would be legally required to pay for NHK’s services under a new fee system, possibly supported by penalties for nonpayment.

If you’ve lived in Japan, you probably have some experience with the NHK henchmen who troll around apartment blocks trying to collect NHK service fees. Everyone has their own method of dealing with them: say you don’t have a TV, say you don’t get NHK reception, answer the door stark naked, scream in Turkish, etc. But I’m going to hate the day when NHK is legally empowered to collect from me. Sod off, Domo-kun.

6 thoughts on “NHK goons about to get leaner and meaner”

  1. Well, the way I think it’s going to work is, they’ll just scramble the signal for those who won’t pay. Hopefully they’ll end the anachronistic door-to-door collection scheme as well. Why not just send a bill?

  2. OK, now that I’ve actually *read* the editorial…

    Looks like they scrapped the scrambling idea in favor of forcing people to pay for Radio Calisthenics and Sign-language News… Dumb! Why don’t they consider a PBS-style funding system with a combination of endowments, donations, and corporate sponsors?

  3. They do send a bill, though, if you give them your details. (I did, because I used to watch NHK sometimes. I haven’t had a TV since I moved, though.)

  4. If they insist in maintaining entirely advertisement-free public television, why don`t they just fund it with taxes? That would be so much easier than hiring goons to drive around with unreliable antenna trucks, knocking on doors.

    Anyway, BBC is a million times better than NHK. For one thing, they make shows like Doctor Who, which to me would be worth every penny of the license fee. Of course, I just buy the DVDs, which is a whole lot cheaper…

  5. Well actually in france it’s a bit the same with the tv tax… You only have to pay if you have a tv and they send you letters asking you to pay it regularly…

    The problem is that when you answer the mail saying that you don’t own the tv they often don’t seem to believe you….

    Anyway not much time ago I read that this tax was the tax with the lowest return rate in france… something around 50% was used for paying the infrastructure to collect this tax

  6. I have had experience with the NHK fee collector. I couldn’t believe what he was telling me, that I had to actually pay for NHK. Right now I am watching a ton of it for World Cup and I do enjoy the research programs on issues in Japan (tonight they had one on the new parking laws, which affects transportation logistics as managed by my firm).

    Anyway, I told the guy since my firm pays my housing (90%) including all fees and utilities, I would have to run it by them first. The next day at work, after talking with the HR department, they told me to ignore it–that nobody pays it. So that’s my new line if I ever run into them again. However, I basically pretend I am not here when the guy appears in my door video monitor (I love that thing–no more time spent collecting Jehovah Witness brochures either).

    Really, that job must suck so bad.

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