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NHK-Japan to discuss possible subscription fee cut for needy families

NHK Chairman Susumu Ishihara said the broadcaster will consider reducing the viewing fee for needy families.

NHK’s board of directors plan to discuss discounted viewing fees for needy families in its next three-year business plan from fiscal 2018.The fee-reduction measure was unveiled by the public broadcaster’s chairman, Susumu Ishihara after a meeting of its decision-making board.

The governing body sought advice from a panel of outside experts who were brought in to discuss the television reception-fee system. Based on the advice, the committee will make its decision by the end of next March.

At present, NHK grants a 50 percent or 100 percent fee exemption to people who are on welfare, live in facilities funded through social welfare programs and those with severe disabilities. The expansion of coverage is likely to be discussed.

Regarding a Supreme Court ruling early this month that a broadcasting law provision requiring TV owners to subscribe to NHK is constitutional, Ishihara said NHK must be humble and work harder to gain public acceptance of the meaning of the fee system.