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Japan’s Public Broadcaster To Lower Receiving Fee

Posted July. 14, 2007 04:44,   


NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, is planning to lower its receiving fee, while KBS, Korea’s public broadcaster, has decided to raise it 60%.

According to the Asahi Shimbun on July 13, NHK is reviewing a plan to lower its receiving fee as part of its five-year management plan to be announced in September.

NHK will report the plan to the management committee on July 24 and put it in effect next April.

The plan is to lower the fee 10% for direct deposits and 5% for bill collection visits. The monthly fee for a color TV is currently 1,345 yen via direct deposit and 1,395 yen when billed later.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the NHK is also considering a plan to discount the fee for people of advanced age and of lower income.

NHK is expecting that the total amount of its bills collected will not change as the payment rate will go up to 80% from 70% after the measure. Its income through receiving fees this year is estimated to amount to 613 billion yen (about 4.5875 trillion won).

While the receiving fee is included in the utilities bill in Korea, Japan’s viewers are supposed to pay it voluntarily. Although the payment is a requirement, there is no provision of punishment for those who do not pay.

NHK is pursuing a plan to enforce the payment as it lowers the fee.

However, it is not certain if the management committee and the Japanese government will approve the plan.

Unlike the Korean government that supported KBS’ plan for a raise, the Japanese government has pushed NHK to lower the fee 20%.

Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Yoshihide Suga was planning to suggest an amendment of the broadcasting law, which includes a plan to make the receiving fee payment a requirement in March, but cancelled it when NHK refused to lower the fee 20%.

Suga said, “The lowering is a touchstone in reforming the NHK. We cannot ask the people to support our plan if we make the payment a requirement without lowering the fee.” He launched a society for research on lowering the fee in May.