Japanese TV time down a bit

TOKYO — The average Japanese household is watching less television, but the nation is still home to a major population of TV heads, according to a survey released last week by Video Research Ltd.

According to the survey, the average household in the Tokyo region watched eight hours, 12 minutes of television a day in 1996, which marks a 16-minute drop from the recent high of eight hours, 26 minutes marked in 1993. In the Osaka region, the average household watched eight hours and 21 minutes of TV a day in 1996, almost unchanged from the peak of eight hours, 22 minutes marked in 1993.

Video Research said the average amount of viewing time per household nationwide has declined since 1993 for several reasons. The main reason for the decrease in TV viewing comes from a strengthened economy.

The research company also said senior citizens, a group that watches more television than most other age groups, are getting out of the house more and watching TV less, also causing the TV viewing numbers to drop.

The company said videogames and portable telephones also are responsible for the decrease in TV viewing hours. Portable telephones allow for people to meet more easily, which cuts into TV viewing time.

While major metropolitan areas had an average cut in viewing time, residents in rural areas spent more time watching TV in 1996 than in 1995.

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