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NHK embezzlement arrest made

Six of Tsuchiyama's superiors have salaries cut

TOKYO — In the latest of a series of scandals plaguing pubcaster NHK, a former employee has been arrested on suspicion of embezzlement.

Kei Tsuchiyama, formerly in charge of accounting at the NHK Service Center, was dismissed in July for under-reporting Y3.7 million ($31,896) in gate receipts at five NHK Trophy International Figure Skating competitions between 2000 and 2004 held by the Japan Skating Federation.

Tsuchiyama later said he used the money for entertaining and paying off debts.

After conducting an internal investigation, NHK Service Center dismissed Tsuchiyama and cut the salaries of the six of his superiors in punishment.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police have been aware of the case since July, when Tsuchiyama’s dismissal was reported in the media, but have only now arrested him for embezzling, press reports say.

Hit by series of scandals, mostly involving misappropriation of funds by producers and other employees, NHK faces a rebellion by angry viewers who refuse to pay subscription fees, hitting the pubcaster’s bottom line.

By the end of September, some 1.12 million households had refused to pay.

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