Deadbeats pay up pubcaster fees

3,270 NHK viewers have made new applications to pay

TOKYO — NHK’s crackdown on deadbeat viewers who refuse to pay the pubcaster’s monthly receiving fees is paying off, officials say. But the number of noncompliers also is growing.

According to figures released by NHK, in the five days since it announced its crackdown policy Oct. 5, 3,270 viewers have either made new applications to pay fees (1,810) or have said they will restart fee payments after refusing (1,460).

By contrast, in the five-day period before the announcement, the pubcaster received only 620 new applications and 230 fee-restart notices.

On Oct. 5, NHK told the media it would take 48 deadbeat viewers to court if they did not start paying by the end of the month. Since that announcement, one has agreed to pay, but the others are still holding out.

On the other hand, from Oct. 5-10, 290 viewers told NHK they will no longer pay fees vs. only 70 such cases from Sept. 30-Oct. 4.

The uptick in refusers, NHK believes, is partly due to the news Oct. 6 that the head of the NHK station in Toyama had been arrested on suspicion of shoplifting — the latest in a series of scandals involving NHK employees.

“We have to vigorously pursue compliance, since the reaction to the (latest) scandal is still yet to come,” said Kunio Ishihara, head of NHK’s management committee. “We have to make greater efforts to explain (our policy) to viewers and persuade them to comply.”

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