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False data leads to KTV resignation

Successor Kataoka asks Chigusa to stay

TOKYO — Ending a long-running real-life drama, Kansai Telecasting prexy Soichiro Chigusa resigned Tuesday to take responsibility for faked data on KTV shows.

 Chigusa, however, will remain as a director without voting rights. His replacement, KTV managing director Masashi Kataoka, told reporters that he asked Chigusa to stay “to formulate measures for preventing a repetition” of the scandal.

KTV announced 20% pay cuts for the company chairman and two other top execs for three months, as well as the canceling of June half-year bonuses for the entire top management team.

 Chigusa’s resignation was widely anticipated after investigations uncovered 16 incidents of falsified data on KTV shows, principally on a January broadcast of the “Encyclopedia of Living II” variety show that extolled the benefits of a dodgy “natto” (fermented soybean) diet. 

KTV has been widely criticized for not acting more swiftly and thoroughly to investigate the practices that led to the fakery, allowing subcontractors to produce shows with little or no station fact-checking. The Communications Ministry issued a warning — its strongest administrative measure — to KTV for its patchy response to the scandal.

 Meanwhile, the ministry is planning to revise the law to require broadcasters to devise plans for ensuring the accuracy of their shows, particularly the infotainment variety shows that have been the source of much of the falsified data. The Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization (BPO), an industry self-policing org, has spoken out against the proposal, saying that it would tighten government control over the media.

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