TOKYO — NHK prexy Genichi Hashimoto has resigned over an insider trading scandal, the pubcaster announced on Monday.
Hashimoto was skedded to step down on Friday to be succeeded by Shigeo Fukuchi, a senior advisor to the Asahi Beer company, but resigned four days early to take responsibility for the scandal.
Two reporters and one director, all from different NHK broadcasting outlets, are accused of using an NHK online editing system to get advance info about restaurant chain Zensho’s acquisition of a chain of sushi shops on March 8.
Snapping up between 1,000 to 3,000 Zensho shares minutes before the story broke, the trio reaped profits amounting from Y100,000 to Y400,000 ($943 to $3,774).
Two of the three have already confessed, while one is still denying culpability to government investigators.
NHK is now conducting an internal probe of all 11,000 employees to see if any others have taken illicit stock market plunges.
Under Hashimoto’s three-year reign NHK has been rocked by a series of scandals, most involving producers pocketing funds. Thousands of angry viewers have stopped paying the supposedly mandatory NHK license fees in protest.
Hashimoto told reporters that the pubcaster has “damaged the trust of viewers.”