NHK’s reign of terror on the Japanese public continues in an unprecedented court victory over a man who engineered his television to refuse their service.
It’s often said that Japan is a very safe country. However, it does have its share of dangers, one of which is their public television service NHK. It might seem odd to fear a provider of commercial-free educational programming, but ask most people who live here and they’ll tell you the constant fear we live in.
As a public broadcaster, NHK runs on funding by the people who are quasi-obliged to pay a monthly fee. I use the term “quasi” because, rather than earmarking tax money for NHK, the government decided to let them go get the money themselves.
I assume the concept the government had in mind was for NHK to provide such quality content that people would gladly pay for their service. But instead, the broadcasters outsourced a goon squad of aggressive door-to-door bill collectors who will stop at nothing to get you to open the door and sign on the dotted line.
▼ Here is your typical NHK collector visiting a home and acting creepy.
Sadly, these collectors are probably motivated by poor working conditions under some temp company rather than a passion for public television.
I once knew a guy who accidentally opened the door on an NHK collector mistaking them for a neighbor. After being coerced into handing over his bank account for a service he never used, he then learned that there is a clause in the contract that states if you have no device to receive NHK then you do not have to pay for it.
So, he sold his TV, showed NHK the receipt, and allowed a representative to inspect his home confirming it was gone. Then and only then would they release him from his commitment. It worked, but needless to say it was a huge hassle.
▼ Another pleasant house call.
Another Tokyo-area man thought he had found a more elegant solution after finding himself on the wrong end of an NHK collector’s pen. On 31 March, he signed a contract to pay a monthly fee of 1,310 yen ($12.35) per month. However, afterward he claimed that he had installed a device that blocked only NHK broadcasts from his TV.
Citing the same clause in the contract that states, “when there is no way to receive broadcasts such as by having no television, the contract is no longer necessary”, he refused to pay. So NHK, refusing to let a subscriber slip through their fingers, took him to court.
▼ Although the defendant is not named in reports, he is believed by some to be Takashi Tachibana, the leader of the Protect the Nation from NHK Party. Here he is giving a platform speech in the race for Tokyo governor on none other than NHK.
At Tokyo District Court, Judge Sonoe Taniguchi ruled in favor of NHK and ordered the man to pay the fee for the month of March. The judge’s reasoning was that even though the man had an NHK-blocker installed on his set, he was able to remove it at anytime if he wanted to watch.
Naturally, the man – who, ironically, was a former NHK employee – refused the accusation telling Sankei Shimbun he never watched nor intended to watch public television. He also plans to appeal the decision after he welds the device to his TV thus making it impossible to remove.
However, the case does set a tricky precedent, if the man was obliged to pay simply because he had the potential to watch NHK, then that makes everyone bound to do the same, regardless of whether we have a TV or not. After all, most people can go and purchase a television any time we want.
▼ This video shows a resident narrowly escaping an NHK collector claiming that since the man’s old clam-shell phone can pick up TV signals, he had to pay up.
That is a reality that NHK is working very hard to achieve, so if you are new to Japan, remember to do like everyone else here and never answer your door!