NHK broadcaster quits in protest over nuclear issues — Professor censored after 20 years on air — Was to reveal ‘extraordinarily high’ damages — Newly installed NHK chief ‘enthusiastic’ to help spread gov’t messages to audience
January 30th, 2014
Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 30, 2014: A veteran radio show commentator quit his job at [NHK] after the public broadcaster told him to drop the subject of nuclear power during the Tokyo gubernatorial election, sources said. For about 20 years, Toru Nakakita, a professor of economics at Toyo University, had been in charge of the “Business Outlook” segment of the “Radio Asa Ichiban” show aired weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. on NHK Radio Daiichi. […] the Jan. 30 program pointed out the increase in costs for the resumption of nuclear reactor operations, saying “damages to be paid in the wake of a nuclear plant accident are extraordinarily high.” […] Nakakita, formerly with the Foreign Ministry, served as the deputy chairman of the Council for the Asian Gateway Initiative in the first Shinzo Abe Cabinet.
Japan Times, Jan. 30, 2014: [Nakakita] resigned from the program in protest over the public broadcaster’s demand that nuclear power not be discussed until after the Feb. 9 Tokyo gubernatorial election. [He] said the director of the “Radio 1″ morning news program told him Wednesday to change the subject of his commentary […] the director of the news program told him to wait until after the election, on grounds his comments “would affect the voting behavior” […] Last week, Peter Barakan, a freelance radio show host, revealed […] he had been pressured by “two broadcasting stations” not to touch on nuclear power issues until after Feb. 9. He didn’t identify the stations, but he works for NHK FM Radio and NHK World, as well as other private TV and radio stations.
Prof. Nakakita: “The director kept insisting that people vote based on ‘impressions.’ But I wonder if it’s OK to say we can talk about (contentious issues) at length only after the election. What if I had talked about welfare? Wouldn’t that have affected the voting behavior? The media should choose various issues especially during the campaign […] If they don’t, voters will go to the polls with no information to base their judgments on. Isn’t it the mission of the news organizations to have the guts to give more information to the public?”
Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 28, 2014: “The highly controversial remarks made by Katsuto Momii, the new chairman of Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK), have raised serious concerns […] In his inaugural news conference as chief of the public broadcaster on Jan. 25, Momii expressed views and opinions that sounded like a faithful echo of the government’s positions. He showed enthusiasm for the idea of using NHK […] as a means to relay to overseas audiences the government’s positions […] “It would not do for us to say ‘left’ when the government is saying ‘right,’” Momii said. […] Momii indicated his willingness to accept the government’s argument for the [state secrets] legislation. […] his green light will be needed for any program on a controversial subject […] If its programs are regarded as government propaganda, NHK will lose credibility with overseas audiences.”