NHK wins subscription fee lawsuits

Kyodo

NHK has finally won two suits over its demand for three people to pay television subscription fees, the broadcaster said Wednesday.

In its first decisions on NHK TV subscription fees, the Supreme Court’s No. 3 Petty Bench has endorsed lower court rulings ordering two people in Tokyo and one person in Sapporo to pay subscription fees as requested by NHK, the company said.

NHK requires all TV owners to pay subscription fees, which form the basis of its financing.

The three people signed TV subscription contracts with NHK in 2002 or 2003 and later refused to pay subscription fees for reasons including their dissatisfaction with NHK programs and the failure of other people to pay the fees.

The top court upheld a Tokyo High Court decision that endorsed the subscription fee requirement as reasonable and constitutional, and ordered the two defendants to pay a total of ¥193,000 in such fees.

The defendant in Sapporo had claimed he was not bound by the TV subscription contract that his wife had concluded with NHK.

The Sapporo District Court endorsed his claim but the Sapporo High Court ruled in NHK’s favor, a decision upheld by the top court. The man was ordered to pay ¥177,000 in fees.