The government may make requests to NHK that affect its international services by promoting state views on political issues, Sanae Takaichi, new minister of internal affairs and communications, said.
“It is possible to make requests to transmit correct information on Japanese territories and other issues and to underscore the good points of Japan,” Takaichi said in an interview Friday.
The new minister was apparently referring to the sovereignty disputes over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, claimed by China and Taiwan, and the South Korean-held islets of Dokdo, which Japan claims as Takeshima, in the Sea of Japan, which Seoul calls the East Sea.
In the next breath, however, Takaichi said the public broadcaster can make its own decisions on whether to meet such requests.
In 2006, then-communications minister Yoshihide Suga took the controversial step of ordering NHK to increase international radio coverage of the abduction issue, which concerns Japanese kidnapped in the 1970s and 1980s by North Korean spies. Following the public outcry, Japan in 2007 revised the broadcast law and weakened the minister’s authority to make such requests to NHK less-binding.
Takaichi said her ministry will also discuss the possibility of supporting NHK so it can provide its international TV service in all six official languages used by the United Nations.
On the revitalization of regional economies and communities, Takaichi said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has instructed her to devise a new system to support regions suffering from depopulation.