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NHK fires newsman Kenichi Tsukamoto over charges of ‘dangerous drug’ production

Kyodo

NHK said Tuesday it will dismiss news announcer Kenichi Tsukamoto after he was summarily charged last week with producing controlled substances known in Japan as “dangerous drugs.”

The disciplinary dismissal of Tsukamoto, 37, will be enforced Feb. 23, NHK said. The early evening news announcer has been with the public broadcaster since 2003.

The Tokyo Summary Court on Feb. 9 ordered Tsukamoto to pay a ¥500,000 fine for producing the drugs in his Tokyo apartment in early January. He paid the fine the same day.

Tsukamoto was arrested Jan. 29 for production of the drugs following an initial arrest for possession earlier that month.

The drugs Tsukamoto admitted to producing for his personal use included formerly legal substances with hallucinatory and stimulant properties. Their possession and use have been banned since April 2014, except for medical use.

NHK apologized to viewers Tuesday, pledging to step up its employee training.

“We have judged (Tsukamoto) bears a heavy responsibility for undermining trust,” the broadcaster said in a statement.