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In a country where TV fare typically involves panels of posturing personalities oohing and aahing over each other’s exploits, Japan’s two national NHK channels are a welcome beacon of quality programming.

In the past, NHK was often one of the few ways to watch overseas shows in English. These days, however, the Internet and cable channels mean there is no shortage of decent programming options. Even if you never watch its channels, though, NHK is still keen to have a relationship with you: It wants you to pay licensing fees.

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