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Nippon Television Network Corp. has announced a correction in its financial statements, saying shares that had been reported as held by Tsuneo Watanabe, chairman of Yomiuri Shimbun Group Honsha, actually belong to the group’s holding company.

The practice has been in place for more than 30 years, Nippon TV said.

The network has submitted revised financial reports to the Kanto Local Finance Bureau because it found the incorrect information during a recent check following revelations that Seibu Railway Co. underreported equity stakes held by major shareholders, Nippon TV officials said.

The officials said the correction was made to report the actual equity ownership conditions. They denied the broadcaster, an affiliate of the newspaper company, intentionally falsified its financial statements.

Following Nippon TV’s announcement Friday, the Tokyo Stock Exchange placed the broadcaster’s shares in a monitoring post.

Yasuhiro Nose, a senior executive of the broadcaster, said at a midnight news conference the Tokyo bourse’s decision came as “a big surprise” to the company.

Saying Nippon TV is taking the matter seriously, Nose said the network will continue to plead its case to the exchange.

According to Nippon TV’s financial reports for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 8.4 percent of its outstanding shares were held by the holding company of the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Yomiuri Giants, and 6.3 percent were held by Watanabe.

The broadcaster told the finance bureau that Watanabe’s shares were effectively held by the holding company.

The officials said Nippon TV shares held under the names of the Yomiuri Shimbun’s president and chairman had been effectively kept by the newspaper company since 1971 and dividends had been paid to Yomiuri.

The TV company said the practice had been maintained as a “symbol” of its close relationship with the Yomiuri Shimbun.

A Nippon TV spokesperson said the company’s incorrect statements do not meet the TSE’s delisting standards nor constitute a violation of the Securities and Exchange Law as it did not intentionally falsify them.

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