Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Taro Aso said Tuesday he has ordered ministry officials to consider revising radio and broadcasting laws to put greater regulations on purchases of Japanese broadcasters by foreign companies.

Aso said he plans to submit bills to revise the laws to the current Diet session. The move is apparently aimed at preventing foreign companies from taking control of Japanese broadcasters in the way that Livedoor Co. acquired a large stake in Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. using funds borrowed from Lehman Brothers.

“We are studying (the imposition of) regulations even on indirect investments (through subsidiaries)” along with direct investments, Aso said at a news conference.

While radio and broadcast laws limit foreign ownership of Japanese broadcasters to less than 20 percent, there are no provisions for banning foreign parties from acquiring such stakes through Japanese subsidiaries or affiliates.

Aso declined comment on Livedoor, the Internet and computer technology company that blocked Fuji Television Network Inc.’s takeover bid for Nippon Broadcasting by suddenly acquiring a stake of more than 40 percent in the radio company, mostly through off-hours trading conducted with the help of an affiliate.

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