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The number of households that refused to pay subscription fees to scandal-tainted NHK soared to around 1.17 million as of the end of July, from 970,000 two months earlier, the public broadcaster said Tuesday.

NHK had forecast the number would rise from 450,000 to 500,000 when it compiled its fiscal 2005 budget in January.

The figure has more than doubled the estimate, due apparently to a series of embezzlement scandals involving its employees.

The broadcaster said more people might have felt that it is unfair for them to pay the NHK fees as many of their neighbors do not.

Meanwhile, NHK’s managing committee said that given the situation, it will freeze the payment of retirement money for three executives, including former President Katsuji Ebisawa, who retired in January.

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