NHK said Tuesday it plans to cut its radio programs in Italian, German, Swedish and Malay and shift its emphasis to television programs for its international services.

The cut, the first-ever reduction to the number of languages the public broadcaster uses in its programs, will take effect in October 2007.

Currently, NHK transmits short-wave radio programs in 22 languages.

Short-wave radio programs for Europe, excluding Russia, and for North America and Hawaii, will also be trimmed, according to NHK.

French programs will be limited to audiences in Africa and those in Spanish restricted to Latin America, it said.

The move comes with a decline in demand for short-wave radio programming as the popularity of TV and the Internet grows, according to NHK.

More than 100 million yen will be saved as a result of the reductions and those funds will be used to increase programs in English.

Toyota exec to join NHK

NHK said Tuesday that Shin Kanada, a senior managing director of Toyota Motor Corp., will join its board of directors effective Sept. 1.

During his two-year term, Kanada, 58, will serve as deputy chief of the bureau for viewers and bring their views to management, NHK said.

Kanada will be NHK’s first director, excluding the post of chairman, from the private sector since 1971.

Under the Broadcast Law, NHK’s operations are funded by viewer fees collected from households with TVs.

Currently, some 30 percent of such households have not paid the fees due partly to a series of recent scandals at NHK.

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