• Kyodo News


Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. falsely reported in its popular morning TV program in January that a Fujiya Co. factory had added milk to chocolates past their expiry dates to make new products, a third-party panel on the scandal-tainted confectioner said Wednesday.

While the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry is planning to probe the matter, TBS officials said the same day that the broadcaster has found “segments that lacked preciseness” in its report.

In the Jan. 22 broadcast of the program “Minomonta no Asazuba,” a woman who was introduced as a former Fujiya employee said the Hiratsuka factory in Kanagawa Prefecture was collecting out-of-date chocolates on a daily basis for inappropriate use. Her face was not shown on TV.

Using an illustration, she explained how workers take the wrapping off such chocolates, melt them and mix in milk, then ship them as new products.

But the panel, which has been set up to investigate Fujiya’s use of expired ingredients, claims that it has found that the Hiratsuka factory has no system for collecting chocolates or a plant to mix chocolates with milk.

TBS said Wednesday the woman’s testimony about the collection of such chocolates on a daily basis “was actually one about the state of affairs more than 10 years ago,” adding the broadcaster did not know whether it was milk that got mixed in.

The broadcaster denied its program was fabricated. “There is a possibility that viewers may have misunderstood. But there was no problem with the foundation (of the report). There was no fabrication,” a TBS official said.

“We also had flaws in our cakes and we cannot say everything with our head held high,” Fujiya’s public relations office said. “But we are talking with TBS in the hope of having them revise what is apparently not factual.”

The panel, which includes several lawyers, is planning to refer to the issue in its investigation report to be released Friday over the Fujiya food-safety scandal.

Fabricated TV shows have drawn public attention after Osaka-based Kansai Telecasting Corp. was found to have fabricated data in a nationally broadcast entertainment show on health issues.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.