An NHK investigation panel on Tuesday said a television documentary aired last year by the public broadcaster included “excessive staging,” although it found no fabrication.
At the same time, the broadcaster said 15 employees will be disciplined for their involvement in the program, “Close-up Gendai,” which aired last May. President Katsuto Momii and three other directors will voluntarily return part of their executive salaries.
Weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun alleged recently that the program had included a fake interview.
The magazine quoted a contributor to the program as saying that an NHK reporter had asked him to pretend to be a scam broker for a filmed interview, which he complied with.
In its interim report on April 9, the NHK investigation panel indicated there was excessive staging, noting that a room presented as a base for fraudulent activities was not in fact as described.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has questioned NHK executives about the documentary, which experts and opposition parties described as an example of political pressure being applied to the media organization.
Earlier this month, the LDP summoned officials from both NHK and TV Asahi and pressed them about that incident and a separate case involving TV Asahi.
In the second case, Shigeaki Koga, a former industry ministry official serving as a commentator on the popular TV Asahi evening news program “Hodo Station,” made a surprise on-air show of protest against Abe late last month.
During the March 27 live show, Koga held up a piece of paper that said “I am not ABE,” displaying it to millions of viewers.
Koga alleged that TV Asahi had given in to LDP pressure to pull him off the show, a claim that made international headlines.
The incident drew flak from the LDP and the government. TV Asahi said political pressure had played no part in its decision to change the commentator lineup.