NHK has become the go-to media outlet for scoops on the Imperial family. In July, the public broadcaster was the first to break the news that the Emperor wanted to step down and, last month, it was the first to report Princess Mako’s intention to marry a man she met at university. Both stories annoyed the government, which prefers that disclosure of information about Imperial matters follow strict protocols.
The press’ main excuse for ignoring official channels in this way is that the public likes the Emperor and the Imperial family, so the scoops are popular. It should be noted, however, that one of these channels is the Imperial Household Agency, which controls all interactions with the palace.