NHK apologized Thursday for failing to check the identity of a program guest it had introduced as a customer of a shoe rental service at a hotel. The guest was actually an employee of sportswear firm Mizuno Corp., which provided the shoes to the hotel.

The Mizuno employee was introduced on the public broadcaster's "Ohayo Nippon" morning show Dec. 9 as an occasional user of the service at the upscale capsule hotel.

He told the program that he found the rental service "convenient and easy to use," but the broadcaster said it later discovered he had never stayed at the hotel and was actually a Mizuno staffer.

"We didn't thoroughly check" the man's identity, NHK said on the program's website.

NHK had entrusted a director at another TV production company to ask the hotel to introduce them to customers who had used the shoe rental service for the segment. But a Mizuno representative told a junior employee of the company to pretend to be a customer, NHK said.

"We deeply apologize to program viewers, NHK and parties concerned for causing trouble," said Hiroyuki Koyama, a Mizuno spokesman. "The staffer in question deeply regrets making an unwise decision."

The broadcaster faced similar scrutiny following a documentary aired in November last year in which it erroneously introduced three people as customers of a service that provides actors to stand in as relatives or romantic partners for clients, depending on their needs.

The interviewees were later revealed to be staff of the service provider.