Terunobu Maeda, the new president of NHK, expressed on Monday his determination to push ahead with reforms of the public broadcaster.
“The three-part reforms of operations, viewing fees and governance must be pursued ceaselessly,” Maeda, 75, said at his inaugural news conference.
Maeda, former leader of Mizuho Financial Group Inc., said that NHK will decide whether to lower its viewing fees based on its business conditions.
The president also pinned high hopes on the broadcaster’s plan to begin online simultaneous streaming of its television programs in March. “We will use the internet effectively while keeping broadcasts as our foundation.”
NHK will offer the simulcast service for 17 to 18 hours a day rather than around the clock, due to concerns among commercial broadcasters about how the service will affect them. “We’ll pay attention to the response (from viewers),” Maeda said on whether NHK would introduce 24-hour simulcasts in the future. “It’s not a foregone conclusion.”
“I will protect NHK’s impartiality and neutrality as a news media body, and uphold its independence and autonomy of broadcasts,” he said. “It is my conviction to work by keeping equal distance from both the ruling and opposition parties.”
Maeda is a member of Shiki no Kai, a group of business leaders close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
He served as president of Mizuho Holdings, which later became Mizuho Financial, from April 2002. He led the Mizuho group through issues such as major system failures and problems linked to nonperforming loans.
After stepping down as Mizuho Financial chairman in 2010, Maeda served as a member of the National Public Safety Commission and in other posts before becoming NHK president on Saturday.