On July 25, the Japan Federation of Commercial Broadcast Workers' Unions (Minpororen) confirmed that TV Asahi Corp. had left the organization. Strictly speaking, it was the company's labor union that quit Minpororen, though in Japan the distance between labor and management is smaller than it is in many other countries since labor unions in Japan tend to be company-based.
TV Asahi's reasons for leaving are not crystal clear, but some media have theories, including the weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun, which suggested it was ostensibly about money. Minpororen is part of a larger labor federation called MIC Union, which protects the interests of workers in "mass media, information and culture," including publishing and advertising. Members pay union dues to Minpororen, and TV Asahi's labor union is one of the biggest in the industry. Minpororen derives about 15 percent of its annual revenue from the station.
According to Shukan Bunshun's sources, suspicions arose within TV Asahi last year that someone on the union's executive committee was embezzling money, which led to an internal investigation. Attention centered on a member who was fired in December of last year after taking a month off without permission. This person subsequently went to Minpororen and claimed he had been dismissed unfairly. TV Asahi told Shukan Bunshun that the missing money had nothing to do with the station's decision to leave Minpororen, but nevertheless they thought they were paying too much to the federation, whose policies, they say, including how their money is spent, differ from TV Asahi's.