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Suga’s Cabinet adopted a revision to the broadcast law Friday that would enable NHK to collect a surcharge from households with television sets that are not paying viewer fees.

The revision, adopted at a Cabinet meeting, also calls for the creation of a system to accumulate reserve funds so that NHK can reduce its fees.

“(The system) will lead to a drastic reduction in viewer fees of more that 10% per month,” communications minister Ryota Takeda said at a news conference following the Cabinet meeting.

If the revision passes, NHK would be authorized to levy a surcharge, including uncollected viewer fees, from households that have not signed viewership contracts with the broadcaster without a valid reason despite owning TVs.

The surcharge amount will be decided after the revision is enacted.

Meanwhile, the reserve fund system will be set up under NHK’s next medium-term business plan covering three years through fiscal 2023.

Under the system, the broadcaster’s existing surplus funds and profits for the coming three fiscal years will be added to the reserve fund, which will allow it to lower viewer fees in the following three years.

NHK had a surplus of ¥128 billion as of the end of fiscal 2019.

The Cabinet also approved a revision to the law on the limitation of liability for internet service providers in order to fight online abuse.

Under the revision, a new system will be established that simplifies court procedures for demanding the disclosure of the names and addresses of people making posts on the internet, making it easier for victims of online abuse to seek damages. The government aims to implement the revision next year.

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