The communications ministry requested Tuesday that all domestic broadcasters investigate whether they are complying with foreign ownership rules after Fuji Media Holdings Inc. said it may have breached regulations in the past.
The development came as satellite broadcaster Tohokushinsha Film Corp., where Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's eldest son Seigo Suga works, is set to have a license for one of its channels revoked in May. That follows its admission that it violated a rule under the law that requires less than 20% of voting rights in a broadcaster be controlled by foreign shareholders.
The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry filed the request with 576 broadcasters, including TV and radio stations and holding companies, regarding their compliance with the broadcast law and asked them to reply by April 30.
Fuji Media Holdings, the parent of Fuji Television Network Inc., said Monday it had made errors in calculating the voting rights of its shareholders and mistakenly added a share of 0.002% to the 0.004% held by a subsidiary between 2012 and 2014.
The company said it became aware of the possible violation of the foreign ownership rule in 2014, but did not make the error public, believing that the correction involved was "minor."
The company is recalculating voting rights for the period when the discovery was made to determine whether foreign shareholders held 20% or more of the company, constituting a violation of the broadcasting law.
It said voting rights owned by foreign nationals stood below 20% as of September 2014 and have been under the threshold since.
Takeda said he has instructed ministry officials to thoroughly investigate the Fuji Media Holdings case. He declined to comment on whether the ministry will revoke its license, saying, "We have yet to grasp the facts."
The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan demanded Fuji Media Holdings' executives, including its president, be summoned to the Diet as witnesses.
"We cannot overlook" it if a law violation has been ignored, Jun Azumi, the party's Diet affairs chief, told reporters after filing the request to summon the executives with Hiroshi Moriyama, his counterpart at the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
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