The 8,500-member Japan Broadcasting Workers Union is set to submit a written demand for the resignation of Katsuji Ebisawa, President of public broadcaster NHK. The Union says that, since the alleged embezzlement of some 49 million yen by a former NHK producer came to light in July, a number of viewers have refused to pay fees for the public broadcaster. It says the NHK President should accept responsibility for the various scandals which have beset NHK. These include the Seoul bureau chief’s padding of costs for news coverage, and two other producers’ claims for expenses for fictitious business trips. Union General Secretary Naomi Okamoto says NHK’s businesses could be irreversibly damaged unless current management is replaced.
NHK acknowledges there is a problem, saying that between late July and the end of September it received 31,000 refusals to pay licence fees. About 1,000 manager-level NHK officials have been visiting viewers to collect the fees, the broadcaster said. Ebisawa and all of NHK’s board directors have taken salary cuts over the scandals. The Union will decide on 9 November whether to formally proceed with its request for Ebisawa’s resignation.