Certification of Tohokushinsha subsidiary revoked for violating Broadcasting Law in Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Ryota Takeda announces his plan to revoke the certification of the satellite broadcasting business of a subsidiary of Tohokushinsha Film Corp. at a press conference at the Diet after a Cabinet meeting on Friday.

The certification of a satellite broadcasting business that was taken over by a subsidiary of broadcasting company Tohokushinsha Film Corp. will be revoked, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Ryota Takeda announced Friday.

The move comes in response to continued violation of foreign investment regulations under the Broadcasting Law.

Under that law, foreign investment in a broadcasting operator must be less than 20% for it to gain certification, but it has become clear that the ratio of voting rights of foreign capital at the time Tohokushinsha received the certification in 2017 was more than 20%.

At a press conference after a Cabinet meeting on Friday, Takeda said, “We have determined that there was a serious flaw and will proceed with the necessary procedures to revoke the certification.”

According to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, when Tohokushinsha applied for certification for BS4K broadcasting in October 2016, it stated that its foreign investment ratio was less than 20%. However, a new examination revealed that the ratio of foreign investment at that time was 20.75%.

The reason for this was that Tohokushinsha had not added up small foreign shareholders’ holdings. However, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry did not require reporting of those shareholdings, and the confirmation system was sloppy.

Tohokushinsha continued to operate in violation of the law, and in October 2017, the satellite broadcasting business was taken over by a subsidiary, Tohokushinsha Media Service Inc.

On Wednesday, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry will begin the process of revoking the certification after conducting a hearing with the subsidiary.

According to the ministry, some satellite broadcasting channels that have been certified in violation of the Broadcasting Law will no longer be able to be broadcast. Other channels, such as the Igo & Shogi Channel operated by the Tohokushinsha group, will not be affected.

The series of violations of the Broadcasting Law came to light after opposition lawmakers pointed out the problem of expensive hospitality involving Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s eldest son — who works for the company — and senior ministry officials.