Japan Enacts Bill to Make Webcasts Mandatory for NHK

Yomiuri Shimbun file
NHK’s headquarters building

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japan’s parliament Friday enacted a bill to make webcasts of television programs mandatory for public broadcaster NHK, or Japan Broadcasting Corp., just like conventional broadcasting.

The bill to revise the broadcasting law was approved by a majority vote with support mainly from the ruling camp at a plenary meeting of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, following its passage through the House of Representatives, the lower chamber, last week.

With more and more people now obtaining information through the internet rather than TV, the bill aims to enhance the watching of NHK programs on smartphones, including by people without TVs.

Both simultaneous and missed-program distribution will be provided online, as well as program-related information. For NHK, the provision of such services will be required, rather than optional. Users of NHK’s online services will be obliged to subscribe to the broadcaster, even if they do not have TVs.