NHK sues head of minor political party over unpaid subscription fees

Japan's public broadcaster NHK sued on Monday the head of a minor opposition party, who has been a vocal critic of the organization, for not paying his subscription fees.
NHK filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court demanding Takashi Tachibana, 52, to pay two months of subscription fees totaling 4,560 yen.
After winning a seat in the upper house, he visited NHK in August and set up a subscription with the broadcaster for a TV in his office space in the building for members of the House of Councillors. But he insisted at the time that the issue of payment would be hashed out in court.
Tachibana, who established the political group NHK Kara Kokumin Wo Mamoru To (The Party to Protect the People from NHK), had to relinquish the office space as he ran, unsuccessfully, for a seat in an upper house by-election in Saitama Prefecture on Sunday.
With the filing of his candidacy, Tachibana, a former employee of NHK, officially called Japan Broadcasting Corp, vacated the Diet seat he won in the July upper house election.
His party seeks to abolish the current mandatory payment of subscription fees to NHK and scramble the broadcaster's programs so that only viewers who pay those fees would be able to see them.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that owners of televisions in Japan are legally required to sign up with NHK and pay subscription fees, dismissing a claim that the mandatory system violates the freedom of contract guaranteed by the Constitution.
NHK usually does not disclose individual contracts or lawsuits, but the broadcaster said it decided to make the case public after receiving "many calls (from its viewers) to take stringent action" against Tachibana.

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