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Next NHK president resolved to make trusted programs

  • December 10, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 9:16 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Dec. 10 (Jiji Press)–Former Japanese banker Terunobu Maeda, who has been named the next president of Japan Broadcasting Corp., or NHK, said Tuesday that he will focus on creating television programs the public can trust.

“The most important thing is to continue to make programs trusted by the public, as NHK is the public broadcaster,” Maeda, 74, former chairman of Mizuho Financial Group Inc. <8411>, told a news conference in Tokyo.

“I was surprised at the sudden nomination (as the next NHK president), but I’d like to do a job suitable for the public broadcaster,” he said.

According to Maeda, he was asked on Monday, without prior notice, by Susumu Ishihara, chairman of NHK’s Board of Governors, to take up the post. Maeda said that he accepted the request immediately, thinking that “there is no choice” but to do so.

Asked about a series of management challenges facing NHK, including the launch of full-scale online simulcast services, slated for next April, Maeda said, “I will study hard until taking office” as NHK president.

In October 2018, the Board of Governors severely warned incumbent NHK President Ryoichi Ueda over an NHK TV program aired earlier that year that reported the Japan Post Holdings Co. <6178> group’s inappropriate insurance sales practices, following a protest from the group.

“At the moment, I have no clear awareness of the issue,” Maeda said of the board’s move, which has been criticized as intervention in an individual NHK program.

Maeda is a member of “Shiki no Kai,” a group of business leaders for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“It’s absolutely not the case that I’m close to a certain administration,” Maeda said, denying a media report that behind the nomination of Maeda as NHK’s next president was an intention of the prime minister’s office. In fresh cronyism allegations, Abe has been under fire for inviting many of his supporters to state-funded annual cherry blossom-viewing parties hosted by the prime minister.

On Monday, Maeda was selected as the next NHK president to succeed Ueda, 70, whose term of office is scheduled to expire on Jan. 24, 2020. Maeda is expected to serve his three-year term as NHK president from Jan. 25.

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