The “NHK man” is a fixture of life in Japan. A man who comes round your home collecting money for NHK. Paying for NHK is required for anyone with a TV, but the rule has no teeth; there is no penalty for not paying, with the possible exception that the NHK man WILL keep coming, and keep asking you for your NHK payment.
Millions of households in Japan skirt this law through a variety of ruses, including never answering the door when someone knocks, informing the NHK man you do not own a TV (though increasingly they have started asking for it if you own a phone or computer too…), or other schemes to avoid the monthly fee.
The NHK fee is a law of the nation of Japan, and regardless of how you feel about it, you are bound by that law to pay it. If you need a reason to feel better about this, please note that emergency reporting in English and other languages is available by tuning in to NHK Television in times of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis.
If you decide to follow the law and pay your fee, we recommend foreign residents who are returning home at some point NOT pay by credit card. There have been cases where the fees have continued long after the resident has left Japan, to no ones delight.
What is NHK?
“Nihon Housou Kyoukai” – Japanese National Broadcasting provides bilingual news programs daily, in addition to a selection of English programs.
What is the NHK receiving fee?
Receiving fees are designed to support NHK operations and are paid equally by every household in Japan with a television set, regardless of whether or not you watch NHK. The receiving fee system is stipulated in Article 32 of Japan’s Broadcast Law, which requires all residents of Japan (regardless of nationality) with a television set to conclude a contract with NHK.
Does the fee also apply to cable or satellite TV subscribers?
Yes. Cable and satellite TV subscribers are also required to pay the NHK receiving fee. Some cable TV operators collect the receiving fees on behalf of NHK along with their subscription charges. For more details, please contact your cable TV operator.
Do I need to pay extra for multiple TV sets?
No. The receiving contract covers each household, not the number of television sets owned.
What types of contracts are there?
There are two contract categories; regular and satellite color. Satellite refers to those subscribers who receive BS-1, BS-2 and Hi-Vision channels.
I am leaving Japan. How can I cancel my receiving fees?
If you are leaving Japan, please dial 0570-077-077, 9:00 am to 10:00 pm and inform them that you will be leaving and would like to cancel your contract.
|NHK Receiving Fees|
|Contract Type||Payment Option||Monthly||6-Month Payment||12-Month Payment|
|Regular Contract||Direct Collection||JPY 1,260||JPY 7,190||JPY 13,990|
|Bank Transfer or Post Order||JPY 1,310||JPY 7,475||JPY 14,545|
|Satellite Contract||Direct Collection||JPY 2,230||JPY 12,730||JPY 24,770|
|Bank Transfer or Post Order||JPY 2,280||JPY 13,015||JPY 25,320|
Visit the NHK English website for further details.
Photo by: "NHK logo" by Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.