NHK apologizes for asking tough questions

fridayscandal

The cabinet office lodged a complaint with NHK over tough questions asked during a television interview with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, according to weekly magazine Friday.

The article, released this week, claims that Abe’s office forced NHK to “prostrate itself (土下座)” after Suga appeared on a television program called “Close up Gendai” that was aired on July 3rd to talk about Japan-North Korea talks and collective self-defence, a topic that has sparked protests in recent months.

When the topic changed to collective self-defense, female newscaster, Hiroko Kuniya (57) asked, “Wouldn’t Japan become involved in other countries’ wars?” and “It is O.K. to change the reinterpretation of the constitution so easily?”

After the television show, a secretary waiting on the set complained about the content of the program, according to an anonymous NHK employee interviewed by Friday. The secretary complained that some of the questions Kuniya asked had not been among the ones submitted beforehand.

NHK President Katsuo Momii allegedly apologized to Suga, and the upper management of NHK launched an investigation to discover the person responsible for slipping in the pointed questions, according to Friday.

“That’s completely different from the truth. It’s an awful article,” Suga said at a daily press conference on Friday.

Despite Suga’s denial of the contents of the Friday article, NHK’s Board of Governors contains members close to the Abe administration. Three of the five members who were handpicked by Abe last November include close supporters of Abe such as Naoki Hyakuta, conservative philosopher Michiko Hasegawa, and Katsuhiko Honda, who used to tutor Abe in his elementary school days.

The NHK Board of Governors has the power to choose the president of the broadcaster. Their choice was Katsuo Momii, a close friend of Deputy Prime Minister, Taro Aso, who shares Abe’s revisionist views.