Comments from the Top (Executive Director of Broadcasting)

Summary of Press Conference (January, 2021)

  • On broadcasts after the state of emergency was declared

    (Comments by MASAGAKI Satoru, Executive Director of Broadcasting)

    As the number of new coronavirus infections continues to rise at an alarming rate, a state of emergency has currently been declared in 11 prefectures. I would like to explain how NHK is responding to this situation.
    When the state of emergency was declared, NHK extended news bulletins. On January 7th, when the declaration was issued in Tokyo and the three surrounding prefectures, we extended the nightly half-hour news program “News 7” to 1 hour. The program was extended again to 1 hour and 42 minutes when the state of emergency was expanded to 7 more prefectures on the 13th. We extended another program for the greater Tokyo area, “Shutoken Joho Netadori!”, from 27 minutes to 1 hour and 12 minutes on the 8th, focusing on the situation at hospitals and everyday precautions. We also established broadcast slots in the morning and afternoon everyday for the Kanto region to deliver a variety of local information useful in daily life under the declaration. Such information is also being delivered on our Radio 1 channel every weekday afternoon.
    Many people have accessed the NHK NEWS & Disaster Info app and NHK NEWS WEB site, where news and related information are being uploaded, and press conferences from local government leaders and medical personnel are streamed live.
    On the dedicated site “new coronavirus” on NHK NEWS WEB, there is data available for download on the number of infections and deaths from the new coronavirus that NHK has gathered. This has already been used by many people such as local government officials and the medical personnel, and we aim to upload an even wider variety of data.
    In terms of “NHK Special” programs, 28 of the 70 that have been broadcast up to last weekend in this current fiscal year were about the new coronavirus. For “Close-Up Gendai + (Plus)”, it was 70 of 105 programs. The “NHK Special” on the 16th of this month reported on the danger of the collapse of the medical system as the number of infections continues to rise quickly. NHK will continue to offer coverage from various angles including issues at hospitals and big data analysis. News and programs are also available through the online catch-up TV service, NHK Plus.
    And, on the NHK WORLD-JAPAN international service, related news and information, as well as videos on preventive measures are being delivered in 18 languages. Delivery of information for Japanese people living overseas is also being strengthened by upgrading its Japanese language homepage. NHK will continue to do everything it can to deliver accurate, timely information to help prevent as many infections as possible.

  • On the public media campaign ‘Ima, Manabi o Mamoro. (Protect Learning Now)’

    (Comments by MASAGAKI Satoru)

    I will talk about the public media campaign ‘Ima, Manabi o Mamoro. (Protect Learning Now)’ that NHK is running. Educational inequality has been worsening amid the pandemic due to factors such as falling household income and gaps in access to online learning. With the state of emergency declared again in a number of prefectures, what can be done to help protect a child’s right to learn? NHK will run this campaign through to March, presenting the opinions of children through a variety of programs and online to examine what we can do. One major part of the campaign will be a feature program “Manabitai no ni Manabenai (Even Though I Want to Learn, I Can’t)” due to be broadcast on Educational TV on February 13th. In the program, campaign ambassador YAGIRA Yuya will look at the situation and problems of educational inequality and encourage viewers to think about what can be done for children who want to learn but can’t. In addition, regular programs will also cover the subject. “Close-Up Gendai +”, “Ohayo Nippon (Good Morning Japan) and “Gyakuten Jinsei (Turning Life Around)” will cover how high school students, their families, and schools are responding to the pandemic. Meanwhile, “Tokoro-san! Taihen Desuyo (Tokoro-san! It's an Incident)" will report on how university students are coping with the pandemic. We will also broadcast a program where students of all ages from around the country talk about how they have perceived the information delivered through the campaign. We hope to search for solutions by reporting on measures being taken by communities and schools in other countries. In addition, the NHK website will post opinions of children, helpful information, and other content.

  • On NHK Special “Higashi Nihon Dai Shinsai 10-nen (10 Years Since the Great East Japan Earthquake)”

    (Comments by KOIKE Hideo, Deputy Executive Director of Broadcasting)

    As we reach 10 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake, we will broadcast eight “NHK Special” programs.
    On March 6th, “Tsunami Hinan Nani ga Seishi o Waketa no ka (Escaping From the Tsunami, What Decided Their Survival?)” will be broadcast. More than 18,000 lost their lives to the tsunami in the Great East Japan Earthquake, and until now, many people believed that whether a person can escape a tsunami quickly enough depended on that person’s awareness. However, research by Tohoku University and others based on interviews with survivors has revealed different reasons that explain what decided their survival. The program will show their critical actions in detail.
    On the 7th, a drama based on a true story “Hoshikage no Waltz (Starlight Waltz)” will be broadcast. ENDO Kenichi will play a man who was rescued from the waters off Fukushima by a ship on the third day after being swept out to sea by the tsunami on the roof of his house. The drama tells the story of just how precious everyday life before the disaster was, and the bonds of family and the hidden strengths of humans, with footage of his rescue and of the disaster from the news mixed in.
    And on the 11th, “Shinsai Eizo Kiroku – 100-kasho no Teiten Eizo ga Utsusu ‘Fukko’ (A Video Record of the Disaster – ‘Recovery’ Shown by Footage From 100 Places)” will report on the 10 years since the disaster using video shot regularly at 100 locations in the affected area by NHK. Through as many as 6,000 video clips, this large-scale project of footage from 100 fixed cameras records not only the physical rebuilding, but also details the recovery in people’s lives and work. On the other hand, the continuing struggles towards recovery is also shown through in-depth reporting. OKOSHI Kensuke, who has been reporting from the affected areas for years will present the program. There will also be programs about children that became orphans due to having lost their parents in the disaster and how they are making their own way through life, as well as a program about the Fukushima nuclear accident and the decommissioning of the plant.

  • On “Maiko-san Chi no Makanai-san (Kiyo in Kyoto: From the Maiko House)”

    (Comments by KOIKE Hideo)

    From February, the international service NHK WORLD-JAPAN will broadcast an anime series “Maiko-san Chi no Makanai-san (Kiyo in Kyoto: From the Maiko House)”, in which the two main characters travel from Aomori prefecture to Kyoto to become maiko (professional female entertainers especially skilled in traditional performing arts such as dance and music). The series will show traditional culture and food through Japan’s unique anime. The series will be shown on Educational TV in autumn this year.

  • On BS1 “Kiseki no Lesson ‘Shogi-hen MORIUCHI Toshiyuki (Miracle Lessons – Shogi Edition MORIUCHI Toshiyuki)”

    (Comments by WAKAIZUMI Hisaaki, Deputy Executive Director of Broadcasting)

    I would first like to talk about the BS1 “Miracle Lessons” program, in which the ‘best coaches’ from various fields give children special classes for a week. This episode will feature shogi (Japanese chess), which has been attracting young fans since FUJII Sota became a double champion. The ‘best coach’ is legendary shogi master MORIUCHI Toshiyuki, who will teach the members of a shogi club at a public junior high school in Yokohama. Many of the players are beginners and can’t be said to be strong. In addition, the pandemic has caused many tournaments to be cancelled and the graduating third-year students are feeling sad. Moriuchi will explain what lessons can be learned from ‘failure’ and ‘defeat’. On the last day, they will play a practice tournament against students from a stronger junior high school. In the end, what kind of play will the club members be able to show? The program will be broadcast at 6p.m. on Monday, February 15th.

  • On BS Premium “Odoroki! Nippon no Sokojikara ‘Tetsudo Okoku Monogatari 5 (Surprising! The Hidden Power of Japan ‘Stories of a Train Empire 5’)”

    (Comments by WAKAIZUMI Hisaaki)

    Next, I will talk about BS Premium programs. The “Odoroki! Nippon no Sokojikara (Surprising! The Hidden Power of Japan)” programs feature Japan’s world-famous technological strengths. This episode will cover the experimental ALFA-X shinkansen bullet train and engineers working to restore steam trains.
    Other BS Premium programs I would like to recommend include “SHIBUSAWA Eiichi in Paris Banpaku (SHIBUSAWA Eiichi at the Paris Exposition)” on February 20th and “Arigato Yu-san Saraba Ishihara-Gundan (Thank you, Yu-san, Farewell Ishihara Team)” on February 27th.