Comments from the President

Summary of Press Conference (April, 2022)

  • On the New Fiscal Year

    (Comments by MAEDA Terunobu, President)

    This year is the second year in which we are implementing our three-year corporate plan. We are considering it as the “year of the realization of reforms” – a year in which we would like viewers to become aware of and recognize the results of NHK’s series of reforms. A representation of these reforms is the revision of our programs in the new fiscal year. To support viewers’ safety and security, and to provide diverse and high-quality content at a reasonable cost, we made choices and altered our focus in each of 10 different genres. We introduced new programs and made changes to the broadcasting times of existing programs, and as a result, we have either replaced or modified 42 percent of our terrestrial programming. I believe these changes will be obvious to any viewer who watches NHK throughout the week. We would like to ask our viewers to send us many opinions and suggestions. Also, in April, we implemented a large-scale organizational change, and changed the name of the General Broadcasting Administration to the General Media Administration. While implementing thorough management of programs by genre, we plan to strengthen our comprehensive strategic functions in broadcast, digital and real-life events. We also abolished the Audience Services Department and established the Audience Relations Department. While shifting to a business model that focuses on collecting receiving fees without home visits, we will also circulate viewers’ opinions and other information throughout the entire organization and reflect them in the production of our programs. In addition, in order to increase the dissemination of viewer-oriented content that matches the characteristics of the region, our regional stations will reorganize themselves by role and function. We will continue to strengthen our efforts to realize a “renewed NHK” that is leaner and stronger, and to pursue a new identity. We will steadily implement fundamental reforms. Ultimately, we will give back to viewers in the form of lower receiving fees. We hope to explain the specifics of the decrease in such fees around this autumn.

  • On Large-Scale Projects

    (Comments by MAEDA Terunobu)

    This fiscal year, we carried out a major reorganization of our programming. We also plan to develop, throughout the year, major projects that link our broadcasts with our website and events. We are especially focused on projects that will allow children, as well as everyone else, to enjoy a better future. As a part of that, in May, we will launch a project called “Kimi no Koe ga Kikitai.” We will listen thoroughly to the voices of children and young people, and consider on various programs the issue of what happiness is to the younger generation. Also in May, we will implement a project that will coincide with the 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s return to Japan from US rule. We will feature Okinawa Prefecture on various programs, such as documentaries and singing shows, which we will broadcast in conjunction with events and our website.
    In June and onwards, we plan to focus on themes unique to our position as a public service media organization.

  • On a “Social Demonstration Experiment” on Internet-related Operations

    (Comments by MAEDA Terunobu)

    Starting this month, NHK will embark on a “social demonstration experiment” focusing mainly on people who rarely or never watch TV. In this era in which many people, regardless of generation, obtain information through their smartphones or computers, we will verify in several phases issues such as NHK’s role and significance as a public service media organization in delivering programs and information via the internet, and the diversifying needs of viewers. We aim to provide viewers anytime, anywhere, with accurate, impartial, and reliable information that can protect their lives and livelihoods, as well as in-depth content from multiple perspectives, and to become a “renewed NHK” that fulfills our role more than ever as a core component of the information infrastructure. The internet contains a lot of dubious information. The problems of fake news and filter bubbles have also been pointed out. There are concerns that weaker connections between people could lead to the isolation of individuals, and that divides could widen as it becomes less likely for people to share basic social information. In our “social demonstration experiment”, we will address these issues and examine how we can fulfill through the internet our role that we have until now mainly fulfilled through broadcasts, of delivering accurate, impartial, rich, and reliable information, and contributing to the security and well-being of the people and the development of local communities. The first phase will be conducted from April 22nd through May 7th. We will involve around 3,000 people, mainly those who do not own a TV or who do not regularly watch TV. In this first phase, we will provide a combination of our existing broadcast and internet content such as simultaneous online streaming of broadcasts, news flashes at times of major disasters, and breaking news. In addition, we will regard as the role and function that viewers expect of NHK, in this age of convergence of broadcasting and the internet, to be the following three: “correctly deepening understanding and realizing,” “expanding knowledge and connecting” and “easily finding necessary information,” and we plan to carry out a demonstration to test these roles by providing seven specific services. The main objective of the first phase is to verify the role and function expected of NHK. As for usability, including UI and UX, verification will be carried out from the second phase and onward. We plan to announce the results of the research and analyses from the first phase as quickly as possible on our website and share it with the parties and people concerned. As for the second phase and onward, we will consider which items to verify, and once the timing and contents have been decided, we will announce them on our website and other outlets.

    (Comments by MATSUZAKA Chihiro, Executive Director)

    As our president explained, the first phase of our “social demonstration experiment” will involve seven services. I would like to offer a simple explanation on them. First, I would like to note that these seven services will not all be provided on one website or in one app. They will be provided through several different websites and other places, with some requiring the use of a special website or app, others having specific websites with explanations on how to use them, and so on. The first is a service that combines NHK’s rich archive footage and information from overseas and from local communities around Japan to provide a diversified perspective on major news stories that deeply concerns the lives of the people. It will be provided on a special website and a special app. Next is a service that combines topics that are popular on the internet with various NHK content, which covers a wide range of genres, with the aim of providing the users with a diversified perspective from which they can learn while having fun and empathize with issues. It will be provided on a special website and a special app. The third service focuses on news that spreads rapidly through the internet. It will provide a function that aims to enable internet users to improve their ability to recognize the possibility that news is fake by analyzing the way the news spreads on social media and calling for caution on its reliability. Examples of how the service can be used will be provided on a special website. This service stems from a joint research project by University of Tokyo Graduate School Professor TORIUMI Fujio, startup TDAI Lab, and NHK. The fourth service collects and visualizes on a map the contents of disaster reports so that information is available for making decisions and estimating damage in the case of an actual disaster. We hope that this function will help people to act in ways that prevent and mitigate disasters. Examples of how the service can be used will be provided on a special website. This service stems from a joint research project by Chiba University Graduate School Professor NAKADA Takaaki, startup Smart119, and NHK. The fifth service shows various statistical data for each prefecture on a map to enable users to visually grasp each area’s characteristics and the diversity of the nation. We will provide examples of how the service can be used on a special website. The sixth service provides a list of the latest news footage that can be viewed anytime. It sorts the news by importance and from newest to oldest and makes it possible to see the latest information 24 hours a day. Examples of how the service can be used will be provided on a special website. The seventh service links the user’s smartphone location information with NHK’s abundant footage of local communities and video archives to show the user the natural features and diversity of the different regions of Japan and enable the user to experience them. A video of how the service can be used will be provided on a special website. In these ways, during the first phase of the “social demonstration experiment”, some of the services will be provided on special websites and apps for users to experience, while examples and videos of how the services can be used will be provided on special websites for others. Please note that the 3,000 people will not participate in all seven demonstrations. There will be 1,500 people taking part in 1 and 2, and five groups of 300 people each taking part in 3 onward, totaling 1,500. This makes a total of 3,000. The demonstration will run from April 22nd to May 7th, but some services will be provided for different lengths of time than others.

  • On Universal Design

    (Comments by MAEDA Terunobu)

    Next, I would like to talk about our new efforts to deliver far and wide the news and other information on our programs. At NHK, we have expanded our universal services in order to provide information to all of our viewers, including children, the elderly and those with visual or hearing disabilities. In the new fiscal year, we will further advance such efforts. We had already introduced universal design in on-screen text and graphics on some of our programs, but recently, we have expanded its use significantly to almost all of our news programs on General TV, including “News 7.” The changes include switching the font used for on-screen text to one that is easier to read and using colors that are easily distinguishable from one another, even for people who find it difficult to identify certain colors. We will make efforts to deliver information that is easy to understand for everybody, and can protect lives.