Comments from the President

Summary of Press Conference (July, 2022)

  • On Increasing Regional Disaster Preparedness and Collaborating With CATV

    (Comments by MAEDA Terunobu, President)

    We are well into disaster season, and today I would like to introduce our efforts related to disaster prevention and mitigation. First, I would like to talk about the current state of affairs regarding our collaboration with cable television operators. NHK is working with cable television operators across the country to deliver detailed information to viewers in different regions in case of a disaster. As of the end of June, we had signed memorandums of understanding with 71 cable TV operators in 28 different prefectures. The agreements enable NHK and these operators to share and use each other’s resources, such as footage from fixed-point cameras along rivers and other places, news footage including reports, and scripts. NHK is also preparing for sudden disasters by proceeding with the preparation of an information infrastructure system which will enable the swift exchange of footage. Also, we are holding study sessions to improve our disaster-reporting skills. We plan to take advantage of the characteristics of cable TV and NHK so that we can complement each other as we continue our efforts to increase the disaster preparedness of local communities.

  • On Providing Detailed Disaster Prevention Information Online to Different Regions and Foreigners

    (Comments by MAEDA Terunobu)

    I would like to introduce two new initiatives unique to NHK that we have launched with the aim of using digital technologies to deliver information that is helpful for disaster prevention and mitigation in local communities. One of them is a service for foreigners living in Japan and tourists visiting the country from overseas. NHK WORLD-JAPAN will livestream disaster-related news flashes that are broadcast on General TV, adding English subtitles. The subtitles will be generated by an automated translation system developed by NHK that uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The second initiative involves efforts to make widely available disaster prevention information pertaining to local communities. This information is put together routinely by NHK announcers so that they can respond quickly during emergency disaster-related broadcasts. It includes information such as the areas that have a high risk of disaster and details on past disasters. By using such information not only in broadcasts but also by putting it on our website, we hope that people will become more aware of disaster prevention.

    (Comments by the project manager)

    I would like to introduce the new digital service directed at foreigners in the country that uses AI to display English subtitles. The data for the English subtitles comes from Japanese subtitles of General TV broadcasts. They are translated into English using an AI translation engine developed by NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories. The online streaming will be provided through a special page on the NHK WORLD-JAPAN website. It will be streamed when news flashes are broadcast on General TV, such as in an event of an earthquake that registers at least lower 5 on Japan’s seismic intensity scale. Although it is best to avoid disasters, we believe our efforts will enable us to provide detailed, necessary information to foreigners in the country.

    (Comments by the project manager)

    Next, I would like to explain the disaster prevention information that we released on our app and website this month. Under the map function of the NHK NEWS & Disaster Info app, there is an item pertaining to information on rivers, which offers information on flooding and footage of rivers. When you tap the icon labeled “Bosai no Point,” it shows the past disasters in that location and what to do when flooding occurs. This is the same information that is delivered by announcers at each station from the studio during emergency disaster-related broadcasts. By taking this information that we have used internally and making it available digitally, where it can be viewed anytime, we hope to contribute to disaster prevention and mitigation. We have made this information available for 25 locations along 12 rivers in the seven prefectures of Kyushu, excluding Okinawa Prefecture. We are considering expanding this to other regions in the future.

  • On the Launch of the Website With Results of the “2021 Time Use Survey on Media Use”

    (Comments by MAEDA Terunobu)

    This is an endeavor by the NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute. One of the initiatives in NHK’s corporate plan is, contributing to society. As part of that, we are advancing efforts to make information and data that NHK has gathered widely available to the public. Last year, the institute carried out a survey involving over 2,400 people to examine how long they spent on different forms of media at different parts of the day. We have published the results on a special website which we launched on July 1st. The results can be viewed easily by manipulating the screen to change the information displayed. Displayed from top to bottom are three categories -- TV, smartphone and cell phone, and computer and tablet -- and a bar graph showing the proportion of time spent on the devices in each category. Further down, there is a pull-down menu for other media from which newspaper, magazine and other options can be selected. In the upper part of the screen are pull-down menus from which age range and gender can be selected. For example, suppose you select males aged 70 and over from the menus on the left side of the screen and females in their 20s on the right side. You set the day of the week on both sides to Monday. At the bottom of the screen, you can choose any 15-minute period during the day. For example, at around 7:15 a.m. on a Monday, 30 percent or more of men aged 70 and over watch TV, whereas less than 10 percent of women in their 20s do. You can see that at this time of day, most women in their 20s do not read the newspaper either. The biggest proportion of women in this age range are on their smartphones or cell phones looking at social networking services or listening to music, making up 10 percent or more of the total. The primary data from this survey can be downloaded. We hope that many people will use it.