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Recent ruling overturns win in landmark case.

Nothing is more annoying for those residing in Japan than opening up the door only to reveal a licensing fee collector for NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster. Famous for their persistence and sometimes brutish tactics, NHK licensing fee collectors are universally scorned. In fact, many folks have come up with a variety of ways to avoid coughing up the technically required fees, which could cost up to 24,800 yen per year (US$233.57).

Some individuals have even gone as far as contesting the broadcasting organization’s fees through court. There aren’t too many success stories, but for the first time ever, one Tokyo woman in the summer of 2020 was able to avoid paying the de facto mandatory fees. While the court initially ruled in her favor and the case was seen as an important win against NHK’s reach, on February 24, Tokyo’s highest court has overturned the landmark decision.

▼ There goes all my extra cash for Famichikis

The reason? Originally, the line of argument which won the woman’s case highlighted how the television had a pre-installed signal blocker and a private citizen can’t be expected to inherently know how to uninstall one. However, the new ruling now argues that technically the Tokyo woman’s television could have a signal booster installed with the right tools involved. Essentially, as long as the electronic device can receive or can be modified to receive a broadcast signal, then it’s fair game for NHK when it comes to collecting fees from folks.

▼ Don’t open the door to the NHK license fee collector with your smartphone in hand because some fee collectors may …continue reading