One small victory for man- (and woman-) kind!

Living in Japan is great, except for the NHK collectors. These door-to-door “salesmen”, as one might call them, regularly come knocking on people’s doors asking for them to pay the NHK public broadcasting organization’s mandatory fee of 14,000 to 26,000 yen (US$130 to $240) per year. Since they work for contracted companies instead of NHK themselves, they tend to be unaffected by the pressure of having a good reputation, and are often overly persistent and even resort to brazen actions to coerce you into paying. They’re widely regarded as a nuisance, so people, in general, actively try to avoid paying and even interacting with them at all.

It’s technically illegal to avoid the fee, but you don’t have to pay it if you have no way to watch NHK, like, for example, you have no TV. Since they have no way of verifying whether you have a TV or not, they have no way of forcing you to pay. Many people have shared lots of ways to get around paying the NHK collectors, but once you’ve signed the contract and started paying the fee, you’re just about locked in for life.

▼ “Hello, please give me money.”

But one Tokyo woman found a way to get out of it. The woman bought a TV that had a filter that blocked NHK, thus voiding the contract under the clause that states that, “when there is no way to receive broadcasts such as by having no television, the contract is no longer necessary.” But the NHK refused to accept the end of the contract, and so the woman decided to take them to court.

The NHK argued that the woman would be able to watch NHK if she used tools to attach a signal boosting device to her television, and thus she should still have to pay the fee. However, the presiding judge in the case, Judge Ritsuko Ogawa, said that, “If she can’t get NHK without a booster, then she has no contractual obligation to pay. She didn’t alter the television herself, and a woman without specialized knowledge wouldn’t be able to restore the signal.”

It’s a landmark win against the organization, who seems to win every court battle against anti-NHK proponents. This ruling is especially notable because in a similar case where a man installed a device to block NHK himself, the NHK won by claiming the man could uninstall the device himself at any time.

But in this case, the woman bought the TV with the device installed–albeit with the intention to block NHK–and had no knowledge of how to uninstall it, so the ruling ended up in her favor.

So the woman seems to have found one pretty airtight way to get around–or out of–paying the NHK broadcasting fee, but one must wonder if she really won, when she probably spent a good amount of money on court fees just to get out of paying a few hundred dollars per year.

Well, that doesn’t matter. As the leader of the Protect the Nation from the NHK Party, Takashi Tachibana, would say, it’s the principle of the matter that counts!

Source: Kyodo via My Game News Flash
Top image: Pakutaso

Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2)
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