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Koizumi says NHK should reduce number of channels+
[March 01, 2006]

Koizumi says NHK should reduce number of channels+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)TOKYO, March 1_(Kyodo) _ Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Wednesday that Japan Broadcasting Corp., popularly known as NHK, should reduce the number of channels.

NHK "has too many stations. If NHK is to focus on overseas broadcasting, it will have to reduce some of the existing" channels, Koizumi said of a request he made to Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Heizo Takenaka during their meeting earlier in the day.

At present, NHK broadcasts programs on eight channels.

On Feb. 10, Koizumi instructed Takenaka to consider ways to expand NHK's English programs for foreign viewers.

"It's important for Japan to send a message regarding what country Japan is," Koizumi told reporters at his official residence Wednesday.

But the proposal for NHK's expanded international broadcasting does not mean that the public broadcaster should adopt a business expansion policy, Koizumi added.

Takenaka's private research group is studying how to reform NHK in the wake of a series of scandals at the corporation.

Bilingual NHK programs total 11 hours a week on the broadcaster's main channel and 81 hours on its satellite BS1 channel.

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