NHK fees

Me: I was watching TV the other day and –

Japan: Have you paid your NHK fees?

Me: What?

Japan: Your NHK fees?

Me: Whose fees?

Japan: NHK. The Japan Broadcasting Corporation.

Me: Fees?

Japan: Yes. You need to pay the NHK fee if you have a television.

Me: Oh…

Japan: Have you paid your fees?

Me: Erm, no. How much is it?

Japan: About 14,000 yen a year for terrestrial TV. 24,000 yen for satellite or cable.

Me: Right. And why do i have to pay this?

Japan: Same reason you have to pay the BBC in the UK. It’s public service TV.

Me: Ah, right, I see. And how do I pay?

Japan: You just pay the NHK man.

Me: NHK man?

Japan: Yeah.

Me: Sounds like an unwanted superhero. Where is this NHK man?

Japan: I don’t know.

Me: So, how can I pay him?

Japan: Oh, you just wait.

Me: What? Where?

Japan: Just wait at home. He’ll come.

Me: What do you mean “he’ll come”? Do I say “NHK man” three times into the mirror and then he just suddenly appears demanding 14,000 yen?

Japan: No, you don’t have to do that. He’ll knock on your door and ask you to pay the fee.

Me: How does he know that I’ve got a TV?

Japan: He doesn’t.

Me: So I could just say, “Sorry Mr NHK man, I don’t own a TV. Bye.”

Japan: But you do own a TV.

Me: Yeah but he doesn’t know that.

Japan: But –

Me: And that’d save me 14,000 yen.

Japan: But if you have a TV you have to pay. It’s the law.

Me: Law?

Japan: Yes.

Me: Oh. So what happens if I don’t pay?

Japan: Erm…nothing.

Me: Nothing?

Japan: Well, there’s a law stating that you have to pay the fee but there’s no law stating any kind of punishment if you don’t. Apart from some possible irregular visits from the NHK man.

Me: Hang on. Now that you’ve told me all this I’ll just make doubly sure to check the spy hole on my door whenever somebody knocks and if I see a slightly harassed looking clipboard using superhero on the other side I just won’t bother answering.

Japan: No!

Me: Problem solved.

Japan: Stop!

Me: Money saved.

Japan: It’s public service broadcasting. They need the money. An estimated one million people didn’t pay in 2006.

Me: And how many of these people didn’t have a television?

Japan: I don’t know.

Me: …

Japan: …?

Me: Have you ever heard of an honesty box system of paying for cookies in a cafeteria?

Japan: What?

Me: You seem to have applied the same principles to your national publicly funded television broadcaster.

Japan: Just shut up and pay the NHK man.

Me: OK.

Japan: Promise?

Me: …

Japan: …?

Me: Yeah. Sure.

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October 30, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized.

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