Japanese news service to hit Beltway


TOKYO -- 24-hour English-language news coverage of Japan will soon be available to viewers in Washington though a deal announced Thursday between MHz Networks and Japan's public broadcaster NHK.

The around-the-clock broadcasts of NHK World TV will be on MHz's international channel seven days a week. The English-language coverage of Japanese news will start in July, NHK said Thursday.

The coverage also will be available via cable services in areas that have access to MHz channels, including Cox, Comcast, Verizon and RCN.

Virginia-based MHz Networks already broadcasts France 24, Russian World TV, Russia Today and programs from the Nigerian Television Authority.

"Through three communications satellites, NHK World TV was already available to 72 million households worldwide, but this project is the first of its kind to provide viewer-friendly opportunities to watch NHK World TV, enabling us to better serve the viewers," said Toshiyuki Sato, director-general of the division.

"As a public broadcaster, we will be happy if we can contribute to enriching American viewers by providing an alternative perception from Asia," he said.

In addition to news and current affairs programs, NHK World TV will provide coverage of trends in Japan and across Asia, new technology and innovative new products, music, fashion, culture and media events.

Launched in 1995, a recent upgrade in the service means that 80% of all broadcasts have either English subtitles or audio.

Domestically, NHK operates five TV channels -- three of which are provided by satellite links -- and three radio services. It has two international TV channels and provides radio coverage in 22 languages.