NHK times fee cut to digital switchover

First cut in payments since 1950

TOKYO -- NHK will cut viewer license fees by 10% once the digital switchover is completed in July 2011, the pubcaster said Wednesday.

The reduction will be the first in monthly payments since the system began in 1950 and comes after sustained pressure from the public and lawmakers.

The politically appointed board of governors rejected NHK's management plan for the first time in September 2007, pointing to the lack of a fee-cut proposal. The corporation claims it needs to invest 66 billion yen ($650 million) in digital broadcasting technology over the next three years.

All households that own a TV set are supposed to pay monthly dues of 1,345 yen ($13), although there are no legal penalties for those who don't.