NTV chairman takes president's job

Predecessor resigned Monday over scandal

TOKYO -- Nippon Television Network chairman Noritada Hosokawa assumed the title of network president Tuesday after the sudden resignation of Shintaro Kubo, who has stepped down in the wake of a news report that falsely alleged regional government graft.

NTV, Japan's leading conservative broadcaster, aired the news item in question in November.

The report on a popular investigative news program, whose name translates roughly as "Truth Broadcast Reporters," accused the government of Gifu Prefecture in central Japan of operating a slush fund with the cooperation of a construction company.

"It was due to my lack of supervision," Kubo said of the report at a news conference Monday.

The Gifu prefectural government conducted its own two-month internal investigation and discovered that the NTV program relied on unfounded allegations made by a former construction company worker.

NTV admitted failing to look into the man's testimony before broadcasting the report, and apologized to the Gifu government.

The former construction company worker was arrested last week over the false allegations and is expected to be charged with obstructing the operations of the government.

The NTV show will continue after suspending four members of its staff.