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Tokyo court latest to rule users of TV-capable cell phones must pay NHK reception fees

In this August 7, 2015 file photo, the NHK Broadcasting Center in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward is seen from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter. (Mainichi)

The Tokyo District Court on Dec. 27 rejected a Katsushika Ward man's request for public broadcaster NHK to return reception fees he paid simply because he had a cell phone capable of getting TV broadcasts.

According to the man's claim and other sources, when he was living in Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture, in July 2012, he did not own a television, but had a cell phone equipped with a function that allowed for watching TV broadcasts. The man claimed that simply by owning the phone, NHK made him sign a subscription contract with the public broadcaster, and he paid a one-month fee of 1,345 yen.

This is the fourth ruling handed down by district courts over NHK fees levied on users of TV-capable cell phones, with the latest Tokyo court's decision being the third to side with the broadcaster. Only the Saitama District Court ruled in favor of the cell phone owner, in August 2016.

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