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Anti-NHK party plans to file group lawsuit against Tokyo MX, celebrity Matsuko Deluxe

Takashi Tachibana, head of NHK Kara Kokumin Wo Mamoru To (The Party to Protect the People from NHK). (Mainichi/Daisuke Nohara)

TOKYO -- The leader of a political party critical of public broadcaster NHK said he plans to file a class action lawsuit against a commercial broadcaster and celebrity Matsuko Deluxe over comments he says ridiculed party supporters.

Takashi Tachibana, head of NHK Kara Kokumin Wo Mamoru To (The Party to Protect the People from NHK), announced in a video he posted on YouTube a plan to demand Tokyo Metropolitan Television Broadcasting Corp. (Tokyo MX) and Matsuko pay a total of 100 million yen in compensation.

In a program called "Goji ni Muchu!" broadcast by Tokyo MX in July, Matsuko called members of the party "sickening people" and said, "I think there are a considerable number of people who voted for the party as a joke." Tachibana reacted against the celebrity's remarks and staged protests in front of the TV station every Monday during the program's live airing for three weeks from Aug. 12.

The party argues the program violated Article 4 of the Broadcasting Act under which programs "must be politically fair" and "must clarify the points at issue from as many angles as possible," and that Matsuko's comments "insulted voters who support NHK Kara Kokumin Wo Mamoru To."

The party will gather 10,000 supporters who voted for it in the July 21 House of Councillors election to form a group of plaintiffs, and demand compensation of 10,000 yen per plaintiff. Tachibana says he will not join the group of plaintiffs.

Tokyo MX has issued a document titled, "To viewers," via its official website saying, "All our programs are created in compliance with laws and regulations, broadcasting standards and other requirements. We will firmly respond to suggestions and criticism that are based on factual errors."

(Japanese original by Daisuke Nohara, Political News Department)

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