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Anti-NHK party head convicted for threats to leak subscriber info online

Takashi Tachibana, leader of the anti-NHK party. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Takashi Tachibana, the head of the anti-NHK party and a former House of Councillors member, has been found guilty of forcible obstruction of business for illicitly acquiring personal information on public broadcaster NHK's subscribers and threatening to leak the data online.

    The Tokyo District Court on Jan. 20 sentenced Tachibana, 54, to 2 1/2 years in prison, suspended for four years, for charges including forcible obstruction of business and a violation of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act. Tachibana heads the party called NHK to Saiban Shiteru To Bengoshiho 72-jo Ihan de (the party fighting against NHK in the trial for violating Article 72 of the Attorney Act).

    According to the ruling, in September 2019 Tachibana used a video camera to film 50 pieces of information on NHK subscribers recorded on a business mobile terminal in use by a 28-year-old man commissioned to collect NHK subscription fees. The younger man was convicted of violating the Unfair Competition Prevention Act.

    In November 2019, Tachibana called NHK and threatened to disseminate the subscriber information online, forcing the broadcaster to provide explanations to targeted subscribers.

    In the trial's first hearing in January 2021, Tachibana claimed his innocence, saying, "It was a mere performance as a politician, and it was a legitimate operation."

    Prosecutors had demanded the party leader get a 2 1/2-year prison sentence and a 300,000 yen (about $2,600) fine.

    (Japanese original by Koji Endo, Tokyo City News Department)

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