Table Speech

“The Start of New International Television Broadcasting”

July 23, 2008

Mr. Yoshinori Imai,
Executive Vice President,
Japan Broadcasting Corporation

 International television broadcasting provides trusted information with additional explanation to the world. International broadcasting began using short waves soon after radio broadcasting started in the 1920’s. The intention of most of the broadcasting was propaganda for individual countries.
  International television broadcasts emerged with the development of artificial satellites from the late 1980’s to early 1990’s. In November 1963, the news of the assassination of President Kennedy was the first broadcast made by satellite between the US and Japan. In 1964, the geosynchronous satellite Syncom was launched and in October of the same year, using this satellite, the images of the Tokyo Olympic Games were brought to the homes of citizens around the world. Also that year the US satellite broadcasting station, CNN was born. After the mid-1980’s CNN began satellite broadcasting in Europe, and this can be considered the beginning of international television broadcasting.
 International television broadcasting has been an issue of the NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) for many years. At the end of the 1980’s, the then NHK Chairman Keiji Shima, gained some attention globally with his launch of the “Global News Network (GNN)” concept, under which the world would be trisected into 8 hour segments split between broadcasting agencies in Japan, the United States and Europe. Each agency is responsible for one 8 hour long segment of news broadcasting. This concept unfortunately did not become a reality and in its place CNN International was born and swept over the broadcasting world.
 However, NHK, with the goal of making the conversion from short wave to television, started 24-hour international television broadcasting within its international broadcast station in 1995. Originally, Japanese was the primary language of the broadcasts, but NHK is continuing with a plan to provide 100% English language broadcasts within this year.
 The features of NHK international broadcasting are as follows.
First is that NHK will make full use of its news gathering and production abilities, and broadcasts the most up to date news and information 24 hours a day around the world. Second is that NHK will produce the variety of informational programs with the cooperation of private sector stations. NHK has already established a television program production company dedicated to international broadcasting.
Third is that NHK will also transmit information regarding the dynamic Asia. We want to fulfill our responsibility to transmit the vigor of Asia to the world.
 Next, I want to speak a bit about just who the types of viewers of our international broadcasts are.
 The target viewers are foreign politicians, specialists and businessmen who follow the daily happenings around the world. Such targets are not satisfied with the traditional information relating to Asia and Japan, and are also not satisfied with the current volume of that information. We often hear views that these demographics would like more information on the state of Japan’s politics, economy, social happenings, and public opinion trends.
 How will NHK international broadcasts transmit the Japanese national interest? Broadcasts bound by small national interest, on the contrary lose the trust and support of the world’s people. What has been pointed out by foreign people is, “Clear is neither the diversity of thinking that exists in Japan, nor the process of consensus on how such thinking is formed”. Our greatest responsibility is to respond sincerely to such criticisms and to generate international understanding and trust of Japan.
Among the younger generation, a Japan Boom known as “Cool Japan” is taking place. We want these young people to learn more about Japan in which history, tradition and diverse modern culture coexist.
 Preparation of the reception environment of the audience is essential. Today, NHK uses 3 satellites to cover broadcasts around the world. NHK partners with IPTV of Hong Kong, Arab Sat satellite and European satellite companies in continuing work to put in place a global coverage system.
In the near future, I think that NHK will realize the world’s first international broadcasting channel airing 24-hour news on high definition television. In Japan, there are some 2 million foreign residents. 8 million more come as tourists. Our dream is to eventually make all international television broadcasts available domestically in Japan.