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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Japan's NHK network now available locally

BY Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer


NHK World TV is available to Oceanic cable digital subscribers on channel 682, and to high-definition subscribers on channel 1682.

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Japan's giant public broadcasting network, NHK, today is scheduled to begin offering Hawai'i TV viewers a 24-hour English-language news and information channel that focuses on Asia and Japan.

NHK World TV, which has only been in operation since February 2009, is already seen in more than 80 countries.

The channel features news at the top of each hour and a variety of programming that includes entertainment, culture, history, business, lifestyle, business and documentary productions.

"It's sort of a window to Japan," said Koki Matsumoto, a senior director at Japan International Broadcasting Inc., a subsidiary of NHK. "You don't see these things on CNN. This is a uniqueness we are very proud of. It is something very innovative."

Matsumoto is in Honolulu to announce NHK World TV's local partnership with Nippon Golden Network to host the channel.

"Its purpose is to create a better understanding and awareness of Japan and Asia," said Dennis Ogawa, president of Nippon Golden Network. "It takes you to Japan at the source."

Hawai'i's large population of people with Asian ancestry and the large role Japanese tourists play in the state's economy makes the new channel a natural fit for viewers here, Ogawa said.

"About 300,000 Hawai'i residents are either Japanese or a Japanese mixture, so there is a natural interest," he said.

NHK World TV can be seen on Oceanic Time Warner Cable's digital channel 682 and on 1682 as part of its high-definition entertainment package. Oceanic reaches about 90 percent of Hawai'i's households.

NHK is Japan's publicly owned broadcast network. It's funded entirely by viewer payments and operates on an annual budget of $7 billion. Its new international television service will be supported by its 54 broadcast stations in Japan and the bureaus and offices it maintains in 30 countries, Ogawa said.

"They have the best equipment in the world to cover the news and have the most bureaus in Asia," he said. "All their equipment is in high-definition and state of the art. If there is a major disaster in Asia, they will be able to get the word out so the eyes will see the trauma."