Public broadcaster NHK has recently been having a torrid time due to a well publicized embezzlement scandal, and allegations of censoring a program due to governmental pressure. And now to add to its woes, a company employee has been arrested for allegedly molesting a 17-year-old high school girl on a Tokyo commuter train.
It turns out however that 36-year-old Ko Sasaki’s ignominious arrest might be merely the tip of a very large iceberg. As a blacklist currently being circulated details numerous cases of disciplinary action within the company over the last 6 years. Incidents involving prostitution, peeping Toms, molestation, and sexual harassment.
Due to the disproportionately large number of cases, I’ve only listed a few below. Most of which never made the news, and the majority of the perpetrators escaped prosecution due to pressure allegedly asserted by NHK.
October 1999. An employee was dismissed and fined 500,000 yen (2,500 pound) after paying for sexual favours from a high school student he met through a telephone club.
May 2000. A department manager caught stealing ladies underwear from a nearby stadium locker room. The man was eventually dismissed, but charges of breaking and entering were dropped.
February 2001. A department manager again, which makes you wonder what kind of training they are given. This one was found guilty of molesting a female student on the train. He was suspended from work for 5 days (although there’s no mention of demotion) and penalized 50,000 yen (250 pound).
November 2001. An employee caught filming up a woman’s skirt at a train station. Resulting in a 5 day suspension and a similar 50,000 yen fine.
February 2003. Another upskirt aficionado. This worker was rumbled whilst in action with his digital camera. He too was suspended for a week, but received a heftier penalty of 200,000 yen (1,000 pound).
July 2003. More train groping to finish off with. This media molester received a 5-day suspension and a 50,000 yen fine.
Never a dull moment at NHK eh? Apparently many of the suspensions were/are covered up so fellow staff members don’t find out. But with this information now doing the rounds, any employee taking a couple of days off for a bout of the flu will surely have tongues wagging upon their return.