You can spot the scene in countless dramas, films or mangas : the NHK employee knocks the door and suddenly the household becomes mute, hoping he will think the house is empty ans leave without claiming the television tax. Television tax fraud may be the more common one in Japan (nevertheless, 78% of household pays the tax, meaning the majority of Japanese people are still honnest).
Till now, NHK did not seem really proactive in preventing the fraud. But on the 16th, NHK filed a complaint against five households at the Court of Summary Offenses in Tokyo.
Those five households own a television set but refuse to pay the tax. NHK says they have been contacting those households since 2004 (with an average of 12,4 visit per household) but they still refuse to pay, pretexting they do not watch TV even if they own a set, they think the tax system is problematic or they do not like NHK’s programmes.
NHK sued companies twice in the past (but withdrew the complaint once the companies paid the tax, before the trial) but that’s the first time they sue private households. It seems it may become more common since they announced they wanted the tax to be equally distributed among all viewers.