That’s one way to end a heated conversation.
This has been a pretty good year for the Protect the Nation from NHK Party. Following impassioned campaign speeches, a recent election win has snagged them their first ever seat in the National Diet through which they can continue to push their agenda of ending the heavy handed fee collection tactics of Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.
It has also thrust the party into the mainstream media’s spotlight and even earned them an shorthand name in the press of “N-Koku” (N-Country).
This should all come as good news for an unidentified 34-year-old Vietnamese man who was arrested on 17 August for assaulting an NHK collector with a fire extinguisher.
The incident took place on 15 August, when the NHK representative knocked on the suspect’s door. Details of the conversation have not been reported yet, but just to give you an idea of an NHK collector’s unique tenacity, here’s one knocking on a guy’s door for three minutes straight.
For the uninitiated with this kind of visit, these collectors will demand that you sign their TV license agreements and flat out refuse to take any excuse not to. Regardless of whether you actually watch NHK or even don’t own a TV, they will not leave until you sign on the dotted line. Even those that manage to evade the collection sometimes end up with creepy presents.
Japanese people have grown accustomed to this situation by mostly refusing to answer their own door. Guests to this nation, however, might not be, so the suspect allegedly did what he thought was right in the presence of an apparent extortionist, and sprayed him in the face with a fire extinguisher.
▼ A demonstration of how that might have went. Just imagine the NHK collector is the flaming pot of ruined food.
The NHK collector immediately called the police and pressed charges against the Vietnamese man who was in Japan training as a technical intern. The suspect reportedly told police, “I didn’t understand what the other person was saying.”
The investigation is still ongoing, but Japanese netizens are coming out in full support of the suspect.
“The guy is totally in the right. He was being forced to sign a contract that he couldn’t fully understand.”
“A little excessive, but I can sympathize with him.”
“Of course anyone not familiar with NHK would view those collectors as suspicious. Someone comes to your home and demands money. What else are you going to do?”
“This wouldn’t even be a problem if they just scrambled the channel already.”
“Tachibana! Help this man!”
The last comment is calling upon the leader of N-Koku, Takashi Tachibana, who is now currently serving in the House of Councillors. Given Tachinbana’s flare for the dramatic, it would be hard to imagine he doesn’t get all over this case in a very public fashion.
It’s early though, and hard to tell where this incident will lead. Nevertheless, it is just one more instance that shows that this unusual funding system needs a major reform, or the next misunderstanding might end up much worse than a face full of foam.