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2017 (Ju) 2212

2018.07.17
2017 (Ju) 2212
Minshu Vol. 72, No. 3
Judgment on a claim for reception fees under a broadcast reception contract with the Japan Broadcasting Corporation and on whether or not the first sentence of paragraph (1) of Article 168 of the Civil Code applies to such claim
Case claiming broadcast reception fees
Judgment of the Third Petty bench, dismissed
Osaka High Court, Judgment of September 8, 2017
The provisions of the first sentence of paragraph (1) of Article 168 of the Civil Code do not apply to a claim for reception fees under a broadcast reception contract with the Japan Broadcasting Corporation.
The first sentence of paragraph (1) of Article 168 of the Civil Code and Article 64 of the Broadcasting Act



Civil Code

(Extinctive Prescription of Periodic Payments)

Article 168 (1) A claim for periodic payments shall be extinguished if not exercised for twenty years after the first due date.



Broadcasting Act

(Reception Contracts and Fees for Receiving Broadcasts)

Article 64

(1) Persons installing reception equipment capable of receiving NHK broadcasts conclude a contract with NHK for the reception of those broadcasts; provided, however, that this does not apply to those persons who have installed reception equipment not intended for the reception of broadcasts or reception equipment only capable of receiving radio broadcasts (meaning broadcasts comprising of voices and other sounds that do not come under television broadcasting or multiple broadcasting; the same applies in Article 126, paragraph (1)) or multiple broadcasting.

(2) NHK must not exempt the fees for receiving broadcasts to be collected from persons who have concluded a contract pursuant to the provisions of the main text of the preceding paragraph unless the exemption is pursuant to the standards which have been authorized by the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications in advance.

(3) NHK must obtain authorization from the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications in advance with regard to the terms of the contract set forth in paragraph (1). The same applies when making amendments thereto.

(4) Broadcasts which are simultaneous un-edited re-transmissions of NHK broadcasts are deemed to be NHK broadcasts, and the three preceding paragraphs apply to the broadcasts.
The final appeal is dismissed.

The costs of final appeal shall be borne by the appellant.
Reasons for the petition for acceptance of final appeal filed by the counsels for the appeal, MAEDA Yasuyuki and TAKEDA Mari

1. In this case, the appellee demands that the appellant, who entered into a broadcast reception contract with the appellee by the end of June 1995 at the latest, pay under the said contract the reception fees for the period from April 2011 to May 2017 in the total amount of 96,940 yen, plus late payment charges thereon. The appellant disputes the appellee’s demand, alleging that the appellee’s failure to claim payment of reception fees from the appellant under the said contract for a period of 20 years has completed the extinctive prescription of periodic payments as set forth in the first sentence of paragraph (1) of Article 168 of the Civil Code.

2. The reasons for the petition for acceptance of final appeal allege that the court of prior instance’s decision that the provisions of the first sentence of paragraph (1) of Article 168 of the Civil Code do not apply to a claim for reception fees under a broadcast reception contract with the appellee (hereinafter referred to as a “Reception Contract”), erred in the interpretation and application of law.

3. Let us now examine this matter. A claim for reception fees under a Reception Contract is intended to periodically receive a certain amount of money and constitute a claim for periodic payments. However, the Broadcasting Act provides that the financial resources for the business operation of the appellee, which is a public broadcaster, should be supplied by imposing reception fees widely and evenly on persons who have installed receiving equipment through which the appellee’s broadcast can be received, and the Act contains provisions compelling such persons to enter into a Reception Contract (see Supreme Court, 2014 (O) 1130, 2014 (Ju) 1440 and 1441, Judgment of the Grand bench of December 6, 2017, Minshu Vol. 71, No. 10, p. 1817). A claim for reception fees arises from a Reception Contract executed pursuant to such discipline. If the provisions of the first sentence of paragraph (1) of Article 168 of the Civil Code applied to a claim for reception fees under a Reception Contract, the person who has entered into the Reception Contract could be released from his/her obligation to pay reception fees that will accrue in the future. The Court considers that this would be inconsistent with the spirit of the Broadcasting Act which provides that claims for reception fees should accrue pursuant to the discipline described above.

Therefore, it is appropriate to consider that the provisions of the first sentence of paragraph (1) of Article 168 of the Civil Code do not apply to a claim for reception fees under a Reception Contract.

4. The court of prior instance’s decision, whose intent is the same as above, is acceptable as legitimate. The reasons for the petition for acceptance of final appeal are not acceptable.

Accordingly, the Court unanimously decides as set forth in the main text.
Justice HAYASHI Keiichi

Justice OKABE Kiyoko

Justice YAMASAKI Toshimitsu

Justice TOKURA Saburo

Justice MIYAZAKI Yuko
(This translation is provisional and subject to revision.)