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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 May 29 - June 4  > JCP calls on gov’t to support opening of community FM radio stations
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2013 May 29 - June 4 [GREAT EAST JAPAN DISASTER]

JCP calls on gov’t to support opening of community FM radio stations

May 29, 2013
At the time of the 2011 Great East Japan Disaster, community-based FM radio stations played a major role in providing urgent information to residents in disaster-hit areas. Meanwhile, many initiatives to open new local radio stations throughout the nation are being discouraged due to difficulties in obtaining funds or permits to use public airwaves.

In the disaster-stricken region, 28 municipalities have established temporary disaster FM radio stations since the massive quake and tsunami. If applications are submitted to the Ministry of Communications, local governments can receive a license and frequency to open such radio stations for a limited period of time.

Some temporary radio stations have applied to become a permanent community radio station, but only two have been successful so far.

At a Lower House General Affairs Committee meeting on May 21, Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Shiokawa Tetsuya stated that many local governments in the disaster-hit region face difficulties in procuring needed funds themselves to open a community FM station while struggling to fund post-disaster reconstruction. He demanded that the national government provide appropriate support for them in this regard.

At the same time, there is a major shortage of radio waves available in the Tokyo metropolitan area, the Kinki region, and the Tokai region, which are expected to be hit by a major earthquake.

As of April 2013, there are 273 community-based FM stations throughout the nation. The Ministry of Communications has been receiving an increasing number of requests for opening such local FM stations. The number of requests in the last five years was 138 in the Kanto and Kinki regions.

The Japan Community Broadcasting Association last month submitted to the ministry a statement calling for frequencies to be made available for new community-based radio stations in urban areas.

JCP Shiokawa has demanded that the government utilize frequencies previously used by TV stations for analog broadcasting.
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