A Japanese-Language Channel for Japanese AbroadNHK WORLD

NHK WORLD PREMIUM is a subscription-based TV service in Japanese for Japanese nationals abroad. It distributes news and other information programs, dramas, children’s programs, sumo tournaments, and many others in various genres.

Outline of Services  >  NHK WORLD PREMIUM



  • Subscription-based Japanese-language channel


  • DVB-S (QPSK) Transmission
  • NTSC signals
  • Broadcasting with scrambling
  • Due to begin complete HD broadcasting in July 2016
  • Distributing through 230 local satellite or cable stations


TV Service in Japanese Language

Broadcasts of six sumo tournaments a year are popular overseas.

Broadcasts of six sumo tournaments a year are popular overseas.

The TV drama series “Mare,” about a girl dreaming to be a pastry chef, aired in the first half of fiscal 2015.

The TV drama series “Mare,” about a girl dreaming to be a pastry chef, aired in the first half of fiscal 2015.

The historical drama series “Hanamoyu” aired in 2015. It’s about Yoshida Shoin, an intellectual who contributed to the Meiji Restoration in 1868, and his followers.

The historical drama series “Hanamoyu” aired in 2015. It’s about Yoshida Shoin, an intellectual who contributed to the Meiji Restoration in 1868, and his followers.

NHK WORLD PREMIUM is a TV service in Japanese for Japanese nationals abroad. It airs programs via satellite or cable television stations to households and hotels around the world. It is subscribed by about 15 million households through about 230 distributing operators in more than 100 countries and territories (both as of March 2014).

A Pleasure for Japanese Abroad

NHK WORLD PREMIUM selects a wide range of programs from among those aired by NHK’s four domestic channels: General TV, Educational TV, BS1 and BS Premium. The shows include news and other information programs, dramas, those featuring music, sports, culture or performing arts and children’s shows. Some programs cannot be distributed because of copyright restrictions. The service has become a popular medium for not only Japanese nationals but also people abroad who are interested in Japan.

Different Programming around the World

Due to time differences, it is difficult to distribute programs to different parts of the world at convenient hours. In Asia, chances are high that viewers can enjoy NHK WORLD PREMIUM programs live as they come from Japan. For such distant places as Latin America, we rebroadcast NHK WORLD PREMIUM programs, so viewers there can enjoy in their living hours. For North America and Europe, NHK’s subsidiaries shift the programming schedules on their own to fit people’s viewing hours. We expect these measures to maximize its benefit to viewers around the world.
The paid distribution service started with viewers’ strong requests for overseas availability of NHK’s popular programs such as TV drama series, historical dramas and documentary programs called “NHK Specials.” NHK WORLD PREMIUM programs are distributed by TV Japan in North America, JSTV in Europe, and cable TV stations in Asia. One of the highest-demand program is “Year-end Song Festival,” a must-see for many Japanese on New Year’s Eve.

Flexible Programming During Emergencies

The service also plays an important role during emergencies, when NHK interrupts regular programs to swiftly and accurately report on major incidents, accidents, natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons, or important political news.

History of Mission of No Scrambling, Free Service

NHK WORLD PREMIUM offers news and other information programs for about five hours a day free of charge with no scrambling. The programs include “NHK News: Good Morning Japan,” “NHK News 7,” “News Watch 9,” “Today’s Close-up,” “International News Report 2015” and “Sunday Debate.” Entertainment programs requiring payment include “NHK Amateur Singing Contest,” “Law and Laughter” and “Gentle Journeys.” Viewers can watch such programs for free if they receive the service directly from Japan through satellite. This was how Japanese abroad used the service as a valuable source of information when cable and other distribution systems were not so widely available. But to do so, they needed parabola antennas about 2.5 meters in diameter. In a residential area in the suburbs of Washington D.C., Japanese households with such antennas were often asked by local communities to remove them. They were told their antennas didn’t fit the scenery. But such broadcasting has been playing the important role of offering Japanese abroad adequate news and entertainment as set out in the International Broadcasting Standards NHK follows under the Broadcast Law.

Also for language studies

These various programs, from news and information to dramas, can also help with Japanese language studies.

NHK WORLD PREMIUM in North America and Europe

NHK WORLD PREMIUM is available via TV Japan in North America, and JSTV in Europe. The programs are rescheduled at convenient viewing hours in those areas. This is done by NCMA (NHK Cosmomedia America, Inc.) in New York , and by NCME (NHK Cosmomedia Europe Ltd.) in London respectively. Both services basically use NHK WORLD PREMIUM programs, and also incorporate those made by Japan’s commercial networks and movies into their programming. If natural disasters, accidents or other emergencies or incidents occur, programming of NHK WORLD PREMIUM is subject to change.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil…

In November 2014, I went to Sao Paulo in Brazil on business. When I visited the hall of a Japanese regional association there, I saw a group of elderly people doing an NHK radio gymnastic exercise and playing a Japanese croquet-like game called “gateball.” I couldn’t believe I was in Brazil. I wondered “am I in Japan?”

I asked them if they knew NHK WORLD PREMIUM. By heart, they gave the names of its programs one after another. As soon as someone mentioned their favorite program, others nodded with consent.

There is a half-day time difference between Japan and Brazil. The two countries are located on opposite sides of the world. I keenly realized how NHK WORLD PREMIUM was supported by enthusiastic viewers around the world. It turned out to be a precious experience for me.

(A member of the programming staff, NHK WORLD Department)

What to Do with Images Banned Abroad

A headache for NHK WORLD PREMIUM’s programming staff is what to do with the images that NHK has no right to broadcast abroad. In the past, whenever such an image was used in a program, it was blocked by a still image with such a written notice as “We are sorry, we cannot air this image due to rights restriction.”

Things are changing in recent years, especially for news bulletins of the winners of sports events. Staff members collect a number of photos of the athletes, and show them in a sequence while the presenter narrates. With this, we can at least convey the atmosphere of the event in a manner less frustrating for the audience.

Rights for the coverage of sporting, music and other events are getting quite strict in recent years. So, the struggle of staff members of NHK WORLD PREMIUM continues.