Press "Enter" to skip to content

NHK apologizes over misleading ‘rental family’ documentary

TOKYO (TR) – Public broadcaster NHK on Wednesday apologized for airing an English program last year about a so-called “rental family” firm that included misleading content, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (May 29).

“It is extremely regrettable,” a statement from NHK read. “We would like to offer an apology to viewers.”

On November 19, channel NHK World broadcast the 30-minute program for its “Inside Lens” documentary series that featured the firm Family Romance, which rents out persons to customers to pose as their friends or family members for various purposes.

In the program, titled “Happier Than Real,” a male customer contracted Family Romance to rent him a wife, son and daughter to offer support after his wife died. However, it was later learned that the customer was also hired by the firm.

“We did not notice that there was a problem in casting during the production production,” NHK continued. “We will immediately implement thorough measures to prevent a recurrence.”

Werner Herzog’s “Family Romance, LLC” screened at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this month

Mainstream coverage

Family Romance is operated by Yuichi Ishii. “We asked a staff member to play the customer,” the company was quoted by the Mainichi Shimbun in referring to the NHK documentary.

In recent years, Ishii has received substantial coverage in mainstream media, including an article in The New Yorker last year. He also stars in helmer Werner Herzog’s film “Family Romance, LLC,” which screened earlier this month at the Cannes Film Festival.