Foreign companies will not control domestic broadcasters, Japan's parliament says

Japan's parliament on Wednesday adopted legislation that will prevent non-Japanese companies from acquiring shares to control domestic broadcasters, following an attempt earlier this year by a Japanese Internet company, backed by U.S. capital, to take over a radio station.

Under the revised radio and broadcast laws approved by the parliament's upper chamber Wednesday, the government will limit to less than 20 percent the combined stake non-Japanese companies hold in a Japanese broadcaster - either directly or thorough a Japanese affiliate, the AP reports.

The move strengthens current restrictions, which limit only the direct stake held by foreign investors.

Lawmakers scrambled to change legislation earlier this year after Livedoor Co., a Japanese Internet services company, shocked government and business circles by launching a takeover bid for a radio station to win influence over major media group Fuji Sankei. Livedoor had issued convertible bonds to U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. to help fund the acquisition, raising the possibility that the U.S. bank could indirectly control the radio station if it converted the bonds to shares. A.M.

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