Further bans mooted

| March 3, 2017

Olympics photoThe Japanese government has said that it plans to restrict tobacco smoking in restaurants and other public venues ahead of the 2020 Olympics, according to a story in Japan Today.

Under the health ministry plan, smoking would be banned in restaurants, except in rooms set up exclusively for smoking. Restaurants are understood to take in a wide range of food outlets, including Japanese-style pubs, and terrace areas of restaurants would be included in the ban even if located outside.

Small bars with a floor space of less than 30 square meters and where minors were not expected to be present, would be exempted from the ban.

And in hotels, people would be allowed to smoke in their own rooms.

Smoking would be banned in schools, universities, hospitals and government offices. But while these facilities would not be allowed to set up smoking rooms, the new rules would allow existing rooms to remain in place for five years, if they met certain criteria.

According to Japan Today, municipality officials would be required to warn those found to be smoking in a no-smoking area, and only if they refused to stop would they be liable to a fine of up to 300,000 yen.

Building managers would be obliged to post notices specifying the no-smoking areas, and, if they failed to do so, they would face fines of up to 500,000 yen.

The health ministry aims to impose the ban by submitting a bill during the ongoing Diet session through June, but it is not certain that the ban will be passed because ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers affiliated with the tobacco and restaurant industries are against such a move.

Japan’s current Health Promotion Law says that building managers should work to prevent passive smoking, but many non-smokers are exposed to second-hand smoke, according to the ministry.

In fact, Japan is among the countries rated lowest for its tobacco control polices, having no smoke-free law covering all indoor public places, the ministry said, quoting the World Health Organization’s 2015 report on the ‘global tobacco epidemic’.

After WHO and the International Olympic Committee agreed in 2010 to promote tobacco-free Olympic games, all countries that have hosted the Olympics have implemented or had in place appropriate regulations.

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Category: Breaking News, Regulation

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