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Tokyo eyes basically banning indoor smoking at restaurants, hotels

2017.09.11 | Tokyo

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike speaks at a press conference at the metropolitan government building in Tokyo on Sept. 8, 2017. Koike announced plans to basically ban indoor smoking at restaurants and other buildings ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. (Kyodo)

TOKYO - The Tokyo metropolitan government said Friday it plans to basically ban indoor smoking at restaurants and other buildings ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, with smokers expected to be punished if they break the rule.

 

According to the plan, smoking would be prohibited inside facilities such as restaurants, hotels, department stores and airports, although smoking rooms would be allowed to be set up. Small bars, however, would be deemed an exception under certain conditions.

 

"A total indoor smoking ban is the basic trend of host cities of the Olympics," Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said at a press conference Friday as she announced the outline of an ordinance to be introduced.

 

The Tokyo government plans to propose the ordinance to the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly by the end of March 2018, after soliciting opinions from the public over the issue until Oct. 6. It is seeking to enact the ordinance ahead of the Rugby World Cup in 2019, which Japan will host, officials said.

 

Also on the national level, the health ministry is seeking a law revision to basically ban indoor smoking at buildings used by many people. Japan is among countries rated poorly over its tobacco control policies by the World Health Organization, and the central government hopes to improve the situation ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Under the envisioned ordinance, smoking at medical institutions and schools would be prohibited not only inside buildings but also on the whole compound because children and patients are the main users.

 

Government office buildings and universities would be subject to an indoor smoking ban and setting up smoking rooms would not be permitted inside those buildings.

 

As for bars with a floor area of less than 30 square meters, smoking would be allowed if all the employees agree with such a policy. The bars also should not allow the entry of underage people.

 

The Tokyo government is considering imposing a fine of up to 50,000 yen ($460) on smokers or companies managing the buildings when they violate the ordinance.

 

==Kyodo

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