Tokyo mulls ordinance banning indoor smoking

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said Friday that the metropolitan government will submit an draft ordinance against passive smoking that includes a ban on indoor smoking in eating establishments in principle, to the metropolitan assembly during the current fiscal year through next March.

The same day, the Tokyo government also started soliciting public opinions on the basic concept of the ordinance stipulating punitive measures.

The metropolitan government aims to put the ordinance into effect before September 2019, when the Rugby World Cup will be held in Japan.

The health ministry has proposed to basically ban smoking in places to eat and drink before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and met with strong opposition from a number of ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers.

The metropolitan government hopes to advance efforts to curb passive smoking ahead of the central government, but the ordinance may draw a backlash from the restaurant industry, pundits noted.

According to the Tokyo government’s basic plan, smoking will be prohibited on the premises of elementary, junior high and high schools and hospitals. Indoor smoking will be banned in public offices and universities. Smoking in restaurants, bars and hotels will be banned in principle, but permitted in designated smoking rooms.

Violators of the ordinance, both smokers and facility operators, would have to pay fines of up to ¥50,000. Heat-not-burn tobacco products will be subject to the regulation as well.

The draft ordinance exceptionally allows indoor smoking at up-to-30-square-meter bars with no employees, or with consent from all employees to smoking, that prohibit entry of minors under 20. Meanwhile, the ministry’s planned smoking ban is softer than Tokyo’s, as bars only need to meet the similar floor space condition to get smoking permission.

Separately, Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites first group), a regional party effectively led by Koike, and Komeito are set to introduce to the assembly this month a draft ordinance without punitive clauses to protect children from passive smoking.Speech

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