"Ground breaking smoking ban for Japan"

Kanagawa prefecture have announced plans for a ‘Public Facilities No Smoking Regulation’. This regulation is already active in hospitals and schools but now there are plans to expand its reach to Pachinko parlors and Izakayas.

If this rule comes into force, it will be Japan’s first groundbreaking anti-smoking legislation.
Restaurants and shops serving food and drink are voicing concerns that this will negatively affect their sales. The medical establishment, who are a driving force behind anti-smoking measures, are giving their approval to this new regulation. In Kanagawa, this issue is already causing friction.

The Mainichi Shimbun reports some differing local opinions.


1. Ryoji Shiraishi, the owner of four pachinko parlors in Yokohama and is against the regulations due to concerns about sales says: “Over 70% of my customers smoke.”

2. Noriko Ebina, the Head of the Secretariat for Yokohama’s ‘Food and Drink Business Livelihood Health and Hygiene Trade Association’ (literal translation) says: “I feel we are being bullied. We have already been affected by the tightening of the Drink Driving Road Traffic Act…”

3. The public relations department for JT tobacco says, “Coffee shops, pachinko parlors and hotels have a different clientele so we are against a broad ban. It should be left up to each business owner to decide for themselves.”


1. Yoshihito Fujiwara, the Director for Yokohama’s pediatricians’ ‘Anti-smoking Kanagawa Assembly for the Propulsion of Separate Smoking Areas’ says “these penal regulations are natural. Passive smoking has gone beyond being just annoying, it is a health affecting assault. There are limits to just suing people for breaching manners.”

2. Manabu Sakuda, the Board Chairman for the ‘Anti-smoking Scientific Society of Japan’ says “these rules that are thought of as groundbreaking in Japan yet are normal in other countries abroad.”

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare reported that in 2005 Japan had roughly 30.2 million smokers—around 25% of the population (see JIN: http://www.japaninc.com/jin422.

With countries such as the UK and Australia already imposing anti-smoking measures in public places and places serving food and drink, it seems only natural that Japan would be next in following in the footsteps of a global ban on smoking. However, as mentioned in JIN 422 (Smoke on the horizon: http://www.japaninc.com/jin422), the perception of smoking may be quite different from those in other countries. Although underage smoking is harshly frowned upon (and made harder recently with the new age identification measure for cigarette vending machines), and smoking whilst walking for a lady is thought of as very taboo, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare reported that in 2005 Japan had roughly 30.2 million smokers—that’s around 25%of the population who still smoke.

However, with smoking banned on many streets throughout the country, new smoking bans in taxis and regulation tightening for under-age smoking , it seems only natural that the next step for Japan would be to start banning it in public places…


Other posts by Anna:


Oh, no -- please do not ban smoking in pachiko parlors and izakaya! The smoking is precisely what discourages good people from venturing into those establishments! If pachinko parlors and izakaya become zones of healthful fun, where will the sorry low self-esteem types go to hang out? ;-)

How on earth can someone say let the smoke continue killing innocent non-smokers!!! Why is the rest of the world banning smoke in all places like UK, California and even Hong Kong!

lol I love your comment (thought of course I support the ban)

Very sad that Japan with all its "greatness" is so stupid not to understand or realize the damage smokers are doing to themselves and to non-smokers.
Very selfish. Second hand smoke is dreadful.

Wake up Japan and think of others' health as well as your own.

BAN smoking in all public restaurants, bars and indoor places like civilized countries do and let the smokers puff outdoors!

Yes, smoking is damaging to others but if others don't want to be around it, they dont have to go there. If they don't want to be around people smoking, they can simply go somewhere in which there is no smoking. It really is not brain surgery. I do not smoke, nor will I ever, as it is a nasty habit in my opinion.

The owner of the business should have the right to decide for themselves whether or not smoking should be aloud in their business. Governments are authoritarian enough as it is. It would be violating the rights of the business owner by doing this. Many businesses find good business in smoking sections as it has been mentioned. Governments should only be able to ban smoking in government owned facilities, otherwise its simply impeding the rights of the business owner. I actually applaud Japan for being one of the few countries left to not have government regulated smoking bans.

I have seen many japanese parents smoke when small kids are around. I have even seen people smoke in cars with all windows closed and with children sitting inside. In Japan, people are not aware of ill effects of even passive smoking....it should be taught in the school level.

"If they don't want to be around people smoking, they can simply go somewhere in which there is no smoking."

That is, of course, unless you work in the establishment. By the way, there is no smoking during brain surgery in Japan. That was banned in 1954.

What about all of the employees at these places. Should they just quit and be unemployed if they don't want lung cancer. No, they can not. They have bills to pay. Please don't suggest that they work elsewhere, There are not enough non smoking work places to take them all. People should not have to choose employment over health. I came to Japan from an American state (WA) that banned all smoking in all public places. The bars and restaurants complained, but in the end their business doubled as they had a new nonsmoking customers and Smokers had nowhere else to go, so they stayed. It was a boom for the restaurant and bar industry state wide. Now they support it completely.

Your thinking is far too simplistic on this matter.

I love holidaying in Japan, and one of the things I love about Japan is that they haven't bought into the passive smoking propoganda. Read the studies pasive smoking is based on and you will see that the dangers are over exaggerated.

It would be sad if business owners in this great country lose their freedom of choice and Japan becomes a nanny state like Australia has become.

You're a moron. At least you'll be dead soon and won't pass on the stupid genes

When a diesel bus pumps out enormous amounts of carcinogens and toxins to the people on the street, no one complains (actually a public transport is being hailed as a hero).
When a smoker puffs out a little smoke, people try to avoid it like a gun pointing at them.
What a nonsense.

i dont agree with your comments.u can utilize your precious life for some other work

There are plenty of people that play pachinko and are still good people.

The government banned smoking in public places because it stops people smoking, will make people healthier, live longer and stop many diseases.
The dangers of smoking are causes different kind of cancers such as mouth cancer, throat, tongue and lung cancer. It also causes heart disease, halitosis, yellow teeth, gum disease, smells of cigarettes. It also causes bronchitis and passive smoking.
Passive smoking is second hand smoke; it’s when you breathe in when people are smoking and you suffer from it as it can give you cancer and other diseases. Most people want to ban smoking because of passive smoking, it is dangerous because it causes a lot of deaths, as it is second hand smoking innocent people die and they don’t even smoke. Also many people believe this will make smokers quit smoking as the ban will encourage more smokers to quit because they can’t get cigarettes as much as they used to and people have a right to protect themselves from smoke inhalation. Smoking also damages the environment and causes different types of cancers and diseases.
Smoking ban is a serious issue as it causes lots deaths; I believe that the public should be discussing this matter.
The current pack of 20 cigarettes is for £5.66 and 77% of the money goes to tax which is £4.33 goes to the government because that is currently the tax the government charges for cigarettes, this is why maybe the government only introduced a smoking ban in public places, e.g. pubs. The government benefits from the cigarettes sold in the UK so that is why they have not introduced a full smoking ban in the UK. u get ripped of for a packed of ciggarite and also y do innocent people have to die coz of smokers.it costs all lot of monet to do opration, if they ban smoking they will save money on these kind of things

Passive smoking is a made up disease. I have never met any anti-smoker who actually knows anybody who has died from passive smoking. If it was so widespread and dangerous you would think somebody knows someone who has died from it. I know people who have died from road accidents but passive smoking...impossible to find.

All the anti-smokers keep talking about the the thousands that die from passive smoking, but they never know anyone who has. Meanwhile these anti-smokers pump vast amounts of cancerous pollutants from their motor vehicles into the air, killing their children and giving them asthma.

If all smokers stopped smoking tomorrow, governments would be bankrupt within 20 years. Smoke or not smoke, you still need medical attention. If you live longer you need lots of medical attention in your old age and vast amounts of social housing and care. The costs of these will break the tax payer.

I assume above comment was submitted by Dr Marlboro disguised as Stevo.

Most uneducated, uninformed comment EVER. Passive smoking is not a disease, but causes and leads to disease. Suck in enough 2nd hand smoke, and you too can start developing cancer. Plenty of people die from lung cancer who don't smoke, and we will not know if 2nd hand smoke contributes to that, or the myriad of other diseases (since 2nd hand smoke contains hundreds of deadly chemicals).

2nd hand smoke and it's dangers have been well documented and studied by the well recognized medical journals. If smokers and tobacco companies choose to ignore that - and spread their counter-propaganda - than that's their problem. Smokers will continue to ignore the health of those around them and society in defense of their addiction and under the guise of "personal freedom".

The fact is that smoking does not CAUSE cancer. Even for a life long 20-a-day person. Smoking is a risk factor in the development of cancer, specifically lung cancer.
Second hand smoke has never even been proven to be a significant risk factor in the development of cancer. Carcinogens emitted by vehicle exhausts are considerably more likely to contribute more to the risk of someone developing cancer than 2nd hand smoke. Perhaps you would like to ban cars?

Coming from the UK, where there is a smoking ban in pubs and restaurants, it is tragic to see the decline in business, community and atmosphere that this has led to in my local pubs - last time I went home it was so noticeable.
Evan as a smoker I will admit that smoke free restaurants, especially where tables are close together, isn't such a bad thing, for non-smokers in particular.

As so many others have said leave it up to the bar or restaurant proprieter to make their own rules but please don't try and advocate a blanket ban based upon your own 'understanding' of faux-science.

"The fact is that smoking does not CAUSE cancer"

HAHAAAA what a moron. I hope this person keeps thinking this way so they die of cancer and rid the world of their stupidity.

"The fact is that smoking does not CAUSE cancer. "

Dude, you must have some serious learning disabilities. Cigarettes will kill you, plain and simple. The only exception I've seen are these new e-cigarettes that have no tar and no second-hand smoke. As far as regular tobacco cigs go, they will eventually lead to a slow painful death in 75% of the people that smoke them. The rest of them will probably die from a smoking related illness that has not yet been connected. You gotta get some help my man.

Johnny B

You are already about to die !

You are an addict get help.

It's an extremely important decision especially for the passive smokers, inhale the smoke of the cigarette without any cause. It is a first major step towards the saving of the live of the numerous people, who come under this devilish smoke. It should be ban in the films as well. In cinems, action movies,Poker Movies, having casino scenes, promote smoking majorly. People idolize the characters and try to smoke like them.
It leaves an adverse effect on the society.

Please explain why lung cancer rates in Japan are soooo much lower than those in USA, although japanese are much heavier smokers.
Second-hand smoking has been for many years an excuse used by governments that refuse to deal with pollution issues and many others, much more expensive to take care of.
Even fireplaces are more dangerous than second-hand smoking.

Like most other issues that are pushed under the covers here, the only reason the rates of smoking related disease is lower is because the media is being paid off by JT. Hence, they are not as quick to blame smoking as their foriegn counterparts, which already have the support of the government. On the otherhand, the Japanese government actively promotes smoking by members of the diet smoking on TV, jokes about smoking not causing cancer etc etc.
So once you get over being brainwashed by the joke that is called an "independent media" here, then we can have a real debate about the harmful effects of smoking. Personally, I think the lack of education related to smoking here is shameful, and Japan does not deserve to be called a "senshinkoku" in this regard. Parent's that smoke around their children don't deserve to be called parents.

The main factors likely to have brought about the difference in the odds ratio/relative risk between Japan and the USA (and perhaps other Western countries as well) are: Earlier age of smoking onset in Americans, lower alcohol consumption by Japanese males; lower fat intake by Japanese males; higher efficiency of filters on Japanese cigarettes; lower levels of carcinogenic ingredients in Japanese cigarettes; and lung-cancer-resistant hereditary factors among Japanese males.

I suggest that as a form of protest coming from all the smokers in Japan, they should all buy cigars and fog their government. Imagine 5000 to 10 000 thousand people smoking cigars at the same time.

Too bad the Japanese aren't as stupid and immature as you are.

I know right LOL

I dont know about the level of health hazards caused by passive smoking but i would like to urge the policy makers to put a ban on street smoking across all over Tokyo.

Almost everyday when i leave my home on the way to office, i am hit by the passive smoke of a passerby. This is the worst part of staying in Tokyo. I have kind of an allergy to smoke and it irritates my eyes, nose and the smell remains on my clothes sometimes even until i reach the office. I think many non-smokers too face a similar trouble. Please put an end to our misery !

A lot of areas (Ku) in Tokyo (Ota-Ku, Shinagawa-ku, Shibuya-Ku,etc) have already banned smoking while walking.
Maybe the next step is an ALL OUT ban on public places like HongKong and US.
This will be great !!

The lung cancer percentage here in japan is extremely high! I think, if i remember correctly that lung cancer has the highest occurrence of any form of cancer!

Health risks aside, it always amazes me that smokers don't appear to care what they smell like. I mean, really, their breath stinks. I suppose they just can't smell it themselves.

I used to leave in Japan a while back. As far as the anti-smoking movement is going, it started in the USA and then spread to Europe. I remember when I moved to New York from Paris in 1989. I was smoking in the elevator and people complained. This had never happened to me before in France.
Europe is still behind, for instance you can smoke in the subway. But they are catching up fast. Now Asia is way way behind, I mean WAY behind. Japan is leading the way and this is good news. When I lived there I was a smoker and I do not remember ever been asked to stopped my smoking anywhere.

I can't wait to see wider adoption of non-smoking places. If you asked somebody in Japan 10 years ago, if they thought that a non-smoking coffee shop could become THE premium coffee shop chain in the country, they would have laughed it off as a joke. Starbucks proved them wrong. The lesson to be learned is that these shops can still benefit by adapting to the changes that are happening globally. They have plenty of examples to draw from overseas so they really have no excuse other than they are afraid to change and learn to adapt their business models.

I really hope it goes through. Makes Yokohama look even more attractive to me and my business from a lifestyle point of view. Imagine a country as wonderful as Japan where it's no longer a challenge to find a decent place to have a smoke free pint after hours.


My employer still allows smoking in their office. Not at the desk, but in the hallway. The smoke drifts through the open door and into the desk area. This doesn't really doesn't give me the choice of whether to be in that environment or not.

Are their any labour laws, helpful resources, etc. to assist me in encouraging the shacho to take a stand an ban smoking in the building outright?

Apparently there are studies adding to the growing evidence that a ban on smoking in public places seems to have a positive impact on heart attack rates: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8267523.stm

It's the same old story.
Non-smokers don't want to be around smoke, but they want to drink alcohol.
Smoking rarely kills in one day.
Smoking rarely causes anybody to behave in erratic manners and become an unpredictable, immediate danger to themselves and others.
Alcohol can kill in an hour or 2. No problems with that.
Alcohol can make people just stupid and dangerous. Go to Roppongi. Looks just like bar strips in Australia, U.K. and U.S.A.

Many times, pot-smokers are also vehemently anti-tobacco. Hmm...

All of these things are non-essential drugs.
Socially accepted or not.

Really is, it all just depends which drugs you personally enjoy and accept.
Obviously, everyone thinks their own beliefs are correct and that everyone else should agree...

By the way, some parts of California have made it illegal to smoke tobacco inside your own home.
Meanwhile, smoking marijuana is increasingly accepted and legal in California.

Smoking anything is clearly not going to be beneficial to your physical health in most cases.
It may do something altogether wonderful for your mental health, but that is a different point to consider.

Cancer-causing chemicals? Bad smells?? Why, funny you should mention those things... most of you probably drive cars and see nothing wrong with that, since the catalytic converter tends to absorb most of the bad smell, while the machine itself far outpaces the tobacco smoker in producing waste by-products and is even more sadly socially accepted as an Ok thing. Hmm...

I quit smoking. But honestly, the world is full of myopic, self-centered hypocrisy.

Worst of all, after you quit smoking, you find out the world really just smells bad.

So you are telling me you are truly foolish enough to sit in a room that is filled with car exhaust? Because it certainly sounds like that is what you are advocating. Believe me, that will kill you faster than smoking. You should try it, do us all a favor and invest in social Darwinism. I will be grateful next time I'm at an izakaya and you are not blowing your smoke in my face.

As much as smoking is a nasty habit, with seemingly not advantages, what would happen if half of the smokers stopped? The money accrued on taxes i wonder where the short fall would be made up?

Maybe the the short fall on taxes would out weight the cost of extra health care?
Well I'm up for trying a worldwide ban making the world a better place.

Just imagine if everyone Quit Smoking

The big difference with smoking is that when you smoke you are forcing others to also smoke. Personally, I don't care what drugs you choose to use. Drink alcohol, inject heroin, snort cocaine -- that's your business. Just don't force me to do so.

Exactly! If the smokers want to do harm to themselves, don't involve innocent bystanders.

According to this article in Japan Times, the ban has been watered-down to nothing. No effect. "A non-smoking section in a restaurant is like a no-peeing section in a pool.", and reportedly even that isn't required.

Sure, let the owners choose- what about the employees? Why has nobody done any survey on the people who are forced to work in these places? Are non-smoker employees paid extra to put up with the smoke? Cleaning bills paid, extra cost of medical insurance? When I used to work in an office where smoking was allowed at your desk I had to take off my clothes at home before my wife would let me hold our baby because my whole body stank of tobacco when I got home. And I don't smoke. At that time 25-30% of the male office workers smoked at their desks. None of the women were smokers at work. So about 15% of the people were smoking and forcing the rest of us to put up with their crap. The fastest way to reduce smoking in Japan is to bring the cost of cigarettes here up to the level in Europe and do not allow tobacco to be sold at the duty-free shops at any airport. Japan Tobacco is a criminal organization who can't increase the cigarette consumption in Japan and are now the major exporter of tobacco to countries in Asia. In the last ten years they've actually been BUYING American and other tobacco companies!! The Japanese government is exporting death to the rest of Asia. When these other countries wake up to the high impact of tobacco-related diseases there is going to be some serious backlash against Japan, a tobacco-imperialist country that has fought hard to replace the US as a major exporter of death to the lower educated populations of the developing world.

I smoke and I agree that subjecting people who dont smoke to my pollution is not fair. I smoke outside my house.

However, some people have said here: 'yeah, sure, ban it in public places and let the smokers puff outside'. But that obviously causes issues for passers-by.

So, how about we have a law that is intelligent enough to either allow 'smoking bars' where all of us stinky people can go, staffed by people who also smoke.... that way we are all shut away, out of the way, in a place no non-smoker need ever go.

Oh, and whilst we're talking about passive health risks, here's my proposal for the next ban, as I am fed-up with my wife and kids having to passively suck in the by-products

A Nationwide Internal Combustion Engine Ban

"Why has nobody done any survey on the people who are forced to work in these places?"

No one is forced to work anywhere.

"Are non-smoker employees paid extra to put up with the smoke?"

They are paid! I suggest they find work elsewhere. Is that so hard?

What a disgrace! I have been living in Japan for nearly 4 years but passive smoking has NOT improved at all. Top doctors in Japan are smokers and i cannot believe that an advance nation does things the opposite way: Allow smoking indoors and ban smoking outdoors! Can u believe that?
I enjoy eating out and pub sometimes but each time my clothes, face and hair stinks like hell with tobacco smell. My health has deteriorated since then. Passive smoking kills and it kills millions if not zillions!

Non-Smokers die everyday.
Sorry to point that out.

Give up and enjoy the extra 7 years at the end of your life,
in an old people's home, having your bottom wiped by
some poor immigrant worker.

I don't drive and exclusively use bicycles.
Please stop driving a car because I don't want to inhale that toxic exhaustion gas from your car.
Give me a choice.
I do not want inhale that!