Japan intends to take stringent laws against smoking, but the tobacco industry of the country wants to prevent measures that have been adopted many years ago by other developed countries.
The government aims to change the image of Japan as a nation smoking. Smoking is still allowed in bars, restaurants and cafes, as there will be held the Olympic Games in 2020 in Tokyo.
The Ministry of Health will submit a bill to parliament that would ban smoking in many restaurants and public places. If approved, violators face a fine of 300,000 yen (US $ 2600).
Against the bill are the former state monopoly Japan Tobacco (JT) and small business owners who fear losing customers. According to the last sentence of the institution will be able to build a separate room for smoking.
Finance Minister Taro Aso recently questioned the long-established link between cigarettes and lung cancer. "As a lover of cigarettes, I feel that this is not a good idea: how to live, if smoking is prohibited everywhere" - told reporters Takeshita, a representative parliament.
Japan's government receives billions of dollars a year from taxes on cigarettes and still owns a stake in JT, one of the largest tobacco companies. At the same time in Australia and France, where a ban on smoking in public places and on cigarette packs graphic warnings about the dangers of the habit, cigarette sales in two to three times more than in Japan.
Nearly 50 countries have bans on smoking in enclosed spaces. "We lag behind many countries, - says Yumiko Mochizuki, a board member of the Japan Society for Tobacco Control. - And we got a bad evaluation from the World Health Organization. " WHO gave Japan the lowest rating for efforts to prevent passive smoking - only 10 percent of restaurants are declared non-smoking.
Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam have already adopted smoking bans, - says Susan Mercado, director of the WHO in Manila. According to Mercado, annually addiction kills 130,000 people in Japan, another 15,000 die from diseases associated with passive smoking. Despite the number of places where smoking is permitted, the use of tobacco in Japan reduced in line with the global trend.
Japan Tobacco said that the proposed smoking rules are a cause for concern. We are concerned that the bill will be unbalanced, unreasonable and excessive ", - said in a statement.
240 Japanese municipalities restrict smoking in the streets, and this means that smoking is allowed in clearly defined areas.
According to campaigners, fewer smokers increase omotenasi culture, philosophy of Japanese hospitality.