Anti-Smoking Campaigns Aim for Smoke-Free Japan by 2020 Olympics

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics just a few years away, anti-smoking campaigners are ramping up their efforts to make Japan smoke-free. The International Olympic Committee requires host cities to be “healthy,” which includes being tobacco free. The government will vote on legislation later in March, 2017 that will ban smoking in or near public buildings. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) is considering granting exemptions to bars and restaurants, following vocal opposition from restaurant industry groups. Opponents argue small bars and restaurants will lose business and may be forced to close if they ban smoking on their premises. Instead, bar and restaurant owners may have the option of installing ventilated, leak-free smoking rooms.