Japan OKs 1st anti-smoking law seen as lax and partial

July 18, 2018 - 4:40 am

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has approved its first national legislation banning smoking inside of public facilities, but the measure excludes many restaurants and bars and is seen as toothless.

The legislation aims to lower secondhand smoking risks ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics amid international calls for smoke-free Games, but was largely watered down by the reluctant ruling party.

The upper house approved and enacted the bill into law Wednesday. The other chamber already passed it.

The law bans indoor smoking at schools, hospitals and government offices. Smoking will be allowed at existing eateries with a 100-square-meter (yard) customer space or less, and that's includes most of Japanese establishments. Larger and new eateries must limit smoking inside designated rooms.

The measure will be implemented in phases through April 2020.