It is about time Tokyo has grown up and begun to consider catching-up to the rest of the developed world, outlawing smoking in indoor locations like restaurants and bars. Although, the proposed exemption seems to almost negate the whole point of the law:
As more people have grown aware of the health hazards, the number of smokers in Japan has dropped sharply, according to data from the cigarette maker Japan Tobacco.
Now train platforms, department stores and many restaurants are smoke free, while office workers who have yet to kick the cigarette habit are consigned to small smoking rooms or outside shelters.
The health ministry recently proposed a compromise version of its smoking ban to expand an exemption so that restaurants as large as 150 square meters, or a little over 1,600 square feet, could allow smokers.
Determined smokers figure they will spend even more time cramming into outdoor smoking shelters and parks dotted around the city.
Koki Okamoto, a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly and head of the Neighborhood Second-Hand Smoke Victims Society, said restaurants could potentially gain customers as more people stop smoking and an increasing number of families with young children seek to go out to eat.
I find it hard to believe that by the time the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are upon us, Tokyo will still not have completely outlawed smoking indoors. Maybe this move is just baby steps?