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Tuesday, 24th March 2009
In General Japan News,

Japan to ban smoking in public places

A ban on smoking in public places is set to be announced by the Japanese government next month, it has emerged.

The move, which will affect public transport, government offices and hospitals, is designed to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke, reports NHK.

Kanagawa, south of the Japanese capital Tokyo, has become the first prefecture to restrict smoking at crowded indoor facilities.

An ordinance establishing the ban was approved by the prefecture's assembly and will come into effect in April next year.

Those found to be in violation of the ordinance - which covers officers, theatres, gyms and shops - will face fines equivalent to more than £130.

Smoking will still be permitted in pachinko parlours, bars, smaller restaurants and hotels with total floor space of less than 700 square metres.

Recently, a Japanese doctor apologised after suggesting that people should smoke themselves into early graves to reduce the country's medical costs.

Written by Mike Cotgreave