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Wednesday, 1st April 2009
In General Japan News,

East Japan Railway bans smoking at Tokyo stations

Starting today (April 1st), smoking will be banned at East Japan Railway stations in the Tokyo area.

Platforms ashtrays will be removed from more than 200 of the railway company's stations on 17 lines, including Chuo, Sobu and Yamanote, reports the Japan Times.

The smoke-free zone consists of an area of up to 50km.

Most railways running through the Japanese capital already banned smoking following the implementation of the Health Promotion Law, which sought to tackle secondary smoke inhalation.

Dr Manabu Sakuta, chairman of the Japan Society for Tobacco Control, told the newspaper: "It's only natural that smoking gets banned at stations. This is a global trend.

"I welcome the fact that Japan has finally joined the group."

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the railway company said the move was taken following a number of complaints from non-smokers.

While around half of Japanese men smoke, the figure for women is less than 15 per cent.

Written by Graham McPherson

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