Japan high speed railways
How to avoid yourself from toxic tobacco smoke,
when using a restaurant in Japan

Many restaurants in Japan have a section of smoking and nonsmoking.

In Japan, many restaurants and cafes show the number of smoking and no-smoking seat at the entrance
of shops. However, the sign plate means this cafe shop provides
the seat for non-smokers and for smokers
in the same inner space with no wall or complete partition between two sections.

Actually, this is meaningless, in view point of preventing an adverse toxic gas released from the tip of

(L) There is a total of 36 seats. Smoking seats are 26 and non-smoking seats are 10, at Cafe Pronto
at the Tokyo International Airport ( Haneda) passage.
(R) This cafe in the central Tokyo shows the seat information; it has 46 smoking seats and 14 non-smoking seats in this shop.
No complete partition exists between two sections.

(L) This cafe prohibits a photography taking, and cell-phone; however, it allows smoking inside.
(M) A sign plate shows all seats are for smoking, and the firm does not provide the non-smoking seat.
The writer observed that a family accompanied with children entered into this shop without any hesitation.
Above-mentioned eating places are located in Shinjuku district, Tokyo.

(L) Smoking is allowed in Becks coffee-shop at the basement of JR Shinjuku Station.
(M) This signboard says smoking is OK in the inner seats of Freshness-Burger shop.
Almost all Freshness-Burger shops allow smoking inside of the shop.
(R) All seats are smoking seat at Asakusa, Tokyo.

Smoking is freely acceptable in the coffee shop, Yotsuya, Tokyo November, 2019

(L) A restaurant cafe, 'First Kitchen' provides 42 non-smoking seats and 40 smoking seats in the same indoor space.
As other cafes, it displayed a lunchtime no-smoking hours.
(M) This is a bakery shop which allows smoking inside. Smoking seats are 19; non-smoking 22.
Both eating places are in the central Tokyo.
(R) This shows a smoking section of a cafe at the basement floor of Shinjuku railway station and the Odakyu
department store, Tokyo. It looks separated from the other space; however, the space above the door is open.
All tobacco-smoke is flowing out to a passage of the station.

Indoor smoking in Japan is much less restricted than in many other nations, and Japan accounts for much
of the tobacco consumption in Asia, and is second only to China as Asia's largest consumer.
Nearly 30 million people smoke in Japan, making the country one of the world's important tobacco
markets. Japan is one of the last industrialized nations around the world where adult smoking is still
widespread. Statistics show Japanese men smoke at one of the highest rates in the world in 2002.
As of 2010, the total smoking rate of Japanese is 24%, 36.6% of men and 12.1% of women: this is
the lowest recorded figure since Japan Tobacco began surveying in 1965.

Unlike in Europe and North America, where smoking bans to apply to many restaurants, bars and
public areas, smoking is possible almost anywhere in Japan. Only a few anti-smoking laws, as many
politicians and the Ministry of Finance itself has interests in income tax from tobacco sales.
Many of the wards of Tokyo are applying various kinds of outside smoking restriction laws. They
have designated special smoking sections in areas, and it is punishable by fine if caught smoking
on a sidewalk. Chiyoda ward of Tokyo banned smoking while walking on busy streets from 2002,
the first local government in Japan to do so. Unfortunately, no government enforcement has been
aimed to ban smoking inside restaurants and cafes.

Kanagawa Prefectural ordinance, which is the first law to restrict smoking in a public place in Japan.
However, the ordinance was watered down by the resistance of the tobacco industry and owners of a
restaurant and bar. As a result, all facilities, including a restaurant, now have the go-ahead to create
a separate smoking section inside. The Kanagawa's bill will be substantial with penalties, since smoking
to ban smoking in public spaces could end up being just a slogan. Further, restaurants and bars that
are smaller than 100 square meter, which consists of more than 70% of total food business shops
were excluded from this law.

Matsuzawa, Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture at that time, made a complete about-face, and limited
the fields of the total smoking ban are only to schools, hospitals, department stores, government
buildings and railways, except for operating a smoking-car of JR Tokai's shinkansen super-express.
It banned smoking at beaches, and various public facilities such as schools and hospitals, which
facilities, however, were smoke-free now anyway.

Matsuzawa and his supporter insisted and promoted to create the facilities to introduce completely
separate smoking rooms. The grand mistake of the policy of Kanagawa Prefecture is to abandon
a total carpet smoking ban. A further serious mistake he did was to neglect the health of employees
who work, and authorize laborers to work in an enclosed space with a toxic smoke-filled air. This is
definitely against the purpose of the clean-air act: anti-smoking law.

(L) Why this shop says 'sorry' for that all seats are non-smoking?
It should state that we are proud of being smokefree in this restaurant.
This photo was taken at Roppongi, Tokyo, in January 2013.
(R) This KFC shop in Shinjuku district became smokefree after the health-promotion law went into effect in 2003.
However, because of a marked decrease of customers, the shop did a 180-degree turn to allow smoking at all seats.
This smokers-friendly policy lasted nearly eight years, then, created a seat for a non-smokers. Although there is no
complete partition existed between smokers' seats, a complaint continued. In 2012, it turned back to all smoke-free.

(L) Salon de the Paul (R) A smoking booth is located not far away.
You do not to need to worry much. Paul's restaurant at Yotsuya, Tokyo is smokefree 64 inside seats and 24 terrace seats.
Paul in Paris, which was established in 1889, has over one hundred shops in France.
Now, many department stores in Tokyo provide a smokefree restaurant. However, a smoking booth is always nearby on the same floor.
Unless it banns smoking in the entire building, a restaurant user may put the light on at all eating houses.

(L) It is lucky to see this sign of a total smoking ban in a restaurant.
(R) The shop does not provide smoking and non-smoking seats in the different rooms. No partition or wall
exists between both chairs. This sign plate is posted under the name of Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
The above pictures were taken in April 2013.

(L) The signboard of business hours in a noodle shop in the premises of Tokyo Terminal Station
In the week-days, all seats are for smoking until 11AM; after that until 4PM, it becomes non-smoking,
However, all guests would be a victim of the third-hand side-smoke, with the possible risk
for cancer and other diseases.
(R) This is a coffee shop which allows smoking inside. Smoking seats are 18; non-smoking 22.
This picture was taken in November 2015, at Hida-Takayama, which retains a traditional touched old town
in the central Japan.

Unfortunately, as of November 2015, there is no plan to enforce a total smoking ban in a restaurant
and other food industries in Japan. Therefore, you have to watch the sign of 'all seats are no-smoking'
or not, or ask whether anyone can smoke inside of a restaurant at the entrance of that place, before
you sit on that restaurant. No other way exists to protect you from dangerous tobacco smoke while
eating in a restaurant facility in Japan.

Pront coffee-shop in Odaiba shows the number of smoking seats is 78. In contrast, the non-smoking seat is 68.
Many restaurants are similar, and some shows the lunch-time non-smoking and all smoking after that and in the evening time.
( Picture was taken at Odaiba, in April 2019.)
Odaiba is a popular shopping and entertainment district on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay.

How do you say that in Japanese, at the entrance to a restaurant?

Can I put a light on cigarette here?
`Tabako-sue-masu-ka ?'
Yes, you can.
'Hai' ' Hai-douzo kochirahe'

If you get this kind of answer, you had better to leave that restaurant instantly.

I advise you that if you cannot see the non-smoking sign over the entrance, you should avoid using that restaurant.

A tobacco company is trying to brainwash Japanese people.

lunch-time smoking restriction separate smokers' and non-smokers' rooms smoking allowed in a part of restaurant
TV commercial by Japan Tobacco Inc.:
(L) No smoking during the lunch time ( 11:30-14:00) is very odd setup, only seen in Japan.
I have never seen this kind ridiculous sign board in any part of the world.
This setup came from the idea that the selection of smoking and non-smoking seat during lunch-time
rush hour is inefficient. This is, absolutely, not from the point of health of customers or restaurant workers.
(M) It appears to be adequate to separate the smoking and non-smoking seats on each floor of the building.
However, there exists no consideration of the adverse effects of toxic floating gas on the restaurant workers,
at the floor level which allows smoking.
(R) The sign board shows that smoking is allowed on the counter seats, but not on the table seats.
This means all space of this restaurant is same to the smoking room, that does not protect a child's health.
A mother should recognize the high risk of cigarette smoke in this restaurant.

TV commercial by Japan Tobacco Inc.( Broadcasted in November 2012 )
JT always opposes to the total smoking ban, and insists to provide a smoking-booth inside of a building.

Restaurant industry opposes total smoking ban ahead of 2020 Olympics.

Minister Shigeru Ishiba ( 40 years of smoking history )

Japanese restaurant-industry groups on 12 January voiced opposition to a total ban on smoking in
restaurants following moves to further combat passive smoking ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
and Paralympics. At a meeting in Tokyo of industry organizations, participants expressed concern
that a smoking ban would drive small businesses into the ground. They said Japan should aim to
become a leading country in promoting separate smoking areas.
The Ministry of Health, Labor
and Welfare wants to ban smoking, in principle, inside restaurants and aims to submit to the Diet
a bill to revise the Health Promotion Law to prevent secondhand smoke. The meeting adopted a
resolution that voluntary efforts by the industry be better recognized. It is the time to come up
with creative ideas for realizing a society in which everyone can enjoy themselves without troubling
others, said Shigeru Ishiba, a former secretary-general of the ruling-Liberal Democratic Party, who
attended the event on that day.
Source: Kyodo, January 12, 2017

A Full-page newspaper ad by JT: Asahi Shinbun+ TV ad
Tokyo Metropolitan Government ( Govenor Koike ) denies a total smoking ban in restaurants, providing many
    exceptions, including trains, ships, hotels, inns, bars, entertainment facilities and facilities with less than 30 square
    meter of floor space. ( Japan Times )
・・・・Koike also assists to the financial support,
making a smoking booth in restaurants.
Department of Health, Labor and Welfare announced to assist an establishment of indoor
  smoking room in restaurant and hotels, and will increase the financial support rate from the present 25% to
    of the whole construction fee in 2013.

Smoking-room rate and the availability of smoke-free restaurants in hotels of Tokyo:
   On-the-spot survey in 2013- 2016

A new proposal about smoking regulation by the Health Ministry in January 2018
This is the worst anti-smoking measure in the World, neglecting WHO and IOC agreements.

Smoke-free hotels in Japan
Smoke-free hotels in Tokyo
Smoke-free hotels in Kyoto
and Nara
Non-smoking guest-room ratio of the famed local hotels in Japan

(L) 'Tokyo Smoke-free Restaurants Guide' by Dr.Miyamoto, 2004
. This field work was conducted in 2003.
Dr.Miyamoto is the author of 2004 Smokefree Restaurants and Cafes in Tokyo. This book, written in Japanese,
presented the individual on-the-spot survey of 1500 restaurants and cafes in the central part of Tokyo.

(R) 'A lonely- wolf Country' by Dr.Miyamoto, 2015:

2021-Recent Changes:
Nowadays, most restaurants are completely non-smoking, and very few have separate smoking areas.

2013年1月執筆  2013年4月加筆  2013年11月加筆  2015年11月加筆 2016年5月加筆 2016年8月加筆  2017年1月加筆
執筆 医学博士 宮本順伯
The article was written in January 2013, and last revised in November 2013, by Junhaku Miyamoto, M.D., PhD.
This site was last revised in April 2018.
Information was added in 2021.

Copyright (C) 2013 Junhaku Miyamoto, PhD. All right is reserved.

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