In order to prevent second-hand smoke, starting September 1st, the Tokyo metropolitan government will require all restaurants in the city to post stickers or signs indicating whether or not smoking is permitted on the premises. Also starting in September, all schools and nursery care centers will be required to be completely smoke-free.
These changes are taking place based on the Tokyo Metropolitan Passive Smoking Prevention Ordinance, which mandates step-by-step measures to promote public health and hospitality before the opening of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Smoking is more prevalent in Japan than many developed countries, and passage of the passive smoking ordinance last July, marked a major change here for people used to being able to light up freely in restaurants and bars.
Will you still be able to smoke in restaurants?
Yes, you’ll still be able to smoke in restaurants that allow smoking throughout the restaurant.
You’ll also be able to smoke in designated smoking rooms in “non-smoking” restaurants that choose to designate a separate smoking room, but you won’t be able to eat in the smoking room.
Smoking will also be banned in large restaurants throughout the capital.
Cigar bars and sunakku (スナック) (small restaurants of less than 100-sqm), where tobacco is sold to patrons, are exempted from the regulation. You will still be able to smoke in bars.
Will the ordinance regulate smoking elsewhere?
Yes, the ordinance also covers universities, schools, hospitals, and administrative offices, and has been rolling out in stages.
Starting July 1, 2019
Starting on July 1st, smoking has been completely banned in all schools, hospitals, and administration in the city of Tokyo, but designated smoking areas may be set up outside these establishments.
Starting September 1, 2019
Starting on September 1st, smoking will be completely banned at all childcare and nursery facilities, kindergartens, grade schools, middle schools, and high schools. Outside smoking areas near schools will not be allowed.
As mentioned above, restaurants will have to post stickers or signs indicating if smoking is allowed on the premises.
Starting April 1, 2020
Full implementation of the above measures is required.
Smoking on the street
Many wards in Tokyo already ban smoking while walking on public streets.
Restaurant owners who repeatedly fail to abide by the regulations may be fined up to ¥50,000.
Lead photo: No smoking sign posted at the entrance to a restaurant via BigFunTrip