KOBE – The Hyogo Prefecture Assembly passed a total ban Monday on smoking at schools and hospitals that takes effect on April 1, 2013.
Hyogo is the second prefecture to introduce such restrictions on smoking after Kanagawa imposed a similar ban in April 2010, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.
Hyogo initially planned to extend the total ban to private establishments, including department stores, hotels and restaurants, but was forced to back down in the face of stiff opposition from local business groups.
Private establishments will instead be required to set up smoking and nonsmoking sections by April 2014. Offenders could be slapped with a fine of up to ¥300,000.
For restaurants, the regulation will apply to some 4,000 establishments with dining space of more than 100 sq. meters out of some 20,000 restaurants in the prefecture.