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Japan plans special team to work on steps to prevent passive smoking ahead of ’20 Games

JIJI

The government will set up a special team to work out measures to prevent passive smoking ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, Jiji Press learned on Thursday.

The move comes in line with the International Olympic Committee’s advocacy of tobacco-free Olympics. Similar steps were taken in the host countries of the 2008 and later Games, according to the health ministry.

The government will draw up legislation to make it mandatory that smoking will be banned or smoking areas will be separated from nonsmoking areas in public space.

The team will set detailed measures, including penalties, that will be launched under the planned legislation, government sources said.

Its first meeting is expected for later this month. The planned measures will be finalized by summer at the earliest.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita is expected to chair the team, while Takeo Hirata, secretary-general of the government’s Headquarters for the Promotion of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, will become Sugita’s deputy.

The legislation is expected to be presented during an ordinary session of the Diet next year for implementation in 2019, the sources said.

Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is working to submit a bill to promote government efforts to prevent passive smoking during the ongoing Diet session, in coordination with other parties.