• Kyodo

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The city of Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture, will give preference to nonsmoking applicants over smokers in its employment exams if the marks scored in the written and interview portions of the test are equal, a city official said Tuesday.

“It does not mean we consider nonsmoking a condition for a successful candidate,” the official said. Yamato will regard an applicant who promises to quit smoking as a nonsmoker.

“It is rare for examinees to score exactly the same marks and, in reality, there will be very little chance of anyone being given preferential treatment,” the official said.

The city adopted the idea with the aim of having applicants understand how the municipality handles health issues, the official said. The first exam with the new policy will be held in July, according to the official.

Starting next month, Yamato will also ban smoking in City Hall, except for a designated spot on its roof, in accordance with the enactment of a new national law in May to promote public health by defining preventive measures against secondhand smoke.

City officials said those people who take the interview part of the employment test will be asked if they smoke, and they will give preference to a nonsmoker in the event of a dead-heat with an applicant who smokes.

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