• Kyodo

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Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa said Friday he will present the prefectural assembly with a proposal to pass Japan’s first prefecture-wide ordinance banning smoking in public and state facilities and requiring separate smoking areas in restaurants and hotels.

It is not clear the assembly will approve the ordinance, however, because some of its more prominent members are taking a cautious stance on the health hazards presented by passive smoking.

“I think it is the best measure to prevent passive smoking while giving consideration to the operation of small-scale establishments at the same time,” Matsuzawa told a regular press conference.

“I want this ordinance to be a model for Japan,” he said.

Matsuzawa plans to present the proposal to the assembly after it convenes on Feb. 16.

In April 2008, Matsuzawa compiled a draft of the proposed ordinance, which calls for totally banning smoking in public facilities and other places, including stores, restaurants, bars and pachinko parlors.

But he has eased the stipulations since then in response to objections from local businesses. Now the proposal calls for requiring facilities to create separate smoking areas or make efforts to prevent passive smoking, depending on their type and size.

The ordinance, if passed, would oblige schools, hospitals and government facilities to impose a total ban on smoking. Restaurants, bars and inns, however, would get the choice of either banning smoking or setting up separate smoking spaces.

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