• Kyodo

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The health ministry has presented an advisory panel with a new basic plan for anticancer programs, including the goal of cutting the smoking rate in Japan to 12.2 percent in 10 years, officials said.

The rate was 19.5 percent in 2010. The plan submitted Wednesday calls for reducing the rate beginning in fiscal 2012 by helping smokers who wish to quit and rooting out smoking among minors, to achieve the target by fiscal 2022, the officials said.

The plan also envisages halving passive smoking. It targets reducing the chances to 15 percent in restaurants and 3 percent in homes, from 50.1 percent and 10.7 percent in 2010.

The current plan to fight cancer, drawn up in fiscal 2007, does not include a numerical target for reducing smoking due to opposition from the tobacco industry.

The panel of anticancer experts is expected to approve a final plan in June after discussing such issues as how to increase the number of people receiving cancer checks, the officials said.

Despite the current plan’s call for raising the ratios of people receiving breast, bowel and other cancer checks to more than 50 percent in five years, rates remain low at 20 to 30 percent.

The new plan maintains the current plan’s target of cutting the number of cancer-related deaths by 20 percent in 10 years from fiscal 2007.

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