• Kyodo

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Japanese restaurant industry groups on Thursday voiced opposition to a total ban on smoking in restaurants following moves to further combat passive smoking ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

At a meeting in Tokyo of industry organizations, participants expressed concern that a smoking ban would drive small businesses into the ground.

They said Japan should aim to become a leading country in promoting separate smoking areas.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare wants to ban smoking in principle inside restaurants and aims to submit to the Diet a bill to revise the Health Promotion Law to prevent secondhand smoke.

The meeting adopted a resolution that voluntary efforts by the industry be better recognized.

“It is the time to come up with creative ideas for realizing a society in which everyone can enjoy themselves without troubling others,” said Shigeru Ishiba, a former secretary general of the ruling-Liberal Democratic Party, who attended the event.

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