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Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama recently told the Diet that an increase in the tobacco tax should be considered from the viewpoint of improving people’s health. He has instructed the government’s Tax System Council to study the matter. A tobacco tax increase is long overdue; we hope Mr. Hatoyama’s effort will succeed.

The World Health Organization says, “Tobacco is the single largest preventable cause of cancer in the world today. It causes 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths, and nearly one-third of all cancer deaths in developing countries.” Smoking not only accounts for about one-third of all cancer cases but also increases the incidence of heart diseases and cerebral infarction.

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