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Smoking in Tokyo

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Does anyone know if smoking is allowed in restaurants and bars in the Tokyo Metropolis?

How about in cocktail (hostess) bars?

Thanks.
 

rosensfole

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Many bars, mostly the larger chain company owned ones, allow smoking. Smaller independent bars are progressively phasing it out, in fact none of the ones I went to in December allowed smoking. Some restaurants have small smoking sections but this too is being phased out. I can't comment on hostess bars.

Most wards have rules on smoking but there's no consistency... yet. In the inner wards you can generally only smoke in designated areas (a diminishing number) and some bars/restaurants. In the outer wards smoking tends to be controlled (i.e. barred) near stations and shopping areas as well as touristy streets.
 

nice gaijin

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Some areas also restrict smoking on the sidewalk to designated areas (the no-walking-and-smoking ban), so you'll see people corralled together sucking down their cigarettes near an intersection.

I think there's a fine associated with it for enforcement, like here:
 

Mike Cash

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Lothor

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There's currently a lot of discussion on this topic (the Japan Today and Japan Times websites often cover it) because of the Olympics coming to Tokyo. More progressive and internationally minded politicians are aware that Japan are a generation behind most developed countries regarding smoking rules and would like to see a smoking ban. However, there is a strong pro-smoking lobby here, with Japan Tobacco partly owned by the government and Dentsu, an extremely powerful advertising/lobbying agency, having tobacco companies among its clients. Also, many small bar/restaurant owners are concerned about the effect of a ban on their revenue (incorrectly, judging from what happened in Britain when a ban was introduced).

One other trend I've noticed in Tokyo is that some restaurants are non-smoking during lunchtime but allow smoking during the evening.
 

WonkoTheSane

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... More progressive and internationally minded politicians are aware that Japan are a generation behind most developed countries regarding smoking rules and would like to see a smoking ban. ...
Regardless of the benefits of detriments of a ban, I'm not sure how the verbiage of 'internationally minded' and 'progressive' are applicable here.

The vast majority of the nations of the world have no bans against smoking. Perhaps 'politicians interested in instituting Western European/American laws' would be a bit more accurate.

As to progressive, it could easily be argued that reduction of individual freedom is regressive in nature.

Not arguing for our against the ban, just noting that the verbiage used might not be all that accurate.
 

Lothor

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Regardless of the benefits of detriments of a ban, I'm not sure how the verbiage of 'internationally minded' and 'progressive' are applicable here.

The vast majority of the nations of the world have no bans against smoking. Perhaps 'politicians interested in instituting Western European/American laws' would be a bit more accurate.

As to progressive, it could easily be argued that reduction of individual freedom is regressive in nature.

Not arguing for our against the ban, just noting that the verbiage used might not be all that accurate.
Fair point, I wasn't using words very carefully. By progressive, I meant that some decision makers In Japan would like to see it moving in a direction where the areas where it is woeful (restrictions on smoking in public area, rights for women, minorities, strictness of laws on child pornography, slaughtering dolphins in Taiji etc) are addressed. Others think that Japan should do what the hell it likes regardless of what the rest of the world think.
By the way, there's nothing particularly European/American about bans on indoor smoking, and that many countries in the world do regulate smoking in indoor areas, as you can see from this map.
List of smoking bans - Wikipedia
 
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I have a scene in a novel that takes place in a hostess bar somewhere vaguely around Shinjuku Station. As currently written, the patrons and heroine (a bar hostess) are smoking. They wouldn't be smoking, obviously, if prohibited by law. I asked a friend in Tokyo, but she didn't know for sure whether smoking is banned by law there.

I think smoking is now prohibited in most large US cities. I don't smoke, but think these laws are too intrusive on individual liberty. If a business owner wants to cater to smokers, he or she ought to be able to run a smoking-allowed business. If I, a non-smoker, go elsewhere, I'm exercising my right too.

I favor bans on smoking in public places. My comment only applies to private businesses.
 

Lothor

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Basically, you can have your hostess and patron smoking!

I'd argue that since a sizable majority of people don't smoke and that cigarette smoke has harmful health effects on others, a non-smoker has the right to go into any bar or restaurant and not have to breathe others' smoke. Surely that supersedes the rights of smokers to dirty the air in confined spaces?
 

WonkoTheSane

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Fair point, I wasn't using words very carefully. By progressive, I meant that some decision makers In Japan would like to see it moving in a direction where the areas where it is woeful (restrictions on smoking in public area, rights for women, minorities, strictness of laws on child pornography, slaughtering dolphins in Taiji etc) are addressed. Others think that Japan should do what the hell it likes regardless of what the rest of the world think.
By the way, there's nothing particularly European/American about bans on indoor smoking, and that many countries in the world do regulate smoking in indoor areas, as you can see from this map.
List of smoking bans - Wikipedia
I have quite a difficult time equating smoking in public, specifically in restaurants and bars as asked about in this thread, with child pornography or limiting rights for women or minorities. I'm not sure how you can treat those as a contiguous set of issues. In my view, things like honor killings and the other very real dangers to women's civil liberties cannot be reasonably compared to private establishments such as restaurants being allowed to set their own rules for allowing smoking on their premises or not. So I'm not sure it's fair to use the conflagration of those two concepts, one of which is definitely progressive, to label the other as a progressive act.

If you read through the list and look at the map I think you'll find that the majority of nations do not have national smoking ban laws that cover all indoor areas as I stated. You are right that they are not only Western European countries and the US, though.
 

Transformer5

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I can understand banning smoking in indoor public spaces, or having designated smoking areas in bars and restaurants, but banning it outdoors seems draconian and nonsensical, given that there's little risk of passive smoking outside. Not too sure what the logic is, except perhaps reducing the number of cigarette butts thrown on the pavement and road. Japan has got this the wrong way round.
 

Lothor

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I can understand banning smoking in indoor public spaces, or having designated smoking areas in bars and restaurants, but banning it outdoors seems draconian and nonsensical, given that there's little risk of passive smoking outside. Not too sure what the logic is, except perhaps reducing the number of cigarette butts thrown on the pavement and road. Japan has got this the wrong way round.
It is banned on most of the streets in Tokyo (but badly enforced), with designated smoking areas around stations. And it's a perfectly sensible ban, which is more to do with preventing people wandering around crowded areas with lit cigarettes at the high of a child's eye than with the risk of passive smoking.
 

Transformer5

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It is banned on most of the streets in Tokyo (but badly enforced), with designated smoking areas around stations. And it's a perfectly sensible ban, which is more to do with preventing people wandering around crowded areas with lit cigarettes at the high of a child's eye than with the risk of passive smoking.
I'm not aware that it's been done to protect children. In any case, it's not really going to do much, as burned eyes from lit cigarettes are very rare, and there are far greater dangers to children in Tokyo, such as traffic, people cycling on sidewalks and so on. The risk is too small to warrant a ban which is hard to enforce anyway. It really is a pointless ruling.
 
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