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Chiba city to submit anti-secondhand smoke ordinance that includes fines

CHIBA -- An ordinance against secondhand smoke that bans smoking in principle at drinking and eating establishments that hire employees will be submitted to the Chiba Municipal Assembly, the Chiba Municipal Government announced on Sept. 3.

At some small restaurants whose customer seating area is 100 square meters or less, smoking is allowed under the revised Health Promotion Act. But even at these establishments, if they have employees, smoking would not be permitted unless they have dedicated smoking rooms in which eating and drinking is not permitted. Under the proposal, those who violate the regulation would face fines of up to 50,000 yen.

Bars and other establishments that fall under the Act on Control and Improvement of Amusement Business, etc. are urged to make efforts to follow the rules, and 66 percent of some 3,200 drinking and eating establishments in the city of Chiba will be apparently subject to the penalty.

The city government is aiming to enforce the ordinance in April 2020, which would mark the fourth such implementation in Japan following those by the Kanagawa and Hyogo prefectural governments and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and the first case among any municipality in the country.

In addition, the Chiba Municipal Government will submit a supplementary budget bill to its assembly to subsidize the removal of dedicated rooms for smoking and smoking spaces where drinking and eating are allowed. While the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has established a subsidy system for setting up dedicated rooms for smoking, an official of the Chiba Municipal Government said, "I have never heard of a subsidy system for removing those facilities."

(Japanese original by Mayumi Nobuta, Chiba Bureau)

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