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Tokyo 2020 main stadium to be completely smoke-free: Japan Sport Council

The new national stadium being planned for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics is to be completely smoke-free, with no smoking rooms, it was learned from the Japan Sport Council (JSC) on March 30.

Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare policy on anti-secondhand smoke allows for smoking rooms at baseball stadiums and other sports facilities used for entertainment purposes. While the new national stadium will also be considered as a multi-purpose facility, the JSC is opting not to set up smoking rooms, saying they would "go against the times."

According to the JSC, dignitaries might be allowed to smoke in VIP rooms, but the design documents for the stadium do not include any smoking rooms for regular visitors. Even hallways and outdoor areas will be designated "no smoking."

The new national stadium is to be leased to a private operator after the Olympics and Paralympics, but they will be required to maintain the no-smoking policy. However, there will not be rules preventing event organizers who use the stadium from setting up temporary outdoor smoking areas.

Plans for the Ariake Arena in Koto Ward -- also being built by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for the Tokyo Games -- also may not have smoking rooms, though the metropolitan government says it has not yet deliberated the specifics. The Ariake Arena will also be used for multiple purposes after 2020, such as concerts.

In 2010, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed with the World Health Organization to promote a smokeless Olympics. According to the health ministry, from 2008 onward, every Olympic host site except for Tokyo has had anti-secondhand smoke regulations carrying punishments for violators in place.

While Japan's Olympic venues meet the IOC's standards, the health ministry's health department says, "There is a need for places like restaurants to protect the rights of non-smokers. When it comes to this, Japan's measures are among the worst in the world."

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