The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is considering setting a goal of eliminating secondhand smoking at restaurants and bars by 2020, ministry sources said.
The goal will be incorporated in a new basic plan on cancer control the ministry will implement for the next six years.
The current goal is to completely eliminate secondhand smoking at government offices and medical institutions by fiscal 2022 and aim to prevent passive smoking at workplaces by 2020 while reducing the ratio of those exposed to secondhand cigarette smoke at restaurants and bars to 15 percent by fiscal 2022.
Members of the ministry's Cancer Control Council that is working on the basic plan on cancer control strongly insist that stricter goals be set for eliminating secondhand smoking to help prevent cancer.
In response, the ministry is aiming to eliminate secondhand smoking at all government offices, medical institutions, workplaces and restaurants and bars by 2020 when the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are to be held.
The ministry intends to ban smoking inside restaurants and bars, except for small-scale bars, in principle to prevent secondhand smoking under revisions to the Health Promotion Act. However, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is studying plans to allow smoking at restaurants and bars with less than certain floor spaces.
As such, it remains unclear whether the goal of eliminating secondhand smoking at restaurants and bars by 2020 can be incorporated in the basic plan.