Many Public Smoking Areas Closed in Japan amid Epidemic

Economy

Tokyo, May 29 (Jiji Press)--Many public smoking areas have been shut down in Japan due to concerns that crowds of people smoking while taking off their face masks amid the coronavirus epidemic would cause infections to spread.

A lot of ashtrays in parks and other places managed by local governments have been removed since spring last year following the coronavirus outbreak. The moves were also intended to help prevent secondhand smoking.

Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward closed smoking areas, including the one in Kashiwagi Park, near Shinjuku Station. It also began to restrict the use of some public smoking areas during the lunchtime rush.

As it is increasingly difficult for smokers to find public smoking areas, some people are seen smoking while walking on streets, which is considered to be bad manners. "More people are smoking on the streets," said a worker of a restaurant in an entertainment district. This is also because a law to ban smoking indoors in principle was put into effect in April last year.

Against these backdrops, Japan Tobacco Inc. <2914> has started to make an online map showing more than 80,000 smoking areas across the nation available for members of its free website. It also gives advice to local governments and eateries on ways to separate smoking and nonsmoking areas.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press