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Japan's lack of national legislation prohibiting smoking in public places is well known. Nonetheless, public awareness and concern regarding tobacco control issues has been growing steadily, resulting in the implementation of recent modest policy measures. In 2000, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) launched ‘Healthy Japan 21’, a health promotion programme with a tobacco control component,1 and the national legislature enacted a Health Promotion Law (HPL) in March 2002, with enforcement from May 2003.
HPL's Article 25, titled ‘Prevention from Passive Smoking Exposure’, provides:
Persons who manage schools, gymnasiums, hospitals, theatres, public assembly halls, gallery spaces, department stores, offices, government buildings, restaurants and bars, and other facilities used by numerous people should try to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent passive smoking exposure (i.e. being forced to breathe other persons' tobacco smoke in indoor or functionally equivalent spaces) for the users of such facilities.2
Since the HPL's implementation, and notwithstanding the lack of any mandate in the …
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