By Carole Goldsmith - Copyright - All Rights Reserved
Just back from number 20 trip to Japan and I am astounded that the Japanese laws still allow smoking in restaurants. Every restaurant I went to in Osaka and Kyoto in the evening, had smokers puffing away in part of the restaurant. Half of the restaurant in some of them was smoke free so the staff told me.....yes - I saw the smoke drifting across the restaurant. So to avoid the poisons of second hand smoke and a coughing fit, I did not dine at any of these restaurants.. they were not smoke free. Also at Takayama and Koyasan, the two restaurants that I ate lunch at, you guessed it, someone lit up near me, so I departed pretty quickly.
There was one restaurant at Kyoto station that had no smoking over lunchtime, that was delightful. Apart from all the Western restaurants that surround Kyoto station, I could nor find one Japanese restaurant that was smoke free for the evening meal. Seven Eleven meals come in handy when you can't go to restaurants because of the tobacco smoke pollution.
Why don't some innovative Japanese set up smoke free Japanese restaurants in Japan. .
The Japanese Ministry of health is promoting no smoking habits as smoking related cancer and stroke is rising rapidly in Japan.
But how can they compete with the cigarette promotion and vending machines on every corner and the Japanese government's ownership of 50 percent of Japan Tobacco, the world's third largest tobacco company. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/17/japan-tobacco-tci-idUSL3E7JH2L220110817
At least young people have to now prove they are 18, before they can buy cigarettes from vending machines.
This was not the case a couple of years ago, there were no restrictions on buying cigarettes from vending machines.
Maybe when the restaurant employees start suing the owners for smoking related illness and the smoking related health bill climb higher, the laws allowing smoking in restaurants may be changed.
I and the many other visitors to Japan who are used to smoke free work and dining environments in our own countries, we would love smoke free Japanese restaurants to go to in Japan.