Recently Japan made headlines ahead of its Health Promotion Law proposal, a bill that initially sought a blanket ban on smoking indoors across the nation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and beyond. The health ministry revised the bill as it was considered too strict, changing it so smaller restaurants could provide space for smokers, as long as proper ventilation was installed.

After its revision, the bill was supposed to be put forward again, but it was postponed as there was strong resistance within the Liberal Democratic Party regarding the proposed regulations. Concerns included tobacco tax revenue, as well as limitations on personal freedom. While discussions were taking place in the Diet, NTT Docomo’s Minna No Koe posed a survey with the question “Are you for or against restaurants becoming nonsmoking?”, which was completed on June 4.

Survey takers voted according to whether they were for and against the smoking ban, including whether they were a smoker or non smoker. The survey asked all ages (from teens to those in their sixties and up), with the balance of the results being the same for all age groups. The largest number of respondents came from people in their forties, with a total of 844 votes. The number of men and women voting was roughly the same (1254 men 1432 women), with fewer smokers among the women.

Across the 47 prefectures, the highest number of votes were non smokers looking for a complete smoking ban in all but four prefectures. Outliers Ishikawa, Yamagata and Saga prefectures scored highest for non smokers who were fine with clearly partitioned smoking and non smoking sections. Only Tokushima had the highest voter group of smokers, but they also believed smoking areas should be partitioned.

The results are as follows:


I’m a non-smoker and I believe restaurants should be completely non-smoking.


I’m a non-smoker and I believe that if smoking and non-smoking areas are properly partitioned, then the whole venue does not need to be smoke-free. 


I’m a smoker and I believe that having smoking and non-smoking sections is fine. 


I’m a smoker and I want to maintain the status quo. 


I’m a smoker and reluctantly accept non-smoking venues are the way forward. 


I’m a non-smoker and I don’t mind the current status quo. 

These are the results of a quick survey of Japanese smokers and non-smokers, but how do you feel about the subject? What are the laws/customs governing smoking where you’re from?

For a complete view of the survey results, see the NTT Docomo Minna no Koe website.

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