1 April 2020
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has put into full force an ordinance that virtually bans indoor smoking at restaurants with employees.
The ban that started on Wednesday applies to Tokyo restaurants regardless of floor size or business scale.
The ordinance still allows smoking in restaurants with no employees, but managers must report it to public health centers.
The ordinance was announced in July 2018 to tackle the health hazards of secondhand smoking ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. It has been implemented in stages since last year.
Smokers and building managers who violate the ordinance are subject to a fine of up to about 470 dollars.
A soba restaurant in Tokyo’s Koto Ward that has been in business for over 50 years divided its floor space into smoking and non-smoking areas last September.
But as of Wednesday, smoking is banned there. The restaurant put up a sign about the ban, and set up ashtrays in a backstreet.
A regular customer in his 70s said he often came to the restaurant because he could smoke there. He said there’s nothing he can do about the ban but that he will miss smoking there.
The shop’s owner said he’s sorry for the inconvenience to smokers but hopes they will understand. He added that he wants all customers to enjoy their meals comfortably.