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Japan Prepares For 2020 Olympics; Get To Know New Anti-Smoking Law Proposal [VIDEO]

Update Date: May 02, 2017 07:16 PM EDT
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Hideto Tanihara of Japan smokes a cigarette on the 15th hole, during the second round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club. Here's an update on Japan's anti-smoking law. (Photo : Getty Images / Sam Greenwood)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Japan's anti-smoking law is lagging behind world standards. The WHO believes that new legislation should be enacted, so the country will have a successful hosting of the 2020 Olympics.

Law To Be Passed In Time For Olympics?

The pressure for a new anti-smoking law is becoming more intense, as Japan prepares to host the 2020 Olympics. The country is expected to create a law that will ban smoking in all public places, to create a healthy sporting environment.

Similar laws have been enacted in recent editions of the Summer Olympics like in Rio, London, and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The International Olympic Committee however, can only guarantee that there will be no smoking in the Olympic venues and the Athletes' Village for the 2020 Olympics, Reuters reported.

The original anti-smoking law in Japan wanted to propose a blanket ban in all public and private places but succumbed to pressure from the tobacco industry and other business groups. The business groups argued that a ban in small bars and cafes will drive away customers. The new version of the anti-smoking law only proposes a total ban in government offices and sports venues, while it provides for smoking rooms in theaters, offices, and restaurants, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The Tobacco Industry Vs Tourism

Part of the reason why the anti-smoking law is not succeeding as planned before the 2020 Olympics is because the tobacco industry in Japan is still one-third state-owned and gives at least $700 million to the national coffers every year. But the WHO believes that the Japanese government will move on this measure to some degree if they do not want the image of the country to suffer.

The tourism industry in Japan is also preparing heavily for the 2020 Olympics and would want to project a better global image. Smoking indoors is something that European and North American tourists are not used to, so the Japanese should adjust to these standards.

An estimated 15,000 women and children die every year in Japan due to second-hand smoke. The government hopes to lower this number with a new anti-smoking law in place before the 2020 Olympics.

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