On 1 April 2020, a law in Japan amending a section of the Health Promotion Law was fully implemented. According to the revised law, it is now necessary to set up a special smoking room in facilities used by many people.
The revised law makes smoking forbidden indoors in principle and only smoking rooms that meet certain criteria can be used for smoking. The requirements for smoking rooms will differ depending on the business, however the law will almost certainly apply to the development of Japan’s first IRs.
The Health Promotion Act revision regarding passive smoking was amended via a bill in July 2018 for hosting of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 (since re-scheduled to 2021), and the Rugby World Cup held last year. Partial enforcement was implemented in hospitals, schools and government sites from July 2019, but the new law has been fully enforced from 1 April of this year.
Smaller restaurants, bars and karaoke bars that meet the criteria will still be allowed to permit smoking as a transitional measure. It will be possible to select a smoking or a non-smoking room for hotels and lodgings that fall outside of this amendment.
However, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has enacted a separate ordinance that states shops with employees should, in principle, be non-smoking indoors. More than 80% of the restaurants in Tokyo are subject to this ordinance.
The new smoking restrictions will also impact pachinko parlors, which will now see smoking restricted to smoking rooms.