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WHO: Japan needs anti-smoking law ahead of Tokyo Olympics

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By Associated Press

A senior World Health Organization official says Japan should ban smoking in all public places if it wants to successfully promote tourism and host the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

People gather at the smoking area in Tokyo, Friday, April 7, 2017. The senior World Health Organization official says Japan should go fully smoke-free in public places if it wants success in Tokyo Olympics and tourism promotion. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara) Manila Bulletin

People gather at the smoking area in Tokyo, Friday, April 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara) Manila Bulletin

Japan is often known as a smoker’s paradise. The health ministry is preparing legislation to limit secondhand smoking, but it faces strong opposition from smoking lawmakers and the tobacco industry.

The World Health Organization director of non-communicable diseases prevention, Douglas Bettcher, said Friday that Japanese smoking restrictions are far behind global standards and need to be updated because foreign visitors expect clean air while in Japan. He said partial anti-smoking measures are ineffective.

Japanese organizers say smoking will be prohibited in indoor facilities at the Tokyo Olympics.

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