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Business trends

Restaurateurs hedge their bets on Japan anti-smoking law

Large chains 'need to be selective' on which locations to make entirely smoke-free

Japan's health ministry aims to curb secondhand smoke with a proposed ban in restaurants.

TOKYO -- Japan approved its first national legislation prohibiting smoking inside public facilities on July 18. The move has been welcomed by health campaigners, but also drawn criticism for having numerous caveats and exceptions, and many in the catering industry are unsure about the extent to which they need to comply -- some have already taken matters into their own hands.

The revised health promotion law is designed to make offices, restaurants, schools, hospitals and administrative agencies nonsmoking areas. It does allow for people to light up in certain offices and large restaurants, but only in segregated smoking rooms where food and drink cannot be served.

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