Thursday, April 02, 2009

JR Finally Bans Smoking on Tokyo Train Station Platforms

As of yesterday, smoking was completely banned on the platforms of JR train stations in and around Tokyo, Japan.

Many will remember that up until two days ago, anyone could light up in open-air smoking sections on many JR station platforms. If you happened to be in the train car that stopped directly adjacent to the smoking section, and had a little help from the wind, it was not uncommon for the smoke to blow inside the train. It was just lovely.

But those days are finally gone, and another small step has been taken to divorce Japan from its "smoker's paradise" moniker.

Japan's largest tobacco company, JT, which is partially owned by the government's Finance Ministry, has enjoyed a snail-paced assault on its profit model over the years by anti-smoking regulators.

Some have argued that this latest move is not big enough and took way too long to materialize, but I'm actually quite content with these small victories. It seems to me that this will further load the debate in non-smokers' favor as smoking becomes increasingly demonized in Japan.

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