Article 25 of the national health promotion law (introduced in the spring of 2003) states that those who manage facilities used by the general public must endeavour to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent exposure to second-hand smoke. This law covers facilities including schools, gymnasiums, hospitals, theatres, public assembly halls, gallery spaces, department stores, offices, government buildings, and restaurants and bars.
Since this law was introduced, the eight private railways in the Tokyo area have removed designated smoking areas.
A number of local government buildings also prohibit smoking indoors. Schools and universities are generally smoke-free areas, as are commuting vehicles, cinemas, and many public and privately owned facilities. Smoking is prohibited on the Tokyo underground rail system, in urban buses and trams, and in an increasing number of taxicabs. Smoking restrictions operate in hospitals and health facilities. A number of legal restrictions also exist at local level, for example the restrictions on outdoor smoking in some designated portions of urban centres, originating with the Chiyoda Ward ordinance.
Members of the Parliamentarian’s League have expressed a need for more restrictive national legislation on exposure to second-hand smoke. However, at present there are no formal plans to develop laws or national regulations regarding workplace smoking.