By KYOTA TANAKA/ Staff Writer
August 30, 2022 at 18:27 JST
The revised Health Promotion Law prohibits smokers from puffing indoors. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
The Tokyo District Court on Aug. 29 dismissed a lawsuit filed by a man who demanded government compensation over an anti-smoking law that he said violates the Constitution.
The court ruled that the regulations are constitutional because they are “necessary and reasonable.”
The plaintiff sought 2 million yen ($14,500) in compensation over the revised Health Promotion Law, which took effect in 2020 and bans, in principle, smoking in indoor settings, including bars and restaurants.
The man said the law indiscriminately restricts the freedom of enjoying smoking while wining and dining, and violates Article 13 of the Constitution, which stipulates that all people should be respected as individuals.
Although he acknowledged the need to prevent passive smoking, the plaintiff argued that the government should allow indoor smoking at dedicated eating and drinking establishments.
The ruling noted that the legal revisions are aimed at protecting people from suffering serious health damage by inhaling others’ cigarette smoke.
The court said smoking is banned to a reasonable extent under the law because it excludes outdoor establishments, where smoking is considered less harmful to people.
The ruling added that allowing indoor smoking at dedicated outlets would hardly be in line with the purpose of the law, citing the possibility of secondhand smoke filling those establishments.
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