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Japan Tobacco among companies fighting Australia over cigarette pack labeling law

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Good idea to destroy the brand of poison intended for human consumption. JT and the American brands need to rack off home.

Gageler said the law was simply a product standard, along the lines of regulations requiring other potentially harmful substances such as rat poison to carry warnings about safe handling.

In response, Griffith held up a package of rat poison before the court and noted the warning on the poison was far more modest than the graphic warnings required on cigarette packs.

One fundamental difference Mr Griffith, rat poison isn't intended for human consumption. Its all about profit versus human welfare.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The west will soon follow Aus. on this but JT will inevitably fight to the very end. The smoke won't clear here for awhile my friends.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm all against smoking but I think this is taking it too far. If people want to smoke let them, the government should not decide on that.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Well, I'm definitely against JT on this one. Those Aussies are smart. The world will be a better place without those cancer sticks. It's a bit unfortunate that JapanToday and Japan Tobacco both share "JT" as their acronym.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@gogogo......

You are correct. I don't smoke and don't like being around cig smoke, but I also support (with caveats) the rights of people who do . If the government is allowed to get too overbearing in its powers to regulate what we eat, drink and do with our bodies it is only a matter of time before the same standards trickle down to any other consumer product that the government has deemed “inappropriate” Just cut off insurance/disability/government aid to anyone who contracts diseases that can be directly contributed to smoking, that should cut back on the habit a bit. Smoking is a choice, making that choice should have repercussions.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I kind of agree with this but I am just confused on one thing - if people want to smoke then they are going to smoke, whatever the government do or say to stop it. But - correct me if I am wrong because I am not a smoker - I thought different brands had different tar levels and nicotine levels, and therefore some were more additcive than others.

If it becomes impossible to tell what brand of cigarette you are smoking, does it not then become possible for someone who only smokes "light" cigarettes to wind up with a heavily addictive brand? Sorry if this seems like an ignorant question, but I am just confused as it sounds like all the packs are going to look the same and you cant tell what you are smoking?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@gogogo... @Riffraff...

I completely agree, if they did this with beer then there would be real problems!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I too am a non-smoker. I think health warnings should be placed on cigarette packs but this does seem to go a bit far. If Australia is going to take this step then they should just go all the way and make tobacco products illegal. The best way to make it less attractive is to make it illegal.

Of course, whatever happens with this law, the tobacco companies will find a way to adapt and continue to sell their products to those who really want them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The packaging is a good idea i think. Cigarettes are bad for you and just another crutch for people to have who are weak in will power. The government should also triple the tariffs on cigarettes to be used to go towards public healthcare. When will Japan ever learn.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I hope the Australian govt proceeds. A product with no redeeming qualities, so tired of breathing in 2nd hand smoke at bars and restaurants. At least alcohol in moderation has been shown to have benefits (ask ugly guys). Fine, go ahead slowly kill yourself but don't pretend their is no impact to others. I despise JT with their smug public service announcement TV commercials showing people picking up trash - nice way to get the JT logo all over the TV when tobacco commercials have been banned for years. Love it that the JT HQs in Tokyo is next to a hospital - maybe the employees should take a tour of the oncology ward every week, cheer up all those wheezing patients and see how most are released from care to funeral parlors.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

JA_CruiseAPR. 20, 2012 - 11:02AM JST The packaging is a good idea i think. Cigarettes are bad for you and just another crutch for people to have who are weak in will power. The government should also triple the tariffs on cigarettes to be used to go towards public healthcare. When will Japan ever learn.

Once again why not just make them illegal. If the primary concerns are health related then just make them illegal. If governments are really concerned about the burden smokers place on public healthcare systems then just make tobacco products illegal.

IMO, governments around the world increasing taxes on cigarettes are somewhat hypocritical. On one hand, a government is saying "smoking is really bad for the health, so we're going to heavily tax cigarettes in order to make it more costly and thus discourage people from smoking." But, at the same time, the same government is also (indirectly) saying "Listen, we know people are going to smoke. So instead of making cigarettes illegal, we are going to tax them heavily so that we can make as much money as we can off smokers until they either quit smoking or die, whichever comes first."

So, a government tells people it wants them to quit smoking for health reasons but at the same time it has no qualms about making as much money as possible of these people, essentially hoping that enough people continue smoking so this tax revenue stream can be kept alive.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I sure don't need Anyone telling me not to smoke!-what's next with them,beer? Wine,Soda-pop??? These crooks in government will go after Anything they want & when folks stop smoking & that Tax-Base dries up they'll be finding something else to "Protect "Us From!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@gogogo

I'm all against smoking but I think this is taking it too far. If people want to smoke let them, the government should not decide on that.

The plain packaging law is not preventing people from smoking. It's making the product look as unattractive as possible, as opposed to wrapping it in pretty colours and putting fancy fonts on it that make it look normal and just as acceptable as any other product. The packaging will still show the brand name.

I agree to the extent that if people choose to smoke, it's their choice. However, non-smokers have a right to breathe clean air. Every time my neighbour lights up on his balcony, the stink blows through my apartment along with all the carcinogens. If I go to a restaurant in Japan, someone at the table next to me can light up and there's nothing I can do about it other than leave - so apparently the smoker has more right to feed their habit than I do to breathe clean air.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@the_harper

I am sorry, but I don't think you seem to understand the real argument. the tobacco companies are fighting for their brand recognition. Imagine the government said any athletic logo like nike or adidas could not show their logo mark that they clearly have a right to show as a product like any other product in this world had to stop. This is about their how their users view their brand and how they are trying to stay consistent with their strategy to sell tobacco to those who want it. It's unfortunate that people are buying tobacco but the companies have that right to place their brand on their product. If the government wants to keep receiving money from tobacco they have to play by the rules they create and enforce.

This is not about non-smokers, its about tobacco companies and their rights. I don't like smoke smell either. This is a smoking country, and its tobacco and beer are deeply embedded into the culture among many things.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Go Aussies!!! do it!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In Japan, many female smokers put their pack of smokes in little tobacco pouches/bags along with their lighters etc (although I have seen this same practice in in HK, Singapore and Korea as well). Some are even designed by trendy brands like LV, Chanel, Coach etc. Basically, I think this labeling issue wouldn't cause any disruption to most Asia-based female smokers if it was ever introduced here. But like mentioned earlier, smokers will smoke, regardless of the packaging.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

smokers will smoke, regardless of the packaging

the packaging is to attract new smokers, this industry kills its loyalist customers and needs new addicts, hence packaging.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

littlebear

Imagine the government said any athletic logo like nike or adidas could not show their logo mark that they clearly have a right to show as a product like any other product in this world had to stop.

Do Nike or Adidas cause cancer, and drain public health resources? No so its a big difference.

This is not about non-smokers, its about tobacco companies and their rights. I don't like smoke smell either. This is a smoking country, and its tobacco and beer are deeply embedded into the culture among many things.

Do you even know Australia? Because if you did you would know smoking is declining, you would also know your statement about beer and tobacco is wrong. Go to any pub and light up a smoke, you will be promptly shown the door. Why? Because it is illegal to smoke inside shops, pubs, buildings in Oz, it is also illegal to smoke in some places outdoors to so your fallacy of smoking being cultural is nonesense. Maybe 20 to 30 years ago yes but today nope sorry

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@Cletus

Yes, it's getting harder and harder to smoke in Oz, isn't it? How sad.

As an ex-smoker, I think it's time for tobacco to be banned outright within a certain number of years. It's a digusting habit will kill you. You can compare it to alcohol etc, but that's just plain silly. Smoking has zero medical benefits.

Those already smoking might be allowed to continue at a reduced rate before the ban. Otherwise, no.

Seriously, give it up already.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Smokes don't kill; smokers do.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

You can compare it to alcohol etc, but that's just plain silly. Smoking has zero medical benefits.

But there is a Wikipedia article titled "Health benefits of smoking" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_benefits_of_smoking

Personally I don't smoke or drink. I think the negatives of either far out number whatever positives they bring to the table.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The plain packaging law is not preventing people from smoking.

That choice is for an individual person to decide not a government.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

n Japan, many female smokers put their pack of smokes in little tobacco pouches/bags along with their lighters etc (although I have seen this same practice in in HK, Singapore and Korea as well). Some are even designed by trendy brands like LV, Chanel, Coach etc. Basically, I think this labeling issue wouldn't cause any disruption to most Asia-based female smokers if it was ever introduced here. But like mentioned earlier, smokers will smoke, regardless of the packaging.

That's another sign that Japanese women have more class and manners than any fat western woman does.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

mrsynik

That's another sign that Japanese women have more class and manners than any fat western woman does.

really! I thought it just another in a long line of examples of them thinking a label makes them more than they are.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why stop there? Alcohol is dangerous , strip the logos, Cars pollute and cause accidents, strip the logos, Games "increase" violence, strip the logos!

I think governments are getting more and more invasive in peoples live.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Don't worry, peeps... you'll still be seeing 'Victory' and 'Lark' and other WWII-like name brands here for some time to come. While Japan is BARELY ahead of most undeveloped nations in smoking laws and prices, it's still way behind everyone else. JT will make its voice heard only because others are already doing so, but it won't make much difference in OZ.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

smithinjapan

Don't worry, peeps... you'll still be seeing 'Victory' and 'Lark' and other WWII-like name brands here for some time to come. While Japan is BARELY ahead of most undeveloped nations in smoking laws and prices, it's still way behind everyone else. JT will make its voice heard only because others are already doing so, but it won't make much difference in OZ.

Exactly right and believe me the smoking here in Japan in restaurants etc is one thing l definitely will not miss when l head home in a couple of months.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

actually gogo governments have every wright to control how a product is sold especially if that product cost the government/taxpayer $billions every year in medical costs from illnesses caused by that product/cigarettes.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@gogogo

I'm all against smoking but I think this is taking it too far. If people want to smoke let them, the government should not decide on that.

The thing is, no other company is allowed to sell products that will poison and kill their customers. What other company sells products that kill majority of their customers? The fact is that cigarettes shouldn't even be legally allowed to be sold in the first place. Cigarettes are a poison, and that's a fact. You consume cigarettes and they poisons you. So cigarette companies are allowed to sell poison?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@wtfjapan: No they don't, the government work for the people, the people choose what they want, it's not upto the government to decide what it good and bad for the people.

@Thomas Anderson: I agree, and I hate smoking and smokers, I believe in education rather than censorship.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

wtfjapanAPR. 20, 2012 - 04:33PM JST actually gogo governments have every wright to control how a product is sold especially if that product cost the government/taxpayer $billions every year in medical costs from illnesses caused by that product/cigarettes.

Then why don't governments just make the sale of tobacco products illegal like they do with other types of drugs? What benefits are governments getting from continuing to allow tobacco products to be sold? There has to be some reason, doesn't there?

Thomas AndersonAPR. 20, 2012 - 04:39PM JST The thing is, no other company is allowed to sell products that will poison and kill their customers. What other company sells products that kill majority of their customers? The fact is that cigarettes shouldn't even be legally allowed to be sold in the first place. Cigarettes are a poison, and that's a fact. You consume cigarettes and they poisons you. So cigarette companies are allowed to sell poison?

Same question. Why do governments continue to allow cigarettes to be legally sold? Why are governments allowing the cigarette companies to sell the public this poison? What do governments get out of this?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Dennis Bauer

Why stop there? Alcohol is dangerous , strip the logos, Cars pollute and cause accidents, strip the logos, Games "increase" violence, strip the logos! I think governments are getting more and more invasive in peoples live.

If that's what you call "invasive", then why we just remove all the mandatory warning labels? Why don't we remove the warning label on the lead paint that says "Warning! Poison: Do not consume"?

I actually think that alcohol should come with warning labels. And why not? Alcohol can be addictive. Alcohol can kill. I believe alcohol is the biggest killer in the world. Again, why not?

Article

In response, Griffith held up a package of rat poison before the court and noted the warning on the poison was far more modest than the graphic warnings required on cigarette packs.

I think that is ridiculous, as rat poison is not marketed towards human consumption. I think that it's an amazing fact that cigarette companies can still even exist. I mean, they are legally selling poison to their customers and killing the majority of their customers as a result.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

because making it illegal will only allow the black markets to flourish, governments are stuck with making taxes on tobacco higher to cover the medical costs from illnesses, Australia tobacco tax amounts to around 2-300% of what the cigarettes actually cost. then you have the moral ground of letting people die from tobacco but covering your costs with higher taxes. so all Australia is doing is trying to get people to stop or not want to smoke in the first place. give another 10-20years youll see most developed nations will adopt the same laws to get there citizens to quit/not start the habbit.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@gogogo yes and in democracies like Australia the government need to listen to the majority of its citizens, and the majority of Australian citizens dont smoke and the majority are in favor of tougher laws to limit the sale & reduce the number of people who do smoke.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

wtfjapanAPR. 20, 2012 - 05:15PM JST because making it illegal will only allow the black markets to flourish, governments are stuck with making taxes on tobacco higher to cover the medical costs from illnesses, Australia tobacco tax amounts to around 2-300% of what the cigarettes actually cost. then you have the moral ground of letting people die from tobacco but covering your costs with higher taxes. so all Australia is doing is trying to get people to stop or not want to smoke in the first place. give another 10-20years youll see most developed nations will adopt the same laws to get there citizens to quit/not start the habbit.

They wouldn't have to wait 10-20 years for people to quit if they just made then illegal right away. Make it illegal and 10-20 years from now most people probably won't be wanting to smoke. The problem is that the government knows that it cannot tax things that are illegal so they are willing to let people keep dying just to keep that tax revenue coming in.

They could make other drugs legal and tax them 2-300% as well. Why don't they do that? Doing so would also eliminate the black market for such drugs, wouldn't it?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@rmistric unfortunatey the tobacco tax revenue even in Australia doesnt nearly cover the costs of the medical bills from tobacco illnesses, so theres three reasons why Australia is doing what they are doing 1. losing money from tobacco tax revenue minus associated health costs, 2. morally bankrupt to let your citizens die just so you can continue to get revenue from tobacco sales, 3. the majority of Australian citizens dont smoke and are in favor of tougher laws to limit smoking. what more do democratic governments need to take notice?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If the tobacco companies are fighting this so hard, imagine how difficult it would be to pass a ban on cigarettes!

This is purely to stop youngsters from starting smoking from seeing cool packaging etc. The same way the government in Australia has taxed alcopops to be out of reach for young drinkers. For older/already addicted smokers, this will have make no difference as they already have their chosen brand of preferred cigarettes.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If Australia and other governments around the world were truly concerned about the "costs" associated with smoking they would have made them illegal years ago as the did with some other things.

If they were truly trying to take the moral high ground, they would've have made cigarettes illegal years ago .

Governments around the world have been educating their citizens about how to say no to drugs for decades and still those that really want them find ways to get them. But these drugs are illegal so getting them involves a huge amount of risk that most people just to don't want to take. If I could walk to the corner and buy a joint, even at 300% tax, I might just do that. But, I'm not going to go roaming around Ropongi to try and find some dealer and risk everything for a few tokes.

Make tobacco illegal and sure those that really want it will find a way to get it. But most people, including the adults, of tomorrow most will likely not even bother to try.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Boo hoo. Those poor tobacco companies, selling cancer and death in a stick. Profiting from people's ignorance or addiction. I have NO SYMPATHY for them. I'm glad my country has the scrote to take them on and work in the health interests of it's people. They have already taxed the hell out of cigs - I don't smoke but I'm petty sure a packet of 20-25 cigs in Australia costs around $20. The aim is to make it an unaffordable habit, which it is here. That's a 1800 yen pack, compared with about, what, 400 Y in Japan? Long may the bast*&ds suffer.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@littlebear

I am sorry, but I don't think you seem to understand the real argument. the tobacco companies are fighting for their brand recognition. Imagine the government said any athletic logo like nike or adidas could not show their logo mark that they clearly have a right to show as a product like any other product in this world had to stop

Why should I care for the wellbeing of tobacco companies that sell products which kill thousands of people every year and cost taxpayers billions in medical expenses? I'm sorry but I think you have missed the point of the legislation in the first place. As has been pointed out by someone else, the government doesn't need to enforce plain packaging on nike or adidas products because they don't cause lung cancer, pleuracy, heart failure, heart attack, gangrene or stroke. As others have pointed out, smokers will still buy cigarettes (look at the fact that there is a successful brand in the USA called "cancer sticks") but they need to be made as unattractive as possible to deter young people from taking up smoking. Cigarettes in Japan are so cheap there's little incentive for smokers to quit unless they actually notice health effects - at which point it's probably already too late.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The pro-smoking lobby portray this as a freedom issue. I agree. People should be free to poison themselves if that's what lights up their lives. Indeed every smoker dead from cancer raises the collective IQ and moral development of the human race. But it seems smokers can't enjoy their filthy habit without inflicting its disgusting by-products on innocent by-standers. With freedom goes responsibility, so how about a law making second-hand smoke a form of criminal assault, or a law making cigarette companies liable for any fire that can be proven to have been caused by their products?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

They have already taxed the hell out of cigs - I don't smoke but I'm petty sure a packet of 20-25 cigs in Australia costs around $20. The aim is to make it an unaffordable habit, which it is here. That's a 1800 yen pack, compared with about, what, 400 Y in Japan? Long may the bast&ds suffer.*

They tax the hell out of tobacco and yet too many people still smoke. They spend money educating people about the serious health problems caused by smoking and yet some people still smoke. Making it unaffordable doesn't seem to work. Why waste time and money passing legislation to make smoking too expensive when you could just make them illegal instead? Making smoking illegal seems to best the best way to make the tobacco companies suffer.

As others have pointed out, smokers will still buy cigarettes (look at the fact that there is a successful brand in the USA called "cancer sticks") but they need to be made as unattractive as possible to deter young people from taking up smoking. Cigarettes in Japan are so cheap there's little incentive for smokers to quit unless they actually notice health effects - at which point it's probably already too late.

Way back in the day, it was probably hard to get information on the adverse health effects of smoking. But this is the Internet age and tons and tons of this information is out there easily available to most everyone who wants to look for it. The fact that smoking is bad for you is no secret anymore. People have been hearing it over and over and over again. Many smokers are aware of the health risks but still smoke. Many kids know that smoking is bad yet they still go looking for cigarettes. It's illegal to sell cigarettes to minors and yet kids still get their hands on them. Making cigarettes more unattractive has been tried for many years now with only mixed results. Why even bother making smoking unattractive when you can just make it illegal? Why worry about making tougher laws when the toughest thing you can do is make it illegal?

With freedom goes responsibility, so how about a law making second-hand smoke a form of criminal assault, or a law making cigarette companies liable for any fire that can be proven to have been caused by their products?

Or how about just making cigarettes illegal. If smoking is illegal then you wouldn't have to really worry about smokers enjoying their filthy habit and inflicting its disgusting by-products on innocent bystanders. They would be able to legally smoke anywhere at all. No need for smoking sections in restaurants or bars or anywhere. Sure some people would still smoke but they would be forced underground and not be able to do it out in public out of the fear of arrest.

Seems like a simple solution to me, an extra step that for some reason no country around the world seems ready to take. Why is that? There must be a reason why it hasn't been done yet? Especially now with so much public support for anti-smoking legislation and the rights of non-smokers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is no "right" to smoke just as there is no "right" to eat mint chocolate chip ice cream. You choose to do so until (in the case of cigarettes), you get physically addicted to the nicotine. Then it changes from a "choice' into a physical "need" that the tobacco companies have been banking on for centuries. Pardon me if I am not too concerned about the devaluation of these drug-pushing cartels' trademarks and brands.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@rmistric

Seems like a simple solution to me, an extra step that for some reason no country around the world seems ready to take. Why is that? There must be a reason why it hasn't been done yet? Especially now with so much public support for anti-smoking legislation and the rights of non-smokers.

It won't happen until the proportion of the population smoking is very small. At the moment in most countries there's still enough smokers to cause major problems for politicians if they decided to change their votes en masse.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If it was about just letting the smokers go kill themselves slowly and encourage cancers to grow in thier bodies then it would be fine. But just ask anyone who lives in an appartment next to a smoker or someone who is eating in a restaurant next to a smoker. You can be as conciencious as you want but you will always share filth as a smoker. Its innevitable. If you want to say that alcohol is the same, then you would have to be sitting in a pool of water with a drinkeer while they urinated in the pool.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It won't happen until the proportion of the population smoking is very small. At the moment in most countries there's still enough smokers to cause major problems for politicians if they decided to change their votes en masse.

So what you're saying is despite the fact that governments around the world know that smoking is really bad for the health of their citizens, despite the fact a seemingly majority of these citizens are in favor of stronger restrictions placed on smoking and despite the fact that the social costs of smoking are extremely high, governments around the world refuse to make smoking illegal because they are afraid of being voted out of office? They are willing to let perhaps another generation become addicted to smoking and possibly suffer serious health problems as a result in in order to wait until the number of smokers decreases (maybe by dying) so that they are no threat politically?

If that's the argument then maybe the group bearing the brunt of the anger of all of the anti-smokers around the world should be their own governments and not the tobacco companies.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't worry, peeps... you'll still be seeing 'Victory' and 'Lark' and other WWII-like name brands here for some time to come.

If you don't like it just leave. I don't even notice the names of cig brands.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Lieberman2012

If you don't like it just leave.

Ah the standard response if someone dares to critisize the status quo here in Japan....

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I think that most people would love to outright ban cigarettes, but I don't think that's realistically feasible.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Thomas AndersonAPR. 22, 2012 - 03:30PM JST I think that most people would love to outright ban cigarettes, but I don't think that's realistically feasible.

It realistically feasible or not politically desirable?

It's not realistically feasible for governments to prohibit companies from legally selling poison to their customers and killing the majority of their customers as a result. ? That sounds kind of weird, don't you think?

Once again, if governments are allowing cigarette companies to legally sell poison to their citizens then maybe it's time for non-smokers to unite and direct their anger on removing those elected officials who are reluctant to go that extra step and make cigarettes illegal. Attacking companies for selling products (even bad ones) that they are legally permitted to do so seems misguided. Heavily taxing individuals for buying products (even bad ones) that they are legally permitted to do so seems misguided.

You want to pretty much remove smoking from society, make it illegal to smoke. But no major government has done that so far which means they have the reasons for allowing their citizens to continue to smoke and die from smoking related illness. Tobacco companies are only allowed to sell their poison because governments allow them to do so. People continue to die from smoking related illness only because governments allow them to smoke. Health care systems continue to be burden by the costs of treating smoking related illness only because governments allow cigarettes to be legally sold and consumed. The only thing morally bankrupt are the governments around the world who continue to look the other ( for various reasons) while this is going on . Blame your governments for failing to act on this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Cleatus & the-Harper:

Your both still missing the point...It may be unethical for them to sell cigarettes, but its more in principle unethical for the state ( Government) to refuse their rights when without a bill in place that properly restricts them. Wake up, your missing the real big picture here.....

If there is a bill in place for them, then there would be a bill in place for any other company that may do unethical practices...But you can't restrict only one...That's unrealistic.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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