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It's the law: Smokers in Neyagawa told they can't puff near their kids, even at home

13 Comments

Local statutes and ordinances in Japan can be things of wonder. There's even a website dedicated to some of the more unique examples: http://www.v-localgov.com/category/topics/ユニークな条例/

Here's an excerpt: a revised ordinance on water safety in Ibaraki Prefecture, which went into effect from July 1, 2019, stipulates that operators of small water craft, including rubber dinghies and others, if found to have consumed alcohol, will be subjected to fines of between 100,000 to 500,000 yen. 

Nikkan Gendai (Oct 27) has found another doozy. It seems that the assembly of Neyagawa, a city of 236,000 in northeastern Osaka Prefecture, has passed an ordinance aimed at protecting children from passive smokers in their own homes. Named "The ordinance to prohibit passive smoking for the sake of children's health and growth," it went into effect on the first day of October. 

This is the second ordinance designed to protect against passive smoking, the first having gone into effect in Tokyo when joint efforts by the Tokyo First Party and Komeito rammed rammed through a statute in the autumn of 2017. The ordinance, titled "Ordinance for protecting of children from passive smoke," went into effect the following April. 

From the standpoint of the legal wording, the article sees two articles as particularly problematic. 

Article 6, section 2 states "Smoking must be abstained from when in the same room as a child." And Article 7 states, "Smoking must be abstained from when riding together with a child in a motor vehicle." 

In other words, the ordinance is aimed at controlling activities of people in their own private spaces. Prior to the passing of the ordinance, the Neyagawa assembly solicited comments from the public. The respondents voiced the opinion that it was "overdoing it" to attempt to limit the activities in private places. 

An employee of the city explained its thinking like this: "In homes or other places where children have no means of avoiding long-term exposure secondary smoke, or inside cars where exposure to smoke can be dense, since it is difficult to protect children from the damaging effects of smoke, we enacted a rule to make it obligatory for adults to make an effort to do so." 

In other words, rather than place limits on personal rights, the law is intended to give priority to protecting children's health. 

Actually, points out Nikkan Gendai, Japan has a national law, which according to its present way of thinking feels it is undesirable to place constraints on people in their homes or vehicles. But if the ordinances in Tokyo and Neyagawa catch on in other places, it's possible this will change. 

A journalist familiar with the issue is concerned that similar ordinances in the future might be expanded to prohibit other types of behavior beyond tobacco. "We might very well find ourselves immersed in a kanshi shakai (society where citizens’ activities are constantly monitored). 

Nor are cigarettes the only target. Kagawa Prefecture already has an ordinance aimed at safeguarding citizens from internet game addiction. Do people really need big government to act on their behalf? It seems that that's the direction Japan is headed.

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13 Comments
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From the standpoint of the legal wording, the article sees two articles as particularly problematic. 

Article 6, section 2 states "Smoking must be abstained from when in the same room as a child." And Article 7 states, "Smoking must be abstained from when riding together with a child in a motor vehicle." 

In other words, the ordinance is aimed at controlling activities of people in their own private spaces.

This is an obnoxiously stupid argument. The legal system puts controls on the activities of people in their own private spaces in order to protect the well being of children all the time. Abuse your child in your home? Leave your kid in a baking hot car for 8 hours while you go play pachinko? The fact that you did these things to your kid in your "own private space" is not a legal defence nor should it be.

I'm totally OK with not allowing people to smoke in confined spaces with children when we know that doing so can seriously damage their health and well being.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I normally don't like adults being treated like children but when people act stupid, then they have to be treated like children.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I was going to say, good for all of us.

Some great points raised by rainyday though and I would have to agree. Is leaving a child alone in a car a violation of said cities ordinance?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I remember, and it does not seem like very long ago, when people smoked in movie theatres, at restaurants, in libraries, on passenger planes (before 2000), and just about everywhere. As a former smoker myself, I miss it, but fully understand why we should try not to. Both my parents died of cancer, one of lung cancer, and smoking probably didn't help.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Is leaving a child alone in a car a violation of said cities ordinance?

No, that comes under the criminal code, called negligence resulting in death.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

i still recall riding in the family car choking in the back seat, throat raw, while both parents smoked up front. Later in life I didn't even want to go into our old home because of the stale stench of tobacco. Parents who smoke around their children are negligent at the very least, and a bit selfish to make their children suffer for the sake of their miserable addiction.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Never forget a friends house when I was a kid. His parents were extremely heavy smokers. One day they were going to paint the living room and took down the paintings etc.. The walls were yellow and brown from the cigarettes and where there had been a painting hanging the paint was pristine and white.

Just imagine what happened to everyone's lungs in that house.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Sounds great to me!!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Sounds great to me!!

100% agreed.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Do people really need big government to act on their behalf? 

Do people need laws to protect the vulnerable? Yes, of course. Smoking in the same car or same room as a child, making them breath in all that poisonous and cancerous muck, is a form of abuse and, quite rightly, should be illegal.

Forcing a child to eat poison is illegal, forcing a child to inhale poison should be illegal too.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What a sappy excuse for an opinion piece this is, with its watered down juvenile libertarian leanings. People

riding motorcycles in this country wear helmets, if such a law did not exist hundreds if not thousands would die or be maimed by accidents on their bikes. Yes, people need to be protected from their own stupidity. Wearing safety belts is another example, passing that rule into law was objected to by many saying that seat belts limited their freedom. Society lowers health care costs by reducing the risk of idiots who behave in ways that puts them at risk and by their own stupidity driving up costs for all of us to pay. Smoking itself is exhibit A of people acting stupidly to get lung cancer later in their lives, which society then has to pay for in full. So keeping kids safe from parents stupidity and decreasing their risk for early onset of lung cancer makes perfect sense. This author needs to grow up and start living in the real world.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Easy to attack minority.

At home, no junk food, no coke and no car.

I do smoke at the windows.

No need for these moralistic comments.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Global warming will kill 100 millions of people and will last for centuries. Please focus on what really matter.

I do not have a car and only use public transports.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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