Business establishments (but maybe not the people) may now breathe a little bit easier as Japan’s Health Ministry has proposed lenient regulations on secondhand smoke. Revisions on the Industrial Safety and Health Act backed by the health ministry on Feb. 19 does not require businesses to keep the secondhand smoke from seeping into smoke-free spaces.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare submitted the draft to the health and labor policy committees of the ruling bloc of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito. In the revisions, the ministry has changed a provision that would only require the establishments to “take appropriate measures according to their situation.” The recently submitted draft is a stark contrast to the bill proposed in 2011 that would require a company to either be totally smoke-free or build closed smoking rooms with a separate ventilation system. The previous bill was supported by the administration led by the Democratic Party of Japan that time.
However, the then opposition LDP countered the bill with the support of business operators and Japanese tobacco farmers. It never reached the voting stage by the House of Representatives, which was dissolved in preparation for the 2012 general election. The 2011 proposal was completely abandoned until the health ministry decided to revive the bill with a totally different proposition on secondhand smoke regulations. The revised draft also requires business owners to have mandatory mental health check-ups for their employees to alleviate stress-related depression and suicide in the workplace. If passed, it will also obligate the owners to test and analyze toxicity of 640 potential dangerous chemicals that may be present and used in their place of work.
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan