In this Japanese bar, we toast... and we smoke out. In Japan, it is not surprising: it is legal to smoke in some restaurants or bars. Something banned in France since 2008.
"Smoking allows me to be more relaxed, without it I find it would be more boring," says this customer. Consequence: the place, although cramped, is filled with smoke... and customers.
According to Yasuhiro Ogawa, the owner of the bar, "90% of our customers are smokers. Many of them prefer to have fun with everyone while drinking rather than having to go out to smoke."
However, the government has been trying since 2020 to reduce smoking in bars and restaurants, often cramped places in Japan. This is to protect non-smokers in these restricted spaces... Because in the street, tobacco is already banned.
To smoke, you have to pile up in dedicated areas. A strategy opposite to that which has been adopted in most Western countries. "Without this smoking area, there would be a problem with cigarette butts," says the man. For another, "the smoke coming out of here disturbs everyone in its path. I don't think that's a good idea."
Between public health and economic interest, the equation is difficult. Especially when a third of the Japan Tobacco Company – the world's third largest tobacco company – remains owned by the Japanese state.
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