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The LDP’s tobacco addiction tells a much bigger story

11 2 0
07.08.2017

Of all the fissures between Shinzo Abe and a Tokyo governor who’s become the bane of his prime minstership, cigarettes may be the most telling.

Like U.S. governors defying U.S. President Donald Trump’s retrograde policies, Yuriko Koike plans to ignore the Liberal Democratic Party’s tobacco addiction. Days after Abe’s LDP killed a smoking ban in indoor public spaces, Koike said she’ll step up efforts to make Tokyo smoke-free. And good on her. Koike is exposing the cravenness of coddling a despicable industry at the expense of tens of millions of citizens who care about the alveoli in their lungs. What’s more, she’s exposing why Abenomics is going up in smoke.

Nonsmokers like me are forced to breath second-hand soot estimated to kill 15,000 Japanese every year. So, yes, this issue is personal. That doesn’t change the fact that the lost-business argument peddled by the tobacco-industrial complex, is bunk. As London, Madrid, New York, Paris, Shanghai and any host of global cities that showed backbone against Big Tobacco proved, people will drink, eat and be merry even if they can’t light up. They suck it up and move on.

Yes, yes, I know: Japan is different. Yet the idea that bars, cafes and restaurants would go bankrupt is a retread of........

© The Japan Times