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Naha doctors urge smokeless zones for downtown city areas

Date Posted: 2004-04-29

Doctors in Okinawa’s capital city are calling for smoke free zones across Naha. Naha City Physicians’ Association has sent a letter to Naha City Assembly urging them to designate the smoke-free zones.

The association urges the city assembly to ban all smoking, and prohibit discharging of tobacco ashes and butts on streets, and to fine violators.

The association first staked their position last September when it urged the city assembly to join them in their campaign against smoking. The matter became embroiled in assembly politics though, and when it was evident that the city fathers could not pass an unanimous resolution, the doctors moved ahead on their own.

The association initiative drew a positive response from Naha City Mayor Takashi Onaga. “I absolutely support the idea and will do my utmost to create smoke-free environment in the whole city. If we succeed that would be really nice, indeed,” Onaga said.

Assembly Chairman Seitaka Ganaha echoes the mayor. “I agree that creating this ordinance would create a clean city,” Ganaha stated.

The Physicians’ Association refers to a similar ordinance that is in effect in Chiyoda ward of Tokyo. They say that smoking on the streets in the area has all but disappeared after a fine of up to Y10,000 was established for violators. “We propose that the first smoke-free area in Naha City should be Kokusai Street,” an association spokesman said.

If the city assembly can successfully pass a new ordinance, posters declaring the Kokusai Street area smoke-free should go up soon.

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