Japan - nation's first smoke-free beach opens for season in Kanagawa Prefecture..

July 1, 2010 -On Friday, June 25th the beach at Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture, opened its bathing with a basic smoking ban in place. The prefectural ordinance bans smoking on beaches except for special smoking areas but carries no penalty.

The roughly 600-meter-long (0.37 miles) sand beach has five roofed smoking areas and operators of seasonal seaside houses will patrol voluntarily to ask smokers to use them, one of them said.

A similar ordinance is in place in Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture, but Kanagawa was the first prefecture to enact such a rule in May. (Shirahama is a resort town on the south coast of Wakayama Prefecture.)

Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa attending a beach opening ceremony. "We'd like to create clean and safe beaches that all the people — both smokers and nonsmokers — can enjoy," the governor said. "Since Kanagawa beaches have many visitors from outside the prefecture, we need to fully enforce the new rule."

Yoshimasa Makabe, who heads a guild of beach house operators on the beach, said he hopes families will enjoy the beach more with the separate smoking areas.

Background: Kanagawa Prefecture on Friday, March 19th became the first of Japan's 47 prefectures to adopt a local ordinance banning smoking on swimming beaches outside of designated areas. At the municipal level, the hot-spa resort cities of Atami in Shizuoka Prefecture and Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture have already adopted similar ordinances banning smoking on swimming beaches. (Japan, Kanagawa Prefecture to ban smoking on beaches...

Back in March 2009 this same prefectural assembly approved an ordinance calling for a ban on smoking in public facilities.
Reference: Nation's first smoke-free beach opens for season in Kanagawa , The Japan Times, 6/26/2010.

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