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英語:“Health ministry to drop passive smoking targets from anti-cancer plan”

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is set to exclude numerical targets for preventing passive smoking from its third basic plan to tackle cancer, it has emerged.

The targets were in the second plan that ran from fiscal 2012 to 2016, but will be left out of the third in line with a draft revision of the Health Promotion Act, which does not include a blanket ban on smoking in public spaces but states only that “unwanted passive smoking will be eliminated.” The draft revision is due to be submitted during this year’s regular Diet session.

As a result, the anti-secondhand smoke measures in the third anti-cancer plan will take a step back from specific numbers in favor of more abstract targets.

The third plan was approved by the Cabinet in October 2017. However, numerical targets concerning passive smoking were put on the back burner as the health ministry and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party could not agree on a figure.

In the second plan, there were aims such as reducing the ratio of people exposed to secondhand smoke in restaurants and bars to 15 percent by fiscal 2022. Moreover, an expert panel which discussed the contents of the third plan urged the government to bring in a “zero passive smoking” target.

However, new countermeasures against secondhand smoke, which were proposed by the health ministry in January 2018, list several exemptions such as allowing smoking in existing small-scale restaurants and bars if they display a relevant sign.

In the anti-cancer plan, it states, “Anti-passive smoking measures will be implemented thoroughly ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and a society with zero unwanted secondhand smoke exposure will be realized as early as possible during the third plan.” However, it is uncertain how effective the plan will be.

The government intends to gain Cabinet approval for the revised version of the third plan soon, but there will likely be a backlash from cancer patients and other critics.

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日本語:“がん基本計画 受動喫煙、数値目標を断念 対策法案に合わせ後退”

 厚生労働省は、国のがん対策の指針となる「第3期がん対策推進基本計画」(2017~22年度)に、2期計画では明記していた受動喫煙被害防止の数値目標を盛り込まない方針を固めた。同省は今通常国会に受動喫煙対策を強化する健康増進法改正案を提出する方針だが、改正案は公共の場の全面禁煙ではなく「望まない受動喫煙をなくす」ことを掲げる。これに合わせた結果、目標は数値が示せない抽象的な内容に後退した。

 3期計画は昨年10月に閣議決定されたが、受動喫煙対策の目標は、厚労省と自民党との調整が難航したため空白のまま先送りされていた。2期計画(12~16年度)は、飲食店で受動喫煙にさらされる人の割合を22年度までに15%とするなどの目標が示されており、3期計画を議論する有識者の検討会は「受動喫煙ゼロ」を掲げるよう求めていた。

 しかし、厚労省が今年1月に新たに示した受動喫煙対策案は、既存の小規模な飲食店では掲示すれば喫煙を認めるなど例外規定が多い。

 どの程度の実効性があるかは不透明で、がん対策の計画は「20年東京オリンピック・パラリンピックに向けて受動喫煙対策を徹底し、計画期間中に望まない受動喫煙のない社会をできるだけ早期に実現する」と記載するにとどめる。

 政府は近く、この部分も盛り込んだ3期計画を改めて閣議決定するが、がん患者らから批判の声も上がりそうだ。

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