fuming about Japan’s 2020 Olympic bid, Japan Tobacco, and FIVB 2011

http://www.japantoday.com/category/lifestyle/view/is-japans-2020-olympic-bid-…

Is Japan’s 2020 Olympic bid going up in smoke?

Is Japan's 2020 Olympic bid going up in smoke? Japanese national team players, who are idolized by many Japanese schoolgirls, wear Japan Tobacco logos on their shoulders.

TOKYO —

Visitors to Japan are often surprised to see the kind of cigarette advertising that has long been outlawed in most countries. Ads at sporting events, in particular, seem especially out of place.

At volleyball matches, which are a big deal in Japan, many of the fans are screaming teenage girls, but one tobacco company’s ads are as ubiquitous as the cute mascots, inflatable clappers and TV cameras that broadcast Japan’s games in prime time. 

Though Japan has won nothing on the world stage since 1976, but finished fourth in women’s and 10th in men’s events this year, it has hosted the World Cup of Volleyball every four years since 1977, thanks in part to funding from sponsors such as Japan Tobacco.

Arenas are packed for Japan’s games, but empty—sometimes fewer than 100 fans—for higher-ranked teams from the United States, Italy, Brazil, Russia, China and elsewhere.

At this year’s event, Japan national team members wore a Japan Tobacco logo on their shoulders.

Japan, the United States and other nations played in front of court-side digital billboards that beamed the green JT mark to TV audiences in countries that ban any tobacco association with athletics.

Targeting fans

The JT logo was even found on free packages handed out to fans, including children, entering Yoyogi National Stadium. The package includes a pamphlet showing Japan Tobacco’s projects with young people and glossy brochures about JT’s national league teams, the JT Thunder and JT Marvelous, which feature Yoshie Takeshita, the idol of many schoolgirls, wearing the JT logo on her chest.

Japan Tobacco says it “abides by all laws and voluntary codes in Japan,” where 40 percent of males and 10 percent of females smoke.

“Nowhere in our corporate sponsorship of volleyball games do we advertise our cigarette brands or products,” the company said in an unsigned email.

Hiroshi Takeuchi, a veteran Kyodo News sportswriter and a press delegate for Japan’s national teams at recent Olympic Games, said in his position as chief World Cup press commissioner that Japan Tobacco is deemed a sponsor “in the beverage category” because it also has a division selling drinks.

Many smokers who come to Japan to enjoy cheaper cigarette prices and the freedom to light up in restaurants, bars, hotel rooms and playgrounds, also see nothing wrong with it since JT, whose stock value is up 30% this year, is pouring money into events that need funding.

But increasing numbers of sports travelers from oversea, and doctors in Japan and at the United Nations, are fuming.

Broad condemnation

Dr Manabu Sakuta, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Japan Society for Tobacco Control, which includes 2,500 doctors and 12 lawyers, calls it “complete nonsense.”

“It doesn’t matter if Japan Tobacco is doing various [kinds of] work,” he says. “Everybody knows that Japan Tobacco’s main business is tobacco. Their target is young females, and they sponsor volleyball because most young females are fond of volleyball.”

Japan’s Ministry of Health said in a report to the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) in February 2010 that nearly 10% of boys and 5% of girls age 16 to 18 smoke.

The numbers rise to 42% and 14% for people in their 20s. Only 33 percent of Japanese men say they have never smoked. Researchers predict cancer rates will skyrocket in Japan in coming years, especially for women.

The WHO, based in Geneva, Switzerland, says that Japan is legally obliged to comply with a treaty it adopted in 2004 along with 173 other nations—the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which comprehensively bans all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship everywhere, including at sporting events, says WHO press officer Timothy O’Leary.

Dr Armando Peruga, program manager of the WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative, said the WHO is contacting the Fédération International de Volleyball (FIVB), based in Lausanne, Switzerland), to “convey our disappointment at their actions and to remind them that in 2002 they publicly committed to have a tobacco-free sport.”

Peruga also said tobacco sponsorship is “ethically reprehensible because it pursues the promotion of a deadly drug that kills up to one half of its customers when used as manufacturers intend.

“Tobacco sponsorship further defines the irresponsibility of the sponsors, of those who take the money and those who make excuses under the illusion that a tobacco sponsor is a multi-product company.”

The Framework Convention Alliance, which includes hundreds of anti-smoking organizations worldwide, is also urging Japan to honor its treaty obligations.

Dr Sakuta, who is also a professor of neurology at Tokyo’s Kyorin University and the Japan Red Cross Medical Center, says his group will petition Japan’s Ministry of Finance, which owns 51 percent of shares in Japan Tobacco, to immediately halt what he calls “illegal” tobacco advertising.

“Even if the Japanese government stays silent, the world is looking down upon it,” he says. “If the Ministry of Finance leaves these things as it is, this is a violation of the Japanese Constitution to obey international law.”

Insular approach

Some activists have urged athletes to boycott playing in Japan in the future. The athletes and coaches themselves have made no public comments on the issue, and the Japanese press hasn’t asked them.

The FIVB, and the Japan Volleyball Association, are not exactly welcoming to the world press. At a sold-out U.S.-Japan women’s match in Tokyo last November, only a Canadian writer and an Italian photographer, both hired by FIVB, were seen working among almost 100 Japanese media.

Though Americans invented volleyball in 1895, U.S. media were denied accreditation.

During last year’s world championships in Japan, police in Hamamatsu, as if preparing for a riot, surrounded many local workers and residents of Brazilian descent, who were harmlessly singing, pounding drums and dancing in the stands to celebrate a Brazil victory.

Dr Sakuta says that Japan’s attitude could ultimately harm Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics, because the International Olympic Committee has enforced a policy against tobacco usage and sponsorship since the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary.

“It is going to be a problem for Japan,” says Dr Sakuta. “What they are doing at the World Cup volleyball is absolutely forbidden in the Olympics.”

Tokyo has already unveiled its Olympic campaign logo, a garland of cherry blossoms, and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has said he will serve as a “top adviser” to the bid committee.

Tokyo, Doha, Baku, Istanbul, Madrid and Rome are expected to enter bids by the February deadline and the International Olympic Committee will announce the host city in 2013.

Dr Sakuta says his group could stage protests outside venues if JT continues to sponsor future events.

While the world’s greatest athletes huff and puff on the court, the battle over tobacco sponsorship, and Japan’s smoking policies, will continue to smolder behind the scenes.

In 2012, Japan is set to host Olympic volleyball qualifying tournaments for women from May 12 to 20, and for men from May 26 to June 3. Japan’s national volleyball league season, featuring top players from Japan, South Korea, China and elsewhere, runs at arenas across Japan from Dec 10, 2011 to March 24, 2012.

Christopher Johnson is author of the novels “Siamese Dreams” and “Kobe Blue.” Visit his blog here. Read more about Christopher Johnson.

46 Comments

 

  • 1

    ParmenDEC. 11, 2011 – 08:17AM JST

    If this bid fails specifically because of the tobacco issue, the government, whose share in JT is substantial, might think of other ways to raise money. Though the bid itself at this time is merely much-needed advertising-they may not be serious about actually hosting the Olympics at all. Remember they are giving away 10,000 tickets to visit Jpn too. The 50% of males who smoke, I believe, learn the habit on college campuses. The classic peer group. It would be interesting to see a study that showed how people got started because school kids are taught the horrors of smoking in their government-regulated curriculum. As long as the government relies on the revenue though, smoking rates in Jpn will remain among the highest in the world.

  • 3

    GodanDEC. 11, 2011 – 09:01AM JST

    On one hand you have this:

    where 40 percent of males and 10 percent of females smoke. And then there is this: Researchers predict cancer rates will skyrocket in Japan in coming years, especially for women.

    And the mass media have picked up on this reporting numerous cases of women who have never smoked a day in their lives being diagnosed with lung cancer. In every case, their husband was a smoker who insisted on smoking in the cramped quarters they called a home. When asked, a researcher showed evidence that the smoke is more easily and deeply inhaled by a non-smoker than a smoker (whose windpipe and so on “get used” to the smoke).

    And JT, I mean the government of Japan (almost the same?), denies that smoking tobacco even causes cancer let alone there is any danger to being exposed to secondhand smoke.

    Can’t wait for Japan to join the 20th century on this issue.

    Though, having said this, I am glad to see more and more restaurants go completely no-smoking.

  • 1

    hoserfellaDEC. 11, 2011 – 09:06AM JST

    The mess in Fukushima alone has doomed (thankfully) Ishihara’s ego trip.

  • 3

    cleoDEC. 11, 2011 – 09:13AM JST

    The 50% of males who smoke, I believe, learn the habit on college campuses.

    I think you’re right. My son recently had a get-together with friends he hadn’t seen since high school and was appalled at how many of them had taken up smoking since then. How can so many otherwise intelligent people be so stupid?

  • 5

    tmarieDEC. 11, 2011 – 09:27AM JST

    Many of mine now come to class reeking of smoke. I don’t think they get it off each other – they pick it up at their part time jobs (I’ve asked them) and most of it is due to their sempai! I’ve told every single one of them that they stink, are wasting money and know it isn’t good for them. No idea if it helps but I feel someone has to say something to them.

    Japan tobacco on national sports uniforms? Atrocious. Nothing else to say really. Though disgusting also comes to mind.

  • 0

    Nicky WashidaDEC. 11, 2011 – 10:11AM JST

    I have always felt really strongly about cigarettes. My Mum tells me before I could even write I used to draw no-smoking signs and put them around the house whenever they had parties!

    My husband smoked when I first met him. As time went on I told him honestly I could not marry someone who smokes, it is just too repulsive to me. He gave it up for me!

    I did try it when I was 15. I wondered what all the fuss was about and what I was missing. Not much it would seem – it made me really sick and I felt horrible every time I lit up. Didnt last long.

    I would be interested to know how much extra revenue they really get from tobacco advertising. I didnt get any influence from seeing advertising, however “cool” it looked on the poster. My influence with wanting to try it was more about seeing people around me that I thought looked good smoking. I guess I was only 15.

    I get a surge of anger here every time I see parents with young children and even babies sitting in a smoking room at a shopping centre, or in the smoking section of restaurants. The ignorance and/or sefishness here blows my mind.

  • 2

    tmarieDEC. 11, 2011 – 10:18AM JST

    Agree with you Nicky! Why smoking hasn’t been banned in public is beyond me – oh wait, nope, the government gets too much money off them to care. Never mind the hospital expenses for those with cancer and other smoking related illnesses….

  • 1

    SerranoDEC. 11, 2011 – 10:32AM JST

    “Arenas are packed for Japan’s games, but empty – sometimes fewer than 100 fans – for higher-ranked teams”

    Excellent chance to see some great volleyball!

  • -13

    ExportExpertDEC. 11, 2011 – 10:50AM JST

    Researchers predict cancer rates will skyrocket in Japan in coming years, especially for women.

    Fukushima not tobacco will be the cause.

    Anti smoking lobbyist need to get a grip !

    False sense of their own greatness.

  • 1

    AylerDEC. 11, 2011 – 11:00AM JST

    Researchers predict cancer rates will skyrocket in Japan in coming years, especially for women.

    Fukushima not tobacco will be the cause.

    Simply not true.

  • 3

    sf2kDEC. 11, 2011 – 11:02AM JST

    Arenas are packed for Japan’s games, but empty—sometimes fewer than 100 fans—for higher-ranked teams from the United States, Italy, Brazil, Russia, China and elsewhere.

    At this year’s event, Japan national team members wore a Japan Tobacco logo on their shoulders

    Not to mention cashola, the country’s pastime. No reason to support a bid if non Japanese games are not more widely supported by Japanese. They would support the home teams but that’s about it. This would mean that the event would be a huge economic loss. J-govt doesn’t care, they’ll say their shouganai’s, but world organizations will not appreciate the negative spotlight on their sports with few if any fans. Fans from other countries would watch their teams but see no fans. This would play to anxiety of the various sports federations, and let them know to not do business in Japan. Now there’s advertising to avoid.

    Not strong support for people of different cultures, no laws against discrimination as well as the failure to follow treaty after treaty from large to small. Why does the UN put up with it? Oh, cashola. If that is the only criteria then great. If it’s based on promotion then it’s not even a zero, it’s a negative.

    No, I can’t see any reason Japan should host any game in the foreseeable future.

    Should something change though, I do believe it would be a lot of fun. Until then, really, a colossal business fail.

  • 0

    tmarieDEC. 11, 2011 – 11:06AM JST

    I think it will be second hand smoke that is the source.

  • 3

    hatsoffDEC. 11, 2011 – 11:18AM JST

    Hiroshi Takeuchi, a veteran Kyodo News sportswriter and a press delegate for Japan’s national teams at recent Olympic Games, said in his position as chief World Cup press commissioner that Japan Tobacco is deemed a sponsor “in the beverage category” because it also has a division selling drinks.

    That’s so funny. It’s like having Sapporo Beer sponsor an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting because they also have a restaurant division. I guess the volleyball doesn’t get much international TV coverage because of the JT advertising. That would go for the Olympics too, hopefully.

    Advertising is persuasive. Marketing is persuasive. It lays seeds. Japan Tobacco knows exactly what it is doing.

    @ExportExpert – The anti-smoking lobby seems a bit preachy, sure, but the correlation between smoking and cancer is clear. The correlation between cancer and passive smoking is clear too. In these post-Fukushima days when people are concerned about the cancer risk from radiation, if someone promoted contaminated food and snacks from Fukushima to kids (through literature handed out at various events), people would be outraged. And yet the effect of smoking on health is clearly more profound and proven.

    The question becomes, Why wouldn’t you ban all forms of cigarette-related advertising, including company names?

  • 2

    biculturalDEC. 11, 2011 – 11:38AM JST

    The good news is that the smoking rate has been steadily decreasing in recent years. The percentage of male smokers was 82% in 1965, but 36.6% last year and 33.7% for this year. For women it is down to 10.6%

  • 2

    LHommeQuiMentDEC. 11, 2011 – 11:42AM JST

    As far as I know, Japan and Germany are only high-income countries where restrictions on tobacco advertising are quite lax.

    In both countries governments have traditionally placed economic considerations ahead of public health concerns and tobacco companies can promote their products in various ways.

  • 1

    smithinjapanDEC. 11, 2011 – 12:38PM JST

    “Arenas are packed for Japan’s games, but empty—sometimes fewer than 100 fans—for higher-ranked teams from the United States, Italy, Brazil, Russia, China and elsewhere.”

    This is the main reason why Japan should not get the games, not the tobacco ads (though they are a problem), as well as the xenophobia rampant here still (especially in regard to Ishihara). Whenever Japan loses out on an event or is not involved from the start, it will receive little or no media time, and may not be broadcast. Of course there are numerous other reasons why Japan should not get it, but these are but a few of the larger ones, as well as money, of course, which could be used for reconstruction NOW instead of the moronic bid.

  • 1

    borschtDEC. 11, 2011 – 01:27PM JST

    “Nowhere in our corporate sponsorship of volleyball games do we advertise our cigarette brands or products,” the company said in an unsigned email.

    Let’s see, they have JT written all over the place, hand out packages to children, and require players to wear their logo on their uniform but they don’t advertise a ‘brand” so it’s not advertising. Even though you can’t buy a fag except through JT. Good logic here, if you’re working for JT.

  • 3

    cactusJackDEC. 11, 2011 – 03:34PM JST

    Smokin’ Clean.

  • 0

    ExportExpertDEC. 11, 2011 – 03:42PM JST

    hatsoff

    if someone promoted contaminated food and snacks from Fukushima to kids

    They are promoting contaminated foods etc , where have you been?

  • -1

    ThonTaddeoDEC. 11, 2011 – 06:31PM JST

    It should be forbidden to put advertising on any sports uniform. The players are there to play their sport, not serve as walking billboards for some corporation.

  • 1

    hatsoffDEC. 11, 2011 – 07:28PM JST

    @ExportExpert – They are promoting Fukushima foods as safe to eat because they are under the supposed safety level. The point is there is a clear correlation between smoking and cancer, and breathing second hand smoke and cancer.

    JT is promoting cancer causing products.

  • 1

    Ranger_Miffy2DEC. 11, 2011 – 07:39PM JST

    The irony never ends. One glorious day there won’t be smoking allowed everywhere. Disgraceful. All bars/izakaya/restaurants will have MANY MORE customers as the many of us avoid them will return, gratefully so. Families with kids, smart people, even addicts to nicotine with truly good manners would be grateful and spend. Break the bad habit between the government and JT’s taxes. Deal with the Devil, for sure!

  • 0

    wtfjapanDEC. 11, 2011 – 08:19PM JST

    ive always said that people who smoke have a weakness in there personalities, they know its bad for them, tastes disgusting the first time you try it but keep doing it through peer pressure or image. only the strong minded have the willpower to say no to this disgusting habit.

  • 1

    edojinDEC. 11, 2011 – 08:37PM JST

    Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward is a no-smoking zone outdoors. Yet smokers don’t care as they smoke all over the place. In downtown Shinjuku no-smoking patrols are always on the lookout for smokers … but then smokers there are on the lookout for the no-smoking patrolers. There are no-smoking signs posted outside around the place where I live, yet cigarette butts end up at the entrance to our place almost daily.

    Is it that smokers here don’t understand those no-smoking signs that appear on most street corners, they can’t read Japanese or they just don’t care? I believe it is a combination of all three … so I see them as just plain stupid smokers …

    Perhaps Tokyo Gov. Ishihara better crack down on illegal smoking … or he will see his dream of a 2020 Olympics in Japan go up in smoke … Who wants to hold an Olympics in a country where smokers ignore smoking laws … ??

  • -4

    KariHarukaDEC. 11, 2011 – 10:21PM JST

    But increasing numbers of sports travelers from oversea, and doctors in Japan and at the United Nations, are fuming.

    If people get that annoyed by it then don’t come to Japan. Don’t come to a country expecting them to cater to your needs, integrate into theirs.

    But onto the point. Imo it will be good if this effects the Olympic bid. The government need to concentrate more on the people who were left homeless/affected by the Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami. Not some sporting event which is a burden on the taxpayer.

  • -5

    888naffDEC. 12, 2011 – 01:22AM JST

    oh come on! where are the next Olympics???..in one of the countries with one of the worst obesity issues and unhealthy lifestyles!!

    Japan the only g7 country that doesn’t have an obesity /health issue.

    longevity and health right up at the top.

    a bit of smoke give me a break!

    At least they know how to find an ASHTRAY for their stubs, instead of the road/side walk water ever!

    Maybe if they want to learn about smoking maybe international visitors could learn about manners.

  • 0

    WolfpackDEC. 12, 2011 – 01:59AM JST

    I hate cigarettes myself, but using the government to stop people from smoking is wrong. People consume and do things all of the time that are bad for them and that they know are bad for them. Make it illegal like marijuana or keep your nose out of it. If other people want to smoke, that’s cool with me. The problem is when it is in my face constantly. I can put up with a whiff of second hand smoke every now and then – it’s no worse than exhaust fumes from a passing car. Businesses should be allowed to decide for themselves whether they want to allow smoking or not. Then the customers can decide where they want to go.

    As long as the government stays out of it, if the Olympics want to exclude tobacco advertising from their venues then the host city will need to comply or just not be a host. It’s as simple as that. I don’t see why this would ultimately be a problem for Japan’s chances of hosting.

  • 4

    NewsmanDEC. 12, 2011 – 06:11AM JST

    Is it that smokers here don’t understand those no-smoking signs that appear on most street corners, they can’t read Japanese or they just don’t care?

    I love approaching a smoker and politely asking him if he can speak Japanese, which inevitably strikes him as a ridiculous question and he smiles and nods yes. Then I ask him if he could teach me the meaning of the “No Smoking” sign that’s written in Japanese. At that point the smile either turns to genuine embarrassment or a dirty scowl … but either way that’s usually the end of his smoking.

  • -2

    It”S MEDEC. 12, 2011 – 06:24AM JST

    We still get a few offenders as Newsman said but many might not be local.

    Around us all stations and shopping areas are non-smoking, this includes bus-stops, etc. Granted there are smoking points. In addition my Ward has a ban on throwing away stompies, etc cleared the pavements a lot.

    Ditto most restaurants are strict non-smoking at lunch-time but allow limited smoking in the evenings. My local Bakery/Cafe has nice signs up, we prohibit smoking as the smell would interfere with the smell of our goods and thus the enjoyment of said.

    One of the reason for the ban on Cigarette ads was that most were aimed at the teen-market and thus teemed inappropriate.

    As for JT, they do a lot more than just Tobacco in their product range.

  • 1

    soldaveDEC. 12, 2011 – 09:14AM JST

    sf2k – You said pretty much what I would have done. Japan has apathy towards the majority of things non-Japanese and so is no surprising that top teams that come to Japan attract no interest/TV audiences/column inches etc..

    As for the tobacco advertising, if it acts against them then they will probably say it just biased against them and that they are the victims.

  • 1

    NetNinjaDEC. 12, 2011 – 09:20AM JST

    I hope so. Japan doesn’t need the Olympics right now.

  • 1

    Pukey2DEC. 12, 2011 – 10:05AM JST

    At least they know how to find an ASHTRAY for their stubs, instead of the road/side walk water ever!

    Are you joking? Have you seen the butts on the streets out there? A smoker lives right next to me, and he always leaves a trail of ash inside the building, with the occasional butts. Oh well, there goes the Japan clean myth.

    As for JT, they do a lot more than just Tobacco in their product range.

    I know. That’s why I refuse to buy any PET bottle drinks made by them.

    If people get that annoyed by it then don’t come to Japan. Don’t come to a country expecting them to cater to your needs, integrate into theirs.

    This is not about catering to NJ’s needs. Lung cancer affects Japanese lungs too (no, Japanese lungs are not longer than foreign lungs).

    To this day, I don’t think JT admits (in public) there’s a link between tobacco and lung cancer.

  • 0

    Pukey2DEC. 12, 2011 – 10:06AM JST

    newsman:

    Then I ask him if he could teach me the meaning of the “No Smoking” sign that’s written in Japanese.

    I love it!

  • -2

    LH10DEC. 12, 2011 – 10:27AM JST

    OMFG i freak’n pray the olympics won’t happen in japan or other countries, it’s a waste of money! Vancouver has prob now because of those stupid games -_-FFFFF

  • -2

    LH10DEC. 12, 2011 – 10:29AM JST

    BTW something terrible might happen in the 2012 london Olympics youtube it…i’m very worried @__@

  • -2

    tokyokawasakiDEC. 12, 2011 – 11:12AM JST

    Visitors to Japan are often surprised to see the kind of cigarette advertising that has long been outlawed in most countries

    They think that is bad… That is only just scratching the surface. If they read some of the Japanese rules, laws (especially the family law) they would think it is 1920.

    Japan is run and managed by Jurassic morons who are clueless and totally incompetent.

  • 3

    Hunter BrumfieldDEC. 12, 2011 – 11:39AM JST

    I loved this article. My wife in a huge volleyball fan and I keep waiting for that disgusting JT graffiti to disappear, but it’s still there every tournament, year after year.

    When we eat out I make a point of thanking the staff of any place that has No Smoking signs posted. This reinforces that the management did the right thing, they know I’ll be back, and it might get them to expand the hours or sections that are smoke-free. Where smoking is allowed and there are no provisions for non-smokers, I let them know my dissatisfaction over that, too. And I don’t go back.

    All this will get more difficult over time. Those of us who do not have smoking around us will become both physically and emotionally more sensitive to smoke-polluted air. I personally try to avoid any situations where I know smokers will congregate.

    That’s a choice I make, and it’s too bad, but I have never understood how a nicotine addict feels unembarrassed to light up in a restaurant or an enclosed room, but were I to start pounding on a drum, they’d immediately and vociferously complain.

    To me there isn’t much difference on the irritation scale, but at least the drum doesn’t cause cancer or asthma, or make your clothes reek when you get home.

  • 0

    BlueWitchDEC. 12, 2011 – 02:46PM JST

    @tokyokawasaki

    Visitors to Japan are often surprised to see the kind of cigarette advertising that has long been outlawed in most countries

    They think that is bad… That is only just scratching the surface. If they read some of the Japanese rules, laws (especially the family law) they would think it is 1920.

    Japan is run and managed by Jurassic morons who are clueless and totally incompetent.

    Very well said, my friend~

  • 0

    megosaaDEC. 12, 2011 – 03:06PM JST

    WolfpackDEC. 12, 2011 – 01:59AM JST I hate cigarettes myself, but using the government to stop people from smoking is wrong. People consume and do things all of the time that are bad for them and that they know are bad for them. Make it illegal like marijuana or keep your nose out of it. If other people want to smoke, that’s cool with me. The problem is when it is in my face constantly. I can put up with a whiff of second hand smoke every now and then – it’s no worse than exhaust fumes from a passing car. Businesses should be allowed to decide for themselves whether they want to allow smoking or not. Then the customers can decide where they want to go.

    As long as the government stays out of it, if the Olympics want to exclude tobacco advertising from their venues then the host city will need to comply or just not be a host. It’s as simple as that. I don’t see why this would ultimately be a problem for Japan’s chances of hosting.

    well put!

  • 0

    sakuralaDEC. 12, 2011 – 03:10PM JST

    I’m not a smoker and hate being around it, but if tabacco companies want to sponser sports I don’t see what the issue is. It is the same thing as McD’s or Coca-Cola sponsering sporting events in my opionion; except that Mc’ds and Coke are actually recognizable across the world by almost every generation.

    Obviously the athletes want the money for their events, otherwise the sponsership would be turned down. Also, it is only the JT mark…no posters of people lighting up or sexifying it; just a simple green and white mark. JT owns subsiderary companies that produce sports drinks and health food. So, knowing that, it doesn’t seem any worst than other companies sponsering these events.

  • 0

    Hunter BrumfieldDEC. 12, 2011 – 06:54PM JST

    Sakurala:

    JT is Japan Tobacco.

    Philip Morris Inc. has lately become buried in the larger Altria Inc. as part of that tobacco conglomerate’s move away from cancer-causing products. Maybe Japan Tobacco will eventually do that, too, but putting its logo on national sports teams gives it an air of respectability it simply shouldn’t have.

    I wonder how many Japanese people will continue to think this is fine as they watch their smoking relatives, friends and work colleagues die, as I have.

    It all started with advertising and is promoted by product placements in movies as stars light up … those many “hidden advertisements” that were (still are) just below the surface and help to lure young, impressionable people into a life-long addiction. One they then pass on to their children as parental role models.

    Good that you do not smoke. Better if no one smoked.

  • 0

    sakuralaDEC. 12, 2011 – 07:47PM JST

    HunterBrumfield: I know perfectly well it is Japan Tobacco because I live in Japan and taught someone who worked for it. However, I don’t think many people outside of Japan are familiar with brand like we are. So, when people are watching in other countries, all they see is a green JT and don’t really think much about it (and if they are wondering what it is, then the athletes aren’t doing a very good job of keeping the viewers attention). It just seems irrelevent when all it is, is a green and white JT that has no other indication that it is a tobacco company.

  • 0

    Hunter BrumfieldDEC. 12, 2011 – 07:59PM JST

    Sorry. I could tell you knew that. I am thinking of the Japanese children here, not what people might see on their TVs overseas. It’s probably too late for most of them, anyway.

  • 0

    kurisupisuDEC. 12, 2011 – 09:12PM JST

    The metaphor ‘in a cloud of radioactive dust’ might be more realistic……..

  • 1

    sf2kDEC. 12, 2011 – 10:12PM JST

    soldave

    I was watching a baseball game from USA while in Osaka about 11 years ago. Forgot who was playing and the score, but it was going well. Then in the 7th the broadcast ended?!? Turns out it was only because of the Japanese pitcher that it was being broadcast. With him removed in the 7th, which is pretty common strategy, there was no further need to watch the game. Ugh. It was a good game. No respect at all. I doubt anything has changed since.

  • 0

    adjutantDEC. 12, 2011 – 11:03PM JST

    The FIVB, and the Japan Volleyball Association, are not exactly welcoming to the world press. At a sold-out U.S.-Japan women’s match in Tokyo last November, only a Canadian writer and an Italian photographer, both hired by FIVB, were seen working among almost 100 Japanese media.

    Though Americans invented volleyball in 1895, U.S. media were denied accreditation.

    That’s very mean. 😦

 

 

 

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