Yokosuka easing residents into smoke-free lifestyle
Stars and Stripes June 14, 2007
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Large “Don’t Litter” signs are strung up at Yokosuka’s main train station, a precursor to this summer’s push to stop public smoking on the city’s busiest streets.
A revised city ordinance soon will make Blue Street — the main arcade, known for the colored chips in the pavement — a nonsmoking zone in an effort to keep the crowded area safer and to stop people from littering the streets with cigarette butts, an official with the city’s Resource Recycling Promotion Division said last week.
Signs in Japanese and English will mark the no-smoking area when the policy becomes official Oct. 1. But the city is asking residents to voluntarily stop public smoking anywhere in the city as of July 1, the official said.
Although there will be no penalties if you’re caught lighting up in the no-smoking zone, those discarding cigarette butts can be fined up to 20,000 yen (about $164), he said.
The no-smoking zone will extend from Route 16 near Yokosuka Naval Base to Yokosuka Chuo Station and includes two side streets parallel to Blue Street, where the police station and post office are, he said. It will not include “The Honch,” a popular nightlife area outside base gates.
Yokosuka Naval Base was notified of the change and plans to pass out maps showing the nonsmoking zone “just so our sailors know,” base spokeswoman Michelle Stewart said.
The map will feature popular landmarks for easy reading, she said.
Several on-base smokers said Tuesday the new policy won’t be too much of a drag, as they already are accustomed to similar no-smoking zones in Tokyo.
Even though Seaman Brian Gillespie is a smoker, he doesn’t like to walk around crowded areas with a cigarette, he said.
“If I’m trying to buy flowers for my girl, I don’t want someone smoking around me,” Gillespie said. “It’s not considerate. Plus, that area is crowded and full of kids — you wouldn’t want to burn anyone.”