FEBRUARY 25, 2004
Japan to join anti-tobacco forces
It is reported in Japan that the Japanese government will shortly announce that it is to sign the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. In doing so it will commit itself to banning all tobacco sponsorship in Japan and working towards a global ban on all tobacco advertising. The news could create problems for Renault F1 in the longer term as the team is sponsored by Mild Seven, a brand which belongs to Japan Tobacco.
Japan Tobacco enjoys nearly 80% of the cigarette market in Japan, a country where more than half the men smoke. Significantly, the company is still owned by the Japanese government's Ministry of Finance and so if tobacco advertising is banned, the firm is going to have to comply with the laws.
Japan Tobacco has been a longtime supporter of motor racing though Mild Seven and Cabin brands.
More significantly, the banning of advertising will mean that there can be no more tobacco logos at the Japanese GP, which will not please the powers-that-be in Formula 1.
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