Last updated: June 1st 2020

Other Packaging and Labeling Requirements

Warning requirements on unit packaging and labeling (e.g., packs)

Yes
Analysis

The Ministerial Ordinance requires warnings to be displayed on the “smallest containers and packaging” which are solely intended for use in the sale of the product. Thus, warnings are required on unit packaging.

The requirements under the Ordinance meet FCTC Art. 11 in this regard.

Warning/messages required on outside packaging and labeling (e.g., cartons)

Yes
Analysis

The Ministerial Ordinance requires warnings to be displayed on each container or package including containers or packages that include one or more containers or packages.

The requirements under the Ordinance meet FCTC Art. 11 in this regard.

Warning texts must be in the principal language(s) of the country

Yes
Analysis

The Ministerial Ordinance requires designated text-only warnings to be displayed and those warnings are in Japanese.

The requirements under the Ordinance meet FCTC Art. 11 in this regard.

A requirement that warnings or messages may not be placed where they may be permanently damaged or concealed when opening the pack

Yes
Analysis

The Ministerial Ordinance requires that warnings must be “large, clear and easy to read both before and after opening” the packaging. This is interpreted as a requirement to place warnings where they cannot be damaged or concealed when opening the pack. Therefore, the requirements under the Ordinance align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines in this regard.

A requirement that tax stamps or other required markings may not be placed where they may conceal warnings or messages

No
Analysis

The Ministerial Ordinance does not explicitly require that tax stamps or other required markings may not be placed where they may conceal health warnings or messages. However, it does require that health warnings be "large, clear and easy to read." It is unclear whether the drafters intended this provision to prohibit tax stamps or other required markings from being placed where they may conceal health warnings or messages.

To eliminate any confusion and to more closely align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, the law should specifically prohibit the placement of tax stamps or other required markings where they may conceal health warnings or messages.

A requirement to display qualitative (descriptive) constituents and emissions messages

No
Analysis

The law requires tobacco product packages to display health warnings, as prescribed by the Minister of Health, and to be labeled in accordance with the manner prescribed by the Minister of Health. The law authorizes the Minister or Health to issue regulations regarding the content and form of the required health warnings and other labeling requirements. The Minister has not issued regulations regarding qualitative disclosures. Therefore, qualitative disclosures are not required.

To align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, the regulations should require the display of qualitative (descriptive) constituents and emissions disclosures.

Prohibition on the display of figures for emission yields (including tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide)

No
Analysis

The TBA Regulations require manufacturers and distributors to ensure that statements listed in Table III are printed or affixed to containers or packages. Table III requires tar and nicotine content to be listed after the following statement: “Amounts of tar and amounts of nicotine in tobacco smoke as determined by methods designated by the Minister of Finance.” However, this requirement does not apply to “tobacco products specified by the Minister of Finance as ones for which tar and nicotine contents are difficult to measure due to widely-variable product quality.” Therefore, display of figurative emissions is not required on all packaging.

To align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, the law should prohibit the display of figures for emission yields as such figures can be misleading to consumers.

Plain or standardized packaging

No
Analysis

Plain packaging of tobacco products is not required in Japan. The FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines provide that Parties should consider adopting plain packaging measures that restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colors, brand images, or other promotional information on packaging other than brand and product names displayed in a standard color and font style. Plain packaging aims to reduce the appeal of tobacco products, to increase the noticeability of health warnings, and to reduce the ability of the packaging of tobacco products to mislead consumers about the harmful effects of smoking.

Prohibition on misleading tobacco product packaging and labeling including terms, descriptors, trademarks, or figurative or other signs (e.g., logos, colors, brand images that directly create a false impression that a tobacco product is less harmful than other tobacco products)

No
Analysis

The packaging and labeling requirements do not prohibit the use of misleading terms, descriptors, trademarks, or figurative or other signs on tobacco product packaging and labeling. However, where misleading terms such as “low tar”, “light”, “ultra light” or “mild” are used, language must also be used which states that the health impacts are not less than other products.

To meet FCTC Art. 11, the Ministry of Finance should issue regulations that prohibit all misleading indicia on all tobacco product packaging and labeling.