JT International (Thailand) v. Minister of Public Health
Japan Tobacco challenged a Ministry of Health order that required the display of combined picture and text health warning covering at least 85% of at least two of the largest surfaces of the cigarette packs and cartons. While in the lower court, the tobacco company plaintiff sought and received an order that temporarily suspended the implementation of the pack warnings while the case was ongoing.
In this decision, following an appeal by the government, the Supreme Administrative Court reversed the lower court’s temporary order. The Supreme Administrative Court found that the requirements issued are not outside the intended scope of the tobacco control law and noted that the requirements were issued to “protect the people and our youth.” Additionally, the Court held that allowing the regulations to remain in effect while this case is still being decided on the merits will not burden the state or in any way cause problems that will be difficult of remedy after the fact because (a) plaintiffs could restore their production system to its former state without experiencing undue loss, as they will be using their former production system and will not experience any impact to their trademarks or other advantages; and (b) the admissible fact that there are other producers who have been able to comply with the disputed regulations refutes the claim that compliance with the regulations is an insurmountable manufacturing technical problem.