LANGUAGE

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 warnings 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 was still being decided on the merits would not burden the state or in any way cause problems that would be difficult to remedy after the fact because (a) plaintiffs could restore their production system to its former state without experiencing undue loss, as they would be using their former production system and would not experience any impact to their trademarks or other advantages; and (b) the admissible fact that there were other producers who had been able to comply with the disputed regulations refuted the claim that compliance with the regulations was an insurmountable manufacturing technical problem.

The legal challenge was ultimately withdrawn.