Cigarette vending machines to require ID from March
Monday, November 12, 2007 at 14:32 EST
TOKYO — From March 2008, smokers in Japan will need an ID card that says they are adults before they can buy cigarettes from vending machines. The Tobacco Institute of Japan (TIOJ), Japan Tobacconist Federation (JTF) and Japan Vending Machine Manufacturers Association (JVMA) will introduce vending machines with adult identification functions across Japan, as part of an industry-wide initiative aimed at tackling the problem of underage smoking. Customers purchasing cigarettes will be asked to provide proof of age with the use of a pre-issued IC card, called "Taspo1," which the machine is able to read.
The innovative new system utilizes a contactless IC card with an adopted anti-counterfeit technology. Personal information and verification of age and identity is required when applying for the IC card, which will be kept strictly secure. The cards utilize IC chip technology, similar to those issued by various banking establishments. Age and identity verification must be provided through valid ID issued by an official public institution.
A photo of the cardholder is printed on the card to prevent misuse or theft. IC cards reported as lost or stolen will be invalidated under the control of the operating center. The IC card features a prepaid electronic money function provided by JCB Co. The IC cards are rechargeable (may be done at vending machines).
The new system will be installed into all cigarette vending machines in Japan, which in 2006, accounted for some 565,000 machines.