This is good news if true. Just imagine the billions of yen that can be saved in medical costs due to smoking related diseases.
Ministry of Finance likes the Tobacco industry because of the tax revenues. MHLW does not. Any establishment can choose to ban smoking, allow smoking, or section off between the non and the smokers. It's strictly up to the private operators to do so. Don't know why the government has to get involved in it.
I think a huge factor that showed non-smoking places to consume food can be successful was the rollout of Starbucks in Japan. Since Starbucks stores did not allow smoking, the place became a surprising success, especially among younger patrons. So much so that I can see coffee shops like Doutour and Ko Hi Kan go completely smoke-free within a few years just to keep Starbucks at bay.
In short, Starbucks may have contributed to the Japanese demanding more smoke-free eating establishments and in a way lowering the smoking rate among adults.
but many restaurants still allow smoking in Japan, although the number of non-smoking areas or outright bans is growing.
so, I am in 20% of inside....