Stubbed out: Japan university stops hiring smoking professors

Japan is stepping up its anti-smoking campaign ahead of the 2020 Olympics. (AFP)
Updated 23 April 2019
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Stubbed out: Japan university stops hiring smoking professors

  • Nagasaki University the first state-run university to introduce such a condition of employment
  • Japan is steppiing up an anti-smoking campaign ahead of the 2020 Olympics

TOKYO: A Japanese university has stopped hiring professors and teachers who light up, officials said Tuesday, as the nation steps up an anti-smoking campaign ahead of the 2020 Olympics.
Nagasaki University spokesman Yusuke Takakura said they have “stopped hiring any teaching staff who smoke,” although applicants who promise to kick the habit before taking up their post could still be offered employment.
The university will also ban smoking entirely on campus from August, opening a clinic for those who cannot give up, said Takakura.
“We have reached a conclusion that smokers are not fit for the education sector,” the spokesman said, adding that the university had sought legal advice and does not believe the policy contravenes discrimination laws.
Local media said it was the first state-run university to introduce such a condition of employment and the move comes after Tokyo’s city government passed strict new anti-smoking rules last year ahead of the 2020 Summer Games.
Japan has long been an outlier in the developed world, considered a smoker’s paradise where lighting up is allowed in many restaurants and bars.
Tokyo’s new laws ban lighting up at restaurants in the capital, regardless of size. Restaurants can set up separate indoor smoking areas, but customers cannot eat or drink there.
Smoking is also banned entirely on school premises from kindergartens to high schools, although space can be set aside outside university and hospital buildings.
The World Health Organization has given Japan its lowest rating for efforts to prevent passive smoking, and it even scores poorly in the region compared with countries like China and South Korea.
Despite that, tobacco use in Japan has been falling in line with a broader global trend.


Two-headed turtle born in Malaysia

Updated 18 July 2019
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Two-headed turtle born in Malaysia

  • While rare, it was not the first time a two-headed baby turtle has been found
  • Green turtles are one of the largest sea turtles

KUALA LUMPUR: A two-headed baby turtle has been born in Malaysia, captivating conservationists, but it only survived a few days after being discovered.
It was found Monday on Mabul island, off the Malaysian part of Borneo, in a nest alongside more than 90 other recently hatched green turtles.
David McCann, marine biologist and conservation manager for group SJ SEAS — which oversees the nesting site — said the creature was “utterly fascinating.”
“The right head seems to control the front right flipper, and the left head the front left flipper. Yet they are capable of coordinating their movements in order to walk and swim,” he said in a statement.
SJ SEAS chairman Mohamad Khairuddin Riman added: “We have released around 13,000 hatchlings from the hatchery and have never seen anything like this before.”
But the turtle died late Wednesday, Sen Nathan, a vet from Sabah Wildlife Department, told AFP.
He said the cause of death was not yet known but added the turtle would have had little chance of surviving long in the wild.
“It would have been poached by an eagle because it could not swim well,” he said.
While rare, it was not the first time a two-headed baby turtle has been found.
Nathan said one was discovered in 2014, on an island off Malaysia’s east coast, which survived for three months.
Green turtles are one of the largest sea turtles, and are mainly found in tropical and subtropical waters.
Classified as endangered, they are threatened by habitat loss as well as by poachers who hunt them for their meat and eggs.