Taspo IC card a must to use tobacco vending machines in Japan from March

The Tobacco Institute of Japan (TIOJ) on Friday started accepting applications for an age verification card for tobacco vending machines at a promotional event held in Roppongi. The new system requires cigarette buyers in Japan to use the taspo IC card before they can use a vending machine. Anyone aged over 20 can apply by sending an application form together with a photograph and a photocopy of identification. Registration is free and the card will be issued within two weeks after applying.
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A spokesperson for the TIOJ clarified that the application form is only in Japanese. In the case of foreigners, only an alien registration card is acceptable as identification. So those who are visiting Japan temporarily will have to buy cigarettes over the counter at shops. The card, called “taspo,” will be introduced nationwide from March in order to prevent underage smoking.