The smoking stats for 2008 in Japan are up at the Japan Health Promotion and Fitness Foundation site.
Statistics show that 39.5% of Japanese male adults smoke – in a slightly better shape than 1966 where 83.7% (!) where smokers. Males in their 40's smoked the most – 47.8% of them.
As for adult females – 12.9% are smokers – most of them being in their 30's.
Complaining does not really achieve much in life so I tend not to moan about the fact that everybody in Tokyo *seems* to smoke. There are very few restaurants in Tokyo with non-smoking sections and even if there are then it looks something like you see in the photo above.
I approached the entrance and asked if they had non-smoking sections and they said yes. I was lead to the small round table you see on the left of the photo – the smoking section is where the guy reading the newspaper is…
After working for Amazon in the Tokyo offices for a few years, I spent about 5 months in the Seattle offices – loved the fact that most restaurants were non-smoking. Came back to Japan to take up passive smoking again but the readily available otaku merchandise more than made up for that ;-)
So, even if you don't smoke – you will be guaranteed to smoke passively in Japan whether you rike it or not. I guess the price of cigarettes over here helps – a pack of cigarettes in Japan costs between 2 and 3 USD for a pack of 20.
Are non-smokers in your region treated well or expected to passive smoke?