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Here are some of the questions frequently asked about ‘taspo’, and their answers.
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About age verification
Q. Why was age verification introduced?
A. The age verification system was implemented on all cigarette vending machines all over Japan as part of an effort to strengthen and enhance conventional measures against underage smoking. Preventing the under aged from purchasing cigarettes from vending machines is a socially important initiative and an important aspect in fulfilling the social responsibility of the tobacco industry. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.
A. The age verification system was implemented on all cigarette vending machines all over Japan as part of an effort to strengthen and enhance conventional measures against underage smoking.
Preventing the under aged from purchasing cigarettes from vending machines is a socially important initiative and an important aspect in fulfilling the social responsibility of the tobacco industry. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.
Q. What are IC card compatible age verification cigarette vending machines?
A. They are vending machines from which cigarettes are purchased using ‘taspo’ cards issued only to those aged 20 or over.
A. They are vending machines from which cigarettes are purchased using ‘taspo’ cards issued only to those aged 20 or over.
Q. How is age verification carried out?
A. Age verification is carried out through touching a ‘taspo’ card to the card reader of an IC card compatible age verification cigarette vending machine. Through reading the information recorded on the ‘taspo’ card, the age of the purchaser is confirmed and cigarettes can be purchased.
A. Age verification is carried out through touching a ‘taspo’ card to the card reader of an IC card compatible age verification cigarette vending machine.
Through reading the information recorded on the ‘taspo’ card, the age of the purchaser is confirmed and cigarettes can be purchased.
Q. What has changed with the introduction of IC card compatible age verification cigarette vending machines?
A. Cigarettes can no longer be purchased without a ‘taspo’ card. ‘taspo’ cards are issued only to adults aged 20 or over upon application. ‘taspo’ card holders can purchase cigarettes at any IC card compatible age verification cigarette vending machines.
A. Cigarettes can no longer be purchased without a ‘taspo’ card.
‘taspo’ cards are issued only to adults aged 20 or over upon application. ‘taspo’ card holders can purchase cigarettes at any IC card compatible age verification cigarette vending machines.
Q. How are IC card compatible age verification cigarette vending machines networked?
A. A wireless telecommunication system is adopted.
A. Wireless telecommunication system is adopted.
Q. Why are IC card compatible age verification cigarette vending machines networked?
A. Networking of the vending machines is intended to ensure that the information of ‘taspo’ cards that are no longer in use due to theft or loss is updated periodically and efficiently.  By doing this, we aim to prevent misuse of the cards by third parties and ensure the proper operation and management of age verification. Moreover, networking is also essential in exchanging information of transactions made using electronic money ‘pidel’.
A. Networking of the vending machines is intended to ensure that the information of ‘taspo’ cards that are no longer in use due to theft or loss is updated periodically and efficiently. By doing this, we aim to prevent misuse of the cards by third parties and ensure the proper operation and management of age verification.
Q. Are there any examples of this type of initiative overseas?
A. A major example of this kind of initiative is the age verification cigarette vending machine system using touch IC cards (‘Geldkarte’ electronic money bank cards) introduced in Germany. In Germany, following the revision of the youth protection law, children under the statutory age (16 years) were prohibited from purchasing cigarettes from vending machines from January 2006, and ‘Geldkarte’ cards were introduced to enable age verification.
A. A major example of this kind of initiative is the age verification cigarette vending machine system using touch IC cards (‘Geldkarte’ electronic money bank cards) introduced in Germany.
In Germany, following the revision of the youth protection law, children under the statutory age (16 years) were prohibited from purchasing cigarettes from vending machines from January 2006, and ‘Geldkarte’ cards were introduced to enable age verification.
Q. Will it be possible to buy cigarettes at vending machines 24 hours a day?
A. The National Federation of Tobacco Retail Cooperative Associations introduced late-night voluntary operating controls on cigarette vending machines (suspension of operation from 23:00~5:00) in April 1996 as part of its efforts to prevent underage smoking. However, with the nationwide introduction of IC card adult verification cigarette vending machines on July 1, 2008, grounds for preventing the under aged from purchasing cigarettes from vending machines 24 hours a day was established. Accordingly, the late-night voluntary controls, which were previously in effect, were removed on August 1, 2008. The Tobacco Institute of Japan is in agreement with this decision. However, since removal of the voluntary late-night controls on cigarette vending machines is left to the discretion of each retailer this step is being implemented in phases.
A. The National Federation of Tobacco Retail Cooperative Associations introduced late-night voluntary operating controls on cigarette vending machines (suspension of operation from 23:00~5:00) in April 1996 as part of its efforts to prevent underage smoking. However, with the nationwide introduction of IC card adult verification cigarette vending machines on July 1, 2008, grounds for preventing the under aged from purchasing cigarettes from vending machines 24 hours a day was established. Accordingly, the late-night voluntary controls, which were previously in effect, were removed on August 1, 2008.
The Tobacco Institute of Japan is in agreement with this decision. However, since removal of the voluntary late-night controls on cigarette vending machines is left to the discretion of each retailer this step is being implemented in phases.

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