Hiroshi Kimura

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Hiroshi Kimura was a Director of Japan Tobacco Group (JT) until he left the company in 2013.12

Long-Standing Career at Japan Tobacco

Kimura joined Japan Tobacco and Salt Public Corporation (now known as Japan Tobacco) in April 1976, and has held various leadership roles including:3

  • Executive Corporate Advisor of Japan Tobacco Inc. (since 2014)
  • Chairman of Japan Tobacco Inc (2012 – 2014)
  • Representative Director (2006 – 2014)
  • Chief Executive Officer and President of Japan Tobacco Inc (2006 – 2012)
  • Senior Executive Vice President, Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer of JTI SA, Geneva (1999 – 2006)
  • Director of Japan Tobacco Inc (1999 – 2001)

Opposed Tobacco Tax Increase

To reduce smoking rates the Japanese government (which owns a 50% stake in JT) proposed to increase Japanese tobacco taxes in 2008.45 Tobacco tax increases are a uniquely strong and cost-effective means to prevent or reduce tobacco use according to the World Bank.6 Also see: Price and Tax
Kimura strongly criticised the proposed tax increase, claiming that the measure was “disastrous and unfair” and “disproportionately penalized smokers”. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Kimura suggested that the government would do better to sell its 50% stake in the tobacco company than raise taxes.7 Representatives of Japan’s 13,000 tobacco farmers supported Kimura’s view, arguing that the proposed tax increase would ‘ruin their livelihoods’.4
Despite tobacco industry opposition, the tax increase came into effect in 2010, and resulted in a price increase of about 40% for popular cigarette brands.8
In the peer reviewed journal Tobacco Control, Tabuchi et al (2017) suggested that the increase in tobacco price during the period of 2009 – 2010 led to a decrease in smoking prevalence in Japan from 27.2% to 24.5%.9

TobaccoTactics Resources

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  1. Japan Tobacco Group, Members of the Board, Audit & Supervisory Board Members, and Executive Officers, 30 October 2013, accessed November 2018
  2. Japan Tobacco Group, Members of the Board, Audit & Supervisory Board Members, and Executive Officers, 6 July 2014, accessed November 2018
  3. Bloomberg, Executive profile: Hiroshi Kimura, undated, accessed November 2018
  4. abJ. McCurry, Japan rejects calls to increase cigarette tax, The Lancet, 28 February 2009, accessed October 2018
  5. The Japan Times, Hiking cigarette taxes ‘disastrous’ move for consumers, industry: JT, 13 June 2008, accessed October 2018
  6. World Bank Group, Economics of Tobacco Taxation Toolkit, Washington DC, March 2018, accessed November 2018
  7. P. Harris, As the anti-smoking movement gains momentum, Japan Tobacco draws up its battle plans, Japan Inc , 3 October 2008, accessed October 2018
  8. R. Buerk, Japan imposes 40% cigarette tax increase, BBC News, 1 October 2010, accessed November 2018
  9. T.Tabuchi, T. Fujiwara, T. Shinozaki, Tobacco price increase and smoking behaviour changes in various subgroups: a nationwide longitudinal 7-year follow-up study among a middle-aged Japanese population, Tobacco Control, 2017; 26:69-77