Other than "MOZU", another movie which also attracted attention for its smoking scenes was the Miyazaki Hayao anime "Kaze Tachinu" but the key difference was that the latter is primarily targeted at people from all ages including children while "MOZU" is a hardcore police detective thriller meant for adults. As such, the Japan Society for Tobacco Control (JSTC) is observing the situation with "MOZU" for the time being while it had spoken out against "Kaze Tachinu" earlier on for its adverse effects on children (conveying the message that smoking is cool).
This article takes a supportive view towards the smoking scenes in "MOZU" by saying that any restrictions on the freedom to air smoking scenes would bring negative effects on the production of dramatic works and that "MOZU" should be excused because it is a drama about men fighting for survival. It goes further to say that in a detective drama like this, if the detectives don't smoke, it's as if you are banning the appearance of guns and shooting scenes and no bloody gore in police dramas which is totally unnatural.
Well, I beg to differ especially from what I observed during my recent Japan trip. I was in Yokohama and Tokyo and observed slightly different situations in both cities. Kanagawa Prefecture, where Yokohama is located in, has stricter rules on banning smoking in indoor places such as restaurants. For a non-smoker like me who cannot stand the cigarette smoke, that was like heaven to me because I didn't have to find restaurants which banned smoking because they all did not allow smoking indoors. Unless you are dining alfresco, I think you would not be bothered by the cigarette smoke from smokers near you.
The situation gets a bit trickier in Tokyo because different wards within the Tokyo Metropolitan area seem to have various rulings and punishments. I remember when there was once I entered a restaurant for lunch and was aghast to find out that it had a smoking area at one end and the non-smoking area at the other end. However, even though I was seated far from the smoking area, I could smell the smoke and it was terrible, having to hold my breath through my meal and I scrambled out of the restaurant as quickly as I could. Since then, I realised that there were various variations to this rule. Some restaurants ban smoking during lunch hours and allow it during dinner. Some impose a total ban on smoking regardless of the time you visit while some have a mixture of smoking and non-smoking areas. As such, I would ask or check for no-smoking signs before entering an eating place in Tokyo so as to spare myself from the agony of bearing with the passive smoke.
That is why when I first watched "MOZU", I couldn't fathom why Kuraki (Nishijima Hidetoshi) could puff away at a high-class restaurant while eating with Akeboshi (Maki Youko) nor the fact that he had a lighted cigarette in his mouth wherever he went, even on the streets of Ginza (where the explosion took place) because there should be a smoking ban in Ginza! No doubt dramas may not convey the real situation at times but this deviates too much from the truth.
Frankly speaking, it was quite an eyesore to see the plentiful smoking scenes in "MOZU", at least to me personally. Nonetheless, it hasn't got to the extent that I will drop the drama because of the smoking scenes but I think the comparison with having no guns and blood in a police drama is not fair. Even without cigarettes, a police detective drama can still function. Not every policeman smokes anyway and it will be best to pay a bit more attention to where they light up in the drama.