March 5 (Bloomberg) -- Japan's health ministry will recommend smoking be banned in hospitals and on public transport, the Yomiuri newspaper said, without citing anyone.

The ministry will this month provide a list of facilities that should ban smoking to local governments, the newspaper said. Restaurants and hotels will be advised to limit their smoking areas, the report said.

In 2002, Tokyo's Chiyoda ward became the nation's first local government to introduce a ban on smoking in public areas covering about one-third of the ward.

The percentage of Japanese men who smoke has fallen by about half over the past 40 years to 40 percent because of an increase in health consciousness. The government owns 50 percent of Japan Tobacco Inc., the world's third-largest publicly traded cigarette maker.

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