Geneva The World Health Organization hopes Japan will join South Korea in banning tobacco from next year's World Cup.
South Korean Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo said his country has completed its agreement with the WHO to bar the use and advertising of tobacco, a prohibition similar to the one at the Sydney Olympics.
He said Japan, co-host for the World Cup, has indicated it also would impose the ban. The WHO was "fully in negotiation" with Japan concerning the ban, spokeswoman Gabriela Bagozzi said.
Han met with Gro Harlem Brundtland, director-general of the WHO.
"It would be a fine breakthrough in 2002, indeed for sports as well as health, to have a tobacco-free World Cup," Brundtland said.
South Korean officials said in Seoul last week they planned to ban smoking inside World Cup stadiums under a program to make the tournament environmentally clean.