Language barrier spurs most inns to snub foreigners: poll

Kyodo News

Of all the hotels and inns in Japan that did not accommodate foreigners last year, more than 70 percent said they were unwilling to serve them mainly due to an inability to handle foreign languages, an Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry survey showed Thursday.

The ministry conducted the poll to see how the visitors are being received in Japan. The results appear to indicate that many small facilities are unprepared to handle foreigners, despite the government’s Visit Japan campaign aimed at luring 10 million annual visitors to Japan by 2010.

Of the 16,000 inn and hotel operators queried by the poll, 43.9 percent responded.

According to the survey, 62.2 percent had at least one foreign guest in 2007, while 37.8 percent, or 2,655 establishments, served none.