KYOTO – The Kyoto Prefectural Police plan to send papers on two men to public prosecutors on suspicion of renting rooms in a private apartment building to Chinese tourists without authorization, it was learned Thursday.
The two men — a 52-year-old consultant at a travel agency in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward and a 48-year-old executive of a hotel operator in Yamagata — are alleged to have violated the hotel business law.
Renting rooms in private houses as cheap accommodation, a service known as minpaku, has become a popular alternative for overseas visitors. But the police decided to establish a case against the two because they were operating the minpaku business on a large scale without permission from authorities.
According to investigators, the two provided the accommodation service at an apartment building in Ukyo Ward in Kyoto for seven days between July and October without obtaining approval from the municipal government. They are suspected of renting rooms to some 300 Chinese tourists, the sources said.
Thirty-six of the 44 rooms at the five-story building were leased by the Yamagata hotel operator and were rented as accommodation to participants of tours organized by a travel agency in Shanghai, the sources said.
The number of people using the rooms ranged from 30 to 70 per day, each of whom paid ¥7,000 per night, according to the sources.
Kyoto city officials sought explanations from the hotel operator executive following reports from nearby residents in July that Chinese tourists seemed to be using the apartment building.
The Yamagata man claimed that the Chinese tourists were allowed to use the rooms for free.
The police conducted on-site investigations of the apartment building and the Tokyo travel agency. Investigators are also questioning officials of the company that manages the apartment building.