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A new law will go into effect in June to regulate minpaku, private residences rented out by their owners as short-term lodgings. To most, the new law will address changes that have occurred in recent years due to the rise of Airbnb, the worldwide online service that allows travelers to book rooms in private homes directly from the owners of those residences.

Japan has long had a similar type of system called minshuku, which usually involves rooms in private homes that are offered as lodging. But people who want to let rooms as minshuku must apply for a license, which requires that the room be a certain size. Also, a management-type person must always be on the premises. These rules, however, have never been strictly enforced, which is why Airbnb was able to gain a foothold in Japan, even though, technically, such rentals are illegal.

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