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A governmental panel has called on Japanese real estate authorities to work harder at assisting foreign nationals seeking rental accommodations.

The panel, formed by the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry and local governments, came up with a series of guidelines to address the needs of foreigners who have often encountered difficulties in trying to arrange rental contracts with Japanese real estate firms.

“We want to create an environment with these guidelines where foreigners are able to rent accommodations more smoothly,” a panel member said.

The guidelines include such items as advising real estate firms to explain more carefully to foreign clients about certain customs regarding housing, including paying “reikin” key money — a nonrefundable payment to the owner of a property — in addition to a deposit when agreeing on a contract.

They also state that a number of real estate firms are reluctant to accept foreign customers and have requested that they take steps to improve this situation.

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