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A front page article in the Aug. 15 Asahi Shimbun reported that 15 “yachin hosho kaisha” (rental guarantee companies) are planning to get together to compile a blacklist of rent scofflaws. Rental guarantee companies are a relatively new phenomenon. Normally, when you rent a property in Japan you need a guarantor to cosign the rental agreement.

For residences, landlords have traditionally insisted on family members, invariably parents, regardless of the age of the parents or their incomes relative to the prospective tenants’. Sometimes this is impossible because the parents are dead or otherwise estranged from the prospective tenant. And sometimes it’s impossible because the prospective tenant is a foreigner. (Many foreigners have their sponsoring employers cosign their rental agreements, which landlords prefer, anyway.)

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