Business

Panel to ease rules for paid accommodation in private homes

Kyodo

A panel of experts set up by Japan’s health ministry and tourism agency have agreed to ease regulations regarding paid accommodation in private homes as the number of overseas visitors to Japan continues to surge.

Easing regulations on such accommodation is seen as a remedy for the shortage of hotels in Japan in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The expert panel, established by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and the Japan Tourism Agency, on Tuesday decided to designate private houses and apartments as a category of simple accommodation under the Hotel Business Act.

Currently, the law stipulates that facilities designated as simple accommodation must have 33 sq. meters or more of floor space for guest rooms.

But the panel plans to relax that condition for accommodation in houses, or minpaku, as the practice is known.

Although under the law, individuals are supposed to obtain permits from local authorities if they want to offer paid accommodation, many people do so without proper authorization.

Among problems cited are issues with noise and garbage.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the experts also broadly agreed to require operators to confirm the identity of their paying guests and to respond to emergency situations.

The panel is expected to compile an interim report by the end of March.

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