The Japan Times has done a few pieces now on AirBNB, but there is an aspect of this that has not received due attention.

I live in a relatively new, smallish (48 residences) apartment building in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, where most residents are owners. Recently, the owner of one residence has made it available to AirBNB. Now, our formerly safe, private apartment building has a steady stream of unknown foreign tourists running in and out, riding the elevators, being around the small children who live here.

The apartment policy officially disallows “hotel type rental,” but there is no actual city statute prohibiting this practice. The owner avoids contact with the apartment management association and just continues to rent rooms despite the unanimous disapproval of the residents. We don’t want strangers running in and out of our building.

Reflecting on this, I can see that the AirBNB business is developing precisely because these irresponsible owners and tenants are able to avoid the public notice that would have normally accompanied the necessary advertisement in the past.

It seems that the authorities are presently uninterested in dealing with this. They will probably have to change their mind once serious incidents begin to occur. I hope attention will be paid before something bad happens.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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