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Minpaku (private lodging) services — in which accommodations in private residences are rented out to travelers — are being counted on as a solution to a shortage of hotel rooms to serve the growing numbers of inbound tourists, particularly as the nation prepares to host the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Ahead of the implementation in June of the law enacted last year to lift the tight regulation on minpaku services across the country, prefectural governments next month will start accepting notifications from people who plan to rent out accommodations to tourists.

While regulations on such services have been gradually eased in recent years, some residents of communities with minpaku services harbor concerns that their living environment might be disrupted. Complaints have been filed with authorities concerning visitors making noise at night and ignoring community rules for garbage disposal. Out of concern that such problems may increase, some local governments have imposed more restrictions on minpaku services in their areas. For the minpaku business to take root, gaining the understanding of local communities will be crucial. People engaged in the minpaku business must make sure they follow the rules stipulated under the new law. To gain public support for the system, the government and municipalities should monitor and crack down on those who rent out accommodations without registering with the authorities.

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