Panel agrees to ease rules for paid accommodation in private homes
Japan Today -- Jan 13
A panel of experts set up by the health ministry and the tourism agency agreed Tuesday to ease regulations regarding paid accommodation in private homes in Japan, amid a growing number of foreign visitors to Japan.

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

The expert panel established by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and the Japan Tourism Agency decided to designate private houses and apartments as a category of simple accommodation under the hotel business act.

The law stipulates that facilities designated as simple accommodation must have 33 square meters or more of floor space for guest rooms. But the panel plans to relax that condition for such accommodation in private houses, as for "minpaku" as the practice is known in Japanese.

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. Problems with noise, garbage and other things have been cited over such accommodation in private homes.

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.

News source: Japan Today
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