Know your rights when checking in at an Airbnb
Japan Times -- Apr 18
Last year, the government passed a law covering minpaku, which is when people rent out space on their properties to travelers (a la Airbnb). The law is part of an effort to regulate accommodations amid a tourism boom ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

One issue for non-Japanese travelers, though, has been whether they must show ID such as a passports at check-in.

For hotels, which fall under the Hotel Business Law, the regulation has always been this: For any adult, Japanese or non-Japanese, who has an address in Japan, ID is not required. You just write your contact details in the guest registry. However, for guests who don’t reside in this country, displaying ID (i.e., your passport) is required.

Seems straightforward so far, right? But as has been reported several times over more than 10 years of this column, the police (and occasionally the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) have confused things.

Some hotels have been instructed that all “foreign guests” must show ID, specifically their passports. There have even been cases in which police have demanded hotels photocopy those passports and keep them on record for later inspection.

This is a deliberate misinterpretation of the law, however, and I say “deliberate” because it has been repeated despite official clarifications and corrections.

Nowhere does the law require that passports be photocopied. Moreover, in this age of identity theft, surrendering that information beyond mere inspection can be dangerous.

Since all “foreign guests” are not required to carry passports (that’s why non-Japanese residents have residence cards instead), this has caused many a disruption in good customer service, as well as the threat of being turned away at check-in.

News source: Japan Times
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