Japan passes private lodging law to address accommodation shortages for tourists

Updated 2017-06-09 14:51:37 Xinhua

People owning property across Japan will be allowed to rent out their vacant home or rooms to tourists after getting approval from their local city offices, following a law being enacted by the Diet on Friday.

Under the law, those renting their houses or rooms will be able to do so for up to 180 days a year to help with Japan's increasing demand for accommodation as more and more foreign travelers visit Japan.

The government will implement various measures to address potential concerns that the new law might have on residential areas, and ordinances will be set so that potential trouble with neighbors can be avoided and travelers' safety ensured.

The law will allow property owners to rent out their spaces even in areas which have been designated as being exclusively residential and where hotels and inns are not allowed to operate.

Under the law, those providing lodging services will be required to carry signs on their buildings notifying of such, and maintain records of foreign travelers using the service.

It will also be the providers duty to mediate in disputes with neighbors and take measures against complaints from local residents.

Those offering their homes or rooms but not following the official regulations could be forced to stop offering the service and in extreme cases could be heavily fined for violations and even face custodial sentences.

The law is expected to come into force in 2018 and has been viewed by the government as one possible way to cope with a potential accommodation drought during the Olympics and Paralympic Games to be held in Tokyo in 2020.

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