Airbnb drops nearly 80 percent of its private home listings ahead of new peer-to-peer rental law
Japan Times -- Jun 07
Just over a week before a new law for minpaku (private lodging services) goes into effect, the popular rental website Airbnb has dropped nearly 80 percent of its listings for the services over the past three months.

As of March, Airbnb, Inc. had over 62,000 properties in the country available for rental. But according to Hollywis LLC, a Kanagawa-based research firm that analyzes the minpaku sector, that number has dropped to 13,800 as operators get ready for the law that will govern their services, and which will go into effect on June 15. Many properties listed on Airbnb were suspected of operating illegally or semilegally.

On its website, Airbnb informed homeowners that it would not display their listings until they showed they had official permission to operate. When owners show they are in compliance with the new law, their rooms will be posted on the website again.

The large drop in the number of Airbnb listings comes amidst national efforts to crack down on illegal private lodgings and local efforts to place tougher restrictions on how, when and where legal facilities may operate.

The new law requires that homeowners register their rental properties with the local government, which will conduct fire and safety checks before issuing approval. On June 1, the Japan Tourism Agency sent a notice requesting that minpaku operators cancel reservations with facilities that were unregistered.

"We think the reason for the large decline was because of the June 1 notice," said Konosuke Tamura, CEO of Hollywis

Homeowners will only be allowed to rent out their rooms for a maximum of 180 days a year, and they must also keep a guest registry. Illegal minpaku operators face a fine of up to ¥1 million if caught, where the previous fine was not more than ¥30,000.

Local governments may also place their own restrictions on minpaku operations, and many already have. In Kyoto, supervisors for rooms and facilities run by someone other than the owner must live within 800 meters of the buildings.

News source: Japan Times
Nov 16
On 14 October, the Minister in charge of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Yoshitaka Sakurada was questioned by opposition party members in the Japanese Diet. In one particular exchange with Constitutional Democratic Party member Masato Imai he made a surprising revelation. (soranews24.com)
Nov 15
A Japanese high court on Wednesday overturned a lower court decision and acquitted a tattooist for operating without a medical license, ruling the process is not a medical practice. (Kyodo)
Nov 15
Between 260,000 and 340,000 foreign workers are estimated to flow into Japan in the five years from next April through an envisioned immigration control law revision aimed at dealing with the country's serious labor crunch, government sources said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Nov 15
Public broadcaster NHK announced Wednesday the lineup for its annual New Year’s Eve music extravaganza, but K-pop group BTS — under fire recently for a controversial T-shirt worn by one of its members — was not included. (Japan Times)
Nov 15
Japan's economy contracted for the first time in 2 quarters. Government officials say a string of natural disasters in the period dented exports and consumer spending. (NHK)
Nov 14
Health officials in Japan say nearly 2,000 people have contracted rubella, or German measles, this year. (NHK)
Nov 14
Oriental Land Co. ltd., the operator of Tokyo Disneyland, asked a court Tuesday to reject a suit filed by two female workers seeking damages for overwork and harassment while they were working as costumed performers at the theme park. (Japan Times)
Nov 13
A 71-year-old man has been arrested in connection with an assault on a woman in Yokohama, after he was apparently filmed walking right behind her with a stick. (NHK)
Nov 13
Canned mackerel developed by high school students in central Japan has been officially certified as space food by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA. (NHK)
Nov 13
SoftBank Group Corp. is seeking to raise ¥2.4 trillion in the initial public offering of its domestic telecommunications operations scheduled for Dec. 19. (Japan Times)