Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and Japan Tourism Agency referred to amendment of the current Travel Industry Law and Hotel Business Law in Japan at the public meeting to discuss new rules for home sharing services on May 23 2016.
Regarding the Travel Industry Law for home sharing services, the discussion has confirmed that the authority requires notification to hosts and registration to service platforms and controllers even including international operators without their servers in Japan under the new law framework. At the latest meeting, Japan Tourism Agency shared an idea that it is logically better for platforms to register themselves under the Travel Industry Law if they list any of accommodations under control of the Hotel Business Law, including a cheap lodging house, which is designated as one of the accommodation categories under the Law.
The current Travel Industry Law, however, is applicable to business operators headquartered in Japan only, and international operators are regulated by the OTA Guideline only. Japan Tourism Agency intends to create a new scheme for both domestic and international platforms to be registered for home sharing services, and at the same time to reconsider how travel industry should be in dealing with accommodations under control of the Hotel Business Law.
Regarding the Hotel Business Law, the discussion meeting shared an idea that it is necessary to amend the current Law in order to form rules for home sharing services, including rejection of guests, stricter penalty against unlicensed operation or authorized inspection to unlicensed operation.
In parallel, the government’s Regulatory Reform Council continues discussing the home sharing regulations, proposing several conditions, such as 180 days or fewer a year for a home sharing business, permission to a house with resident register only for a host-living-typed home sharing service, approval of a home sharing service even in a resident area or possibility for a local government to create a local law for prohibition of a home sharing service.
It is true that there were several objections against the proposals at the public discussion meeting, particularly from traditional business providers.
The public discussion meeting, led by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and Japan Tourism Agency, will compile results of the discussion in the middle of June 2016. The government aims to submit the bill for new home sharing rules to the Diet by the end of FY2016 and at the same time to select an administrative organization controlling home sharing.In Japanese