Home-sharing listings cross the 1,000-mark ahead of new law in Japan

TOKYO • Japan's home-sharing listings have crossed the 1,000-mark, the nation's tourist agency said yesterday, ahead of a new law regulating the practice that comes into effect tomorrow.

The count is 10 times higher than a month ago, but still lags far behind the 62,000 listings the market leader Airbnb Inc had earlier this year.

The new private temporary lodging, or "minpaku", law requires hosts to register with the government, as well as imposing other rules and restrictions.

Japan has received 2,707 applications nationwide as of June 8, of which 1,134 were approved, according to the Japan Tourism Agency.

The new law limits home-sharing to 180 days a year, a cap hosts say makes it difficult to turn a profit, and leaves final decision-making to local governments, some of which have imposed even stricter rules to protect security.

Ahead of the minpaku law coming into effect, Airbnb froze a "major portion" of home listings and guest reservations in Japan. This was in line with the Japanese government's requirement for hosts without a licence number to cancel upcoming reservations.

Airbnb has assured hosts it will help them get registered. This includes helping them meet legal experts as well as providing financial support to hosts who may incur additional expenses when registering their property.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2018, with the headline 'Home-sharing listings cross the 1,000-mark ahead of new law in Japan'. Print Edition | Subscribe