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  • UPDATE: Kyoto Tourist Association replies, tells Kyoto hotel “Kyou no Yado” to stop “Japanese speakers only” rules

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on November 14th, 2009

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    Hi Blog.  Regarding an issue I blogged here about earlier this week, about a hotel named “Kyou no Yado” that advertised on its Rakuten Travel listing that it would refuse any customer who did not speak Japanese, an update:

    I contacted the Kyoto Tourist Association, the Kyoto City Tourism Board, and the National Tourism Agency in Tokyo about this issue with handwritten letters last Monday.  I received a letter yesterday sokutatsu (included below) from the Kyoto Tourist Association, as well as a personal phone call yesterday afternoon from a Mr Sunagawa there, who told me the following:

    1. The hotel was indeed violating the Hotel Management Law (which holds that people may only be refused lodgings if all rooms were booked, there was threat of contagious disease, or endangerment of “public morals”) by refusing people who could not speak Japanese,
    2. The hotel was hereby advised by KTA to change its rules and open its doors to people regardless of language ability,
    3. The hotel did not protest, and in fact would “fix” (naosu) its writeup on its Rakuten Travel entry,
    4. The hotel hasn’t gotten to it yet, but assuredly would. (It still hasn’t as of this writing.)

    I asked what was meant by “fix”, and whether the language would just be shifted to find another way to refuse people again in violation of the Hotel Management Law.  Mr Sunagawa wasn’t sure what would be done, but they would keep an eye on it, he said.

    Mr Sunagawa was very apologetic about my treatment, especially given the rudeness of Kyou no Yado’s written reply, and hoped that I would consider coming back to Kyoto soon and not have an unfavorable impression of it.

    COMMENT:  This is far better than I expected.  The KTA had told me on Monday that they had no real authority (kyouseiryoku) here to advise a nonmember hotel, yet here they were taking this up and making the call.  I guess Kyou no Yado’s reply was really unbecoming to the situation.  Bravo.  Quite honestly, given the fact that I’ve contacted a number of authorities regarding local exclusionary signs and rules (which usually resulted in nothing being done), I wasn’t even expecting an answer (hey, bureaucrats will get paid anyway even if they sit on their hands; avoiding work is easier for them).

    Find another exclusionary hotel like this?  Contact the local town or city tourist agency and include the letter from the KTA below, referring to it as a template for how some government agencies do get off their duff.  Anyone want to do that for the exclusionary hotel in Wakkanai? (“Itsuki”, the one which outright refuses all foreign clients, even cancels reservations if the customer’s name looks to be foreign).  Be my guest.  Don’t be theirs.

    Meanwhile, let’s keep an eye on “Kyou no Yado’s” Rakuten Travel listing.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    Letter from KTA follows, click to expand in browser:

    kyototouristagency111109001

    kyototouristagency111109002

    ENDS

    21 Responses to “UPDATE: Kyoto Tourist Association replies, tells Kyoto hotel “Kyou no Yado” to stop “Japanese speakers only” rules”

    1. Kane Says:

      Well done, Debito! Zero tolerance for this kind of crap.

    2. Ben Says:

      Well done!

    3. jim Says:

      good job debito this is progress

    4. Tomomi Says:

      Really well done!! I’ll keep an eye on the Rakuten web page.

    5. adamw Says:

      i wrote to the kumamoto tourist board and jnto complaining about the one in aso which automatically cancels all foreigne reservations.
      havent heard anything back(as was kind of expected)

    6. Jake Says:

      Kudos to Debito and the Kyoto authorities. It’s very nice to see prompt action taken in regards to a complaint like this.

    7. ronya smith Says:

      Good Job Debito. True Complaining at its finest!

    8. Joe Says:

      Well done! I hope this serves to set a precedent to get every other non-compliant hotel in line quickly.

    9. Mark Hunter Says:

      For all the naysayers, obsfucators, deniers and yes, even haters, you need to ask yourselves if this society is not better off for Debito being here. You should be deeply ashamed of yourselves. I, for one, am deeply thankful that someone is willing to stand up and not take this crap. Thank-you Debito!

    10. CP Says:

      Great Job

    11. Manule Says:

      Well done, kudos to Debito and Mr.Sunagawa as well, it is good to know that there is also people of common sense working in the prefectural government in Kyoto.

    12. snowman Says:

      Great, well done Debito! Thanks as always for your good work!

    13. adamw Says:

      I have complained to the Hokkaido tourist board bout the Wakkanai one,doubt that will do anything though but at least worth trying.
      It seems to be that some pressure has to be put on Rakuten not to allow this sort of discrimination on their website-in effect they are supporting illegal activity.
      I complained about the Kumamoto one to them directly but recd no reply as yet.
      I know Tyler got further with his contact at Rakuten.
      It seems to be that rather than targetting each hotel one by one,Rakuten have to be campaigned to change their racist policies and not allow this stuff on.
      Any ideas on how to best do this?
      Should everyone mail a contact for them??

    14. Alexander Says:

      Well done Debito. And well done to Kyoto as well – I have a feeling a lot of other municipalities would have shrugged this off.

    15. Andi Says:

      Well done Debito, and due credit to the Kyoto Tourist Association. May more local associations follow suit. :)

    16. Tom R. Says:

      Thank you Debito

    17. Justin Says:

      Good work, Debito. Thank you.

    18. adamw Says:

      i got a reply from rakuten-they will change the aso one to service only available in japanese
      one of the reasons they give for the initial policy is absolute nonsense but never mind

      南阿蘇・高原の家 ノア

      —————————————————————
      ご案内 (古谷) – 2009年11月13日 21:06
      ご利用ありがとうございます。
      楽天トラベルカスタマーサービス古谷でございます。

      この度はご不快な思いをさせてしまい申し訳ございません。
      又、ご連絡賜りましたこと深くお礼申し上げます。

      楽天トラベルでの掲載情報は、宿泊施設側に直接登録いただく
      ページと弊社側で作成させていただいているページとなりますが、
      原則といたしましては、施設情報ページは宿泊施設側の登録と
      なっております。

      ご指摘はごもっともであり、早速宿泊施設へ連絡の上
      調整させていただきましたことをご報告申し上げます。

      尚、実際のところ従業員の方が少なく、又、言葉の面から外国人の方
      へ適切なサービスが行えない可能性があることは否めない状況と確認
      しております。つきましては予め、日本語での対応しか行えない旨の
      案内へ変更させていただきましたことをご報告申し上げます。

      この度は大変失礼いたしました。
      ご連絡に際して深くお礼申し上げます。

      その他、お気づきの点がございましたらご連絡賜りましたら幸いでございます。

      何卒、今後とも楽天トラベルを宜しくお願い申し上げます。

    19. Doug Says:

      Debito-san

      Well done! Thanks for all your work. Regardless of what the hotel does or does not do from here I think this achieved alot in bringing this to the KTA and having them contact the hotel. Also Sunagawa-san’s reply to you speaks volumes as well. Good work!

      It sounds like Sunagawa-san is a pretty good dude as well!

    20. Scotchneat Says:

      Good job Debito! The policy of excluding guests based on language ability is outrageous on its face, however, one can only imagine the how helpful this operator is for people with disabilities (I just can’t handle blind people) or guests in general .

    21. adamw Says:

      i contacted welcome kyushuu in kumamoto bout noa in aso and was told as following:

      First of all, we would like to apologize for
      the discomfort you felt regarding below matter.

      However, we regret to say, our organization
      are in no position nor have any authority for
      each hotel policies.

      Hope for your understanding.

      KTPO

      after more pressing was told thus:

      We are not a full government organization.

      Half government, half private companies of Kyushu.
      We are supported and sponsered by members
      fee from these private companies (hotels, airlines,
      travel agents,electric companies, bus, Japan railway, etc)
      .
      2/3 of our staff in our organization comes from these
      private companies and paid from the companies
      we each come from.

      Its a bit complex, but I hope you understand.

      Kawamura

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