My Japan Times JBC 115: “Know your rights when checking in at an Airbnb” (Apr 17, 2019)


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Hi Blog.  Here’s and excerpt of my latest Japan Times Just Be Cause Column 115, on NJ check in at hotels and Airbnb.  Reports to are already coming in that police are willfully misinterpreting the law, so be prepared if necessary to produce the law and stand your ground.  Debito Arudou Ph.D.



Know your rights when checking in at an Airbnb

Last year, the government passed a law covering minpaku, which is when people rent out space on their properties to travelers (a la Airbnb). The law is part of an effort to regulate accommodations amid a tourism boom ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

One issue for non-Japanese travelers, though, has been whether they must show ID such as a passports at check-in.

For hotels, which fall under the Hotel Business Law, the regulation has always been this: For any adult, Japanese or non-Japanese, who has an address in Japan, ID is not required. You just write your contact details in the guest registry. However, for guests who don’t reside in this country, displaying ID (i.e., your passport) is required.

Seems straightforward so far, right? But as has been reported several times over more than 10 years of this column, the police (and occasionally the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) have confused things. Some hotels have been instructed that all “foreign guests” must show ID, specifically their passports…

Rest at

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1 comment on “My Japan Times JBC 115: “Know your rights when checking in at an Airbnb” (Apr 17, 2019)

  • — Forwarding this message from a commenter to the Japan Times Online version to this article, who noted:

    JT is not approving my comments with the written answer I received from the health and labor ministry that confirm there is no obligation for foreign residents to have their zairyu card copied and the hotel has no right to refuse lodging for that reason.

    From: XXXXX
    Subject: Fw: 大阪市消費者センターからの回答です
    Date: April 19, 2019
    To: “”

    This is what I received from my city when I complained about tje zairyu card request in Utsunomiya during a business trip.

    I complained directly with the hotel after the reply from the consumer center and they apologized and sent me back the photocopy of HALF the zairyu as the other half (hold your laughing please) got lost somewhere… and this is one of the reason I don’t want to leave around personal data I have not the obligation to give away.

    Since then 2 years ago everthing got better and the same place in Utsunomiya started to ask if I were a resident before checking in. The same happened this month in Tokyo, in Nagoya etc. as I saw during my trips. And I travel a lot.

    hope this content would be useful and I suggest to make inquiries to the consumer center as tjey take care to contact the bureaucrats at the ministers etc.

    Best Regards, XXXXX wrote:
    XXXXX  様









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