Comfort Hotel Nagoya unlawfully tries Gaijin Card check on NJ resident, admits being confused by GOJ directives


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Hi Blog.  Writing to you jetlagged from Sapporo, just back from Canada.  I had a wonderful trip and if I can get my next Japan Times column (out Tuesday March 2) out in time (my topic I had been writing about got bumped with the sumo stuff I blogged about yesterday) I might write some impressions.

Meanwhile, pursuant to the discussions we’ve had recently on about exclusionary hotels, here’s an email I got last month regarding Comfort Hotel Nagoya’s treatment of a NJ customer, and how empowered her to stand up for herself.  Well done.  Even the management says the administrative guidance offered by the authorities, as in the law requiring ID from NJ tourists vs. the official (but erroneous) demands that all NJ show ID, is confusing them.  And since I’ve pointed this out several times both in print and to the authorities (and the US Government itself has also asked for clarification) to no avail, one can only conclude that the GOJ is willfully bending the law to target NJ (or people who look foreign) clients just because they think they can.  Don’t let them.  Do what SM did below and carry the law with you.  And stand up for yourselves when you check into a hotel.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo


From: SM
Subject: Asked For Passport & Alien Registration – Comfort Hotel Nagoya Airport
Date: January 13, 2010

Hello Debito,

We met in September at the Writers Conference in Kyoto. I enjoyed your presentation, and I am a regular reader of your website.

Below is a letter I received from the management at the Comfort Hotel Chubu Airport. If you would like to use my story as well as the letter below on your site, feel free to add it. If you do decide to use it on your site, could you remove my name and email address? Thanks.

The background:

For Christmas vacation, I decided to avoid the morning rush to the airport and spend the night at the Comfort Hotel, conveniently attached to Chubu International Airport. When I checked in, I was immediately asked for my passport. I let the clerk know that I was a long-term resident of Japan, and would be giving her my home address rather than a passport. She then said that if I would not give her the passport, I would have to show her my Alien Registration card. I told her that as a resident with a permanent address, this would not be necessary. She said it was the law, and that to stay in the hotel, I would have to show her my card. I once again refused, telling her that she did not have the authority to ask for an Alien Registration card. She became quite flustered. I continued filling out the form, including my full name and address. When I passed her the form, she stood her ground and said I must show her my card. I asked to speak to a manager. She left, and I waited in the lobby for ten minutes. She returned with another woman who did not say a word to me. She told me the amount to pay, gave me my change and sent me on my way. I was too tired to pursue it, and just happy that I had a room to go to.

In the morning, I returned to the lobby and asked to speak to a manager. A man came out, and I explained the law to him and showed him the English/Japanese version of the law provided on Debito’s site (I had it displayed on my iPhone). He was polite, but quite insistent that the law stipulates that all foreign residents are required to show their Alien Registration. I asked him to research it further and gave him my business card. (By the way, he was Chinese. I asked him if he was ever required to show his Alien Registration when he stayed at hotels. He answered honestly that he wasn’t. He then gave me his business card which indicated that he had taken a Japanese name. When I pointed this out to him, and asked whether his name may be the reason he is never asked to show his identification, he smiled and agreed that that was probably the case.)

He did research the law, and wrote the following letter to me:


From: “コンフォートホテル中部国際空港”
Subject: Thank you stay
Received: Friday, January 8, 2010, 7:48 AM

Dear SM

Thank you for having stayed at Comfort Hotel Central Intl. Airport at the end of Last year.

I am ashamed that our staff’s imperfect knowledge of non-Japanese residents made you unpleasant when you registered at our hotel due to the lack of my training as the manager.

The reason was the staff had been confused the registration procedure for non-Japanese residents with the one for foreign visitors. The Hotel Business Law under the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare says hotel staffs must see and copy the foreign visitors’ passports.

I looked over the Law concerning this case.
The Alien Registration Law under the Ministry of Justice says, in Art. 3, paragraph 1,2 and 3, non-Japanese residents cannot refuse to show their alien registration cards when government officials demand to do it. It means we, hotel staffs, don’t have the right to ask non-Japanese residents for their alien registration cards as you said.

I learned from this case and gave directions to our hotel staffs. I keep on training them so that they understand the Laws concerning the registration procedure for non-Japanese guests well and provide good service.

I would like you to know the reason for this case was that the guidance by the two Ministries confused the staff and she didn’t understand well.

We hope we have a chance that you stay at our hotel.

Comfort Hotel Central Int’l Airport
Eisho Hayashi


Needless to say, I was very pleased that he had followed up on the problem, and accepted responsibility for the mix-up. As I travel quite a bit, I am going to give the Comfort Hotel another chance. I’ll be heading out of Nagoya in late February ~ I’ll let you know how it goes at that time.

Thanks, Debito, for keeping me in the know of my rights. I’m not sure I would have had the nerve to push it as far as I did without having the knowledge that you supply on your site. SM


42 comments on “Comfort Hotel Nagoya unlawfully tries Gaijin Card check on NJ resident, admits being confused by GOJ directives

  • Good news in a way.

    Still, to have a hotel staff initially that confrontational about inflicting this form of discrimination is unsettling. Also, the fact that a hotel manager had no idea of the law too is something that I find discouraging. It would mean that this hotel had been operating under this system (of discrimination) for some time, and without ever any dissent from its foreign guests (one can assume).

    Anyway, good news nonetheless. Letting foreigners know their rights while living here seems to be the more effective way rather than tackling each hotel chain or, god forbid, the government here actually doing something about NJ rights.

  • Good for you SM.

    Here is the official 厚生労働省 statement (clearer than the scans):
    I have never needed it yet, but I do keep a copy in my wallet.

    Does anyone know exactly which 法令 this is in reference to? The actual 法令 should be more binding and detailed than the existing summary.

    — Note that the version you provide the link to is differently-worded than the version I received from hotels in 2005. The English is much clearer in the new one. In the old one, only the Japanese version cited the laws accurately.

  • I first read “Comfort Hotel” as lingo for some special kind of establishment…
    Anyway to the point…
    Does anyone know if Hotel staff have the right to request ID in general?
    If I refuse to show Alien Card they always ask for other ID with my Japan address.
    I do not have any other ID with my address on it apart from the Alien card so I end up showing it when they ask.
    (I dont drive)

    — Please read the links provided. If you have an address in Japan, the hotel has no specific legal right or obligation to ask for your ID (or rather, they can ask, but you have no legal obligation to show). So do not show anything. That’s how it works for residents of Japan, particularly Japanese citizens..

  • Eisho Hayashi, I am proud of you, you wrote a perfect letter.

    You logically considered the evidence, and admitted the mistake.

    You apologized for the mistake, and, you promised positive action.

    The more we humans do as you did, the better our world will become.

    And you too SM, and I hope you sent EH an appropriately nice reply.


  • Next time I have to stay in a hotel (or more likely hostel, cheap student that I am), I will be sure to carry the law along with me just in case. When I stopped in Tokyo for one night last month, I was asked for my passport, and then when I said that I was a resident I was asked instead for my ARC. I was tired, couldn’t remember the law off hand, and just wanted to go to bed, so I obliged, I’m sad to say.

    I hope to stand my ground next time around.

  • I have stayed in over 20 business hotels in Japan (mostly in Tokyo) and almost all of them asked my ARC and photocopied it even though I am a long-term resident and have an address in Japan.

    — Helloooo? Don’t let them.

  • Last week I stayed at the Toyoko Inn Kawasaki Ekimae Shiyakusho-dori and was asked for identification showing that my address is in Japan, like an ARC. This hotel had been mentioned before on this site, so I was kind of prepared for a less than smooth check-in procedure. I just showed my driver license, and to my surprise that was no problem at all. The receptionist only quickly looked at my license, and did not ask to take photocopies. She even explained that I would not be asked for ID in the future if I registered as a member, which would have entitled me with some pretty good discounts at any Toyoko Inn in Japan. (I passed on the offer, though, since I did not like the upfront fee.)

  • Innocent_Bystander says:

    I’m glad Citibank doesn’t own any hotels. They won’t let NJs open an account without showing your gaijin card.

  • I feel the clerks at these hotels don’t want to be put in this awkward position of determining who is foreign and who is not. Anyway, they are certainly not the ones who should be blamed with this racist initiative.

    As always it comes from the top down. With this, it is our friends at the NPA (National Police Agency) who have almost purposely left the distinction of who gets carded and who doesn’t vague. All foreigners are guests in this country no matter what their status- this seems to be the NPA’s mantra (remember, Japan is the only country in the world that fingerprints permanent residents and other visa holders at the border just like tourists).

    Until clearer guidance comes from the top-down, this will always be a problem when checking into hotels. And as long as most foreigners here don’t know their rights this ridiculous policy will always be with us.

  • I tend to be pretty confrontational if asked, and as a result have never had to show ID at a hotel in Japan.

    Some foreign residents here are too bloody nice for their own good.

  • I often stay in small hotels here on my business travel, and frequently get asked for a passport. Sometimes it even happens in hotels where I have stayed countless times and where my address is already on file (this tends to happen when a new staff member checks me in). I always state that I live in Japan and therefore do not need to show a passport (and in fact am typically not carrying it). Most of the time this is enough and they back down; the fact I am speaking in Japanese probably does not hurt. Sometimes, though, they will follow up by asking for a copy of my gaikokujin card. A couple of times I have pulled it out and flashed it in front of them just to speed the process, but I never hand it over. Sometimes pointing out that I am paying with a Japanese credit card billed to my Japanese address seems to help. I also carry a printout of the law (thanks to Debito) but fortunately have never had to pull it out.

    Anyway, it’s a shame these incidents happen but good for SM for standing her ground, and kudos to Hayashi san for handling it gracefully.


  • One big hypocrisy of this whole thing is that when you check into a hotel with your significant Japanese other, you will never be asked for ID. Why? You are still the same foreigner with the same visa status, etc. that got ID-ed the week before when he was alone. Somehow the presence of a Japanese acquaintance cuts through all their little policies about ID-ing all NJ, and makes it OK for you not to show ID.

    — Ah, but you see, you’ve got your Guarantor. Your Minder. Therefore s/he’ll take responsibility should you run amok.

  • To answer my own question, the referenced 法令 may be found here:

    第四条の二  法第六条第一項 に規定する宿泊者名簿に記載すべき事項は、宿泊者の氏名、住所及び職業のほか、次に掲げる事項とする。
    一  宿泊者が日本国内に住所を有しない外国人であるときは、その国籍及び旅券番号
    二  その他都道府県知事が必要と認める事項

    Notice the small but important differences between the actual law and the non-legal summary. There is no obligation on the non-resident NJ to actually handover or even show their passport. Also, contrary to the summary, nothing is mentioned about needing to make a copy either.

  • I refuse to believe that hotels across the country have spontaneously started asking for ARCs. In fact normal Japanese citizens probably don’t even know what an ARC is unless they have been informed about it by someone. These laws clearly don’t demand handing them over and the only thing I can think of is a conversation like this with the local police force:

    Police: All foreign tourists must now present their passports at check-in. Please photocopy.

    Hotel Owner: And how about other foreign guests?

    Police: Good question. Might be good to keep tabs on them. Get ARC information whenever possible.

  • >Police: All foreign tourists must now present their passports at check-in. Please photocopy.

    >Hotel Owner: And how about other foreign guests?

    >Police: Good question. Might be good to keep tabs on them. Get ARC information whenever possible.

    To the best of my knowledge, this is exactly what is happening. The Japanese government just refuses to acknowledge the possibility of there being foreign long-term/permanent residents, supporting families here, contributing to Japanese society, who aren’t tourists. As a result, we, the non-tourist NJ, get no love from the government as evidenced by this racist hotel policy not to mention being fingerprinted at the airport alongside the tourists, etc.

    The NJ suffrage idea is exciting because it is, at last, recognizing our existence. Having said that, I am truly shocked at the backlash against giving local election rights. As usual, the result of most of it is misinformation: I think many Japanese fear that Chinese foreign exchange students will now have the ability to vote in a Chinese prime minister.

    Sorry for the tangent.

  • Matt,

    I think that you are right. All visa statuses, from your basic sightseeing to permanent, is a 在留資格. The term 在留 is by definition non-permanent. This is very clear in Japanese. A first step in my opinion would be to improve the terminology. However, the situation will only get worse with the upcoming 在留カード which emphasizes the temporal status.

  • “..Somehow the presence of a Japanese acquaintance cuts through all their little policies about ID-ing all NJ, and makes it OK for you not to show ID…”

    Everytime i pass through Kansai airport I am stopped. (I go through on average 3~5 times per year) Once, i was even taken away to the back room, and totally searched my entire body and all my bags pulled apart everything taken out….etc etc

    However, when i pass with my wife in tow…nothing, just a smile and did you enjoy your time away…..

    Nuff said!

  • Yes, as the others have mentioned, if I travel with the wife, no ID needed. By myself, always an ID requested.

    On Thursday I had business in Tokyo and was recommended the Acre Torre hotel in Roppongi, as discounts are given to our university staff. (

    I had three separate email exchanges with them (in English) using my university email account, making the booking and confirming that they provide a corporate discount.

    When I got to the hotel late on Thursday night (one of the emails I sent was in response to their wish I would confirm my arrival time with them) I identified myself in Japanese and my book-in sheet was taken out. And then I was asked for my passport or ARC.

    I thought to myself “Look, we’ve had all these exchanges, you’re giving me a corporate discount because I work at a university IN JAPAN that does business with you frequently, but you’re STILL asking for ID???” I was exhausted, and frankly don’t have the language level to argue this out with them.

    So I showed my university ID card. The clerk was startled for a moment, but accepted it – I looked at the situation and convinced myself that it was me, as a university employee, proving I was entitled to the discount. Of course, this wasn’t the case.

    “Oh, so you work for XXX university?” he asked when returning the card. I confirmed in simple, direct Japanese and went to my room. Just to spite them I didn’t leave my key at the desk when I went out.

    But yes, the police must be telling ALL hotels to do this because it happens like clockwork, each and every time.

    — They are. I have confirmed as such with EVERY hotel I’ve stayed in that has decided to ID me.

  • It is the foreigner who has the burden of proof that he has an address in Japan. So, a foreigner has to show his alien registration card to prove his address in Japan.

    — Where does it say that in the law?

    And how do you decide who is a “foreigner” on sight, HO? By racial profiling?

    Have you learned a single thing over the years by reading or commenting to this blog?

  • I think it’s possible to extend HO’s argument to its logical conclusion…

    It is the potential guest at any hotel that has the burden of proof that he or she has an address in Japan (and/or that he or she is Japanese, if necessary). As such everybody should be required to show photo ID with proof of address every time they wish to stay at a hotel (including the politicians who draft these kind of laws). I’m sure HO will be more than happy to submit to this in the name of fighting terrorism.

    On a personal note, I think sometimes you come across a bit tough on HO, Debito. Everyone needs a devil’s advocate now and again and it seems HO has decided to be yours (and I always look forward to his posts because of it). Having descenting voices is what keeps this blog a forum for discussion and not pro-NJ propaganda.

    — I don’t see a person like HO as so essential that if he didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him (as you are essentially suggesting above). After a couple of years reading him reading us, I’d say that about 80% of the comments (not including the asinine ones I occasionally have to delete) are ill-considered at best, disingenuous at worst. I don’t mind cogent arguments being made by people disagreeing. HO is not usually one of those arguers. And the comment we’re discussing now (which was a flawed assertion, not an argument) is no exception.

    Quite simply, he’s not listening. He just keeps asserting in a self-delusional vacuum. He’s earned the tough responses I give him.

  • HO makes no sense as usual.

    FWIW, I have rarely/almost never (inasmuch as I remember) been gaijin carded in hotels, they sometimes politely ask but don’t object when I refuse. Recently in Tsukuba they didn’t bat an eyelid when I just filled in name and address, leaving the space for passport number (and, for that matter, nationality) blank.

  • betty boop says:

    i carry of copy of a current phone bill with my name and address on it and will show the label to any hotel that asks. that would most certainly prove my address.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    HO, how can the hotel determine who is a “foreigner” based only on looks?

    Why would the alien card, which contains a huge amount of unnecessary (and dangerous, if leaked) personal information, be required when any number of other address-proving documents are available? Even a phone call to your Japanese home would prove the location of your residence.

    Should an ethnically-Japanese person from another country with no address in Japan be punishable if he deceives a hotel by simply writing an address and not offering up the truth?

    And why should hotels be forced to insult and alienate (forgive the pun) certain customers just so that the police can obtain information that isn’t even legally mandated?

  • For the record, I *have* been carded at a Kagoshima city Toyoko Inn while traveling with my Japanese fiancee. Away from major “foreigner areas” like Tokyo, simply being with a Japanese individual doesn’t necessarily prevent discriminatory practices.

  • HO…

    So a Native Japanese has a burden of proof to prove they are Japanese? DNA test time?

    I’ve got to say, that I have had a mixed bag. I have been asked by the Washington Hotel in Yokohama (can’t remember the exact name, I know there is a couple) if I reside in Japan, and do all my guests – yes I do, no they don’t – no ID from me, but passports from the others…no problems.

    To a business hotel in Fujimi city, no questions asked.

    Personally I have never been pushed (or barely prodded for that matter) regarding ID. Still happening to anyone is too many times.

  • I had a good friend (10 year resident of Japan) who was oblivious to this discrimination as he thought all people checking into hotels had to provide ID. When he checked into a business hotel in Shinjuku (New City Hotel) with a Japanese business colleague he was ‘carded’ as usual. He gave his ID but it wasn’t until he noticed that his Japanese colleague didn’t have to provide any ID that, with his excellent Japanese, he let loose with a barrage of racism charges that brought out the manager. The manager proceeded to apologize eventually promising to ‘re-train’ his front desk staff.

    This was just last year. I had stayed at this hotel, twice a year, every year for 4 years previously with no such problem so the idea that the police are recently demanding hotels do this is very likely.

  • I have never been asked for the gaijin card at hotels yet. Maybe it’s because, as my japanese wife “kindly”remarked once, that I have a face that looks like that of a boxer who has just lost his bout! But should it happen, I’m armed and ready with all Debito’s advice.

  • SPDinMiyagi says:

    I’ve stayed at many different hotels from Hokkaido down to Akashi in Kansai, but at no time have I had to prove that I have an address or that I’m a resident in Japan. I have been asked many times for my passport but I simply and calmly say that I’m living in Japan (日本在住です。Nihon zaijuu desu.) and fill in my name and address on the registration card without filling out any of the other unneccessary items. I did have 1 time at the Richmond Hotel in Kawasaki where they insisted on seeing some sort of ID but I simply explained that they did not have the authority to demand ID. They replied that legally they had to see ID for all foreign nationals, to which I explained the legal requirements that they are only required to see passports of foreign nationals who do not have an address in Japan, adding also that I’m a professional in the law field and suggesting that they should go back and check on the actual law. I’ve stayed at the same place since, and after that they haven’t demanded any ID (with different reception staff), so maybe they’ve reviewed their practices.

    I do not like the idea that if I’m with my wife, or any other Japanese for that matter, they do not have to check because she (they) would be like a guarantor which automatically puts us on a 2nd footing in that we are not fit to be a participant in society without a local backing us up. I had something similar to this about 10 years ago when checking into a small business hotel on the east side of Tokyo station. There were several colleagues with me at the time and the old lady on reception asked for one of us to register on behalf of everyone. Since my colleagues were all senior to me, I did the obvious thing to do in the Japanese corporate culture and started to write in the registration card, but she said (ignoring me altogether and referring to me in the third person) “Oh, *he* won’t do. He’s a gaijin.” I was extremely offended by this, and came back down to reception later and gave her an earful. Thinking about it now, I should have done so when everyone was there, but as everyone here knows, one cannot make a scene.

    As for how things are at the moment, it’s a ridiculous situation. How are the people on reception supposed to know who’s a resident and who’s nor? More to the point is how are they to know who’s Japanese and who’s not? How about someone from east asia who’s not resident in Japan but is fluent in Japanese and signs in with an obviously Japanese name and an address in Japan? If the police want to police this far, the only way to do it is to make it law that everyone over 16, both Japanese and NJ have an official ID card and that that card has to be presented and the number taken down when checking in to hotels. But maybe the local populace would have problems with that, being treated like criminals and all of that.

    — Thanks for writing all this out. This is why I get annoyed with asinine comments by the HOs in the world. We’ve argued this out time and time again on this very blog. And yet he’ll make the same assertion like he did above. Which leads to two conclusions: 1) He’s not listening. 2) He’s trolling. Either way, he says something like that again, it’s not getting through.

  • the police are deliberately confusing the hoteliers by sending out flyers saying that all foreigners need to show their cards.
    (the one i found stuck up in a hotel in yamagata i photocopied and sent to debito)
    they know perfectly well this is not the law.

    i agree with odorikakeru in response to ho,why is the burden of proof just on foreigners?
    following ho’s logic,japanese should be forced to prove they are not foreigners by showing id.

  • >HO, how can the hotel determine who is a “foreigner” based only on looks?
    Mark in Yayoi, that is why they ask for a proof.

    Debito, the general rule is that one who asserts must produce evidence. If a guest tells an hotelier that he has an address in Japan, he has to prove what he says. This is by no means unconstitutional. The constitution prohibits forced collection of evidence without a warrant. Since a guest can just leave the hotel, the submission of evidence is considered voluntary.

    Betty Boop, a phone bill is not an official document and does not prove your address.

    AIB, DNA has nothing to do with Japanese citizenship.

    For those who are refusing to prove your words, good luck until you ware off their goodwill. Technically, they can call police to arrest you for obstruction of business charges, if you insist too long.

    — I hear the scratching of HO’s long, long pinky nail again. Only this time, it’s itching to justify racial profiling.

  • Ho Ho Hum says:


    >>HO, how can the hotel determine who is a “foreigner” based only on looks?
    > Mark in Yayoi, that is why they ask for a proof.

    So in your logic, hotels must ask every person for ID, including all Asians, to determine if they are Japanese or non-Japanese. If they ask everyone, then I doubt that many of us here would have a problem with that. However, realistically hotels seem to be only asking people who “look foreign”. As you said, “DNA has nothing to do with Japanese citizenship”, so this is nothing more than racial profiling.

    > the general rule is that one who asserts must produce evidence

    As the asserter, you must produce evidence for that statement. You may start with 旅館業法 since that is the topic. You may find something to twist for your support.

    > Technically, they can call police to arrest you for obstruction of business charges, if you insist too long.

    Personally I would request that they call the police to sort the matter out. I am aware of my legal rights and obligations and carry the “evidence” with me.

  • The Shark says:

    As I pointed out earlier:

    Toyoko Inn:
    -will insist on some kind of ID if you seem to be a foreigner even if it’s a driver’s licence (but they admit it’s just their policy and not required by law (if you live in Japan))
    -will, however, at the same time believe that you are Japanese if you claim to be Japanese and are able to speak Japanese (will accept language ability as proof of citizenship)

    [Toyoko Inn Hotel in Takamatsu / January 2010]

  • HO, none of that explains how a hotel could refuse to rent a room on suspician of being foreign in violation of the hotel law. The Japanese government admits this would be illegal, but your interpretation – that the hotel guest must ‘prove’ it with a receptionist as judge and bellhop as jury – says that would be ok. Do you think your reading is wrong, or the government’s?

    — No. I think HO is just trolling.

  • HO,

    It is clearly established that the hotel has an obligation to provide accommodation according to the hotel management law (with a small handful of exceptions, none of which relate to “whitey didn’t want to show his gaijin card”).

    — Funny how we have to tell “Letter of the Law HO” to read the laws.

    Perhaps, if HO holds the position in Japanese society that I suspect he does, this is indicative of the attitudes we’re facing in our bureaucratic elites. Point to the laws and enforce them only when it suits the elites.

    モデル宿泊約款(Model Terms and Conditions of Lodging)
    第8条 宿泊客は、宿泊日当日、当館のフロントにおいて、次の事項を登録していただきます。
    (1) 宿泊客の氏名、年令、性別、住所及び職業
    (2) 外国人にあっては、国籍、旅券番号、入国地及び入国年月日
    (3) 出発日及び出発予定時刻
    (4) その他当館が必要と認める事項

    Article 8. A guest must register following items at the front desk on the lodging day.
    (4) Any item the hotel sees necessary.

    So, the hotel makes a house policy that a passport is necessary, a guest must present one.

    >how a hotel could refuse to rent a room

    A guest must agree with the hotel terms first. If he does not, he is refusing the hotel, not vise versa, and therefore, the hotel is not in violation of the law.

  • HO, your claim is formalistic and relies on an NPO recommending hotels ask for information, not demanding guests prove it. Demanding a guest accept terms such as these equals refusal. To see why, consider that hotels could add anything not in the law. That would make the Hotel Management Law completely ineffectual. In fact, LAWS override CONTRACTS, and it is illegal for the hotel to require such proof.
    Which is how we also know HO is not likely a bureaucrat or other professional with a legal qualification.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    HO, that document you’re quoting isn’t an actual law; it’s just a model contract that ryokan and hotels can use when setting up their own rules.

    Section 2 (外国人にあっては、国籍、旅券番号、入国地及び入国年月日; in the case of foreign guests, the guest’s nationality, passport number, port of entry, and date of entry) seems to contradict what the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare actually says, which is at:

    …and refers only to guests without residences in Japan, of course.

    I don’t understand how the Ryokan Association could create such a recommendation when it conflicts with the MHLW law so clearly.

    Here are some guidelines for hotel managers, directly from the Shiga prefectural government:

    Note the wording in part 2:

    1. 宿泊者が自らの住所として国外の地名を告げた場合は、宿泊者の国籍と旅券番号の申告を求めてください。

    (1. If the guest states a home address in another country, ask the guest to state their nationality and passport number.)

    Part 4 urges the hotel manager to contact police (with the suspicion that the potential guest is not carrying a passport) if such a guest continues to refuse.

    I wonder how one can jump all the way to suspecting someone of not carrying a passport just because he doesn’t want to share the valuable personal information therein to an unknown hotel clerk, but I assume the NPA had a hand in writing these guidelines.

    I don’t understand the argument that the burden of proof is on the guest. If the guest has already written an address in Japan, wht right has the hotel to accuse them of lying?

    And what would a Japanese person, carrying no proof of address whatsoever, do if a hotel demanded proof of his domestic address?

  • HO:

    The problem most of us have is that they are not asking everyone to provide identification. They are only asking people who look “foreign”.
    If hotels asked all guests, including people who look “Japanese”, this would not be an issue.

    Whether or not we must show the card (which legally we do not) is completely irrelevant.

    I understand and agree that one who asserts must provide evidence, however the hotel’s assumption is based on skin colour. That is the problem.

    — Forget it, Chris. HO is merely trolling. Don’t feed the troll.

  • Debito- normally I would agree with you, but I feel like he has just misunderstood our complaint this time.

    — Hokay. But if the debate continues to go round in circles, I’m not approving further comments.

  • Mark Hunter says:

    Stayed at Sheraton Miyako Tokyo this week. No ID required at all. All communication done in Japanese. Very smooth and respectful. I should also add that the concierge desk is better at tourism info than the official toursit offices.

  • I was “carded” for the first time in 4 years (last time was in Sendai at the JAL Hotel). When I checked into Kakogawa Plaza Hotel today (Aug 7) I was asked for my passport, to which I responded “I don’t carry it with me.” Then I was asked if I live in Japan, to which I responded, “yes,” and then was immediately asked if they could copy my 外国人登録証明書. I declined, saying that I was a permanent resident and that under the law they were not allowed to make copies of the card. They then asked me to write down my address and telephone number in Japan, and as I did so, quickly leafed through a binder of documents behind the check in counter. But then they just asked me to pay, gave me the room key, and said my receipt would be given to me when I checked out.

    All done in polite Japanese on both sides (probably more polite from the hotel staff side), and I’m happy that they didn’t press their claim on a copy of my card. I recall showing my passport as a tourist in the U.S., but I don’t recall ever having it copied (isn’t copying the US passport against US laws anyway?), and I was never asked for my passport when traveling throughout Europe. I don’t mind showing proof of address, but I do mind giving a copy of my ID to non-government officials. Hotels simply do not have the right to keep tabs on my daily movement. I am not a terrorist or a criminal fugitive from the law. I am simply traveling in the country in which I live.

    Thanks for the advice on hotels, Debito. It worked.

    — Excellent. Thanks for sharing.

  • I used to be asked for my ARC every time I checked in to a hotel, but since I started using Japanese instead of English with hotel staff I haven’t been checked. Still I’m going to be prepared from now on if they do demand some ID. Only by foreign-residents being informed of the law and bringing it to the attention of hotel staff will anything change.


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