Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Airbnb Cancels Bookings Under New Japan Law

Airbnb Cancels Bookings Under New Japan Law

"Going forward, unless the government reverses its position, we will automatically cancel and fully refund any reservations at listings in Japan that have not been licensed within 10 days of guest arrival".

"Japan is an incredible country to visit and we want to help our guests deal with this extraordinary disruption". Japan's Rakuten Inc. announced plans to to enter the home-sharing business.

Online lodging company Airbnb said it's been forced to scrap thousands of reservations in Japan this month after it was blindsided by the government in Tokyo. Those who did not secure approval would be removed once the new law took effect June 15, it warned.

Many were shocked on June 1, two weeks before the confirmed deadline and at the peak of the tourist season, when Japan's tourism agency issued a sudden memo declaring that any Airbnb host without a license, regardless of their current status in the registration process, must cancel any upcoming reservations booked before June 15.

"As a result, any reservation scheduled for guest arrival between June 15 and June 19 at a listing in Japan that does not now have a license has been cancelled", Airbnb said.

Now it should be noted that past year Airbnb and the Japanese government have come to some kind of understanding that made Airbnb legal to operate in the country. "It was contrary to the guidance our team had previously been given by the Japanese Tourism Agency and put the travel experiences of thousands of visitors to Japan at risk", Airbnb said in a statement.

The article says local authorities in some cities have added more restrictions to the new rules.

Hosts listing accommodation in China will also have their details passed on once they start accepting bookings.

Airbnb has said it is aiming to have one billion annual guests worldwide by 2028.

But, the stringent Japanese policies seem to have affected Airbnb immensely.

"It was a tough decision" to cancel reservations, an Airbnb employee in charge of the matter said.

Airbnb and other holiday rental companies have publicly welcomed the law, saying it removes the uncertainty that has long existed in the sector. On the other hand, as we see in the case of Uber, it is not easy to draw the line between a sharing platform and a transportation company that operates more cheaply due to legal loopholes, such as being categorised as an information systems company and not having to pay taxi fees.

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