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Japan's Rakuten to launch online room-sharing marketplace

Company hopes to take on Airbnb after the service is legalized in January

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  © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese virtual mall operator Rakuten said on Thursday it will open an online room-sharing marketplace now that the country is poised to lift a ban on room-sharing for travelers. 

The government on June 9 passed legislation that will make it legal for companies and individuals to rent out rooms without a hotel license. The law is expected to take effect as early as January.

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