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Japan's home-sharing registrations off to a rocky start

Hosts worry about stifling local regulations

Many home-sharing hosts complain that strict local rules have made national deregulation meaningless.

TOKYO -- Almost none of the tens of thousands of Airbnb accommodations in Japan were registered under the new law on the first day of filing Thursday, a sign that hosts are wary of extra rules from their local governments. 

As in many parts of the world, home-sharing, or minpaku, is a fast-growing practice in Japan. But the country had no specific law for the business of renting out private dwellings, requiring hosts to get either a permit under the hotel law or certification in a special economic zone. Many homeowners did not bother getting either, leaving them in a legal gray zone. The new minpaku law will lower the hurdles, enabling hosts to legally provide accommodations for up to 180 days a year by simply registering their dwellings. 

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