May 20, 2016 1:00 am JST

Japan may set 180-day cap on Airbnb-style lodgings

TOKYO -- A Japanese government council has proposed allowing private citizens to take in fee-paying lodgers for up to 180 days a year without a hotel operator license, one of dozens of deregulatory steps recommended to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday.

"We've received a wide range of recommendations that will serve as a drill for breaking through bedrock regulations," Abe told the deregulation council, referring to the most stubborn red tape, found in such areas as labor and health care.

Abe vowed to act on the recommendations so that "each and every citizen feels the results of our reforms."

Peer-to-peer lodging, or minpaku in Japanese, is generally illegal in Japan. Other countries allow it but limit how many days a year private homes can be let out -- 90 days in the U.K. and 60 days in the Netherlands, for example.

The Abe government aims to propose legislation next year that would end the ban but require operators to register, maintain guest logs and keep the rooms sanitary. The limit on lodging days will likely be set somewhere between 90 days and 180 days a year.

Other travel-related recommendations from the council include allowing people who are not licensed guides to provide such services for money. The panel is headed by Motoyuki Oka, formerly chief of trading house Sumitomo Corp.

The council also called for overhauling the virtual monopoly held by agricultural cooperatives on milk distribution, as well as lowering prices for tractors, fertilizer and other farm supplies.

(Nikkei)

Sumitomo Corp.

Japan

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