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Airbnb cancels bookings under new Japan law

Airbnb cancels bookings under new Japan law

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A new law in Japan that requires Airbnb hosts to register their listing and display a license number on their listing page has forced the company to cancel existing bookings that are not currently in compliance.

Japan legalized home sharing last year, and this new law is part of an amendment to 1947’s Japanese Hotels and Inns Act. Per the law, hosts have to register their listing by June 15th in order to maintain an active status on Airbnb. On June 1st, the Japanese government issued an announcement stating that any host without a license number must cancel any reservations made before June 15th, even if that host has already applied for the registration number.

Airbnb says this announcement came as a surprise and counters what they were told by the Japanese Tourism Agency. In a blog post, the company says, “the JTA indicated that we are required to cancel reservations at listings without a license number — no matter the hardship on hosts looking forward to sharing their homes or guests excited to travel to Japan.”

AsiaOne describes some other details of the new law, which some Airbnb hosts deem overly restrictive. For example, hosts can only rent their properties for 180 days a year, and rentals in Kyoto will only be allowed during the tourism low season, between mid-January and mid-March.

To deal with the influx of travelers who have had their bookings in Japan cancelled, Airbnb is issuing full refunds and will help guests try to find alternate Airbnb listings that are in compliance with Japan’s new law. It is also offering a coupon worth at least 100 percent of the booking value to use on a future Airbnb reservation, and giving $100 coupons for an Airbnb Experience. Lastly, the company has set up a $10 million fund to cover expenses for guests whose plans are impacted by these cancellations, to be used for things like alternate accommodations or flight change fees.