Tourism agency drafting mandatory ‘minpaku’ business holiday rules

The Japan Tourism Agency is considering requesting municipalities to designate periods during which minpaku private lodging services must be shut in their regions.

Municipalities will be free to decide when to set such local minpaku business holidays, according to the agency’s draft guidelines for municipalities on the new type of lodging services seen Friday.

The agency plans to finalize the guidelines by the end of March, which will encourage municipalities to set their own rules under ordinances to make minpaku services suitable for local circumstances.

The draft guidelines cited examples of prohibited places and periods, such as areas near schools and nurseries on weekdays and mountain settlements during the autumn leaf-viewing season and other periods of heavy traffic.

In June this year, Japan enacted a law that spells out the rules for minpaku services.

Under the law, to be implemented by next June, minpaku business operators will be allowed to do business for up to 180 days per year.

The law will also enable the prefectural and other local governments to shorten the maximum operating period in selected areas in order to prevent local living environments from deteriorating.

Expectations are running high for minpaku services as foreign visitors to Japan are increasing. Meanwhile, concerns are mounting that such businesses may lead to noise, garbage and other problems for neighbors.

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