The Japanese government has passed a series of new laws governing home-sharing and short-term rentals.
The regulations, which could have a major impact on companies like Airbnb, include a maximum limit of 180 rental nights per year for all homeowners in the country.
Accommodation providers are also required to register with their local authority, and absent landlords now need to outsource their property management to specialist companies.
The laws are intended to bring consistency and improved standards to the previously unregulated sector, whilst allowing Japan to cope with a rising number of international visitors.
Japan is one of Airbnb’s biggest markets in the Asia Pacific region, with more than 50,000 listings. Its main rival, Expedia-backed HomeAway, has fewer than 10,000 listings. But these two companies could soon face stiff competition; Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten recently announced plans to launch a home-sharing unit.
The regulations on home-sharing have been accompanied by looser hotel regulations, as the Japanese government tries to provide new accommodation options for a surging number of international visitors. Overseas arrivals to Japan area expected to reach 40 million by 2020, the year Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games.