Osaka authorizes residential units as accommodation facilities

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13:05 16 November 2016

OSAKA, Nov. 16, Kyodo

Osaka on Wednesday authorized the operation of seven residential units in two buildings as tourist accommodation in the first such approval in the western Japan city.

The paid accommodation businesses, known as “minpaku” in Japan, were given the green light to start the same day at the authorized facilities, including one unit in an apartment building.

Under the government’s efforts to accommodate the growing number of foreign visitors, the western Japan city is allowing the “minpaku” facilities in National Strategic Special Zones, deregulated areas designated by the government to revive the economy of Japan.

“I expect more foreign travelers will visit Osaka and I would like to submit application for the permission for five additional rooms this month,” said Sonosuke Mikuchi, president of online reservation service company Tomareru Inc. which operates the “minpaku” apartments.

However, the number of applications for “minpaku” businesses in the city remains low, possibly because of the current minimum-stay requirement of six nights and seven days.

The requirement will be changed to two nights and three days from January or later.

The city started accepting the applications last month and has received them from three facilities, with one of the applications still being examined.

Under the city rules, operators of “minpaku” businesses are obliged to inform local residents they are providing paid accommodation for travelers, as well as give instructions for guests on garbage collection and other information in foreign languages.