Airbnb axes thousands more illegal lodgings in Japan
Hosts use fake registration numbers to dodge new law, Japan Tourism Agency requires that Airbnb and other booking sites report on their listed lodgings every six months.
Airbnb still faces demands from the Japan Tourism Agency to take down unregistered lodgings that violate the country's new home-sharing law a week after it took effect, despite having removed thousands of such listings already.
Under the new law, people who rent private homes to travelers in Japan must notify authorities. Airbnb Japan requires hosts to provide a confirmation number to show that they have completed this process.
Some localities have notified the tourism agency of unregistered Airbnb listings. Kyoto, a major travel destination, found at least 2,000 illegal rooms on Airbnb as of Thursday, according to the city.
Airbnb's automatic checks apparently failed to catch fake confirmation numbers that mimicked the pattern of the letter "M" followed by nine digits. Though some of these cases may result from simple typos or system problems, others likely involve hosts deliberately entering fake numbers -- possibly to keep their lodgings available amid delays in the registration process.
Critics of the home-sharing law say it imposes complicated procedures on hosts, a situation exacerbated by local ordinances seeking to further regulate the practice. But one woman, who has cleared the notification hurdle for her home-share in downtown Tokyo's Shibuya district, said she wants others in the business to play by "fair and impartial rules."
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