Airbnb pulls plug on unlawful Japanese listings

Japan: Airbnb has refunded accommodation and travel costs for customers who have booked at unlawful “minpaku” listings on its site.

Airbnb has cancelled reservations for the private lodgings in Japan which are not in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. Such lodgings are called “minpaku” in Japanese.

The move comes after the Japanese Tourism Agency urged vacation rental website operators to cancel reservations of unlawful minpaku as the housing and accommodation business law comes into force on June 15.

Airbnb has cancelled bookings made for check-ins on June 15 to 19. The company will refund all accommodation fees to customers who made bookings and will also pay for airline ticket fees incurred due to the cancellations.

“It was a tough decision” to cancel reservations, an Airbnb employee in charge of the matter said. “We express a sincere apology for causing much concern and inconvenience”.

The company originally said it would respond to the new law’s enforcement by not posting minpaku facilities that do not meet relevant laws and regulations, but previously made reservations at these facilities had been left untouched.

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