[MHLW] Report Released from the "Study Group on the Review of the Hotel Business Act"

On July 14, 2022, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) released the report of the "Study Group on the Review of the Hotel Business Act."

This Study Group was established in accordance with the Supplementary Provisions of the Act to Partially Amend the Hotel Business Act (Act No. 84 of 2018), which came into effect in June 2019, to explore the implementation status of the Hotel Business Act (Act No. 138 of 1948) within three years after the amended Act comes into effect.  The Study Group has met seven times since August 27, 2021 to discuss the issue.

The report presents the results of discussions on the implementation status of stricter control against unlicensed operators following the amendment of the Hotel Business Act, the legislative and institutional issues that have emerged in response to COVID-19, and the items guests shall provide in the guest registry.

One of the legal issues that emerged in the wake of COVID-19 is Article 5 of the Hotel Business Act, which stipulates that "A business operator shall not refuse to accommodate a guest except in one of the following cases.” Specifically, the first case mentioned is "When it is apparently recognized that the person who intends to stay is infected with a contagious disease." The study group discussed whether or not to delete this provision. At that time, hearings were held with organizations of patient groups and persons with disabilities.

The report proposes to stipulate in Article 5, Item 1 "patients with class 1 infectious diseases, patients with class 2 infectious diseases, patients with new types of influenza and other infectious diseases, patients with new infectious diseases, and patients with designated infectious diseases." In addition, the report states that "unfair discrimination, including discrimination against patients, etc. and persons with disabilities, must not be practiced in inns and hotels from now on" in view of preventing discrimination against these persons. It also states that "hotels shall further ensure the prevention of discrimination by adding “employee training” to the efforts and obligations of hotel operators.

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