Source: Airbnb Secrets

The moguls of the sharing economy, Airbnb and Uber are finding it difficult to break ground in Japan due to regulations restrictions and widespread ingrained suspicion.

Though Japan is the world’s third largest high-tech economy, it is yet to warm to the concept of sharing economy that has penetrated world markets. Though Japan’s sharing economy accounted to about $455 in Japan, it is miniscule when compared to markets in Europe, the US OR China.

This is partly attributed to the fact that many people in Japan are still in the dark about what sharing economy actually means. Also, strict local regulations such as new laws for the short-term rental sector wherein a number of flat owners had to reluctantly remove property after compliance failure. This has affected Airnb’s operations in Japan. Other rental sector laws such as allowing rentals in residential areas only during low season period in Kyoto have proved to be prohibitory for firms like Airbnb.

“public opinion is very much against services like Airbnb and Uber. We have tried to change this mentality but it is very difficult. It takes time,” mentions Takashi Sabetto who belongs to an association that promotes sharing economy. Moreover, Japanese quiet fiercely protect their privacy with the culture of sharing almost alien to the Japanese culture and society at large.

Furthermore, service quality such as hailing a taxi takes minimal time therein reducing the demand for Uber like services.

However, the younger generation is showing some positive interest in the sharing economy with car and bike schemes and services like UberEATS becoming popular in Tokyo since its launch in 2016.

A change in culture is what is really required for the sharing economy to really break ground in Japan.


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