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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 June 7 - 13  > JCP opposes revising law as it will increase unlicensed guides for foreign tourists
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2017 June 7 - 13 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP opposes revising law as it will increase unlicensed guides for foreign tourists

June 7, 2017
Amendments to the Licensed Guide Interpreters Act have recently gained Diet approval, but the Japanese Communist Party opposed the revised law as it would help legalize unlicensed interpreter-guides.

Currently, Japan has seen an increase in unlicensed tourist guides as a result of the Ministry of Tourism’s negligence in policing them.

JCP member of the House of Councilors Yamazoe Taku said that he had witnessed the situation first hand at a Tokyo duty-free shop where health food products and home electronics appliances such as rice cookers were being sold at ridiculously high prices of more than 100,000 yen.

When he pointed out the collusion between some unlicensed agents and retail shops (May 25, Lower House tourism committee), Minister in charge of Tourism Ishii Keiichi admitted the need to secure high-quality services for foreign tourists to Japan.

The JCP lawmaker argued that the loosening of regulations would only facilitate the increase of those malicious activities, demanding that the revision bill be retracted. However, after his questioning in the Lower House committee, the Diet endorsed the bill by majority vote (May 26).

Along with the revision of the Licensed Guide Interpreters Act, the ruling coalition and its supplementary groups also approved the Travel Agency Act. This revised law introduces a registration system for inbound land operators who arrange hotels, sight-seeing buses, and transport and luggage services for foreign visitors.

Yamazoe cited cases in which some of the guides employed by land operators take tourists to dishonest tax-free shops and do not declare their income from commissions received from those shops.

Regarding these cases, Chief of the Japan Tourism Agency Tamura Akihiko said that such land operators will be subject to a penalty of cancellation of their registration or will be given a business improvement order.
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