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October 22, 2005

Hotels Taking Guests at Face Value

Debito Arudo (aka David Aldwinckle) wrote in his latest column in the Japan Times of an unexpected encounter while attending the recent JALT National Conference. Held in Shizuoka, the event drew over 1,600 English teachers from across the country, many of whom stayed at hotels in and around the city. The article deals with the fact that hotels required all foreign guests to produce their passport. Not an unusual requirement at first glance, except that it was being applied to all non-Japanese, regardless of whether they were tourists or long-term residents. In Arudo's case, he is actually a naturalized Japanese citizen, with a Japanese passport and yet was pressed to actually produce it. He refused and pointed out that the hotel was not acting exactly in line with the policy as it had been laid out for them. But laid out by whom? He looked further into the matter and eventually the buck stopped with the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. They claimed that they had issued corrections to their misleading directives previously issued to hotels, but the fact is that hotel managers are playing it safe and hoping they can get away with a "shikata ga nai" (it can't be helped).
Ministry missive wrecks reception
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