Japanese hostel starts accepting Russian and Belarusian customers again after rejecting them online

Shiga Prefectural Government Building (Mainichi/Takanori Ishikawa)

OTSU – Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, a Japanese-style inn in the prefectural city of Shiga in Nagahama posted a notice on its website informing potential guests that Russian and Belarusian nationals would not be not allowed to stay in the establishment, we learned.

With few exceptions, the Hotel Business Act does not allow hotels and hostels to deny accommodation to guests. Following an administrative directive from the prefectural government on April 11, the hostel removed the notice from its website.

On February 26, the hostel posted a notice in Japanese and English that read:

“Dear clients,

We will not accept any Russian and Belarusian customers forever (sic) and forever. We know that no customer is guilty, but your leaders, Putin and Lukashenko, should understand what they are doing against the world. We are still with Ukraine and Ukraine. In fact, we had only accepted one couple from Russia in the past. So we can cause big problems for Putin and Lukashenko. But we have no choice what to do.

This decision is our strongest wish to stop the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We know this is an illegal war. If Russia stops the invasion and apologizes, we will reconsider our decision. War is not necessary for our life.

Stop the war!!!!

Thank you for understanding.”

The environmental health division of the prefectural government learned of the notice through a media outlet investigation on April 11. An official from the Nagahama Public Health Center visited the hostel and asked the establishment to remove words on its website that could be interpreted as banning certain guests. .

The hostel has updated its website – in Japanese only – announcing that it will start accepting guests from Russia and Belarus again. He explained the chain of events that took place and the thinking behind the actions taken by the hostel. “We feel strong anger towards the behavior of Russia and Belarus. However, the people of Russia and Belarus are not to blame. There is no denying that our announcement to ban Russian and Belarusian customers from our hostel was a wrong way to denounce (the actions of both countries).”

According to the hostel, no Russian or Belarusian nationals attempted to make reservations during the time the notice was posted.

(Japanese original by Manabu Niwata, Otsu Bureau)

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