Japan Enacts Deregulation Bill to Increase Tour Guides (News)
Tokyo, May 26 (Jiji Press)—Japan enacted Friday a bill aimed at coping with a sharp increase in the number of visitors to the country by scrapping an interpreter license requirement for paid tour guides for foreigners.
With another bill to revise the travel agency law, the amendment bill to the licensed guide-interpreter law was approved by a majority vote chiefly by the ruling coalition and the leading opposition Democratic Party at a plenary meeting of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet.
Under the revised guide-interpreter law, tour guides for foreign visitors no longer have to be certified interpreters while certified guide-interpreters need to undergo regular training programs to improve the quality of their services.
The law also stipulates the introduction of a licensing system for area-specific guide-interpreters.
Meanwhile, the travel agency law amendment obliges contract tour operators to register their lodging and transportation arrangement operations, with a view to eliminating problematic business practices such as selling expensive souvenirs to foreign participants in guided tours.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]