TOKYO: Airbnb’s offices in Japan have been raided by anti-monopoly officials, the homesharing giant said Friday, denying any wrongdoing and pledging cooperation.
Japan’s Fair Trade Commission reportedly carried out the raids over suspicions Airbnb was requiring users to sign exclusively with its site and cut ties with other agencies.
“Airbnb Japan received an on-site inspection by the Japan Fair Trade Commission and we are cooperating with the Commission’s ongoing investigation,” the company said in a statement.
“Airbnb does not require hosts or partners in Japan to list properties exclusively with Airbnb, and we will work with the JFTC to address any questions they may have,” the firm added.
Fair Trade Commission official Kazuyuki Katagiri declined to comment on the report, saying that authorities do not comment on ongoing investigations.
Airbnb, which lets homeowners share their homes for a fee by marketing them online, has become a popular alternative to hotels and mirrors consumers’ growing reliance on online sharing services in other areas such as transport.
But the company has faced mounting criticism from some quarters that it exacerbates housing shortages and squeezes the long-term rental sector, with cities including New York, Miami and Berlin cracking down on the service.