It's pay to play, but it's not required to play online at all. Just like Monster Hunter, you can play the entire game offline, although you will not see everthing the game has to offer (obviously).
The quote specifically state that only few hours of the game is playable offline. Anything after that is an online only exprience. It could be wrong (we're talking about Kotaku here after all) but if what it's stated is true then I hope for fan's sake that the pay-to-play is removed for the Western release.
Edit: Here is some additional resource:
- The Japanese site suggests usage fees may apply.
- Despite previous reports, while you can play through the game by yourself, you'll need a constant stable Internet connection to complete much, if not most of the content.
Still can be intepreted in two ways:
1) You will need constant internet to play most of the game, but the fees may not apply if you're playing single player, only the multiplayer portion.
2) You will need constant internet to play because the majority of the game content can be played either by yourself or with other people and all of this will be base of a subscription model.
I feel that 1 is more likely but it's anyone's guess atm because we don't have full info.