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Japan Country Snapshot

FedEx Service Availability

International Service Availability* Export U.S. to Japan Import U.S. from Japan
Document/Package/Mail Services    
FedEx® International Next Flight
FedEx International First®
FedEx International Priority®
FedEx International Economy®
FedEx International Ground®    
FedEx International MailService®
     
Freight Services    
FedEx International Priority® Freight
FedEx International Economy® Freight
FedEx Freight® Priority    
FedEx Freight® Economy    
FedEx International Premium®
     
Distribution Services    
FedEx International Priority DirectDistribution®
FedEx® International DirectDistribution  
FedEx International Ground® Distribution    
     
Value-Added/Industry-specific Solutions    
FedEx® Electronic Trade Documents
Dangerous Goods
Dry Ice
FedEx Priority Alert™
SenseAware®    
FedEx International Broker Select®
FedEx® 10kg Box and FedEx® 25kg Box
FedEx® Third Party Consignee
     
Japan Domestic Services No

* Availability of particular services may vary by origin and destination.  Availability of particular solutions may vary by service selected.  All services subject to the applicable FedEx Service Guide.  

 

Country Information

Capital: Tokyo
Population: 127,368,088 est.
Language: Japanese
Weights and Measures: Metric
Currency: Japanese Yen
Time Zone Operates on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Daylight Savings Time is not observed.
Japan GMT+8

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Trade Group Member

Japan is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and is a party to many of the bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that the WTO oversees and for which the WTO provides arbitration. 

Under the General Preferential Tariff (GPT), Japan allows preferential duty treatment for many goods that are imported directly from certain countries. 

Like many other WTO members, Japan is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which provides for fines and the seizure of shipments containing commodities obtained from an endangered plant or animal. 

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is considering the progressive elimination of tariffs among the Pacific Rim members (Brunei, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States).

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General Import Clearance Information

Clearance Process

Working with Customs officials throughout the world, FedEx has developed innovative technology to eliminate many paperwork-handling steps and expedite the movement of international shipments.  This is the FedEx Expressclear electronic Customs clearance system.  Starting at the origin, state-of-the-art technology allows the processing of shipment paperwork and electronic transmission of documents to the designated FedEx hub and destination clearance location.  The Expressclear system also keeps a database of regulatory information, which includes importers numbers, broker, designation, corporate contact names and telephone numbers.  At a FedEx hub, international shipments are sorted, scanned and loaded onto an international flight.  Vital shipment information is keyed into a worldwide manifest database that is linked to computer systems operated by brokers and Customs officials in many countries.  Even before the plane has taken off, or while it is in the air, Customs agents and brokers at the destination point of entry can begin examining shipping manifests, querying air waybill data if they need more details, assessing duties and taxes and selecting shipments they wish to examine.  By the time the plane arrives at its destination, many packages are cleared immediately by local Customs.  As the plane is unloaded, the Expressclear system identifies packages to be examined and prints "cleared" Customs labels for all others.  Cleared shipments can be transferred to trucks for immediate delivery.  International shipments are scanned at all key points throughout the process to allow for up-to-date status reports including when Customs clearance is obtained.

Japan requires shipments entering the country to undergo an Import Declaration Process.  This process is carried out by either the actual importer or by a Customs broker who is authorized to act on behalf of the importer.  The import declaration is submitted to the regional Customs office responsible for the port at which the shipment arrives or through which the shipment is transiting.  Most import declarations are made using the NACCS (Nippon Automated Cargo Clearance System), which provides an on-line process to both Customs and trade industries such as Airlines and Customs Brokers.  NACCS consists of Air NACCS for air cargo and Sea NACCS for sea cargo and is used for both the Import and Export declaration process.

There are three primary types of import declaration:

  1. Manifest Clearance is available if the CIF value is less than or equal to 10,000 yen unless the commodity is restricted by one or more laws or is subject to excise duty.
  2. Low Value Declaration is available if the CIF value is less than or equal to 200,999 yen, including commodities which are restricted by law or are subject to excise duty.
  3. High Value Declaration is available if the CIF value is more than 201,000 yen.

A Customs entry can be initiated by means of an Electronic Import Declaration using NACCS (Nippon Automated Cargo Clearance System).  However, for Manifest Clearances, the importer must also physically submitted to Customs all required documents such as the Commercial Invoice and the Air Waybill plus any additional required documents such as:  

  1. any license or certification that is required by law or regulation such as when the commodity is subject to laws other than customs law;  
  2. packing lists, freight accounts, insurance certificates;  
  3. if available under the Generalized System of Preferences, the Certificate of Origin (Form A) is required for preferential duty treatment;  
  4. any certificates for tax reduction or exemption

During Customs clearance, packages must remain in an authorized, bonded warehouse.  If packages are expected to remain in an authorized bond area for more than 30 days, the license holder of the bonded warehouse must provide an explanation for the extension when they request permission from Customs for an extension.  Unless the commodities are perishable, Customs normally grants extensions.  The maximum storage period is two years.  Packages being cleared by FedEx in Osaka (KIX) or Tokyo (NRT/Narita) are held in the FedEx bonded warehouses at those locations.  FedEx does not maintain warehouses for long-term storage.

Using the information submitted, Customs will verify that the commodity has passed any inspections required by law; that any applicable duty, Consumption tax, and Excise duty are paid; and that any certification, approval, or permission (saying that commodity meets the requirement of other laws and regulations) have been provided.  Once Customs has verified that everything is in order, the shipment may be cleared.

According to Customs law, it is importer's responsibility to keep records of all their transactions for a period of three years plus the current year's transactions.

Other Laws

In order to protect the Japanese industry, economy, health, hygiene, security of society, and morals from negative impact, there are several domestic laws and regulations that affect imported goods.  For specific information about importing goods subject to these laws and regulations, you may contact the appropriate Ministry or Agency of the Japanese government.

1) Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Law is administered by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

2) Laws and Regulations Related to Banned Goods: 

  • Law Concerning Wildlife Protection and Hunting 
  • Firearms and Swords Possession Control Law 
  • Poisonous and Harmful Substance Control Law:  Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
  • Pharmaceutical Affairs Law
  • Silk Farming Law 
  • Fertilizer Control Law 
  • Law Concerning Sugar Price Stabilization 
  • Explosive Control Law 
  • Law Concerning Screening of Chemical Substances and Regulations or their Manufacture, etc. 
  • High Pressure Gas Safety Law 
  • Agrochemical Control Law

3) Laws and Regulations Concerning Government Monopoly 

  • Alcohol Monopoly Law

4) Laws and Regulations Concerning Quarantine:  the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 

  • Food Sanitation Law 
  • Plant Quarantine Law 
  • Domestic Animal Infectious Control Law 
  • Rabies Prevention Law 

5) Laws and Regulations Concerning Narcotics: 

  • Cannabis Control Law 
  • Stimulant Drug Control Law 
  • Narcotics and Psycho tropics Control Law 
  • Opium Law

Document Requirements

Air Waybill or Bill of Lading

An air waybill (naming the importer or exporter for customs purposes).

Commercial Invoice

A Commercial Invoice is required for all export shipments.  It is required for import shipments with a value exceeding 10,000 yen and for any commodity being imported, regardless or value, which requires import approval.  Likewise, when a shipment consists of multiple commodities and there is not sufficient room on the air waybill to indicate the value, country of origin, and description of each individual commodity, then a commercial invoice should be provided.  When the commercial invoice is required, the description must include the country of manufacture as well as the value of each commodity in the shipment.  Invoices should also show freight, insurance and any other charges or discounts as individual line items.  When available, the importer/exporter identification number should be included to minimize manual customs processing.

If a formal sales invoice exists, a copy of the original company invoice is required for customs clearance.  Failure to provide a copy of the original invoice may cause clearance delays.

Certificate of Origin

A Certificate of Origin Form A may be required for goods under formal entry claiming preferential duty or exemption under the various agreements (GPT).  It should be produced at the time of entry and must be in the possession of the Importer at the time of entry. Copies are not acceptable. The country of origin of the goods must also be detailed on the commercial invoice. 

Carnet

The ATA (Admission Temporaire – Temporary Admission) carnet is an international customs document that may be used for the temporary duty-free importation of certain samples, trade show goods, and professional equipment that will re-exported in the same condition by the same party within a limited amount of time.  The carnet is usually issued by a Chamber of Commerce in the owner's country and is valid for one year.  The carnet serves as a guarantee against the payment of duty which would be due if the merchandise is not re-exported.  It must be validated by Customs, beginning with Customs in the owner's country, at time of import and re-export in order to qualify for duty-free treatment.  Improper validation may lead to fines and penalties in addition to assessment of normal duties and taxes. Shipments subject to a carnet are not acceptable on any of FedEx's International Priority Services. 

Declaration of Antiquity

A declaration or certification of antiquity must be made by the importer in order to claim duty-free entry for goods that are over 100 years old.  It is helpful but not required for the exporter to include on the invoice a declaration regarding the age of any goods that are eligible for antiquity duty exemptions. 

Health Certificate

Certification from the appropriate government agency in the country of export regarding the health of the animal or plant from which the product was derived is required for most meat and plant products.

Import Approval

Certain goods require import approval from one or more government ministries.  The importer must submit an application form to the regulating ministry, which will apply its stamp/seal to the import approval application form if it grants approval.  Although there is one primary import approval application form, certain commodities (textiles, whale products, food, plant products, animal products, etc.) require a specific form.  Examples include but are not limited to the following:  

  • Sugar
  • Dairy Products
  • Rice, wheat and their products
  • Food, Food additives
  • Cutlery, cookware, containers, dishes, etc. used for food, beverages, or for food preparation
  • Toys for babies
  • Plants and plant products
  • Meat and meat products
  • Tuna, Whale, Seaweed
  • Radioactive Isotopes
  • Chemicals including Fertilizers
  • Drugs and medicines and other products such as eye drops, toothpaste, vitamin, etc. that have an effect on humans or animals
  • Medical Equipment 
  • Cosmetics and other products that are used on the human body (hair tonics, bath preparations, etc.)
  • Certain textiles
  • Compressed gases and their containers
  • Explosives

Quarantine Forms

Most plant and animal products are subject to inspection by the Plant or Animal Quarantine office at the time of import and/or export.  The quarantine form serves as an import approval application.

Customs Valuation

All goods sent to Japan must have a value and description provided, even samples and gifts.  When a sale transaction has occurred, in addition to the price paid or payable, associated charges such as transportation, sales commissions, discounts, etc. must be declared.  For non-revenue shipments such as gifts, samples and interoffice transfers; a fair market value must be declared with one (JPY) being the minimum possible value.

Import Duties

All goods entering Japan must clear Customs and are subject to Duty and Consumption Tax assessment unless the goods are duty or tax exempt by law.  Duties are usually an "ad valorem" rate (a percentage) that is applied to the transaction value (in Japanese Yen) of the imported goods.  However, some goods are dutiable at a specific rate of duty (so many yen per piece, kilo, liter, etc.) and others at a compound rate of duty (a combination of both ad valorem and specific rates).  Rates of duty vary based on commodity type and country of origin and are available in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of Japan.  Although the maximum rate is 60% of CIF value, duties are usually between 3-15%.  VAT (Consumption Tax) is 8%.  Duty is based on the transaction cost of the goods plus the cost of insurance, freight value and associated charges such as brokers fees, commissions, etc. Consumption Tax is payable on the sum of the cost, insurance, freight value and duty amount payable.

Antidumping

Under strict enforcement of unfair trade laws, Customs can assess antidumping duties or countervailing duties.  Antidumping duties are assessed on imported merchandise that is sold in Japan at less than the normal price of the good in the manufacturer's home market (also called the Fair Market Value).  Countervailing duties are assessed to counter the effects of subsidies provided by a foreign government for merchandise exported to Japan resulting in artificially low prices that are detrimental to Japanese industries.

Excise Duties

Some goods (such as tobacco products, hydrocarbon oils and products containing alcohol) are subject to additional taxes such as Excise Duty.

Additional Duties

Import Taxes

Customs Fees

There are no customs fees for Japan

Exchange Controls

There are no exchange controls for Japan.

Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT's)

Technical barriers or non-tariff barriers to trade as they are sometimes known, can cause many problems for exporters looking for new markets for their products. These barriers can be in the form of regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade tries to ensure that these barriers do not create unnecessary obstacles. To obtain further information on Technical Barriers to Trade as well as Notifications on technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures, go to the WTO website at http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tbt_e/tbt_e.htm.

Consular Fees

There are no consular fees for Japan.

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Japan Import Prohibitions

Japanese Law prohibits the following goods from being imported:

  • Arms & Sword (Ammunition, Cutlass, Dagger, Firearms, Guns, and Knife.
  • Drugs (Awakening, Stimulants, Marijuana, Narcotic, Opium, Poppy Straw, Psychotropic)
  • Animal Quarantine (Antibody, Bacillus, Bacon, Bacteria, Biological Substance, Blood, Bone, Cell, Coliform, Feathers, Feed, Fish Meal, Fur, Guts, Horns, Insect, Jerky, Meat, Pet Food, Protein, Raw Milk, Raw Wool & Leather, Sausage, Semen and Serum).
  • Plant Quarantine (Barley, Beans, Clay, Flour, Flowers, Fresh/Dried Fruits, Frozen Fruit, Green Coffee, Hay, Herb, Leaf, Malt, Moss, Nuts, Potpourri, Rice, Seeds, Soil, Spices, Straw, Ginseng, Tea (Teabag accepted), Tobacco, Vegetable, Walnut, Wheat, Wood)
  • Toxic/Poisonous Substance
  • Articles that infringe upon rights in patent, utility models, designs, trademarks, or copyrights
  • Personal Effects
  • Products made in North Korea
  • Movie Films (35mm & 70mm)
  • Human & Mouse Origin Antibody/Blood/Serum/Tissue can be accepted
  • Fur Pelts

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General Import Restrictions

The following items are not acceptable for carriage to any international destinations unless otherwise indicated. (Additional restrictions may apply depending on destination. Various regulatory clearances in addition to customs clearance may be required for certain commodities, thereby extending the transit time.)

  1. APO/FPO addresses.
  2. C.O.D. shipments.
  3. Human corpses, human organs or body parts, human and animal embryos, or cremated or disinterred human remains.
  4. Explosives (Class 1.4 explosives are acceptable for carriage to Canada, Germany, France, Japan, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. Note: United Arab Emirates only allows Class 1.4 explosives to be shipped hold-for-pickup to the FedEx Express facility in Dubai).
  5. Firearms, weaponry and their parts (acceptable between the U.S. and Puerto Rico).
  6. Perishable foodstuffs and foods and beverages requiring refrigeration or other environmental control.
  7. Live animals including insects, except as provided in the Live Animals section in the FedEx Service Guide. (Call the FedEx Live Animal Desk at 1.800.405.9052).
  8. Plants and plant material, including cut flowers (cut flowers are acceptable from the U.S. to selected points in Canada and from Colombia, Ecuador and the Netherlands to the U.S.).
  9. Lottery tickets and gambling devices where prohibited by law.
  10. Money (coins, cash, currency, paper money and negotiable instruments equivalent to cash such as endorsed stocks, bonds and cash letters).
  11. Pornographic and/or obscene material.
  12. Shipments being processed under:
    1. Duty drawbacks claims unless advance arrangements are made.
    2. Temporary Import Bonds – acceptable under the FedEx International Broker Select option, for initial import only.
    3. U.S. State Department licenses
    4. Carnets
    5. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration export permit.
    6. Letters of Credit. Shipments subject to Letters of Credit are generally prohibited, with the exception of shipments subject to Letters of Credit calling for a “courier receipt”, as defined by Article 25 of UCP 600, shipped using the FedEx Expanded Service International Air Waybill.
    7. Certificate of Registration shipments (CF4455).

    You may be able to ship these items via FedEx International Controlled Export, FedEx International Premium, FedEx International Express Freight (IXF) or FedEx International Airpot-to-Airport (ATA). For information on FedEx International Controlled Export, call International Customer Service at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339 (say “international services’). For information on the other services listed call FedEx Express Freight Customer Service at 1.800.332.0807.
  13. Hazardous waste, including, but not limited to, used hypodermic needles or syringes or other medial waste.
  14. Shipments that may cause damage to, or delay of, equipment, personnel or other shipments.
  15. Shipments that require us to obtain any special licenses or permit for transportation, importation or exportation.
  16. Shipments or commodities whose carriage, importation or exportation is prohibited by any law, statute or regulation.
  17. Shipments with a declared value for customs in excess of that permitted for a specific destination. (See the Declared Value for Carriage and Limits of Liability section in the FedEx Service Guide).
  18. Dangerous goods except as permitted under the Dangerous Goods section of these terms and conditions.
  19. Processed or unprocessed dead animals, including insects and pets. Taxidermy-finished hunting trophies or completely processed (dried) specimens of whole animals or parts of animals are acceptable for shipment into the U.S.
  20. Packages that are wet, leaking or emit an odor of any kind.
  21. Wildlife products that require U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service export clearance by FedEx prior to exportation from the U.S.
  22. In-bond shipments destined to or being withdrawn from a Foreign Trade Zone or bonded warehouse, unless the FedEx International Broker Select option is selected for U.S. import shipments, or the FedEx International Controlled Export service option is selected for U.S. export shipments.

Not withstanding any other provision of the FedEx Service Guide, we are not liable for delay of, loss of damage to a shipment of any prohibited item. The shipper agrees to indemnity FedEx for any and all costs, fees and expenses FedEx incurs as a result of the shipper’s violation of any local, state or federal laws or regulations or from tendering any prohibited item for shipment.

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Japan Restrictions

The following goods are restricted by Japanese law and are subject to Japanese regulatory agency approval but are acceptable for importation on FedEx's International Priority Services (FXIP):

  • Food
  • Textiles
  • Chemical substances (including Fertilizers)
  • Medicine 
  • Alcohol
  • Fertilizer
  • High pressure Gas
  • Explosives
  • Goods that may interface with the Japan's public infrastructure (roads, radio frequencies, telephone or power lines, etc.) can clear customs without special documents or prior approval but the end-user or reseller must obtain approval from the responsible government agency before the goods can be used in Japan.  Examples of these goods include motor vehicles, electric & telecommunication equipment, radios, telephones, and modems.


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Special Import Provisions

Temporary Imports: Including Repaired Articles or Articles for Repair

Articles consigned for Temporary Import traveling under Carnets, goods for exhibition, goods for repair, goods for incorporation into other articles and goods imported for further processing and re-export are not acceptable for importation into Japan via FedEx International Priority Services. These articles require special processing and customs clearance, which are not handled under the express carrier operation commitments.  Shipments of this type can be consigned on alternative FedEx shipping services.  For more information, please contact your local FedEx customer service representative. 

Personal Effects

Goods that are brought to Japan by a person for personal use or for his/her professional use are eligible for duty and tax exemptions. To request this exemption, the importer must submit an Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration form to customs.  Currently, personal effects are prohibited from importation into Japan on any FedEx International Priority (FXIP) Service.  To get more information on alternate shipping options, please contact your local FedEx Customer Service representative. 

Samples

Goods that are used as and which qualify as samples are eligible for duty-free entry.  In order to qualify, the total customs value should be 5,000 yen or less and the words "sample, not for resale" should be written on the commercial invoice.  The goods should be marked or mutilated so that they can only be used as samples and not be sold. 

Gifts

Japan allows exemption from duty and consumption tax for most casual gifts and donations sent by individuals to individuals in Japan or goods that individuals who are not residents of Japan import as gifts.  To qualify for this exemption, gift shipments may not exceed $50.00 (USD) per shipment.  Advertising material, tobacco, or alcoholic beverages are excluded from being processed as a gift shipment.  The commercial invoice should identify each item in the shipment and assign an individual value to each commodity.  While the paperwork should indicate that the package is a "Gift Shipment" this term is insufficient as a commodity description.  The exemption applies only to duty and tax.  Gift Shipments are still subject to all the normal regulatory requirements of a consumption entry and must be met in order to gain Customs clearance.

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Standards

Japan is a signatory to the WTO's Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) which includes the Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards.

Country of Origin Marking

Except for food products, Japan does not require that imported goods be marked in any particular way in order to be cleared through customs and released for delivery.  However, if the goods being imported show a false indication of origin or show any indication that may cause misunderstanding, the government will not permit importation.  When a good has an indication (label, text, etc.) that may cause confusion, it must have a marking "made in (Country)", "Product of (Country)", or other words of similar meaning appearing in close proximity to and in comparable size letters to the label or marking causing the confusion.

Marking of Goods

Except for certain commodities, Japan does not require that imported goods be marked in any particular way in order to be cleared through customs and released for delivery.  Depending on the particular article, marking or labeling may be required before it can be released to a consumer.

Food, food additives, and food containers such as dishes must have legible marking that meets the requirement of the Ministry of Health and Welfare under the Food Sanitation Regulations.  Food products must be labeled in Japanese with the name of the importer, the country of manufacture, and a description of the commodity including any chemical additives.  If the food is made with genetically modified food products (GMO), it must be labeled "Genetically Modified Food".  Depending on the exact commodity, additional details may be required on the label.

 
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General Export Clearance Information

Clearance Process

Export

Working with Customs officials throughout the world, FedEx has developed innovative technology to eliminate many paperwork-handling steps and expedite the movement of international shipments.  This is the FedEx Expressclear electronic Customs clearance system.  Starting at the origin, state-of-the-art technology allows the processing of shipment paperwork and electronic transmission of documents to the designated FedEx hub and destination clearance location.  The Expressclear system also keeps a database of regulatory information, which includes importers numbers, broker, designation, corporate contact names and telephone numbers.  At a FedEx hub, international shipments are sorted, scanned and loaded onto an international flight.  Vital shipment information is keyed into a worldwide manifest database that is linked to computer systems operated by brokers and Customs officials in many countries.  Even before the plane has taken off, or while it is in the air, Customs agents and brokers at the destination point of entry can begin examining shipping manifests, querying air waybill data if they need more details, assessing duties and taxes and selecting shipments they wish to examine.  By the time the plane arrives at its destination, many packages are cleared immediately by local Customs.  As the plane is unloaded, the Expressclear system identifies packages to be examined and prints "cleared" Customs labels for all others.  Cleared shipments can be transferred to trucks for immediate delivery.  International shipments are scanned at all key points throughout the process to allow for up-to-date status reports including when Customs clearance is obtained.

Japan requires that shipments leaving the country undergo an Export Declaration Process.  This process is carried out by either the actual exporter or by a customs broker who is authorized to act on behalf of the exporter.  The export declaration is made to the regional customs office responsible for the port at which the shipment will leave.  Most export declarations are made using the NACCS (Nippon Automated Cargo Clearance System), which provides an on-line process to both customs and trade industries such as Airlines and Customs Brokers. NACCS consists of Air NACCS for air cargo and Sea NACCS for sea cargo and is used for both the Export and Import declaration process.

There are 2 major types of export declarations that are used to export goods from Japan:

1) Low value declaration is available for shipments whose FOB value is less than or equal to 200,999 yen.

2) High value declaration is used for shipments whose FOB value is more than or equal to 201,000 yen.

The Export Declaration must be submitted and approved by Customs prior to shipment departure.  This can be done by means of an Electric Export Declaration using NACCS (Nippon Automated Cargo Clearance System), but the exporter must also physically submit to Customs all required documents such as the Commercial Invoice and the Air Waybill plus any additional required documents such as: (A) the Parameter sheets required for certain commodities and/or (B) Any license, certification, permit or approval that is required for the particular commodities by law or regulation of government ministries other than Customs.

During customs processing, packages must remain in an authorized, bonded warehouse.  Packages being cleared by FedEx in Osaka (KIX) or Tokyo (NRT/Narita) are held in the FedEx bonded warehouse at that location.  FedEx does not maintain warehouses for long-term storage.

Using the information submitted, Customs will verify that the commodity has passed any inspections required by law; that the shipment is not prohibited from export; and that any certification, approval, or permission (saying that commodity meets the requirement of other laws and regulations) have been provided.  Once Customs has verified that everything is in order, the shipment is cleared.

According to Customs law, it is exporter's responsibility to keep records of all their transactions for a period of three years plus the current year's transactions.

Other Laws

To monitor the development of foreign trade and comply with various international agreements to which it is a party, Japan has various laws and regulations that affect certain goods when they are exported. Many plant and animal products require a Quarantine Office inspection prior to export. Certain goods (such as chemicals, electronic components, telecommunication and computer equipment, etc.) that could be used for weapon production or have a military use require that the exporter provide detailed commodity information specific to their product in order to satisfy those laws and regulations. Depending on the use and exact nature of the good being exported, an exporter may have to obtain export approval from a government agency other than customs in the form of an export license. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry regulate most of the goods subject to export control.

Document Requirements

Air Waybill or Bill of Lading

An air waybill (naming the importer or exporter for customs purposes).

Commercial Invoice

A Commercial Invoice is required for all export shipments.  It is required for import shipments with a value exceeding 10,000 yen and for any commodity being imported, regardless or value, which requires import approval.  Likewise, when a shipment consists of multiple commodities and there is not sufficient room on the air waybill to indicate the value, country of origin, and description of each individual commodity, then a commercial invoice should be provided.  When the commercial invoice is required, the description must include the country of manufacture as well as the value of each commodity in the shipment.  Invoices should also show freight, insurance and any other charges or discounts as individual line items.  When available, the importer/exporter identification number should be included to minimize manual customs processing.

Export Permits/Licenses

Certain export goods require permission from a government agency before they can be legally exported. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry regulates most goods that are subject to export controls although the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries or the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare regulate certain animals, plants and drugs. (See "Parameter sheets" for additional information.) Application for an export license should be initiated several weeks prior to anticipated date of export. Approval of license requests is not always granted.

Health Certificate

Certification from the appropriate government agency in the country of export regarding the health of the animal or plant from which the product was derived is required for most meat and plant products.

Parameter Sheets 

In order to ensure that an export shipment is in compliance with Japanese law, certain goods require that the exporter provide technical characteristics of the goods and other shipment details.  To ensure that all the required information is provided, parameter sheets have been designed to require particular details based on specific products.  Depending upon the exact commodity, one or more of the approximately 230 different parameter sheets may be required before the commodity can be legally exported.  Customs also uses the parameter sheets to determine if an export license or permit is required.

Quarantine Forms

Most plant and animal products are subject to inspection by the Plant or Animal Quarantine office at the time of import and/or export.  The quarantine form serves as an import approval application.

Export Clearance Process 

(For Japan residents and businesses exporting goods to other countries.)

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Japan Export Prohibitions

Japanese Law prohibits the export of the following goods:

  1. Drugs (narcotics, stimulants, opium, psychotropic substances) and utensils for opium use
  2. Firearms and parts, Ammunition
  3. Weapon, Nuclear weapon, Chemical Weapon and their parts or materials
  4. Counterfeit money or securities
  5. Pornographic or obscene material
  6. Articles that infringe on patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc.
  7. Goods that are supposed to be supplied to domestic Market in higher priority than foreign market
  8. Certain plants and animals that are subject to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) regulations.


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General Export Restrictions

The following items are not acceptable for carriage to any international destinations unless otherwise indicated. (Additional restrictions may apply depending on destination. Various regulatory clearances in addition to customs clearance may be required for certain commodities, thereby extending the transit time.)

  1. APO/FPO addresses.
  2. C.O.D. shipments.
  3. Human corpses, human organs or body parts, human and animal embryos, or cremated or disinterred human remains.
  4. Explosives (Class 1.4 explosives are acceptable for carriage to Canada, Germany, France, Japan, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. Note: United Arab Emirates only allows Class 1.4 explosives to be shipped hold-for-pickup to the FedEx Express facility in Dubai).
  5. Firearms, weaponry and their parts (acceptable between the U.S. and Puerto Rico).
  6. Perishable foodstuffs and foods and beverages requiring refrigeration or other environmental control.
  7. Live animals including insects, except as provided in the Live Animals section in the FedEx Service Guide. (Call the FedEx Live Animal Desk at 1.800.405.9052).
  8. Plants and plant material, including cut flowers (cut flowers are acceptable from the U.S. to selected points in Canada and from Colombia, Ecuador and the Netherlands to the U.S.).
  9. Lottery tickets and gambling devices where prohibited by law.
  10. Money (coins, cash, currency, paper money and negotiable instruments equivalent to cash such as endorsed stocks, bonds and cash letters).
  11. Pornographic and/or obscene material.
  12. Shipments being processed under:
    1. Duty drawbacks claims unless advance arrangements are made.
    2. Temporary Import Bonds – acceptable under the FedEx International Broker Select option, for initial import only.
    3. U.S. State Department licenses
    4. Carnets
    5. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration export permit.
    6. Letters of Credit. Shipments subject to Letters of Credit are generally prohibited, with the exception of shipments subject to Letters of Credit calling for a “courier receipt”, as defined by Article 25 of UCP 600, shipped using the FedEx Expanded Service International Air Waybill.
    7. Certificate of Registration shipments (CF4455).

    You may be able to ship these items via FedEx International Controlled Export, FedEx International Premium, FedEx International Express Freight (IXF) or FedEx International Airpot-to-Airport (ATA). For information on FedEx International Controlled Export, call International Customer Service at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339 (say “international services’). For information on the other services listed call FedEx Express Freight Customer Service at 1.800.332.0807.
  13. Hazardous waste, including, but not limited to, used hypodermic needles or syringes or other medial waste.
  14. Shipments that may cause damage to, or delay of, equipment, personnel or other shipments.
  15. Shipments that require us to obtain any special licenses or permit for transportation, importation or exportation.
  16. Shipments or commodities whose carriage, importation or exportation is prohibited by any law, statute or regulation.
  17. Shipments with a declared value for customs in excess of that permitted for a specific destination. (See the Declared Value for Carriage and Limits of Liability section in the FedEx Service Guide).
  18. Dangerous goods except as permitted under the Dangerous Goods section of these terms and conditions.
  19. Processed or unprocessed dead animals, including insects and pets. Taxidermy-finished hunting trophies or completely processed (dried) specimens of whole animals or parts of animals are acceptable for shipment into the U.S.
  20. Packages that are wet, leaking or emit an odor of any kind.
  21. Wildlife products that require U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service export clearance by FedEx prior to exportation from the U.S.
  22. In-bond shipments destined to or being withdrawn from a Foreign Trade Zone or bonded warehouse, unless the FedEx International Broker Select option is selected for U.S. import shipments, or the FedEx International Controlled Export service option is selected for U.S. export shipments.

Not withstanding any other provision of the FedEx Service Guide, we are not liable for delay of, loss of damage to a shipment of any prohibited item. The shipper agrees to indemnity FedEx for any and all costs, fees and expenses FedEx incurs as a result of the shipper’s violation of any local, state or federal laws or regulations or from tendering any prohibited item for shipment.

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Japan Restrictions

N/A

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Regulatory Contact Information

Branch or Agency Name Areas of Responsibility
Japanese Customs and Tariff Bureau
  • Responsible for collection of customs duties and other taxes, for customs clearance, for prevention of movement of illegal drugs, firearms and other contraband, and for compilation of trade statistics.
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901
TEL: +81-3-3501-1511
  • Develops and implements policies on industry and international trade including import and export licensing. Administers cross-sector issues such as environmental protection and trade and industrial policies.
  • Responsible for basic industries (steel, new chemical materials, bio-industries, etc.), machinery and information industries (robots, industrial machinery, aircraft, information processing, electronic equipment, etc.), and consumer goods industries (textiles, ceramics, household goods, housing materials, etc.).
  • Coordinates the efforts of the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy, Patent Office, Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, and the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology.
Ministry of Finance
3-1-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8940
TEL: +81-3-3581-4111
  • Plans and implements policies related to Fiscal Investment and Loan Program and international finance.
  • Responsible for administering tax policy and system including customs duties, tariffs, and VAT.
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan
1-2-1 Chuo Goudou Chousha Dai-1gou-kan, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8950
TEL: +81-3-3502-8111
  • The Ministry comprehensively undertakes administration related to agricultural, forestry and fisheries products, covering from production to consumption, rural development and promotion of the welfare of rural inhabitants to achieve a stable supply of food, sound development of agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries and upgrade of the welfare of rural inhabitants.
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare
1-2-2 Chuo Goudou Chousha Dai-5gou-kan, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8916
TEL: +81-3-5253-1111
  • Responsible for the welfare of the elderly, self-reliance and rehabilitation of the disabled, healthy upbringing for children, public assistance, medical care insurance and pensions, the provision of medical care supply system, sickness prevention and treatment, quality control of medical supplies, food hygiene, water supply, waste treatment and relief for survivors of the war dead.
  • They also: promote employment and human resource development policies to ensure a stable working life, develop programs to support an aging society with fewer children, provide a stable and motivating work environment, promote individuality and internationalization and seeks improvement of the labor administrative system.
Food Agency
1-2-1 Chuo Goudou Chousha Dai-1gou-kan Nourin-Suisan-shou-nai, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 100-8951
TEL: +81-3-3502-8111
  • The Food Agency establishes the basic plan for the stabilization of supply, demand, and price of rice every year, and engages in purchase, stockpiling, transportation, sale and import of rice. The agency conducts product for quality improvement, provides guidance for labeling, implements analyses of residual agricultural chemicals, and strives to guarantee its quality and safety.
Ministry of the Environment
  • Endeavors to make Japan a sustainable society that generates little burden on the environment, while promoting international activities for conserving the global environment.
National Police Agency
2-1-2 Chuo Goudou Chousha Dai-2gou-kan, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8974
TEL: +81-3-3581-0141
  • Enforces laws related to crime, pornography and regulations related to possession and importation of firearms.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2-2-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8919
TEL: +81-3-3580-3311
  • Responsible for planning foreign policy and coordinating policies formulated by other bureaus. Takes charge of matters related to treaties such as the Generalized System of Preferences, disarmament and non-proliferation, nuclear energy, etc. and provides information on them. Implements international agreements to promote cultural exchange. Responsible for protection of Japanese nationals and their property abroad, the civil status of Japanese nationals abroad; certification of documents, issuance of passports and other travel documents, emigration affairs.
Agriculture & Livestock Industries Corporation
  • The main mission of the Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation is to: 1) help control the price of agricultural products in regards to yields, supply and demand; 2) control the price of sugar; 3) support financing of the dairy industry; 4) control the import of raw silk; 5) promote the Agricultural and Livestock industries.
National Tax Administration (NTA)
3-1-1 Ohkura-shou-nai, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8978
TEL: +81-3-3581-4161
  • Responsible for administration, taxation, revenue management, collection, examination and Criminal Investigation.
Animal Quarantine Service
  • A quarantine system is implemented worldwide for the purpose of preventing the incursion of animal illnesses and diseases. Japan conducts both import and export inspections for cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, horses, chickens, ducks, turkeys, quail, geese, honey bees and other animals and products and goods manufactured or derived from these animals.
Plant Protection Station
  • The plant quarantine service goals are to protect Japanese agriculture from the infiltration of quarantine pests from abroad by means of import quarantines at seaports and airports throughout Japan. The service utilizes domestic quarantine measures to prevent the proliferation and spread of local pests that seriously threaten agricultural crops. It also conducts export quarantine to comply with the requirements from overseas countries.
3rd Party Japan Tariff Association
  • The collection and supply of information relating to tariffs and trade, including the publication of trade returns, books and manuals; maintaining a library service; preparing petitions to the government on tariffs and trade; and holding meetings to study problems relating to the above.

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