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Import/Export

United States to Japan

Country or Territory Regulations Topics:

Commodity Specific Stipulations

There are special stipulations on the following commodities when shipping to Japan. If you plan to ship one of the commodities listed below, be sure to adhere to the following stipulations in order to avoid delays and holds at customs.

Shipments of leather and fur skin processed into products such as clothing and handbags can be imported. Shipment may require a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) certificate and an import license.
Bound items, such as books, are classified as a non-document shipment.
Blank checks require a commercial invoice and can be imported into Japan as a non-document shipment.
Shipments of clothing (including undergarments) from South Korea and of South Korean origin will require an importer order sheet with transaction values indicated. In place of an importer order sheet, other forms of receipt or bank remittance slip may be accepted. This applies to both commercial and personal shipments, of CIF value exceeding 20,000.00 JPY (approximately US$180.00).

An import delay is expected as Customs will audit the declared values and perform inspection on the shipments. Approval to import will then be granted accordingly.

Note: Clothing shipments from South Korea but not of South Korean origin will not be subjected to this requirement. Also, clothing shipments of South Korea origin but not shipped from South Korea need not conform to this requirement.

Shipments of roasted coffee require an import notification and inspection by the Japan Health Ministry.

Green, raw, unroasted coffee beans are prohibited.

To ship cosmetics, the following conditions must be met:

If the consignee is an individual (rather than a company), the shipment cannot exceed 24 pieces per item.
Example: Two soaps packed in a box is counted as 2 pieces, therefore 12 boxes may be imported.

If the consignee is a company, an import license and sales license are required prior to import. If the cosmetics are samples, up to 36 pieces per item may be imported per shipment. If the cosmetics are intended for commercial use, there is no limit on quantity.

Cosmetics include soap, lipstick, eye shadow, nail polish, creams, hair spray, cologne, lotion, hair tonic, and others.

All credit cards must be imported into Japan as a non-document shipment. A commercial invoice is required.
All CD Roms must be imported to Japan as non-document shipments. The invoice must include the consignee's telephone number, CD-ROM titles, quantity and intended use (educational, personal, commercial, entertainment or instructional). The consignee will be contacted to verify this information.
Shipments of dental instruments and tools to an individual or a doctor requires a doctor's license and is limited to 3 pieces per shipment. An import license from the Ministry of Health is required for 4 or more pieces.
All discs must be imported to Japan as non-document shipments. The invoice must include the consignee's telephone number, disc titles, quantity and intended use (educational, personal, commercial, entertainment or instructional). The consignee will be contacted to verify this information.
To ship any medicine (including Potassium Iodide), the following conditions must be met.

If the consignee is a company, an import license and a sales license are required regardless of quantity.

If the consignee is an individual:

  • A 1-month supply of prescription drugs can be shipped per shipment.
  • A 2-month supply of quasi-drugs can be shipped per shipment.
  • If the medication is an external preparation, such as an ointment or eye drops, then up to 24 pieces can be shipped per shipment.
  • A 2-month supply of vitamins can be shipped per shipment.

Shipments of medicine may experience delays.

Some prescription drugs are prohibited, such as psychoactive drugs. Stimulants such as amphetamine and methamphetamine are prohibited.

Note: Contact Import Brokerage for further information.

Event Tickets are non-documents. The ticket price should be declared on the commercial invoice.
The invoice must include the consignee's telephone number, the title of the film, the type of film (VHS, BETA, etc), and the quantity. Used films may require censorship. For 355mm film, expect at least one month delay for censorship.
Commercial shipments require import notification and inspection by the Health Ministry.

Personal shipments under 10 kgs are exempt from notification and inspection by the Health Ministry.

Food such as ham, sausage, frozen fruit are prohibited. Please see Prohibited/Restricted Commodity Section.

The invoice must include the consignee's telephone number, laser disc titles, quantity and intended use (educational, personal, commercial, entertainment or instructional). The consignee will be contacted to verify this information.
To ship medical items, the following conditions must be met:

  • If the consignee is a company, an import license is required.
  • If the consignee is an individual, only 1 set of medical items can be shipped.

    Examples of medical items: massage machines, false teeth, tonometer, clinical thermometer, and electrocardiograph.

  • To ship any medicine (including Potassium Iodide), the following conditions must be met.

    If the consignee is a company, an import license and a sales license are required regardless of quantity.

    If the consignee is an individual:

  • A 1-month supply of prescription drugs can be shipped per shipment.
  • A 2-month supply of quasi-drugs can be shipped per shipment.
  • If the medication is an external preparation, such as an ointment or eye drops, then up to 24 pieces can be shipped per shipment.
  • A 2-month supply of vitamins can be shipped per shipment.

    Shipments of medicine may experience delays. Some prescription drugs are prohibited, such as psychoactive drugs. Stimulants such as amphetamine and methamphetamine are prohibited.

    Note: Contact Import Brokerage for further information.

  • Commercial shipments of nutritional supplements require an import license. A 2 month supply of nutritional suplements can be imported for each personal shipment.
    The invoice must include the name of the part and the machine that uses the part.

    Ship and Boat Parts
    Ship and boat parts may be imported into Japan through UPS Worldwide Express, however, the package must go through Customs, and duty and taxes will be applied.

    UPS Supply Chain Solutions cannot obtain special clearance for ship or boat parts. These items must be cleared by the Japan Customs office in charge of the port where the ship or boat requiring the parts is lodged.

    Customers must use an authorized UPS / MBE (Mail Boxes Etc) Store, UPS Customer Center or ISC Approved Shipper to ship personal effects.

    The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc, UPS Customer Center or ISC approved shipper will be required to identify personal effect shipments on the shipping label by placing "Personal Effects" in the Reference Field of a UPS "smart" label or in the Special Instructions Field of a UPS waybill. They must also clearly indicate 'Personal Effects' shipment on the Commercial Invoice.

    Personal Effects are classified as used items (owned for a minimum of 6 months) intended for the consignee's personal use. Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis. "Personal Effects" must be clearly stated on the invoice and goods description.

    All of the following documents must be scanned into DIS/SIR and originals on the package:

    An inventory list with estimated values with the reason for importation (holidays, move, relocation) A confirmation that the goods are older than 6 months and that they are intended for personal use only A photocopy of passport or ID card Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis.

    Excisable goods (for example, perfume, alcoholic drinks, tobacco), medicine and perishable food can not be cleared as personal effects.

    Personal effects shipments are not allowed in combination with Return Services.

    Materials that constitute the shoe soles and uppers must be listed on the commercial invoice along with the type of shoe. For example: rubber sole, leather upper, sport shoes.
    After the tableware shipment arrives, the consignee must provide an import notification for inspection to the Japan Health Ministry for the following items:

  • Ceramic coffee cups, saucers, glasses, spoons, knives (including Swiss Army knives), and forks
  • Food processors and their parts, including can openers
  • May include other kitchen utensils

    Personal shipments below 10kg (22 lbs) are exempt from the notification requirement.

  • The consignee will be contacted to verify the content and purpose for the import of videotapes. All video shipments must contain the following information on the commercial invoice:

  • Title of the video
  • Type of video format, such as VHS, Beta, or other
  • Quantity of videos
  • Use of the video, such as educational, personal, commercial, entertainment, or instructional

    The consignee's phone number must be included for all shipments containing videos.

  • For shipments claiming GSP preferential, a certificate of origin is required.
    Commercial shipments of baby toys require an import notification form and an inspection by the Health Ministry. Personal shipments up to 10 kg (22 lbs.) are exempt.
    An import license is required from the Ministry of Health.
    The consignee will be contacted to verify the content and purpose for the import of videotapes. All video shipments must contain the following information on the commercial invoice:

  • Title of the video
  • Type of video format, such as VHS, Beta, or other
  • Quantity of videos
  • Use of the video, such as educational, personal, commercial, entertainment, or instructional

    The consignee's phone number must be included for all shipments containing videos.

  • To ship vitamins, the following conditions must be met:

  • If the consignee is a company, an import license is required, regardless of quantity.
  • If the consignee is an individual, up to a 2-month supply can be imported per shipment.

    Shipments of vitamins may experience delays.

  • Prohibited or Restricted Commodities

    In addition to the commodities which UPS prohibits to all countries or territories served (listed here), it is prohibited to ship the following commodities to Japan.

    Airline tickets are non-documents. The ticket price should be declared on the commercial invoice. No duties or taxes will apply.
    Import of Alcoholic beverages into Japan is permitted via ISC contract service.

    Private shipping must not exceed 10kg in total.

    Bank-endorsed shipments are prohibited.
    Any items that are subject to plant quarantine are prohibited by UPS. For example, Garlands, Wreaths, and items made of plant products etc.
    Electronic Cigarettes can only be shipped with an International Special Commodities (ISC) contract.

    If the consignee is a company,an Import License is required regardless of the quantity.

    If consignee is a private individual,one cartridge per shipment is acceptable.

    Any form of toy gun or gun replica is prohibited.
    Only kitchen knives are acceptable. All other types of knives are prohibited and will be processed return or abandon upon importation.
    Shipments of Lithium Metal Batteries are prohibited on Emirates Airlines flights which UPS uses to this destination country or territory.

    Alternative arrangements are in place, but expect transit delays if the normal planned flow of the package is via Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Time in Transit may be extended due to solution found.

    Importation of beef meat, bovine organ, and any other products of bovine origin such as sausages, hams etc. is temporarily suspended due to the Bovine Spongeform Encephalopathy outbreaks in several countries or territories. See detail in http://www.maff-aqs.go.jp/english/ryoko/bp.htm
    Miscellaneous Prohibited Articles

    As of October 01, 2010, UPS will no longer accept shipments to Japan that contain articles that are subject to plant and animal quarantine enforced by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' Plant Protection Station or Animal Quarantine Services.

    Plant-Related

    • Fresh, cut or dried flowers, leaves, roots, bark, seeds or other plant products (could include potpourri, garlands, wreaths, baskets made of plant material, etc.)
    • Tobacco (excludes rolled cigarettes or cigars), tobacco leaves
    • Fresh or frozen fruit or vegetables
    • Non-roasted coffee beans
    • Beans, except canned-beans
    • Soil
    • Wheat, sesame, cotton, grain, barley, malt, straw, rice, flour, herbs, spices, tea (tea bags accepted), mushrooms, sugar cane
    • Wood, nursery tree, bulbs
    • Any other type of commodity that requires quarantine

    Additional detail can be found at http://www.pps.go.jp/english/index.html

    Animal-Related

    • Meat, frozen meat, meat products, ham, sausage, beef jerky, including canned, bottled and vacuum-pouched products
    • Bacteria, viruses (human or animal)
    • Animal origin blood, blood product, serum, antibody, semen, tissue
    • Animal bone, horn, antler
    • Unprocessed animal fur, feathers
    • Gelatin, collagen
    • Pet food, wood or chews
    • Raw wool or leather
    • Insects
    • Any other type of commodity that requires quarantine

    Additional detail can be found at http://www.maff.go.jp/aqs/english/index.html

    Products made in Iran are prohibited in our service due to a current embargo.
    This includes earth and sand.
    Any form of toy gun or gun replica is prohibited.

    NOTE: Information provided by UPS is provided AS IS, may not be current, and does not constitute legal advice. In no event shall UPS be liable for any errors in the information, forms or features made available by UPS, or by any third party site linked to from UPS. Selection and completion of proper forms for any given shipment is the sole responsibility of the shipper. All shipments are subject to the UPS Terms and Conditions of Service in effect at the time of shipping for the country or territory of origin.
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