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International convention and customs procedures of Japan

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
Party to the International Coffee Agreement
International Economic Cooperation
Japan is a member of the following international economic organisations: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (dialogue partner of ASEAN Plus Three), G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IMF, OECD, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Japan click here. International organisation membership of Japan is also outlined here.
Non Tariff Barriers
Non-tariff barriers are common in Japan. Factors such as exclusively Japanese standards, the importance of personal relations in doing business and a regulatory policy with a preference for national products may inhibit entrance of foreign products into the Japanese market. Quotas exist for certain marine products, organic chemical products, explosives, pharmaceutical and medical products, animals and plants (in respect of the Washington Convention). An import license is necessary for all products subject to quotas, products deemed dangerous and perishable goods. See the list of goods prohibited from importation into Japan.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Japan applies a customs tariff that is among the lowest in the world (on average, 2.5%).

For a summary of Japanese customs tariffs, please see the following sheet provided by the WTO.

Customs Classification
Japan uses the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System, generally referred to as the 'Harmonised System,' developed by the World Customs Organisation.
Import Procedures
Any person wishing to import goods must declare them to the Director-General of Customs and obtain an import permit after examination (if necessary) of the goods concerned. The formalities start with the lodging of an import declaration and end with issuance of an import permit after the necessary examination and payment of Customs duty and excise tax. In this way, measures are taken to ensure the fulfillment of the requirements for the control of foreign exchange and other regulations concerning the importation of goods. More than 90 percent of import procedures is currently computerised.

All steps and required documents are available on the website of Japan Customs.

The Customs Counsellor System assists companies with import procedures.

Importing Samples
Japan acceded to the ATA Convention in 1973. Goods imported from contracting countries and territories can generally be subject to a procedure on the basis of the ATA Convention and be exempted from Customs duty and excise taxes payable. To find out more, please visit the Japan Customs website

To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export controls.

For Further Information
Japanese Customs Office
Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Japanese Ministry of Economic, Trade and Industry
Japan Trade Portal
Asia Trade Hub

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Latest Update: July 2024