Customs Clearance

What is customs clearance?

In accordance with the Japanese Customs Law, you must obtain Customs permit for import and export of cargoes.
When exporting or importing cargo from/to Japan, Customs clearance and Customs permit is required.

What is a Customs Broker?

Customs brokers in Japan are licensed companies by the Customs and Tariff Bureau, which is an internal bureau of Japan’s Ministry of Finance.
The main task is to carry out a series of procedures on behalf of the importer / exporter and to conduct the import / export declaration on behalf of the customers.

In general, what are the necessary documents for customs clearance?

  • Commercial Invoice (For both Import & Export)
  • Packing List (For both Import & Export)
  • Arrival Notice (For Import)
  • Power or Attorney for Customs Purposes (For both Import & Export , first-timers only)

Depending on product/cargo, additional documents are also necessary:

  • 1. Permit / approval certificate for other legislations (such as the Plant Protection Law, Food Import Notification and/or other legislations that requires official permit and approval)
  • 2. Preferential Certificate of Origin (when trying to apply preferential duties)
  • 3. Tax reduction statement (when trying to apply tax reduction)

What is Power of Attorney for Customs Purposes?

The Customs Broker is entrusted by the customer and performs customs duties on behalf of them and the power of attorney is the document that proves it. Customs Brokers are required by Law to obtain a Power of Attorney from the Importer/Exporter.Please see link for sample. When requesting our services, please send original Power of Attorney, completed and stamped.

What is Invoice?

Invoice is a document that shows the price of a trade transaction between Exporter (Shipper/Seller) and Importer (Buyer).

It is a legal document issued by the seller (exporter) to the buyer (importer) in an international transaction and serves as a contract and a proof of sale between the buyer and seller.

What are the required items for the Invoice?

There is no specific format for invoices, but the Customs Law requires at least:

  • Name and address of exporter
  • Name and address of importer
  • Origin/Destination of cargo
  • Marks, product name, product type, quantity and price
  • Invoice date and place
  • Conditions related to freight pricing (i.e. C&F, FOB, etc.)

What are list restrictions and catch-all restrictions?

List regulation is a list of products and technologies that requires permission from the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry when exporting cargo from Japan to overseas. 15 items are listed, such as weapons themselves and expensive general-purpose products that can be used for weapons development.
Under catch-all regulations, permits may be required for products and technologies that do not fall under the list regulation. The cargoes and technologies subject to catch-all regulations are specified in Paragraph 16 of the Schedule 1 of the Export Trade Control Ordinance (Export Order) and Paragraph 16 of the Schedule of the Foreign Exchange Order (Foreign Exchange Order).The case where a license is required is defined in Article 4-3 of the Export Ordinance, the Ministerial Ordinance on Non-Trade-Related Trade, etc., and Article 7-2 of Article 9。


When carrying out trade transactions with foreign countries, trade conditions are determined using “Incoterms” established by the International Chamber of Commerce in order to clarify the responsibility of exporters and importers for the transportation of cargo.

Is there anything we can not import to Japan?

  • ① Stimulants, cannabis, narcotics
  • ② Firearms and parts
  • ③ Currency or securities imitations, counterfeits
  • ④ Documents, drawings, etc. that should detrimental to design and manners (obscene magazines, videos, DVDs, pornography)
  • ⑤ Imitations of branded products, counterfeit products
  • ⑥ Articles falling under the Washington Convention

[IMPORT] flow: Cargo arriving in Japan by aircraft or vessel is stored at bonded area until import procedures are completed.

In principle, import declarations must be made after the cargo has been brought into the bonded area.

When the cargo arrives, the airline or shipping company will issue an “Arrival Notice” to the importer that the cargo has arrived. Once Importer has all necessary documents related to said cargo, a declaration is submitted to Customs Office. Depending on cargo, it is necessary to obtain permit from other official offices as well.

Customs may or may not require inspection and once all examinations are done and taxes paid, Import Permit is issued.Cargo can be retrieved from bond area by presenting Import Permit.

If you want to know if the cargo has arrived in Japan, please check with the airline or shipping company that is responsible for your shipment.

In general it is necessary to contract a Customs Broker to handle import of shipment, since it requires transportation of containers, inspection, trucks, unloading of cargo and it takes unexpected time and subcontracting services.

(Note) Customs declarations can be made by the importer themselves, but as this is a specialized service, beginners find it very difficult to handle.

US Military cargo

Does ING Japan handle customs clearance for US Military related cargo using 380 or 381 customs form?

ING Japan has experience handling US Military Cargo to Bases all around Japan. Please feel free to contact us.

Does ING Japan handle shipments related to US Military?

Yes, we can also deliver and pick-up cargo to/from Bases in Japan.

Does ING Japan handle private vehicles to military personnel?

Yes, we can clear customs and deliver or pick-up vehicles to military personnel.

Other Cargoes

I want to send/receive dangerous goods from/to Japan. What should I do?

Please prepare a document that describes the details (components, properties, quantity, etc.) of the cargo such as SDS (MSDS) so that we can confirm whether it can be handled.

What is SDS (MSDS)?

SDS (MSDS) is a document that provides information about chemical substances to other parties when a company ships chemical substances or products to other companies.
It has various information such as chemicals, supplier name, classification, hazard summary, safety measures and emergency response.

I want to send/receive my baggage overseas by DOOR TO DOOR

ING Japan also handles it. Please feel free to contact us.

My company is also a Customs Broker, but would like to ask for Customs Inspection only.

ING Japan can offer services regarding Customs Inspection at the Port of Yokohama. We can also handle D/O or other services related within Yokohama Port.

Do you handle Household goods and personal effects?

ING Japan offers services for customs clearance and delivery for household goods.

Import/Export of vehicles

Do you handle vehicles coming to Japan?

ING Japan handles customs clearance and delivery of import vehicles to Japan.

Do you handle exhaust gas testing, noise inspection, and modification of imported cars to Japanese specifications?

Depending on the model we handle it.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions.