Export to Japan

Japan is one of the world’s biggest and most developed economies with a highly entrepreneurial business environment and sophisticated consumer market.

Japan is the EU’s second-largest trade partner in Asia after China and negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement are underway. The FTA is projected to further deepen trade between Ireland and Japan: in 2012, Japan was Ireland’s 11th largest trading partner in terms of manufacturing exports; bilateral trade reached €6.4 billion.

Sources: CIA World Factbook, European Commission, Irish Exporters, McKinsey Global Institute, GOV.UK

For more detailed information when trading with Japan, download our Japan Fact Sheet.



Japan Fact Sheet (2 MB)

Read more detailed
information about Japan

DHL Facts

Locations: 98

Gateways into the Country: 3

Number of Service Centres: 36

DHL Delivery Zone: 7

Vehicle Fleet: 817

Japan: Country Profile
Population: 127.1 million Exports from
US$ 697 billion (2013 est.)
Area: 377,925 sq km Export Commodities: Motor vehicles, semiconductors, iron and steel products, auto parts, plastic materials, power generating machinery
Currency: 1 yen (JPY) = 100 sen Top Export Destinations: USA, China, Germany, Hong Kong, UK, India, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore
GDP: US$ 4.8 trillion (2013 est.) IMPORTS INTO JAPAN
Time Zones: UTC +9 Imports into
US$ 766.6 billion (2013 est.)
Languages: Japanese Import Commodities: Petroleum, liquid natural gas, clothing, semiconductors, coal, audio and visual apparatus
Ethnic Groups: Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6% Top Import Origins: USA, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, Singapore, Italy, South Korea, Taiwan
Transit Times
The times provided for
dutiable shipments
are based on the time
expected for Customs
in Japan to clear
the shipment. This is
contingent upon the
value of the shipment.
Destination Non-Dutiable Shipment Dutiable Shipment
Tokyo 2 days 2 days
Nagoya 2 days 2 days
Osaka 2 days 2 days
Hiroshima 3 days 3 days
Kagoshima 3 days 3 days
  • Further Information

    DHL can assist you with trading with Japan. Contact the DHL Express team on 1890 725 725

    DHL Customer Services is also available on 1890 725 725

  • Duty Free Allowance

    JPY 10,000

Essential Customs Information

For an estimate of landed costs (duties, taxes and other import fees) for shipments going to Japan use the free and interactive DHL Express Trade Automation Services (TAS) tool, TAS also provides information on regulations compliance and trade documentation.

Document shipments above 30 kg (66 lb) must be sent as goods.

Japan Customs only accepts typewritten invoices.

Private shipments will be inspected by Japan Customs before being delivered to the receiver.

ATA Carnets must have a holder’s signature on the Carnet Form on the Japan Import Page and Japan Export Page (if exporting with DHL) – otherwise, they will be declared as dutiable goods. Receiver must pay additional charges for ATA Carnet shipments (JPY 7,800/shipment )and Bonded Transit Documents (actual fee + JPY 6,000/shipment).

Non-document goods shipments for hotel guests will be sent on Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) Incoterm.

Bonded storage fees will be applied after 6 working days; minimum: JPY 900 or JPY 15/kg per day, whichever is higher.

Prohibited items specific to Japan:

The list below is in addition to DHL’s standard list of prohibited items.

  • Asbestos 
  • Animal bones and horns
  • Animal (including insect) & plant quarantine related items
  • Antibodies, bacteria, viruses & serum
  • Biological substances related to animals or plants
  • Firearms, or parts of
  • Furs
  • Grain samples
  • Green & unroasted coffee
  • Ivory
  • Japanese passports
  • Meat products including fresh and frozen meat, beef jerky, ham and sausages
  • Military equipment
  • Perishables
  • Plants and plant products including all fruit, vegetables & legumes (fresh / frozen), malt & straw, fresh / cut / dried flowers and seeds including cotton seed
  • Shipments containing documents or goods from / to / made in North Korea
  • Soil samples
  • Tobacco excluding cigarettes and pipe tobacco as packaged wrapped finished products
  • Toy guns

Restricted items specific to Japan:

Airline tickets, blank stock (NI) / issued / validated, blank forms, calendars, credit cards (NI) including credit card blanks, diaries, diskettes, maps, photographs and swatches
Must be declared as goods.

Alcoholic beverages  
Maximum weight: 10kg (22 lb). Food licence required unless the receiver is a private individual importing for personal use, or a company importing samples (subject to Customs discretion). Required information: number of bottles, content volume, alcohol content, sparkling or not. 

Animal products including animal skins and leather goods
Indicate type of skin/leather on commercial invoice.  

Biological Substance Category B, UN3373
Only human biological substances can be exported to Japan, e.g. human blood samples.  

Provide CITES certificate regardless of weight.  

Chemicals, non-hazardous
Attach component analysis table to commercial invoice. 

Include number of cigarettes on documentation. 

Coffee including coffee samples
If more than 10 kg (22 lb) and for resale or distribution to unspecified number of general public: receiver to provide food licence. 

Coal & firewood, cologne & perfume, cosmetics, drugs: prescription & non-prescription, eye glasses & contact lenses and medical / dental supplies & equipment
Receiver to provide import licence.

Compact discs
Must be declared as goods.  

Diplomatic mail
Send as goods. Must have attached seal & visible external marks indicating that it is a diplomatic shipment – then it will not be opened, detained or taxed. Other shipments addressed to diplomatic entities (including private belongings of diplomats) must be accompanied by a completed 'KANGI' form (Request for Customs Exemption form) from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be exempt from duty.  

Drawings, technical / architectural / engineering
If shipped for sales purposes or with commercial value: send as goods

Films: 8mm, 16mm & 35mm / entertainment / promotional / training, DVDs, laser / video discs, negatives including x-rays & films and video cassette tapes
Shipper to provide declaration of contents.  

Fire extinguishers and isopropanol
Shipments must fulfil International Air Transport Association’s Dangerous Goods Regulations (IATA's DGR). Provide shipper's declaration for dangerous goods and send under separate Waybill. Fire extinguishers: provide import license.  

Glass products and non-hazardous liquids
Must be well-packaged – preferably in a wooden case and crate – to avoid damage. 

Infant toys
Subject to inspection by Japan’s Food Standards Agency..  

Non-Japanese passports
Send as goods.  

Personal effects and unaccompanied baggage
Waybill, invoice & pre-alert must state ‘PERSONAL EFFECTS’ or ‘UNACCOMPANIED BAGGAGE’. Provide receiver’s full name & phone number. Unaccompanied baggage: provide Customs declaration form with Customs stamp & copy of receiver’s passport.

Describe upper & lower sole materials and type of shoes on invoices. Samples must be marked & mutilated for duty & tax exemption; state 'MARKED AND MUTILATED' on invoices.

Substances containing sodium / calcium cyclamate and tea
Non-perishables only. If weight exceeds 10 kg (22 lb): receiver to provide food licence.

Textile articles including items of clothing, fabrics & fabric samples
Describe weave (woven/knitted) and materials on invoice. Items of clothing: detail the composition of the material.

For ship spares and x-ray machines please contact DHL Customer Services before shipping.