How To Send A Package To Japan — Quick Shipping Tips

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Your loved one has moved to Japan and is missing home. They have requested for you to send them a package, and thus you have put together a care package. Unlike shipping parcels and packages within your country, it can be difficult to wrap your head around all the information out there, let alone handle the details in a language that is not native to you. 

So, if you are looking forward to shipping a parcel from the Philippines to Japan, we are here to help you with all the necessary customs regulations that you have to follow. Here at DHL Express, you can now send your package to Japan and have it reach on time, hassle-free. 

The Compulsory Documents You Need When Shipping To Japan

You will need to fill out an air waybill, commercial invoice, and a packing list when it comes to shipping most goods to Japan. When filling out these forms, it is crucial that the information filled is complete and correct. A handy tip for filling out your commercial invoice is to provide a clear and accurate goods description. Try to avoid using vague descriptions like “samples” or “gift” so that it saves time at customs — authorities can classify the goods quickly without requesting for more information from you. 

Find out more about the shipment documents you may need to send a package to Japan. 

Remember to fill out the commercial invoice in English. The receiver’s contact information, like their phone number, should be included in this form and the air waybill. If you are shipping food to Japan, you may need to fill out additional documents such as a packing list, specific licenses, or a certificate of origin. These are usually required for plant or animal species trade, in which they are controlled to ensure survival. 

Japan Customs Regulations - Import Clearance Procedures 

Japan customs has different clearance procedures, applied to various goods. Some of the main considerations include the type and value of your goods and information available at the time of their arrival at the Japan customs office. 

Manifest Clearance

Just like the express clearance in other countries, manifest clearance usually applies to low-value shipments worth less than JP¥10,000, including Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF). If your parcel is classified as low value, no duties or consumption taxes will be charged. 

However, there are some goods that cannot be processed by manifest clearance as they will be subjected to additional taxes or approvals. Some examples of these goods include leather goods, alcohol, and food products like sugar and rice. If you are looking to send a food package to Japan, it is best to check them against the list of Japan’s customs restricted food items to prevent your package from being rejected. 

Formal Clearance 

The formalities of clearance at Japan’s customs begin with the lodging of an import declaration. The process typically ends with the issuance of an import permit after the necessary examination and payment of customs duty as well as excise tax. These formalities are usually taken to ensure the fulfillment of requirements for the control of foreign exchange. 

Most of the time, declarations are made by lodging an import declaration describing the quantity and value of the goods and other necessary details. Import declarations are usually made by the company importing the goods, and is often done only after the package has been taken into a designated zone. However, in the case of specific items which may need the approval of the Director-General of Customs in Japan, the declaration may be pre-filed. Any kind of goods can go through this clearance procedure as long as the necessary paperwork is in order — information and goods description on the commercial invoice must be accurate and complete together with other mandatory documents. Here are the necessary paperwork that you need to fill out:

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  • Invoice

  • Air Waybill

  • Certificate of origin (where a WTO rate is applicable)

  • Packing lists, freight accounts, insurance certificates (where necessary)

  • Generalized system of preferences, certificates of origin (Form A) 

  • Licenses, certificates for the import of restricted goods under Japan’s Customs regulations

  • Customs duty payment slips for dutiable goods

  • Detailed statement on reductions of, or exemption from Customs duty and excise tax (where applicable)

There is an increased chance of delay in shipment if the information on the submitted commercial invoice is incomplete. These can be missing documents or paperwork that has not been provided in advance. 

Rates Of Import Tariffs and Duties In Japan 

According to Japans Customs, when you send a package to Japan, it will be subject to customs duty and consumption tax, as well as other internal taxes that apply to the dutiable imported goods. Here are more details on the taxation costs that you may need to pay in addition to shipping costs to Japan:  

1. Tariff (Duty Rates) System for Commercial Goods

Most of the Japanese customs duty rate is dependent on the products that are being shipped. For instance, alcoholic beverages are dutiable.

Typically, the average applied rate for all goods is 1.8%. Agricultural products are taxed at 10.1%, fish and other seafood products are taxed at 4.6%, whereas wood, pulp, paper products, and furniture are taxed at 1.7%. 

Tariff And Duty Rates Systems For Personal Effects

To help facilitate ease of clearance, personal effects and small packages are taxed through a simplified tariff schedule. Following Japan’s customs regulations, if the commercially imported goods are less than JP¥200,000, they can follow a simplified Japan’s import tax rate. These goods include alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, tableware, fresh produce, and food products.

Though it may seem like you can send almost anything to Japan, there is also a list of restricted items that Japan's customs adhere to. Jewelry items, gold, silver, as well as diamonds, ashes, vaporizing materials, and combustible solids are some of the prohibited items that you cannot include in your package to be shipped to Japan.

Visit the complete list of prohibited items listed by Japans customs here.

Choose DHL Express For A Hassle-Free Shipping Experience

The advantages of using DHL Express will not only minimize the chances of clearance delays but also reduce the risks of incurring extra costs.

Furthermore, when you choose to use DHL Express to send a package to Japan, our team of professionals will provide you with the necessary information and advice to clear customs and the platforms for you to fill up. To find out the exact rates for shipping items to Japan, you can always visit our website for a quick quote. Simply fill out yours and the recipient’s address details and package information in the form to retrieve an accurate rate. You can also opt to create a shipment order online and pay for the shipping cost to Japan at the same time. 

Sign up for for a DHL account with us and enjoy savings on shipping costs, efficient shipping solutions, experienced customer service, amongst many other benefits! Leave the worrying and brass tacks of shipping to us. Get started and sign up with DHL Express’ shipping services to ensure efficient and hassle-free delivery of your package.