Japan Humanitarian Customs Regulations

This document was submitted in response to a questionnaire distributed by Global Hand regarding humanitarian customs information. It provides regulations for importing humanitarian aid into Japan.

Required Documents

  • bill of lading/airway bill
  • commercial invoice
  • packing list
  • application for exemption from Customs duties and excise taxes
  • other documents may be required by authorities other than Customs depending on the type of goods.

Prohibited Goods

Goods prohibited from being imported/exported are specified in the National Legislation such as the Food Sanitation Law and the Plant Quarantine Law. This pertains to all goods whether they are humanitarian or not.

Tax Exemption

  • This is offered on humanitarian cargo. Certain goods that meet the requirement specified in the National Legislation are exempt from Customs duties and excise taxes. Article 15 of Customs Tariff Law specifies that exemption from customs duties applies to goods, provided that:
  • They are imported for the purpose of charity or relief
  • They are donated to the persons in need directly or through the government, a local public entity, or a social welfare corporation and
  • They are directly used or consumed by the persons in need Article 13 of the Law of Collection of Excise Taxes on Imports specifies that exemption from excise taxes applies to the above goods.

PreShipment Application

An international pre-shipment application is not required for tax exemption.

Monetary Valuation

Customs normally requires monetary valuation for the shipment on an item by item basis. No currency preference is specified.


When importing or exporting certain goods, a certification or permission by authorities other than Customs may be required regardless of whether they are new or second hand.

Other Info

Not all humanitarian goods are exempt from the requirements for ordinary import/export procedures. Only those goods which meet the requirements specified in the National Legislation are exempt from Customs duties and excise taxes. If you intend to import/export humanitarian goods contact the nearest Customs office regarding Customs procedure including conditions and requirements for exemption from Customs duties and excise taxes for you particular case. For locations and telephone numbers of Customs Counselors, see: http://www.customs.go.jp/zeikan/seido/telephone_e.htm

Contact Point

Mr. Chisato Sato, International Affairs and Research Division, Ministry of Finance email: chisato.sato@mof.go.jp; fax: + 81 3 52512175


Customs and Tariff Bureau, Ministry of Finance


Regions / countries / territories

Asia: Japan