Learning from successful examples is a good way to start importing in Japan.  In this section, we have picked up some of the questions often asked by our readers.  We hope you find these questions and answers useful!

About ACP

What is an ACP?

ACP stands for Attorney for Customs Procedures, and is a system to enable overseas companies or persons without location or residency to import in Japan in their names.

ACP serves like an IOR(Importer of Record) in the US or some other western countries.

Importing any merchandise in Japan requires importers who will be responsible for the duty/tax payment and liable for the products.  These responsibilities and liabilities are basically taken only by resident companies and individuals in Japan.  If overseas companies or persons want to import goods in Japan, they need to prove to the customs office that they are capable of taking care of these roles.  Then they should appoint a resident company or an individual as their ACP.  The appointed company or the individual will submit ACP application documents to the Customs office.  After Customs office accept the application, they are registered as the ACP.  The ACP supports the shipments and taxation on behalf of the overseas companies or persons.

What is the difference between an ACP and an IOR?

You could basically call ACP a Japanese version of an IOR.

The word IOR is sometimes used for convenience in Japan, which is not actually correct.  IOR is system and term used in US, Canada, Europe and some other foreign countries.  IORs support non-resident importers' shipments just like ACPs in Japan, with only a few different roles in taxation or other responsibilities.

How do I find an ACP?

You can find one in the following measures.

  • Internet search (Keywords: ACP, import, Japan, etc.)
  • Ask your forwarder or courier.
  • If you sell on FBA(Fulfilment by Amazon) Japan, find one on SPN(Service Provider Network).

You can also contact us via the Contact Form.  Selling in Japan website is run by Aikou Logistics Corporation, who is an experienced ACP service provider listed on SPN.  Feel free to ask us for the service details and prices.

 

I learned that I will need to notify Japan Customs if I appoint an ACP.  How do I do this?

The documents requested are the customs designated form, POA, certificate of incorporation, business model explanation, etc..

Here is the page where you can learn more about the documents required.

In the actual process, your ACP will give you guidance on the specific paperwork required.  It's important to choose a partner with sufficient knowledge and experience to prepare documents that are acceptable for the customs offices.  The processing time depends on how quickly you can prepare the documents required.

Can I use the ACP system to sell on FBA Japan?

Yes!  ACP is very frequently used by many cross-border FBA sellers.

Many overseas sellers appoint ACPs to import goods to sell on FBA Japan.  ACP can only help shipment of non-regulated items.  Please check how to import non-regulated goods, and contact us for more details.

About Tax

How much tax do I have to pay when I import in Japan?

Customs duty and VAT are charged at the time of import.

When you import goods in Japan, the customs office will charge you duty and VAT, which is called consumption tax. Duty rate varies by the product, and the consumption tax is 10%.  Please check this page for more details.

I'm a non-resident importer and not located in Japan.  Do I have to pay the import tax even I'm not a resident there?

Yes, it is importers' obligations to pay the import duty and tax.

Impoter have the responsibility to pay the import duty and VAT, whether they are resident or not.  You can ask your forwarder or courier to bill the destination duty and tax to yourself, and their customs brokerage team will pay them on your behalf and bill them to you.

What other taxation do I need to know?

After import, you may have to pay and file the VAT (consumption tax) on your sales in Japan.

Non-resident importers will have the same responsibilities as those of resident importers in Japan.  Japanese importer top up 10% VAT(consumption tax) on their prices when they sell to their customers.  Thus, they receive 10% tax, in addition to their own prices.  On the other hand, they pay VAT at the time of import.  So they file and pay the balance between the VAT they have received, and the VAT they have paid.

However, you don't have to worry too much when you start selling in Japan, because you are given allowance of the first 2 years and until your sales exceeds 10,000,000 JPY (approx. 90,000 USD).  Please just keep accurate accounting record to be ready to pay the tax when your sales grows.

For more details, please see this page.

About Regulated Items

Can you tell me what products are regulated for import or sales in Japan?

Food, cosmetics, medicine, electric appliances and other high-risk items are regulated for either import or sale in Japan.

Every country has different laws and regulations in order to secure consumer safety and life, and so does Japan.  Here are some of the laws that often issues among e-commerce sellers and non-resident importers.

  • Food Sanitation Act : Food, beverages, kitchen utensils, infants' toys, etc.
  • Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Act(PMD Act) : Cosmetics, medicine, medical device, and other healthcare items
  • Electrical Appliances and Materials Safety Act(PSE Act) : Electric appliance with AC adapters, mobile batteries, and lithium ion batteries.
  • Liquor Tax Act : Alcohol beverages

Please see this page to learn how to import these regulated products.  Please be aware that these are only a few of the regulations that may often affect non-resident importers, and consult with your import/logistics partner for the specific regulations governing your products.

My products look regulated in Japan.  How do I find partners who will be my importer?

Internet search is the best way at the moment.

Search one on the Internet with the keywords like "importer", "Japan", "e-commerce", "cross-border", "non-resident", and your product category(food, cosmetics, etc.).

You can also consult with us through website to know about the service providers that we partner with.

 

How much cost do we have to spend in order to import regulated items?

The cost will vary from hundreds to thousands of USD, depending on the product.

The cost will differ greatly by the products.  Food, cosmetics, and simple medical devices are relatively easy and take around hundreds of dollars and a month or so to be ready to import.

Complex medical items, drugs, electric appliances and other items with higher risks require much more costs and longer process, from thousands to millions of USD, and more than one year to complete.

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2020/08/31
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