"My shipping company asked me if I have an importer.  I don't know what it means."  This is the question often we hear from cross-border e-commerce sellers.

They're right.  When you ship your goods to a warehouse that you rent in Japan, you don't actually have an importer.

Let's see the roles of importers, and what you can do if you don't have an importer.

Regular Import Flow

When you export goods to Japan, you need an importer who is liable for the goods.
Usually, an individual or a corporation who locates in Japan and purchases your product is deemed as importer.

Import by Non-Resident Companies/Persons

In the below cases and under some other special trade terms, exporters don't have an importer;
DDP Shipments which your client/consignee refuses to be importer of your shipment, shipping their own property that they don't sell(Internet servers, exhibition displays, etc.), or goods for consignment sales like FBA.
Then they will need to obtain the qualification to import goods as a non-resident importer, which is enabled by appointing an Attorney for Customs Procedures(ACP). 

You will be granted the status of a non-resident importer by appointing an Attorney for Customs Procedures(ACP).

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