flag Japan Japan: Buying

In this page: Customs Procedures | Industrial and Manufacturing Profile | Identifying a Supplier | Controlling the Quality of the Products | Organizing Goods Transport To and From Japan


Customs Procedures

Export Clearance
Goods intended for export must be taken to the customs area (Hozei area) or to a place specifically authorised for storage. The exporter or his delegate (known as a customs broker) prepares an export declaration describing the nature, quantity and value of the goods to be exported.
This declaration is accompanied by supporting documents such as invoices and, if required, by other documents, i.e. permits, approvals or licenses.
The Japanese Customs website explains how to fill in the export declaration form.
When an exporter exports the same type of goods on a regular basis, export procedures can be expedited by using the Comprehensive Prior Examination System, in advance. The Japanese Customs website explains the conditions in which it can apply.
Necessary Declaration
The following documents must be submitted to Customs.
- Export Declaration (Customs form C-5010)
- Invoice
- Other documents: Certifications, permits, or approvals required by other laws and regulations.
Japan Customs provides a list of Goods with Prohibitions, Controls and Restrictions.
Export Taxes
No tax is levied on exports.
Exports are also exempt from consumption tax.

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Industrial and Manufacturing Profile

Type of Production
For the resources for businesses on managing the manufacturing and the supply chain risk due to the outbreak of the Covid19 pandemic, please consult the report COVID-19: Managing supply chain risk and disruption (Deloitte Canada, 2020), as well as the insights on COVID-19: How to fortify your supply chain (Kearney, 2020).
The World Economic Forum's COVID Action Platform provides useful information on the latest strategic trends regarding COVID-19 implications for businesses, including manufacturing and supply systems. The report Outbreak Readiness and Business Impact (World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Harvard Global Health Institute) offers insights on handling coronavirus by businesses and strategies for effective response and resilience.

The industrial sector constitutes approximately 29% of GDP and manufacturing employs nearly 24% of the workforce. Japan has traditionally been a world leader with its automated production processes. On the whole, the industry has benefited from innovative technology- including the chemical, aircraft and software sectors. Japan ranks among the world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles and processed foods. The production value of the food industry ranked third among manufacturing industries (after electric and transport machinery).

Professional Associations by Sector
110 professional associations listed for Japan.

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Type of Manufacturers

Original Equipment Manufacturers
Japan records a great number of OEMs, established on high technological segments of production. The strength of Japanese OEMs comes from their long-term investments in R&D (3% of its GDP invested in R&D each year, more than in the United-States).
OEMs are found in every major Japanese industrial sector.
Original Design Manufacturers
Japan’s industrial sphere counts fewer ODMs. But OEMs sometime also offer the services of ODMs.
The labor cost in Japan is too high to allow the country to be competitive for this type of business relation. Nevertheless in some high technological segments, one may find some competitive subcontractors.

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Identifying a Supplier

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
All.biz - Japan - Directory of companies in Japan
eBizFinder - Directory of both Japanese and overseas trading companies
Expat.com - Japan business directory
Gbibp - Japanese Business Directory
Japan Business Directory - Japan Inc
Japan Products - Japan business directory
Japan Trade Directory - Directory of Japanese traders and companies
Yalwa - Japan business directory

To search directories by industry in Japan, check out our service Business Directories.


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Marketplaces incorporated in the country
Auto Portal
Fish Information & Services
Marketplaces present on the continent
For buyers

To go further, check out our service Online Marketplaces.

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Controlling the Quality of the Products

Quality Control Organizations
Japanese Society for Quality Control JSQC
BureauVeritas Japan

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Organizing Goods Transport To and From Japan

Main Useful Means of Transport
In fiscal year 2018 (latest data available), motor vehicles accounted for over 51 percent of the total payload distance in domestic freight transportation within Japan; followed by cargo ships (43.7%), railways (4.7%) and airlines (0.2%).
Japan has 128 ports, including 23 main ports, situated along the Japanese coastline. The 'Three Major Bays' handle approximately 35% of all port cargo in Japan and consist of Tokyo Bay (six harbours, including Yokohama and Tokyo), Osaka Bay (five harbours including Kobe and Osaka) and Ise Bay (five harbours including Nagoya).
In 2019, it is estimated that the coastal cargo volume was of 342.2 millions of metric tonnes, whereas the domestic air cargo volumes was 0.787 million of metric tonnes.

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By Rail

Transport Professionals
Japan Freight Railway Company
Government Transport Organisations
Railway Bureau

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Latest Update: May 2022