Import Tariffs: The Customs and Tariff Bureau of Japan’s Ministry of Finance administers tariffs. The average applied tariff rate in Japan is one of the lowest in the world. U.S. origin goods have the WTO rate applied unless a lower Temporary Rate exists.
Duty: Imports are valued according to their c.i.f. (cost, insurance + freight) value, which is taken to be the transaction value of the imports. Customs duty can be paid through a multi-payment network system, which connects teller institutions (government authorities) with financial institutions. No fee is charged by the government for the use of this system; however, the financial institutions involved may collect variable fees.
Import Requirements and Documentation: Any person wishing to import goods must declare them to the Director-General of Customs, obtain an import permit (after examination by the authorities), and pay Customs duty and excise tax, if any. Correct packing, marking, and labeling are critical to smooth customs clearance in Japan. Straw packing materials are prohibited. Documents required for customs clearance in Japan include standard shipping documents such as a commercial invoice, packing list, and an original, signed bill of lading or an air waybill if shipped by air. Air shipments of values greater than ¥100,000 (about $910 at ¥110/$1) must also include a commercial invoice. The commercial invoice should be as descriptive as possible for each item in the shipment. The packing list should include the exact contents and measurement of each container, including the gross and net weights of each package. The Japanese Measurement Law requires that all weights and measures on a packing list be reflected in Metric System values.
Customs Regulations: All importers must file a declaration with Japan Customs. For most goods, the declaration must be made after the goods have been taken into a bonded customs (hozei) area or other designated place; items requiring approval by the Director-General of Customs can be declared before they are taken to the hozei area. The declaration must include details of the quantity and value of the goods to be imported as well as an invoice, a packing list, freight account, insurance certificate, and certificate of origin (for, inter alia, preferential tariff rates), where applicable. Additional documentation may be required, for example, for goods requiring an import license or health certificate. Once the documentation is verified by Customs, an import permit is issued.
Source: The International Trade Administration (ITA), U.S. Department of Commerce www.export.gov