Country Facts
126 Million* (2016)
Island Territory in Eastern Asia
Yen (¥)

*Source: The CIA World Factbook

Trade Indicators
U.S. Exports to Japan $62.4 Billion (2015)
Japan is the 3rd Largest Economy in the World
Japan is the 4th Largest Importer of U.S.
Only Asian member of the G-7
Japan will also host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Top Industry Export Opportunities


Japan continues to offer a lucrative market for imported aircraft, aircraft parts, and engines. U.S. firms have an overwhelming presence in the market due to long-standing relationships. U.S. firms are presented with opportunities in the market as the Japanese industry undertakes international projects, develops transport and patrol aircraft for defense, and develops small jets and small jet engines for civil aviation. Sub-Sector Best Prospects include; commercial aircraft and aircraft engines, helicopters, aircraft parts and supplies, avionics.

Cyber Security

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games present Japan with particular vulnerabilities and challenges on the cyber-defense front, and thus also represent a special opportunity for U.S. exporters.  The Japanese Government is increasingly aware of the scope of the potential threats it faces and the lag in its capabilities vis-a-vis the United States and other nations in this field, and has taken numerous organizational steps to redress the situation.  The U.S. Embassy and the Commercial Service Japan team see opportunities for U.S. expertise and solutions and are actively looking to provide entree and support.

Healthcare IT

The Japanese government expects the adoption of information technology in the medical care and home nursing care fields to increase, and regional medical cooperation will expand through information sharing between these two fields. However, security and privacy protection concerns still exist over the utilization of medical databases and healthcare big data, and the linkage of medical information numbers and the new My Number System. Demand for wearable devices and technologies increase business opportunities in the areas of chronic diseases and prevention, in addition to the sports fitness-related market.

Trade Regulations & Customs Information

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

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