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Home > Q&A on Customs Clearance of Masks and Disinfectants

Q&A on Customs Clearance of Masks and Disinfectants

As part of the COVID-19 countermeasures, the Customs and Tariff Bureau and Japan Customs have been taking a more flexible approach to customs clearance, etc., on imports and exports.
 As there have been many inquiries recently regarding customs clearance on imports of masks, disinfectants, etc., we have compiled the following Q&A to help ease the clearance process.
 We hope this information will help you with your import customs clearance procedures.

 

Q1 Will there be tariffs or consumption tax imposed on masks or disinfectants imported from abroad?

A1

(For tariffs)

When importing disposable, general-use non-woven artificial fiber hygienic masks from China, Korea, etc., such masks are classified under the import tariff code of 6307.90-029, and the tariff rate (conventional tariff) is 4.7%. 100% cotton (gauze) masks fall under the code 6307.90-010, and the tariff rate (conventional tariff) is 6.5%.
 Additionally, when importing general-use disinfectants from China, Korea, etc., their import tariff code is 3808.94-000, and the tariff rate is 3.9%.
 When importing any of the above such items from nations that have made economic agreements with Japan, or designated GSP nations such as Vietnam, items that meet the requirements for geographical origin, etc., are exempted from tariffs.

(For consumption tax)

The consumption tax rate is 10% (including local consumption tax. The same shall be applied hereinafter.).

(Reference)Custom Tariff Schedule (April 1, 2020)

※For free relief goods, tariffs and consumption tax may be exempted. See Q3 for details.

※Tariff rates may differ based on an item’s material and its country of origin. For precise information on an item’s tariff classification and rate, please contact the appropriate section via the email addresses below.
 Please include your name and contactable email address/phone number. In addition, to expedite the process, please include the name, property, material, image, etc. of the item(s) you wish to import, where possible.

For email consultation on tariff code (tariff classification) and tariff rates:

Tokyo Customs, Customs Appraiser:tyo-gyomu-info@customs.go.jp
Yokohama Customs, Customs Appraiser:yok-kansakan@customs.go.jp
Kobe Customs, Customs Appraiser:kobe-bunrui@customs.go.jp
Osaka Customs, Customs Appraiser:osaka-bunrui@customs.go.jp
Nagoya Customs, Customs Appraiser:nagoya-gyomu-kansa@customs.go.jp
Moji Customs, Customs Appraiser:moji-kansakan@customs.go.jp
Nagasaki Customs, Customs Appraiser:nagasaki-kansakan@customs.go.jp
Hakodate Customs, Customs Appraiser:hkd-gyomu-kansa@customs.go.jp
Okinawa Regional Customs, Customs Appraiser:oki-9a-bunrui@customs.go.jp

 

Q2 How are tariffs and consumption taxes calculated?

A2

For a breakdown of the calculation method for tariffs and consumption taxes, see Customs Answer 1111: Calculating Tariffs, Consumption Tax, Etc.

 

Q3 Is there a preferential customs clearance procedure and/or tariff/consumption tax exemption on imports of masks and disinfectants? If so, what are the details?

A3

(For preferential customs clearance procedure)

Items that require urgent import/export customs clearance, such as relief goods for COVID-19 countermeasures, as well as goods for ensuring lifelines, will be prioritized for processing.

(For exemption of tariffs and consumption tax)

When declaring imports, if any declared items may be confirmed as being provided free of charge, the tariff and/or consumption tax of those items as given by the importer’s application is exempted. A procedure with simplified format is also available for import declaration of relief goods related to COVID-19 countermeasures.
(Legal basis: Customs Tariff Act Article 15, Paragraph 1, Item 3; Act on Collection, etc. of National Consumption Tax Imposed on Imported Goods, Article 13, Paragraph 1, Item 2, and Paragraph 3, Item 2)

Please note any requests for preferential processing or exemption of tariffs and consumption tax to the customs house at import declaration (if asking a customs broker to declare the import, note such requests to the broker)

(Reference)Customs clearance procedures, etc., relating to countermeasures to the COVID-19

 

Q4 What import restrictions exist on masks and disinfectants?

A4

(For masks)

Imported masks commercially available for health, protection, or the maintenance of a hygienic environment (hygienic masks) are not subject to import restrictions.
 However, based on their function, etc., such masks could fall under the definition of a medical equipment under the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare’s “Act on Securing Quality, Efficacy and Safety of Products Including Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices” and as such be restricted for import. Any enterprise, etc., considering imports should check with its prefectural pharmaceutical distribution bureau in advance.

(For disinfectants)

If the imported disinfectants are determined to be used for human body, or judged based on their function, they could fall under the definition of a medical good under the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare’s “Act on Securing Quality, Efficacy and Safety of Products Including Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices” and as such be restricted for import. Any enterprise, etc., considering imports should check with its prefectural pharmaceutical distribution bureau in advance.

※If masks or disinfectants intended for import are restricted for import by the above act, during inspection, etc., of the import declaration, certificate of completion of a necessary procedure required by the above act must be given to the customs house to permit import of said items. For information on this procedure, see below.

(Reference)
Customs Answer 1801: Outline of other relevant laws and ordinances referred to by Customs
Customs Answer 1805: Customs confirmation requirements concerning import restrictions in accordance with the Act on Securing Quality, Efficacy and Safety of Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, Regenerative and Cellular Therapy Products, Gene Therapy Products, and Cosmetics Law
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare: About imports of sanitary goods (masks, protective clothings, thermometers, disinfectants, etc.)(Japanese only)新しいウィンドウで開きます

 

Q5 Can masks be resold domestically?

A5

For restrictions on mask resale, please contact the supervising offices (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, etc.).
(Reference)Q&A for mask resale restrictions has been published by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, and the Consumer Affairs Agency.

 

Q6 Is there a source of information for any other questions on import customs clearance procedures?

A6

For any other questions on import customs clearance procedures, please contact the appropriate section via the email addresses below (please include your name and contactable email address and phone number).

For email consultation on customs clearance procedures:

Tokyo Customs, Customs Counselor:tyo-gyomu-sodankan@customs.go.jp
Yokohama Customs, Customs Counselor:yok-sodan@customs.go.jp
Kobe Customs, Customs Counselor:kobe-sodan@customs.go.jp
Osaka Customs, Customs Counselor:osaka-sodan@customs.go.jp
Nagoya Customs, Customs Counselor:nagoya-gyomu-sodankan@customs.go.jp
Moji Customs, Customs Counselor:moji-sodankan@customs.go.jp
Nagasaki Customs, Customs Counselor:nagasaki-sodan@customs.go.jp
Hakodate Customs, Customs Counselor:hkd-gyomu-sodan@customs.go.jp
Okinawa Regional Customs, Customs Counselor:oki-9a-sodan@customs.go.jp

 

Q7 Is it possible to clear customs with imports/exports on Saturday/Sunday/national holiday?

A7

It is possible to clear customs with imports/exports on Saturday/Sunday/national holiday.
 For opening hours, etc., of customs office, please see “About opening hours and outside hours of customs office” (Japanese only).