When bringing prescription drugs to Japan with you on your travels, you need to be careful not to bring products that are prohibited. Even though your medication is legal in your country, it could be illegal in Japan. In a worst-case scenario, you could be detained and arrested upon arrival if you don’t have the proper documents and certificates. To help you navigate through the process of bringing your medicine with you, here is a quick guide with links.
First of all, you don’t need to worry about any special procedures for your medications if it falls under the following conditions:
• It is for personal use only
• Items amount to no more than two-months’ supply and/or no more than 24 counts per item of authorized inventory
• Medications are taken orally or used externally, not an injector (does NOT apply towards pre-filled syringe & self-injection kit – up to one-month’s supply per item)
• Prescription medication – up to one-month’s supply per item
• It is not prohibited in Japan (i.e. methamphetamines, amphetamine, marijuana, etc.)
• It is not a controlled substance or narcotic in Japan (i.e. morphine, codeine, oxycodone, etc.)
Bringing Over-the-Counter Medications to Japan:
Even if you’re only planning on bringing OTC drugs, keep in mind that some drugs commonly sold over the counter in some countries are not allowed in Japan. As mentioned above, you can bring in two-months’ supply of authorized OTC drugs and vitamins. But it is illegal to bring in OTC medications such as inhalers and some allergy/sinus medications if they contain stimulants or codeine.
• Examples of authorized OTC meds: eye drops, ointments, etc.
• Examples of unauthorized OTC meds: cold medicines with more than 10% pseudo-ephedrine, etc.
Bringing Prescription Drugs to Japan:
Just because your medicine is a prescribed drug doesn’t mean you can bring any into Japan. The rules still apply from the first list: personal use only, no prohibited ingredients involved, up to one-month’s supply. But, if you need to bring in more than one-month’s supply you need to apply and receive an import certificate called, “Yakkan Shoumei” before you enter Japan to show at Customs. The same rule applies for your pre-filled syringes or self-injection kit. Don’t forget to bring a copy of your doctor’s prescription and another letter indicating the purpose of the drug.
Narcotics Prescription import/export Information & Application link.
(Description of procedures in attaining certificates.)
• When you’re not sure what your medications qualify for, please contact the proper department for help
• It may be safer to bring your medications in your carry-on bag in the case your luggage goes missing. If you have extra supplies of your items, those could go into check-in baggage.
• Once you’ve run out of stock during your stay in Japan and go to a doctor for a refill, you may not be able to receive the same medication upon initial consultation. The doctor may prescribe something similar to what you currently take.
• When applying for your import certifications, please plan ahead of time and have your documents ready before you leave for Japan
• As it is stated in the links to guides for your certifications, your applications should be submitted to the proper regional department, so check your traveling schedule to make sure you can bring in your medications safely