American Citizen Services
Importing or Bringing Medication into Japan for Personal Use
Decisions on what medications or medical devices may be imported legally into Japan are made by the Japanese Government, and unfortunately the limited information we have available at the American Embassy and our Consulates does not include comprehensive lists of specific medications or ingredients. This information is available only from the Japanese authorities, and subject to change.
BEFORE MAILING OR BRINGING ANY MEDICATION TO JAPAN, READ THE FOLLOWING SECTION CAREFULLY. IF YOU FAIL TO FOLLOW JAPANESE LAW YOU MAY BE ARRESTED AND DETAINED.
Please read the below website provided by the Japanese government:
- Information for those who are bringing medicines for personal use into Japan (medications, syringes, pumps, CPAP machines) by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
- Import/Export Narcotics by Carrying by the Narcotic Control Department of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
- Bringing medications and cosmetics to Japan by Consulate General of Japan in Seattle
It is illegal to bring into Japan some over-the-counter medicines commonly used in the United States, including inhalers and some allergy and sinus medications. Specifically, products that contain stimulants (medicines that contain Pseudoephedrine, such as Actifed, Sudafed, and Vicks inhalers), or Codeine are prohibited. Up to a two-months' supply of allowable over-the-counter medication and up to a two-months' supply of allowable vitamins can be brought into Japan duty-free.
Heroin, cocaine, MDMA, opium, cannabis, stimulant drugs including some prescription medications such as Adderall, and including some medications available over-the-counter in the U.S. are prohibited in Japan. There are no exceptions in bringing these prohibited medications into Japan, even if the medication is legally obtained outside of Japan. The import of stimulant drugs such as methamphetamines and amphetamines in particular are strictly prohibited, even when accompanied by a customs declaration and a copy of the prescription. Japanese customs officials or police can detain travelers importing prohibited items. Japanese customs officials do not make on-the-spot "humanitarian" exceptions for medicines that are prohibited in Japan.
Up to one month's supply of allowable prescription medicine can be brought into Japan. Travelers must bring a copy of their doctor's prescription as well as a letter stating the purpose of the drug. Travelers who must carry more than one month's supply (except prohibited drugs and controlled drugs), or are carrying syringes (pumps) or a CPAP machine, are required to obtain a so-called "Yakkan Shoumei", or an import certificate in advance, and show the "Yakkan Shoumei" certificate with your prescription medicines at the Customs.
For more information about bringing medicines into Japan and how to obtain a "Yakkan Shoumei" Certificate, please visit the website of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare where you can also find an application form. When you make an inquiry to the Kanto-Shinetsu Regional Bureau, please do not forget to provide your fax number or your E-mail address.
Other Important Information
Japanese physicians can often prescribe similar, but not identical, substitutes to medicines available in the U.S. A list of English-speaking medical facilities throughout Japan is available elsewhere on our web site. A Japanese doctor, consulted by phone in advance, is also a good source of information on medications available and/or permitted in Japan.
Some popular medications legal in the U.S., such as Prozac and Viagra, are sold illegally in Japan on the black market. You are subject to arrest and imprisonment if you purchase such drugs illegally while in Japan.
Persons traveling to Japan carrying prescription and non-prescription medications should consult the Japanese Embassy, or a Japanese Consulate, in the United States before leaving the U.S. to confirm whether they will be allowed to bring the particular medication into Japan. A full listing of phone numbers and email addresses is available at http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/jicc/consulate-guide.html.