Outline of Tariff and Duty Rates System in Japan

14/08/2019    235

Goods imported into Japan are subject to Customs duty and consumption tax. In addition to consumption tax, certain other internal taxes (liquor tax, tobacco tax, etc.) are also applicable to dutiable imported goods.

1. Tariff (Duty Rates) System for Commercial Goods

The harmonized classification schedule annexed in the Customs Tariff Law sets out both the classification and the corresponding Customs duty rate (called the General Rate) of particular products.

The actually applied rate, however, is not necessarily this General Rate. The Temporary Tariff Measures Law sets out the Temporary Ratefor certain products, which in these cases prevails over the General Rate. In addition, when the Customs duty rate in the WTO Concession Schedule (so-called WTO Rate) or the rate set forth by the Economic Partnership Agreement (so-called EPA Rate) is lower than the General Rate (or the Temporary Rate, if applicable), the WTO rate or EPA rate is applied.

In short, the applied rate is the lower of the WTO rate, the Singapore rate, and the General (or the Temporary) rate.

For designated developing countries, the Customs Tariff Law and the Temporary Tariff Measures Law also provide Preferential Rate (GSP)which is applicable to certain products and naturally lower than any of the above rates.

Most of the Customs duties are assessed at ad valorem rates, which are applied to the dutiable value of the imported goods. Some items including certain alcoholic beverages and cereals, however, are dutiable at a specific rate, and others are dutiable at a compound rate such as a combination of both ad valorem and specific rates.

In 2007, the average applied rate for all goods is 1.8 percent. Specifically, 10.1 percent for agricultural products, 4.6 percent for fish and fish products, and 1.7 percent for wood, pulp, paper and furniture.

Full details of the tariff schedule are available in the table of Customs Tariff Schedules of Japan.

2. Simplified Tariff and Duty Rates System for Personal Effects and Small Packages

In order to facilitate clearance, the following options are available for personal effects and small packages.

(1)Simplified and Combined Schedule Applicable to Imported Personal Effects

With regard to personal effects, the Customs Tariff Law provides for considerably simplified classification, and the schedule of Customs duty, consumption tax, and other internal taxes is laid down in a combined form.

The Schedule for personal effects is described in the section in our Web site entitled "Customs Guide for Visitors to Japan" (http://www.customs.go.jp/english/zeikan/brochure/index_e.htm).

(2) Simplified Tariff Schedule on Small Packages

When the total Customs value of commercially imported goods is 200,000 yen or less per importation, the simplified tariff schedule is applicable.

The following are examples from this Schedule.

  1. Alcoholic Beverages
    1. Wine: 70 yen/l
    2. Some of Distilled alcoholic bevarages: 20 yen/l
    3. Sake, Some of other alcoholic bevarages: 30 yen/l
  2. Tomato Ketchup, Ice Cream,Dropped furskins, Article of apparel, etc.: 20%
  3. Coffee, Tea excluding Black Tea, Gelatine, Clues, Tanned or Dressed furskins excluding Dropped furskins, etc.: 15%
  4. Vegetables and fruits for food, Seaweeds, etc.: 10%
  5. Tableware, Furniture, Toys, Games, etc.: 3%
  6. Rubber, Paper, etc.: Free
  7. Other Products: 5%.

These duty rates do not include consumption tax and other internal taxes.

The schedule is described in the Customs Tariff Law and the Customs Tariff Schedules of Japan.

3. Advance Classification Ruling System


Japan Customs issues the Advance Classification Rulings upon request from importers.

The Advance Classification Ruling allows importers to receive information regarding the applied tariff to a particular item before they lodge import declarations.

This system makes Customs clearance procedures much more prompt and problem-free, thus benefiting importers in their preparation of cost estimates and sales plans.

(2)Application Procedure

Japan Customs provides an advance classification ruling either formally or informally according to the form of request.

An inquiry in writing is provided in the form of a response paper. Please attach the form at the time of declaration. Classifications for the application of the tariff schedule, tariff rate, and statistical code listed in the attached form are respected on customs examination. In principle, a response is provided orally or by e-mail for the oral inquiries, however, such responses are not respected on the customs examination.

The form is valid for three years. It is void if the inquired content of the inquired goods doesn’t match the actual article, if the expiration date has passed, if the situation is changed due to the amendments of laws and regulations, and if the application of laws and regulations is incorrect.

For general inquiries about these sections, please contact Customs Counselors.


Consumption Tax

Consumption tax is imposed at the rate of 8% on, in general, all goods imported into or manufactured in Japan. The amount of consumption tax payable on imported goods is calculated on the basis of the Customs value of the goods plus Customs duty payable and, where applicable, other excise taxes payable.

Other Internal Taxes

When certain kind of goods, such as liquor, tobacco products, petroleum, and LPG, are imported into Japan, excise taxes are imposed as stipulated in the respective law concerned. In these cases, the amount of taxes payable is calculated based on the quantities of the imported goods.

General Rate

General rates are set out for all goods in the Customs Tariff Law. They are basic rates, and remain unchanged unless the situation substantially changes.

Temporary Rate

Temporary rates are laid down for certain kinds of goods in the Temporary Tariff Measures Law and are applicable for a certain period of time, in place of general rates. They are lower or higher than general rates depending on the circumstances or products.

WTO Rate

WTO rates are rates agreed at the WTO. These rates are also applicable to certain countries with which Japan concluded bilateral agreements to grant most favored nation treatment even though they are non-members of the WTO.

EPA Rate

EPA rates are rates set forth in the Japan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement (Agreement between Japan and the Republic of Singapore for a New-Age Economic Partnership), or Japan-Mexico EPA, or Japan-Malaysia EPA. These rates are only applicable to goods originating in these country. If Singapore rates are lower than applied MFN rates, Singapore rates are applied.

Preferential Rate (GSP)

Preferential rates are applicable to goods originating in designated developing countries* and are lower than those applicable to the goods originating in developed countries.

* Countries and territories designated to be receivable for the preference are laid down in Annex 1 of the Cabinet Order of the Temporary Tariff Measures Law.

Customs Tariff Schedules of Japan

Customs Tariff Schedules of Japan are tables issued by the Japan Tariff Association. For a copy of the tables, please refer to the following Web site

Customs Counselors

The following are the telephone numbers of the Customs Offices in Japan.

  • Tokyo Customs: +81-3-3529-0700
  • Yokohama Customs: +81-45-212-6000
  • Kobe Customs: +81-78-333-3100
  • Osaka Customs: +81-6-6576-3001
  • Nagoya Customs: +81-52-654-4100
  • Moji Customs: +81-50-3530-8372
  • Nagasaki Customs: +81-95-828-8619
  • Hakodate Customs: +81-138-40-4261
  • Okinawa Regional Customs: +81-98-863-0099

Source: Japan Customs