Importing Animals

Sub-section 1 General Information

 When animals are imported, quarantine may be required in accordance with laws and regulations.

Rabies Prevention Law

Dogs, cats, raccoons, foxes, skunks

Communicable Diseases and Medical Care Law

Monkeys

Act on Prevention of Infectious Diseases in Domestic Animals

Even-toed ungulates, horses, poultry, dogs, rabbits, bees

Law for the Protection of Fishery Resources

Salmon, carp, goldfish, shrimp

 In addition, a certificate of legal capture may be required for the import of birds under the Bird and Beast Protection Law, and certain procedures may be required for the import of butter under the Livestock Management Stabilization Law. As for endangered species, the import of plants and animals designated by the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species is prohibited or requires import approval, and import permits are required under the Species Survival Law. The importation of specified foreign species, which may cause a collapse of the ecosystem, may be greatly restricted under the Invasive Alien Species Act. 

 

Sub-section 2 Rabies Prevention Law (Dogs, Cats)

  Dogs, cats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks must be quarantined for importation to prevent rabies.  An import quarantine certificate or a copy thereof is required at the time of import.

 

Sub-section 3 Infectious Diseases Control Law

1 Prohibition of Importation of Designated Animals

 The Act on Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Medical Care for Patients with Infectious Diseases prohibits the importation of “designated animals” specified by government ordinance in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans.

Designated animals to be targeted

Weasel badgers, bats, monkeys, raccoon dogs, civets, prairie dogs, and house mice (English name: Mastomys)

 However, monkeys are exceptionally allowed to be imported from a specified region (the U.S.) if the import is necessary for a certain purpose (such as testing and research at a research institution).

 

2 Regulations pertaining to the import of animals other than designated animals

There are also restrictions on the import of animals other than “designated animals”. When importing (1) animals other than “designated animals” that are likely to transmit infectious diseases to humans or (2) dead animals that are likely to transmit infectious diseases to humans, a notification must be submitted to the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare with a certificate from the government agency of the exporting country attached.

 In addition, permits and notifications are required for the importation of Class I pathogens, Class II pathogens, and Class III pathogens.

 

3 Details

 A more detailed explanation of the regulations pertaining to importation based on the Infectious Disease Control Law is given in the following table.

Subject to import restrictions

Types of regulations pertaining to imports

Weasel badgers, bats, raccoons, civets, prairie dogs, and shrew rats (English name: Mastomys)

All imports are prohibited1

Monkeys

Import for testing, research, and exhibition as part of the work of a testing and research institution or a designated zoo

○Import from the United States, Indonesia, Guyana, Cambodia, Suriname, People’s Republic of China, the Philippines or Vietnam is allowed2.

○Prior to import, the product must be quarantined in the exporting country and a certificate issued by the government agency of the exporting country stating that there is no risk of Ebola or Marburg disease must be attached3.

○Prior notification of importation is required.  The notification must be made between 70 days and 40 days prior to arrival in Japan4.

○Imports are limited to Narita International Airport and Kansai International Airport, and must undergo a minimum of 30 days mooring inspection for quarantine upon arrival in Japan.

○Customs will check the “Import Quarantine Certificate”5 or a copy thereof. 

Imports not listed above

○Imports from all over the world are prohibited.

○In cases falling under this category, the importation of monkeys, including the carrying importation of pet monkeys taken abroad, will not be permitted.

Notifiable animals6

(1) The following animals

-Mammalian animals (terrestrial)7

-Birds

Parrots/sparrows/pigeons/ hawks/owls

(2) Dead bodies of the following animals8:

-Carcasses of rodents

-Carcasses of rabbits

A person who intends to import shall submit a notification of import, and shall attach a sanitation certificate9 or a copy thereof to the notification10.

Class I pathogens

Ebola hemorrhagic fever/ Lassa fever/South American hemorrhagic fever/pox/ Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever/ Marburg disease

○Import is prohibited.

○However, this shall not apply when a possessor of a Specified Class I Pathogen imports a Specified Class I Pathogen that is designated by the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare as one that needs to be procured from a foreign country.  Customs will require a certificate of designation of import of the specified type of pathogen, or a copy thereof.

Class II Pathogens

SARS corona/plague/ botulism/tularemia/anthrax

A person who intends to import must obtain a permit from the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare. Customs will require a permit for importation or a copy thereof.

Class III Pathogens

Tuberculosis/typhoid fever/ rabies

Import notification must be submitted within 7 days of the date of import.

 

Sub-section 4 Livestock Infectious Disease Control Law

 In order to prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases in livestock (cattle disease, foot-and-mouth disease), the Livestock Infectious Disease Control Law establishes the following import restrictions in general.

・Prohibit the import of prohibited items.

・Notification of importation of certain pathogens (known pathogens and not pathogens that cause surveillance epidemics)

・Attachment of Inspection Certificate for Importation of Designated Quarantine Items

・Notification to the Animal Quarantine Station regarding the import of animals (designated by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) among designated quarantine items.

 

 A more detailed explanation is given in the following table.

Import Prohibited Items

(i) Objects set forth in each item of Article 37, paragraph 1 of the Act that have been shipped from or through regions designated by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

(ii) Pathogens of communicable diseases of livestock under surveillance

(iii) Pathogens of infectious diseases of unknown livestock

Import is prohibited. However, in the case of special circumstances such as testing and research, importation is permitted with permission. If a permit is granted, an import permit certificate must be shipped with the prohibited goods.

Pathogens of infectious diseases pertaining to livestock other than (ii) and (iii) above

Any person who intends to import shall notify the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Designated quarantine items designated by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as requiring quarantine, and specifically refers to the following

(1) Animals (even-toed ungulates, horses, domestic animals, dogs, rabbits, bees) or their carcasses

(2) Eggs of domestic animals

(3) Any part of the animal in (1) above

(4) Milk products, semen, fertilized eggs, unfertilized eggs, and manure of the animal in (1)

(5) Bone meal, meat meal, meat and bone meal, blood meal, skin meal, feather meal, hoof horn meal and organ meal of animals in (1)

(6) Sausage, ham and bacon made from (3) above

(7) Grain straw11 and hay for animal feed

(8) Articles to be imported with permission under the proviso of Article 36, paragraph 1 of the Act.

・No importation shall be permitted unless it is accompanied by an inspection certificate issued by the government agency of the exporting country and stating that it is confirmed or believed that there is no risk of spreading the pathogens of the monitored infectious disease as a result of the quarantine, or a copy thereof (Article 37 Section 1)12.

・Imports of designated quarantine item shall notify the Animal Quarantine Station of such fact and undergo an inspection without delay after the arrival of the cargo in Japan. Specifically, an application form for import inspection is to be submitted to the Animal Quarantine Service with the inspection certificate of the exporting country attached.

・The animal quarantine officer may also conduct the importation of the designated quarantine items to be imported prior to the importation on board the vessel or aircraft. If there are no problems based on these inspections, an import quarantine certificate will be issued, and the designated quarantine item will be marked with a clear seal, inlay or other mark. 

Animals that are designated as quarantine items by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries14.

(1) Even-toed ungulates and horses

(2) Poultry

(3) Dogs

 A person who intends to import shall notify the animal quarantine station of the species and quantity of such animals, the time and place of import and other matters provided for in the Ordinance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as provided for in the Ordinance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. However, this shall not apply in the event of importation as portable goods or postal items or as otherwise provided for in the Ordinance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

 

Sub-Section 5: Bird and animal protection law

 In principle, birds and animals15 (including processed products thereof as specified by the Ordinance of the Ministry of the Environment16) or eggs17 of birds may not be imported unless accompanied by a certificate from a foreign government certifying that they have been legally captured or collected18.

 In addition, after importation, it is necessary to obtain from the Minister of the Environment a sign indicating that the bird or animal has been imported in compliance with the said regulations, and attach this sign to the bird or animal.

 

Sub-section 6 Livestock Management Stabilization Act

The Law Concerning Stabilization of Livestock Management imposes certain restrictions on the import of designated dairy products (butter, skimmed milk powder, whey, adjusted whey, daily spread, and butter oil).

 In other words, the person who declares the import of the designated dairy products (or the owner of the designated dairy products if he or she is not the owner at the time of the import declaration) must sell the designated dairy products related to the import declaration to the Organization upon importation and must also buy them back, which requires a contract with the Organization. Profits will be made on the difference between the sale and repurchase, which will be used to subsidize the domestic firm.  The importer registers the applicant, submits an application for sale or repurchase to the Organization, obtains a letter of acceptance, and then completes import customs clearance procedures with the customs office. However, there are certain exemptions.

 

Sub-section 7: Fishery Resources Protection Act

 Under the Law for the Protection of Fishery Resources, import permission from the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is required for the import of specified aquatic animals and their containers and packaging in order to prevent domestic fishery resources from being damaged by exotic infectious diseases.

 

Fishery products

Living Fishery19

Fish

Salmonids/Carp/Goldfish/big-head carp(こくれん)/Silver Carp/Black Carp/Grass Carp/ Tilapia/ Red sea bream

Crustacean

Shrimps (Tiger Shrimp/Cherry shrimps/Pnaeid shrimps)

Shellfish

Tokobushi abalone/Tokobushi-abalone(フクトコブシ)/ Ezo-abalone/Black-abalone/Siebold’s abalone/Giant abalone/oysters/scallops/Sea pineapple(マボヤ)

Un-living Fishery Products

Cultivated fishery mentioned above (excluding fish powder and fish oil)

 

Sub-section 8: Washington Convention

 The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) imposes certain restrictions on certain endangered species, such as prohibiting their import and export in principle, in order to prevent their extinction. In response, the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law requires import approval for the import of plants and animals designated under CITES.

 

Sub-section 9: Act on Preservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

 The Act on the Preservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora prohibits the import of individuals of domestically rare species of wild fauna and flora, their organs, or their processed products for the purpose of preserving rare wild fauna and flora, and allows import only for academic research purposes.  To allow import, approval based on the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law is required.

 

Sub-section 10: Invasive Alien Species Act

 The Invasive Alien Species Act is a law aimed at preventing the destruction of ecosystems.  The Act regulates the import of invasive alien species as shown in the following table.

Specific Invasive Species

Import is prohibited.  However, this shall not apply to the case where a person who has obtained permission for the keeping of the specified alien organism imports the specified alien organism pertaining to the permission.

Undetermined Invasive Species20

・A person who intends to import must submit an import notification for the undetermined alien species in advance.

・Upon receipt of the import notification, the Ministry of the Environment will conduct a review, and the results of the review will be notified within six months.

・If, as a result of the examination, the notifier is notified that there is a risk of harm to the ecosystem, importation will be prohibited.

Species for which a type name certificate must be attached21

Importation is not allowed without attaching a certificate issued by a foreign government agency or other certificate specified by the Ordinance of the competent ministry (i.e., type name certificate) certifying the type of the organism concerned.

1 Exceptional importation is allowed only when there is a special reason for importation and an import license has been obtained, but the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has issued publicity stating that there is a “total ban on importation” and does not seem to anticipate granting export licenses.
2 Refer to Article 1 of the Ministerial Ordinance to Establish Import Prohibited Areas, etc. under Article 54, Item 1 of the Act on Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Medical Care for Patients with Infectious Diseases.
3 According to the website of the Animal Quarantine Service, in order to import monkeys, it is necessary to “obtain a certificate issued by the government agency of the exporting country after undergoing a mooring inspection for 30 days or more under the supervision of the government agency of the exporting country in accordance with the sanitary conditions for monkeys agreed upon between the Animal Health Division of the Consumption and Safety Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the animal health authorities of the exporting country. Mooring inspections must be conducted at a facility designated by the Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (or in the case of the United States, a facility designated by a United States government agency). It is explained.
4 See Article 2 of the “Regulations on the Importation of Animals that May Transmit Infectious Disease Pathogens” (the “Infectious Disease Pathogen Regulations”).
5 In the case of electronic application, notification of import quarantine certification is given instead of delivery of an “Import Quarantine Certificate” (Article 10, Paragraph 3 of the Infectious Disease Pathogens Regulations).
6 Designated quarantine items under the Livestock Infectious Disease Control Law are excluded.
7 These are the Rodentia (mice, squirrels, porcupines, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, etc.), Hareiformes, Marsupials (koalas, kangaroos, etc.), Hymenoptera (giant anteaters, sloths, etc.), Primates (gorillas, chimpanzees, etc.), Carnivora (bears, lions, tigers, wolves, pandas, etc.), Longnose (elephants, etc.), Strigiformes (zebras, black rhinoceroses, etc.), and others.
8 Animal carcasses, such as rats, are imported for use as pet food, etc. Animal carcasses are also subject to the imported animal notification system due to the risk of transmitting infectious diseases.
9 See Article 30, Paragraph 1 and Appendix 1 of the Regulations for the matters to be included in the hygiene certificate.
10 See Article 29 of the Enforcement Regulations of the Law for notification procedures.
11 Excluding those processed or prepared for uses other than for feed.
12 This does not apply in the case of imports from countries that do not have a governmental agency for animal quarantine or in other cases designated by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
13 Article 38-2 of the Law and Rule 47-2 of the Law.
14 The term “birds and animals” refers to mountain bluebirds, mandarin ducks, goshawks, kestrels, mallards, larks, larks, warblers, white-eyes, thrushes, komadori, nongoma, corvids, yellow-breasted nuthatches, orioles, kawarabis, mahiwa, isca, lies, koikals, ikals, great whites, meadow buntings, noddies, raccoons, foxes, marten, weasels, storks, badgers, Japanese serows, northern squirrels, Japanese squirrels, and flying squirrels (Article 27, Item 1 of the Bird and Animal Protection Law).
15 The term “processed products thereof, as specified by the Ordinance of the Ministry of the Environment” refers to amber, specimens, fur, fur products, and feather products of landbirds, mandarin ducks, foxes, raccoons, marten, weasels, storks, badgers, Japanese serows, northern squirrels, Japanese squirrels, and flying squirrels (Article 27, Item 2 of the Ordinance on the Protection of Birds and Animals).
16 Eggs of domestically rare wild animal and plant species for which export licenses are required under the Law for Preservation of Species are excluded (Article 25, Item 3 of the Regulations of the Bird and Beast Protection Law).
17 When importing, a “Certificate of Legal Capture” or a copy thereof, or an “Export Permit Certificate” or a copy thereof, issued by the government agency of the exporting country is required (however, a certificate is not required when importing from a country that does not have a government agency that issues certificates).
18 Among live aquatic animals, those that are used for food are limited to those that are kept in water surfaces used for public purposes or in facilities that drain directly to such water surfaces (Article 1-2 of the Enforcement Regulation of the Law). On the other hand, those that are immediately sold or consumed in stores for food are exempted.
19 The term “undetermined alien organism” refers to an alien organism specified in the Ordinance of the competent ministry (see Article 28 of the Regulations and Appendix Tables 1 and 2) that is suspected of causing damage to ecosystems due to its different characteristics from native organisms.
20 The term “undetermined alien organism” refers to an alien organism specified in the Ordinance of the competent ministry (see Article 28 of the Regulations and Appendix Tables 1 and 2) that is suspected of causing damage to ecosystems due to its different characteristics from native organisms.
21 Organisms other than those specified by the ordinance of the competent ministry as those for which it can be easily confirmed that they do not fall under the category of specified alien species or undetermined alien species (see Article 30 of the Regulations).


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