Regulations related to Importing Plants

General Information

Quarantine is required for importing plants in accordance with the Plant Protection Law.  

As for endangered species, in the case of plants subject to the Washington Convention, importation may be prohibited or import approval may be required based on the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act, and importation of individuals of domestically rare wild animal and plant species or their organs or their processed products may be prohibited based on the Law for Preservation of Species.

Plant Protection Law

1 General Remarks

The Plant Protection Law is a law aimed at protecting plants from insect pests.  The law imposes certain restrictions on the importation of plants (Article 6 to 10).

2 Prohibited Imports

Plants and their containers and packages to be imported shall not be imported unless accompanied by an inspection certificate issued by a government agency of the exporting country and stating that it confirms or believes that no quarantine pests are attached as a result of the inspection, or a copy thereof (Article 6, Paragraph 1)1.

In addition, with respect to plants shipped from areas provided (Article 5-4 of the Enforcement Regulations of the Law, Appendix 1-2) for in the Ordinance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, it is necessary to conduct an inspection at the place of cultivation in order to properly conduct an inspection pursuant to the provision of Article 8, paragraph 1 of the said Law, the results of the inspection conducted at the place of cultivation by the governmental organization of the exporting country, in addition to the provision of the preceding paragraph, shall not be imported. Importation shall not be permitted unless an inspection certificate or a copy thereof is attached, stating that it is confirmed or believed that no quarantine pests provided (Paragraph 2). 

In addition, various other regulations, such as prohibition of import of prohibited plants and inspection of imported plants, are generally regulated as shown in the following table.

Import Prohibited Plants

(i) Plants shipped from or through the areas specified in the Ordinance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries [appended table to the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Plant Protection Law] and specified in the Ordinance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries [appended table to the Ordinance]2.

(ii) Quarantine Pests3

(iii) Soil or plants to which soil is attached

(iv) Containers and packages of items listed in (i) to (iii) above.

・Importation of prohibited plants is prohibited.

・However, this shall not apply in the event that permission has been obtained from the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for the purpose of testing, research and specimen, and in this case, the import shall be accompanied by a permit (Paragraph 2).


※The database of import conditions on the website of the Plant Protection Station is useful for determining which products are prohibited for import.


・ Any person who imports plants shall notify the Plant Protection Station of such fact without delay and receive an inspection(Law 8)4.

・Specifically, in order to prevent pests and diseases from attaching to plants and invading Japan, all plants, regardless of quantity or use, must be subject to import inspection by the Plant Protection Station, accompanied by an inspection certificate5 issued by the government agency of the exporting country.

・However, the attachment of a certificate of inspection is exempted for dried turmeric, as it is less likely to be contaminated by diseases or pests.

1 There are exceptions according to the proviso of the same paragraph and each item of the same paragraph.
2 Fresh fruit, etc.
3 The term “pest” means any injurious animal or injurious plant that is likely to cause damage to useful plants if it spreads. However, it excludes those listed in each item of Article 5-2 of the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Plant Protection Law.
4 In the case of importation by mail, Japan Post Co., Ltd. notifies the Plant Protection Station, which becomes the inspection (Article 8, Paragraph 6 of the Law).
5 In English, this is called a “Phytosanitary Certificate”.

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