NOTICE OF CUSTOMS PROCEDURES IN RESPONSE TO THE TOHOKU PACIFIC EARTHQUAKE
Apr 04, 2011
On March 18th, 2011 The Ministry of Finance, Customs and Tariff Bureau notified its customs procedures in response to the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake. Customs procedures related to relief goods concern four items.
(1) The exemption of tariffs and consumption tax on relief goods and the simplification of customs declaration procedures
All relief goods that have no commercial value and that will be provided to disaster victims will be exempt from tariffs and consumption tax. In these cases, the “Statement of tax-exempt donations” is not required to be submitted (Customs Tariff Act - Article 15, paragraph (1), item (iii) and Article 13, paragraph (1), item (ii) and paragraph (3), item (ii).
Public and private institutions and organisations importing aid supplies can use the simplified “Aid Supplies Import/Export Declaration Form” (Japanese only)
(2) The simplification of procedures for aid supplies according to the Food Sanitation Act
The simplification of procedures for aid supplies according to the Food Sanitation Act includes food and beverage items. However for more details, please consult with the local Quarantine Stations.
Note: According to the Food Sanitation Act, food items that are imported to be sold requires a notification to be submitted to the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, however there are cases where this notification submission may not be required if the food items are imported for the purpose of aid supplies.
Reference: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
(3) The simplification of procedures pertaining to foreign vessels entering ports to unload aid supplies
In the case of unloading aid supplies, foreign vessels that arrive in open ports and customs airports to unload are not required to report information about the freight or crew members prior to arrival (this is applicable only for the unloading of aid supplies).
However, foreign vessels are asked to submit the notification prior to departing the port.
In addition, foreign vessels departing the port after unloading aid supplies will be exempt from Tonnage Tax/Special Tonnage Tax (note that this is applicable only for the unloading of aid supplies).
Foreign vessels arriving in a closed port to unload aid supplies will not be required to obtain the regular customs permit and they will also be exempt from closed port entry tariffs. (note that this is applicable only for the unloading of aid supplies).
Foreign vessels departing closed ports will be asked to submit their notification prior to arriving at the port.
(4) The simplification of procedures according to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law for aid supplies
In order to facilitate the delivery of medical products to devastated areas, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) will simplify the documentation of import medical products as aid supply. Originally, importers had to report the medical contents listed under the Pharmaceutical Law to the Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare before customs clearance.
However, since aid supplies mostly do not have individual attention names, it is difficult to identify importers and process the documentation directed to the Regional Bureau of Health. In addition to considering faster delivery to devastated areas, MHLW is requiring the Customs Offices to clear medical aid supplies from abroad without approval from the Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare.
Municipal governments will be able to report the medical contents of aid supplies to the Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare after they have been delivered to the intended recipient.