Bringing Medicine into Japan

6 Aug

One unfortunate aspect of studying abroad is the ridiculous amount of paperwork you have to fill out and if you’re planning two such adventures in one year, it can quickly become overwhelming.  As I finally finished submitting all of my documents for Japan yesterday, I was looking over some other papers for my study abroad trip and I came to the realization that I somehow forgot all about Japan’s strict guidelines for bringing medicine into the country.  They permit ONE month’s supply of prescription drugs and TWO months’ supply of non-prescription drugs.  Since I will be in the country for four months, this leaves me in an unfortunate situation.  My two options appear to be having my prescription mailed to me each month (expensive, I’m sure) or filling out an annoying amount of paperwork and hoping it arrives before I depart at the end of the month.  Most likely I will fill out the latter and hope it gets back here on time.  The only way for me to obtain this “Yakkan Shoumei” is to fill out two import reports of medicine, a declaration of my bringing it, an explanation of the product, a copy of the prescription and a detailed description of the medicine with the doctor’s signature, a document indicating my arrival place and date, and a return envelope with my address and international reply coupons attached.  Then I have to send this to the Japanese regional bureau closest to the airport I’m going to arrive at, which in my case is Kansai International Airport and thus the Kinki Regional Bureau.  My suggestion to any Japan-goers: do this much further ahead of time, rather than forgetting like I did.

Here is a link for reference if you want to bring medicine into Japan: http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/import/index.html

And the copies of the forms to be mailed into the Regional Bureau along with a Q&A can be found here:

importation-of-medication-to-japan-obtaining-a-yakkan-shoumei.pdf

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3 Responses to “Bringing Medicine into Japan”

  1. Zeke Wednesday, 19 August 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    Heh..I am pulling my hair out over this. I simply do not know what information is adequate, I requested package inserts from the manufacturers of the medication and I’m about to fill this out. Did you write everything in English? Someone told me that it needs to be in Japanese. I am bringing two sets of medication from 2 different manufacturers, would I need to do two forms, one for each? Or can I lump both on the same one. Thanks for your help, I hope things work out for you.

  2. Michelle Thursday, 20 August 2009 at 6:35 am #

    When I went I wrote everything in English and had no difficulties. I wouldn’t worry about it too much to be honest. The official barely glanced at it and that was only after I purposely took it out of my luggage and showed it to him.

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