Textiles, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods
Last updated on 09/20/2012
If you have any questions about the following information, please contact Linda Martinich at the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Textiles and Apparel at 202-482-4058 or click here for e-mail access.
**The following information is provided only as a guide and should be confirmed with the proper authorities before embarking on any export activities.**
Import Tariffs - Japan
|Tariff duties are assessed on the c.i.f. (cost, insurance and freight) value at ad valorem or specific rates, and, in a few instances, are a combination of both. Tariffs are administered by the Customs and Tariff Bureau of Japan's Ministry of Finance. Goods from the United States are charged WTO rates unless a lesser "temporary" rate exists. |
Japan: Tariff Rates on Textiles, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods
* Some products may be subject to specific per unit tariffs.
Tariff Rate Range (%)
0 - 6.9
0 - 2.7
3 - 5.6*
|-other vegetable fiber|
0 - 7.9
0 - 6.6
8 - 12.5
3.5 - 6.6*
5.6 - 7.4*
|-other vegetable fiber|
2.5 - 10
4 - 10
4 - 9.8
|Non Woven Fabric|
0 - 4.3
2.8 - 6.6
4.4 - 12.8
|Home Furnishings |
including: bed, bath, kitchen linens, etc.
0 - 10.9
0 - 8.4
3.4 - 30*
2.7 - 16
** Certain leather footwear (HS 6403-6405) is subject to the Tariff Quota (TQ) system. That is, a lower tariff rate (primary rate) is assessed on import quantities within the limits of the annual tariff quota and a higher rate (secondary rate) is assessed on import quantities in excess of the tariff quota.
For more detailed tariff information, see the Japan Customs Tariff webpage (Use "WTO" column) or the Japan Tariff Association webpage or, or the Current Situation of Schedules of Members on the World Trade Organization website.
Additional Import Taxes and Fees--A 5 percent consumption tax (general excise tax) is levied on all goods sold in Japan. The consumption tax is assessed on the c.i.f. value of the product plus the import duty. If the imported product is shipped directly to the end user, the tax is applies on the c.i.f. value.
The Import Declaration Form (Customs Form C 5020) is filled out by the importer and is used as both an import declaration and tax payment declaration form. Packages are exempt from duty and the consumption tax if they contain items with a value of 10,000 yen or less. Certain specific products are exceptions to this rule, such as leather goods, and some knit products.
Temporary Entry/Samples--Advertising materials, including brochures, films and photographs, may enter Japan duty fee. Articles intended for display but not for sale at trade fairs and similar events are also permitted to enter duty free in Japan only when the fair/event is held at a bonded exhibition site. Japan is a member of the ATA Carnet system.
ATA Carnet--An ATA Carnet or "Merchandise Passport" is a document that facilitates the temporary importation of products into foreign countries by eliminating tariffs and other import taxes or charges normally required at the time of importation. For more information or to apply for an ATA Carnet, see the United States Council for International Business website.
Return to Top
Import Documentation/Procedures (Japan)
|Certificate of origin--All silk fabrics, silk products, and clothing or products using animal skins and furs as provided for in the international convention on trade in endangered species, etc., require a certificate of origin. In such cases, two copies, preferably, on the Japanese form sold by commercial stationers are necessary. The interested party fills out the required information on the preprinted certificate form and attaches an affidavit that the included information is correct. The completed form and affidavit are taken to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce that signs and affixes a seal to the Certificate. Consular legalization is not required, but the consulate will legalize the certificate upon request by the shipper. An additional copy of the certificate then is required for the consulate’s files. The document must be signed by the applicant and the certifying officer, and the date of certification must be shown.|
Import Licenses--The Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry - MITI licenses the importation of silk fabrics and silk materials. Only the Japan Raw Silk and Sugar Price Stabilization Agency may import raw silk; some manufactured silk goods may require import certification from MITI. Import clearance can take three to five days.
Import approval is required for apparel products such as overcoats and jackets containing animal hides, feathers or leather from species covered by provisions of the Washington Convention.
On JETRO's Standards and Regulations webpage, see:
For more information on local customs rules and regulations:
Ministry of Finance
Japan Tariff Association
|For information on common export documents, such as transportation documents, export compliance documents, certificates of origin, certificates for shipments of specific goods, temporary shipment documents, and other export-related documents, see the Export.gov webpage on Common Export Documents. |
For more information on import procedures and documentation requirements, see the Country Commercial Guides (CCG) in the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library (enter your country of interest in the "country" field, and enter "Country Commercial Guide (CCG)" in the "Report Type" field. Some market research reports are available only to U.S. companies and U.S. students/researchers that are registered with Export.gov.
Return to Top
Import Restrictions (Japan)
|The following substances have been banned for use in textile products in accordance with the Japanese law for the control of household products containing harmful substances (Law No. 112 in 1973 as amended):
Formaldehyde or formalin - any clothes for babies age 0-24 months cannot contain formaldehyde. Prohibited products include diapers, diaper covers, bibs, underwear, nightwear, gloves, socks, vests, outer garments, hats, and bedding for infants. The Law for Control of Household Products Containing Harmful Substances established content standards for substances present in textile products that may cause harm to the skin (such as formalin). Textile products with a formalin content of 75 ppm or greater may not be sold in Japan.
- Organomercury compounds
- Tris (1-Aziridinyl) phosphinne oxide
- Tris (2,3-Dibrompophyl) phosphate
- Triphenyltin compounds
- Bis (2,3-Dibrompophyl) phosphate
- 4, 6-Dichrode-7-(2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxy)
Dyldorine - the restriction on this substance applies widely to apparel products and should not exceed 30 ppm.
4.6-Dichloro-7-(2.4.5-Tricholorphenoxide) Tri-fluormethyl-benzimidazole (DTTB) - the restriction on this substance applies widely to apparel products and DTTB should not exceed 30 ppm
Products containing tris (i-aziridinyl) phosphineoxide (APO) in any quantity are banned, and the use of more than 30 ppm of dieldrin is prohibited in textile goods for household use (clothes, carpets, bedding, etc.) and knitting wool. Use of the fire retardant tris (2,3 dibromopropyl) phosphate and triphenyltin compounds in certain household products including sleepwear, bedding, curtains, carpets, babywear, underwear, gloves, hosiery, household adhesives, and paint and wax shoe polish is prohibited under the household Commodities Regulations Law.
Also prohibited is the use of tributylin compounds as fungicide or preservative in paint, adhesives, wax, shoe polish, or textile products. Tests must show that this substance is not present in the specific household article.
For further information on these regulations, contact the Office of Environmental Chemicals Safety, Environmental Health Bureau, Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Formaldehyde in building materials--U.S. exporters of building materials to Japan, including wall covering manufacturers, can receive formaldehyde certification in the United States testing firms that have been approved by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation - MILT, to certify building materials as being compliant with MLIT's "sick house" regulations.
Lead in buttons--Although Japanese law does not currently prohibit lead, there is a movement to ban lead in accessories.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora--Products made from certain types of leather or animal products may require a certificate of origin issued by an agency of the government of the exporting country and an import authorization issued by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showing that importation of the product is not prohibited. See the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora website for more details.
|U.S. Export Restrictions:|
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the U.S. Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, and international narcotics traffickers and their agents in accordance with U.S. foreign policy and national security goals. The OFAC website includes summaries of sanctions programs for various countries and the “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” (SDNs) list of entities and individuals with whom U.S. persons may not conduct business and whose property must be blocked if under the control of a U.S. person.
The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in the U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which regulate the export and re-export of most commercial items. BIS maintains the Denied Persons List, which consists of individuals, and companies that have been denied export and re-export privileges by BIS, and the Entity List, which consists of foreign end users who pose an unacceptable risk of diverting U.S. exports and the technology they contain to alternate destinations for the development of weapons of mass destruction
Return to Top
Standards - Japan
|The Japan Industrial Standards Committee - JISC plays a central role in the establishment and maintenance of Japan Industrial Standards (JIS). A list of newly published JIS standards can be found on the Japan Standards Association website. Finalized technical regulations and standards are published in Japan's national gazette (Kanpō - Japanese only). Each Japanese ministry posts draft regulations for public comment on their respective websites. These draft regulations can also be found in a consolidated list, available in Japanese, on the e-Gov web portal.|
Many domestic products and imported products alike are subject to product testing and cannot be sold in Japan without certification of compliance with prescribed standards. Some standards are mandatory and some are voluntary.
SG mark: The "SG" mark, affixed by Japan’s Consumer Product Safety Association, applies to furniture, sporting goods, household goods, and items for infants and children, except toys, which are covered by the "ST" mark. Although U.S. manufacturers of these products are not required to obtain the "SG" mark, its existence may enhance the image of the product(s) with Japanese consumers. In addition, in the event of an accident attributed to a defect in a product bearing the "SG" mark, the Japan Consumer Product Safety Commission will provide financial compensation to the consumer for the manufacturer.
The "voluntary" Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) mark is administered by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry - METI.
Flame retardant regulations--The Fire Service Law specifies that some textile products such as carpeting and curtains installed in most commercial building must comply with flame retardant regulations. The Japan Fire Retardant Association publishes English language information on the Japanese Flame Retardant Law and its testing methods. Products conforming to the standards must have flame-retardant labels and those without such labels may not be sold as flame-retardant products. For details on these regulations, contact the Japan Fire Retardant Association.
Voluntary Standards for Harmful Substances for Textiles and Clothing--In 2010, the Japan Textile Federation drafted a revision of "Voluntary Standards on Nonuse of Harmful Substances for Textiles and Clothing" regarding Azo Dyes. For more information see the Intertek website.
See the Japan External Trade Organization - JETRO website - JETRO's Standards and Regulations webpage for the following publications:
Local standards organization and other resources:
Japan Standards Association
Japan Accreditation Board for Conformity Assessment -JAB
Japan Industrial Standards Committee - JISC
Japan External Trade Organization - JETRO
Return to Top
Labeling - Japan
Correct packing, marking, and labeling are critical to smooth customs clearance in Japan. All imported products and shipping documents are required to show metric weights and measures.
Although the details, which are specified by the Ministry of Economy and International Trade and Industry - METI, vary with the product, the type of information required includes the following:
Labeling generally must be in Japanese, although English may be used for country of origin. Under the Household Products Quality Labeling Law, most apparel items and certain other textile products, including pile rugs, curtains, blankets, and bedspreads, require labeling of their fabric component as well as instructions for care (washing, bleaching, laundering, etc.). Travel goods made of cowhide, horsehide, pigskin, sheepskin or goatskin must be labeled showing the type of leather, care and storing methods, and name and address or telephone number of the party responsible for labeling. For more information, see the Japanese Household Goods Quality Labeling Handbook (October 2010) on the METI website.
The Japanese Standards Association - JSA offers a booklet in English, “Care Labeling of Textile Goods” (published Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) number L 0217) about Japanese labeling symbols. Interested U.S. companies can purchase a copy from the JSA website.
The name of the country of origin is required on all domestic and imported textile and apparel products. The country of origin labeling standard, established by the Japanese Fair Trade Commission, is based on provisions of the Law Against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representation so that consumers will not mistake a Japanese-made product for a foreign-made product, and so they can readily identify the place of origin. Products with vague, confusing or misleading labeling regarding the country of origin may not be imported into Japan.
Labeling of flammability characteristics is required for such items as pile rugs, curtains, and knitted and lace cloth. All topcoats, overcoats, spring coats, and raincoats, etc., must be labeled in Japanese to show whether they are water repellant. Normally, these labels will be prepared by the Japanese importer. Coats without the label cannot be designated as raincoats.
Because certain regulations apply specifically to individual products, it is important to work with a prospective agent/importer to ensure your product meets the requirements, if applicable. In general, most labeling laws are not required at the customs clearance stage, but at the point of sale. Consequently, it is most common for Japanese importers to affix a label before or after clearing customs.
Information about the Japanese sizing system is available from the JSA website. Relevant publications (names/numbers) are listed below. Some of these publications may also be available through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in New York, NY.
JIS L 0103 General Rule on Sizing Systems and Designation for Clothes
JIS L 0217 Care Labeling of Textile Goods
JIS L 4001 Sizing System for Infant's Garments
JIS L 4002 Sizing System for Boys' Garments
JIS L 4003 Sizing System for Girls' Garments
JIS L 4004 Sizing System for Men's Garments
JIS L 4005 Sizing System for Women's Garments
JIS L 4006 Sizing System for Foundation Garments
JIS L 4007 Sizing System for Hosiery
JIS L 4114 Sizing System for Blouses
JIS L 4117 Sizing System for Dresses, Skirts
For more information on labeling and marking requirements, see the Consumer Affairs Agency.
- Type of fabric and textile yarn content, with percentage figures for lining, thread, material, etc
- Care and washing instruction
- Name of manufacturer/supplier or officially registered number with METI
- Country of Origin
Return to Top
Intellectual Property Rights - Japan
In general, Japan maintains a strong intellectual property rights (IPR) regime. Companies doing business in Japan are encouraged to be clear about all rights and obligations with respect to IPR in any trading or licensing agreements. Explicit arrangements and clear understanding between parties will help to avert problems resulting from differences in culture, markets conditions, legal procedures, or business practices.
The IPR rights holder must register patents and trademarks in order to ensure protection in Japan. Filing the necessary applications requires hiring a Japanese lawyer or patent practitioner (benrishi) registered in Japan to pursue the patent or trademark application. The Japan Patent Office - JPO publishes patent applications 18 months after filing, and if it finds no impediment to granting a patent, publishes the revised application a second time before the patent is granted. The patent is valid for 20 years from the date of filing.
In conformity with international agreement, Japan maintains a non-formality principle for copyright registration -- i.e., registration is not a precondition to the establishment of copyright protection. However, the Agency for Cultural Affairs maintains a registry for such matters as date of first publication, date of creation of program works, and assignment of copyright. United States copyrights are recognized in Japan by international treaty.
Return to Top
Market Information - Japan
The Japan External Trade Organization - JETRO has an extensive list of import promotion programs. It includes the dispatch of long-term Senior Trade Advisors to U.S. state governments, where they offer advice on exporting to Japan; the dispatch of short-term import specialists who identify products with potential in the Japanese market; seminar tours to Japan for U.S. business people to better understand the Japanese market; the establishment of Business Support Centers in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, and Fukuoka; and the establishment of permanent imported product exhibition sites (for autos, imported homes, and housing materials) throughout Japan. JETRO also publishes numerous market research and trade facilitation information, maintains business-matchmaking databases, organizes import fairs in Japan, and provides import counseling. See JETRO's website for more information on its programs.
|Japan Textile Importers Association|
Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP)--On November 14, 2009, President Obama announced that the United States would engage in Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations, which currently includes the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada, Mexico and Japan. For further information about TPP, see the Trans-Pacific Partnership page on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative website.
Government Procurement-- See Global Procurement Opportunities for U.S. exporters.
Foreign Military Sales (FMS) by U.S. companies to Japan are administered by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency - DSCA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Defense. All transactions are initiated by a request from the Government of Japan for price and availability data for a specific item or service. Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) are handled by Japanese defense trading firms, distributors and agents.
The Equipment Procurement and Construction Office - EPCO of the Japan Ministry of Defense - JMOD is charged with the central procurement of military equipment and services valued at over 1.5 million yen ($17,071 at 87.78 yen/USD) for such items as textiles, and other necessary materials.
The Japan External Trade Organization - JETRO website has an on-line database of government procurement notices and invitations published in the National Printing Bureau‘s Official Gazette (Kanpō - Japanese only).
Return to Top