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geoffa 24 Apr 17 07:27 PM

Importing or Bringing Medication into Japan for Personal Use
Importing or Bringing Medication into Japan for Personal Use:

Decisions on what medications or medical devices may be imported legally into Japan are made by the Japanese Government and unfortunately the limited information available does not include comprehensive lists of specific medications or ingredients. This information is available only from the Japanese authorities, and subject to change.

Before taking any medication to Japan, read the following section carefully. If you fail to follow Japanese Law you may be arrested and detained.

Please read the below website provided by the Japanese government:

Information for those who are bringing medicines for personal use into Japan (medications, syringes, pumps, CPAP machines) by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare -

Bringing medications and cosmetics to Japan by Consulate General of Japan in Seattle -

Over-The-Counter Medicines:

It is illegal to bring into Japan some over-the-counter medicines commonly used in the U.K., including some inhalers (although Ventolin is OK) and some allergy and sinus medications. Specifically, products that contain stimulants (medicines that contain Pseudoephedrine, such as Actifed, Sudafed, and Vicks inhalers), or Codeine are prohibited if it contains more than allowed quantity of stimulant raw materials. According to Japanese law, up to a two-months’ supply of allowable over-the-counter medication and up to a two-months’ supply of allowable vitamins can be brought into Japan duty-free.

Prescription Medications:

Heroin, cocaine, MDMA, opium, cannabis (marijuana), stimulant drugs including some prescription medications such as Adderall, and including some medications available over-the-counter in the U.K. are prohibited in Japan. There are no exceptions in bringing these prohibited medications into Japan, even if the medication is legally obtained outside of Japan. The import of stimulant drugs such as methamphetamines and amphetamines in particular are strictly prohibited, even when accompanied by a customs declaration and a copy of the prescription. Japanese customs officials or police can detain travelers importing prohibited items. Japanese customs officials do not make on-the-spot “humanitarian” exceptions for medicines that are prohibited in Japan.

Up to one month’s supply of allowable prescription medicine (by Japanese law) can be brought into Japan. Travelers should bring a copy of their doctor’s prescription as well as a letter stating the purpose of the drug. Travelers who must carry more than one month’s supply (except prohibited drugs and controlled drugs), or are carrying syringes (pumps) or a CPAP machine, are required to obtain a so-called “Yakkan Shoumei”, or an import certificate in advance, and show the “Yakkan Shoumei” certificate with your prescription medicines at the Customs.

For more information about bringing medicines into Japan and how to obtain a “Yakkan Shoumei” Certificate, please visit the website of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare where you can also find an application form. When you make an inquiry to the Kanto-Shinetsu Regional Bureau, please do not forget to provide your fax number or your E-mail address.
Other Important Information

Japanese physicians can often prescribe similar, but not identical, substitutes to medicines available in the U.K. A list of English-speaking medical facilities throughout Japan is available elsewhere on our web site. A Japanese doctor, consulted by phone in advance, is also a good source of information on medications available and/or permitted in Japan.

Some popular medications legal in the U.K., such as Prozac and Viagra, are sold illegally in Japan on the black market. You are subject to arrest and imprisonment if you purchase such drugs illegally while in Japan.

Learning More -

Persons traveling to Japan carrying prescription and non-prescription medications should consult the Japanese Embassy in the U.K. to confirm whether they will be allowed to bring the particular medication into Japan: 020 7465 6500

kevin_cambs_uk 24 Apr 17 08:10 PM

I found the medicine thing a bit confusing, as inhalers are on the list, but after some research I believe that prescription Ventolin inhalers are acceptable, there is nothing in them that are banned, as far as I can work out, and need no special consideration. In the USA you can buy Vicks Inhalers over the counter, not sure if such a thing exists in the UK, but these are definitely not allowed.

But I travelled with my Ventolin and it was all okay.

I just thought it was worth mentioning as its a tricky area!

geoffa 24 Apr 17 08:12 PM

Sure is and trying to get a sensible list from the Japanese Embassy was a minefield in itself.
I'll add a note about Ventolin in the sticky.

kevin_cambs_uk 24 Apr 17 08:18 PM

Thanks Geoff!

hornetgirl 25 Apr 17 08:32 AM

This is really useful information. Thank you!

Sue BL 12 Feb 19 10:40 AM

There’s a lot of contrary information out there now about medicines in Japan. I wanted confirmation if a licence was needed still for a CPAP machine and the situation with medicines on the controlled list.
I emailed (Kanto Shinetsu Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare) and said:
I’m visiting for two weeks. Do I need a yakkan shoumei certificate to bring a CPAP machine into Japan?
I take Atenolol. I will have a copy of my prescription to show it’s for me. Do I need anything more - like an letter from my doctor?

They replied:
Please apply for Yakkan Shoumei for CPAP machine only.
As for Atenolol, within 30 day supply is no problem.

Hope this helps someone.

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