What to Know About Importing Dogs and Cats to Japan

Bringing pets to Japan is all about preparing well in advance and understanding the import requirements in order to avoid delays and complications. Did you know Japan requires two rabies vaccines and a titer test, for example? Did you know these must be carried out according to a very specific timeline?

Bringing a dog or cat to Japan also means meeting standard requirements like gathering the correct paperwork (health certificates, rabies certificates, etc.), choosing an airline-approved travel crate, and helping your pet to acclimate to the crate in the weeks before your move.

Your PetRelocation Specialists will help to guide you through this process, but take a look below for an idea of what to expect when importing pets to Japan.

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Regulations for Importing Pets to Japan

Attention: This information is to be used as general guidelines and may not be updated to meet the current requirements. Before you travel, be sure to contact the appropriate authorities for your destination country.

Importing dogs and cats to Japan requires a 12 hour quarantine upon arrival providing the additional requirements and documentation have been met. Without the required documents, the maximum quarantine time can be 180 days. Animal Quarantine Service (AQS) officials advise that the entire process can take up to six months to complete.

Steps for Importing Accompanied Pets to Japan

  • Implant a microchip for identification of the pet prior to vaccination for rabies.
  • Undergo two rabies shots within the effective interval. Age of the pet should be 90 days or greater at the time of the first vaccination, with the second vaccination administered no more than one year before import.
  • Undergo a blood test after the second rabies shot.
  • Make advance notification of the pet importation to AQS no later than 40 days prior to arrival.
  • The pet must stay in the exporting country for at least 180 days but no more than two years after the date of blood sampling.
  • Upon arrival, submit the following documents to AQS:
    1. International Health certificate
    2. Two rabies vaccination certificates
    3. Advanced notification acknowledgement sent from AQS
    4. An Import Quarantine Application Form provided by AQS

Importing Pets as Unaccompanied Cargo

  • Submit the same documentation as accompanied pets (cargo importation requires more time and expense).
  • The owner of the pet is not required to be present in order to apply for quarantine inspection. A proxy can make the application.
  • The Narita quarantine service charges a detention fee of approximately JPY 3,000 or more depending on size per day for all pets, which includes basic boarding, food and care for the pet.
  • Other costs may be incurred for transportation fees, kennel, customs clearances, import tax and a proxy charge depending on the pet and other circumstances.

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