How to import from China to Japan?

Apr 24, 2024 Chapter 1. Sourcing

Importing goods from China to Japan involves several critical steps that require careful consideration. This guide outlines the process and provides valuable insights to ensure a successful importation journey.




How to Import from China to Japan?

Step 1: Navigate Trade Laws

Before you begin, understand the ever-changing trade laws in China and Japan. Staying informed about regulations and restrictions is essential to a smooth import process. Ensure you have all the necessary documents ready for customs clearance.




Step 2: Select Profitable Products

Identify products that align with your business’s capabilities and have a demand in the Japanese market. Research the current best-sellers and assess the potential costs of production, marketing, and delivery.


Step 3: Choose an Appropriate Shipping Method

Select the most suitable shipping method based on the type, weight, and quantity of your merchandise. Seek advice from experts if you’re unsure.


Step 4: Find Reliable Suppliers

Establish a strong partnership with Chinese suppliers that offer the products you need. Various methods can help you locate trustworthy suppliers, such as online B2B platforms, business fairs, and working with reputable freight forwarders or sourcing companies.


Step 5: Understand Taxation

Estimate your tax liability when importing goods from China to Japan. Japanese customs apply an 8% value-added tax, and additional taxes and fees may apply. Plan ahead to avoid unexpected costs.


Step 6: Define Incoterms

Familiarize yourself with Incoterms, internationally recognized rules governing responsibilities and liabilities in international trade. Define your shipment’s Incoterms to establish clear roles between buyers and sellers.


7. Do Quality Control

Since Japanese customers have higher requirements for quality, a product quality inspection service before shipment is an essential step. Generally speaking, the cost of a full inspection is higher than the cost of a random inspection. However, most Japanese customers will choose full inspection to reduce the defective rate.


Step 8: Navigate Customs Clearance

Customs clearance is a crucial step managed by the owner or their legal representative. The process involves data entry, document preparation, assessing goods, obtaining permits, paying fees, warehousing, and final release of goods.


Step 9: Partner with a Freight Forwarder

To ensure a smooth international shipping process, hire a reliable and experienced freight forwarder. They will handle the logistics from your factory to the final destination, simplifying the complex shipping process.




What Does Japan Import from China?

Commonly Imported Items to Japan

Japan imports a wide range of products, including:

  • Mineral fuels, including oil
  • Electrical machinery and equipment
  • Machinery, including computers
  • Optical, technical, and medical apparatus
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Vehicles
  • Ores, slag, and ash
  • Organic chemicals
  • Clothing and accessories
  • And more

Consider the existing market demand for these items when determining what to import.


Prohibited and Restricted Items

Be aware of prohibited and restricted items when importing into Japan. Regulations change frequently, so regularly check the current restrictions. Some examples include narcotics, firearms, explosives, and items infringing upon intellectual property rights.


Importing from China to Japan can be a lucrative venture when approached with careful planning and adherence to the necessary regulations. Stay informed, partner with reliable suppliers and experts, and ensure compliance with all import laws to achieve success.




Shipping from China to Japan:

Shipping goods from China to Japan involves several considerations including choosing the right shipping method, understanding customs procedures, and estimating costs and transit times. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the process:

Shipping from China to Japan Methods

  1. Air Freight:
    • Pros: Fast (typically 1-3 days), suitable for urgent or high-value goods.
    • Cons: Expensive, limited by weight and volume.
  2. Sea Freight:
    • Pros: Cost-effective for large or heavy shipments, several options (FCL and LCL).
    • Cons: Slower (usually 5-15 days depending on the route and service).
  3. Express Shipping (Courier Services):
    • Pros: Fast and reliable, door-to-door service.
    • Cons: Most expensive, size and weight limitations.

Major Ports and Airports

  • China:
    • Ports: Shanghai, Shenzhen, Ningbo, Guangzhou, Tianjin.
    • Airports: Shanghai Pudong (PVG), Beijing Capital (PEK), Guangzhou Baiyun (CAN).
  • Japan:
    • Ports: Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya.
    • Airports: Narita (NRT), Haneda (HND), Kansai (KIX), Chubu Centrair (NGO).

Customs Procedures

  • Documentation Required:
    • Commercial Invoice
    • Packing List
    • Bill of Lading (for sea freight) or Air Waybill (for air freight)
    • Import/export licenses (if applicable)
    • Certificate of Origin (sometimes required)
  • Customs Duties and Taxes:
    • Japan imposes customs duties and consumption tax on imported goods. The duty rates depend on the type of goods.
    • Ensure all documentation is accurate to avoid delays and penalties.

Shipping from China to Japan Cost Estimation

  • Factors Influencing Costs:
    • Shipping method chosen (air is more expensive than sea).
    • Weight and volume of the shipment.
    • Distance between the origin and destination ports/airports.
    • Additional services (insurance, customs clearance, warehousing).
  • Freight Forwarders:
    • Using a freight forwarder can simplify the process as they handle logistics, documentation, and customs clearance.
    • Compare quotes from multiple freight forwarders for the best rates and services.

Shipping from China to Japan Transit Times

  • Air Freight: 1-3 days.
  • Sea Freight: 5-15 days (varies by specific ports and service level).
  • Express Shipping: 1-3 days.


Tips for Smooth Shipping from China to Japan:

  1. Plan Ahead: Allow ample time for processing and transit, especially for sea freight.
  2. Accurate Documentation: Ensure all required documents are complete and accurate.
  3. Insurance: Consider shipping insurance to protect against loss or damage.
  4. Choose Reputable Partners: Work with experienced freight forwarders or shipping companies.
  5. Track Shipments: Use tracking services to monitor the progress of your shipment.

By carefully selecting the appropriate shipping method and ensuring compliance with customs regulations, you can facilitate a smooth shipping process from China to Japan.



Buy from China to Japan Agent:

Supplyia is a trade agent that offers comprehensive sourcing and shipping services from China to various international destinations, including Japan. 

Supplyia primarily assists Amazon sellers in Japan with sourcing products from China, conducting full inspections, providing detailed inspection reports for buyers to review, and finally shipping the products to Amazon warehouses in Japan.

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments