These are companies you already know … FedEx, UPS or DHL. With them, you can receive your parcels in two or three days. These solutions are often more expensive than Japan Post. But private carriers can be helpful for people in a hurry.
Japan import and customs fees
There, we enter the boring part of the article. But, it’s always important to stay legal when importing products from Japan. Customs rules are among those things that can sometimes be difficult for web consumers. Still, you are legally bound to respect them, and for that it will be necessary to know at least the fundamentals.
The customs rules are not the same depending on your country.
Prohibited products on importation
You should know that some products sold freely in Japan are not legal in every country. For example, *you can have problems if you import hentai staging underage characters. While this kind of manga can be easily found on the Japanese archipelago.
Besides, carriers refuse to ship dangerous materials or items controlled by law. These products are:
- All types of products related to firearms.
- Flammable, toxic, radioactive or explosive liquids, materials and gases.
Products prohibited or controlled by law:
- Narcotic or psychotropic substances.
- Living animals and plants.
- Some countries also have restrictions on fruits and vegetables.
So don’t hesitate to ask your customs department if you have any doubt about a product you would like to buy.
Compatibility of Japanese products
There are several things to check before buying certain product categories in Japan. Here are a few.
Japanese products guarantees are in accordance with Japanese regulations. For example, some products with two-year warranty in Europe have only one year in Japan. In some cases, you will not be able to return the product when you are abroad. But, when possible, you will have to pay for shipping costs in both directions. Moreover, you can even have to use a Japanese forwarder to recover your product.
Keep in mind that when you buy a Japanese device there is always a risk that you will not be able to change its language. I have experienced this with my camera, whose Japanese model is the only one without a multilingual option. We are never safe from this kind of surprise when we import items.
Also, the electric power is not the same in Japan as in Europe, Africa or Oceania. Japanese outlets deliver 110 volts, while in Europe and some African countries the voltage is greater than 200.
North America is an exception. The North American outlets have a voltage very close to that of the Land of the Rising Sun: 120 volts.
If the voltage of your country is very different from that of Japan, two scenarios are available to you:
- Your product can support the voltage of your country: You will need a simple plug adapter to connect it.
- Your product is not compatible with the voltage of your country: You will have to buy an electric transformer.
The compatibility of Japanese games with Western consoles depends on the platform. Indeed, some consoles, especially retrogaming platforms, are zoned. Which means that a video game cannot work with a game console bought in another part of the world.
DVD and Blu-Ray
As with video games, DVDs and Blu-Rays can be zoned. This is even more true for older records, as the market tends to open up. Yet, I recommend that you check the compatibility of each DVD or Blu-Ray case by case. This is the only way to avoid any unpleasant surprise.
Feel free to ask your questions in the comments below. I will answer them to help you import products from Japan.