Meros recently teamed up with the US Embassy Japan’s Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) to develop a series of export guides that detail the regulatory requirements for 24 specific products, from cheese to chocolate, herbal tea to wine. While the aim is to support American SMEs who are interested in exporting food products to Japan, the detailed guides can be of interest to food exporters of all levels of experience.

Exporting to Japan can seem daunting with numerous required forms and official resources not always available in English. In these guides, we take potential exporters step-by-step from pre-embarkation to import clearance and lay out the expected forms and preparations necessary at each stage.

For new food exporters to Japan, common challenges include differences in food additive standards which may mean a product that is allowed for food products in the home country may not always be allowed in Japan.  Japan’s strict, low tolerance standards for agrochemical residues (MRLs) also trips up some potential exporters.  These guides aim to point out some of these common pitfalls in advance, so exporters are better prepared. They are not meant as “do-it-yourself” guides but as a tool to help exporters better navigate the export process together with their Japanese importers and distributors.

We provide examples of required ingredients lists, manufacturing process charts as well as labelling for each type of product – but it is important for exporters to always keep in mind that requirements can change without notice – especially whenever sanitary or phytosanitary risks are involved.  Ultimately, a successful export business to Japan require ongoing vigilance for regulatory changes, as well as strong relationships with importers and partners in Japan.

All guides are available here: Usdajapan.org/dl