Meros once again teamed up with the US Embassy Japan’s Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) to develop a new revised version of well-received series of export guides originally developed in 2019.  The series details the regulatory requirements for 24 specific products, from cheese to chocolate, seafood to spirits. While the aim of these guides 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 backgrounds.

Within the first month of their release in March 2022, the revised guides were downloaded over 1000 times.

The revised guides have added sections on new Japanese policy related to agricultural biotechnology as well as updated tariff schedules for each product to reflect changes that have come about since the US-Japan Trade Agreement came into effect on January 1, 2020.  Other changes include updated product labeling regulations as well as some product-specific changes.

USDA Meros Agricultural Biotechnology Japan Import
New sections include updates on Japan’s regulations on food and food additives derived from agricultural biotechnology.

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 labeling 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 requires ongoing vigilance for regulatory changes, as well as strong relationships with importers and partners in Japan.

Download the guides here.