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Yakkan Shoumei Explained

Travel to Japan

Yakkan Shoumei Explained

Understanding Yakkan Shoumei: A Comprehensive Guide

The process of relocating to a new country often brings with it a myriad of challenges and complexities. Among these is the unique issue of transferring personal medical supplies or prescriptions over international borders. For those planning to move to Japan or stay there for an extended period, the term “Yakkan Shoumei” would inevitably emerge in their research. This article aims to explain the concept of Yakkan Shoumei, its importance, the process involved, and recent updates to the procedure.

What is Yakkan Shoumei?

In essence, the Yakkan Shoumei is a type of import certificate required by the Japanese government for those intending to bring a more-than-permitted amount of medication or medical devices into Japan. As a rule of thumb, if you’re carrying medication for more than a month’s usage, a Yakkan Shoumei may be necessary. This regulation applies to both prescription and over-the-counter medications.

The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) in Japan oversees the Yakkan Shoumei process. Their stringent guidelines ensure that the medicines brought into the country are legally approved and won’t pose a potential risk to public health and safety.

Why is Yakkan Shoumei Important?

Understanding and adhering to the Yakkan Shoumei process is crucial because non-compliance could lead to issues at customs, including confiscation of your medication. This could be a significant issue for individuals relying on specific medications for their health and wellbeing.

The Yakkan Shoumei Application Process

Traditionally, applying for a Yakkan Shoumei involved several steps:

  1. Preparing all necessary documentation, including an application form, a medicine/medical equipment details form, and a copy of your passport.
  2. Writing a letter of explanation detailing the purpose of the import.
  3. Sending these materials via post or fax to the MHLW for processing and approval.
  4. Waiting for the certificate to be sent back, either by post or to be collected in person.

Recent Updates to Yakkan Shoumei

The good news is that recent updates have streamlined this process. As per the latest information from the MHLW, it’s now possible to apply online for some personal import procedures. You can access this service by visiting the dedicated “Application for Import Confirmation” page here.

This shift towards digitization means that applicants can now avoid the lengthy postal process, making applications more efficient and environmentally friendly. The MHLW is currently in the process of updating its procedures and continually improving their online platforms to ensure a more seamless and user-friendly experience.


While the process of applying for a Yakkan Shoumei may seem daunting, understanding its importance and requirements can greatly simplify the process. It’s a vital part of preparing for your journey to Japan, especially if you require certain medications for an extended period. The recent updates by the MHLW to digitize the process further add to the ease and efficiency of obtaining the certificate. Remember to plan well in advance to avoid any unforeseen issues at the airport or during your stay in Japan.

Bear in mind that the details and requirements might vary depending on your specific situation and medication. Therefore, always refer to the official MHLW resources or consult with your doctor for personalized advice.

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