The lowdown on sending parcels to Japan
Despite being situated quite literally on the other side of the world, Japan has had quite the influence on British culture over the years. It's not just motorists and foodies who owe thanks either; entertainment is also a major export for the Asian nation, with manga, anime and video games massively popular among Brits of all ages.
According to the latest government figures, around 190,000 people from the UK entered Japan in 2013, with more than 15,000 British nationals living in the country permanently - 6,000 of whom reside in the world-famous metropolis that is Tokyo. It's understandable that people may want to send parcels across to Japan, but there are a few things to consider beforehand.
Being in Southeast Asia, Japan is not governed by rules familiar to those in the European Union. This means that customs documentation must be provided. If a package's contents have a value of £270 or less, it must be sent with a completed copy of customs declaration form CN22. If the contents are worth more than this, the CN23 form should be sent instead. In order to protect this documentation on the 6,000-mile journey, it should be housed within a transparent plastic wallet and taped securely to the top left area of the parcel.
Like most countries, Japan has a list of items that it doesn't welcome in parcels crossing its borders. Many of these will come as no surprise to senders. The list includes, for instance, live animals and animal produce; explosives and firearms; narcotics; and nuclear reactors and machinery.
On top of this, senders should also refrain from sending:
- Live plants
- All pharmaceutical products
- Wood and articles of wood
- Items made using straw, esparto and other plaiting materials (wickerwork, baskets etc.)
- Counterfeit and pirated materials
- Obscene and immoral articles
- Works of art, antiques and collectors' pieces
While currency can be sent by mail to Japan, all packages containing banknotes and coins should be sent with the correct insurance. For further details, and a comprehensive list of prohibited items, it's worth checking the English-language section of the Japan Post website.
Addressing your item
To ensure your package makes it to the correct place without any hassle, it's important to write the address clearly on the front. It should be in the same format you're used to using for UK mail, with the only difference being the inclusion of the destination country - in capital letters and on the final line.
The long journey
Anyone who has travelled to Japan before will know the flight takes around 12 hours, and the same is true for mail - except there's a little bit of extra handling on each side too. It's important, therefore, that all items are wrapped securely with durable materials. Be sure to use a robust container or box, and include padding inside to minimise movement. Once this is done, use strong tape to seal all openings.
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Sending parcels to Japan