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Bringing Pets to Japan and Back: A Quick 4-Step Guide

Post: Monday August 17, 2015

You are moving to Japan and want to bring your cherished pet with you. It can’t be that hard, right? Well, yes and no. On the one hand, bringing pets to Japan IS a tedious and potentially expensive process. But on the other hand, with some planning and time to prepare, you can avoid a lot of the more painful parts and save on the costs as well.

Pet relocation japan



Taking Pets to Japan: An Introduction

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The governing body in charge of importing pets into Japan is called the Japanese Animal Quarantine Service (AQS). They have an extensive website with English support, so that’s the best place for up to date, accurate information. It’s important to get all the facts before leaving your home country and arriving in Japan, since exceptions cannot be granted for anyone. Any unfinished or unclear paperwork could lead to extended quarantine times or possibly even your pet being deported upon arrival. 

Although there hasn’t been a case of rabies in Japan since 1957 and it is now being recognized by the US Centers for Disease Control Prevention as a rabies-free nation, Japan has actually toughened its animal import and quarantine procedures since 2006. Whatever the logic behind this decision, the procedure is now more complicated than before. Let’s review the overall process, including ways you can make it as pain-free as possible for both you and your pet.


Bringing a Dog to Japan


As a golden rule, the earlier you can start the better. If you have a year or more before entering Japan, you can avoid many of the headaches and extra costs. Also know that you, the importer, are responsible for all costs incurred during the process. Before reading on, it may be helpful to check the AQS website about that. Of course there are as many kinds of pets as there are people, but let’s start with a common baseline: What are the steps involved in bringing a dog to Japan? FYI, some of the steps will also apply to our feline friends.

Import procedures vary depending on the export country or region of the dogs and cats.

1) Import from the designated regions (Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji Islands, Hawaii, Guam), click here.

2) Import from the non-designated regions, click here.


Bringing Pets to Japan: A Good Idea or Not?

Before making a decision about bringing pets to Japan, please consider two things: Cost and time. Although the testing alone can be a bit costly, the real expense comes if you have to pay for quarantine services in Japan, which can run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. This brings us to the second factor: time. Will you have enough time to prepare and complete all the steps before arrival? If not, be warned: The process will involve a lengthy quarantine in Japan. Besides being very costly, being separated and in the care of strangers for an extended period could be stressful for both you and your pet. Ask yourself if you can handle being away from your pet for as long as 180 days.




Exporting Pets out of Japan (back to home country)

When exporting your pet from Japan, the requirements must be met for both the country of export (Japan) as well as the destination country’s import procedures. Upon leaving Japan, there will be an examination by AQS. Although this can be done before departure at the airport, you can also call in advance to make an appointment. The forms needed for export can be found on the AQS website. For information about needed forms and proce-dures for import, please refer to the import country’s embassy webpage.








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