Importing Cars into Japan from USA


Planning to ship your car to Japan? Before you do that, make sure you review your options well, considering how cheap and readily-available motor vehicles are in Japan. But if the need to ship your car to Japan is really necessary, make sure you get a reputable and established international shipping company to do an efficient job for you.

The most practical and economical way of shipping a car to Japan is through the Roll on, Roll off or RoRo method. Most cars are driven to the ship so make sure they are drivable. However, you can ship damaged vehicles by loading them in an ocean container.

Expect your car shipment to arrive in any of the major ports in Japan including the port in Yokohama in Narita. The Customs Office requires the presence of the car owner who must personally receive the car at the time of delivery, but not after he has furnished the Customs with pertinent car information including the year of purchase and the model of the car. When that has been determined, the taxable amount would be assigned to the car.

Car owners should prepare the necessary car documents even before the car is shipped to avoid delays. Among the important documents you would need to present at the Customs Office are the Form C-5360 or Customs Declaration Form, Shipment Packing List, Proforma Invoice, Copy of the Driver’s License, Registration Certificate and Purchase Receipt.

If the vehicle you are shipping to Japan is at least six months old then you will be able to import it on a duty-free status. However, don’t be fooled by the phrase because while you will not be paying an import duty, you will have to pay the JPY ¥200,000-Model Approval fee, plus a 5% Automobile Acquisition tax on the vehicle’s depreciated value.

If you are planning to ship a new car to Japan or an old one but it does not fall within the 6-month-old category, then it will fall on the commercial import category.

Foreigners who intend to establish residence in Japan can avail of duty-free importation provided the car is not sold and remains in the owner’s possession within two years from the Import Permit date. Foreigners importing a car in Japan need to present their Alien Registration Card, Original Passport and Car Registration, Purchase Receipt, Engine and Chassis Number, Form C5360 or C-5360-2, Car Manual, Driver’s License and Proforma invoice.

You also need to execute an affidavit that you will not sell the car while you are in Japan and that the car has been in your possession before importation to Japan. If you’re shipping a foreign car to Japan then it has to be modified so that the safety and emission regulations of Japan are met. The importer will have to pay for the very high modification charges. Unless the foreign car is modified, you will have to pay the 5% import duty which is assessed at the depreciated market value.

There are many car manufacturers in Japan so cars are pretty cheap and easily available. But if you prefer to ship your own car or a foreign car to Japan, it is possible to do that in an efficient manner provided you choose the right shipping company to do the job right.

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