955 - 03/14 - New Customs Regulation (24 Hour Rule) - Japan

The pre-departure Filing Rules require all vessel operators and NVOCC’s to electronically submit more detailed cargo information on all containerised cargoes due to be unloaded at a Japanese port no later than 24 hours before the vessel’s departure from the port of loading. The previous rules (the pre-arrival filing) only required vessel operators to submit less detailed cargo information to Customs 24 hours prior to the vessels arrival at a Japanese port for unloading.


Empty containers, cargoes loaded on platform containers and transit cargoes are exempted from the new pre-departure rules for the time being.


Further details can be found at the Japan Customs website:




A summary and a flow chart at its Appendix 1:




For certain short-distance shipping routes from neighbouring countries/territories such as South Korea, China, Far East Russia and Taiwan, the deadline of filing 24 hours before the departure of the carrying vessel is relaxed to no later than before the departure from the port of loading for the time being. Further details and a list of reporting deadline for major neighbouring countries/territories can be found at Appendix 2:




The additional cargo information required includes amongst others the address, telephone number and country code of the consignor (shipper), notify party and consignee; container seal number, Harmonized System Code (6-digit); IMDG Class Number; UNDG Code. Details of data elements to be filed can be found at Appendix 3:




The Japan Customs respond and notify the reporting parties of the result of their risk analysis only if and when they consider the cargo to be security threat. So, no news is good news. Their advance notice of risk assessment result is provided by Notification Code, DNL (Do Not Load), HLD (Hold) or DNU (Do Not Unload). Further details can be found at Appendix 4:




For failure to comply with the new rules by the deadline, vessel operators and/or NVICC’s may be sentenced to imprisonment up to one year or a penalty not exceeding JPY500,000 (approx. USD 5,000).


Finally, FAQs can be found at:



Source of information


Masaki Oiwa

Inchcape Shipping Services – UK P&I Correspondent, Japan



UK P&I Club Loss Prevention Dept


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