Logistic and forwarding services in Japan


Capital City

127.56 Mio.

National languages

Yen (JPY)

Gross national product (GNP)
USD 5960 Mrd.

GNP per person
USD 46’720

Financial exports to Switzerland
CHF 6958.81 Mio.

Financial imports from Switzerland
CHF 4214.8 Mio.

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Japan

Japan is one of Switzerland’s most important partner states in Asia. As well as intensive economic relations the two countries enjoy close cooperation in the economic, political and multilateral areas. Relations, at the highest level, are excellent. In 2014 Switzerland and Japan will celebrate the 150th anniversary of official bilateral relations.

Economic cooperation

Economic relations between Japan and Switzerland are intensive. The Swiss Business Hub in Tokyo is responsible for promoting Switzerland as a business location. Japan is a priority country for Swiss export promotion and after China (including Hong Kong) is Switzerland’s second most important trading partner in Asia.
In 2011 exports of goods to Japan were worth 7 billion CHF or 3.2% of total Swiss exports. The lion’s share consisted of chemical and pharmaceutical products, watches and jewellery, precious metals and machinery. Imports were mainly vehicles, machinery, chemical products and electrical appliances.
Switzerland is a major investor in Japan, ranking eighth among foreign investors in 2009.


Business language

Japanese, English.

Dimensions and weights

Metric system.


National currency 1 Yen (Y) = 100 Sen.
ISO code: JPY

Customs tariff

Harmonised system; customs clearance based on the transaction value.

Import control

The import of goods is largely free. Liberalised goods can be imported in unlimited quantities. There are import bans on firearms and munitions, narcotics, CFCs, pornographic texts and counterfeit money and plants and products of animal origin. There are restrictions on the import of various groups of goods which require a licence for import. Various ministries such as the Ministry of Agriculture (animals, fertilisers), Ministry of Economics (electrical products, chemicals, explosives), Ministry of Health (cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food) are responsible for licences.
Japan and the EU have a mutual agreement on conformity assessment. This means that certificates and markings of conformity such as those for electronic devices and telecommunication devices are recognised. The JAS or JIS symbol is evidence of conformity. The Japanese Industrial Standards Committee issues information on the norms and standards.
The import and export of capital has been largely liberalised, in general at most there is a reporting obligation with automatic approval.
Standard VAT rate: 8% (reduced rate 0%). From October 2015 increase to 10%.

Pre-shipment inspection

Imports are subject to controls from USD 2.500. The certificate number must be communicated to the shipping or air freight agents before loading.

Terms of payment and tenders

Largely on a USD basis but also Yen or EUR. CIF Yokohama or other Japanese ports of destination. Letters of credit are standard, in the case of long-term business relationships documents against payment is also used.
Tenders in English.

Designations of origin

Misleading symbols and statements are prohibited. Indicate the country of origin on commercial invoices.


No special marking and labelling regulations known (except for food, fertilisers, medical devices, household goods, electrical appliances, cosmetics).


Seaworthy packaging. Hay and straw are prohibited. Standard signing of the boxes with the box mark of the port of destination in line with the invoice and the standard loading papers. Use of the ISPM-15 standard for imports with wooden packaging. Certain packaging (e.g. PET bottles, white tin and aluminium cans, paper and plastic packaging) must bear a Japanese recycling logo. Obtain precise instructions from the importer.

Product samples

Where they are only suitable for use as such, products samples are not subject to duty. Goods which are intended for measurement are subject to monitoring but are generally duty free if they are subsequently re-exported. Samples are generally treated like standard imports. More details, including about the ATA Carnet procedure which is permitted.

Shipping and accompanying documents

a) Commercial invoices, 3 copies, signed and with all standard information, including the country of origin, uncertified, copy of the import licence where necessary.

b) Certificates of origin generally not required; as the origin, indicate “Swiss” in the case of Swiss goods, or “European Union” for goods originating from UE.

c) Bills of lading without certification

d) Recommendation: extensive packing list in English.

d) Airmail packages up to 20 kg: as for packages, international dispatch note with an “airmail” sticker, copy of the import licence where necessary.