Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

Q&A on Notification System for the Importation of Animals


April 7, 2016

(Table of Contents)

★ System

★ Subject animals

★ Notification method

★ Notification documents

★ Importation of Rodents

★ Importation of research Rodents

★ Importation of Lagomorpha

★ Importation of mammals

★ Importation of birds

★ Importation of carcasses of Rodents and Lagomorpha

★ Other


(Answers)

★ System

Q1  What is the objective of the notification system for the importation of animals?

(Answer) The objective of this system is to check whether animals that may bring any diseases that are infectious to humans into Japan have been treated under the appropriate sanitary supervision in the exporting country by requiring the relevant animal importers to submit a notification to a quarantine station of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare at the time of the importation, thereby preventing the entry of infectious diseases and ii) to enable tracking of imported animals in the event of an outbreak of an infectious disease caused by the imported animals in Japan. This notification system was newly stipulated under Article 56-2 of the Act on Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Medical Care for Patients Suffering Infectious Diseases (the “Infectious Diseases Act”) in October, 2003 and started to operate as from September 1, 2005.

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Q2  What is the background of introducing the notification system for the importation of animals?

(Answer) Japan has had the following legal restrictions on imported animals: a ban on the importation of animals that may cause serious infectious diseases to humans under the Infectious Diseases Act, quarantine for imported dogs and cats under the Rabies Prevention Act, quarantine for imported monkeys under the Infectious Diseases Act, and quarantine for imported domestic animals and domestic poultry under the Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act. However, there were no restrictions on animals other than these subject animals. Under these circumstances, in 2002, it was found that a prairie dog which was suspected of having contracted tularemia had been imported from the US to Japan. In the following year, it was found that an African wild Rodent which was suspected of having contracted monkeypox had been imported into Japan. Fortunately, the subsequent tests confirmed that they were both found to be negative. With the aim of mitigating the risk of these imported animals, the import notification system requiring importers to submit a notification accompanied by a Health Certificate issued by the government authority of the exporting country has been introduced.

Detailde Measures in MHLW

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Q3  Which infectious diseases are covered by the system?

(Answer) In light of outbreak and spread of animal infectious diseases abroad, the Working Group for animal infectious diseases consisting of experts under the Committee of Public Health Science, Control for Infectious Diseases has selected the infectious diseases that need to be prevented from entering Japan, from among classes 1 to 4 infectious diseases. For details of infectious diseases, please see “Do you know animal infectious diseases?”

Subject Infectious diseases
Live terrestrial mammals Rodents Plague(pest), rabies, monkeypox, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, tularemia, and leptospirosis
Lagomorpha
(Ochotona spp.)
Tularemia, Rabies
Other mammals Rabies
Carcasses of Mammals Rodents Plague(pest), monkeypox, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, tularemia, and leptospirosis
Lagomorpha
(Ochotona spp.)
Tularemia
Live birds West Nile fever and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)
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★ Subject animals

Q4  Under what circumstances is a Notification required?

(Answer) When subject animals are brought into Japan, a notification is required. The notification is required regardless of whether they are imported for distribution, research, exhibition or any other purposes. Pets are also covered by this notification system.

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Q5  Which species of animals are covered by this notification system?

(Answer) Animals covered by this notification system are described below. This system does not cover the animals that have already been quarantined at the time of the arrival. For details on animals subject to quarantine, please see the Animal Quarantine Service’s website.

1.Mammals (limited to terrestrial mammals) other than those listed below
    Rodents Sciurid, Cynomys Animals that are prohibited from importation
Murid, Murinae, Mastomys Animals that are prohibited from importation
Lagomorpha Leporidae Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Chirptera   Animals that are prohibited from importation
Primates (Those other than Hominidae) Animals that are prohibited from importation or animals subject to import quarantine (Animal Quarantine Service)
Carnivora Canidae, Canis, C. I. familiaris Rabies Prevention Act and Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Canidae, Vulpes lagopus Rabies Prevention Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Canidae, Vulpes Rabies Prevention Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Canidae, Lycalopex Rabies Prevention Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Canidae, Nyctereutes Animals that are prohibited from importation
Canidae, Otocyon Rabies Prevention Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Procyonidae, Procyon Rabies Prevention Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Mustelidae, Mephitis Rabies Prevention Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Mustelidae, Conepatus Rabies Prevention Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Mustelidae, Melogale Animals that are prohibited from importation
Viverridae, Paguma Animals that are prohibited from importation
Felidae, Felis, Felis silvestris catus Rabies Prevention Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Cetacean   Marine mammals
Sirenia   Marine mammals
Perissdactyla Equidae Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Artiodactyla   Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
2.Birds other than those listed below
  Anseriformes   Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Struthioniformes Struthionidae, Struthio Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Galliformes Phasianidae, Meleagris Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Phasianidae, Agriocharis Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Phasianidae, Coturnix Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Phasianidae, Gallus Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Phasianidae, Phasianus Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
Phasianidae, Numida Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act (Animal Quarantine Service)
3.Carcasses of Rodents (including those sealed in either a formaldehyde solution or an ethanol solution)
4.Carcasses of Lagomorpha (including those sealed in either a formaldehyde solution or an ethanol solution) other than those specified below
  Lagomorpha Leporidae Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act (Animal Quarantine Service)

Effective as from March 1, 2009

Mammals that are not terrestrial are animals that belong to Cetacea and Sirenia, and Zalophus, Odobenidae, Phocidae and Enhydra Mustelidae, Carnivora.

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Q6  Which species of animals are prohibited from importation?

(Answer) Animals that are designated as highly likely to infect humans with infectious diseases pursuant to the provisions of Article 54 of the Infectious Diseases Act are: Chinese ferret badgers (SARS), bats (rabies, Nipah virus infection, Lyssavirus infection), monkeys (Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Marburg disease), raccoon dogs (SARS), masked palm civets (SARS), prairie dogs (pest) and mastomys natalensis (Lassa fever).
Of the animals that are prohibited from importation, carcasses of Rodents (i.e., carcasses of prairie dogs and mastomys natalensis) are covered by this notification system.

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Q7  Are fertilized eggs covered by this notification system?

(Answer) Since this notification system applies to animals that are already born, fertilized eggs are not covered.

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Q8  I currently live abroad and have a pet covered by this notification system. Can I return to Japan with my pet?

(Answer) It is assumed that hamster, squirrel, parrot, poll parrot, ferret or any other small animals may be kept as pets. These species are all covered by this notification system. These subject animals can be imported if they satisfy all the notification requirements stipulated by the government of Japan, such as submission of a notification accompanied by a Health Certificate. However, since a residential house is neither recognized as meeting the standards of the storage facilities for hamsters, squirrels and other Rodents stipulated by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, nor is it designated as a storage facilities by the government authority of the exporting country, a Health Certificate will not be issued. If you do not obtain a Health Certificate for your pets, you cannot bring them into Japan.

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Q9  I am going abroad with my pet which is covered by this notification system. Can I bring my pet back to Japan when I return?

(Answer) Even if your pet used to be kept in Japan, it will be covered by this notification system when you bring it back from abroad. As is the case of Q8, unless you obtain a Health Certificate for the pet, you cannot bring it back to Japan.

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Q10 If any animals exported from Japan are returned from the destination country because of an error in the document or other reasons, is the notification required when they re-enter Japan?

(Answer) Yes, it is. The notification must be accompanied by a Health Certificate issued by the government of the exporting country, but it may probably be difficult to obtain a Health Certificate for such animals. Without a Health Certificate, no animals can be imported.

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★ Notification method

Q11 How should I notify the importation?

(Answer) You should submit two copies of a notification. If the notification is determined as legally acceptable as a result of an examination, the first copy of the notification will be returned as a Certification of Acceptance of Notification with an official seal affixed thereto.
An actual process of import procedures are below.

Outline of the notification system for importation of animals
PDF(158KB)

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Q12 Who should make a Notification? When? Where?

(Answer) Upon arrival of subject animals in Japan, notification obligations occur. Importers must submit a Notification to a quarantine station of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare that governs the arrival port or airport without delay after subject animals arrive. Importers can neither clear customs nor bring subject animals into Japan unless they submit a Notification to the relevant quarantine station and obtain a Certification of Acceptance of Notification.

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Q13 How long does it take to issue a Certification of Acceptance of Notification after submission?

(Answer) As a general rule, only documents submitted are examined and a Certification of Acceptance of Notification is issued at a quarantine station. Once it is determined that there is no missing information or errors with the Notification including attachments, a Certification of Acceptance of Notification is promptly issued. However, in the event any description on a Notification is found false, a request for additional documents may be made. In addition, if many of the subject animals die, if the government obtains information on an outbreak of an infectious disease, or if the government deems it necessary, a Certification of Acceptance of Notification will be issued after checking the health conditions of animals to be imported and confirming that the importation is appropriate.

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Q14 Even if an aircraft arrives at night or early morning, will a Notification be available?

(Answer) If the aircraft is scheduled to arrive at night or early morning, or is likely to arrive late, please contact the relevant quarantine station beforehand.

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Q15 Can I send a Notification form by mail or by courier?

(Answer) Normally a Health Certificate arrives at the airport together with subject animals in an aircraft. Since the original copy of a Health Certificate must be submitted, please do not send a Notification form by mail or by courier. It is not practical to do so because it may take a few days for such documents to reach.

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Q16 In case of a corporation, can a person other than the representative director make the notification?

(Answer) Submission of a proxy by the representative of the corporation to the relevant quarantine station will enable a person other than the representative of the corporation (for example, a general manager in charge of importation, etc.) to make the notification. For details, please check with the relevant quarantine station.

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Q17  Can I ask to check contents of a Notification in advance?

(Answer) The formal submission of a Notification to a quarantine station should be made after the arrival of subject animals. However, importers are encouraged to report as much information as possible to the relevant quarantine station in advance so as to ensure smooth and prompt issuance of a Certification of Acceptance of Notification. Specifically, importers should send copies of the notification excluding the information that cannot be known before the arrival of the animals (such as an accident during transportation) and a Health Certificate issued by the government authority of the exporting country obtained via fax from the origin country in advance to the relevant quarantine station, thereby ensuring that an official in charge reviews the documents in advance and that the importers are well-prepared. In this way, upon arrival of the animals, they only need to add any missing information, submit the original copy of a Health Certificate, a copy of the Bill of Lading or Air Waybill, and wait for the issuance of a Certification of Acceptance of Notification. Please note that the applicable laws and regulations do not allow the issuance of a Certification of Acceptance of Notification even if importers send the documents in advance.

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Q18  If I intend to transport subject animal(s) from the first arrival airport in Japan to another domestic airport , how should I submit a Notification? Is it allowed to transport them as bonded goods by truck?

(Answer) If a foreign aircraft makes a stopover and flies to another airport in Japan without transshipment, or if a cargo is transshipped to another domestic aircraft bound for another airport in Japan, you are allowed to submit a Notification at the quarantine station of an actual arrival airport. However, if the cargo is unloaded from the foreign aircraft at the first arrival airport and is transported as bonded goods by land, then you should submit a Notification at the quarantine station of the first arrival airport. One of the reasons why the bonded transportation by land is not allowed is that if bonded transportation of imported animals is left unchecked and on the road of people’s living environments in Japan, which may cause a spread of infectious diseases.

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★ Notification documents

Q19 What should be filled in a Notification, how should it be completed, and what documents should be attached to it?

(Answer) Two copies of the notification should be submitted. For details of matters to be notified and specific instructions, please see the table below. A notification must be accompanied by a Health Certificate issued by the government authority of the exporting country, identification, copy of a Bill of Lading or Air Way Bill for the subject animals and microbial monitoring test issued by the storage facility(only in case of Rodents treated under the advanced sanitary supervision).

Instructions
  • A notification must be prepared for each species of animals (by scientific name) to be imported.
  • When one copy of a Health Certificate shows health or veterinary conditions of several animal species, the notification form for each species must be prepared.  However, it is not necessary to provide the same information such as name and address of the importer for each of them.  Those notifications should be submitted together in a single bundle.
(1) Name of quarantine station
Provide the name of the quarantine station of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (quarantine station branch) that governs the port or airport where the animals arrive.
(2) Date of notification
Provide the date on which the notification is submitted to the quarantine station.
(3) Name, signature or seal, address and telephone number of importer
Provide the correct address, name and telephone number of the importer.
In case of a corporation, provide its name and address and affix the signature or the name and seal of its representative (his/her official seal or personal seal).
(4) Animal species
Provide the scientific names of the animals or general names such as the English names or the Japanese names, or other names of the species that can clearly specify or identify them. Provide the information on whether they are alive or carcasses.
(5) Number of unit
Provide the number of animals to be imported.
(6) Country of origin
Provide the country of origin where the subject animals were born. If it is not certain where they were born, then indicate “not known.”
(7) Origin of animals
Provide the origin of the subject animals. Indicate “wild” or “cultured.” If it is not certain, indicate “not known.”
(8) Intended use
Provide the intended use or the purpose of use after the importation. Indicate “for distribution,” “for exhibition,” “for testing and research,” “pet” or “other.”
(9) Name of vessel (or aircraft)
Provide the names of all vessels or aircraft (or flight numbers) on which the animals are loaded.
(10) Names of exporting country and place of loading
Provide the names of the exporting country and place of lading where the animals are loaded into a vessel or aircraft.
(11) Names of place of discharge and warehouse
Provide the name of the place where the animals are discharged from the vessel or aircraft, and the name of the warehouse or other storage place where the animals are kept.
(12) Date of loading
Provide the date when the animals are loaded into the vessel or aircraft.
(13) Date of arrival
Provide the date of when the vessel or aircraft arrives at the port or airport.
(14) Number of Bill of Lading or Air Waybill
Provide the Bill of Lading number of a vessel or Air Waybill number of an aircraft (plus the house Bill of Lading number in the case of consolidated transport).
(15) Issuance number of a Health Certificate
Provide the issuance number of a Health Certificate issued by the government authority of the exporting country.
(16) Sex, age and distinctive marks of the animals described in a Health Certificate
Provide the information listed above if any.
(17) Name and address of consignor
Provide the correct name and address of the consignor.
In case of a corporation, provide its name, address and the name of its representative.
(18) Name and address of consignee
Provide the correct name and address of the consignee.
In case of a corporation, provide its name, address and the name of its representative.
(19) Name and address of a storage facility after importation
Provide the name and address of the facility where the animals are stored immediately after the importation. If there are several facilities, provide the information on all of them. If the space is too small to provide the full list, use another sheet.
(20) Summary of the accident during transportation
Provide the summary of any occurrence of death or problem during transportation.
Note 1: The Remarks column is for the quarantine facility’s use, so please leave it blank.
Note 2: If an identification issued within one year has been submitted and it has not yet expired, the information evidencing the submission of previous notifications, such as the notification receipt number, etc. should be provided in a blank space.
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Q20 What is a Bill of Lading (BL) or an Air Waybill (AWB)?

(Answer) A Bill of Lading is a document acknowledging the receipt or shipment of goods by an owner at the place of loading, and the contract for the delivery of goods to a consignee in exchange for itself at the place of discharge. An Air Waybill is a document acknowledging the receipt of goods issued by an airline company when transporting goods by air. Both documents contain information such as the type and volume of goods, names of the shipper and consignee and name of the vessel or aircraft.

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Q21 Why do I have to submit identification? What documents are required?

(Answer) This notification system ensures that animals which are harmless to public health to a certain degree can be imported by requiring submission of a Health Certificate issued by the government authority of the exporting country. In order to track and inspect the imported animals as necessary, in case of any outbreak of infectious diseases caused the by imported animals in or outside Japan, this notification system requires importers to notify their name and address and names and addresses of the storage facilities after the importation. Since the correctness of such information and the actual existence and residence of importers in Japan are key to taking necessary measures to prevent infectious diseases, documents of identity should be submitted. Please note that different types of documents are required for an individual or a corporation, or an agent (customs broker) as an importer. The documents which are required to be submitted or presented are described below.
As for a transcript of the corporate register, a transcript or an abstract of the resident register, a certificate of resident registration, a certified copy or an actual certificate of foreign resident’s registration, or a certificate of a seal impression, once they were submitted and only if there were no changes, importers are exempted from submitting the same for the subsequent importations until the expiration date (not longer than one year).


List of documents required to be submitted (presented) for Confirmation of the Identity
PDF(63KB)

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Q22 If a customs broker is engaged to make the Notification, what kinds of identification are required?

(Answer) For specific examples, if an importer is a corporation and the corporation’s agent (customs broker) is used, it is required to submit a set of documents described in either (1) or (2) below in addition to a proxy.

  
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Q23 Is there any specific form of a proxy in case an agent makes a notification on my behalf?

(Answer) Any form of a proxy is acceptable, provided it legally proves the grant of authority. You may obtain a form from the relevant quarantine station.

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Q24 What is a Health Certificate?

(Answer) A Health Certificate (Health Certificate or Veterinary Certificate) is a certificate that describes health or veterinary conditions of the imported animals. This notification system requires that a notification must be accompanied by a Health Certificate issued by the government authority of the exporting country. Health Certificate issuing agencies of the exporting country are in principle registered with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). A Health Certificate is certified (signed) by a veterinarian officer of the government authority of the exporting country and has an official seal of the government authority of the exporting country.

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Q25 Does a Health Certificate need to be written in English?

(Answer) It must be written in English. Please note that it may be written in another language such as your mother language, in addition to English.

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Q26 What is the government authority of the exporting country that issues a Health Certificate? In order to receive a Health Certificate, what instructions should I give to the consignor?

(Answer) The authorities issuing a Health Certificate are essentially government authorities corresponding to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Animal Quarantine Service) of Japan. For details, please see official websites of the governments or the following website: http://www.oie.int/delegatesite/sg/en_delegates.htm
To ensure that a Health Certificate is issued by the government authority of the exporting country, please also refer to how to obtain a Health Certificate from the government authority of the exporting country (example) on the website described above.

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Q27 If any animal is killed in an accident or for other reasons during transportation to Japan , should I describe the information in the notification?

(Answer) If an importer considers it appropriate, please describe the information in the “summary of the accident during transportation” column in the notification. In this column, for example, you can describe the information you have confirmed with the Airline Company, etc., such as animal escape because of broken case as a result of shaking during transportation, and debilitation or death due to cannibalism, shortage of food and water or poor ventilation.

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Q28 How can I correct the descriptions on the notification?

(Answer) In the event of any change of the flight, etc. after preparation of the notification, a consignee or an agent may make a minor correction on the Notification. When making a correction, in principle, a correction seal is required. A correction signature is also acceptable.

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★ Importation of Rodents

Q29 What contents should be described on a Health Certificate for Rodents?

(Answer) The mentioned below is what needs to be filled in a Health Certificate which is required for the importation of Rodents.

Infectious diseases Contents of certification
Plague (pest), rabies, monkeypox, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, tularemia, and leptospirosis
  1. The animal shows no clinical signs of rabies at the time of shipment.
  2. The animal has been kept since birth in a storage facility where infectious diseases designated in the left column have not been confirmed for the past 12 months (limited to those recognized by the government authority of the exporting country as meeting the standards defined by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare).
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Q30 What does “a nomination of a Rodents’ storage facility by a government authority of the exporting country” mean?

(Answer) The government agencies of the exporting country have been requested to inform the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of the names and addresses of storage facilities (including all facilities where the animals were born, kept and packed for exportation) for Rodents recognized as meeting the following conditions prior to exportation.   

Standards for storage facilities for Rodents stipulated by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare
  1. The construction of the facilities must be appropriate in order to prevent the intrusion of animals from outside.
  2. Sanitary controls, such as disinfection, must be periodically implemented.
  3. No outbreak of Plague (pest), rabies, monkeypox, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, hanta-virus pulmonary syndrome, tularemia, and leptospirosis has been clinically reported in human beings and animals in the facility for the past 12 months, and necessary measures have been taken in order to prevent the outbreak of these infectious diseases.
  4. The data regarding the sanitary and feeding control of animals (including records of the introduction, breeding, death and shipment of animals) must be recorded and be kept adequately.
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Q31 Why are we no longer allowed to import wild Rodents?

(Answer) In the past, a mouse plague pandemic spread across Europe. Even today, there are outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases caused by wild rodents (such as pest, Lassa fever, hanta-virus pulmonary syndrome, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, leptospirosis, tularemia and monkeypox) abroad. While animals show no symptoms of these infectious diseases, some of them may cause serious infection in humans. It is not easy to confirm whether wild Rodents are free from infectious diseases. Therefore, to mitigate the risk of outbreaks of these infectious diseases, you are not allowed to import wild Rodents, but are only allowed to import animals that are bred at a facility where veterinary control is in place. The examination of 176 wild Rodents (of 12 species) performed as part of the research sponsored by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in 2004 showed that 18 wild Rodents of 8 species were infected with Leptospira.

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★ Importation of research Rodents

Q32 What is an attachment, “document certifying that tests regarding pathogens of infectious diseases have found that the relevant subject animal is not likely to carry infectious pathogens” which is required for a Notification of the importation of Rodents (research Rodents) treated under advanced sanitary supervision?

(Answer) It is a written result of periodical microbial monitoring tests, issued by the facility where Rodents were treated under advanced sanitary supervision. Government agencies or animal testing groups of each country normally exhibit their own guidelines on periodical microbial monitoring tests for SPF mice/rats for research. Every notification should be accompanied by a result of the latest test of infectious viruses and bacteria performed at the facilities in accordance with such guidelines.

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Q33 What contents should be described on a Health Certificate for Rodents (research Rodents) treated under advanced sanitary supervision? In addition, it is described that the research Rodents must be “limited to those in a container which meets the standards defined by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.” What are the specific requirements for the container?

(Answer) The below mentioned is what needs to be described in a Health Certificate which is required for the importation of Rodents (such as SPF mice/rats and transgenic mice) treated under advanced sanitary supervision. You are allowed to import them if you obtain a Health Certificate which contains the information described in the answer to Q29. However, in that case, the storage facility must be designated by the government authority of the exporting country.

Infectious diseases Contents of certification
Plague (pest), rabies, monkeypox, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, tularemia, and leptospirosis

1. The animals have been stored since birth in a place that is in a storage facility meeting all of the following, that has been isolated from other areas, and in which there have been no other animals than such rodents.

  1. (1)   Feeding control (hereafter including the management of records of the animals and their breeding, shipment and death) and sanitary control are carried out under the supervision of a committee consisting of members concerned including veterinarians in the facility.
  2. (2)   Appropriate measures are taken to ensure that  intrusion of animals from outside is prevented.
  3. (3)   When introduced into the facility, the animals are confirmed not to be contaminated with pathogens of infectious diseases in order to prevent the intrusion of pathogens of infectious diseases that may infect humans through animals.
  4. (4)   Examinations are conducted periodically on all the animals stored in the facility to confirm they are not contaminated with pathogens of infectious diseases.
  5. (5)   Information concerning the feeding and sanitary controls of the animals is recorded in documents and such documents are retained.
2. Since birth, the animals have not been used in any study with pathogens of infectious disease or have not come in contact with any animal used in such a study.

The requirements for the container stipulated by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare are as described below. These requirements are stipulated with reference to the standards for transporting SPF Rodents in the Live Animals Regulations by the IATA (International Air Transport Association).

1. Material
  1. (1) The internal material of the main part of the container should be water-proof paper or impermeable material (excluding wood) and also has enough strength to resist any damage caused by an animal inside the container.
  2. (2)The ventilating filter incorporated in the container should be made of polyester resin or other plastic resin which is impenetrable to dust.
2. Structure
 The container should be structured so that it does not easily open, and the internal and external material of the container should only be bordered with ventilating filter.
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★ Importation of Lagomorpha (Ochotona spp. only)

Q34 What contents should be described on a Health Certificate for Lagomorpha (Ochotona spp. only; the same applies hereinafter)?

(Answer) The below mentioned is what needs to be described in a Health Certificate which is required for the importation of Lagomorpha.

Infectious diseases Contents of certification
Rabies 1.  The animal shows no clinical signs of rabies at the time of shipment.
2.  Meeting any of the following conditions:
  1. (1) The animal has been kept for the past 6 months, or since birth or capture in a region that the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare has designated as one where rabies has not been reported (hereinafter referred to as a “designated region”). (see Q37)
  2. (2) The animal has been kept for 12 months or since birth in a storage facility where rabies has not been reported for the past 12 months in a non-designated region.
  3. (3) The animal has been kept for the past 6 months or since birth in a quarantine facility in a non-designated region.
  4. (4) The animal is confirmed to have met either of conditions (2) or (3) when imported from a non-designated region to a designated region, and has been kept in a designated region since then.
Tularemia
  1. The animal shows no clinical signs of tularemia at the time of shipment.
  2. The animal has been kept for the past 12 months or since birth in a storage facility where tularemia has not been reported for the past 12 months.
  3. The animal has been disinfected for lxodes (ticks).
  4. The animal has been kept for the past 15 days or since birth in a quarantine facility.
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★ Importation of mammals

Q35 What contents should be described on a Health Certificate for terrestrial mammals (excluding Rodents and Lagomorpha)?

(Answer) The below mentioned is what needs to be described in a Health Certificate which is required for the importation of terrestrial mammals excluding Rodents and Lagomorpha.

Infectious diseases Contents of certification
Rabies 1.  The animal shows no clinical signs of rabies at the time of shipment.
2.  Meeting any of the following conditions:
  1. (1) The animal has been kept for the past 6 months, or since birth or capture in a region that the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare has designated as one where rabies has not been reported (hereinafter referred to as a “designated region”). (see Q37)
  2. (2) The animal has been kept for 12 months or since birth in a storage facility where rabies has not been reported for the past 12 months in a non-designated region.
  3. (3) The animal has been kept for the past 6 months or since birth in a quarantine facility in a non-designated region.
  4. (4) The animal is confirmed to have met either of conditions (2) or (3) when imported from a non-designated region to a designated region, and has been kept in a designated region since then.
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Q36 What is a “storage facility” and “quarantine facility”?

(Answer) A “storage facility” means facility where the animals are kept. A “quarantine facility” means facility where any required observations, examinations and processes are conducted for a quarantined population of animals without direct or indirect contact with other animals under the control of the government authority of the exporting country.

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Q37 What are the regions designated by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare as ones where rabies has not been reported?

(Answer) Please see below. Please note that the list of the regions may be updated from time to time to reflect any future change. For the latest information, please contact a quarantine station.

Regions designated by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare as rabies free region(as of July 30, 2013.)

Pacific
  Australia, Guam, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii
Europe
 Iceland, Ireland, United Kingdom (limited to Great Britain and North Ireland), Sweden, and Norway(except for Svalbard, Jan Mayen and dependencies outside Europe)

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★ Importation of birds

Q38 What contents should be described on a Health Certificate for birds?

(Answer) The below mentioned is what needs to be described in a Health Certificate which is required for the importation of birds.

Infectious diseases Contents of certification
West Nile fever, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI)
  1. The birds show no clinical signs of West Nile fever, highly pathogenic avian influenza or low pathogenic avian influenza at the time of shipment.
  2. For birds that have been raised since hatching, those that have been kept for the past 21 days or since hatching in a storage facility (limited to those with preventive measures against the invasion of mosquitoes) in regions that the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare has designated as regions where highly pathogenic avian influenza or low pathogenic avian influenza has not been confirmed (referred to as “designated region”). (see Q39)
  3. Except for birds that have been raised since hatching, those that have been kept for the past 21 days or since hatching in a quarantine facility (limited to those with preventive measures against the invasion of mosquitoes) in a designated region.
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Q39 What are the regions designated by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare as regions where highly pathogenic avian influenza or low pathogenic avian influenza has not been confirmed?

(Answer) Please see the following website.
The list of designated regions (countries and regions free from avian influenza)

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Q40 When importing birds from overseas, is it allowed for them to come in through a country or region that is not designated?

(Answer) No one is allowed to import birds without a document issued by an airport company, etc. certifying that there has been no transshipment in that region, or a document issued by the government authority of that region certifying that there has been no risk of being infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza.

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★ Carcasses of Rodents and Lagomorpha

Q41 What are carcasses of Rodents and Lagomorpha that are covered by this notification system?

(Answer) Basically part of or the entire carcass in any form whatsoever is covered by this notification system. However, those that are not recognized as carcasses in light of common sense (e.g., furs and skeletal preparations) are not covered. If you are not sure whether any imported goods are covered by this notification system or not, please inquire at a quarantine station well in advance of the shipment. When making an inquiry, please provide detailed information which is necessary to respond to the inquiry, such as intended use, photo of the goods, processed method (manufacture method) and preventive measures against infectious diseases when the specimen was alive.

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Q42 What contents should be described on a Health Certificate for carcasses of Rodents?

(Answer) The below mentioned is what needs to be described on a Health Certificate which is required for the importation of carcasses of Rodents. Unlike live Rodents, the items regarding rabies are excluded since there is generally no risk of being infected by carcasses.

Infectious diseases Contents of certification
Plague (pest), monkeypox, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, tularemia, and leptospirosis The animal has been kept since birth in a storage facility where infectious diseases designated in the left column have not been confirmed for the past 12 months (limited to those recognized by the government authority of the exporting country as meeting the standards stipulated by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare).
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Q43 What contents should be described on a Health Certificate for carcasses of Lagomorpha?

(Answer) The below mentioned is what needs to be described on a Health Certificate which is required for the importation of carcasses of Lagomorpha. Unlike live Lagomorpha, the items regarding rabies are excluded since there is generally no risk of being infected by carcasses.

Infectious diseases Contents of certification
Tularemia Those meeting all of the following three conditions:
  1. The animal has been kept for the past 12 months or since birth in a storage facility where tularemia has not been reported for the past 12 months.
  2. The animal has been disinfected for lxodes (ticks).
  3. The animal has been kept for the past 15 days or since birth in a quarantine facility.
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Q44 What contents should be described on a Health Certificate for carcasses of Rodents and Lagomorpha sealed in a formaldehyde solution or an ethanol solution?

(Answer) The below mentioned is what needs to be described on a Health Certificate which is required for the importation of carcasses of Rodents and Lagomrpha sealed in a formaldehyde solution or an ethanol solution.

Infectious diseases Contents of certification
[Rodents] Plague (pest), monkeypox, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, tularemia, and leptospirosis
[Lagomorpha] Tularemia
  1. Fully permeated (to the center of the carcass) by either a formaldehyde solution (limited to those with a concentration of 3.5% by weight or more) or an ethanol solution (limited to those with a concentration of 70% by weight or more) at the time of shipment.
  2. Kept in airtight containers (with no risk of the infiltration of gases or microorganisms under ordinary handling or storage conditions) filled with the solution at the time of shipment.
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★ Other

Q45 How many animals are imported to Japan?

(Answer) It is said that Japan is one of the countries to which the widest variety of species are imported.
For more information on the importation, please see “5. Statistical Information. Animal Importation in Japan.”

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Q46 What if I do not make a notification?

(Answer) Unless you receive a Certification of Acceptance of Notification issued by a quarantine station, you will not be able to clear customs, so you will not be allowed to bring the animal(s) into Japan. If you attempt to illegally bring any subject animal into Japan without submitting the notification to a quarantine station or to clear customs with a false notification, you will be subject to a fine of up to 500 thousand yen.

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Q47 It says that if a Certification of Acceptance of Notification is not issued because of an error or inappropriateness of any notified items, an importer must take appropriate measures by itself or through an agent. To be more specific, how should the animal(s) be handled?

(Answer) Possible measures are as follows:

Please note that the system stipulates that an importer must secure appropriate measures by itself or by the use of an agent. In any case, the importer should be responsible for arrangements and costs.

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Q48 When importing subject animal(s), is any test performed on them?

(Answer) Unlike the animal quarantine system, this notification system does not require that subject animals be kept for any quarantine, test or the like. However, in the case of importation of birds, if the notification submitted under this notification system contains any information in the “summary of the accident during transportation” column that suggests the possibility of them being infected, that fact will be notified to the Animal Quarantine Service, which may keep them to perform an inspection in detention. Thus, the importation may not be allowed until such inspection is completed.

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Q49 A Health Certificate should confirm that animals to be imported are not infected with any diseases, or that there is no doubt concerning any infection. It says that one of the requirements is to confirm that “the animals show no clinical signs of xx at the time of shipment.” Is any test or examination of pathogens required at the time of shipment? What point of time does “the time of shipment” exactly refer to?

(Answer) For example, in case of Rodents, it is required that “they show no clinical signs of rabies at the time of shipment.” This only refers to clinical signs, and does not mean a pathogen test is required at the time of shipment. “The time of shipment” generally refers to the period from the commencement of specific export shipment procedures to the actual cargo release.

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Q50 Is there possibility of the contents are a Notification being disclosed upon request by a third party?

(Answer) Pursuant to the provisions of the Act on Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs, any submissions including the notification are not made publicly available even if a request for disclosure is made.

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Q51 Which laws other than the Infectious Diseases Act relate to the importation of animals?

(Answer) There are various laws and regulations which relate to bringing animals into Japan, such as the Washington Convention (CITES), the Rabies Prevention Act, the Domestic Animal Infectious Disease Control Act, the Act on Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the Wildlife Protection and Proper Hunting Act and the Invasive Alien Species Act. For details, please contact the relevant administrative agencies which are responsible for the laws and regulations.

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