Northwest Horticultural Council
Official Language(s): Japanese
Please click on the above link for a list of chemical MRLs.
II. CHEMICALS AND ADDITIVE INFORMATION
A. Chemical residue standards:
Japan maintains a national MRL standard and has a default MRL of 0.01 ppm.
No post-harvest use of any chemical, such as Diphenylamine (DPA), is allowed by Japan, except as authorized by a specific protocol (e.g. methyl bromide) or approved as a food additive by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
The following chemicals are approved as food additives:
- Fludioxonil (MRL 5 ppm)
- Propiconazole (MRL 4 ppm)
- Pyrimethanil (MRL 10 ppm)
Food additives: Commodities treated with a food additive must be labeled at retail.
Note: Thiabendazole (TBZ) is not approved as a food additive for apples.
B. Monitoring chemical residues:
Chemicals are very strictly monitored under the Japanese Food Sanitation Law. MHLW tests between 3-10% of imports for anti-microbials, chemical residues, food additives, microorganisms, and fungal toxins.
C. Restrictions on use of waxes:
Fruit waxes are listed on the existing Food Additives list and are not considered injurious to health based on the opinion of the Food Safety Council.
Approved waxes for post-harvest use: Beeswax, carnauba, lanolin, microcrystalline, montan, lignite, oilseed, candillia, Brazil, paraffin, rice bran, shellac (purified and white), cane, spermaceti, urucury, wood, and white Japanese.
III. ORGANIC FRUIT REGULATIONS
The United States and Japan now have an organic equivalency agreement. Effective January 1, 2014 fruit certified to the U.S. Department of Agriculture organic regulations may be sold as organic in Japan. For details on logos and labeling pertaining to certified organic produce visit the USDA website International Trade Policies: Japan.
The U.S. -Japan Trade Agreement was signed on October 7, 2019, and the text of the Agreement is now available on USTR’s website. It can be found here.
Cherries: Japan’s 8.5% tariff on cherries will be reduced to the following:
|January 1, 2020||3.4%|
|April 1, 2020||2.5%|
|April 1, 2021||1.7%|
|April 1, 2022||0.8%|
|April 1, 2023||0.0%|
Apples: The tariff rate of 17% on apples will be reduced to the following:
|January 1, 2020||11.4%|
|April 1, 2020||10.2%|
|April 1, 2021||8.9%|
|April 1, 2022||7.6%|
|April 1, 2023||6.3%|
|April 1, 2024||5.1%|
|April 1, 2025||3.8%|
|April 1, 2026||2.5%|
|April 1, 2027||1.2%|
|April 1, 2028||0.0%|
The five percent tariff on pears is not reduced under this agreement.
V. NON-TARIFF BARRIERS
A. Labeling requirements:
The shipping carton should be labeled with:
1. Name of product
2. Country of origin
3. Net weight
Distributors/importers are responsible for labeling product that is intended for sale at retail.
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo recommends that exporters work closely with their importers to ensure compliance with all labeling regulations.
All food additives and their stated function, whether synthetic or natural, must be listed on the label*. Please note that fungicides applied after harvest are classified as food additives and must be labeled. Contact your importing customer for labeling guidance.
*In the event food additive language is not labeled and the sample tests
positive for a food additive, exporters may prepare a compliance letter
that provides information on the causes of the violation and the
counter-measures the company or industry implemented to prevent future
violations. A compliance letter may provide Japan’s Ministry of Health,
Labor, and Welfare with sufficient justification to lift heightened inspection
sooner than the prescribed number of shipments or time.
Go here for more information.
Country-of-origin labeling is required at the retail level.
Japan has a Package Recycling Law that requires paper and plastic packaging to be appropriately labeled and recycled. Compliance with the law is the responsibility of the importer. For details of this law and specific labeling requirements, see the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s website.
Nutritional labeling is voluntary in Japan. However, if such labeling is done it must be in Japanese and conform to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare guidelines. The U.S. nutrition fact panel is not acceptable.
B. Licenses and quotas:
C. Currency Issues:
D. Pest and plant disease restrictions:
Apples: In order to ship apples to Japan the packer must be registered with Northwest Fruit Exporters.
Apples must be treated with a 55-day cold treatment and methyl bromide fumigation and inspected by Japanese officials prior to shipment.
Japan limits the import of U.S. fresh apples to the following varieties: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Jonagold, Fuji, Granny Smith and Braeburn. Other varieties may qualify for export to Japan if the fumigation is monitored by USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), using methyl bromide measuring equipment.
On August 25, 2005, Japan issued revised regulations eliminating unnecessary and unjustified measures on U.S. apples resulting from concerns about fire blight, a disease that may affect apple trees but is not found on mature, harvested fruit. Japan has now eliminated its mandatory orchard inspections, orchard buffer zones and various packing facility requirements. Replacing these measures is a requirement to sample export fruit to ensure they are mature and certify that shipments are free of fire blight disease. Japan’s actions resulted from a dispute won by the United States in the World Trade Organization.
Cherries: Cherries can be sent following fumigation with methyl bromide prior to shipment or under a systems approach for codling moth.
For information on the specific export requirements for apples and cherries, contact the Northwest Fruit Exporters at 509-453-3193 or your state’s Department of Agriculture.
Pears: Imports of U.S. pears into Japan are prohibited for plant quarantine reasons such as fire blight.
Nectarines: On August 30, 2000, Japan approved access for all varieties of nectarines from the U.S. following methyl bromide fumigation.
E. Solid Wood Packing Material (SWPM) Regulations:
Please refer to the SWPM section of the NHC’s Technical Bulletins and Industry Advice.
F. Other trade restrictions:
Japan requires the ocean vessel operator or the non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) to electronically file advance cargo information 24 hours prior to the maritime vessel’s departure from the loading port.
More information may be found at: http://www.customs.go.jp/english/summary/advance/index.htm
VI. OTHER RESOURCE LINKS:
- USDA ERS Report – Resolution of the U.S.-Japan Apple Dispute
- The World Factbook (Central Intelligence Agency)
- Japan (U.S. Commercial Service/Department of Commerce)
- U.S. Embassy