Know about Japan Importer of Record (IOR)

tendata blogTrade Policy

ten data blog09-11-2023

In the realm of international trade, the role of an Importer of Record (IOR) plays a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth flow of goods into Japan. IOR, essentially synonymous with an "importer," is responsible for facilitating imports and adhering to Japanese regulations. This article delves into the world of IOR in Japan, covering its significance, responsibilities, and the recent changes in regulations that impact foreign entities.

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· Understanding IOR in Japan

Japan is known for its strict regulations and standards for imported goods. To navigate this complex landscape, having a designated IOR is not just a formality but a necessity. They ensure that imported products comply with all applicable Japanese laws, ranging from quality to labeling and packaging standards. Without an IOR, the path to clear customs and deliver goods to their final destination in Japan becomes fraught with obstacles.

· The Recent Regulatory Changes

As of October 2023, the landscape of IOR in Japan has undergone a significant transformation. Foreign entities can no longer directly use IOR service providers through Japanese companies. Instead, non-resident entities are now required to register with Japanese Customs, often by employing the services of a Customs Procedure Lawyer (ACP). This change underscores the importance of understanding the evolving regulations and the role of ACP services.

· Choosing the Right IOR Service Provider

Opting for an ACP service provider with Japanese residency is a best practice. While Japanese Customs typically does not permit non-resident entities to be customs importers, appointing an ACP allows non-resident entities to become the IOR themselves. In such cases, non-resident entities take on the roles of both consignor and importer, ensuring compliance with Japanese regulations.

· The Responsibilities of Japan's IOR

IORs in Japan shoulder a significant responsibility in managing the import process comprehensively. They handle everything from acquiring necessary permits and licenses to coordinating with carriers and freight agents. Among their crucial roles is ensuring that imported goods meet all relevant Japanese regulations and standards, encompassing quality checks, proper labeling, and packaging. Maintaining meticulous records is also part of their duties to demonstrate compliance and avoid potential fines or penalties.

· Consequences of Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with Japan's IOR rules can lead to dire consequences. These may include financial penalties, confiscation and destruction of goods, and the erosion of an importer's reputation and business relationships. To avert these risks, non-Japanese export businesses must engage reliable and experienced IORs in Japan, ensuring that all imported goods align with Japanese regulations and that accurate records are kept.


Japan's Importer of Record is a crucial aspect of the country's import and export landscape. Recent regulatory changes have necessitated a shift in how foreign entities engage with IOR services, emphasizing the importance of adapting to evolving requirements. By understanding the role and responsibilities of IOR in Japan, businesses can ensure the efficient importation of their goods and build a positive reputation in the Japanese market.

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