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Bringing Medications to Japan

Laws regarding the use of medications vary by country. Some well-known medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) are controlled or prohibited in Japan.

Japanese Policies on the Importation of Medications

Please visit the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) page providing information for those who want to bring medicines to Japan for personal use. The page details the policies regarding which types of medications can be brought into Japan and in what quantities.

Evaluating Your Needs and Next Steps

We recommend that students begin evaluating their health needs well in advance of their departure for Japan, as adjustments to current treatments may be necessary due to Japanese law. 

While many over-the-counter medicines, supplements, and prescription drugs can be imported to Japan for personal use, most products containing stimulant ingredients and substances classified as illicit drugs in Japan are prohibited, including (but not limited to):

  • Pseudoephedrine (such as Actifed, Sudafed, and Vicks inhalers)
  • Codeine
  • Adderall
  • Marijuana / THC (and any related products)

Those who are found with prohibited medications in Japan risk arrest and imprisonment, even with a valid foreign prescription from their doctor. Over the years, reports of travelers to Japan being detained for carrying prohibited items (sometimes for extended periods of time) have appeared in the media. 

Applying for Import Confirmation

For those who need to apply for advanced permission based on the quantity or type of medication they hope to bring:


Japan's policies and procedures related to the importation of medications for personal use are set and enforced by the Japanese government. JCMU staff are happy to answer general questions based on recent student experiences, but questions about specific medications or current importation application procedures should be directed to an appropriate Japanese government contact. 

The following offices that can assist you based on your port of entry into Japan. This contact information is also provided at the bottom of the MHLW page).

  • Kanto-Shin'etsu Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare (for arrivals at Narita International or Tokyo International/Haneda airports)
  • Kinki Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare (for arrivals at Chubu Centrair International airport in Nagoya or Kansai International airport in Osaka, in addition to Kyushu and Okinawa)