Japan - Medications, medicine and drugs in Japan

This page last updated: June 2018

NEW RULES 2018: Psychotropics over the quantity specified by the NCD list, but for use under one month and not in injection form no longer require a form (Yakkan Shoumei), only a prescription identifying the disease, necessity for treatment, name of substances and quantities. Also, some new substances were added to the controlled substance list  

Taking Prescription or Controlled substances into Japan might ruin any travel if not researched properly, so here is a complete overview on the subject.

The source of this information is straight from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare official site, which will link to a good FAQ about importing controlled drugs and the same details listed bellow (except we organized and alphabetized them), another link for the official form and list is this, which links to this PDF version of the list, also based on The Narcotics Control Department site

In short, this page is updated with information from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, as well specifically the official Narcotics Control Department.

Checklist

  1. Check the main chemical/ingredient the desired drug have (scientific name, common name. Example: Advil is actually Ibuprofen, Xanax is Alprazolan and so on)

  2. Check if that chemical is the kind of drug on the Strictly Prohibited list. If it is on this list, you cannot take it to Japan;

  3. Check if that chemical is in the Controlled drugs list. If it is on this list, you need to check the quantity and time, otherwise it is ok;

  4. If you are carrying less than the specified on the list, for less than a month, and none in injection form. You are ok.

  5. If taking more than the specified on the list, but still less than a month and none in injection form, you need a prescription from your doctor with why you need it, and how much; 

  6. If taking more than one month supply, or any of them in injection form, you will need to declare it with a form called "Yakkan Shoumei" prior to your travel.

To put it another way:

  • NOT ALLOWED: Anything on the Strictly Prohibited list, unless it is a Narcotic which you have a prescription for medical use (then you need a Yakkan Shoumei);
  • REQUIRES A Yakkan Shoumei FORM: Narcotics for medical use with legal prescription, or any Controlled drugs in excess of one month supply or in injection form, even if under the maximum allowed.
  • REQUIRES A prescription from your Doctor: Any Controlled drugs in excess of the amounts defined by the list, but for less than a month and not in injection form.
  • OK TO CARRY: Substances not on the Prohibited list nor at the Controlled lists, or substances in the Controlled drugs but less than the maximum allowed, for less than a month and not in injection form.

IMPORTANT: The Yakkan Shoumei form needs to be sent at least 2 weeks before your arrival.

Details

There are three categories of drug/quasi drug permits: Free (no need to declare), Controlled (you need to declare or at least a prescription - the declaration form is called "Yakkan Shoumei form"), and Prohibited (absolutely no way to import, jail term possible).

We will cover them in reverse order, which means prohibited first. If, by the end of these lists, your prescription drug is not mentioned, you are pretty much on the clear, but remember these change often, so when in doubt, no site on the internet can be 100% correct, you should call the Japan Consulate-Embassy in your country (or mail them) with the list of medicines you need and inquire about them. Some of the sources here are from 2018 and might have been tweaked, and despite being on the official pages, might be outdated.

Strictly Prohibited

All forms of Narcotics and Psychotropics unless those controlled and declared (see Controlled drugs bellow), as such as, in any form or amount:

  • Heroin, Opium powder, Methamphetamine, Amphetamine, and their other pharmaceutical forms (such as Dexamphetamine, Artificially-produced halucinogens);
  • Cannabis;
  • Stimulants raw materials such as ephedrine, pseudo-ephedrine, and any of their pharmaceutical (raw) forms, see below for low doses allowances.
  • Pharmaceutical form (raw) Codeine (3-Methylmorphine), Morphine, Oxycodone, Pethidine or Hydrocodone, or any other narcotic - except if declared by a Yakkan Shoumei form in advance for personal use medication.

Pharmaceuticals containing (non-raw), in low doses, are an exception:

  • No more than 10% ephedrine, methyl-ephedrine, phenylacetic acid;
  • No more than 50% norephedrine (phenylpropanolamine);
  • Prescription/medical forms of narcotics are allowed if declared with a Yakkan Shoumei form (see below).

Controlled drugs

The following drugs can be imported as long you carry the same or lower amount listed. If you are carrying more than mentioned in the list, you must have a certificate (Rx/Prescription) written by your doctor identifying the disease, treatment and necessity of the drugs, which each drug amount necessary. The doctor notice must contain the full doctor name and doctor registration number so authorities can check its authenticity if necessary, and a "Yakkan Shoumei" form, which must be submit by air-mail to the airport where you will be arriving at least two weeks prior your arrivalRead this official FAQ for how to handle the form and other documentations

Schedule1 Drug Maximum Amount2
I Fenetylline 3 g
I Mecloqualone 9 g
I Methylphenidate 2.16 g
I Modafinil 6 g
I Phenmetrazine 2.25 g
I Secobarbital 6 g
I Zipeprol 9 g
II Amobarbital 9 g
II Buprenorphine 80 mg
II Butalbital 4.5 g
II Cathine 1.5 g
II Cyclobarbital 6.75 g
II Flunitrazepam 60 mg
II Glutethimide 15 g
II Pentazocine 18 g
II Pentobarbital 4.5 g
II Pinazepam 600 mg
III Amfepramone 2.25 g
III Aminorex 300 mg
III Allobarbital 3 g
III Alprazolam (xanax) 72 mg
III Barbital 18 g
III Benzfetamine 1.5 g
III Bromazepam 450 mg
III Brotizolam 15 mg
III Butobarbital 6 g
III Camazepam 1.8 g
III Chlordiazepoxide 1.8 g
III Clobazam 2.4 g
III Clonazepam (Klonopin) 180 mg
III Clorazepate 900 mg
III Clotiazepam 900 mg
III Cloxazolam 360 mg
III Delorazepam 180 mg
III Diazepam 1.2 g
III Estazolam 120 mg
III Ethchlorvynol 22.5 g
III Ethinamate 30 g
III Ethyl loflazepate 60 mg
III Etizolam 90 mg
III Etilamfetamine 1.8 g
III Fencamfamine 1.8 g
III Fenproporex 360 mg
III Fludiazepam 22.5 mg
III Flurazepam 900 mg
III Halazepam 4.8 g
III Haloxazolam 300 mg
III Ketazolam 1.8 g
III Lefetamine 3 g
III Loprazolam 60 mg
III Lorazepam 90 mg
III Lormetazepam 60 mg
III Mazindol 90 mg
III Medazepam 900 mg
III Mefenorex 1.41 g
III Meprobamate 18 g
III Mesocarb 900 mg
III Methylphenobarbital 12 g
III Methyprylon 12 g
III Midazolam 450 mg
III Nimetazepam 150 mg
III Nitrazepam 450 mg
III Nordazepam 450 mg
III Oxazepam 2.7 g
III Oxazolam 1.8 g
III Quazepam 900 mg
III Pemoline 6 g
III Phenazepam 300 mg
III Phendimetrazine 3.15 g
III Phenobarbital 6 g
III Phentermine 1.125 g
III Pinazepam 600 mg
III Pipradrol 180 mg
III Prazepam 600 mg
III Propylhexedrine 2.25 g
III Pyrovalerone 2.4 g
III Secbutabarbital 3.6 g
III Temazepam 900 mg
III Tetrazepam 12 g
III Triazolam 15 mg
III Vinylbital 4.5 g
III Zolpiclonem 300mg
III Zolpidem 300mg

 

1 - Japanese Schedule category, not American

2 - Total amount carried. If you have a box of 30 tablets of 1mg of Clonazepam, then you are carrying 30mg

 

Important exceptions

Some otherwise legal drugs are illegal because they contain controlled/illegal ingredients, usually stimulants. This is a non-extensive list of them:

Tylenol cold, Nyquil, Nyquil Liquicaps, Actifed, Sudafed, Advil Cold & Sinus (Normal Advil, which is just Ibuprofen, is clear), Dristan Cold, Dristan Sinus, Drixoral Sinus, Vicks Inhaler, Lomotil. source