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Taking dogs and cats abroad from Japan

1  Procedures and documentation required

 

2  Vaccination against rabies

 

3  Short trips abroad

 

4  Conditions of entry into other countries

 

5  Shipping

 

6  Advance notification

 

7  Quarantine costs

 

8  Administration time

 

 

1  Procedures and documentation required

Q: I want to take my dog (cat) abroad. What documentation do I need?

A:When taking a dog (cat) abroad from Japan, it is necessary for the animal to undergo export quarantine. The inspection is basically a clinical check so no special documentation is required. However, some countries require rabies vaccinations and/or other treatments. As part of the conditions of entry into that country, so please check in advance and prepare the necessary documents according to those conditions of entry. Please note that depending on the conditions, special arrangements space may be needed, or an extended period of time (at least several days) may be required for the quarantine etc. For this reason, please contact the Animal Quarantine Service where your animal will undergo export quarantine as soon as your export plans have been finalised, and submit an Export Quarantine Application Form at least seven days in advance of the intended export date.
When returning to Japan with a dog (cat) that you have taken out of the country, import quarantine is necessary. Certain preparations are required in order to ensure that the quarantine period is within 12 hours. It is recommended that you undertake this preparation before leaving Japan, especially in case you will be out of Japan for just a short period (two years or less). For further details please refer to section 3 ‘Short trips abroad’.

Q: Is a vet-issued health certificate necessary?

A:An animal quarantine officer from the Animal Quarantine Service will check your dog (cat) at the export quarantine so a health certificate is not always necessary, but if you already have one please bring it along for reference purposes and submit it at the time of export inspection.

 

2  Vaccination against rabies

Q: Is it possible to take a dog (cat) animal out of Japan when it has not been immunized against rabies, or when it has only been immunized very recently?

A:If the dog (cat) has undergone export quarantine at the Animal Quarantine Service, it can be taken abroad regardless of whether or not it is immunized against rabies, or regardless of how many days have passed since it received the vaccination. (Please note that annual rabies vaccinations are compulsory in Japan). However, depending on which country you are traveling to, rabies vaccinations may be obligatory, or there may be a set number of days which must have passed since immunization took place. Please be sure to check entry conditions of the country you are traveling to with the foreign embassy in Japan(外部リンク), or with the responsible animal quarantine authority.

 

Q: The dog tag is the only piece of identification I have to hand. Can this be accepted for the rabies vaccination certificate?

A:Dog tags are not acceptable for of rabies vaccination certificates.

3  Short trips abroad

Q: I want to take my dog (cat) on a short trip abroad. Will the animal be subject to quarantine when I leave and re-enter Japan?

A:Even when only going on a short trip, dogs or cats are subject to export quarantine on departure and import quarantine as well on arrival back to Japan. 


When your destination is not an designated region (rabies-free country or region)
It is necessary to submit advance notification to the Animal Quarantine Service at the airport at which you intend to arrive, at least 40 days prior to returning to Japan. 

Please note that if, at the time of export inspection, you could submit documents to prove that the following have been carried out in Japan, the information could be recorded on the Export Quarantine Certificate:

(1)Individual identification by microchip

(2)At least twice rabies vaccinations since fitting the microchip (Dogs or cats must be at least 91 days old at the time of first vaccination)

(3)A level of rabies antibodies of 0.5IU/ml or above measured in a blood sample taken from the dog or cat after the second rabies vaccination

 

The result of blood test is valid for two years after the date of blood sampling. If the dog or cat return during this two year valid period for the blood test result, and you obtain a health certificate issued by the responsible government authority of the exporting country as well as an Export Quarantine Certificate, which you were issued when leaving Japan, and if there are no problems with the content of that health certificate, the quarantine period upon return to Japan will be within 12 hours. 

Please note, during stay in the exporting country, dogs and cats must be revaccinated (given a booster vaccination/additional vaccination) before the expiring date of the prior vaccination. And you should obtain a rabies vaccination certificateissued by the responsible government authority of the exporting country mentioned the booster vaccination.  

If you are planning to take your dog or cat abroad with you, please consult the Animal Quarantine Service well in advance.


When your destination is an designated region (rabies-free country or region)

It is necessary to submit advance notification to the Animal Quarantine Service to the airport at which you intend to arrive, at least 40 days prior to returning to Japan. 

Please note that if the following could be confirmed by an inspection certificate issued by the responsible government authority of the exporting country, the quarantine period when you return to Japan will be within 12 hours:

(1)Individual identification by microchip

(2)That the animal has been kept only in a designated region (rabies-free country/region) since being exported

(3)That there have been no outbreaks of rabies in that designated region in the past two years

(4)That at the quarantine prior to departure from that designated region the animal dose not have or is not suspected of having rabies (in case of dogs, rabies and leptospirosis)

 

In case that where the microchip is fitted in Japan, this information could be included on the Export Quarantine Certificate, so please submit documents to prove this at the time of the export quarantine in Japan. 

If you are planning to take your dog or cat abroad with you, please consult the Animal Quarantine Service well in advance.

 

4  Conditions of entry into other countries

Q: When I checked the conditions of entry with the country I wish to travel to, I was told that a certificate issued by the Japanese government is required. What kind of document is this?

A:This is a certificate issued on completion of export quarantine at the time of departure, and is called an ‘Export Quarantine Certificate for Dogs (Cats)’.

Q: When I checked the conditions of entry with the country I wish to travel to, I was told that certification of immunization against rabies etc. and inspection are required. What should I do now?

A:Please obtain a certificate from the veterinarian who gave the animal any immunization and/or tests required for entry into the country you wish to travel to. If this is presented at the time of the export quarantine, the details on the certificate will be included in the Export Quarantine Certificate.

Q: How can I check the conditions of entry for the country I wish to travel to?

A:Please check with the foreign embassy in Japan(外部リンク) and/or the animal quarantine authorities of the country.

Q: I will be going from one foreign country to another. Is it necessary to fulfil conditions of entry for each country?

A:It is necessary to fulfil not only entry conditions but also exit conditions for each and every country. Careful planning is required. This includes checking with each country’s embassy in Japan and/or their animal quarantine authorities etc.

Q: When I checked the conditions of entry with the country I wish to travel to, I found out that an import permit is necessary, and that a certificate is required in advance for this. Is it possible to get the certificate issued by the Animal Quarantine Service?

A:Firstly, please check the certification content of the certificate required by the country you intend to travel to, and where to obtain that certificate from. If you are told that you require a certificate issued by a Japanese government agency, please contact the Animal Quarantine Service.

Q: Proof of residence in Japan is required as one of the conditions of entry for the country I wish to travel to. What should I do?

A:Please obtain residence certificate from your vet and present this at the time of the export inspection. If it is not possible to obtain such a certificate from your vet, please consult the Animal Quarantine Service.

 

5  Shipping

Q: Are quarantine procedures affected by the mode of transport used to take the animals out of Japan?

A:Dogs (cats) are subject to export quarantine when being taken abroad, regardless of the mode of transport (airplane, ship etc.) or the method of transport (cargo, hand luggage etc.) used. Quarantine procedures are not affected in any way by the method of transport. However, certain countries impose restriction on transportation, so please check in advance with the  foreign embassy in Japan(外部リンク) or the animal quarantine authority.

Q: What do I need to be aware of when taking a dog (cat) on an airplane?

A:Animals can suffer considerable stress when kept in an unfamiliar place for an extended period of time, so please pay careful attention to animal health prior to departure. Dogs (cats) that are old, in poor health, pregnant, lactating, have a history of illnesses, on medication or injured are not suited to transportation or import quarantine that follows at the destination. In case it is unavoidable to take such an animal abroad, please consult your vet and airline well in advance, and determine whether or not the animal will be able to cope with transportation and import quarantine.
Please make sure that the cages used for transporting the dogs (cats), are large enough for them to stand, sit, sleep, turn and freely, and have a vent which allows sufficient ventilation in order to transport them safely and avoid injury. Cages should be constructed in such a way that animals cannot poke their snouts or limbs out of the vent or mesh, and should have anti-escape features.

Q: Where in the airplane will the dog (cat) be kept? How much will it cost? What kind of cage should the dog (cat) be carried in?

A:Please contact the airline for information.

6  Advance notification

Q: Is it necessary to make an appointment for export quarantine?

A:Appointments are not necessary, but depending on the conditions, special arrangements may be needed or quarantine may take a long time (several days), so please contact the Animal Quarantine Service where the animal will undergo export quarantine well in advance, once export plans have been finalized. Please ensure that the Export Quarantine Application Form is submitted at least seven days in advance of the intended day of export.

 

7  Quarantine costs

Q: How much will export quarantine cost?

A:Inspection by animal quarantine officers is free of charge, but the exporter has responsibility for bearing the cost of any immunization, health checks by vets etc. required in order to fulfil the conditions of the country to which the exporter is travelling.

 

8  Time needed for procedures

Q: I am leaving on an early morning flight. What time does the office open?

A:Please contact the Animal Quarantine Service where the animal will undergo quarantine.

Q: How long will the export quarantine examination take?

A:One hour is usually enough to complete the health check and issue the certificate. However, please come to the Animal Quarantine Service in good time, before you check-in.