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Bringing raccoons, foxes and skunks into Japan

1 Advance notification

 

2 Individual identification with microchip

 

3 Rabies vaccination

 

4 Export Certificate

 

5 Quarantine period and inspection

 

6 Transportation of raccoons (foxes, skunks)

 

7 Quarantine costs

 

8 Time needed for procedures

 

 

1 Advance notification

Q:Do certain documents have to be submitted for advance notification purposes? Where should the notification be submitted?

A:Either download the ‘Notification for importation of animals' form from the Animal Quarantine Service website, or obtain one from your nearest Animal Quarantine Service. Once you have completed all the necessary sections of the form, you should mail, fax or hand deliver it to the Animal Quarantine Service which has jurisdiction over the intended air/sea port of arrival.

Q:There have been changes to my import plans since I submitted the notification. What should I do?

A:Either download the ‘Notification of changes' form from the Animal Quarantine Service website, or obtain one from your nearest Animal Quarantine Service. Once you have completed all the necessary sections of the form, you should mail, fax or hand deliver it directly to the Animal Quarantine Service which has jurisdiction over the intended air/sea port of arrival.

Q:At the last minute, I found out that I have to bring raccoons (foxes, skunks) into Japan but I have not submitted any advance notification. Is it still possible to bring them in?

A:Advance notification is required at least 40 days prior to the intended date of import, so please reconsider any changes to the date of import. If you are not able to change, in circumstances where the your plan, please contact the Animal Quarantine Service which has jurisdiction over the intended air/sea port of arrival immediately. In only case that the Animal Quarantine Service considers any change to be impossible and import quarantine to be conducted, advance notification may be accepted later than 40 days prior to the intended date of import. However, if there is no room available in the facilities, you may be required to change the place and/or date of import.

 

2 Individual identification with microchip

Q:What is a microchip? Will it affect the health of raccoons (foxes, skunks)?

A:A microchip is a small device (11mm long x 2mm wide) for identification and is inserted into the animal's hypodermis. These microchips are used by countries across the world including Japan, and they do not affect the health of the animal.

Q:Where can microchip can be fitted for animals?

A:Microchips can be fitted at veterinary clinics, so please contact your nearest one for advice. Alternatively, you may also contact the Japan Veterinary Medical Association (Tel +81 (0)3 3475 1601, Fax +81 (0)3 3475 1604).

Q:The animals already have microchips fitted but I am not sure of the specifications. Is there any way I can find out?

A:Please first inquire with the veterinarian who fitted the microchip. Alternatively, you might check with another veterinary clinic which has microchip reader. The fitting of a microchip is a prerequisite for bringing raccoons (foxes, skunks) into Japan, so please replace it if it cannot be read.

Q:What will happen if I bring animals in from designated regions (rabies-free countries/regions) without microchips?

A:Even in case that animals have been brought in from designated regions (rabies-free country/region), if they do not have a microchip fitted, they will be treated as animals for which no individual identification measures have been taken, and will consequently be subject to a quarantine period of up to 180 days upon arrival in Japan.

Q:The animals have microchips fitted but they are not of the ISO standard. What happens if the microchips cannot be read on arrival?

A:If the microchip number is unreadable at import quarantine, the animal will be treated as one for which no individual identification measures have been taken.For this reason, please either contact the Animal Quarantine Service at the intended air/sea port of arrival in advance, or bring your own microchip reader. Before travelling you should check that the microchip reader you intend to bring can actually read the microchip.

 

3 Rabies vaccination

Q:If the animals have been immunized against rabies in the country of export (countries other than designated area [rabies-free countries/regions]), do they still have to undergo quarantine upon arrival?

A:Rabies vaccinations (including oral inoculations) for raccoons (foxes, skunks) are not considered valid under the Japanese Quarantine System. For this reason, the quarantine period for raccoons (foxes, skunks) brought in from other than designated regions will be 180 days.

 

4 Export Certificate

Q:When should I get the Country of Export Certificate issued by the responsible government agency of the country of export? Does this certificate have a validity?

A:There is no set validity period for Country of Export Certificates. However, with regard to health certificates, please ensure that the animal undergoes a check immediately prior to departure (wherever possible within two days of departure), to ensure that it does not have or is not suspected of having rabies before obtaining the necessary certification.

Click here.

 

 


Q:For raccoons (foxes, skunks) from places which are not from designated region (rabies-free countries/regions), will the quarantine period be shortened if I obtain a Export Certificate from the responsible government agency in the country of export?

A:Even with a certificate, the quarantine period for raccoons (foxes, skunks) from areas which are not designated regions (rabies-free countries/regions) will be 180 days.

Q:Where can I find out which government agency can issue the Export Certificate?

A:Please check with the animal quarantine authority of the country of export.

 

5 Quarantine period and inspection

Q:What do I have to do to make a quarantine within 12 hours when importing animals from designated regions (rabies-free countries/regions)?

A:When the items listed below can be confirmed from the certificate issued by the responsible government agency of the country of export, the quarantine period upon arrival in Japan will be completed within 12 hours. Please note that notification to the Animal Quarantine Service which has jurisdiction over the intended air/sea port of arrival is required no less than 40 days prior to arrival.

(1)That the animal is identified by microchip

(2)That the animal has been kept only in a designated region for the past 180 days, since birth, or since arriving directly from Japan.

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

(4)That the animal did not have or was not suspected of having rabies at to the inspection carried out prior to departure
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Q:What is the quarantine period for animals brought in from places other than designated regions (rabies-free countries/regions)?

A:The quarantine period for animals brought in from places other than designated regions (rabies-free countries/regions) will be 180 days. Animals are held in the quarantine facilities of the Animal Quarantine Service. Please note that the 180-day period does not include the day on which the application for quarantine was submitted, or the day on which the Import Quarantine Certification was issued.

Q:What does quarantine detention involve? Under what circumstances is such detention necessary?

A:Quarantine detention is carried out in case that the animal does not fulfil the conditions for a quarantine of within 12 hours. In such cases the animal is isolated in an Animal Quarantine Service quarantine facility for 180 days. Detention is carried out to screen out rabies. Clinical check for the symptoms is the only way of verifying of rabies in a living animal.

 

6 Transportation of raccoons (foxes, skunks)

Q:Please advise of any precautions that should be taken when transporting raccoons (foxes, skunks) by airplane.

A:Animals can become subject to 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. Raccoons (foxes, skunks) that are old, in poor health, pregnant, lactating, have a history of disease, on medication or injured are not suited to transportation or the quarantine that follows. In case that it is unavoidable to bring such an animal into Japan, please consult your veterinarian and airline well in advance, to 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 raccoons (foxes, skunks), are large enough for them to stand, sit, sleep and turn 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:How do I go about arranging air transportation for animals? How much will it cost?

A:Please contact your airline for details.

Q:Are quarantine procedures affected by the mode of transport used to bring the animals in?

A:Quarantine procedures are not affected in any way by the method of transport (whether it be cargo or hand luggage), or the mode of transport (whether it be airplane or ship).

Q:Will there be any quarantine problems if there is a transship on the way to Japan (i.e. a non-direct flight) from a designated region [a rabies-free country/region]?

A:When a simple transship is involved (where the animal does not officially enter the country at the connecting airport), as long as the animal has a certificate issued by the responsible government agency of the country of export, there will be no problems. However, if the person traveling with the animals enters the country of connecting flight with the raccoon (fox, skunk), a certificate issued by the responsible government agency of that country then becomes necessary. In certain cases, transship certification is required from the country of connecting flight. Please consult the Animal Quarantine Service for further details.

Q:The animals need to be transferred onto a domestic flight within Japan. Where will their import quarantine take place?

A:In principle, animals undergo import quarantine at the Animal Quarantine Service which has jurisdiction over the airport at which they arrive in Japan on an international flight.

 

7 Quarantine costs

Q:How much does import quarantine cost?

A:Import inspection by animal quarantine officers is free of charge. However, the importer is responsible for bearing the cost of transportation to the quarantine facility, cares during the quarantine period, vet visits etc.

 

8 Time needed for procedures

Q:I have heard that if preparations have been successfully made in a designated region [a rabies-free country/region], the quarantine period will be completed within 12 hours, but how long is actually required for procedures?

A:Upon arrival, of the certificate issued by the responsible government agency of the country of export and the raccoon (fox, skunk) are checked. In case that the quarantine period is within 12 hours, the inspection usually takes less than one hour, although it can take more depending on the situation.
In order to speed the certificate check, you are strongly encouraged to obtain a certificate based on the form recommended by the Animal Quarantine Service.Click here.