GLOBEFISH - Information and Analysis on World Fish Trade

Quarantine Stations

There are 32 Quarantine Stations in Japan located at international seaports and airports. At these quarantine stations food inspectors conduct document examination, inspect and monitor imported foods and related products, and guide importers on the practical procedures for food importation.

The list of the Quarantine Station is available at the following link:  

At the Quarantine Station, food sanitation inspectors check the consignment’s accompanying documentation to confirm that the foods comply with the Food Sanitation Law. During the document examination, the food sanitation inspector validates whether: 

  • the imported food complies with the manufacturing standards regulated under the Food Sanitation Law;
  • the use of additives complies with the standards;
  • poisonous or hazardous substances are contained; and
  • the manufacturer or the place of manufacturing has had sanitary issues previously, based on the information reported in the Notification Form.

The food safety inspectors also examine the notification and attached documents to determine any necessity for on-site, organoleptic, chemical, physical or microbiological examinations.

After the document examination, the MHLW carries out an inspection of the imported foods to verify their compliance with the Food Sanitation Act.

When a regulatory violation is detected, proper measures are taken for the relevant products, including disposal or shipping back of the items to the country of origin.

Cases of violation

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare provides information on its website about importation regulations for all foodstuffs, together with information on the total number of import notifications, as well as the frequency of inspections and the number of cases of rejected imports.

The violation cases are available in excel format at the following link:

The linked file provides a variety of information for each case, including the item, the exporting country, the name of the manufacturer, the shipper, the relevant article of the Food Sanitation Law, the contents of violation, the quarantine station, the cause of violation, the disposal of the cargo, the remark and the publication day.

This is an example of a violation:

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