Recent Legislations in Japan (International Transactions)

The Japanese 24 hour Rule for Imported Cargo, Effective March 10, 2014

Professor Koji TSUBAKI
(Research Staff, Faculty of Commerce)
(on 1 August 2013)

     The 9-11 terrorist attack on World Trade Center in New York City led to the tightened security procedure for international ocean-borne containerized cargo. New US procedure under its C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism) Program induced EU to adopt similar measures, i.e., AEO (Authorized Economic Operator) Program. To close security gap left open in the Far Eastern region of the globe, Japanese Customs Law Articles 15 and 16, with their related regulations, were revised in March 2012, and will become effective March 10, 2014. After this date, every actual or contracting carrier will be required to electronically submit cargo manifest data to the NACCS (Nippon Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System, the Japanese Customs Service electronic access point) 24 hours before departure from the port of loading, rather than before the start of loading at the port. This new approach for advance cargo manifest notice seems reasonable, with clear definition of timing and standardized requirements for all cargo on the same carrier. However, there remains concern among shipping interests that the flow of international cargo will be seriously disrupted, since a little over 60% of Japanese imports of manufactured goods arrives here via ocean transport from neighboring countries. In response to this concern, a shorter interval of advance cargo manifest notice (12 hour advance notice under the current system) will be provisionally established for the cargo from the designated ports in Korea, China, and Taiwan ("advance notice at any time before departure").

     It is noted that the electronic advance notice should be submitted directly to NACCS or indirectly through the designated trusted party of service provider and foreign carriers are not required to secure an NACCS ID Number. To clarify the procedure, meetings to provide more information and instruction have been held jointly by the Japanese Customs Service, NACCS and certain parties in the major foreign distribution centers and ocean ports.

     If this new electronic cargo manifest system can be smoothly integrated into the existing customs procedures, it is expected to cover the advance detailed import declaration system from the importer's end, such as US ISF (=Importer's Security Filing) process before the arrival of the vessel, ensuring the speedy delivery of imported cargo from the bonded area. Further, the improved Business-to-Government (B-to-G) electronic notice system may contribute in significant way to timely electronic trade facilitation.

     Access to and is also helpful for further information.