In March 2014, Japan Customs started requiring all vessel operators and non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs) to file electronic information about maritime container cargo intended for entry into Japan ports. Japan eManifest filing should be submitted no later than 24 hours before the vessel leaves the port of loading. However, the exact timing of electronic filings is not similar to advance manifest rules in the U.S. or Canada.
For vessel operators and NVOCCs moving cargo into Japan, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. The timing of Japan Advance Filing Rules (AFR) electronic filing depends on the cargo’s origin and the Japanese port it is destined for. The Japan Customs website gives the complete details on advance filing rules and cut-off times for different ports and countries of origin.
2. Vessel operators or NVOCCs are responsible for transmitting electronic cargo information to Japan Customs within the cut-off times. Vessel operators or carriers send information for the Master bill of lading (BL) level, while NVOCCs send information for the House BL level.
3. Shippers, on the other hand, are responsible for providing complete and accurate data to vessel operators, NVOCCs or logistics services providers. Shippers should expect to receive requests for information from the vessel operators and NVOCCs. Required information includes:
· Name, full address, postcode and phone number of shipper, consignee and notify party
· First 6 digits of the Harmonized System (HS) code
· Precise description of cargo
· Type and number of packages
· Total gross weight and volume
· Container number, seal number, and container size and type for FCL (Full Container Load)
· Marks and Numbers
· IMDG Code/UN Dangerous Goods identifier
· For HBL filings, combined booking numbers
4. After Japan Customs receives the Japan eManifest filing information, they will perform a risk assessment and issue risk analysis results within 24 hours after filing.
5. With Japan Advance Filing Rules now mandatory, Japan Customs stated that those who file incomplete or late declarations could receive penalties, while their cargo could be denied entry into Japan. Meanwhile, those who intentionally file false information could be fined up to JPY 500,000 (about US$ 5,000) or imprisoned for up to one year. Those who intentionally unload cargo without permission could also face the same penalties.