it looks like I will need a special permit to go through customs with my diabetes supplies (including syringes and pump). Has anybody applied for the permit called Yakkan Shoumei?
I would like to know what I have to include. I need to take supplies for two months.
Hi @mariap I have never had to apply for the permit as I have yet to get to Japan, but this pdf from the Japanese Gov’t might help to answer some of your questions.
I suspect it is the same as the US; if you are staying for a long time you are regarded as importing the medication and that either requires permission or isn’t allowed. I stayed in Tokyo for a week around 2010 and didn’t have any problems, but then I didn’t tell anyone I was carrying insulin.
So far as I can see bringing prescription medication into a country for your own use during a short visit is fine so long as the medication is legal in that country. The issue I’ve seen reported with respect to Japan (and the US for that matter) is that some medications that can be prescribed in US/Japan are not legal in Japan/US respectively. Neither insulin nor insulin pumps fit that category.
Well, yes; that defines what I termed short as 1 month or less, so a two month supply needs a permit. The document also implies that syringes are not permitted. I use KwikPens to fill my Omnipod and I would recommend that approach; the KwikPen doubles as a convenient emergency insulin supply for pump failures and is immediately non-suspicious in any country I’ve been to. It’s a good example of the “not permitted here” thing; hypodermic syringes are available OTC in the US (just buy them on Amazon), but definitely not in Japan.
I read the conditions of the permit, however this was posted in June, this year in TripAdvisor,
Tokyo and California
for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
You may bring insulin pumps and syringes without a permit nor doctor’s note. Most prescription medications are ok to bring up to one month’s supply. There are some exceptions. If you want to bring pain meds with narcotics, you need to apply for a narcotic certificate. Sedatives such as Xanax, Valium and Ativan have upper limits but unless you take unusually high dosage, you don’t need to worry about it. Adderall is prohibited in Japan. You’ll get into a big trouble if you bring any. Pseudoephedrine is also prohibited to bring in, though it’s available in Japan.
I’m the unofficial Japan Forum physician who usually answers to questions regarding medications.