For most products there is no requirement for country of origin labeling, though some categories such as beverages and foods do require such labeling. If labels indicating origin are later determined to be false or misleading, the labels must be removed or corrected. False or misleading labels which display the names of countries, regions or flags other than the country of origin, and/or names of manufacturers or designers outside the country of origin are not permissible.
Japanese law requires labels for products in four categories: textiles, electrical appliances and apparatus, plastic products and miscellaneous household and consumer goods. Because the relevant regulations apply specifically to individual products, it is important for U.S. exporters to work with a prospective agent or importer to ensure the exporter’s product meets applicable requirements. Generally, most labeling laws are not required at the customs clearance stage, but at the point of sale. Consequently, it is most common for Japanese importers to affix a label before or after clearing customs.
Food and agricultural products are subject to a number of complex labeling regulations in Japan. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has established mandatory quality labeling standards that all producers, distributors and other operators must follow. Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) administers separate voluntary and mandatory standards such as nutritional labeling and food additive/allergen labeling for processed foods and beverages.