• International Clients

Importing Japanese Cosmetics: What You Need to Know

  • #Cosmetics
  • #Import
  • #International Transaction

Why Japanese Cosmetics?

With various factors at play, including the depreciation of the yen, the number of Japanese cosmetics being exported to overseas markets is on the rise.

Japanese cosmetics are known for their world-class quality. Additionally, the incorporation of unique Japanese ingredients, such as green tea and sake lees appear novel to overseas consumers.

The world’s largest cosmetics OEM/ODM company, South Korea’s COSMAX, plans to open a new factory in Japan starting in 2025, which also highlights the market’s appeal.

For those considering importing Japanese cosmetics, here are the key points to consider when importing cosmetics from Japan.

Exporting products as-is for domestic distribution

The Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Act (PMD Act) is a regulatory law that governs cosmetics and related products.

If you export products that are already distributed domestically without any modifications, you do not need to follow the PMD Act procedures.

Modifying labels and packaging for export

Under the PMD Act, manufacturing includes packaging, labeling, and storage (Article 26 of the Enforcement Regulations of the PMD Act).

Therefore, translating product names and other details into the local language of the export destination or redesigning the container/box for export purposes is considered “cosmetics manufacturing.”  If you want to change the label or packaging in Japan, you must have a cosmetics manufacturing license. 

Additionally, before starting the manufacturing process, you must submit a “Notification of Manufacturing for Export Only” to the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare via the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) (Article 74 of the PMD Act Enforcement Order, Article 265 of the PMD Act Enforcement Regulations).

To avoid such procedures, it may be more practical to re-label or repackage the products according to the regulations of the importing country.

Exporting products designed for foreign markets from the outset

Even if you design products specifically for export without intending them to distribute in Japan, again, you must follow the same procedures as mentioned above, including obtaining a cosmetics manufacturing license and submitting a manufacturing notification for export.

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)

When exporting cosmetics to your intended country, you might be required to provide a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificate in accordance with the regulation of the importing country. This certificate proves that the manufacturing and quality control standards are met. If you need to issue GMP certificates.

Regulations of the Importing Country

Just as Japan regulates cosmetics under the PMD Act, the importing country will have its own regulations. It is essential to research and prepare for the cosmetic import regulations of the destination country in advance.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure a smooth process when importing Japanese cosmetics.

We handle negotiations and contract agreements with suppliers/your partners in Japan, as well as coordinating with relevant agencies for export. Please feel free to contact us for assistance.