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duty-free allowance on a gift sent to japan 2014/2/2 20:44
My son wants a big wheeled duffel (not the hard-sided luggage they sell everywhere in Japan), and doesn't seem to find one like that in Nagoya (at least not at a reasonable price). I am considering shipping one as a gift from the UK, but I know some items, depending on their value and the specific item, can incur huge duty fees etc. For example, I read on this forum that leather shoes are very costly in duty. I looked at the Japan customs website, but it simply says that items worth under 200,000 yen are fine (no fees) if the items are within the duty-free allowance. But they don't say what that is. Does anyone know how to figure out if this will be a problem? Is it based just on value (what is the limit then)? Is soft wheeled luggage one of the very restricted items? Does it matter if it is a new item or already used? I don't want him to get stuck with a big hassle and fees for something worth less than 15,000! yen. Thanks for any guidance.
by rootles  

Re: duty-free allowance on a gift sent to japan 2014/2/3 08:20
When you ship it, remove all tags, mark it "gift" on the small customs declaration form they give you at the post office, and write something like 50 dollars on the "value" just to be sure.

The "200,000 yen" is for goods brought into the country when you travel into Japan. Depending on the product category, there is customs duty imposed on merchandise of far smaller value - I've had to pay customs duty on 250 dollars jewelry. I don't think there is any restriction on luggage, UNLESS it is made of leather or something.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Thoughts on duty and shipping to Japan 2014/2/3 10:45
Generally there's an exclusive for duty and consumption tax for items less than 10,000 yen, but there are exclusions (for example for leather).
For luggage, the rate would be around 5% (including postage cost)for shipments under 100,000 yen total. But they often do odd things like charge for it as fabric or as a plastic object.
You might also have to pay a customs inspection fee, and the price will be based on what they decide at local rates not necessarily what you write on the form.
Marking it a gift will make no difference. Better to use normal mail, USPS, or EMS - as it will go via Japan Post who inspect less and for free. For me EMS/Post type deliveries are opened for me about 1 in 10 versus over 50% for receiving courier deliveries. If there are fees to pay, it wouldn't be much of a hassle, and should be expensive.

If you use a courier (esp. DHL, but Fedex and UPS are also guilty), they normally have to use a customs agent/contract bonded warehouse. These inspect more regular and often charge for the check it - whether or not there is any duty to pay. If there is duty to pay they also whack on an admin charge, as well as the inspection fee and the over-calculated duty. Unlike the Post office, it is in their interest to check and charge the recipient. I have also heard of them charging storage fee whilst waiting for a payment - they usually just ask for it on the door step, but have been know to bill by post first and charge for storing in the meantime. I also find their delivery time scan be inconvenient and the they lie about attempted deliveries, which never happens with Japanese couriers/Japan post - it's almost as if the non-Japnese companies, train to their poor foreign standards.

But unfortunately, many companies will only ship with their preferred courier and the shipping prices can be a lot better. If the duffle folds flat, should be too bad, but if not you might get charged a lot due to the high dimensional weight. In that case, you'd be best served to use a shipping consolidator, who get better rates for dimensional weight. Or get it shipped direct from Amazon or similar who can have much more reasonable s&h prices.

Basically, avoid couriers, declare honestly and there shouldn't be a problem.

Incidentally, wheeled duffle bags are readily available in Japan, although some US brands have inflated local prices. Has he tried Rakuten or Amazon.co.jp?
by Mr Shippy (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: duty-free allowance on a gift sent to japan 2014/2/3 11:05
I was from the start shipping the item through postal service, where marking it as a gift does make a difference. Never use any expensive courier service.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: duty-free allowance on a gift sent to japan 2014/2/4 04:42
Write "Sample " and value as low as you want, if not zero.
by amazinga (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: duty-free allowance on a gift sent to japan 2014/3/1 18:24
Amazon (US) added a LOT for estimated customs fees, etc. That's why I wondered about other options. I've looked at the English version of amazon.jp, but couldn't find what I wanted. Perhaps my son should explore the Japanese version (if it's different). We looked at TokyuHands in Nagoya, and found prety much only hard-sided suitcases, plus a few small rolling soft bags. Nothing at all like we have in mind - a large )maximum checked bag size), and all were much more expensive than I had expected, given others suggestions elsewhere in this forum.
by rootles rate this post as useful

Re: duty-free allowance on a gift sent to japan 2014/3/1 18:45
I just tried again at Amazon.com, and it wont even let me ship the luggage to a Japan address now.
by rootles rate this post as useful

Re: duty-free allowance on a gift sent to japan 2014/3/2 15:50
If your son must have that one, then you have to buy it from amazon.com, have it sent to your home (in the US I assume), and you need to remove all tags and things (as suggested by the first "guest" - that was me - and the one below Mr. Shippy) and send it over to your son via postal service. Just about how heavy is the item?
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: duty-free allowance on a gift sent to japan 2014/3/9 01:46
I'm actually (for the year) in the UK. I guess no matter how we do it, it's going to be EXPENSIVE!
by rootles rate this post as useful

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