Hey there! As most of you probably remember, I sent in my Yakkan Shoumei application a little less than two weeks ago. being somewhat familiar with government bureaucracy, I was a little scared that the YS would not get here on time before I went to Japan. The USPS delivered the application to the Kanto Office of the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare on February 15.
I received the approved YS on the 19th. On the same day I recieved my renewed driver’s liscence from the DMV–an appointment that was made two weeks ago. The scary thing is, an international government office was quicker to respond to me than was the American DMV. You can probably tell how much faith I have in the government…
But anyway, it was amazingly quick, and very refreshing. Also, they were very gracious. One of the things you are told to do with the YS is to include a self-addressed envelope for them to deliver back to you, along with some International Reply Coupons for them to buy postage to send it back to you. Well, I gave them $6.20 worth of IRCs, and apparently they didn’t use them. However, they were kind enough to return them to me along with the YS. Now I can use it to mail items back home if necessary while I am in Japan!
Now all that’s left to do is get my visa and have one last physical before I leave for Japan. Only two and a half more weeks!
In preparing to travel to Japan, I’ve had many tasks necessary to enter the country. However, as a hemophiliac, one of the most important things for me to do was apply for the Yakkan Shoumei (約款証明).
As anyone who has studied Japan knows, the Japanese are very finicky about their drugs, especially in regards to medication, and even moreso to drugs that are imported. According to the guidelines set up by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, all persons traveling to Japan may take a month’s worth of any medication without need of customs clearance. This applies to most medicines, such as ibuprofen and the like. However, beyond this there are restictions on medications, and in order to bring them one must fill out a Yakkan Shoumei. A Yakkan Shoumei is like an application to bring in otherwise contraband medication and drugs into the country.
In my case, as a hemophiliac, I receive my medication intravenously. According the Ministry of HLW, all medications administered via needle, no matter what amount, must be cleared with the Ministry and have a Yakkan Shoumei. It was an interesting process filling out the necessary forms, and I spent the last month or so making sure I had gotten everything down to the smallest detail (I am a major perfectionist when I need to be!). So on Tuesday I sent out the application via International Express (should be there on the 15th). One of the sucky things about the application is they ask that you also include a self-addressed return envelope and an adequate amount of International Response Coupons (IRCs).
IRCs are basically pieces of paper which can be redeemed at any post office in the world for postage. Since it takes Japanese postage to mail from Japan, they need non-American stamps. Unfortunately, they never specify an approximation of how much they want, so I gave them $6.30 worth of it. Hopefully it’s enough.
Seeing how this whole process works, I will give some info on the Yakkan Shoumei for any future travelers to Japan who might need a Yakkan Shoumei.
- An exellent overview by Michigan State University, complete with hints and tips.
- The actual Yakkan Shoumei application. (PDF) Also contains a sample of each page, showing how it should be filled in.
- FAQs on bringing medications into Japan.
- A more in depth discussion on the procedures for importing medications into Japan. English version provided by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.
Hopefully there will be people who find this helpful!!
I’ll update more soon, and I will most definitely let you know how the application went.
Till then, じゃね!
And so it begins >w<
I’ve decided to make a blog of my study abroad experience in Japan at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies (名古屋外国語大学). Taking a leaf out of Hoshiko’s book x3
For now, this is a test of the functions of the blog. However, since I will be doing a lot of preperations for the trip, I will be posting updates shortly, no doubt.
Until then, じゃ！