When importing food products in Japan, you will be required to submit Notification of Importation of Foods at the Quarantine Station in Japan. Inspection and quarantine will be depending on the type of foods such as fresh foods, meats and meat products, agricultural foods or processed foods. You will also need to be compliant with applicable laws in Japan including Food Sanitation Law, JAS law, Measurement Law and etc.
Depending on the type of food, you will need to prepare different information. Product registration before launch is not necessary in Japan but please make sure that your product comply with the laws and regulations in Japan.
The Japanese dietary supplement market is the third largest market in the world following the USA and China. Japan recently has implemented a new law for functional claims called Food with Function Claim, which allow companies holding structure function claims on food products including dietary supplement, functional food/beverage and agricultural or marine foods. This is expected to contribute to healthier lifestyles and accelerate the market growth in the Japanese nutrition market. Corresponding to aging population is also a key factor for success in the nutrition / dietary supplement market in Japan.
In Japan, you can make health/functional claims under the system of Foods with Health Benefit Claims, which includes Foods for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU), Foods with Nutrient Function Claims, Foods for Special Dietary Uses (FOSDU) and a new category; Foods with Function Claims(FFC). Claims to maintain and promote the people’s health are allowed to use. Claims permitted for FOSHU are also applicable. You cannot make risk reduction claims and health benefit claims for infants, pregnant or lactating women or patients.
It is a new system for allowing manufacturers to use function claims without a government approval. By notifying to and acceptance by the Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) with a claim and submitting required information, you will be able to promote the health benefit of your products. However, you must follow the guideline by CAA for which information to submit. Submission must be in Japanese and you will need to have a contact window in Japan.