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Japan Narita Customs - Importing prescription medication on prohibited list

Japan Narita Customs - Importing prescription medication on prohibited list

Old Aug 23, 12, 5:25 am
  #16  
 
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Hmmm - I really can't advise you on how to present this.
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Old Aug 23, 12, 5:26 am
  #17  
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Anything else I have to say would be moral commentary, which you don't want. You're just looking for somebody to validate your plan, and that's not something that I'll be able to do for you.

Good luck.
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Old Aug 23, 12, 5:36 am
  #18  
 
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I think it was just a random check. It was in KIX and it was quite quiet period. I walked into the first vacant customs counter. The officer asked me to open my bag, and as I was doing it, some other officer came and said something in Japanese, and the officer instructed me to follow him. I was taken into small room with two or three customs officers and they politely asked me to remove my clothes excluding the underwear. They emptied my bags and went through my clothes and other stuff quite thoroughly but reasonably quickly. They didn't touch me at all and after they were done they repacked my bags more neatly than they were packed originally. While they were doing it, they asked where I was going to stay in Japan, and when I answered Tokyo, they asked why I was in KIX. I just answered it was the most convenient and cheapest connection that time, and they were satisfied. They were very polite and spoke better English than some of the border officials I have encountered over there. After they were done, they welcomed me into Japan, apologized the inconvenience, and probably went to get their next victim.

The whole thing took less than ten minutes and I wasn't offended at all, since I was not in a hurry and they acted very professionally and politely. But I've never similar experience, or even close to that before or after. But as I said, every time in Japan, I've had to at least open my bags. I am an EU citizen and always arrived from EU, if that makes any difference.
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Old Aug 23, 12, 6:13 am
  #19  
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Wow, see right when they asked me to remove all of my clothing is when things would go wrong, no way am I taking off my clothes for these people unless they give me some legitimate reasoning. I almost got arrested when I was came back through LAX when the police officer/customs official went through my bag. It wasn't just that he went through it, but he had the worst attitude from the beginning and was incredibly demeaning, and at the end after he took everything out and spread it around he asked me to put it back in after fighting a bit and him threatening to arrest me he finally put some of it back in . But oh well, I am still struggling with this^ I would really like to bring my Adderall, but I just don't want the risk. If it was like, vicks vaporub or sudafed, the kinda BS stuff they ban I wouldn't even care, but Adderall is so sketchy. I think I've just come to the conclusion that I am only going to bring one month of it, and have a list of all the medications I am bringing signed by my doctor, and show it to them at the customs window and hope for the best!
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Old Aug 23, 12, 6:21 am
  #20  
 
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I don't recall ever having to open my bags when entering Japan.
Only times I remember having to open bags at NRT is when entering the airport from the train station.
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Old Aug 23, 12, 8:16 am
  #21  
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I think everything hailstorm has said in this thread, despite the denial immediately above, has been a moral commentary.

This is a medication which makes your quality of life dramatically better. If I were in your situation, for something that important, I would try to get all the medical documentation I could, and then bring it with me. Assuming a 90 day supply is not too bulky, I'd put it in carry-on, so it doesn't get lost or stolen along the way.

If customs raised objections, I would politely explain the reasoning for it and show the documentation establishing that your medical team agrees. While it is always possible to encounter a jerk, overall, my very limited experience is that Japan customs officers are reasonable if approached in a polite, calm, rational manner.
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Old Aug 23, 12, 8:56 am
  #22  
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Risk tolerance

1. This is all about risk tolerance and not about morality. OP knows that what he asks about is a crime under Japanese law and could result in his imprisonment, imposition of a fine and exclusion from Japan functionally forever.

2. The USA too has prohibited substances (try bringing in marijuana lawfully purchased in Amsterdam -- despite the current kerffufle --) and explaining that to CBP here.

3. There is zero way to assign risk probabilities. It's like Russian Roulette. If there's no bullet, that's great. If there is one, it's very bad.

If it's a 1% chance, is it worth it? Only OP can answer.
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Old Aug 23, 12, 9:40 am
  #23  
 
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Adderall is an amphetamine-type narcotic and so would be illegal in Japan; however similar drugs are prescribed medically in Japan (not sure on this exact brand). It is perfectly possible to bring in small amounts of prescription drugs that would otherwise be illegal in Japan, even psychoactive drugs, with permission from the ministry of health. This permission is equivalent to holding a prescription from Japanese doctor. You need to apply for a Yakkan Shoumei (薬監証明) in advance, if granted you can show customs and they will compare it to your medication and allow it no problems.

You won't be allowed a year's supply, so it's probably worth researching psychiatrists in Japan that could prescribe similar drugs for your time here.

Originally Posted by akira2472 View Post
Also, as I have to receive my resident card right when I get there (I already have my Visa), I will go to a separate line than citizens/foreigners, where they will have to process some paperwork, which could provide a good distraction from inspecting my bags.
Your entry into Japan and issue of resident card are dealt with at the border before you collect your bags. Customs check/searches take place separately. Drugs dogs are often patrolling the baggage hall; they will approach from behind and would check you without you even knowing - it is possible that your amphetamines-based drug could trigger a positive reaction. No sure why you tell us, but white males are particularly suspicious in Japan where drugs are concerned.

Last edited by BalbC; Aug 23, 12 at 8:30 pm
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Old Aug 23, 12, 11:14 am
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by akira2472 View Post
Hello, let me start off by saying that I know what I would like to do is illegal...

So a couple months ago I got diagnosed with ADHD and was prescribed Adderall...

I am not going to try and smuggle them, I am bringing a 3 month supply in the prescription bottle with the label as well as a signed letter from my doctor. Should I put these in my carry-on (a backpack) or checked luggage?
My plan was to just put them in either bag and not declare them on customs forms and generally hope that no one decides to go through my bag. The customs form does not ask about prescription medication, it lists as prohibited articles: Narcotic drugs, stimulants, marijuana, psychotropic substances, MDMA etc. . My ideal scenario is that I don't declare anything and they wave me through customs.

...

Also, as I have to receive my resident card right when I get there (I already have my Visa), I will go to a separate line than citizens/foreigners, where they will have to process some paperwork, which could provide a good distraction from inspecting my bags.
So, a few things:

1) Make no mistake, what you are proposing is, in fact, smuggling. If you cross a border and knowingly bring something that is illegal or fail to declare something you're supposed to declare, that's smuggling.

2) Aderall is most certainly a stimulant, so their customs form covers its disclosure.

3) I'm not speaking from experience on this, but if you're getting a resident card isn't your chances of a search a lot higher? That said, I've entered Japan at NRT multiple times and never once had to open my bags or answer a single question verbally.

I can't really tell you if you should take it or not since you're the only one that can really judge the risk/reward. Is there another way you can bring it with you, or an alternate drug in the same category that's legal in Japan?
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Old Aug 23, 12, 11:18 am
  #25  
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One data point: Two short trips through Japan, no bags looked at.
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Old Aug 23, 12, 11:55 am
  #26  
 
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Four trips to Japan via NRT. Only once did Japanese customs inspect one of our suitcases and that was just a quick open with a cursory examination of its contents.
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Old Aug 23, 12, 12:46 pm
  #27  
 
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Nogbad's advice seems to be spot on.
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Old Aug 23, 12, 3:41 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
I think everything hailstorm has said in this thread, despite the denial immediately above, has been a moral commentary.
Would you care to elaborate on what makes you think so? From my point of view, I have told the OP what I considered to be the worst case scenario for his plan, asked him to consider his risk tolerance, and told him that he needs to make the decision for himself.

Have I made a moral judgement on the issue? Of course I have. But I don't see where such judgement was explicitly stated.

Last edited by hailstorm; Aug 23, 12 at 3:45 pm Reason: Added quote to clarify who I was addressing.
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Old Aug 23, 12, 4:12 pm
  #29  
 
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Originally Posted by hailstorm View Post
Would you care to elaborate on what makes you think so?
I think there's a certain something in these turns of phrase... When I read them, I hear the voice of Sister Immaculata...

Originally Posted by hailstorm View Post
when you were lucky enough to ...
Originally Posted by hailstorm View Post
And don't think that having some connections...
Originally Posted by hailstorm View Post
Lest you think ...
Originally Posted by hailstorm View Post
you get away with it ...
Originally Posted by hailstorm View Post
You're just looking for somebody to validate your plan
If you could just add a "wicked child" here and there, it would take me right back to St. Augustin's.
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Old Aug 23, 12, 5:31 pm
  #30  
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Those are all your interpretations of tone, not statements of morality. The OP has stated from the start that he knows his plan to be illegal, so I believe all of those mentions were fair game.

Asking people for advice is one thing, but expecting them to not have an opinion that colors their choice of words somewhat is, IMHO, a bit too much to ask for.
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