If you intend to do any of the following in Japan, please contact Risk Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 642-5141:
- Hire a local to work for you as an employee
- Purchase or lease office or research space
- Purchase or lease an automobile
- Establish a long-term (over 90 days) or ongoing project
- Conduct a clinical trial
U.S. GOVERNMENT COMPLIANCE CONSIDERATIONS
Foreign activities may trigger many U.S. laws, including:
- Import Controls
- Export Controls
- Tax Reporting
- Foreign Bank Account Reporting
- Country Embargoes and Targeted Sanctions
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
- Anti-Boycott Laws
Import Controls. UC employees must adhere to U.S. import requirements, and may need to enlist the services of a customs broker, especially for shipments arriving by sea and subject to the Importer Security Filing 71730, also known as ISF 10+2.
Export Controls. Export controls may apply to advanced software and technology, research data, and other sensitive assets. UC’s Export Compliance FAQ contains useful information and can be found here. Go here for the University of California plan for compliance with federal export controls. If you plan on taking or sending potentially export-controlled materials to Japan, consult the campus Research Administration Compliance Office at 642-0120.
Tax Reporting. The University and its employees may be taxed in foreign countries. The tax implications for operating in Japan may be found at the Internal Revenue Service’s United States-Japan Income Tax Convention. For further clarification, contact the Controller’s Office at:
- email@example.com or 642-0031 for tax advising and unrelated business income tax coordination, or
- firstname.lastname@example.org or 642-1336 for foreign tax form processing
Foreign Bank Account Reporting. The U.S. Treasury Department requires U.S. citizens with a financial interest in or signatory authority over a financial account in a foreign country, where accounts exceed $10,000 at any point during a calendar year, to report such accounts on a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FinCen Report 114). Those needing to complete the form should contact the Controller’s Office at email@example.com or 643-9803 for assistance. An IRS 1040 Schedule B form (Part III–Foreign Accounts and Trusts) must be filed by the signatory for any foreign bank account, regardless of the account balance.
Country Embargoes and Targeted Sanctions. In general, collaborations between University personnel and scholars at foreign institutions or organizations do not require export licenses unless they involve export-controlled or -restricted research or involve scholars in sanctioned countries. Before engaging in an international collaboration, the University needs to determine whether export licenses are required and to verify that the foreign collaborator is not blocked or sanctioned. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is responsible for enforcing all U.S. embargoes and sanctions. Depending on each country’s embargo or sanction program, activities may be prohibited without specific authorization or license. UC’s International Collaborations webpage contains additional information on this topic.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is intended to stop bribery. It prohibits offering to pay, paying, promising to pay, or authorizing the payment of money or anything of value to a foreign official. The term “foreign official” generally includes any employee or contractor of a foreign government, and may include individuals employed by foreign universities. It is also unlawful to make a payment to a third party knowing that all or part of the payment will go to a foreign official. For more information, review the federal government’s Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. If you need further clarification, contact the UC Berkeley Office of Legal Affairs at 642-7122. Transparency International’s 2018 survey of perceived public sector corruption rated Japan at 73 out of 100 (18th out of 180 countries reviewed, i.e. clean).
Anti-Boycott Laws. The U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for oversight of laws prohibiting individuals and entities from participating in boycotts not approved or sanctioned by the U.S. government. The Export Administration Act requires that requests to participate in such boycotts or to conduct activities in any of the boycotting countries be formally reported to the Department of Commerce and/or IRS.
For other compliance-related issues, refer to UC’s International Compliance webpage.
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR DOING BUSINESS INTERNATIONALLY
Foreign Bank Accounts. Employees wishing to open a foreign bank account should contact the Controller’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 643-9803. Requests to open accounts must be made through the Office of the President’s Banking and Treasury Services Group by the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee.
Real Estate Agreements. Only employees with delegated authority to sign contracts on behalf of The Regents may enter into agreements, leases, or other contracts. Foreign affiliates or operations must submit to the Real Estate Services Office property management agreements, personal property leases, or contracts with a term longer than one year or in an amount greater than $25,000 per year. The campus then seeks approval from the University president or designee. For more information, consult the Guidelines for the Establishment and Operation of Foreign Affiliate Organizations and Foreign Operations.
JAPANESE AUTHORITIES HAVE LIFTED AN ENTRY BAN FOR FOREIGN TRAVELERS FROM EIGHT COUNTRIES, INCLUDING AUSTRALIA, BRUNEI, MAINLAND CHINA, NEW ZEALAND, SINGAPORE, SOUTH KOREA, THAILAND AND VIETNAM AND TAIWAN AS OF NOVEMBER 1 DUE TO REDUCED CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) ACTIVITY IN THOSE PLACES. ARRIVING TRAVELERS FROM THESE LOCATIONS NO LONGER MUST SUBMIT A COVID-19 TEST RESULT BEFORE ENTERING. HOWEVER, THE GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO SUSPEND VISA-FREE ENTRY, EFFECTIVELY REQUIRING OFFICIAL PERMISSION BEFORE TRAVEL. THE GOVERNMENT HAS ALSO EASED QUARANTINE REQUIREMENTS FOR RETURNING JAPANESE NATIONALS AND FOREIGN RESIDENTS ON SHORT-TERM TRIPS FROM ALL LOCATIONS. INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL FLIGHT DISRUPTION WILL PROBABLY CONTINUE IN THE COMING WEEKS, POSSIBLY MONTHS, DUE TO DECREASED DEMAND AMID TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS.
Note: this page contains basic risk information. For more details, please contact the Risk Services Office at email@example.com.
If you are traveling to Japan on University-related business, please sign up for the University’s travel insurance program by going here. For more information on the travel insurance program, please go here
Because everyone’s health is unique, we suggest seeking the advice of a medical professional before traveling internationally. Members of the campus community interested in protecting their health while abroad may schedule an appointment with the University Health Services International Travel Clinic
The quality of Japanese medical care is high. For a public ambulance, dial 119. U.S. prescriptions are not honored in Japan, so if you need ongoing prescription medicine you should arrive with a sufficient supply for your stay. Certain medications, including some commonly prescribed for depression and Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), are not widely available. For more information on medical resources in Japan, go here.
Air pollution can cause health problems in Osaka and Tokyo. If you have a chronic respiratory condition such as asthma, please consult a medical professional prior to your trip and carry appropriate medications.
Although food and water are generally safe in Japan, travelers should avoid raw meat dishes and unpasteurized dairy products, as those foods may harbor bacterial and parasitic pathogens. Street vendors and unregulated food establishments often follow poor hygiene standards and foreigners should not patronize them. Do not eat puffer fish (fugu); despite tight regulations and careful preparation, some 50 people a year die in Japan from fugu consumption. Hijiki, a black seaweed common in soups, contains high levels of arsenic and should be eaten in small amounts only.
Japanese encephalitis, transmitted via mosquito bite, is a risk in rural regions of southern Japan from April through November. Visitors to southern Japan should consider an immunization series prior to departure.
From a crime standpoint, Japan is one of the safest countries on earth. Petty theft can be a problem in crowded commercial areas and transportation hubs. Occasional robberies and sexual assaults occur in nightlife districts.
Earthquakes are common in Japan. A severe earthquake off the coast in March 2011 caused a tsunami that killed thousands of people and overwhelmed the Fukushima Daiishi nuclear power plant. The quake and its aftershocks were felt as far away as Tokyo. A 7.3 earthquake in the same area on November 22, 2016 did much less damage. To optimize your preparation for an earthquake, review this guidance from the State of California.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to Japanese law while you are in Japan. If you violate Japanese laws, even unknowingly, you may be arrested, imprisoned, or deported. If you are arrested in Japan, even for a minor offense, you may be held in detention without bail for several months or more during the investigation and legal proceedings. Furthermore, some offences are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of Japanese law.
Confiscation of Prescription Drugs and Other Medication: It is important to note that some medications that are routinely prescribed in the U.S., including Adderall, are strictly prohibited in Japan. The Japanese government decides which medications may be imported legally into Japan. The Embassy and consulates of Japan in the United States have limited information available and do not have a comprehensive list of specific medications or ingredients.
You must carry your U.S. passport or Japanese Residence Card (Zairyu Kado) with you at all times. In Japan, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport or Japanese residence card to show your identity and status in Japan (e.g., as a visitor, student, worker, or permanent resident, etc).
Driving under the influence of alcohol could also land you immediately in jail. The blood-alcohol limit in Japan is 0.03%. Punishments can be up to 10,000 USD in fines and up to five years in prison.
Possession of a gun or ammunition is a crime in Japan. Carrying a knife with a locking blade, or a folding blade that is longer than 5.5 cm (a little more than two inches), is illegal in Japan. U.S. citizens and U.S. military personnel have been arrested and detained for more than 10 days for carrying pocket knives that are legal in the United States but illegal in Japan. The possession of lock-picking tools is illegal in Japan.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately.
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Japan. While in recent years, open members of Japan's LGBTI community have made social strides including winning elections to public office, LGBTI activists warn that Japan remains an unwelcoming place for sexual minorities.