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Articles That Cannot be Sent by International Post

Articles Prohibited under the Universal Postal Convention

Note that there are some items that cannot be sent via international post due to laws, treaties and other restrictions.

Restrictions also vary by country of destination.

Information by Country/Region

Articles Prohibited under the Universal Postal Convention and Other Such Regulations

Category Prohibited Items

Narcotics and psychotropic substances as defined by the International Narcotic Control Board (excluding those included in small parcels addressed to countries that permit the mailing of the same for medical or academic purposes) as well as other unauthorized substances prohibited by the destination country

Obscene articles

Obscene or immoral articles

Counterfeit or pirated articles

Counterfeit or pirated articles

Articles prohibited by the destination country

Articles for which the import or distribution is prohibited by the destination country (Note 1)

Potentially hazardous articles

Articles which, due to their nature or the way in which they are packaged, pose a threat to the delivery agent or the general public or which may be harmful to other parcels, the postal facilities or the property of a third party

Personal correspondence

Private documents (excluding documentary records) to be exchanged between persons other than the sender and recipient (including those in the same domicile)

Hazardous substances

Explosive or combustible substances, radioactive materials and hazardous objects

  • Explosive or combustible substances and otherwise hazardous and radioactive materials are prohibited, regardless of the type of parcel.
  • The following substances shall be accepted as an exception provided that they have undergone a customs inspection and are sent as registered airmail. However, this only applies if the destination country allows it.
    Radioactive substances (limited to items that went through customs inspection and were sent by air as registered small packet mail)
    Transmissible agents sent from research institutions approved by Japan Post Co., Ltd. (limited to items that went through customs inspection and were sent by air as registered small packet mail)
    A device with lithium battery that meets the requirements set forth in Article 16 of the International Mailing Regulations. (Notes 2 and 3)
  • Disarmed explosive devices, military ammunition (including disarmed grenades, shells, etc.) and replicas
Live animals

Live animals cannot be sent in all categories of items.
Exceptionally, the next animal can send it as letter-post items (Insurance mail is excluded.) (Note 4) or international speed mail. (EMS with the proposal of the amount of damage claim for damages more than 20,000 yen is excluded.) (Note 5)

  • bees, leeches and silk-worms;
  • parasites and destroyers of noxious insects intended for the control of those insects and exchanged between officially recognized institutions;
  • flies of the family Drosophilidae for biomedical research exchanged between officially recognized institutions.

Uninsured packages (regular or small parcels) should not include coins, banknotes, paper money, securities of any kind payable to the bearer, travelers' checks, processed or unprocessed platinum, gold or silver, precious stones, jewels or other valuables.

  • Letter-post items except insurance letter-post items. However, if legally recognized by both the country of origin and the country of destination, these items can be sent as registered mail in a sealed envelope.
  • Small parcels except the insurance small parcels.
  • International Express Mail
Correspondence etc.
(Printed materials, items for the blind, and small parcels)

The following actions should not be undertaken in relation to printed materials and items for the blind.

  • Elements of correspondence shall not be included on printed matter or Braille mail, nor shall documents containing such elements be included with them.
  • A canceled or non-canceled postage stamp should be included or, alternatively, a payment voucher or valuable instrument. However, this does not apply if the parcel is imprinted with the address of the sender or a proxy in the originating or destination country for a reply and the postage fees are included in the form of a prepaid postcard or in an envelope or wrapper band.

The following actions should not be undertaken in relation to small parcels.

  • Documents containing correspondence addressed to a specific person shall not be included in small packets. However, correspondence may be included in the form of an unsealed accompanying letter or an invoice attached to the packet.
Dangerous goods as defined by the IATA

Items specified under the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (excluding some dangerous items established by the existent enforcement regulations, radioactive materials, and transmissible agents). Likewise, the items specified under the current edition of the Technical Instructions established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as well as under the Dangerous Goods Regulations by the International Air Transport Association are prohibited from shipping using any method.

Other Regulations Items prohibited at import into destination countries by CITES such as ivory and ivory products

Note 1 Each country of destination establishes its own set of rules regarding the items that are prohibited from import or dissemination. However, even if an item is sent based on these regulations, there is a possibility that it may be returned to Japan or confiscated in the receiving country. This may happen if the country of destination has not provided the latest updates of its regulations or if the item is judged as prohibited or restricted from import at the customs of the receiving country.
Note 2 A postal item containing lithium batteries sent as Airmail, SAL or International Express Mail(providing that it meets the requirements set forth in Article 16 of the International Mailing Regulations)can only be sent to the following countries and territories.
Iceland, Ascension Island, Azerbaijan, USA, Territories of the USA (Wake Island, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Saipan, Midway Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands), Afghanistan, UAE, Aruba, Albania, Armenia, Anguilla, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Yemen, Israel, India, Indonesia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Uruguay, United Kingdom, UK Virgin Islands, Ecuador, Eswatini, Estonia, Australia (including Christmas Island, Cocos Islands (Keeling Islands), Norfolk Island), Austria, Netherlands, Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius), Cape Verde, Kazakhstan, Guadeloupe (including St. Barthélémy and St. Martin), Canada, Gabon, Cameroon, Cambodia, Ghana, Guyana, Gambia, North Korea, North Macedonia, Kiribati, Kyrgyz Republic, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Cuba, Curaçao, Greece, Cook Islands, Croatia, Guatemala, Greenland, Grenada, Cayman Islands, Kenya, Costa Rica, Kosovo, Comoro, Côte d'Ivoire, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Syria, Singapore, Gibraltar, Jamaica, Georgia, Sint Maarten, Zimbabwe, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Suriname, Slovakia, Slovenia, Seychelles, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal, Serbia, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent, Saint Lucia, Solomon, South Korea, Turks and Caicos Islands, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Czech Republic, Chad, Central Africa, China, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Denmark (including Faeroe Islands), Tristan da Cunha, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tonga, Dominican Republic, Togo, Turkey, Nigeria, Nauru, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nepal, Norway, Haiti, Hungary, Bermuda Islands, Bahrain, Vanuatu, Bahamas, Barbados, Bangladesh, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Paraguay, Timor-Leste, Pitcairn Island, Fiji, Philippines, Finland, Falkland Islands (Malvinas Islands), French Guiana, French Polynesia, Bhutan, Brazil, France, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Brunei, Burundi, Vietnam, Benin, Venezuela, Belize, Belgium, Kuril Islands, Hong Kong, Honduras, Bolivia, Poland, Portugal, Marshall Islands, Malawi, Mali, Martinique, Malaysia, Micronesia, Myanmar, Mexico, Monaco, Maldives, Moldova, Montenegro, Montserrat, Mauritius, Mauritania, Latvia, Lithuania, Lichtenstein, Libya, Liberia, Romania, Luxembourg, Lesotho, Réunion, Russia and Wallis and Futuna Islands.
Note 3 A Sea Mail postal item containing lithium batteries (providing that it meets the requirements set forth in Article16 of the International Mailing Regulations) can only be sent to the following countries and territories.
Ascension Island, Anguilla, Israel, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, United Kingdom, Eswatini, Kazakhstan, Canada, Cambodia, Gambia, North Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Croatia, Cayman Islands, Singapore, Gibraltar, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Slovenia, Saint Helena, Saint Lucia, South Korea, Turks and Caicos Islands, Taiwan, China, Tristan da Cunha, Nicaragua, Bermuda Islands, Bangladesh, Pitcairn Islands, Fiji, Philippines, Falkland Islands (Malvinas Islands), Brunei, Vietnam, Belarus, Kuril Islands, Hong Kong, Botswana, Poland, Malaysia, Mauritius, Laos, Lesotho, Russia
Note 4 Excluding the items shipped to Australia.
Note 5 Limited to the items bound for Germany, USA (including US overseas territories), Argentina, Canada (except for postal items that contain honey bees), Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Denmark, Finland, England, Hungary, India (except for postal items that contain honey bees), Israel, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, Czech Republic, Turkey and that fulfill the postal requirements of each relevant country.

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