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Understanding pet quarantine rules in Japan

Relocating to a different country with your pet is a complicated affair. There are so many things to consider and so much documentation and paperwork to gather. Pet quarantine is perhaps the most convoluted step in the entire relocation process. Every country has different quarantine regulations and understanding these regulations will go a long way in helping you plan your pet’s travel.

If you are moving to Japan with your pet dog or cat, the number of days your pet remains at the quarantine centre depends on factors such the country your pet is flying from and whether your pet has fulfilled all import regulations satisfactorily.

How long will my pet be in quarantine?

The duration of the quarantine can vary from as little as four hours to as much as 180 days depending on a variety of factors. The length of your pet dog or cat’s stay in the quarantine centre changes depending on the country of origin.

Japan recognises two categories of countries based on the rabies status: Designated regions and non-designated regions. If you are flying to Japan with your pet, it is recommended that you look up the region your country falls in first and then begin all relocation plans.

  • Designated regions: Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji Islands, Hawaii and Guam
  • Non-designated regions: All other countries

Pets arriving in Japan from designated regions are exempt from quarantine, as long as the pet cat or dog fulfils all other import requirements. Upon entry in Japan, all pets are subject to an inspection by the officials from the Animal Quarantine Service. If your pet dog or cat is flying in from a country in the designated region, they will be released to you within 12 hours if they fulfil all import regulations satisfactorily, and are in good health.

Pet dogs and cats arriving from non-designated regions have to fulfil all mandatory import specifications to be able to enter the country. Dogs and cats coming to Japan from non-designated countries need to wait for 180 days after the blood sampling for the rabies antibody test before entering Japan. If your pet has not waited 180 days after the rabies antibody test, they will be taken to the quarantine centre for the duration of the insufficient days.

Pet quarantine in Japan

On arrival in Japan, an official from the quarantine centre will inspect your pet to screen for rabies and leptospirosis at the Animal Quarantine Service premises. If your pet dog or cat is not in apparent good health, further veterinary examinations will be conducted at your expense.

The pet parent will have to bear all costs of the quarantine, including transport to the quarantine facility, caretaking, feeding and veterinary care. Some quarantine centres have caretaker agents, and you can contract feeding and care arrangements to these agents. Caretaker agents are present at Narita, Kansai Airport, Nagoya and Yokohama.

During quarantine, pet dogs and cats are not allowed outside the facility under any circumstances. You are allowed to visit your dog or cat during quarantine, make sure you check the visiting hours before scheduling your visit.

During quarantine, if your pet shows symptoms of rabies or leptospirosis, the quarantine period might be extended, and additional tests will be conducted.

Relocating to Japan?

Relocating your pet dog or cat to Japan is a complex process that involves documentation, vaccinations and health checks for your pets. If you are planning to move to Japan with your pet, reach out to Petraveller for a comprehensive pet travel itinerary.