Japan’s 24-hour rule goes into effect

Beginning this month, Japan’s 24 hour Advanced Manifest Regulation goes into effect. All ocean carriers and Non Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) will now be required to submit a list of customs-defined data elements to Japan Customs at least 24 hours prior to vessel departure from the port of loading.

The regulation applies to all cargo loaded on foreign trading vessels intending to enter a port in Japan except for empty containers, cargo on platform container and cargo not to be discharged in Japan.

The purpose of the ruling is to be able to make a risk assessment of cargo prior to it being loaded onboard a vessel that is scheduled to bring such cargo to Japan. These risk assessments act as a deterrent to international terrorism, secures revenue and promote trade facilitation worldwide.

While similar to the 24-hour rule in the EU, US and Canada, there are some differences. Japan’s rule uses departure time, rather than loading time, as the baseline for the 24-hour notice requirement.Japan Customs states that this is because it is difficult to track and confirm loading times, so the departure time offers a more reliable and enforceable baseline for the notice requirement.

Other differences are that at least 15 of the data elements which Japan Customs requires are not included in the US vessel manifest system. Also, in addition to carriers filing data from the master bill of lading, forwarders will have to separately transmit house bill data. This means that for less-than-container-loads (LCL), there must be an NVOCC bill for each shipment inside.

Japan’s system also differs from the European Union rules in that Japan will require NVOCCs to file documents in compliance with the Advanced Filing Requirement for each of their house bills of lading so the identity of the shipper and consignee cannot be concealed.

As the need for extra security measures grows, it is likely similar 24-hour rules will be adopted by more countries. In fact, in 2005, the World Customs Organization adopted the Security Framework based on the successful implementation of the 24-hour rules in the US and Canada. China is working on its own version of a 24-hour rule and is implementing it already in several ports. Mexico, Australia, and Brazil have rules in place as well.