International Trade Policies: Japan

The U.S. has an organic equivalence arrangement with Japan. This means that, as long as the terms of the arrangement are met, certified organic operations in Japan or in the U.S. may sell their products as organic in either country.

Scope. This equivalence arrangement is limited to organic products that have been either produced within the United States or Japan, or products for which final processing or packaging occurs in the United States or Japan. This includes products processed or packaged in the U.S. or Japan that contain organic ingredients from third countries that have been certified to the USDA or Japan organic standards.

Allowed product categories: Crops, Wild Crops, Livestock, Processed Products.

Terms of the Arrangement. Generally, USDA and Japan certified organic products are eligible for trade under this equivalence, but there are some stipulations.

  • Agricultural products derived from animals treated with antibiotics may not be exported to the United States as certified organic.
  • For organic products exported to Japan, this equivalence covers only USDA organic products that fall under the scope of the Japan organic regulations. Organic products that are not regulated under the Japan organic regulations, yet are certified by a USDA accredited certifier can be exported to Japan under the conditions of Section II.E., Appendix I of the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (MAFF) equivalence letter of September 20, 2013.

Documentation – Exports of USDA Organic Products. USDA organic products exported to Japan that fall under the scope of the arrangement must be accompanied by a USDA Export Certificate, Form TM-11, issued by a USDA accredited certifier. The export certificate must include the following statement: “Certified in compliance with the terms of the US-Japan Organic Equivalence Arrangement.”

Documentation – Imports of Japan Organic Products. Japan organic products that fall under the scope of the arrangement must be accompanied by a NOP Import Certificate, Form 2110-1, that has been completed by a certifying body accredited either by MAFF or the USDA.

Labeling. Products traded under this arrangement may use the USDA or the Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) organic seal and must meet the labeling requirements in the destination country. Labeling requirements: U.S. | Japan

USDA Organic Regulations & Certification. Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods. The organic standards describe the specific requirements that must be verified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent before products can be labeled USDA organic.

Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) and Organic Regulations. In Japan, organic food production is regulated under the Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) system. The JAS system covers general and specific standards, including organic production for plants, livestock, processed foods and organic feeds.

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