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. Beginning January 1, 2014, all certified organic plant and plant based processed products that are produced in the U.S. and Japan, or which have final processing, packaging, or labeling in the U.S. or Japan, may access either market. Other USDA-certified organic products, such as meat, dairy products, and alcoholic beverages, continue to enjoy access to both markets.
Documentation – U.S. Organic Products. USDA organic products exported to Japan that fall under the scope of the arrangement (certified organic plant and plant based processed products) must be accompanied by an export certificate, also known as a TM-11, that has been completed by a USDA accredited certifying agent. This certificate verifies that the product complies with the terms of the trade arrangement. This statement must be included in the documentation: “Certified in compliance with the terms of the US-Japan Organic Equivalency Arrangement.”
Documentation – Japanese Organic Products. Products that fall under the scope of the arrangement (certified organic plant and plant based processed products) must travel with an NOP import certificate that has been completed by a certifying body in Japan. This certifying body must be accredited either by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (MAFF) or the USDA.
Export Documentation (for U.S. Products)
U.S. labeling Requirements. Products produced under the arrangement must comply the USDA organic regulations for the use of the term “organic” and the USDA seal. USDA Organic Seal (link to Organic Seal page)
JAS Labeling Requirements.
Products produced under the arrangement must comply with the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries requirements for the use of the JAS seal. JAS labeling requirements
Oversight. The U.S. and Japan will conduct reviews and audits of each other’s systems on a regular basis to ensure that the arrangement upholds organic integrity. Both parties will notify each other of any changes which could affect the terms of the arrangement. Any concerns will be addressed by a joint Organic Working Group, which will include experts from both countries.
Peer Reviews. Since establishing the U.S.- Japan Equivalency Arrangement in September 2013, the NOP and Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries conducted mutual peer reviews.
NOP Assessment of the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries
Equivalency announcement: Press Release
Certifying Agents through Recognition Agreement
Prior to the equivalency arrangement, the U.S. allowed the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to accredit certifying agents under a recognition agreement. This recognition will continue through September 26, 2014
Japan Organic and Natural Foods Association (JONA)
Takegashi Bldg. 3rd Floor, 3-5-3 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku
Contact: Mr. Toshiaki Takahashi
Accredited by MAFF: April 6, 2010
Crops, Wild Crops, and Handling
Center of Japan Organic Farmers Group
6-15-11 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku
Contact: Mr. Kazuo Kato
Accredited by MAFF: April 26, 2010
Crops, Wild Crops, and Handling