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Customs Agreement with Japan

The European Union (EU) and Japan have extensive trade relations. Cooperation between customs authorities is an essential tool to facilitate the liberalisation of trade but also to guarantee the security of the supply chain, the application of intellectual property rights and the effectiveness of the fight against fraud.


Council Decision 2008/202/EC of 28 January 2008 concerning the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of Japan on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters [Official Journal L 62 of 6.3.2008].


Customs cooperation

This Agreement introduces cooperation encompassing all fields of customs legislation.

This cooperation shall be achieved by establishing channels of communication and by introducing coordination between customs authorities *.

The parties undertake to facilitate commercial transactions while increasing their level of security. The Agreement aims in particular at improving customs techniques and procedures. The aim is to strengthen cooperation at bilateral level and within international organisations.

Mutual administrative assistance

This Agreement provides for two types of assistance between authorities in the event of customs operations that are in breach of legislation:

  • assistance on request, concerning the lawfulness of and customs procedure for imports and exports of goods, suspects, places of storage and the transport of goods;
  • spontaneous assistance, concerning in particular the potential risks to the economy, public safety and public health. In the interests of the other party, the requested authority * provides all information relating to activities, resources and methods, goods, persons and means of transport.

Formal aspects and exceptions to assistance

Requests will be made in writing in a language understood by both authorities. In urgent cases, an oral request may precede the written request.

To facilitate the processing of the request, the applicant authority * will provide sufficient information on the measure requested, the object of and the reason for the request. It also provides information on the suspects, the legislation involved, the relevant facts and investigations carried out.

To comply with a request for assistance, the requested authority communicates all information already available to it or undertakes any necessary investigation. The measures taken shall be coordinated with the applicant authority.

If it is not possible to comply with a request, a reasoned communication is sent to the applicant authority without delay.

A request may be refused or postponed. It may also be made subject to conditions in the event of prejudice to the sovereignty, security, public policy or interests of a State, especially where the protection of the information transmitted cannot be guaranteed.

The data transmitted is confidential; it is protected under the laws and regulations applicable in the State of the applicant authority. However, this information may be used as evidence in the context of a preparatory inquiry.

A Joint Customs Cooperation Committee is responsible for the proper functioning of this Agreement.

Key terms of the Act
  • Customs authority: in Japan, the Ministry of Finance, and, in the European Union, the competent services of the Commission and the customs authorities of the Member States.
  • Applicant authority: a customs authority of a Contracting Party which makes a request for assistance on the basis of this Agreement.
  • Requested authority: a customs authority of a Contracting Party which receives a request for assistance on the basis of this Agreement.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2008/202/EC



OJ L 62, 6.3.2008

Last updated: 18.05.2011

See also

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