Snagged: Passengers bringing meat into Japan could face up to three years in jail

For those of you with clients heading to Japan now would be a good time to forewarn those committed to the toothsome flavour of pig products that entry into the country with their favourite porcine nibbles is going to be much tougher with the launch of new regulations designed to detect meat and meat products in passenger’s carry-on luggage especially from Asia.

Japan’s Animal Quarantine Service (AQS) cites isolated infectious African Swine Fever (ASF) viruses from unheated sausages brought into Japan, as a prime reason for the development.  ASF is a contagious disease affecting pigs and which, if left unchecked, could  severely impact meat production and the economy of the nation’s livestock industry. Recently, outbreaks have been recorded in East Asia.

In order to prevent the spread of the disease, AQS will inspect carry-on luggage with detector dogs focusing on flights from Asian countries affected by ASF. In addition, various measures such as poster announcements have rolled out discourage overseas visitors from bringing meat products into Japan. The message states that violators shall be punished with penal servitude for a term of up to three years or a fine of up to JPY one million  (USD 8,934), so as to deter the visitors from breaking the law.

In their official statement AQS said “Considering that the ASF virus remains in existence in neighbouring countries and the fact that the virus has been detected from meat products in passenger’s carry-on luggage on many occasions, has become necessary to introduce stronger measures for further prevention.

In specific, persons who intend to carry meat products into Japan without declaring them will be served with a warning notice. The notice contains clauses concerning the related laws and regulations, and the fact such violator has to make a pledge to understand the provisions of the laws and ordinances, and never repeat illegal import of meat products again. Records of violations will be put into a database including the information of violators’ passport. Malicious cases, such as persons importing meat products repeatedly will be reported to the police, then may be prosecuted.”


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