Last week I wanted to send my sister, who lives in the United States, a gift for her wedding. Upon placing the packages on the service counter and informing the postal worker of their destination, I was met with a flurry of confusion.

Apparently I was one of the first foreigners who’d wanted to send a package to the USA since a new rule went into effect.

As Japan Post’s official website states in perfect English:

"As of January 1, 2021, we will no longer accept postal items addressed to the USA with handwritten labels."

I was unaware there’d been any change in policy so a simple trip to the post office turned into quite a hassle. So I write this article in the hopes of increasing awareness to make this process less painful for others to come.

How To Prepare a Label

Since handwritten labels are no longer accepted, Japan Post requires all senders to register on their website, fill in the basic information about the package, and then print out a label.

Here’s the link to Japan Post’s International Mail My-page Service below.

The process is simple enough. Input your details to create an account. You can register your home address, as well as other addresses for future labels. Then input information about your package such as the contents and quantity.

It’s not necessary to input how much everything weighs or costs, just fill in the required fields marked with an asterisk.

The site is accessibly by PC and smartphone. You can print out the label yourself if you have access to a printer or want to print it out at the convenience store.

However, you should also get an email confirmation from the sender ems-label which includes a link to a 2D code you can scan at post offices equipped with a Yu-pri Touch terminal to print your label there.

Once you’ve got your label, you just hand that and your package over to the postal worker and you’re pretty much finished. They’ll still make you check off a form to confirm you aren’t shipping any hazardous items, but that’s it.

When I went to the post office to ship my package and they told me I needed to register for this sytem, for whatever reason I had all sorts of problems using the website on my iPhone. I was able to create the labels from home the next day though.

Why do we need to prepare labels?

Although there was nothing wrong with the old system of handwriting EMS labels to ship packages abroad, Japan Post’s website lists information about "the STOP Act." What is it?

"It is an American national law for counterterrorism and control of drugs. This law mandates the USPS to send customs data on postal items it receives to the U.S. customs authority in advance."

So cooperation between Japan and the USA has resulted in a need for digitalization to track all packages. They call this "Electronic Advance Data" (EAD).

Japan Post states they will not accept packages without these special labels because they will not clear customs.

What about other countries?

Other countries do not have the STOP Act, so Japan Post’s website states they do ship postal items, as long as the sender recognizes there is a possibility the package may be delayed or returned to Japan.

They also state that countries in the EU will enforce the EAD policy from October 2021, resulting in the same risk.

Click the link below to learn more about this new policy.

International Mail – About Electronic Advance Data (EAD)

I hope this article was informative and helps you all out the next time you try to send something back home at the post office.

By - Mujo.