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How to Find a Reliable Importer of Record in Japan?

How to Find a Reliable Importer of Record in Japan?

Thinking about selling your products in Japan?

You will need a trustworthy Importer of Record (IOR). As your local partner, an IOR helps your business succeed and gives you a seamless start to your business journey.

Let’s see how you can find the right IOR in Japan.

Why Do I Need an Importer of Record in Japan?

So, you may have made a fantastic product that sells well in your country or others, and now, you want to offer it in Japan. However, Japan’s import rules can be complicated to understand. Any mistake can lead to fines, which affect profits. An IOR can prevent that from happening.

An Importer of Record will make sure your product meets Japan’s strict standards. Whether you’re selling toys for kids, medical devices, cosmetics, or food, an IOR will take care of the required documents, permits, licenses, and taxes – so you don’t need to set up an entity in Japan. An IOR also ensures your products meet Japan’s high safety and quality standards.

With an IOR, selling your products on the Japanese market becomes more straightforward and efficient, which can lead to successful business growth.

Read more about Importer of Record and compliance in Japan.

5 Ways to Get a Reliable IOR in Japan

Now you know what an IOR is and you are ready to break into the market. Here is where you can find one:

1- Participate in Trade Shows: Attend industry-specific trade fairs and exhibitions to network and find potential IORs.

2- Leverage Industry Associations: Tap into resources like the National Supermarket Association to find IORs in your industry.

3- Explore Retail Stores: Check out retail outlets where your product is sold and investigate labels on imported items to find potential importers.

4- Study Competitors: Identify who your competitors use as an IOR for their products and take advantage of it.

5- Network with Retailers: Discuss with retailers about their trusted IOR’s who specialize in your category.

How to Choose the Perfect IOR for Your Business

Determining the reliability of an Importer of Record (IOR) is key to a smooth entry into Japan’s market. Here’s how you can identify the right partner:

IOR’s Capabilities:

The IOR should possess solid knowledge of Japanese regulations, industry-specific experience, and a strong compliance track record. Ask for references and case studies to verify their claims.

Communication and Collaboration:

The IOR should have communication skills, preferably in English, and work well with your team, carriers, and regulatory authorities to ensure efficient and compliant import processes.

Pricing Transparency:

Opt for an IOR that offers transparent, competitive pricing without hidden costs. Request a detailed breakdown of fees and services aligned with your budget and timeline.

Track Record:

Assess the IOR’s reliability through past performance and customer feedback. Engage with companies who have partnered with the IOR to gather first-hand insights.

Customer Support:

An experienced IOR offers superior customer service and knows how to resolve shipment issues.

Signing a Contract with an IOR – Key Aspects to Consider

After picking your Importer of Record, the next thing to focus on is creating an agreement that clarifies the responsibilities and duties of both sides. Let’s see what this contract should include:

1- Get a mutual understanding of who does what and write down targets, terms, and details.

2- Before signing any contract, make sure you understand your IOR’s capabilities and how your Intellectual Property (IP) is handled so that you can maintain control of your product rights in Japan. Terminating a contract in Japan can be tricky, so you better get it right from the start of your partnership.

3- Include a clause specifying the agreement’s duration (for example, a year) and stipulating conditions for its extension.


Expanding your business into Japan can be challenging, but having a reliable Importer of Record (IOR) can ease market entry. An IOR will confirm your product fits Japan’s strict import compliance rules, and you won’t face issues at customs when importing.

Before signing an agreement, it is critical to choose the right IOR based on the knowledge of Japanese rules, track record, prices, and services.

Need a Trustworthy IOR for the Japanese Market?

Look no further, as COVUE is your Importer of Record of choice! With an in-depth grasp of Japanese market regulations of all product categories, COVUE eases your business’ entry into Japan.

Sources: Nzte, One Union Solutions, Selling in Japan, We are Growth Hack, Edmame Japan