Help! Re Bringing Rx meds into Japan

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Help! Re Bringing Rx meds into Japan

Postby Wanderlust83 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:31 pm

Hello Fellow Travellers,

I've been having great difficulty in determining whether or not I can bring my prescription medication, for my own personal use, into Japan with me. From what I've been able to gather so far, travellers are able to bring restricted quantities of prescribed medication for personal use into Japan without any trouble. However, certain medications such as "psychotropic" medications are prohibited in Japan, and may only be brought in by a traveller for personal use if the traveller first gets permission in writing from one Ministry or another in Japan (the exact Ministry is unclear). I take minimal doses of prescribed anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication: alprazolam (common name: xanax) and citalopram (common name: celexa) on a daily basis. I have not been able to get a straight answer from anywhere (including the Japanese Embassy in Canada, the Consulate General of Japan in Vancouver, the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority Travel Medical Clinic, and G Adventures) as to whether or not my medication would be classified as "psychotropic" by the Japanese authorities and, therefore, whether or not I require pre-authorized clearance of my personal medication.

Is there anyone who has travelled to Japan recently and faced this same dilemma who can provide any advice/guidance, or anyone else who might have some insight into this issue? Any responses are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Wanderlust
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Re: Help! Re Bringing Rx meds into Japan

Postby michelle808 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:35 pm

Hey there, I maybe be under estimating the situation but personally I wouldn't worry about it. As long as the prescription is in your name & for safe measures have your doctor write you a letter outlining the medication your on I would think that should suffice. I do have a few medications myself although for asthma which was fine. I was in Japan earlier this year twice & there was no question of medications. The typical pass through immigration get passport stamped, pick up bags, go through customs (was half questioned in customs entering Japan by air into Fukuoka, but I flashed my JR Rail pass & they understood I was travelling around/also with language barrier he just let me go). I found Tokyo quick, just 'Oh your travelling around, sounds good see yah.'
Again, This was just my experience. For myself, I would think that if it is prescribed to you & your doctor will back you up in a letter there shouldn't be anything to worry about.

Cheers,
Michelle
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Re: Help! Re Bringing Rx meds into Japan

Postby Wanderlust83 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:21 am

Hi Michelle,

Thank you for your thoughts on this matter....

I think I may be reading too much into it as well, but it would be so disappointing to be turned away at customs for lack of reading the fine print! I actually hadn't thought twice about it until I came across a discussion elsewhere of travellers having difficulty bringing medication into Japan, which prompted me to start researching it further on the Japanese Embassy in Canada website, the Japan Customs website, etc. Of course, that's just turned into a confusing mess and now I don't know what to think or believe!

I've done a lot of travelling and have always just taken my medication in the original packaging/with a copy of my prescription, and with a simple letter from my doctor stating that I have been prescribed the medication for "medical indications". I have never been questioned about it, so perhaps I'm reading too much into the situation here and just need to relax!

Thanks again for your post. Perhaps some others will weigh in as well to help give me a better clearer outlook on the issue.

Happy Travels,
Wanderlust
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