As of February 2008, Japan takes measures concerning the waiver of visa requirements with 62 countries and regions. Nationals of these countries and regions holding valid passports, who are permitted for short-term stays for the purpose of business, conference attending, etc., will not need Japanese visa for entering Japan. Please click here for the list of countries, regions and cases qualifying for a waiver of visa requirements.
Nationals of the countries, regions and/or cases other than the above specified, will need Japanese visas for landing. All necessary visas for the purposes of entering Japan must be obtained prior to departure from the Embassy of Japan or Consulate-General of Japan serving your area.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (visa information)
Foreign nationals must hold valid passports with the approved visas for the purpose of entering Japan unless exempt from visas.
New immigration procedures have been implemented since November 20, 2007. In addition to submitting embarkation & disembarkation cards, foreign nationals entering Japan are required to be fingerprinted and photographed (facial photographs) by means of special devices (except for certain exempts), then interviewed by immigration inspectors. If a foreign national who is not eligible for exemption from this requirement refuses to submit his/her fingerprints or facial photographs, he/she will be denied entry into Japan and will be ordered to leave.
Immigration Bureau http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/index.html
It is required to submit a customs declaration form for both accompanied and unaccompanied baggage at customs clearance. If you bring in items or cash exceeding the limit of the duty-free allowances, please follow the necessary customs procedures.
In Japan, an ATA Carnet can be used for goods being temporarily imported. If you have filming or other professional equipment, you can use an ATA Carnet for import/export customs clearance. To obtain a carnet to bring goods into Japan, contact your local Chamber of Commerce.
The Japan Commercial Arbitration Association (regarding ATA Carnet. Japanese only) http://www.jcaa.or.jp
In order to prevent infectious diseases and situations that may seriously affect the nation’s health, quarantine inspections and import/export procedures are undertaken for all persons, food, animals, and plants arriving from abroad.