When visiting Japan with your Service Dog you must 1) meet animal quarantine import requirements and 2) obtain a temporary permit.
Japan is qualified as a rabies-free country, so proper quarantine procedures (the same as for pets) must be taken for your Service Dog to accompany you. Also, Service Dogs in Japan follow and are protected by ‘The Act on Assistance Dogs for Physically Disabled Persons'. Under this law all Service Dogs in Japan must pass a qualification test by the Japanese government. Service Dogs visiting Japan, however, are exempt from the test if and only if they obtain a temporary travel permit from a Japanese government appointed corporation. Even if entry is allowed, please note that your Service Dog (not qualified as a Service Dog by the Japanese government) will be handled and treated as a pet without this permit issued by the Japanese authorities. Thus, without it there will be a strict restriction for the access of your Service Dog to public buildings, public transportation, and facilities such as stores and hotels.
The following steps MUST be taken for your Service Dog to access Japan.
Unless proper procedures are taken 40 days prior your visit, no Service Dog or pet dog is granted access to Japan (regardless of certificate)
2. To qualify as a Service Dog in Japan
Contact a certified Service Dog association* to gain temporary travel permit from a government appointed corporation. Apply for a permit, and notify the quarantine station of the permit.
*Guide dogs: International Guide Dog Federation
*Service dogs and dogs for the hearing impaired: Assistance Dog International
Be sure to make contact well ahead of your visit, for the grant of a permit will take time.
Outline of ‘The Act on Assistance Dogs for Physically Disabled Persons’
● The purpose of “The Act on Assistance Dogs for Physically Disabled Persons” is to contribute to the promotion of independence and social participation of persons with physical disabilities (Article 1 of the Act).
● “Assistance dogs for physically disabled persons” is the generic term for certified guide dogs, service dogs and hearing dogs. (Article 2 of the Act).
● Assistance dogs under “The Act on Assistance Dogs for Physically Disabled Persons” wear a sign stating information such as their breed, certification number and date. Additionally, users should carry documents stating information such as the assistance dog’s health care record and proof of being an assistance dog such as the dog’s Assistance Dog Certificate when using or visiting facilities. These documents should be displayed at the request of related parties. (Article 12 of the Act).
● The following facilities may not refuse assistance dogs and their users, except under unavoidable circumstances that may lead to substantial harm to the facilities, related areas, and to the users of the facilities. (Article 7, 8, 9, 10 of the Act):
- Public facilities that are managed by the country or local public organizations and public transportation (such as trains, buses and taxis)
- Public facilities such as commercial facilities, restaurants, and hospitals which are used by the general public.
- Private businesses with 50 or more employees (work places)
* The “Act” within the parenthesis indicates “The Act on Assistance Dogs for Physically Disabled Persons”