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Dec 10, 2018

Sending parcels overseas with Japan Post

I think I may have touched on this in one or two blog posts, and this is as much an airing of frustration as it is a question. For the last few years I've used but one Japan Post office, close to where I work. I'm a regular there when it comes to sending parcels home for birthdays, Christmas etc. In the early day, I would just be asked to fill out that little green slip about the contents of the parcel, and would also be asked if there was a letter inside. (To which I always replied "No," as it makes things more expensive.) The next stage was that staff would then started to look at what I had written on the form and if there was anything that might be construed as needing a battery, they would ask me to write "No battery" if one wasn't included. Are they ever? Fine. Then things moved onto asking me what was in the parcel before handing me the green slip, so I felt like I was having to announce to the office staff what a cheap skate I am when it comes to presents. And then we would do the green slip, and the "battery" questions. Now another layer has been added -- on top of the questions, the battery check and the green form -- I now get a separate form, a kind of tick-the-box checklist through which I declare that I'm not sending any cigarette lighters, matches, sprays etc lest I face prosecution. Then we get onto the questions, and all the rest of it. I'm just wondering if others are being taken through the same process when they send things overseas with JP, or is it just that particular branch ... or just me. It's kind of taking the fun out of trying to be a good uncle, brother, son, friend etc. Still, at least they've stopped asking me if there's a letter in the parcel.

Tomuu

Tomuu

Traveler, surfer, and scribe. Based in Tokyo for six years.

10 Answers



  • genkidesu

    on Dec 11

    Sounds like it might just be there! My local JP is awesome but I do wonder if my limited Japanese is actually a benefit here. They don’t actually ask me any additional questions, I’ve never been asked about batteries either! All I say to the staff member is...small packet/airmail and then they hand me the little green/yellow slip. I fill it in (in English) and then if they have any specific questions about what I’ve got in there they ask. Usually they don’t - probably because they assume I won’t understand! My (perhaps bad) advice? Try a different post office and be the token gaijin.

    1
  • BlueButterfly

    on Dec 11

    The extra paper, where you have to sign, that dangerous itims are not inside is kind of new. I go regulary to the post office and was very surprised, when I´ve got it suddenly. My post office woman told me, that this is new, because there were many troubles of dangerous goods were send overseas. Anyways since I always go to the same post office and all the post office worker know me I don´t need to fill out it anymore. So you probably have no choice but to fill it out each time, until there is something new again.

    1
  • Tomuu

    on Dec 11

    @genkidesu - Yep, there's something to be said for having, or pretending to have, limited Japanese in a situation like this. Although the form they give me does have English on it. Maybe you're all just a bit more relaxed in the countryside!!! I'm pleased to hear from @BlueButterfuly that it's not just me though, although it would be nice if they would recognize me too, and give me a pass on the form. I would try another post office, but I'm kind of restricted to lunchtime at work to get these things done, and the place I go to is by far the most convenient.

    0
  • helloalissa

    on Dec 11

    As BlueButterfly wrote, it's just a new process. I was asked to check the form even for sending cards overseas. As if I was sneaking fire crackers into my cards? Maybe someone tried mailing Christmas crackers?

    0
  • edthethe

    on Dec 13

    My post office, it depends on who is dealing with me. I'm fine answering the questions and checking the tick marks and all that, but a few of the staff ask me the questions on it before handing me the form, ask again while I'm filling it out and ask again when I hand it over. Then again while they reweigh it yet again. The more efficient staff just nods when I tell them the first time and then lets me fill it out and pay and I am done. I can always rant about the postal service I have encountered in Japan.......sigh

    0
  • genkidesu

    on Dec 23

    @tomuu I think you're right about things just being more chill out here - I still haven't received this mystery additional slip and I posted stuff again just last week. Maybe we're just behind the times out here!

    0
  • KevinC

    on Jan 10

    https://www.int-mypage.post.japanpost.jp/mypage/M010000.do When sending a package, what you need to do is create an account with Japan Post then create an invoice along with shipping label and ask them to pick up the package. Make sure to list the items in the invoice and mark them as (no battery/no alcohol). Then no questions will be asked.

    1
  • Tomuu

    on Jan 16

    @KevinC - Today I went to the same post office. I was sending some table tennis balls and a few other bits and bobs to my dad as a birthday present, all wrapped up nicely. I went through all the same stages of questions and box-ticking as usual, then they asked me what material the table tennis balls are made off. I don't play so I had no idea. The asked me to open the package and unwrap the present in store (otherwise they couldn't send it today). I suggested that this was getting to be too many questions to which they responded pretty strongly that it is what it is. I wonder if they're placing too much responsibility on the sender, or at least asking a bit too much of us to understand to such a specific level as to what is safe or unsafe to send? We describe what is in the package and then they have to examine it if they have concerns, no? Anyway, note to anyone who's listening -- table tennis balls should be made of plastic in order for them to be sent overseas. I kind of miss the days when they would just ask if there is a letter in the package or not!

    0
  • Tomuu

    on Feb 21

    At the risk of sounding like I'm banging on about this, I went to a different post office for the latest parcel to send home. Still in the same area but there was no "check list" sheet to fill-out and overall, far less questioning. Maybe it's a brand manager thing.

    0
  • Saitama

    on Feb 25

    I've been using the same PO for years and I've always had to fill out a check box list. Before I moved here the PO in the other places I've lived didn't make me do this. So at first I thought it was because I am the only foreigner in the village, but it just seems to be their practise. The staff know me personally at this stage, like we chat in the supermarket and all that kind of neighbourly stuff. The head of our local PO, is a lovely man but super serious. It might be that management has changed in your branch to someone who is a stickler for rules?

    1

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