ACP Import under VMI – Vendor Managed Inventory

We have been receiving an increasing number of requests from new customers (parts/materials manufacturers outside Japan) in the automotive and machinery parts industries.

The background of the increase in needs is that the Japanese end-customer, a manufacturer of finished goods, has requested to switch to VMI (Vendor Managed Inventory), which means that the inventory management is done by the vendor (supplier) side.

Before using the VMI scheme, when trading between an overseas parts/materials manufacturer (seller) and a Japanese finished goods manufacturer (buyer), the buyer would act as the importer and import the goods, and the buyer would manage the goods as its own inventory.

After switching to the VMI scheme, the parts/materials manufacturer (seller) outside Japan imports the goods themselves, manage the inventory near the customer in Japan, and deliver the goods to the buyer’s factory just in time (JIT) when the finished goods manufacturer (buyer) wants the goods.

In this way, the buyer avoids the cumbersome of managing inventory but still can have the seller deliver the required quantity at the required time. Furthermore, since the buyer is not the importer, it is relieved of various responsibilities required of importers (for example, it is no longer necessary to keep import-related documents and books, or to respond to customs post-clearance audits as required by law).

On the other hand, the foreign parts/materials manufacturer (seller) has to use an Attorney for Customs Procedures (ACP) for the seller to act as the importer. In addition, as a response to national taxation, since sales in Japan (taxable sales under the Consumption Tax Law) will occur, it is necessary to appoint a Tax Representative (of JCT – Japan Consumption Tax) to register as a taxable business operator for consumption tax and to perform periodic tax filing duties.

Considering the invoice system for consumption tax, the use of a tax representative is also essential for B2B transactions, as the seller must become a registered business in order to be able to deduct purchases when filing consumption tax returns on the buyer’s side.


Switching to the VMI method (example)

Before introducing of VMI program

Foreign parts/materials manufacturer (seller)   → Sales →    Japanese finished goods manufacturer (buyer)

  • Inventory control on the Japanese side: Buyer
  • Importer: Buyer
  • Seller’s sales subject to consumption tax in Japan: No


After introducing of VMI program

Foreign parts/materials manufacturer (Seller)   → Sales →   Japanese finished goods manufacturer (Buyer)

  • Inventory control in Japan: Seller
  • Importer: Seller   ACP – Attorney for Customs Procedure is required (for Customs purpose)
  • Sales subject to consumption tax in Japan on the seller’s side: Yes    JCT Tax Representative is required (for National Taxation purpose)


Our Customers

Our strengths

  • Professional of Customs and International Trade – The CEO, as a Certified Customs Specialist in Japan – Mr. Sawada has been providing consulting services in the Trade & Customs area for many years. He was in a management position at KPMG, then started with his own company – SK Advisory to continue the customs-related services to the international clients.
  • Fully compliance in accordance with Japanese Customs Law – Maintaining the service quality with full compliance with Japanese Customs Law. ACP Japan is capable to manage all the necessary import compliance issues, including the classification of HS code, and setting of the appropriate Customs Valuation of the import goods to Japan.
  • Experienced and credible partner – As ACP Japan has been providing ACP services to many clients as demand has increased, you can totally rely on us as a credible partner. We registers 40+ ACP customers every year, the customers from around the world. In this way, all customers successfully became non-resident IOR – Importer of Record in Japan. You can see a list of our customers in here “Experiences”.
  • Qualified ACP service provider in Amazon SPN (Service Provider Network) – ACP Japan has officially become a qualified ACP service provider in Amazon’s Service Provider Network (SPN) under the Compliance category.



How the Japanese New Invoice System affects?  – Advantage of using ACP –

Recently, many companies register JCT (Japanese Consumption Tax) because the new invoice system for JCT will start in October 2023. The concept of the new invoice system is very similar to the EU’s VAT invoice system.

Your Japanese customer can’t claim input tax credits unless the sellers(suppliers) issue a qualified invoice that is written a JCT number. To issue a qualified invoice, sellers(suppliers) need to be a taxable entity and get a JCT number.

Since the seller becomes a taxable entity, the seller is obligated to file JCT tax returns on a regular basis.

For the case of a non-resident entity, when you import and sell to customers in Japan
(1) Pay import JCT to a customs office, 10% of the import customs value when you import
(2) Collect JCT from a customer in Japan, 10% of the sales price when you sell
(3) Submit JCT tax return to a tax office periodically
   (3-1) If you paid (1) as IOR = Importer, which means you appoint ACP, then you’re required to pay only the difference amount (2) – (1)
   (3-2) If you paid (1) but you were not IOR = Importer, then you’re required to pay all the amount of (2). You can’t deduct (1).


Please be careful that only the IMPORTER can deduct the import consumption tax at the time of tax filing. In other words, if another IOR service provider became the IMPORTER when you import, basically it would not be possible for the non-resident entity to deduct the import consumption tax. Therefore, you have to pay all the amount of (2) to a tax office.

On the other hand, if you import with ACP, means that you became an IMPORTER thus you can deduct the import consumption tax, when you do JCT tax return. Therefore, you only need to pay the difference amount (2) – (1) to a tax office.

This is one of the significant advantages to use ACP service, not IOR service.

For this reason, we strongly recommend using ACP so that you can become IOR.


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[Knowledge Pages]

What is ACP? – Attorney for Customs Procedures

Steps of using ACP, how foreign entity can import into Japan by ACP

What is IOR? – Importer of Record

Amazon won’t become an IOR

Customs Valuation System in Japan

Customs Valuation When You Import By ACP

Consumption Tax in Japan


ACP’s Limitation

ACP’s Qualification

ACP’s registration


[Recent Updates]

ACP Japan Became Amazon’s SPN Provider as Qualified ACP Service Provider

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