Vaping situation in Japan
Nicotine-free e-cig products and devices are not tackled by tobacco-related legislation and are subject to general consumer safety regulation.
One of the distinctive characteristics of the Japanese e-cig market is that nicotine-containing e-cigarette products cannot be sold without a pharmaceutical licence. However, limited imports are allowed for personal use as long as the amount of nicotine contained in e-cigs and liquids is limited.
There are no laws specific to e-cigarettes, however the issue has been discussed in the past by the House of Representatives and the Legislation Examination Bureau.
In addition, there are several administrative circulars published by the government. The circulars are not enforceable but are still followed by the industry.
Nicotine-containing e-cigarette products cannot be manufactured, imported, marketed, sold or distributed without a pharmaceutical licence.
However, the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act does allow imports for personal use, as long as the amount of nicotine they contain is limited. Informally, personal imports of up to 120 ml of nicotine-containing e-liquid or 60 cartridges (a month’s supply) are acceptable, according to the customs authorities.
The heated tobacco market, which forms a major part of tobacco alternatives sector, is currently in something of a stagnant phase.
Nevertheless, heated tobacco products are quite popular in Japan partly due to tough regulation on nicotine-containing e-cigarettes.