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I will be travelling to Japan from the US soon to conduct a three week research program with some colleagues. I would like to bring some of the fragile research equipment with me in my carry-on. The equipment is small, fragile, and reasonably valuable, but poses no danger to people or planes. Some of the items will be coming back home with me, and some will be staying.

Are there any Japanese or American regulations which I need to be worried about? Do I need to declare the items at customs? Is there a risk that they will be confiscated at some point during my travel?

  • Packing-wise I advise you to buy a pelican case or anything like that to protect your gear. – JoErNanO Nov 4 '14 at 10:13
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If your items are new or appear to be new, it would be best to register them with US Customs before departing the USA to avoid duty hassles on the way back. The items you plan to leave, should also be registered in case you can not leave them in Japan, but I would do a separate registration for them to avoid the "where is such & such" questions when you return.

As carry on items, they are subject to TSA's OK. If anything looks like a weapon or potential hazard, it might be good to contact a TSA supervisor at the airport ahead of time to make sure they won't stop you at the last moment.

Entering Japan you will want to declare them if they represent higher value. The items you plan to leave behind will likely be subject to duty, so bring copies of the receipts for those items purchase or if they are things your company manufacturers, then some documentation of their market value.

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