Okihai_005_2 While packing luggage at my parents’ home, before we PCS-ed to Okinawa, I remember my mother meticulously stuffing baby Tylenol, Pepto-Bismol and Dramamine into every available space in my suitcase.

Now, having been a military brat, an active duty member and now a military dependent, I am traumatized fully aware that rules seem to be created, then amended, possibly reversed and always cursed.   In not so many words, difficult to keep track of!  Not to mention the differences between the military branches.

One of our readers needs our help.  She would like to know if a special form, such as “Yakkan Shoumei” is required for either prescription or OTC medications to be brought into Okinawa.  And would a requirement like that even apply to SOFA status personnel?

If anyone out there would clarify the current requirement for SOFA status personnel in bringing medications to Okinawa, both prescription and OTC, it would help alleviate all of our headaches.


  1. We flew in through ANA in Naha. I had my fair share of include simple otc things like infant benadryl & tylenol. But also had lyrica, ibuprofen 800, & vicodin. We weren’t searched..or even asked. I’m sure as long as you have prescriptions it really won’t matter much.

  2. I’ve only ever flown into Japanese airports, and all times i’ve been carrying a lot of medication, perscription and OTC. I’ve never had trouble with checks, but all times i’ve been prepared to show what i’ve got. Always tick the correct box on the customs card, and it helps to have a letter from your doctor explaining what you’re carrying and why, and don’t exceed the set limits or try to import illegal items, or if you are, hide the excess items very well and feign ignorance 😉

    I’ve had medication confiscated when its been mailed to me however, so they do check.

  3. I have flown into the country via AMC and the Naha Airport and have been searched at both for drugs in my bag. Do NOT count on the searches to be lax just because a few people have not been searched. You can be searched at any time. And drugs are not taken lightly.

    Make sure that any drugs you have in your bag are either prescription and belong to you, and/or do not contain any of the drugs that are prohibited in Japan. Original containers with lot numbers on them are required for OTC drugs.

  4. I arrived in Naha, and was not command sponsored at the time (because Andrews AFB sucks, but that’s another story), so I didn’t have SOFA status. I had alllll kinds of prescription and non-prescription pills, and didn’t have any problem whatsoever. I didn’t have any sort of bag search, even going through customs, and no one asked me anything.

  5. The following 3 websites have some helpful information. I think the most common mistake Americans make is trying to bring in medications containing pseudoephedrine such as sudafed. However, as others have said, there isn’t much of an inspection when arriving at Kadena.

  6. We have traveled 3 times back and forth to the states in the past 18 months. Each time I traveled with an entire pharmacy in my purse/carry on. Benedryl, Pepto, Asthma medications, Rx Motrin, tylenol and a full line of allergy medications. Oh and a few narcotics when I my son was burned in the states. We have never had a problem. All our flight were through civillian airports. When we PSC’d here I mailed extra mediactions and didn’t have a problem. The post office had a list of things I was unable to mail regarding medications.

  7. We took a military flight as well and by the time I got to leave the baggage claim I had completely forgotten that I had my sisters prescription anti-morning sickness pills and some advil in my purse. They didn’t search our bags or anything like when I’ve been to foriegn countries at civillian airports. So I would say you are ok if you are taking a mac flight and ‘I don’t know’ if you are flying to Naha.

  8. We just arrived on island last Thursday, landing at Kadena. They asked us if we had any medications, prescription or OTC, and we said yes. They only wanted to know if we were still using them. We said yes and that was that. I don’t know if they would be more strict if you’re arriving at a non-military airport… I hope that helps somewhat.