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United States Marine Corps
Distribution Management Office - Outbound
Mexico Street Bldg. 495, Camp Foster
FPO, AP 96373
Policies and rules for shipping pets vary at each installation. It’s important to understand the regulations, prohibitions and laws at your new installation before moving with a pet. Below, you’ll find installation-specific details for registering, boarding and transporting your pet.
Japanese Animal Quarantine Service Regulations require that all animals entering Japan be examined to determine if they are free from communicable diseases. Animals found to be free from communicable diseases and meeting entrance requirements may be released to the owner's custody, subject to the restrictions discussed below:
Dogs and cats imported into Japan must undergo import quarantine, in accordance with the Rabies Prevention Law and, additionally for dogs, the Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Law.
For dogs and cats meeting certain requirements upon arrival in Japan, the quarantine period (for import inspection) will be within 12 hours.
Any dogs and cats that has not meet the requirements will be subject to quarantine at a detention facility of Animal Quarantine Service for the necessary quarantine period (up to 180 days). Depending on the results of the import inspection, the dog or cat may not be allowed to enter Japan.
The importer (person planning to import dogs or cats) is responsible for the following obligations at their own expense. You should begin the importation procedure only after fully understanding these obligations:
Preparation Before Import
To begin the pet importation process please download the Government of Japan Import Guide for Pets - Non Designated Regions to ensure the following steps are completed appropriately:
In order for the quarantine to be completed within 12 hours, a dog or cat that arrives in Japan must meet the following conditions:
To meet the conditions, preparation normally needs to begin 9-7 months before arrival in Japan. Any dog or cat that does not meet any of the conditions will undergo a detention at an Animal Quarantine Station for the necessary period (up to 180 days).
SOFA status personnel will be allowed to quarantine their animals in on-base housing. Those pets that are assessed quarantine time can complete it in the owner's home on base. Pet owners are authorized to arrange quarantine quarters on base with an on-base "foster family," provided the animal is kept from having contact with any other animals. They must be kept under strict leash control and only allowed outside to eliminate. Pets under quarantine are not allowed to be taken for walks around the neighborhood or to be left outside in a fenced yard.
Those pets that do not meet the entry requirements or SOFA personnel that are required to live in off-base housing must quarantine their animal(s) at the owners' expense in a quarantine facility. The only Military quarantine facility aboard Okinawa is Karing Kennels located on Kadena Air Base. Please secure kenneling reservations ahead of time. If space is not available, the quarantine period will need to be completed at a designated Japanese Animal Quarantine Station. Depending on the results of import inspection, pets may be rejected to enter Japan.
Please note: there is a late night drop off fee at Karing Kennels of $25 for all AMC customers and a $50 fee for all customers flying commercially through the Naha airport.
Kadena AB and Yokota AB currently have capabilities for handling AMC arrivals of dogs and cats and the advance notification is not needed. If the animal is traveling by commercial air, the Government of Japan requires an advance notification of pet movement as soon as transportation is scheduled. The importer must submit the advance notification form to Animal Quarantine Service at the expected port of entry by mail, fax, or e-mail no less than 40 days before arrival in Japan. Notification can also be made online through the Nippon Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System (NACCS).
All incoming animals must enter Japan through officially designated ports:
Japan Designated Ports
If you are bringing a pet, you should have your sponsor make reservations as soon as possible, as pets are not allowed in most base lodging facilities.
Be advised that pets can delay, and in some cases, impede assignment to on-base quarters. You cannot remain on TLA because of non-acceptance of quarters due to pet ownership.
For additional information regarding the importation of pets, please visit the MCCS Okinawa "Welcome Aboard" web page or the Government of Japan website on Pet Importation Requirements.
Karing Kennels offers dog and cat boarding for all SOFA status members. Reservations can be made in person only, unless you are PCSing on island, in which case you or your sponsor may make reservations.
Boarding Rates at Karing Kennels
Dogs per Kennel
Cats per Condo
One dog $150
One dog $25
One cat $120
One cat $20
Two dogs $240
Two dogs $40
Two cats $210
Two cats $35
There are several off base kennels also available at a much higher cost. For more information on Karing Kennels, please visit: https://www.kadenafss.com/family/karing-kennels/
The Air Mobility Command (AMC) flights will take pets and cages weighing up to total of 150 lbs. Spaces, for pets, however, are limited on the AMC flight and are booked on a first come, first serve basis.
If traveling commercially, pets with their cage weighing over a combined of 100 lbs. may have to go cargo, which is more expensive.
It is easier to travel through AMC, however, there are only 13 pet spaces available per flight. Therefore, it is essential to begin the reservation process for AMC at least 90 days in advance. When AMC flights are not available for travel, Service Members may travel commercial with their pets. Commercial airlines have a pet embargo during the summer when the temperature exceeds 85 degrees and may require additional documentation from a Veterinarian to allow a pet to fly under extreme weather conditions. Some breeds with short noses cannot be transported on several airlines. Each airline determines their specific pet policies, therefore it is recommended to contact the airline in advance to get the most current pet policy information.
Helpful Hints for AMC Travel
Please remember to bring the following documentation to facilitate your check-in process:
Allow your pet to get accustomed to the kennel a few days before departure so he/she will be more comfortable in his/her temporary home during the flight. Animals travel with less stress when they become accustomed to their shipping container before they travel. Use their kennel as a bed or feed your pet in the kennel for several days before your trip. A familiar article of clothing or toy in the kennel may help ease your pet's anxieties.
Mark the kennel with your pet's name, your name, destination or unit address, and phone number if available. Purchasing an ID tag for your pet is also recommended.
Check-in time for AMC flights at Baltimore/Washington International Airport is NO LATER THAN 2 hours and 20 minutes prior to flight departure. Check-in time at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is NO LATER THAN 3 hours and 20 minutes prior to flight departure.
Vaccinations, Licensing and Registration
Dirofilariasis (heartworm disease) is a major problem on Okinawa. It is recommended that all dogs arriving on Okinawa should be on a heartworm preventative before arrival. Incoming Service Members must register their pets with the Kadena Vet Clinic within 72 hours of arriving into the island. If you are granted off-base housing, you must also register your pet with the local city office.
The U.S. Army Veterinary Clinic at Kadena Air Base offer animal care services, which include immunizations, general medical care and minor surgery. Veterinary care is authorized for animals owned by persons eligible to receive medical care from the Department of Defense. A valid SOFA status identification card is required before services will be performed.
According to the IIIMEF/MCIPACO 10570.1, certain dog breeds are prohibited in all Military Family Housing (MFH) on Okinawa. The following breeds have been identified as restricted breeds:
Please note: having one of these breeds is NOT justification to be granted permission to reside in off-base housing.
Two domestic pets per household, defined as a cat, dog or a combination of each, are allowed in single dwelling units, duplexes, multiplex units and towers. In tower buildings, cats are allowed on all floors, however, dogs are only allowed on the first, second and third floor.
Pet Owner Responsibilities:
Important -- Visit the MCCS Okinawa web page and click on the "Housing and Pets" tab for information on importing pets into Japan and the "PCS Checklists" tab to download the "Import Guide for Pets - Non Designated Regions" for a detailed explanation of the importation process of pets into Japan.
Please note: pets are not an entitlement. Owners are responsible for the shipment of pets arriving, departing and within Japan. Owners are responsible for all matters associated with travel arrangements and shipping requirements for their pets.