Hi, I am Tomoko Cain. I am a part of Naval Services FamilyLine's COMPASS Program and I want to share some of our experience in PCSing overseas with pets.
My first duty station with my sailor was in Naples, Italy. We adopted our beloved puppy there. With the language barrier, it was a challenge for us to figure out, but the vet on base gave us a list of what we were supposed to do and it helped us a lot. Our dog actually had to get a passport there to move to Japan. I think it’s really cute.
From Naples, we PCS'd to Japan. To go to Japan, you need 180 days of quarantine. Japan is a rabies-free country and is really strict. But it’s not that hard if you follow the steps you can get from: https://www.maff.go.jp/aqs/english/animal/dog/index.html . If you can’t finish 180 days of quarantine before you land in Japan, don’t worry! You can still finish it in base housing in Japan. I also recommend you contact one of the Japanese quarantine offices. If you have any questions, they speak English and are really nice.
Our plans changed, and we will be staying in CONUS, but we want to go back to Japan someday. I started contacting many places to figure out how to bring him back with us to Japan smoothly in the future.
The following are the steps for importing your pup to Japan. To leave the country where you are, there may be some other steps you have to take. Like I mentioned before when we were in Naples, Italy and we had to get a pet passport. To get this information, you should contact the base vet where you live. They should have a lot of information!
First, you have to make sure your pup has a microchip and they have to have their first rabies shot. I believe the microchip date and first rabies shot date can be the same day. Second, they have to have a second rabies shot after 30 days (from the first) but you have to give the 2nd rabies shot before the first one is expired and you have to get a FAVN test done. The 2nd rabies shot and FAVN test can be on the same day too. The FAVN test is good for 2 years.
I know a lot of people who have been to Japan and had to leave. All of my friends always say that they want to go back.
To go to Japan, you need 180 days quarantine after the FAVN test and some people think it’s a lot of work to do it again. However, if you have done the 180 days quarantine the first time you went to Japan and kept it current with 0 days lapse time until it’s time to go back to Japan, you won’t have to do it again. You MUST keep giving the rabies shot every year while you are in Japan and keep the shot current after you leave Japan. If you can do this, you just have to do the FAVN test again before your entry into Japan and there won’t be 180 days quarantine. You can find more information on https://www.maff.go.jp/aqs/animal/dog/attach/pdf/import-other-42.pdf (page 8)
Please do not forget to contact the vet as soon as you know where you are going to OCONUS. You and your vet can prepare together what you need and when to get a health certificate from them since it has to be within 10 days before you leave the country. Also, the paperwork from them has to be signed with a blue pen. I recommend you to keep ALL the paperwork from the vet. We have all of our pups paperwork in order in his file since he came into our life.
I hope this helps someone who would like to go to Japan!
For additional information on PCSing overseas with pets check out this resource from Military OneSource https://www.militaryonesource.mil/moving-housing/moving/planning-your-move/moving-with-pets/