Japan Agricultural Standard (JAS) and the USDA/MAFF Export Arrangement

There are two routes to the Japanese Organic Market. Whether you are seeking to ship JAS certified products or to ship your NOP certified products under the USDA/MAFF Export Arrangement, QAI can help your products get to the Japanese Organic Market successfully with our cost effective JAS and USDA / MAFF Export Arrangement programs.

Each route has its advantages and disadvantages. Factors such as the volume and frequency of your exports, budget, and importer's certification status all need to be taken into consideration when deciding which route is most appropriate for your operation. Please contact QAI for further details.


Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forest, and Fishery (MAFF) established the Japan Agriculture Standard (JAS) law in 1950. The JAS law was later amended to include and organic production and in April 2001 the JAS standard for organic products was established. JAS is a spec for finished product verification, NOT a standard for certification. For certification standards, we refer to "JAS Standards" and "Technical Criteria" for each certification category.

In 2002, the USDA and MAFF established a partial 1-way equivalency for organic products, the USDA/MAFF Export Arrangement. This arrangement requires the country of origin must be the United States, products and operators must be NOP certified, products must be produced/processed without the use of alkali extracted humic acid or lignin sulfonate as a flotation agent (these substances are allowed under NOP), and finally, that products must be sold to a JAS certified processor or importer before being sold on Japanese market as organic.

Please contact QAI for further details.

The most current English versions of the JAS Standards and Technical Criteria can be found on the MAFF website.

Further information about exporting product can be found on the USDA website.

Regulation Amendment of Importance

Just like the USDA's National Organic Program, the JAS standard gets revisited every five years. The Standard was last revised in 2005. Slight updates are occasionally made in between these five-year reviews. QAI informs clients of these changes as they occur.

The most current English versions of the JAS Standards and Technical Criteria can be found on the MAFF website.

Labeling to the Standard

Only operations certified by an accredited JAS certifier such as QAI can apply the JAS seal. The QAI Japan JAS seal is required to be affixed on all products JAS certified by QAI to be in compliance with JAS standards and to be sold as organic in Japan. Before the JAS seal is affixed, approved and documented JAS grading inspections must occur.

The JAS seal must:

  • appear on all retail products sold as organic in Japan
  • appear on all packaged products sold as "JAS certified"
  • appear on all possible shipping documents for unlabeled bulk
  • include "QAI JAPAN" below the JAS mark

QAI Japan Logo


  1. A is more than 5mm
  2. B=2A, D=3/10 x C
  3. Height D=E
  4. Color is not regulated

The seal is supposed to signify a cloud covering the sun with a leaf in the middle. Please make sure the seal you choose only has 3 veins.

Additional Resources

For more information, contact Leslie Claypool at 858-200-9709 or lclaypool@qai-inc.com.