Japan Post to Ship Electronics with Lithium Ion Batteries Starting 2013

Shipping electronics with lithium ion batteries from Japan is a pain, to put it simply. You, as of now, essentially have two options, FedEx or DHL, which I explained in more detail in how to ship electronics with lithium ion batteries from Japan. This all came about when I tried to send an old laptop to my sister in the States and the post office, after accepting it initially, later called us and said we couldn't send the computer unless we took the battery out.

However, good news! Starting January 1, 2013, Japan Post will allow you to send electronics with lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries, as long as they meet certain requirements. 

  • Batteries must be in or attached to an electronic device (e.g. in a camera, or connected to a laptop, etc.) -- batteries cannot be packaged separately/by themselves, even if they're a spare.
  • Cell-type batteries (cylinders) must be less than 20 watts a piece.
  • Other batteries (usually rectangular), must be less than 100 watts and must have the wattage labeled on the outside of the battery/device. For reference, a Macbook Pro's battery is 60 watts.
  • You can't send damaged batteries or anything that might catch fire.
  • Batteries can't weigh more than 5 kilograms.
  • You can't send more than four cell-type batteries in one package. For example, if one camera has one battery inside it, you can send up to four of those cameras. If a camera has two of those batteries in it, you can only send two cameras. 
  • You can't send more than two other batteries (again, usually rectangular) per package. So if you want to send a video camera and a laptop that both use these types of batteries, you can send those two items together. If you have a laptop, video camera and a DSLR with this type of battery, you can only send two of those items in a package.
Please see the Japan Post website for the official press release and detailed information (unfortunately all in Japanese) about this. The detailed document has a list of countries that lithium ion and polymer batteries can be sent to, via air (first column) or sea (second column).

I think this is a great development, especially considering how expensive it is to ship electronics with lithium batteries via FedEx and DHL. I only wish they would have implemented this earlier this year!

Many thanks to Tim for the heads up.

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