Building Stone and Tiles
Building Stone and Tiles Stone types to be covered include natural raw stone such as marble and granite, which are used mainly for building or
worked monuments and gravestones, cut or polished natural stone, or artificially colored natural stone. Also included are
ceramic tiles for building use.
Note 1: “Slabs” are raw stone that has been cut into blocks or rectangular or square shapes, by sawing or otherwise.
Note 2: “Travertines” are calcareous chemical precipitation rocks that arise from hot or mineral springs.
Note 3: “Tiles” refer to fired ceramic tiles made from a mixture of natural sand and stone (earthenware, potter’s clay,
Note 4: “Glaze” is a vitreous substance that covers the surface of pottery or porcelain enamel.
1. Points to Note in Exports to and Sales in Japan
(1) Import Regulation and Procedures
There are no legal regulations, in principle, governing the import of stone into Japan. The import of products
containing asbestos is, however, prohibited under the “Industrial Safety and Health Act” and the “Foreign Exchange and
Foreign Trade Act.” Consequently, the import of stone (particularly tile products) containing the asbestos is subject to
regulation. Furthermore, the import of stone with soil adhering is prohibited under the “Plant Protection Act.” (They may,
however, be imported after being cleaned.)
・Industrial Safety and Health Act
The inhalation of asbestos has the potential to cause lung cancer, malignant mesothelioma, and lung asbestosis.
Consequently, Article 55 of the Industrial Safety and Health Act has prohibited the manufacture, import, transfer,
provision or use of asbestos, or formulations or other products that contain 0.1% or more (by weight) of asbestos,
since September 1, 2006. The building materials included in these products are asbestos cement cylinders, extruded
cement plates, decorative roofing slates, fiber-reinforced cement plates, and ceramic siding.
As a voluntarily move toward enhancing safety and health, the housing industry has set out to check that alternative
products to those containing asbestos (currently “products without asbestos”) to be imported are truly free of asbestos
by requiring all importers to submit a certificate guaranteeing that their products do not contain asbestos, together with
the results of the analysis of such products. In particular, when an importer conducts business in a country where the
manufacture of asbestos-containing products is not absolutely prohibited, it should make every effort to confirm that a
product contains no asbestos, both through analysis of a sample and other means.
(2) Regulations and Procedural Requirements at the Time of Sale
There are no legal regulations governing the sale of building materials, except for labeling requirements under the
terms of the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations. In Japan, the construction of all
Item Definition HS Code
Building stone (including worked
monuments and gravestones)
Raw stone and slabs
Marble (Including travertines)
Granite and sandstone
Granite and sandstone
2516.11, 12, 20
6802.10, 29, 92, 99
Ceramic tiles for building use Unglazed ceramic tiles
Glazed ceramic tiles
Building Stone and Tiles
-Building Stone and Tiles-
– 2 –
Guidebook for Export to Japan 2011 Copyright (C) 2011 JETRO. All rights reserved.
buildings is subject to regulations under the Building Standards Act, and the sale or contract of housing is subject to the
provisions of the Housing Quality Assurance Act.
・Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations
The Act prohibits the exaggerated advertisement or false representation of a product that would mislead consumers
into believing that the product is better than it is in reality. Any business that markets its product is required to submit
a reasonably evidential document certifying that its representation is not unjustifiable. Unless the relevant information
is provided, the product shall be judged to have a misleading representation. Under the terms of the Act, the
ambiguous representation of a product, whose country of origin is difficult to determine, is banned as being a
・Building Standards Act
The Building Standards Act stipulates minimum standards relating to design and construction methods for building
sites, equipment, structures, and purposes. Consequently, the building and construction of houses and buildings in
Japan must comply with this Act. The Act specifies two technical design standards, or “specification standards” and
“performance standards” relating to building structures and equipment.
The “specification standards” define building specifications such as the materials to be used, as well as their shapes
and dimensions. The “performance standards” define physical performance values, by which a building structure,
material or equipment can be adopted provided they satisfy the values. In recent years, the stipulation for the design
standards has shifted from “specification standards” to “performance standards.” This is due to the fact that the
“performance standards,” which do not define processes for materials or construction methods, have a higher level of
flexibility in terms of design and construction than the specification standards, and allow the introduction of new
technologies more easily. This relatively straightforward introduction gives engineers more discretion in design and
construction and increases technological competitiveness among them, resulting in shorter construction periods and
・Housing Quality Assurance Act
The Housing Quality Assurance Act mandates that housing sellers shall provide a 10-year warranty against defects
(warranty against repair) for the basic structural elements of a house (main elements required for structural resistance
such as columns and beams, and those for preventing the intrusion of rain water) in any agreement drawn up when a
customer acquires a new house. The Act also establishes a housing performance indication standard. Under the
standard, third-party organizations (performance evaluation bodies) that can assess the housing performa nce are
created to compare housing performance. If a housing agreement is concluded with an attached housing performance
evaluation issued by the third party (performance evaluation body), the content of the assessment (housing
performance) will be regarded as being equivalent to the details of the agreement.