TOKYO: Japanese customs officers are confiscating a growing number of South Korean imports due to a rise in cosmetics containing orchid species protected under a global treaty.
The 159 seizures of South Korean goods last year represent a 24.2% rise from 2015 and are triple the figure from two years ago. Products containing orchid are confiscated if they lack necessary documents.
But total product seizures by Japanese customs officers last year slipped 0.7% to 723 cases. Chinese goods were confiscated most often, followed by South Korean items. The number of cases involving Chinese products fell 9.7% to 288 last year. Most frequently taken are Chinese herbal medicines that contain aloe or costus, which are also internationally protected plant species.
Medicine was the most seized product overall, but the number of cases dropped 3.7% to 262. Cosmetics were confiscated in 154 cases, up 33.9%. In 112 cases, the goods were inside carry-on luggage, up 1.8%.