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In contrast to recent import hassle threads, it would be good to hear from anyone with some good news.


Any recent ones throw them in too.


For anyone wishing to do so, list.........


Country that blade was shipped from.

Courier used.

Whether Katana, Wakizashi, Tanto etc.

Time it took.


Take a good while maybe but lets see how it works out.


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Several Katanas (from different suppliers) imported from Japan via EMS/Parcelforce.


Worst experience:  Took 3 weeks to get a package cleared through customs & VAT charge applied, and had to fill out a form and chase with several emails, but this was over Christmas / New Year. 4 weeks total from dispatch to receipt.


Best Experience:  Cleared quickly with no VAT charge.


Generally, 2-3 week end-to-end trip from Japan to UK with correct VAT charges applied.







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I haven't bought much in recent years and the situation has undoubtedly become more complicated. The last long sword I bought came from mainland Europe and it was delivered within 3 days. Previously I have bought blades from Japan and the USA and sent swords all over the world and to date have had no major issues (getting the VAT wrong was about the worst). Members of the Token Society of GB committee are occasionally asked to assist by people whose pieces have been held or by HMRC seeking opinion. These occurrence's are rare and to my knowledge have always been dealt with promptly and without needing to go to court (1 exception I think).

I have great sympathy for Tony but I think it would be a mistake to think this is typical and I am aware of many people bringing blades in without issues. 


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First with parcelforce using ems aoi art Japan long blade koto era. The only issue I had was that vat got miscalculated and I was sent a form to Complete. Otherwise parcelforce were great at dealing with hiccup.  


Ups couple of weeks after paid extra  because of the Ukraine war. Shipped by aoi again from Japan. The sword was delivered with no issue by fedex . Excellent service. 

It was an edo era wakizashi.


So I'd use both couriers again. 


Also like to add that the first time I didnt give adequate detailed information on the invoice nor were there any hozon papers attached to the front part of the box. And I still got my sword without any border force intervention. 


Second time every detail to the core, token membership ect name, date of Smith.  


No problems at all. Both times were single blades. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have imported a few blades over the last year, from countries in the EU. Rarely had problems, and the biggest delay and fuss was with UPS! nb These were not nihonto, which I think have special problems because of the cheap fakes and media scaremongering.

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It's all bull$#@%.
The thought that a poor or cheap sword makes people do bad things. That if you take them away from people, suddenly people don't hurt others.
Blaming the item rather than solving the problem. It's a sad day when Govt's and people remove freedoms from the majority because of a tiny minority.
Anyways...thought for the day,

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