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On May 29, 2015, Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, announced that the U.S. is intending to enter negotiations to establish preclearance operations at 10 airports in 9 new countries, including Japan, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. If negotiations are successful, U.S. immigration, customs, and agriculture inspection officers will conduct inspections before travelers board direct flights to the U.S., allowing Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to prevent potential threats before they enter the U.S.


Currently, preclearance is available at 6 different countries such as Canada and Ireland, and last year the CBP cleared over 16 million individuals. According to Secretary Johnson, expanding preclearance locations will not only improve efforts to prevent terrorism and allow for strong economic opportunities, but is also a “win-win for the traveling public,” as it will provide “aviation and homeland security, and [it] reduce wait times upon arrival at the busiest U.S. airports.


If negotiations between the U.S. and Japan are successful, preclearance will be available at Tokyo’s Narita Airport. There are still many obstacles and roadblocks until such negotiations are successful, and it may be a while until we see any progress but we are excited to monitor its progress over the next few years.