As reported in this blog on June 23 this year, the document retention period in Japan is to be extended from current 5 years to 7 years, based on the amendment of Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law ("FEFTL") effective on November 1, 2009.
Please find below the reason of period extension.
Today as of September 30, the more detailed announcement is released by METI, it is still in draft level, though. The summary is as follows.
1) Document retention 7 years: Basically METI encourage 7 years period of export related document, but it is only for WMD related documents because of the statute of limitations in its violation. This rule is limited to items of Export Trade Control Order and Foreign Exchange Order Appendix category 2 - 4, and WMD related business in catch-all control. (Japanese appendix category 2 - 4 means, NSG, AG, and MTCR items.)
2) 5 years retention is still acceptable for Non-WMD items. This is for above mentioned Appendix category 5 - 14 of both Orders. (This means most of Wassenaar dual-use items.)
3) ICP update is required. For companies who submit ICP to METI, it is necessary to update the document retention article and re-submit to METI. The companies who have general bulk license need to submit annual check list to METI every July. They need to reflect this document retention period in this annual report. Don't forget it next July.
4) From November 1 onward, the WMD related documents (or Appendix category 2 - 4) should be kept for 7 years.
I'm still wondering, for a company who only deal wassenaar dual-use items and don't have NSG, AG and MTCR items, they don't have to extend the document retention period. However, the difficulty is in WMD catch-all control case, which cover most of industrial items excluding food and wooden products. Such general items can be used for WMD purpose and cannot predict future end-use and end-user. This point would raise many questions to METI.
Also, Customs Act in Japan prescribe the document retention period as 5 years in its Article 94 for export goods. It is not scheduled to be changed so far regardless of FEFTL amendment.
(Source: http://search.e-gov.go.jp/servlet/Public?CLASSNAME=Pcm1010&BID=595109078&OBJ )