How to get paper docs delivered to Tokyo ASAP from USA (mail too slow)?
May 5, 2019 9:00 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of services that can get documents that must arrive at an address in Tokyo by no later than the end of the day or end of business May 7, 2019? Since it's already mid-day Monday, May 6 there (at time of posting), my thought is to email the documents to e.g. a service that can then print and deliver them to the address (e.g., a standard sort of courier duty here in the US), but I don't know of any such services or companies, etc. in Tokyo or Japan at large.

Other viable options I'm not thinking of also welcome. The mail (including express services like DHL, FedEx, etc.) isn't really an option as it's too late for me to get delivery by May 7.

This isn't really a legal process service type of request (i.e. it's not court documents, though arguably they are legal documents, but it's not a process service matter), it's just stuff that I can't get there fast enough now via available international shipping options given the time left.

Thanks in advance!
posted by dnm to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just to clarify: If you think it's feasible to email them to a third party to print and deliver, what's the obstacle to just emailing them to the recipient?
posted by lazuli at 9:15 PM on May 5, 2019

Response by poster: I would happily email the documents to the recipient, but the instructions are clear that they must be delivered as hardcopies to the address in question. Alas.
posted by dnm at 9:22 PM on May 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Find a stateside law firm with offices there, send the docs via e-mail and use the local's talents there to get the site printed docs carried out the door?
posted by Freedomboy at 9:31 PM on May 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

Just a note that today (Monday, May 6) is a legal holiday here in Japan.
posted by Umami Dearest at 9:52 PM on May 5, 2019

I do not know of such a service. Post to Jobs with budget payment option and some details like at least packaging/envelope, number of pages, neighborhood, and any conditions the delivery person will have to meet to enter premises to deliver and pop the link back in here. Do they need to get a signature or receipt?
posted by Gotanda at 10:40 PM on May 5, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestion, and done: here's the post in jobs.MeFi.

Unfortunately I don't know what conditions the delivery person would have to meet to enter/deliver to the premises. My information is that it's a suite in an office building in Kojimachi, so I'm hopeful it wouldn't be too unusual or onerous if hand delivery was necessary.
posted by dnm at 11:21 PM on May 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Not sure this can be done internationally, but depending on your budget and how important it is that they get there on time in the manner demanded, put someone on a plane to hand deliver and then turnaround and come back. As a college student I made a roundtrip from NY to LA 3 times to hand off documents at the airport. This was in the early 80s before the overnight delivery business was common if it existed at all. I made $200 per trip and got a 1st class seat on the way back.
posted by AugustWest at 12:37 AM on May 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I thought about this option, but the main issue is the risk of how much time it'd take just in flight, and additional time to find a person to do it, and then the cost. Flying to Narita from most of the major west coast airports in the U.S. is around nine hours to begin with.
posted by dnm at 12:48 AM on May 6, 2019

I enjoy interacting with shipping companies a little too much, so if I were in this situation I would go to the closest FedEx location and ask them about this. I don't think they have a specific "physical delivery of email" service but I feel like with a bit of luck you could find someone there to help you pull that off.

FedEx does offer "email to print" services, so I could imagine getting a local FedEx employee to coordinate with a Tokyo FedEx employee to pop your printout in an envelope and then ship that as usual (perhaps billed to your new FedEx shipping number to make things run more smoothly).

Or maybe skip the ideas and just ask them how to pull this off. I've often found shipping employees to enjoy finding creative solutions.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 6:39 AM on May 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

I thought about this option, but the main issue is the risk of how much time it'd take just in flight, and additional time to find a person to do it, and then the cost.

Thinking about this more, FedEx will basically do this for you as well with a service called International Next Flight, though I think it's their next flight and not the next Delta flight to Tokyo. Assuming you're in the US this will run you $400-$500 for a 1-pound package.

They also have something called "International First" which seems to be a slightly less urgent option that will still get there in 1 business day.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:17 AM on May 6, 2019

Transperfect (large global legal services / translation / print shop corporation) has an office in Tokyo. When my SO worked for their document production office in NYC, they would do all sorts of last-minute print jobs and deliveries, round the clock and through holidays. I can’t guarantee what the Japan office would be doing, but you could definitely contact them to see about emailing the docs to them, having them print and hand-deliver it all.
posted by cluebucket at 7:19 PM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I was able to get the documents delivered thanks to the coordinated help of some kind Internet-connected strangers who saw this post and reached out to me. I really appreciate everyone's suggestions and efforts. I rarely post on MeFi and this turned out to be the ne plus ultra of a random shot in the dark that totally worked based on nothing but people's willingness to help, good intentions, and trust. I'm very thankful and heartened that this sort of ad hoc magic of the Internet is still a thing.
posted by dnm at 1:49 AM on May 7, 2019 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: cluebucket, I wanted to say thanks about letting me know about Transperfect. In the end I didn't need to go that route, but it wasn't something I knew about or discovered during my searches, but now that I know about it, I'll definitely keep it in mind if I ever have similar needs in the future. Thanks!
posted by dnm at 1:55 AM on May 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

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