Japan intends to ease on the U.S. beef import restrictions as worries over the mad cow disease diminished and the Asian country’s domestic production is still affected by the ongoing nuclear scare caused by the Fukushima incident.
Currently, Japan restricts imports from the U.S. to cattle aged 20 months or younger. The reason is that older cattle are more prone to risks of infection with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the official name of the mad cow disease.
But now the Japanese authorities are considering extending the age limit to 30 months, according to statements from two ministry officials who declined to reveal their identities.
“We have exchanged opinions on the issue through expert- level talks between the two governments, and we hope it will be resolved accordingly,” said the Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kan. He did not provide details on a specific timeframe for the decision.
The new agreement would also help U.S. increase exports, as U.S. products for overseas shipments are mostly from cattle aged up to 24 months.