A significant step toward trade normalization with Japan was made this week. It is expected that Tokyo will present Washington with a list of measures the U.S. will take to verify exported beef will be free of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), says Japanese Agriculture Ministry official Hiroaki Ogura.
The Associated Press says Japan plans to hold procedural talks on what is needed to resume imports of U.S. beef. However, officials have not set an exact date for those discussions.
Earlier this week a Japanese panel approved the U.S. grade A40 beef, which comes primarily from cattle 12 to 17 months old, as an acceptable method of determining age. Japan's Food Safety Commission and agriculture and health ministries still must agree with the panel's recommendations before moving forward.