Japanese beef imports to Australia
Japanese media reports this week, that the ban was imposed in September 2001 following an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as "mad cow disease" in Japan. As Australians eat a lot of beef, the lifting of the ban promises to spur Japanese exports. Tokyo has been pressing for a resumption of beef exports since 2004.
Under the terms of the agreement, exports to Australia must be processed at facilities authorized by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. According to the agriculture ministry, Australians consume 20.9kg of beef per person annually, more than three times as much as Japanese. At a news conference following a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Agriculture Minister Ken Saito said, "Australians have high income levels and there are high numbers of Japanese restaurants in urban areas. This is a good environment to receive Japanese beef." The government is considering ways to introduce Australian consumers to preparation methods and the unique characteristics of Japanese beef, he said.