The 30-month age restriction has been removed for beef exports to Japan, following negotiations between that country’s authorities and Minister Michael Creed’s officials.

“I am pleased to announce that we have successfully changed the terms of the export health certificate for beef so that the previous age restriction of under 30 months has been removed and beef from cattle of all ages is now eligible for export,” explained Minister Creed.

This follows an beef audit to Ireland by a team of inspectors from the Japanese ministry of health, labour and welfare in March 2019.

This comes at a particularly opportune time shortly before my trade mission to Japan and on top of the recent good news from China in relation to the approval of Irish beef plants.

“It is a testament to the strong co-operation of Team Ireland and our very productive relations with our Japanese counterparts in progressing market access,” continued the minister.

He added that “Team Ireland” was growing in the Asian country, with an agricultural attache in the Irish Embassy in Tokyo, and the placement of a Bord Bia market specialist there.

Ireland exported €3.6 million worth of beef – with a volume of 840t – to Japan in 2018, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The majority of this was in the form of bovine tongues, a delicacy in Japan, and other beef offal.

As of the end of March 2019, around 200t had been exported.

A statement from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said that a trade notice will be issued in the near future.