Japan lifts BSE ban on British beef after more than 20 years

The Japanese government has announced that it will lift a ban on beef from the UK, which was put in place in 1996 after an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) three years earlier.

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare announced today, January 9, that the import of British beef would restart, but added that the ban will remain in place on beef from animals older than 30 months, and on certain body parts, such as the spinal cord.

The decision comes after several years of Britain insisting that its produce was safe, with Japan doing the same after Britain put restrictions on imports of Japanese food after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in 2011.

This move by the Japanese government coincides with its prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visiting Britain tomorrow, January 10.

He will be visiting Prime Minister Theresa May, where, it is thought, he will urge her to avoid a no-deal Brexit, throwing his support behind the the EU-UK withdrawal agreement.

A recent trade deal between the EU and Japan will cut Japanese import tariffs on European beef by more than a quarter, from 38.5% to 9%, creating a significant export opportunity for EU farmers and producers.

However, Japan has also cut tariffs on imports from other regions as well.