Market access for Irish sheepmeat to Japan – that was agreed in principle during a trade mission to Tokyo last month – has been officially given the go ahead.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, confirmed that Ireland has secured access to the Japanese market for sheepmeat.

Commenting on the confirmation, Minister Creed said: “The Japanese authorities have now formally agreed the export verification programme and export certificate as proposed by my department, to take effect from this Friday, July 19.”

Details will be confirmed to industry shortly via a trader notice.

“The announcement reflects the ongoing focused effort by my department to open and enhance market access to key markets.

Minister Creed presents an Irish rugby shirt to Japanese Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Takamori Yoshikawa

“We now have access for both beef and sheepmeat exports to Japan, a strong endorsement of Ireland food safety and quality credentials, and of our excellent working relationships, both at Government and official level.

I want to thank my Japanese ministerial counterparts and their officials for the rapid conclusion of the formalities of sheepmeat access, following our detailed discussions last month.

Minister Creed also thanked the team in Bord Bia’s new Tokyo office, led by ambassador Paul Kavanagh.

“I am pleased that the first agricultural attaché from my department to Tokyo will join this team in the autumn.”

Concluding, Minister Creed said: “With a strong EU-Japan economic partnership agreement in place – not to mention the upcoming Rugby World Cup – there will be significant opportunities to promote Irish food and drink in the Japanese market.”