The move comes after USDA liaised with Japanese authorities to establish new terms for market access that are science-based and consistent with international public and animal health standards.
Japan closed its doors to US lamb following an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), which was detected in US cattle herds.
USDA’S secretary of agriculture Sonny Perdue paid tribute to USDA’s “dedication” for the re-opening of the Japanese market for US lamb.
“The United States has a reputation for high quality agricultural products and this administration is committed to helping US producers prosper and share these products with the world,” said Perdue.
“This success is a direct result of USDA’s dedication to helping America’s farmers and ranchers keep and find new markets for their products.”
The re-opening of the Japanese market was welcomed by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), who described Japan as a “primary market” for US lamb and was excited by the opportunity to resume exporting quality products to “upscale markets”.
“There is great demand for high-quality, grain-fed red meat in Japan, as demonstrated by the success of US beef and pork,” said USMEF president Dan Halstrom. “The US lamb industry is anxious to capitalise on opportunities in Japan’s restaurant and retail sectors, and USMEF is eager to begin promoting US lamb in Japan.”
According to USMEF, Japan’s lamb imports reached a record value of US$168 million last year, up 26% year-on-year. Australia is the top supplier of lamb entering Japan this year with a 60% market share, which is followed by New Zealand, who supplied 38%.