TAOISEACH Enda Kenny and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today announced the lifting of the ban on the export of Irish beef and offal to Japan in a deal estimated to be worth €15m to the Irish agri-food industry.
Speaking after their meeting in Tokyo, Mr. Kenny said, "I am very happy to confirm to you that Prime Minister Abe announced at our meeting that the restriction on the importation of beef from Ireland for beef under 30 months has now been lifted. Japanese scientific personnel are now happy with the standards, the competency and the professionalism that exist in the Irish market."
Hailing the move, the Taoiseach said that the initiative would be worth "about €15m a year", adding that Ireland is "one of the largest exporters of beef in the world. We see great potential here."
The EU-wide ban has been in place since the BSE outbreak in 2000, and now Ireland joins France and Denmark as the only EU countries allowed to sell beef to Japan which is the largest importer of beef in Asia amounting to over 514,000 tonnes in 2012.
Prior to the ban, Ireland exported 3,000 tonnes of beef and offal to Japan, valued at just over €10 million. It is hoped that the sales of offal will increase, as tripe and tongue are considered delicacies in Asia, and demand now exceeds supply from domestic markets.
Lise Hand in Tokyo