Thursday Ag Secretary Mike Johanns would not comment directly on a date for Japanese beef trade resumption. However, Kyodo News agency reports Japan plans next week to officially a partial resumption of U.S. beef imports.
This week, Japanese experts visited 35 beef processing plants to see if they comply with safeguard measures exclusively added for their exports to Japan. According to Kyodo, the team of experts will put together a report from the inspections, and approve specific facilities. If a facility has problems, it will be asked to take measures for improvement and be reevaluated, Kyodo says.
Thursday USDA announced it would scale-back BSE testing from 5,000 animals per week to 40,000 per year. Japan's farm minister confirmed the decision would not impact Tokyo's decision on whether to resume U.S. beef imports.