JAPAN is relaxing restrictions on US beef imports that have been in place due to fears of mad-cow disease.The Foreign Ministry announced yesterday that Japan and the US have agreed that imports of beef from cows up to 30 months old will be allowed, up from the current 20-month age limit, effective February 1.
The change matches international standards and applies to beef imports from the US, Canada, France and the Netherlands.
It is expected to cover 90 per cent of beef processed in the US.
Japan's Health Ministry had approved the step following public hearings.
Japan banned US beef imports in 2003 after the fatal brain disease was discovered there.
In 2005 Japan allowed imports of beef 20 months or younger.