Japan agrees to lift of ban on U.S. beef imports

Japan agrees to lift of ban on U.S. beef imports
Japan agrees to lift of ban on U.S. beef imports

The breakthrough resolves a thorny, long-running trade dispute between the allies, and gives U.S. ranchers access to what was once their most lucrative export market. Japan imposed the ban in January amid concerns about mad cow disease.

The accord came after a video conference between the two sides, said agriculture ministry official Hiroaki Ogura, the AP reports.

Kyodo News agency reported that the inspections are meant to ensure that U.S. processing facilities conform with Japanese food safety guidelines. Officials from Japan's health and agriculture ministries will inspect 35 meatpacking plants certified to ship beef to Japan to see if they are complying with export requirements, Kyodo said, citing government officials.