Japan banned U.S. beef earlier this year amid concerns about mad cow disease, but agreed in principle to resume imports last month on the condition that Japanese inspectors found no problems at U.S. plants.
The officials notified the Liberal Democratic Party of plans to approve a conditional resumption of U.S. beef imports, according to an official of the LDP who declined to be named in line with party policy.
Japan was expected to reach a formal decision soon on resuming the imports, possibly on Thursday when the country’s Food Safety Commission meets.
Japanese inspectors returned on Sunday after a monthlong tour of 35 U.S. meat processing facilities to find out if they meet Japanese guidelines.
On Tuesday, Japan’s largest daily Yomiuri reported that the inspectors found problems “at one or two facilities,” citing unidentified Health Ministry officials.
The LDP official said that government agencies were nonetheless proposing to lift the import ban, while barring products from some of the 35 facilities. The official did not elaborate on details of the plan.
He said that the ruling party was examining the plan and had not yet reached a decision on it.
Japan lifted an earlier ban on U.S. beef late last year, but re-imposed it in January after inspectors found a shipment containing banned animal parts.
Tokyo has faced growing pressure from Washington to reopen its beef market.
Japan was a huge consumer of U.S. beef before 2003, when it imposed an import ban over concerns about possible mad cow disease — formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE — among U.S. cattle.
In humans, eating meat contaminated with BSE is linked to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a rare and 거창출장안마 deadly nerve disease.