Concluding a trade mission to Japan, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said that "agreement had been reached in principle to allow access for Irish sheepmeat to the Japanese market".

Minister Creed first met his counterpart, Japanese minister for agriculture, forestry and fisheries Takamori Yoshikawa and the vice-minister for health, labour and welfare Masayoshi Shintani. These ministerial meetings followed detailed technical meetings involving senior officials from both ministries and the Department of Agriculture, supported by the Irish Embassy in Tokyo.

Meetings with both ministers were very positive

“I am really delighted to announce that we have now reached agreement in principle on market access for Irish sheepmeat," said Minister Creed. "Details will be finalised by an exchange of letters between my Department and the relevant Japanese official. Meetings with both ministers were very positive, reflecting the detailed technical cooperation and exchanges between our officials which led to today’s announcement."

Once documentation is finalised, individual factories will be able to apply to the Department of Agriculture for approval to export to Japan.

Minister Creed said traceability was key to the agreement, including the introduction of electronic tagging for sheep.

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