The European Union imposed a ban on Japanese beef back in 2001, following an outbreak of BSE in the country. That ban was lifted in 2013 and now, with the first processing facilities pending approval for export to the EU, Japanese producers are hoping to generate strong demand across the continent.
Highlighting the meat at a celebratory lunch in London’s Nobu restaurant, Yoshimi Nakano, from the National Federation of Agriculture Co-operative Associations (Zen-Noh), said: "I am delighted the EU market has now been opened up for imports of Japanese Wagyu beef.
"In March, we opened a representative office here in London, from where we have been preparing for the full-scale launch of sales of Zen-Noh Wagyu into European markets. It is our aim to foster Zen-Noh Wagyu into a leading brand in Europe."
He added that, at the moment, definitive plans and strategies for the entire EU market were still in the planning stages. With plants still awaiting pending certification, a full-scale export programme has yet to be drawn up.
"We don’t have any specific target markets yet, we’ve just got permission to export. So this is the first main event to understand the market. We want to know how people react, then we’ll decide how we’re going to tackle the market."