The company, one of Europe’s largest beef processors, announced it had signed a contract to supply beef to the country, in a deal said to be worth more than €4 million.
Japan introduced a ban on beef from Ireland 14 years ago, following an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). However, the ban was lifted in December 2013, after the Japanese Government agreed to allow the resumption of exports of chilled or frozen beef and beef offal on the condition that it must come from animals aged 30-months or less at slaughter.
The export deal commences immediately, with the first deliveries expected to arrive early in the New Year, said a statement from ABP.
Mark Goodman, international commercial director of ABP Food Group, said: “We are very proud to announce this deal, which means ABP will become the first Irish company to re-start supply to the Japanese market since the BSE ban in 2000.
“Japanese consumers are among the most discerning in the world. More than 60% of locally produced beef is Wagyu, so I think it is testament to the competitiveness and quality of Ireland’s grass-fed beef offering that we have succeeded in gaining entry to this market."
He continued: “Bord Bía has played a major role in assisting us to communicate Ireland’s sustainable, grass-fed, hormone-free message to Japanese consumers. Our focus now, is to grow the business and build the reputation of premium Irish beef in Japan.”
Ireland is one of only three European countries with access to the Japanese market.