Japanese media report that Japan plans to resume imports of U.S. beef next week.
The report follows an announcement by Japan's Agriculture Ministry that a U.S. decision to cut back its mad cow disease testing program will not have an impact on Japan's resumption of beef imports from the United States.
The U.S. Agriculture Department announced Thursday that it will reduce its mad cow surveillance program by 90 percent. Japan responded Friday, by saying the reduction will not affect Tokyo's decision to resume beef imports.
Tokyo lifted its two-year ban last December on the condition that imports exclude meat products that could carry the disease including brains, bone marrow and spinal cord tissue. However, a complete ban was reinstated in January after prohibited spinal material was discovered in a shipment of veal.
Tokyo agreed in June to lift those restrictions, pending inspections of U.S. meat processing plants.