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Wednesday, 31st July 2013
In General Japan News,

Japan to resume wheat imports from US

No doubt America's wheat farmers breathed a sigh of relief at news that Japan will once again begin importing the grain from the north west of the US. 

Japan stopped imports from some areas in America after a genetically-modified strain was found in a crop in Oregon. 

The ban, which happened at the end of May 2013, would have arguably had a significant impact on the US market as Japan is Asia's second-largest wheat buyer. 

In addition, Hiromi Iwahama, director for grain trade at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said that it had cancelled plans to buy 24,926 metric tons of western-white wheat as a result of the finding. 

At the time, Bloomberg reported Mr Iwahama as saying that imports from wheat produced in Oregon and nearby areas had been suspended "as we cannot rule out the possibility that supplies containing unapproved crops may enter Japan". 

He added that trade would be resumed "after US authorities establish testing methods to identify the unapproved variety". 

According to the Oregon Wheat Commission, the rogue strain was only found in one field and federal investigators stated that they had not discovered any other cases. 

Blake Rowe, chief executive of the Oregon Wheat Commission, described the decision as "a relief". 

The US Department of Agriculture confirmed Japan's decision and it was reported that the Japanese will continue to test US wheat imports for genetically modified varieties for the foreseeable future. 

US Senator Ron Wyden said that the announcement "means that all of Oregon's Asian customers are now confident that the wheat they are buying is free from genetically modified organisms". 

Mr Rowe said that while the commission was "optimistic" that Japan would come to that decision they "didn't think it would happen quite this quickly", although he admitted they are "thankful that it did". 

Japan bought approximately £660 billion worth of wheat from the US in 2012, the majority of which was the soft white variety. 

Written by  Graham McPherson

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