Secretary Vilsack met this week with Hirotaka Akamatsu, the newly appointed Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for Japan. This was their first meeting since the election of the new Japanese government and both Minister Akamatsu and Secretary Vilsack expressed a deep commitment to developing a strong and trusting relationship, both as individuals and as countries.

The two leaders discussed necessary steps toward a successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda and issues affecting our bilateral trade in agricultural products. On the issue of beef, Secretary Vilsack emphasized the importance of basing policy on OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) standards, and Minister Akamatsu expressed his Today commitment to have food safety regulations based on scientific knowledge. The two countries both agreed to a continuing dialogue on this important issue. The Japanese market is an extremely important market for America's farmers, ranchers and exporters and today's meeting marked an important step in the Obama Administration's effort to continue and expand this fruitful relationship.