Last week the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) hosted a meeting with top officials from Japan’s Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation (ALIC).

Greg Hanes, USMEF assistant vice president for international marketing, explains that ALIC plays a critical role in the stability of Japan’s agricultural sector.

Hanes adds that the ALIC officials’ visit to the United States included a wide-ranging overview of the production and processing practices in the U.S. pork and beef industries.

Top issues of interest for the group included animal welfare, which ALIC feels may take on a higher profile in Japan now that major restaurant and retail chains are favoring suppliers who follow particular production practices.