WASHINGTON – Takemichi Yamashoji was promoted to director of Japan by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Yamashoji has been with USMEF since 1999, serving most recently as senior marketing director.

As director of Japan’s operations, he will now be responsible for managing market development programs for US pork and beef, identifying emerging opportunities for US exporters, monitoring regulatory and public policy proceedings, and evaluating economic trends and conditions in the Japanese market.

“Takemichi Yamashoji is not only an established veteran of the Japanese meat trade, but is also well known and highly respected in the US meat industry,” said USMEF Chair Roel Andriessen, who heads the international sales group for Tyson Fresh Meats. “The USMEF officer team is very confident in his ability to build upon USMEF’s strong reputation in Japan and to confront ongoing market challenges and opportunities for U.S. red meat exports.”

USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng said Japan’s operations “couldn’t be in better hands,” especially at a time when the Japanese beef and pork markets are so competitive and USMEF must battle every day to expand and defend US market share.

Japan is the leading value market for both US pork and beef, with 2015 exports (through November) totaling $1.46 billion and $1.19 billion. Japan is not currently open to US lamb exports, but regulatory proceedings are in progress that may restore access for US lamb.