JAPAN – Bloomberg reports Japan may lift its ban on domestic beef and pork shipments in July a two months after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. As early as July 16, live animal shipments from disease-hit areas in Miyazaki prefecture in southern Japan may resume, unless a new outbreak occurs, said one Japanese government official.

Resuming the stalled meat flow could boost meat supply in Japan, which might diminish demand for imported pork and beef. Miyazaki is the nation’s second-largest pig producer and third-largest for beef cattle.

For the year ending March 31, Japan imported 475,000 tons of beef, which is up 1.2% from a year earlier. While Australia was the biggest supplier with 355,488 tons, the U.S. was the second-largest with 73,823 tons. Last fiscal year Japan imported 692,000 tons of pork, which is down 15% from a year earlier. The U.S. represented 40% of the total supply, while Canada was the second-largest exporter with 25%.