OSAKA, JAPAN — Gerry Ritz, Canadian Agriculture Minister, recently led a mission to Japan in hopes of creating new export agricultural opportunities by meeting with newly elected officials and kick-starting the Brand Canada Initiative in Japan with an initial investment of C$1 million ($950,000).

"It was critical for us to get on the ground here in Japan to meet new government members within their first 100 days in office," Mr. Ritz said. "The discussions officials are having right now will set the agricultural agenda here for the long-term and we're making sure agriculture remains a cornerstone of the strong trade relationship between Canada and Japan."

Mr. Ritz iterated Canada's long-standing request for greater access for Canadian beef in the Japanese market. Access for Canadian beef exports to Japan are currently restricted to products from animals under 21 months of age.

Mr. Ritz also announced an initial investment of C$1 million ($950,000) to begin the Brand Canada Initiative in Japan. The announcement is part of the Canada's global C$32 million ($30 million) Brand Canada Initiative that is intended to drive market research, advertising, store features and other promotional activities.