Japan to import Thai chicken meat after lifting decade-old ban


BANGKOK, Dec 21 – Japan will resume importing fresh chicken meat from Thailand after a nine-year ban due to the bird flu pandemic, according to the Thai agriculture ministry.

Yukol Lim-laemthong, caretaker deputy prime minister/agriculture minister, said after a meeting with Shigekosu Sato, Japanese ambassador to Thailand, that Japan will lift the ban this month, which was imposed in 2004, after finding that the kingdom has been free from bird flu for four consecutive years.

The Thai Livestock Department will issue animal health certificates and submit the names of 26 companies to Japan for approval, and thoroughly control the domestic manufacturing process to ensure safety, he said.

Thailand will export about 300,000 tonnes of fresh chicken meat next year, where the original export volume was 500,000 tonnes.

Mr Yukol said Thailand will have to be on extra alert for bird flu since it takes years to re-export after a hiccup, adding that South Korea is another potential market for Thai chicken meat.