Advertisements promoting US meat do not feature cows or pigs prominently in the ads. The Japan ad campaign features friendly farmers and happy families with few images of cattle or hogs. One US Meat Export Federation advertisement on a Tokyo train depicts a man – a farmer – standing among crops in a field. There are no cows in the picture. Where’s the beef? Another USMEF ad seen on a train depicts a young male farmer holding a little boy. Some cattle can be seen in the distance behind the farmer.
The Japanese website has beef-safety information, recipes, pages for kids, and instructions for making meat origami.
In 2004 Japan banned U.S. beef imports for the first time after a case of was confirmed in Washington state in 2003. The Japanese government lifted the beef ban in December 2005. In January 2006 the Japanese government banned imports of US beef again, then lifted that embargo in July 2007. In December 2008 Japan banned imports of beef from a Wisconsin meat-packing plant because non-certified beef products were discovered in a shipment.
Japan, once the largest importer of US beef, is now the third-largest buyer of U.S. beef.
A US meat industry publication stated in a December 2008 report "U.S. pork continues its reign as the king of imported pork in Japan." The data shows Japan accounts for 31 percent of the total value of U.S. pork exports.
The USMEF American Meat promotion campaign is funded by U.S. beef and pork producers.