Japanese officials are to visit the US this week to look into US measures to contain bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Japan was among several countries that halted imports of US beef in late December following the discovery of a case of BSE in Washington state.

Japan's agriculture ministry said a Japanese delegation had been sent to investigate what measures the US was taking to contain the disease, reported the Financial Times.

Yoshiyuki Kamei, Japan's agriculture minister, said US BSE safeguards did not meet Japanese standards, the paper said.

Meanwhile, Japanese trade minister Shoichi Nakagawa is expected to back Japan's stance while in Washington for trade talks.

"When we had BSE in Japan, it was a big shock for us and for the public. Everyone has worked hard since then and confidence in our beef has returned," he was quoted by the Financial Times as saying. 

"We can't allow anything to shake that confidence."