A senior Japanese official has said that Canada must fully implement measures to protect against mad cow disease before Japan can resume imports of Canadian beef.

Japan’s Agriculture Minister Yoshiyuki Kamei said that Canada had not provided sufficient information about the latest steps it is taking to safeguard against the disease, reported Reuters.

“Neither were they able to clarify the exact timing of the implementation” of those measures, Kamei said after a meeting with Canadian Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief.

Japan suffered an outbreak of the disease in 2001 that badly hit its meat industry.

“It took us an enormous amount of effort to recover the trust of the consumers and beef consumption has suffered a very sharp decline of 60%,” Kamei was quoted by Reuters as saying.

“Therefore, scientific inspections to the same degree as were conducted in Japan would have to be implemented in Canada. And that will be a major condition for Japan to reopen the imports of Canadian beef,” he said.