• Kyodo


The municipal office of Ora, Gunma Prefecture, said Tuesday it will distribute coupons redeemable for beef to all of its 8,500 households in a bid to stimulate sales.

The coupons, worth 2,000 yen, come in the wake of falling beef sales since the outbreak of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, in Japan in September.

The coupons will be issued in May and August, when beef consumption is expected to be high due to the Golden Week holiday period and summer break, the local government said.

Retailers will be reimbursed with cash.

Consumers can use the coupons — four notes worth 500 yen each — when they buy Ora-produced beef at designated meat shops and supermarkets in the town, it said.

Retailers will be asked to feature the names and addresses of the beef producers as well as photos of the growers’ faces, the office said, in the hope this will assure consumers of the beef’s safety.

Some 40 households raise 2,000 cows in the town, and their businesses have deteriorated since the third BSE-contaminated cow in Japan was discovered in the village of Miyagi, Gunma Prefecture, it said.

A town official said, “We expect the coupons to encourage beef consumption and we hope the move will spread to other cities, towns and villages.”

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