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A government team that spent about a month inspecting 35 meatpacking plants in the United States returned to Japan on Sunday.

The government is expected to decide around Thursday to resume imports of U.S. beef, sources said. The beef will come from those meatpackers that have been judged as having no safety problems regarding mad cow disease.

The inspectors checked whether the facilities are following standards for exports to Japan, including removing at-risk material, and observed the production management system at farms and feed mills.

The inspectors appear to have found no major problems, the sources said.

The government plans to report to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party about the inspection results Wednesday.

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry is to hold a meeting toward the end of the week to discuss measures concerning mad cow disease and formally decide to resume the imports, they said.

The government is to hold briefing sessions for consumers Friday in Tokyo and Osaka, according to the sources.

With the decision, U.S. beef products are expected to arrive in Japan before the end of July for the first time in six months.

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