Japanese and U.S. experts will meet on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss technical issues relating to American beef trade, Japan's Farm Ministry said in a news release on Monday.

The meeting will mark the start of a process to review safety rules on U.S. beef trade.

The rules were adopted as part of an agreement to allow the resumption of shipments of U.S. beef to Japan, first halted in December 2003 after the first report of mad cow disease in the United States.

Washington is demanding that Japan resume imports of U.S. beef from cattle aged up to 30 months, in line with global standards, while Tokyo currently only accepts American beef from cattled aged 20 months or younger.

The age limit has greatly restricted the amount of eligible U.S. beef that can be exported to Japan.

Monthly U.S. beef exports to Japan remain at about 10 percent of its pre-ban level of about 240,000 tons shipped in 2003.