The first shipments of U.S. beef reportedly went to Japan last week. That following the July 27 announcement that Japan's ban on U.S. beef was lifted, at least for boneless beef from cattle 21 months old or younger.

There wasn't much pop in the market, though, for obvious reasons, including the fact that little volume is expected to move that direction anytime soon.

More than anything, U.S. producers rightfully have little confidence in the Japanese market remaining open without additional hiccups. Japan's Health Minister, Jiro Kawasaki, underscored that notion when he told the Japan Times July 28 that if any specified-risk materials (SRMs) are found in a shipment, the ban would be re-imposed.