(Reuters) - Japan will import 750 tonnes of wheat used for making cakes that is not the U.S. western white variety for the first time in over half a century, following a halt on shipments of the U.S. grade.
Tokyo stopped imports of western white, a mixture of soft white and club white wheat developed particularly for Japan, in late-May after the U.S. announced it had found a genetically modified version of the wheat growing in Oregon.
Japan will buy a total 750 tonnes of soft-red winter grain and club wheat from the United States, the farm ministry said in a release.
The agency allowed for as much as 2,000 tonnes of alternative grades to be purchased during the dealing period that ended earlier on Friday, which is used from time to time to import wheat grades outside of the ministry's mostly weekly tenders for the five main wheat grades Japan uses.
The world's sixth-biggest wheat importer has relied solely on western white to make cakes and many other confectionary since at least 1960 and imports around 800,000 tonnes of the grade annually.
South Korean millers on Friday confirmed they would lift their halt on U.S. white wheat imports, without giving a specific timeframe.
Sources with direct knowledge of the matter had told Reuters on Thursday that shipments would begin next week at the earliest, after Seoul found no GMO grain in tests of shipments.
But shipments of western white to Japan are not expected to restart until the conclusion of a U.S. investigation into how a GMO strain of wheat developed by Monsanto Co, but never put into commercial production, was discovered growing in a field. (Reporting by James Topham and Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Joseph Radford)
Originally published: Reuters.