The first case of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) outside Europe was discovered in Japan in September 2001. To assess its impact on Japanese retail meat demand, a Japanese meat demand system was estimated as a gradual switching Rotterdam model. The system distinguished beef by type and origin: wagyu beef (from domestic beef cattle), domestic dairy beef, and imported beef from the United States and Australia. The results, based on data from April 1994 to December 2002, suggest the Japanese retail meat demand system underwent a two-month transition period following the initial BSE discovery and continued to adjust subsequently. The scare affected the demand for all types of beef. [EconLit citations: Q11.] © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Agribusiness 21: 313–327, 2005.