There are four cattle beef breeds in Japan: Japanese Black, Japanese Brawn, Japanese Poll and Japanese Shorthorn. These breeds were crossed with European breeds in the early 1900's. As a result of introducing European blood, Japanese beef cattle have an expanded and more diverse gene pool. Furthermore, both the breed used for crossing and the selection criteria employed varied significantly from prefecture to prefecture Consequently, a number of distinct strains have been established. At present, however, the genetic diversity is becoming increasingly concentrated around a limited number of strains noted for their superior meat quality. From the genetic conservation view point, it is necessary to stock minor strains by frozen semen and embryos for future domands of genetic resources. This paper discusses the conservation and current utilization of beef cattle genetic resources in Japan.