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Japanese leader : US threats over beef ban 'preposterous'

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Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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Northeastern B.C.
Don't quite know where this news release belongs, but figure that with so much politics at play this might be the place for it.


Japanese leader calls new US threats over beef ban 'preposterous'

TOKYO : A Japanese politician called the latest US threat to punish Tokyo over its ban on US beef "preposterous," saying Japan must ensure that the meat is free from mad cow disease before lifting restrictions.

A bipartisan group of the US House of Representatives submitted a resolution Thursday demanding Japan open up its market to US beef, following similar calls in the Senate for trade sanctions unless Tokyo moves swiftly.

Tsutomu Takebe, secretary general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, denounced the latest US moves.

"It is preposterous. If they want to export to Japan, they obviously have to abide by the Japanese standards," said Takebe, a former farm minister.

Japan stopped buying US beef in December 2003 after a cow slaughtered in Washington state was found to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease, linked to a fatal brain condition in humans.

Japan, which was the biggest market for US beef until the ban, has agreed in principle to restart the multi-billion dollar trade.

However, the country's Food Safety Commission is trying to decide how best to test animals for slaughter, which had led to delays.

"The outcome will come out soon. But unless we have the (safety commission's) conclusion, we cannot move forward," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda, a government spokesman, said Friday.

The latest US threat came on the same day that its Senate passed a resolution opposing a resumption of beef imports from Canada due to mad cow fears.

Japan has screened every cow slaughtered for consumption since September 2001 when it became the only Asian nation to report mad cow disease among its domestic herds.

After intense US pressure, Japan said in October it would exempt US cows aged 20 months or younger from screening tests if high risk parts such as brains and spinal cords were removed.

The main dispute remains over how to verify the age of the cattle, with Japanese experts saying they did not have enough data to accept the method recommended by the United States.

On Tuesday, US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns accused Japan of having a "plodding regulatory process" and said further delays on ending the beef ban "could further complicate relations between the United States and Japan."


Take care.
More in the same vein...

Mar.4/05 Kyodo News

CORRECTED: Japan to wait for panel report despite U.S. pressure on beef
(Kyodo) _

Japan reiterated Friday it will wait for the Food Safety Commission's findings before deciding whether to end the country's blanket testing for mad cow disease despite mounting U.S. pressure to resume beef imports.
The panel of experts is deliberating whether to end blanket testing for cattle aged 20 months or under.

"Unless there is at least a conclusion that it is OK up to 20 months, we cannot move to the next step," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said in a press conference, in response to Thursday's move by a group of U.S. House of Representatives members to submit a resolution urging U.S. trade negotiators to impose economic sanctions on Japan for its 15-month-old ban on U.S. beef imports.

Still, Hosoda, Japan's top government spokesman, indicated the commission is expected to endorse lifting the requirement for cattle aged 20 months or less "in the near future."

The comments reflect criticism from consumer groups and the opposition camp in Japan of Japanese Cabinet ministers who, apparently under U.S. pressure, called on the independent commission to reach a conclusion quickly.

The mad cow scare led the government to set up the commission of scientists under the Cabinet Office in July 2003 to assess food safety independently from ministries concerned.

Take care.
Last one. Again somewhat related. Off for another check...

Friday, March 4, 2005
Story last updated at 2:31 AM on Mar. 4, 2005
Johanns: U.S Cattle Trade With Japan, Canada Inconsistent

Associated Press Writer

KEARNEY, Neb. -- The government is sending an inconsistent message to its trade partners by keeping America's border closed to Canadian cattle while encouraging Japan to open its borders to U.S. beef, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said.
Johanns' message came a day after a federal judge in Montana ruled to delay the proposed March 7 reopening of the U.S. border for Canadian cattle.

"I will say we were disappointed by that. Very disappointed as a matter of fact. But it is part of the process," Johanns said Thursday at the annual Governor's Agriculture Conference held in Kearney.

He did not, however, condemn the Senate's vote on Thursday to further delay resumption of imports of Canadian cows under 30 months of age that had been set to begin next week. Johanns called the 52-46 vote "close," and said it showed his agency has been making its case to legislators that all trade partners must be treated equally.

"Can you on one hand say to Japan, 'Base your decisions on good science. But oh, by the way, don't pay attention to what we are doing with our friends in Canada?"' Johanns said.

Johanns, Nebraska's governor until January, said that he has been pressuring Japan to reopen its borders to American cattle, a move also sought by federal lawmakers and President Bush.

Japan has not accepted American beef since the first case of mad cow disease surfaced in the United States in December 2003.

America, in turn, has not accepted Canadian beef since that country's first case of the brain-wasting disease in May 2003.

Johanns said there is no risk of the disease, officially known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, from either Canadian or American cattle.

"I don't have any doubt telling you Canadian beef is safe," Johanns said.

He spoke for about 25 minutes to the crowd during lunch -- which was, appropriately, prime rib.

Johanns also spoke about Bush's plan to reduce the deficit, saying that would improve the agriculture industry because it will give consumers more money to spend.

The Department of Justice is looking into how to respond to the ruling by the Montana judge, which came at the request of R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America, a national cattle group that has urged caution about reopening the border to Canadian beef.

The delay with Canadian trade hurts American producers because it is allowing Canada to become more competitive, Johanns warned. Processing plants in Canada are increasing, with projections at a rise of 30 percent in the future, which means U.S. jobs and business will be lost.

"We know very clearly the Canadian Cattle industry is going to fight to survive. I guess that's obvious. We would, too, wouldn't we?" Johanns asked of the audience.

Nebraska Director of Agriculture Merlyn Carlson was also concerned about the economic impact of the delay.

Workers at some packing plants in Nebraska had begun to show up for work this week in preparations for Monday's opening, Carlson said. He wondered how they would be affected by the delay.

"The later we open, the more impact it will have on the market," Carlson said.

Take care.
Thank-you for the posts. There are some reasonable people here in America that understand what these delays are all about. Short term benefit, long term damage.
Japan refuses to take American Beef because of concerns for BSE, yet they have had 13? cases of their own.

Don't take me wrong but that would be like England not taking Canada's,

would write more but gotta go back to work,,,,
Steve said:
Japan refuses to take American Beef because of concerns for BSE, yet they have had 13? cases of their own.

Don't take me wrong but that would be like England not taking Canada's,

would write more but gotta go back to work,,,,

Japan has a bse problem so they test 100% of there cattle at slaughter. There consumers want the same testing from any country that has had a bse case. They don't want debate about which country the bse case was born in, they want the beef to be from cattle tested at slaughter. If beef does not meet the CONSUMERS standard, there is no market.

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