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Japans Ag Minister in Hot Water

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Makes me wonder if this fellow ain't a former USDA employee :roll: -Hope he doesn't commit hari kari- he has no worry if he loses his job Johanns or the Tyson/Cargil crew can put him to work :wink: :???: ..


Today 1/30/2006 12:36:00 PM

Jolley: Japan’s Farm Minister Admits Beef Inspection Failure

A French-based news service, Agency France Presse, has reported Japan's farm minister admitted to a legislative committee looking into the US beef shipment containing banned material that he never sent teams to the United States to inspect beef.

"I want to apologize. We did not go to the United States before resuming imports," Agriculture Minister Shoichi Nakagawa told an often hostile legislative committee.

Amid the growing political firestorm Nakagawa said, "I will think about what I can do to take responsibility," as opposition parties called for his resignation.

The Japanese Government said at it would send inspectors to monitor safety rules it imposed for U.S. meatpackers before reopening their markets. On January 20 inspectors discovered that a U.S. shipment from Atlantic Veal included spinal columns and immediately imposed a new ban.

Seiji Maehara, leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, said Nakagawa was admitting the government failed to ensure the public's safety. In unduly harsh terms, he said, "Farm Minister Nakagawa must step down. The Koizumi cabinet holds serious responsibility."



Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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Montgomery, Al

Archives > Livestock
Wednesday, October 26, 2005 11:53 AM CDT

Japan wants to inspect U.S. packing plants

TOKYO (AP) -- The Japanese government must be allowed to inspect meat processing facilities in the United States after Tokyo lifts its two-year ban on imports of U.S. beef, Japan’s agricultural minister said Tuesday.

The comments came after a government panel on BSE (mad-cow disease) on Monday delayed a decision on whether to declare U.S. beef imports safe, despite drafting a report the risk from U.S. beef is very low.

STILL, THE BAN, imposed after the detection of the first case of BSE in a U.S. cow in December 2003, is widely expected to be lifted by the end of the year.

Agricultural Minister Mineichi Iwanaga said Japan should ensure firsthand that proper safety steps are in place on the U.S. side once that happens.

“If U.S. beef imports are resumed, the Japanese government must inspect meat processing plants and other facilities in the U.S. to make sure appropriate checks are being carried out,” the minister told reporters.

Japan and the United States agreed earlier this year to allow imports of meat from cows under 21 months old, but Japan’s Food Safety Commission is still determining the safety of U.S. beef.

WASHINGTON HAS accused the Japanese of foot-dragging on the issue and is impatient for a resumption of beef sales.

In 2003, Japan bought about $1.5 billion worth of U.S. beef, making it the most lucrative overseas beef market for the United States.

The BSE panel has drafted a report saying there is no significant difference in safety between U.S. and Japanese beef. But, it has not approved and sent the report to the full commission.

Visiting U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said after Monday’s meeting many circles in the United States — from congressmen to officials in the Bush administration — were growing impatient with the slow process, and called for a quick resumption of Japanese beef imports.

Iwanaga reiterated any decision by Tokyo to lift the ban would be based on the commission’s findings.

“Japan will make an appropriate decision after the commission comes out with its final evaluation,” Iwanaga said.

Members of the panel are to meet again later this month or early next month. If the report is approved, it will be forwarded to the health and agriculture ministries for a month of public hearings before the government makes a final decision on lifting the ban.

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