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From: TSS ()
Subject: Honorable Koizumi charged with being bullied by GW into force feeding Japan USA MAD COW BEEF
Date: January 25, 2006 at 6:53 am PST

BEEF NEWS Veal shipment causing storm in Japan; threats of permanent beef ban by Pete Hisey on 1/25/2006 for Consumer groups, opposition politicians and retailers all are reacting strongly to the news that a shipment of veal from a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based packer to Japan contained forbidden spinal column material. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, appearing before the Diet, Japan's Senate, defended himself against charges that he had been bullied by the United States into reopening the market to U.S. beef.

"[Koizumi] gave precedence to Japan-U.S. relations over the Japanese people's lives and safety," said Seiji Maehara, leader of the opposition Democratic Party. "It's outrageous."

Koizumi, speaking to the Diet on Tuesday, denied the accusations. "The decision was not made because we put priority on Japan-U.S relations," he said.

Meanwhile, top Japanese government officials warned American representatives that another mistake may mean a permanent ban on U.S. beef. Japanese consumers may never eat U.S. beef again if similar incidents occur, Shoichi Nakagawa, Minister of Agriculture, told U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, according to Jiji Press Service.

Consumer Japan, an umbrella group representing 43 Japanese consumer organizations, said that while constituents are not against the import of U.S. beef, "the risk-monitoring systems for U.S. meat producers and exporters were not fully explained to us. Our fear has only proven true." The group criticized both governments, indicating, "the Japanese government will have to spend a long time talking to Japanese consumers about the issue before resuming imports from America."

Exporter was inexperienced

In Tokyo, J.B. Penn, U.S. undersecretary for farm and agricultural services, said the firm that exported the beef, Atlantic Veal & Lamb, had not had enough experience in dealing with international customers. He pledged that USDA would thoroughly investigate the matter and take steps to ensure the incident isn't repeated. "We believe this was an isolated incident," he told reporters at the U.S. embassy.


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