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From: TSS (
Subject: Tokyo -- ``We are still demanding that the U.S. apply the same testing procedures.''
Date: September 14, 2004 at 9:06 am PST

JPN BSE view unchanged w new case

Japan Says Latest Infected Cow Won't Affect BSE-Testing Review

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- A new case of mad cow disease in Japan won't affect a review of domestic cattle-testing procedures, said Chikara Sakaguchi, the nation's health minister.

``The latest finding has no direct impact on the review because the confirmed cow is very old,'' Sakaguchi said during a scheduled press conference in Tokyo.

Japan confirmed its 12th case of mad cow disease yesterday. Meat and organs from the five-year-old animal didn't reach markets, and the carcass will be incinerated, the health ministry said in a statement on its Web site.

Japan, which requires testing of all cattle, is considering dropping the requirement for cows younger than 21 months. That would clear the way for resuming some U.S. beef imports if the same standard were applied in the U.S.

U.S. beef products have been barred from Japan since December, when mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, was discovered in a cow in Washington state. The U.S. rejects Japan's demand for blanket testing, arguing current methods can't reliably detect the disease in animals under 30 months, which account for most of the 35 million cattle slaughtered annually in that country.

Japan's Food Safety Commission on Sept. 9 concluded testing is effective for cattle 21 months old and older, and left a decision on testing younger cattle to the health and agriculture ministries.

Partial Resumption?

Yoshiyuki Kamei, Japan's agriculture minister, said U.S. beef imports can't resume until the U.S. adopts Japanese standards and that Japan made no overture to the U.S. for a partial resumption.

Nikkei English News reported on the weekend that Japan last week proposed to the U.S. it end the ban of beef from cattle younger than 21 months, citing unnamed government officials.

Julie Quick, deputy press secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C., said she could not confirm receiving such a proposal.

``Japan is not currently considering a partial resumption of U.S. beef imports,'' Kamei said at a separate press conference in Tokyo. ``We are still demanding that the U.S. apply the same testing procedures.''

Kamei said Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. President George W. George Bush may discuss the issue when the Japanese leader visits the U.S. later this month.

Scientists have said humans who eat certain parts of animals infected with mad cow may contract variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a similar brain-wasting ailment that has been blamed for 142 human deaths in the U.K. since 1990.

The U.S. sold Japan about $1.5 billion worth of U.S. beef in 2003, before the Dec. 23 disclosure of mad cow disease closed markets, the U.S. Meat Export Federation said.

The U.S. exports about $3.8 billion in beef a year. Mexico, the second-largest importer of U.S. beef, reopened most of its markets to U.S. imports in March.

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