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From: TSS ()
Subject: USA TO FORCE FEED JAPAN USDA TSE TAINTED MEAT
Date: April 5, 2005 at 6:57 am PST

Japan pressed to adopt N. American BSE standard
WASHINGTON, April 4, Kyodo - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns indicated Monday that the United States intends to press Japan to adopt a North American risk mitigation standard on mad cow disease, a move that may force Japan to completely resume imports of American beef.

''My hope is that we can continue that international dialogue because, for example, Japan would like to export to us Kobe beef,'' Johanns told reporters, referring to the unified risk mitigation strategy announced last week by Canada, Mexico and the United States.

''There has to be an international way,'' Johanns said, suggesting that Japan should adopt the standard to resume imports of U.S. beef and to pave the way for the United States to lift its ban on imports of Japanese beef due to mad cow disease.

Japan was the largest importer of U.S. beef before it imposed the ban in December 2003, when the United States discovered its first case of the disease. The United States has also banned imports of Japanese beef since Japan's first outbreak in 2001.

Canada, Mexico and the United States plan to present the strategy at a World Organization for Animal Health meeting in late May to press other countries to adopt it as an international standard for the brain-wasting illness, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

If it becomes an international standard, Japan's current agreement with the United States to resume imports only from animals aged up to 20 months will likely violate this standard.

The North American strategy involves nine specific measures highlighting BSE risks for cattle aged over 30 months, which are considered to be more at risk for the disease than younger animals, for allowing exports of beef regardless of age.

Among other specific measures, the three countries call for removing brain, skull, eyes, spinal cords and other specified risk materials from cattle aged over 30 months.

In a compromise deal reached between Tokyo and Washington last October, Japan backed down from its demand for blanket testing on all cattle bound for Japan, while the United Stated settled for beef from animals aged up to 20 months instead of its initial demand for those aged up to 30 months.

Johanns also reiterated his call on Japan to quickly implement the agreement, expressing dissatisfaction with the ''slow'' deliberations by Japan's independent Food Safety Commission.

The commission is studying whether to exclude animals aged up to 20 months from the current domestic blanket BSE testing.

Rejecting repeated U.S. calls to set a timeline for resuming imports amid increasing pressure in the U.S. Congress to impose sanctions, the Japanese government maintains that it needs to wait for the commission's approval.
http://home.kyodo.co.jp/all/display.jsp?an=20050405042

TSS




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