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From: TSS ()
Subject: JAPAN DENIES OIE BSE IMPACT
Date: May 31, 2005 at 8:18 am PST


JPN denies OIE BSE impact

Gov't official denies impact of new BSE rules on Japan-U.S. talks

May 30, 2005

(Kyodo) _ A senior Japanese farm ministry official on Monday rejected the view that Japan may be under stronger pressure from the United States to fully lift its ban on U.S. beef imports in the wake of the adoption of new global guidelines on mad cow disease.

"There will be nothing to cause Japan difficulties in its talks with the United States," Vice Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Mamoru Ishihara said at a news conference.

The World Organization for Animal Health, known as the OIE, adopted new guidelines last week for measures against mad cow disease, despite opposition from Japan and some other countries.

The new standards include adding boneless red meat to a list of products free to be traded regardless of a country's risk level with regard to the disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

The adoption of the new guidelines has raised speculation that the United States may increase pressure on Japan to lift the import ban at an early date. The ban has been imposed since the discovery of the first U.S. case of BSE in December 2003.

Ishihara, however, said the new standards stipulate that cows infected by BSE or meat suspected of being infected should be excluded from the list.

Ishihara said there is no change in the government's policy of limiting the planned resumption of U.S. beef imports to animals aged up to 20 months.

The United States may see things differently, but it should be left up to the judgment of the importing country whether U.S. meat satisfies import conditions, he said.

Japan and the United States agreed last October on the partial resumption of U.S. beef imports, but a specific date has yet to be set. Tokyo says it needs to await approval by the independent Food Safety Commission on whether to implement the October accord.

asia.news.yahoo.com

TSS




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