Japan Will Not Unconditionally Resume Beef Trade with U.S.

US - The government confirmed this week it will not unconditionally accept a U.S. demand that Tokyo repeal the age limit on U.S. beef imports, government officials said.
calendar icon 7 December 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

Cabinet members, including Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Masatoshi Wakabayashi, confirmed the policy ahead of a meeting Friday in Washington between Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and U.S. PresidentGeorge W. Bush.

At the summit meeting, Bush is expected to press Fukuda to lift the age limit introduced for fear of mad cow disease. The Cabinet ministers reaffirmed that the government should decide whether to lift the age limit based on ''scientific evidence,'' the officials said.

''We should deal with the matter, bearing in mind that consumers are deeply concerned about the safety of the food they eat,'' Machimura was quoted as saying at the meeting.

Japan limits U.S. beef imports to meat coming from cattle aged 20 months or younger. Since June, the two countries have held talks on relaxing the import rule. During the process, Tokyo has been considering raising thecattle age limit to 30 months or younger.

Source: USagnet
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