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Akagi Reiterates Japan's Position On U.S. Beef Imports

06 June 2007

JAPAN - New farm minister Norihiko Akagi told U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns on Tuesday that Japan is in no hurry to consider a U.S. call to ease its terms for beef imports from the United States, Japanese officials said.

During their telephone conversations, Johanns asked Japan to relax its U.S. beef import conditions but Akagi reiterated Japan's position that it will deal with the issue in line with scientific evidence, the officials said.

Akagi's remarks were taken as indicating that Japan will consider the U.S. request after seeing the results of inspections by the U.S. government of meatpacking plants for Japan-bound shipments.

When resuming U.S. beef imports last year after a ban over mad cow disease fears, Japan limited imports to those from cattle aged up to and including 20 months.

The United States is seeking easier beef import conditions by Japan as the World Organization for Animal Health has recently authorized the United States to export beef irrespective of cattle age as long as risk materials, such as brains, are removed.

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Source: Yahoo News

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