Home>News Center>World
         
 

Japan: US won't affect decision on beef
(AP)
Updated: 2005-10-27 13:55

A U.S. Senate proposal to impose tariffs on Japanese products should not influence Tokyo's decision on whether to ease its ban on American beef, imposed due to mad cow disease fears, a top government official said Thursday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said the conclusion of Japan's Food Safety Commission should be based on science, not foreign pressure.

"We are carefully observing the actions of the senators, but that should not affect the deliberations by the Food Safety Commission," Hosoda told reporters.

Twenty-one U.S. senators on Wednesday introduced legislation that would impose tariffs on Japan in retaliation for its ban on U.S. beef.

Japan, once American beef's most lucrative foreign market, closed its borders to U.S. beef imports in December 2003 after the detection of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease.

The countries have agreed to allow the import of meat from U.S. cows age 21 months or younger, but Japan's Food Safety Commission must complete its deliberations before the ban can be eased.

The United States has increasingly complained in recent months that the commission's process was taking too long, and calls for punishment of Japan for foot-dragging have been rising in the U.S. Congress.

The U.S. Senate bill, authored by Sens. Kent Conrad and Pat Roberts, would require President Bush to impose tariffs on Japanese products if Japan does not reopen its domestic market to U.S. beef by the end of the year.

While Japanese leaders have suggested they support an easing of the ban, they insist the commission must be allowed to complete its deliberations.

A special panel of the commission had been expected earlier this week to issue a report saying U.S. beef was as safe as Japanese beef, but that decision was delayed. The panel meets next on Monday.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said on Wednesday that Japan would not be hurried in its decision by his planned summit with Bush next month in Kyoto.

Japan bought more than $1 billion worth of U.S. beef in 2003, making it the biggest overseas market for American beef products.

A Japanese newspaper published a poll Wednesday that found almost 70 percent of Japanese oppose lifting the ban.

Mad cow disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE affects cows fed with the remains of other cattle infected with the disease. Infected beef is thought to cause a fatal human brain disorder that has killed more than 150 people, mostly in Britain, since the 1990s.



Britain to introduce smoking ban
Hurricane Wilma batters Florida
All 117 feared dead in Nigerian plane crash
 
  Today's Top News     Top World News
 

China: No human infection of bird flu reported

 

   
 

Hu: China a 'good neighbour' of ASEAN

 

   
 

Duties wrong way on China yuan: Snow

 

   
 

12 killed in primary school stampede

 

   
 

RMB appreciation megatrend: banker

 

   
 

Tight energy supply shows signs of easing

 

   
  Prosecutor, judge in CIA leak probe meet
   
  Blast kills 5 Israelis, erodes peace hopes
   
  US envoy: Assad refused to be interviewed
   
  British lawmakers back anti-terror measures
   
  Sunni Arabs join forces for Iraq elections
   
  Iran leader calls for Israel's destruction
   
 
  Go to Another Section  
 
 
  Story Tools  
   
  Related Stories  
   
Japan's panel expected to recommend lifting US beef ban
   
HK likely to lift ban on US beef
   
Japan closer to lifting ban on US beef
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?  
Advertisement