October 18, 2011
Japan hesitates to lift US beef import ban
Easing restrictions on US beef imports that were imposed over fears of mad cow disease has not been decided by Japan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Monday (Oct 17).
Fujimura said that it is true that several government officials are considering the matter, but they have not decided on it.
He also ruled out the possibility of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda broaching the issue during a summit meeting with US President Barack Obama next month at the earliest.
Fujimura's remarks came after local media reported that Japan is considering allowing beef from cattle aged 30 months or younger to be imported into Japan and Noda will tell the plan to Obama in November.
Japan banned imports of US beef in December 2003, when the first US case of mad cow disease was confirmed. It lifted the ban in December 2005 but imposed conditions that included limiting US beef imports to meat from cattle aged 20 months or younger.