Senators to meet with Japanese envoy

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Mar 14, 2005
by WLJ
Two U.S. senators were scheduled to meet Japan’s envoy separately last Friday and the following Monday to directly press Japan to lift the 15-month-long import ban on U.S. beef.
Sen. Wayne Allard, R-CO, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Charles Grassley, R-IA, were scheduled to meet Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Ryozo Kato.
Allard initiated a joint letter of 20 bipartisan senators sent last month to Kato, threatening to pursue retaliatory economic actions if Japan fails to quickly resume beef imports.
On March 4, 59 members of the House of Representatives submitted a resolution urging the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to “immediately” impose economic sanctions on Japan for failing to lift the ban despite an agreement reached last October to resume imports of beef from animals up to 20 months of age.
Japan was the largest importer of U.S. beef before it imposed the ban in December 2003. The Japanese government has repeatedly said it is waiting for an outcome of the ongoing deliberations by the Food Safety Commission over whether to stop the current domestic blanket testing of slaughtered cattle and exclude animals aged 20 months or younger. The independent commission’s go-ahead will pave the way for Japan to partially resume imports as agreed to with the U.S. back in October.
In addition to senators meeting with Kato, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to discuss the issue when she is over in Tokyo the week of March 14, federal officials said. It is expected that Rice may have a brief meeting with Japan Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to discuss the issue.