Opposition parties jointly hold rally calling for a law to deal with BSE

Calling for the early enactment of urgent measures to deal with BSE problems, four opposition parties jointly held a meeting in Shinjuku, Tokyo on April 4.

The meeting was attended by about 2,000 stockbreeders, distribution and sales business people, and consumers who are complaining about the damage from the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The four parties have submitted a bill, calling for the establishment of measures for BSE infection prevention and government subsidies in order to ensure a safe beef supply.

Shii Kazuo, Japanese Communist Party chair, Hatoyama Yukio, Democratic Party of Japan president, Ozawa Ichiro, Liberal Party president, and Fukushima Mizuho, Social Democratic Party secretary general, made speeches.

Shii denounced Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro for giving priority to the maintenance of his government over food safety.

Shii demanded that the government offer compensation in the amount of 300 billion yen for losses due to BSE.

850,000 people have so far signed the petition for an urgent measures law.

Earlier in the day, the National Campaign for Defense of the People's Food and Health (Shokkenren) and the National Federation of Farmers Movement (Nominren) conducted a campaign in front of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries building, demanding state compensation and the resignation of Minister Takebe Tsutomu, who is responsible for policy mistakes regarding BSE.

Nominren has claimed damages against the ministry in the amount of about six billion yen on behalf of 2,093 stockbreeders. (end)