'No souvenir for Ms. Rice': farmers stage protest

Holding banners reading, "U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a promoter of U.S. beef exports to Japan, will get no souvenir," farmers carried out an urgent action in Tokyo.

The National Campaign for Defense of the People's Food and Health on March 17 carried out their action in front of the Agriculture and Foreign ministries in protest against the U.S. campaign to pressure Japan to lift the ban on beef that have not been tested as BSE negative.

Participants criticized the Koizumi Cabinet for trying to loosen its anti-BSE measures in the face of increased U.S. pressure on Japan to resume U.S. beef imports.

Sakaguchi Masaaki, secretary general of the farmers' and consumers' organization, emphasized the need to ensure Japan's sovereignty concerning the issue of foods and health.

He also said, "Japan can be proud of its anti-BSE measures that require every cow to be BSE tested, eliminating high-risk parts that might have been infected, and burning meat-and-bone meal to avoid its use in cow feed." (end)

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