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U.S. meatpackers repeatedly exporting beef to Japan without proper U.S. government certificates


   Among the 250 boxes of U.S. beef tongue that arrived at Kobe Port on March 20, four boxes were not listed in the attached U.S. Department of Agriculture certificate, the Agriculture Ministry and Health Ministry on April 6 jointly announced.


   Since without the certificate, the age of cattle cannot be identified, this shippment violated the trade agreement between Japan and the U.S. The ministries suspended beef imports from a Cargill Inc. plant in Dodge City in Kansas State, a meatpacker that had shipped the beef tongue.


   Since the government resumed beef imports from the U.S. last July, the number of incidents in which U.S. meatpackers shipped to Japan beef without proper USDA certificates attached has totaled four, including this case.


This shows that both U.S. meatpackers and the U.S. government have failed to establish a system to enable them to strictly follow the conditions required for beef exports to Japan.


   Despite this, Agriculture Administrative Vice Minister Kobayashi Yoshio simply said at a press conference on April 9 that the latest violation is gregrettableh.


   In February 2006, the Liberal Democratic Party sent to the U.S. its investigation team led by present Agriculture Minister Matsuoka Toshikatsu in preparation for lifting the ban on beef imports from the U.S. After inspecting two major meatpacking plants in Kansas State, Matsuoka was assured that the U.S. has taken sufficient measures to meet the requirements for exporting beef to Japan, saying, gAs far as we have determined, they are carrying out the removal of Specified Risk Materials and checking the age of cattle.h


   The government is also responsible for having pushed ahead with the resumption of U.S. beef imports in defiance of opposition by consumers.

- Akahata, April 7 and 10, 2007


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