KOGA Says! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary

Koga says!
Statement on the Government’s Decision to Resume U.S. Beef Imports

21 June 2006
RENGO’s Statement by General Secretary Koga
  1. Today, the Japanese government reached an agreement with the U.S. governmentand decided to resume imports of U.S. beef on the following conditions:that Japanese auditors be allowed to conduct inspections of United Statesbeef-processing plants prior to the resumption of imports; that Japaneseinspectors be allowed to join surprise inspections conducted by the U.S.government at facilities after exports have resumed; and that more stringentquarantines be conducted at Japanese ports of entry. Based on this decision,U.S. beef should be in Japanese stores as early as the end of next month.

  2. RENGO specifically stipulated to 'Ensure 'food security' againstBSE and others' in its 'FY 2007 Priority Policies' decidedat the Central Committee in June. RENGO decided that Japan should notreopen its markets to U.S. beef unless concrete preventive measures suchas the following are carried out without fail:
    • Compliance with the 'ExportVerification Program (by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)' focusingon 'cattle 20 months of age or younger' and 'eliminatingspecific-risk materials'
    • A total ban on use of meat-bone meal to preventcross contamination
    • Demand that the U.S. government allow the dispatchof international inspections/inspectors or resident inspectors.

  3. This agreement between Japan and the U.S. governments partially realizedan idea that RENGO has proclaimed, namely, the 'dispatch/station inspectors.' Howeverthe agreement completely fails to touch on a total ban on use of meat-bonemeal: this is an agreement in which there is no way to ascertain whetheror not the U.S. will really comply with the 'EV Program.' To saythat the Japanese government made a political decision to resume importsas a 'gift' fromPrime Minister Koizumi to the U.S. President at the June 29th Japan-U.S.summit meeting is no exaggeration. This decision is further evidenceof the Koizumi administration's position that places Japan-U.S. relationsahead of national food safety/security.

  4. According to a poll on theresumption of U.S. beef imports conducted this month by NHK (Japan BroadcastingCorp.) 73% of respondents said 'theyshould not rush for this month and imports should only be resumed after takinga sufficient amount of time to ensure safety.' 71% of the people polledsaid that they 'felt insecure about the safety of American beef.' Consumersand citizens think that Japan should not rush to resume imports. Even ifimports are resumed for political reasons, ignoring public opinions not onlyalienates the confidence of consumers and citizens but also risks causingrenewed turning away from beef.

  5. RENGO sharply condemns the government’shasty decision to resume imports without thoroughly ensuring safety.RENGO will continue to step up movements together with consumers and citizensin order to dispel their anxiety/distrust over food as well as to ensurefood security/safety.