Laramie, Wy – Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Thursday that Japan is still working to resume imports of U-S beef, despite the recent announcement of a second case of mad cow disease.
Japan was the United States' largest overseas market for beef before 2003, when Tokyo banned all U-S beef imports after the first mad cow case surfaced. Washington has been pressuring Tokyo to lift the ban, and some U-S officials have threatened sanctions unless the ban ends.
Last fall, the two countries struck a deal to resume limited imports of cows younger than 21 months, which are considered less at risk for the disease. But those plans were delayed by a dispute on testing standards used to determine the age of cattle.