New Japanese Government May Nix U.S. Beef

Democratic leader and presumptive next prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama. The Japanese Democratic Party recently won 308 seats in the Japanese Parliment.

The newly elected Democratic Party in Japan may be less agreeable to expanding imports of U.S. beef than the previous government.

Japan was once the top export market for U.S. beef, but sales dropped sharply after December 2003 when the United States reported its first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

“There is certainly a concern that there are hard-line elements in the new ruling party that will be resistant to expanded beef access. How that translates into policy remains to be seen,” Joe Schuele, spokesman for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, told Reuters.


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