JAPANESE OFFICIALS RESIGN OVER U.S. MAD COW DEBACLE

Despite new cases of Mad Cow disease surfacing in the U.S., Japan is reopening its borders to American beef. As a result of the policy decision half of the members of Japan's beef-safety government advisory panel have resigned. Morikazu Shinagawa, a researcher at the national Institute of Animal Health and a resigning member of the panel, told Kyodo News Service he "couldn't continue to work" on the panel because the conclusion to resume imports was preordained by the government. Japan banned U.S. beef imports in 2003 due to weak beef safety regulations in the U.S. While 100% of cows in Japan, aged 24 months and older, are tested for the Mad Cow disease, only 1% of the 35 million cattle slaughtered annually in the U.S. are tested. Japan recently caved to pressure from the Bush Administration and lift the ban on U.S. beef imports while appointing new "experts" to its beef safety advisory panel.

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