Beef on menu for Japan PM chat

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Nov 16, 2007


Doug Krizner: President Bush is scheduled to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda this morning. They’ll talk North Korea and Afghanistan, and the President is expected to question Japanese restrictions on U.S. beef imports. Nancy Marshall Genzer has more.

Nancy Marshall Genzer: The meeting will only last an hour or so — But NYU economics professor Edward Lincoln says that’ll be enough time for President Bush to bring up beef.

Edward Lincoln: He will raise it, Fukuda will nod his head and say “Oh, yes, we will work on this issue.”

Lincoln says that head nod could be enough to get U.S. and Japanese negotiators down to business. Because of mad cow disease, Japan only allows imports of beef from young U.S. cattle — up to 20 months old.

Washington wants Tokyo to raise that to 30 months. But Japan Digest editor Ayako Doi doesn’t expect meaty promises from the prime minister.

Ayako Doi: Food safety issue is a very strong and emotional issue in Japan, so it would not be wise for any politician to make a promise like that.

The meeting will be more than just a bull session, but Fukuda won’t linger — he’ll only be in the U.S. for about 24 hours. In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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