Japan might ease its total ban on us beef. It is considering granting an exemption to us cows aged 20 months or younger from testing for mad cow disease before shipping. The proposal was recently submitted by Japan's agriculture and health ministries to the government's Food Safety Commission for approval. Tokyo has been insisting on blanket testing following the detection of the first case of mad cow disease in the us in December 2003. But Washington has refused to comply, saying the move would be very expensive and ineffective.
Officials from the two countries will meet for talks on October 21-22, 2004 to end the ban. They had also met in April 2004. Scientific teams from both the countries have been meeting regularly and inspecting slaughter houses and mad cow testing facilities in both the us and Japan.
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