- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 12, 2006

Japan’s beef

Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato is getting grilled on Capitol Hill over his country’s new ban on American beef.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat and the committee’s ranking member, met with the ambassador last week to complain about the latest embargo, imposed only a month after Japan lifted a ban that had lasted more than two years.

“I told the ambassador there is a lot of frustration in Congress that the Japanese market is once again closed,” said Mr. Baucus, whose state is a major beef producer.

On the other side of the Hill, Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, Virginia Republican and chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, voiced similar complaints in a meeting with visiting Japanese legislators.

Mr. Kato repeated his government’s position that the Japanese market will be reopened after the United States investigates how calf backbone material, prohibited under the agreement that led to the lifting of the ban, got into a shipment of veal in January. Spinal material holds a high risk of transferring mad cow disease.

Japan, once the top U.S. market for beef, first imposed its embargo in December 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in the United States.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


• Interior Minister Rumen Petkov of Bulgaria, who meets Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte and Secret Service DirectorW. Ralph Basham during a weeklong visit.

• Akira Chiba of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, who discusses relations between Japan and China in a forum at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.


• Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovi, Croatia’s minister of foreign affairs and European integration, who outlines her country’s foreign-policy priorities in a speech at the Library of Congress. On Wednesday, she receives the President’s Medal from George Washington University.

• His Grace Artemije, bishop of Raska and Prizren in Kosovo, who addresses the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on the future of the Serbian province.

• Foreign Minister Besnik Mustafaj of Albania, who holds a 2 p.m. press conference at the National Press Club.

• Kyung-Ae Park, chairwoman of the Korea Research Foundation at the University of British Columbia, and Heisoo Shin, a member of the United Nations’ Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, who report on the status of women in South Korea at a forum sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


• Antonio Lacayo, chief of staff to former Nicaraguan President Violeta Chamorro, who discusses his book about her presidency with invited guests of the Inter-American Dialogue.


• Soli Ozel, a professor at Istanbul’s Bilgi University and an adviser to the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association, who discusses Turkey’s role in Europe at the association’s Washington office.

• William Hague, a spokesman on foreign affairs for Britain’s Conservative Party, who addresses the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies on U.S.-British relations.


• Matthias Seidel, a professor of ancient Egyptian art history at the University of Munich, who addresses the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

• Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organization, who addresses the Institute for International Economics.

• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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