Japan’s Prime Minister Koizumi’s visit to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Bush is a timely opportunity to talk about my bill blocking imports of Japanese beef if Japan doesn’t lift its unfair embargo on U.S. beef. Because the beef industry can’t tolerate this unfair ban much longer, I’ll push my bill forward to block Japanese beef imports until Japan fully resumes beef trade. This is an issue of fair trade, in principle and practice, and Nebraska’s significant beef industry deserves fairness.

Japan’s embargo on U.S. beef products over the last three years has cost the Nebraska beef industry $875 million and cost Nebraska 1300 jobs. I believe the ongoing embargo is unfair and the cumbersome Japanese bureaucracy is moving too slow to reinstate beef trade with the United States. I’ve expressed my frustration and have been in constant communication with Japanese officials, including Japan’s Ambassador to the United States, Ryozo Kato, trying to work out a solution to the trade impasse. I’ve always maintained that U.S. beef is the safest, highest quality beef in the world. And once Japan ends this unfair and bureaucratic embargo, I’m sure they’ll recognize the safety and quality of U.S. beef as well.