JAPAN | U.S. protests Japan’s handling of radioactive beef

Posted on July 14, 2011

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JAPAN | MAINICHI | 14 July 2011

Beef cows are pictured on July 10 at a livestock farm in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Minamisoma where radioactive cesium has been detected. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The U.S. government has expressed frustration to Japan over Tokyo’s handling of the issue of beef contaminated with radioactive cesium, saying no explanation had been provided prior to a press release, Japanese government officials said Wednesday.

Charles Casto, deputy regional administrator at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was quoted as saying at a bilateral meeting on the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that took place in Tokyo on Tuesday that the problem beef had been discovered despite Tokyo saying that food not subject to shipment suspensions was safe.

Expressing dissatisfaction with Tokyo’s response to the issue, Casto called on the Japanese government to share information in a timely manner as U.S. citizens also reside in Japan, the officials said.

A Japanese government official admitted that the criticism was reasonable, saying, “It’s a priority to ease concerns over misinformation (about food products). We have to admit that our response was slow.”

The Japanese side pledged to make more efforts to communicate closely with the United States and to strengthen bilateral relations, they added.

Since the crisis at the power plant crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, some countries including South Korea as well as the European Union have required government certification for all food and feed items imported from Japan, though the United States has only imposed such requirements on some items.

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