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From Editor
Boo to BSE

2, 06. 2006

   I boo House Agriculture Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte’s statement of 31st January on re-imposing of import ban by Japan on U.S. beef. He remarked “This time, it was a shipment error. It is strange to go back on resumption of imports just based on it. The U.S. would not stop automobile import from Japan just because few of them have defective brakes”.

   He perhaps intended to restrain Japan by referring to automobiles; the foremost export item from Japan but it was counterproductive with the Japanese. Was he hinting that Japanese cars often have defective brakes or that the method of inspection for export cars is faulty?
   Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) is a social problem from health and safety viewpoints but at its root lays the distrust of method of inspection in America. Of course, a scientific basis is vital for assuring safety but the American approach regarding assuring the safety of method of inspection, in a word, is ‘arrogant’ leading to distrust.
   Majority of Japanese were surprised that consignments of spinal column, the risk material that was excluded from imports were shipped quite majestically. All the Japanese who saw those huge spinal columns on the television must have wondered how they could be overlooked and that America was looking down on Japan.
   One can understand Goodlatte was trying to defend the American farmers but his remarks will either strengthen Japanese antipathy or they must be feeling what a foolish example.
Prime Minister Koizumi is also fond of giving examples. Bizarre rhetoric is used to put the opposition in a spot. They are definitely effective at times but they also often invite trouble. P. M. Koizumi is at present being grilled over 3 comments namely, BSE, Livedoor-Horiemon and earthquake resistance falsification scandal. He seems to have dug this own grave by using rhetoric that he believes is his forte.
Japan and America are better advised to refrain from using bizarre rhetoric’s.

Masao Ninagawa

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