Japan ended its consumer education meetings this week. And, while there were a lot of concerns raised by Japanese activists, it appears the Japanese government is committed to reopening the border, or at least having a plan in place before Prime Minister Koizumi visits the U.S. at the end of June. It will still likely be the end of July, however, before shipments of U.S. beef begin.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association this week called for trade sanctions and retaliatory measures unless Japan immediately reopens its borders, a measure that has support in the legislature. While such U.S.-based threats in the past have been considered more idle than serious, both Japan and Korea, this time around, seemingly sense the end is near, and if they don't take action, the U.S. will.
-- Troy Marshall