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The Washington Post reports that Mike Johanns, the new Secretary of Agriculture in the Bush administration, has pledged to make getting Japan to open its borders to US beef a major priority.

Japan closed its borders to US beef after a single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease, was found in the US more than a year ago.

"The goal should be to make decisions about trade based on good science, mixed in with some good old common sense," said Johanns. "I will do everything I can to restore trade with Japan on the beef issue."
KC's View:
We remain convinced that one of the reasons that the US is relaxing the restrictions on importing Canadian cattle into the US – despite the fact that two new cases of BSE have been found there recently – is that it is tough to make one argument to Japan while making a different one to Canada.

Maybe Johanns should have included “political considerations” along with “science” and “common sense.”