WASHINGTON (Kyodo) Japan on Thursday called on the United States to introduce comprehensive measures to ensure the safety of its beef and beef products, while the U.S. asked Japan to lift a beef import ban as soon as possible and for cooperation to combat mad cow disease, Japan’s trade minister said.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Shoichi Nakagawa, currently visiting Washington, told reporters he made the Japanese request during a meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick following the discovery of the first case of mad cow disease in the U.S. in December.

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