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The agreement between Japan and the United States on American beef imports was not timed to be be concluded just before the U.S. presidential election, a U.S. source said Friday.

“What happened last Saturday was the result of 10 months of continuous negotiations and discussions that started as soon as we detected one case of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in America,” he told reporters in Tokyo.

Last Saturday, Japan and the U.S. reached a compromise agreement to partially resume imports of American beef to Japan as early as next spring.

He brushed aside speculation that the agreement was rushed or was subject to pressure from outside factors, saying the U.S. approach to this issue would not have changed even if the first mad cow case was detected after the election.

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