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WASHINGTON (Kyodo) A leader of the U.S. beef industry apologized Tuesday for an “inexcusable” failure to comply with a trade agreement that led Japan to reimpose an import ban on U.S. beef Jan. 20. The apology stands in contrast to the rather defensive remarks initially made by members of the industry.

“We earnestly ask that you convey our apologies to Japanese government officials as you seek to reopen this market again,” the executive director of the National Meat Association, Rosemary Mucklow, said at a meeting convened by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns to call for stricter compliance. The meeting was attended by about 40 beef exporters.

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