Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has released the following comments regarding his meeting today in London with Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Shoichi Nakagawa:

"Minister Nakagawa and I met for about one hour and had a good, candid discussion about our investigation into the ineligible shipment of U.S. beef to Japan, USDA's commitment to answer the questions being asked by the Japanese government and the mood within both of our countries regarding trade.

"I indicated to Minister Nakagawa that we received their questions, and we are in the process of completing the responses. I also indicated that we anticipate submitting those responses to Japan next week.

"I am very encouraged that we are working through the questions submitted by Japan and identifying areas in which additional details might be helpful to the Japanese government. I offered to send a USDA technical team to Japan if that would be helpful in achieving progress toward reopening the border.

"I did express to him that I have been before U.S. House and Senate Committees in recent weeks, and Japan's halting of U.S. beef imports is consistently raised in both private and public discussions. I spoke candidly with Minister Nakagawa about the eagerness among lawmakers to resolve the beef export issue with Japan.

"We also discussed the WTO negotiations and our desire to find ways to advance the Doha Development Round."

SOURCE: USDA news release.