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Meat Processing magazine reported that the Japanese government has announced that as of August 1, it will no longer mandate that all cattle younger than 21 months be tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease.

However, the magazine also notes that the suspension of nationally mandated blanket testing will have little effect – because local governments are likely to continue mandatory testing for as long as three years, subsidized by the federal government.
KC's View:
Talk about mixed messages.

We know almost nothing about Japanese government, bureaucracy and politics. (Actually, that’s not true. We know absolutely nothing about these subjects.)

But this decision creates at least the illusion that perhaps the Japanese government is trying to eat its hamburger and have it, too.

For those who feel that the US has taken too lax an approach to BSE testing, the Japanese approach has long been considered the model for effective control of the mad cow situation. The government there has been involved in seemingly endless negotiations with the Bush administration designed to allow US beef into Japan, with the holdup being over whether the US is doing enough to test its beef supply.

And now this.

Go figure.

Hard to figure out what they’re up to over there. Except that, in the words of a Japanese proverb, “Art is the illusion of spontaneity.”

Which is our second favorite Japanese proverb.

Our first favorite being:

“Never rely on the glory of the morning nor the smiles of your mother-in-law.”