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Tokyo has one safety standard for U.S. beef and another for Toyota's cars and I am extremely tired of the imbalance.

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Nebraska Republican Senator Mike Johanns, who says that U.S. regulators are treating Toyota more fairly than their Japanese counterparts treat U.S. beef. (AFP)

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Tokyo has one safety standard for U.S. beef and another for Toyota's cars and I am extremely tired of the imbalance.

So there's a different safety standard.....hmmmmmmm I guess I missed out on the whole speech by Sen. Johanns. I'm consfused on what he is trying to say. Last I checked, I don't eat Toyotas and don't drive beef.

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Finally someone in the US who wakes up.

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Well yeah, what you're saying is true...

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I am NEVER getting US beef again! The brakes don't even work half the time and my last attempt to park ended up in a disaster... not to mention the insurance companies that won't accept my application! If that's not a sign.

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As a Senator, instead of whining about it, why don't you raise the standards for Toyotas!!

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I agree. Th Japanese Government loves to play the big protector of the Japanese but cares less about anyone who is not Japanese. Japan is the most discriminatory country I ever lived in.

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Japan is the most discriminatory country I ever lived in.

I have to agree with you there, but I've never lived in the US or Europe so I'm not sure what it's like there.

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Just fair and balanced business as usual. It is amusing to see what happens when elites clash and how the rest of the working class perceive what comes out in the news.

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Johanns needs to state how the US treat Toyota and how Japan treats 'his' Nebraska beef.

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Well, we all know where he's coming from.

He wants, or expects, the world to do whatever America tells it to.

America tells Japan to buy US beef regardless of safety issues? Japan has to buy it! If not, it's racism, anti-American-superiorism (if there is such a word,) and definitely not civilised.

Japan tells America to buy Japanese cars regardless of - wait a minute. They're not actually Japanese cars, are they, as they're made in America. And wait another cotton-picking minute, Japan doesn't order America about like that, so it's not telling the Americans to do anything. Mmm, did someone try comparing the two situations? Oh yeah, that's right, it was an American.

So, he's actually complaining that American-made cars which just happen to have a Japanese name on the label are being sold in America under American safety standards. Well, they're his own safety standards, so why doesn't he change them if he doesn't like them? He has no jurisdiction over Japanese laws, although you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise after the way Japan capitulated about the beef, but he has no right moaning about his own country's laws and it's car manufacturing plants and pointing the finger anywhere but his own face.

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Gotta admit that's the most twisted logic I've seem in some time to try and avoid a very valid point....

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That does it: I refuse to eat Japanese cars!

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Nessie - you rock.

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Can some of the more informed posters on this board tell me how many japanese have died from eating US beef?

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Well, they're his own safety standards, so why doesn't he change them if he doesn't like them?

Nut sure of the technical wording involved, but I would say its a safe bet to think gas pedals controlld by the operator input and brakes that stop the car are pretty simple safety standard concepts to wrap your arms around.

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dammit, take a deep breath and step away from the keyboard. The senator is just trying to score points stating the obvious: Japan has no proof that US beef is dangerous. The US certainly has proof that Toyota cars have problems. But the Japanese won't even talk about the beef while the US is having a good time cooking Toyoda over a low fire. BTW, the problem with the cars is related to design, not manufacture. So scoring points trying to bash the assembly folks is just ignorant.

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ca1ic0cat, Japan doesn't have to prove that US beef is dangerous. Japan has set some safety rules and everybody has to follow them. If one country, the US, doesn't like those rules, it's not Japan's problem. The same is true the other way around, everybody who wants to sell cars in the US has to adhere to the US safety standards. It is the responsibility of the US authorities that these standards are followed, so if Johanns thinks there is a problem he should complain to Washington.

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The Republican Senator from Nebraska is obviously right-

"U.S. regulators are treating Toyota more fairly than their Japanese counterparts treat U.S. beef."

but the real question is, what to do about it ?

We have seen the connection made, from other government and market officials in the US, before- This is a discussion on "public safety" and based on those merits there is nothing scientifically wrong with American beef. Toyota ? If it wasn't for the fact that 54 Americans and hundreds have been killed and injured- well it would be downright laughable. Toyota is now hearing dozens of reports of, so called, fixed vehicles continuing to accelerate out of control ! They simply don't now what the problem is and how to correct it. American beef on the other hand has killed no one ! Not a single consumer can be linked to any deaths or illness. Sure we have some "claims and accusations"- none of which are verifiable by the scientific community- just a bunch of ambulance chasers looking for a pay day !

What Senator Johanns needs to do is to march headstrong down this path- force Tokyo into a corner, as they obviously continue to ignore the science and research about both American beef and Toyota. The Americans are holding all the cards right now, the whole Japanese auto industry should be facing the same fate as American beef- jump through "our" hoops- or face complete banning from the market. By the looks of how the auto industry is so intertwined- with Toyota supplying products(unfortunately defective ones) for American giants like GM- it should be easy for the big three to commandere or take over any and all Japanese manufacturing plants in the US- simply turn them over to start producing Fords, Chryslers, and GM cars- keep the American people employed and remove, what has turned out to be, some very dangerous products from the American landscape.

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gonemad- "ca1ic0cat, Japan doesn't have to prove that US beef is dangerous."

Yes they do, because the US has proven that American beef is safe ! On the other hand, Tokyo must prove that Japanese cars are safe- because the Americans (54 dead and hundreds injured) have proven they are dangerous ! Sheesh people, how simple can it be ?

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Don't you get it guys? He's tired of the imbalance? I don't know whether to give him credit just for this one, or the double-whammy of imbalanced tires. This guy is a punmaster!

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On the other hand, Tokyo must prove that Japanese cars are safe- because the Americans (54 dead and hundreds injured) have proven they are dangerous !

The cars are made in America. So why would Tokyo have to do anything?

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Branded, it's not the customer who has to prove that he is right. If the US wants to sell beef to Japan, then they have to accept Japan's conditions. Nobody has any trouble with this, except some US companies who want to get a competitive advantage by dodging the rules. As for Toyota, Tokyo, means the Japanese government, has no obligation at all. It's Toyota which has to convince it's customers. And if there is any doubt about the safety of Toyota vehicles, it's the NHTSA or other US authorities which have to request proofs from Toyota. 54 dead and hundreds injured - you write it as if it were a fact, but none of this is proven!

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MrUSA; "The cars are made in America. So why would Tokyo have to do anything?"

The cars are designed and engineered to the specifications of the parent company-Toyota of Japan. Your ignorance of the facts remains comical.

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gonemad; "Branded, it's not the customer who has to prove that he is right. If the US wants to sell beef to Japan, then they have to accept Japan's conditions."

Just which "customer" are you talking about ? Certainly not the salaryman on the streets or the housewife doing the shopping. They have both demonstrated time and time again their preference for American beef. The problem is with the Japanese government- they keep interfering in the markets and blocking access by the real consumers. Senator Johanns seems to be alluding to this "imbalance". He may feel that the US government should also block access to Americas markets- especially in light of the large numbers of Americans killed and injured by Toyota automobiles.

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BTW gonemad; "54 dead and hundreds injured - you write it as if it were a fact, but none of this is proven!"

These are the numbers being provided by the NHTSA- not mine. Take your beef up with them, and good luck- they obviously have better access to the data than you do !

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Japan should expect more of this. Rampant anti-Americanism and reneging on key defense agreements means there will be less and less allies of Japan in Washington to keep people like Senator Mike Johanns in check.

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The problem is with the Japanese government- they keep interfering in the markets and blocking access by the real consumers.

Branded, just how naive are you? Consumers cannot judge and cannot test all safety issues. That's why in all developed countries you have some public agencies which set up rules and control food safety. In the US there are the Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration, among other agencies on state level. Everybody who wants to import meat into the US has to meet the rules set up by the FSIS. I'd like to see your reaction when some Japanese companies go to import meat into the US, omit certain tests to make it cheaper and then start to complain like "hey, forget your whacky rules, we do it by our own standards".

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These are the numbers being provided by the NHTSA- not mine.

While you try to sell the numbers as facts, the NHTSA uses words like "maybe linked to" and "potentially". Do you understand the difference?

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No gonemad- "just how naive are you?" "Consumers cannot judge and cannot test all safety issues."

Which holds true for millions of Japanese products sold in Japan every day- yet those products are still on the shelf, available for anyone who wants them. In addition vegetables from China, Fruit from South America, Coffee from Africa, Toys from Taiwan- "all" provided to the unsuspecting public- yet for some reason American beef is targeted and required dozens of more procedures in order to get into Japan. Every extra procedure adding on to the price of the product also. "This" is the real issue- Japan simply cannot compete with Americas prices so they add hurdles to drive the price up, this only hurts trade and the customer who must now pay higher prices. It's a no win process that needs to be halted immediately- Japans economy is terrible and housewives are struggling to meet family budgets, if you were married you'd know that.

"That's why in all developed countries you have some public agencies which set up rules and control food safety. In the US there are the Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration, among other agencies on state level."

Yes, these are "government" agencies- and what about Japan ? They were still using powerless "consumer groups" up to the time of the American beef debacle, as it has come to be known. Even today Japan's food safety Czars are powerless interferants who simply make suggestions- weilding no true authority whatsoever.

"I'd like to see your reaction when some Japanese companies go to import meat into the US"

First of all, just last year, Japan finally received the "International" approved standard for exporting it's meat- something the US has had for years and years. Personally, Japan is more than welcome to try to sell their beef in the US- but I dare say dozens of documented BSE cases and a poor history of "mislabeling" beef products would prevent me and my family from actually purchasing the stuff. And all that hoopla about 100% testing in Japan is about as trustworthy as a pair of Toyota brakes- a crap shoot at best.

Senator Johanns is right on the mark with this comparison. Toyota has knowingly produced defective products for the US market- Through hidden data and a complex network of deception and fabrication; Toyota has grown and prospered at the expense of American lives. US beef on the other hand has been safely and confidently consumed in the US for 200 years- 20 more years in Japan- and all without a single death or long term serious debilitating illness. So why are Japanese government officials still allowed to block access to the market- especially now, when Japanese families are struggling with food bills- US beef can be as much as 10% cheaper without all the barriers, it is why the Americans enjoyed the "best selling beef" title in Japan for years and years. This is a scam that is finally getting the attention it deserves. Japan's standards are bogus- The International ones have worked fine for years. The Americans need to turn up the heat on Tokyo- especially now ! Good luck Senator Johanns- damn fine state Nebraska ! Love that American Beef !

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Branded, please stay with the facts.

yet for some reason American beef is targeted and required dozens of more procedures in order to get into Japan.

There is no specific targeting of American beef. The conditions are the same for everybody. It's US companies requesting better conditions than others. Why should US companies be entitled to preferential treatment?

Toyota has knowingly produced defective products for the US market

Up to date there is no proof for this.

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gonemad-

"please stay with the facts."

The US and Japan entered into special specified agreements years ago. Japan has violated that agreement on a number of ocassions. The "conditions" are not the same for everybody ! Japan has asked the US to provide additonal paperwork and documentation above and beyond what it asks it's other trading partners- many of whom are Japanese owned ranches in countries like Australia. The Americans are abidding by "International standards"- this is hardly considered "preferential treatment" !

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Gonemad, US beef was fine for Japanese consumers for years; until about five years ago. Suddenly one cow from the US tested positive for BSE (turns out, it was actually from Alberta) and the Japanese used this to shut down the entire US supply. Of course, this is part and parcel of standard Japanese trade practices. Stall, delay and finally (very grudgingly) accept another country's product. However, should a "violation" of any kind surface, it gives the Japanese the "cover" to do what they wanted to do all along; protect their domestic markets at all costs by shutting out all foreign competition (and denying domestic consumers choice). If any foreign products happen make it through the hurdles set up, the vested interests in Japan make sure that a well-coordinated negative promotion campaign ensure the public is left with the strong impression that the product is "unsafe" or "unappetizing." Thus when people don't buy, officials can just say, "Sorry, we don't know why, but your product just isn't popular in Japan. So sorry."

Read up on apples from the US about ten years ago for a fine example of this. Foreign-made cars as well used to have to be taken apart completely in Japan for "safety inspections", making it completely unprofitable for the manufacturers to sell here.

With the Toyota thing, the US does has a legitimate grievance in this case, which they are likely using to give Japan a little taste of its own medicine.

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Branded at 12:43 AM JST - 5th March; gonemad- "ca1ic0cat, Japan doesn't have to prove that US beef is dangerous."; yes they do, because the US has proven that American beef is safe ! On the other hand, Tokyo must prove that Japanese cars are safe- because the Americans (54 dead and hundreds injured) have proven they are dangerous ! Sheesh people, how simple can it be ?

No, the US has not proved that it's beef is safe. Far from it, they've vigorously refused to test any but the most choice young and tender cuts to save them the risk of being caught out for having large numbers of infected cattle. If they'd agreed to the testing of beef due to be exported to Japan as requested the ban on US beef imports would have lasted just a few months. Instead they refused outright, insisting that Japan was obliged to buy US beef regardless of whether it was infected.

I will never knowingly eat US beef. I'm not Japanese though, I'm British. The miserable disease started in MY country, but with the increased risk from US beef combined with the rudeness and arrogance shown (back when US beef was banned from Japan) there's no way I'd ever buy the stuff knowingly.

Tokyo has nothing to do with it. The company is called Toyota, and they're the ones responsible. But yes, they are US cars as they're made in the US by Americans, and the designs may have started out as Japanese but they're obliged to alter them to suit US standards, and they're also obliged to source the parts from outside Japan.

But still, this whole problem is Toyota's fault, they were just as arrogant as GWBush and refused to act when they should have done. If the whole company goes bust over this I'll have no sympathy for the company or the top dogs whatsoever, but I will have sympathy for all the workers who lose their jobs. Yes, including the Americans in the US plants.

We don't have a car, but I'm glad my parents bought a Hyundai as their new car. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that they don't join the disaster area that used to be called the car industry too.

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dammit; "No, the US has not proved that it's beef is safe"

Yes they have- by standards higher that what Japan abides by when exporting their beef. The international standard for exporting beef is cattle aged 24 months. BSE has been found in cows aged 22 months but it is rare in todays market. In any case, Japan follows this standard and exports cattle right up to 24 months. The US, on the other hand, has agreed to export only cattle aged up to 18 months to Japan- this is well below the international standard. And in reality the US has been exporting cattle average age 16 months ! These are ages where it is impossible for naturally occuring BSE to form. Subsequently there is no need to test ! The only thing testing will do is drive up costs- which is what Japan wants.

"If they'd agreed to the testing of beef due to be exported to Japan as requested the ban on US beef imports would have lasted just a few months."

Nonsense ! After the Americans announced their first discovery of a bse infected cow Japan immediately closed their market. Japan then entered into long and drawn out discussions over what to do- sounds like Toyota eh.

"I will never knowingly eat US beef."

Let me guess, you trust that the Japanese beef industry, with more than 2 dozen cases of reported bse, are looking after your best interest when they say "we test all animals" ? This is the same food industry with a wide range and long history of deceit, purposeful mislabeling, and scandal ? I can only laugh at your comments of rudeness and arrogance about the Americans- at least they arent trying to poison you ! Seems to me the only really safe beef is what is being produced by the Americans. As for this gem;

"But still, this whole problem is Toyota's fault, they were just as arrogant as GWBush and refused to act when they should have done."

Huh ? Boy we must be P.O.ed at the Americans if you have to reach for a "bash a Bush" card ! Sorry dammit, but that last sentence makes no sense whatsoever. The facts remain the same, Japan wants access to the US maret with it's deadly products but refuses to allow a scientifically proven safe on into it's. The hypocrisy is mind numbing and deserves much more attention- I applaud Senator Johanns for his astute observations.

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gonemad asks; "the NHTSA uses words like "maybe linked to" and "potentially". Do you understand the difference?"

Seems to me that the number of actual complaints and suits filed within the US court systems is what counts. The NHTSA is simply repeating the numbers-52, to date. And how many suits have been filed in Japan over deadly American beef ? Hmmm, like I said, seems the Senator from Nebraska has hit the nail on the head.

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On March 5th I wrote this;

"What Senator Johanns needs to do is to march headstrong down this path- force Tokyo into a corner, as they obviously continue to ignore the science and research about both American beef and Toyota. The Americans are holding all the cards right now, the whole Japanese auto industry should be facing the same fate as American beef- jump through "our" hoops- or face complete banning from the market."

Since that time the good Senator has rallied as many as 17 other senators to sign and present a petition to the Obama administration to put even more pressure on Japan to fully open it's beef market to US suppliers. The obvious discrepency in what constitutes "safety" at the heart of the discussion. Senator Johhans has correctly pointed out that Japanese owned and operated Toyota has been allowed continued market access in the US, in spite of the numerous deaths and injuries (alledged) associated with their defective products- and in turn American beef, that has never posed a safety risk in Japan has been either completely banned or subject to ridiculous and biased conditions designed to simply interfere with the flow of commerce. The "Imbalance" he speaks of is obvious, unfair, and hurts the Japanese consumers who are clammoring for more safe deliscious American beef. I feel the heat is on Japan right now and they will have to ammend this policy or face even more criticism and fallout from this new Obama government. Japan needs to be very careful here or they could really ignite a huge trade war which could devastate their economy even more. Japan has simply lost it's foothold and grasp in the region and is struggling to stay afloat- with all these recalls etal- and China making enormous gains- many to Japan's chagrin. The winds continue to change. Japan can protect its position but it has do tear down the media circus and negative campaigns against all things American- or risk turning into a rudderless ship alone in the Pacific.

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I've given this topic a bit more thought and have come to realize one thing- that for those people who insist that the US "demands this" and "forces that" that here is a perfect example of how patient the US really is. This whole beef fiasco with Japan has been going on a good many years now and the Americans did all they could to "reasonably" appease the Japanese- who just kept piling on the insults, fear mongering, and delay tactics. "Now" the worm has turned ! And the Americans are obviously in the drivers seat- I wonder if Tokyo will reach out to appease the Americans ? Abide by a slew of newly formed and created restrictions, have their access severly limited to the market, be the target of media and government induced hysterics at the expense of sales, allow whole markets to be affected instead of just one company ? I wonder, I "wah wah wah wah" wonder ?

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