Japanese Ready To Come Back To The Table

Talks to reopen the Japan market to U.S. beef could begin next week, say U.S. and Japanese officials, though a decision isn't likely until mid June at the earliest, say Japanese news sources. The Kyodo News reports the U.S. is ratcheting up pressure to end the ban by the time Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits the U.S. in June.

At next week's potential meeting, Japan is expected to release the results of its consultations with Japanese consumers on their attitudes about U.S. beef, and more such public hearings are planned. -- Joe Roybal