One hundred days have passed since the first case of BSE was officially confirmed in Japan on 22 September last year, and with the milestone came fresh criticism that the government has not done enough to support the nation’s cattle industry, counter the spread of the disease or reassure consumers.

Experts have pinpointed the government’s decision to wait until 1996 to offer farmers an “administrative guidance” to avoid meat and bone meal, as instrumental in the occurrence of BSE. The agriculture ministry was allegedly warned to ban the feedstuff in law years earlier; in late 2000, the European Union told the Japanese government that its continued importation MBM from Europe was creating a high risk of the spread of the disease.

Food nutrition professor Atsushi Terada, from the Nippon Veterinary and Animal Science University, told Japan Today: “The agriculture ministry should he held responsible for this decision.”