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Japanese Beef Industry Faces Mad Cow Threat - 2003-10-10

Mad cow disease is again threatening Japan's beef industry and two global computer giants team up.

Japan has confirmed its eighth case of mad cow disease and cattle farmers and beef restaurants are bracing for a sales slump.

Officials discovered a bull in Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo, which appears to have contracted a new strain of the illness formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE. Health Minister Chikara Sakaguchi tried to quell concerns. He told reporters that the animal's meat was never on the market and so consumers should not worry.

Mad cow disease has been linked to Creuzfeldt-Jakob Disease in humans, which has killed more than 100 people in Europe but none in Japan.

Mad cow first appeared in Japan more than two years ago. It caused a dramatic decline in beef consumption, which later rebounded.

Two businesses are joining forces to offer better global computer services.

Fujitsu, the Japanese electronics maker, has formed a partnership with a subsidiary of Siemens, its German rival.

Fujitsu will offer its Japanese customers improved services in the United States and Europe, where it has no direct operations. The German company will take advantage of Fujitsu's strength in Asia to serve its clients in the region. The two companies already have a partnership in making computers, and will now team up in the areas of consulting and systems integration.

NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile phone operator, will sell its 21 percent stake in KG Telecommunications in Taiwan to Far EasTone Telecommunications, the island's third largest mobile phone carrier.

Under the agreement DoCoMo will become a five percent shareholder in KG and receive $74 million in cash.