Letter: Feeble action on Japan

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The Independent Online
Sir: Douglas Hurd is not the only minister whose feeble actions toward Japan fail to match his rhetoric ('Hurd on flying visit to Tokyo', 7 April). Under its energetic President, the DTI's glossy 'Priority Japan' campaign has urged British firms to learn from Japanese technology and increase their exports. Meanwhile the British Library's Japanese Information Service - the main source of information recommended by the DTI - has shed its last remaining member of staff and is suspended.

Although the DTI last year spent pounds 30,000 of taxpayers' money on a consultants' report evaluating the possible future of the JIS, the report's contents remain secret and the DTI has shown no willingness to do anything to help to keep the service in existence. It seems that the one national information resource on Japanese industry, science and commerce, which enjoys an international reputation, is to be another victim of Michael Heseltine's four-meals-a-day diet.

Yours faithfully,

DAVID CAIRNCROSS

Japan-Europe Industry

Research Centre

Imperial College

London, SW7

8 April

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