Letter: Pit closures and the brutality of economic policy

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The Independent Online
Sir: As the President of the Board of Trade assures us that he is in the mood to intervene in the operation of the UK economy in the manner of his European counterparts, I trust he will not overlook Japan as a source of inspiration.

He could do worse than first to study Japan's success in restructuring its coal industry in which employment has fallen from 348,000 at 736 mines in 1950 to a current level of less than 5,000 at only five mines. This radical restructuring has, through government subsidy, been achieved without irreparably damaging the fabric of Japan's traditional mining regions. It has also been accompanied by the redeployment of resources into the development of the new industries. One of the infant industries of 1950 has over the same three decades become a global colossus. Its products are cars.

Yours faithfully,


London, W14

15 October