• D74;
  • J58;
  • L52;
  • L78;
  • N55
  • mining;
  • history;
  • Japan;
  • United Kingdom;
  • industrial policy;
  • industrial relations

This paper describes how the Japanese government gradually abandoned its support for coal mining after 1945. Drawing parallels with the British experience during the 1930s, this article shows how coal miners and owners in Japan were able to slow the pace of economic adjustment from the 1950s. The government's initial reluctance to act reflected its willingness to put industrial politics to the fore, preferring to avoid alienating political support and aggravating a vocal unionised sector of the labour force. It eventually accepted and acted upon the need for draconian retrenchment.