The Miike Coal Mine and Omuta City: A Case Study of the Largest and Last Mine’s Closure in Japan

  • Tai Wei Lim
  • Naoko Shimazaki
  • Yoshihisa Godo
  • Yiru Lim


This chapter details how the coal mining industry faced closure in the post-war period. To demonstrate the macro changes taking place in the overall general economy, this chapter utilized micro case studies of Miike and Omuta to indicate the layered complexities of coal mine closures, especially at the individual mine level. This chapter is also a people-centred narrative/story unveiling a tale of individuals, families, and entire towns affected by the closures and the very real emotive realities that they face when the local mining economy dissipated. It continues the historical narrative from a macro developmental economic analysis but adds local empirical case studies based on sociological perspectives.


Closure Re-employment Miike Omuta 


  1. Chimoto, S. 2017, ‘Mitsui sogi ni okeru zenro ni yoru shien,’ in Kansai Daigaku “Tanko no kioku to kansai,” 87–101. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  2. Employment and human Resources Development Organization of Japan, 2002, “History of Employment and human Resources Development Organization of Japan,” (in Japanese) p. 2–19.Google Scholar
  3. Harada, M. 1997, “Yama no Hi wa Kietemo,” Nihon Hyoron Sha. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  4. Hataraki, J. 2017, ‘Heizan suru tanko no sukecchi,’ in Kansai Daigaku “Tanko no kioku to kansai,” 129–130. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  5. Ichihara, H. 1997, “Tanko no Rodo Shakai Shi,” Taga Shuppan. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  6. Kumagai, H. 2012 “Mukashi Genpatsu Ima Tanko,” Chuou Kouron Shinsha, p. 228–260. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  7. Kyushu Economic Research Association 1987, “Research Report: Coal Mining Industry’s Effect on Omuta City.” (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  8. Mitsui Mining, 1990, “Otoko tachi no seiki: Mitsui Kozan no Hyakunen,” (in Japanese) pp. 360–367, 389.Google Scholar
  9. Nagayoshi, M. 2017, ‘Tanko no machi ni umare sodatte,’ in Kansai Daigaku “Tanko no kioku to kansai,” 55–57. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  10. Ohara, T. 2015, ‘Omutashiritsu toshokan ga shozo suru mike kankei shiryo to sono mokuroku ni tsuite,’ Kyushu University 30, 83–109. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  11. Omuta Coal Industry and Science Museum, 2014, “The History and Technology of Miike Coal Mine,” (in Japanese) p. 134.Google Scholar
  12. Primary documents of the Planning Coordination Department, Omuta City, #1-2-8, 1996.Google Scholar
  13. Primary documents of the Planning Coordination Department, Omuta City, #2-1-8, 1989.Google Scholar
  14. Primary documents of the Planning Coordination Department, Omuta City, #2-8-4, 1990.Google Scholar
  15. Taniai, K. 2017, ‘Miike tanko no rekishi,’ in Kansai Daigaku “Tanko no kioku to kansai,” 50–54. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  16. Taniai, K. 2017, ‘Miike tanko rodo kumiai to kansai no rodo undo,’ in Kansai Daigaku “Tanko no kioku to kansai,” 76–86. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  17. The Miike Coal Mine Company’s paper “KURODAIYA” October 15 1990. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  18. Shimazaki, N. 2015a, ‘Support for Workers Displaced in the Decline of the Japanese Coal Industry: Formal and Informal Support,’ “Japan Labor Review” Vol. 12, Number 2, 6–27.Google Scholar
  19. Shimazaki, N. 2015b, ‘The final policy of the coalmining industry and miners’ re-employment: A microdata analysis of Mitsui Ashibetsu Coalmine in Hokkaido, Japan,’ (in Japanese) “The Annuals of Sociology (Shakaigaku nenshi),” Vol. 56, p. 93–110.Google Scholar
  20. Shimazaki, N., 2018 ‘Coal policy in Japan,’ Nakazawa and Shimazaki eds., “Coal Mines and ‘Japanese Miracle,’” Seikyusha. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  21. Ushijima, 2012, ‘Dai yo ji sekitan seisaku to kigyo saihen,’ in Sugiyama and Ushijimaeds, “Nihon sekitan sangyo no suitai: sengo Hokkaido ni okeru kigyo to chiiki,” (in Japanese) Keio University Press, p. 125–153.Google Scholar
  22. Williams, C., 2010, ‘The Rise and Fall of Coal in Comparative Perspective: Thoughts on South Wales and Japan,’ Paper for “Symposium: Current Situation in Former Coalfields: Joban, Sorachi and Wales,” at Waseda University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tai Wei Lim
    • 1
  • Naoko Shimazaki
    • 2
  • Yoshihisa Godo
    • 3
  • Yiru Lim
    • 1
  1. 1.Singapore University of Social SciencesSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Waseda UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Meiji Gakuin UniversityTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations