April 17, 2005
Japan's Last Coal Miners Union Disbands
FUKUOKA-They have seen hundreds of colleagues die on the job, battled management in the nation's largest postwar labor dispute and changed the way unions operate in Japan.
But on Sunday, the few remaining members of the Miike Labor Union burned their group's flag to close the often turbulent 59-year-history of the nation's last coal miners union.
``We have fought, with our teeth clenched, for improving our poor working conditions and having unfair dismissals retracted so miners can live a decent human life,'' said union chief Masaru Yoshikawa at the dissolution ceremony in Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture.
``We have walked the right path.''
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