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KUSHIRO : Japan's last coal mine shut down on Wednesday, putting 1,000 miners out of work and marking the end of an industry that literally helped fuel the country's miraculous post-World War II recovery.
After 82 years of operations, the Taiheiyo Coal Mine Co closed its facility near this city on the northern island of Hokkaido because of high production costs and cheap imports.
Shouting "No Disasters, let's go," 400 miners, wearing helmets with headlights and tan or blue-green coveralls, assembled for the final descent to the coal beds more than 600 meters (yards) below the ocean floor.
"When I left the house this morning, the only thing my wife …