A government advisory panel on coal mining approved a plan Thursday to invite 60 Vietnamese trainees to Japan in August as part of an attempt to transfer Japan’s expertise in coal mining before it vanishes.

The planned training programs, to be held at the nation’s two remaining coal mines in Hokkaido and Nagasaki prefectures, will preface a five-year program targeting China, Indonesia and Vietnam beginning next fiscal year, according to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry officials.

The government is set to end by March its subsidies and other measures that help the declining industry. It earmarked 140.63 billion yen for fiscal 2001, up 3.4 percent over the year before.

It will also scrap the price-setting mechanism on coal used for power generation.

For the current fiscal year, the panel endorsed a total domestic supply of 3.58 million tons at prices such as 10,463 yen per ton for Hokkaido Electric Power Co., down 788 yen, and 10,458 yen for Kyushu Electric Power Co., down 788 yen.

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