For many years, coal formed the backbone of Japan's economic development, but the dangers and costs of mining became increasingly expensive for the industry and government. Global changes in coal production and exchange finally prompted Japan's decision in 1986 to shut down nearly all domestic coal mines in favour of coal imports. Japan's policy for industry restructuring had been applauded as one of the most comprehensive in addressing the needs of the industry, the workers and the community. At micro-level, however, the people in the community most affected by the policy decision have been excluded from the process. This text reveals the stratified effects, as well as compensation, for the different groups in Yubari City, Hokkaido. Although the policy settlement package goes to the coal miners, community redevelopment ignores their needs, prompting them to leave the city and benefiting instead land owners and public employees. Revealed as well are the ways in which Japan's cultural values, particularly the vertical social structure as it affects decision making, status, occupations and company organization and the importance of maintaining the family system, figure in the policy process and its consequences.