[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] SIR,—The latest Board of Trade returns are as interesting as usual. In particular I would like to draw attention to an item on page 106, dealing with what that energetic official statistician calls " Class III Group T," otherwise " Mis- cellaneous Articles Wholly or Partly Manufactured."
The Group includes matches, safety and otherwise, musical instruments, starch, dextrine, farina and potato flour, station- ery (other than paper), pictures and engravings, straw, grass and rush manufactures, dolls, soft toys, and toys of wood, metal and other materials.
A strange amalgamation. But even more strange are the figures of imports of this miscellaneous cornucopia shipped from our enterprising friends in Japan. Let me quote them :
Imports for 8 months For same period Same period ended August 31st, 1933. 1934. 1932.
£430,971 £545,390 £713,580
In other words, these imports increased by well over
00 per cent. in two years, and at least- 40 per. cent: of this increase is shown in the excess of the 1934 over the 1933 period.
In this year of tariff grace, the manufacturers of the com- modities concerned might well sit up and take notice of the situation. I sincerely commend • it to their attention in ease any of them would like to deal with it,- (a) by opening factories in Osaka or Nagoya, or (b) by reducing their wages and the consequent standard of living of their workers to
" rice-level."—Yours faithfully, - T. F. HOWARD. House of Commons.