Byline: Anthony Rowley reports
Visiting Greater Nagoya in Japan's industrial heartland between Tokyo and Osaka is like stepping into the past - the past of the once great industrial complex that stretched from Birmingham and the Black Country to Coventry.
The way in which development of the two regions has since diverged symbolises the debate in Britain now about the wisdom of abandoning once great manufacturing traditions in favour of finance and other service industries.
In theory, Greater Nagoya ought no longer to exist, or at least not be facing the future with the kind of confidence that its businessmen and officials still display despite the current recession.
It could easily have been "hollowed out" like industrial centres in other advanced nations - England's West Midlands, the German Ruhr and the US Rust Belt. Or it could have been overtaken by the rise of China as a manufacturing power.
Instead, the three prefectures of Aichi, Gifu and Mie, which make up Greater Nagoya with Nagoya City at their centre, continue to thrive on a tradition of manufacturing excellence - known in Japanese as "monozukuri" - that seems to defy all …