U.S. aircraft companies, and in some cases joint ventures involving companies from other countries. However, the available evidence indicates that no other country has achieved the level of success that Japan has thus far in leveraging international alliances to build and sustain a domestic aircraft industry.9 This is because Japan's significance as a market and strategic partner has given it more leverage, and because the Japanese aircraft industry—working closely with the Japanese government—has taken better advantage of the opportunities afforded by alliances. From the Japanese perspective, a significant share of overall aircraft industry sales is derived from projects involving a U.S. linkage.10

Perhaps the main concern is that these linkages will, however, result in the building of strong commercial competitors by expanded transfer of U.S. technology abroad. Although normally framed in terms of the potential emergence of new airframe integrators, the downside risks affect even more directly the U.S. suppliers of subsystems and components, some subsegments of which are already losing market share to foreign firms. The U.S. aircraft industry, broadly defined to include the networks of related technical expertise and manufacturing capabilities that link the primary manufacturers and the suppliers, is a major national asset. The focus of this report is Japan—as a partner in both cooperation and competition—but the questions are generic, and it is hoped that the answers will contribute to building effective national policy, public and private, for the twenty-first century.

The chapters that follow provide a summary of the committee's analysis and recommendations. Chapter 2 provides a brief introduction to the historical evolution of Japan's aircraft industry and the overall policy context in Japan and the United States. Chapter 3 analyzes U.S.-Japan technology linkages in transport aircraft and draws conclusions about impacts on the United States. Chapter 4 outlines alternative scenarios for the future. Chapters 5 outlines policy issues and recommendations. Readers are encouraged to refer to the appendixes of this report for detailed information and assessment.


The members of Airbus Industrie have, of course, taken a very different path. They have leveraged their existing domestic capabilities in pursuing global market share through a multinational alliance.


Between 1987 and 1991, Japan's aerospace exports to the United States more than doubled. See Aerospace Industries Association, Aerospace Facts and Figures 1992–1993 (Washington, D.C.: AIA, 1992), p. 122.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement