Japan's science and technology successes and momentum, combined with the difficulties being experienced by many U.S. companies and industries at that time, led to increased focus on the U.S.-Japan science and technology relationship. A number of concerns and questions were raised. Why were Japanese companies apparently better positioned to capitalize on U.S. innovations than were U.S. firms? Would Japanese dominance of some critical component and equipment areas leave U.S. consumers and producers vulnerable to anticompetitive practices, and impair the ability of the United States to incorporate leading edge commercial technologies in weapons systems? Was it appropriate for Japanese firms to enjoy access to a U.S. university research base built through years of U.S. government investment, while providing only incremental funding? Did Japan's relative emphasis on targeted research in proprietary settings over more fundamental work in open settings constitute "free-riding" on the world's fundamental research base? Would rising Japanese investments in U.S. manufacturing and high technology help to sustain U.S. capability to innovate? Would increased U.S.-Japan trade friction centered on high technology lead to a split in the security alliance? Why had most U.S. efforts to achieve greater reciprocity produced disappointing results, at times appearing to place even greater strains on the U.S.-Japan relationship?
Over the time that the study has been conducted, some elements of this context have shifted dramatically. On the national security side, the United States and Japan have mostly reaffirmed existing arrangements and taken initial steps to reorient the security alliance to fit the post-Cold War environment. On the economic side, the U.S. economy and U.S.-based companies appear to be very strong today, while Japanese advantages have diminished and in some cases dissipated. In particular, U.S. strengths in innovation and technology commercialization have reasserted themselves. The emergence of new high-technology competitors based in Asia is affecting U.S. and Japanese strategies, prompting a shift in focus from bilateral to multilateral relationships.
At the same time, important aspects of the U.S.-Japan science and technology relationship, including many traditional asymmetries in exchange and cooperation, have not fundamentally changed.
This framework statement seeks to integrate the findings and recommendations of the two task forces, outline the long-term U.S. interests that are at stake in the science and technology relationship with Japan, and highlight the key priorities that the U.S. public and private sectors should pursue in the future.
Future U.S. economic performance and security depend to a considerable extent on maintaining and enhancing U.S. capabilities to generate and utilize innovation in developing and producing competitive goods and services for the global market. Science and technology relations with Japan can affect these capabilities in a number of ways.
In the national security area, cooperation in defense production, often involving transfer of U.S. technology to Japan, has long been an important part of the alliance. This cooperation has facilitated increased Japanese defense capabilities within the alliance and generated revenue for U.S. companies that could be reinvested in next-generation technologies. The alliance itself has advanced long-standing U.S. security interests in Asia, such as preventing the rise of a hegemonic power, ensuring the freedom of sea lanes in the region, and expanding commerce and trade. This cooperation has also delivered considerable benefits to Japan, in the form of enhanced manufacturing capabilities, and a business and technological base in aircraft and related components industries needed to enter commercial markets.