considered several key issues, such as the outlook for the U.S.-Japan security alliance, including defense postures and capabilities, the technological needs and trajectories of the two countries, the historical experience with various forms of collaboration, and the policy context in the United States and Japan. Through this assessment, the Defense Task Force has developed several broad conclusions and specific policy recommendations that it believes will, if followed, help the two countries build the foundation for a new scientific and technological partnership that delivers clear mutual benefits and strengthens the security alliance, thereby advancing U.S. and Japanese interests in the years to come.


The central finding of the Defense Task Force is that future U.S.-Japan cooperation in defense and dual-use technology must involve greater reciprocity in technology flows than has been the case in the past. Enhanced reciprocal cooperation will require greatly expanded Japanese technological contributions to meeting U.S. and common security needs. Although the capabilities and fundamental interests of the United States and Japan make such a partnership feasible, significant obstacles remain. Overcoming these obstacles will require redoubled efforts and goodwill on the part of both countries.

Why Work Toward Technology Reciprocity?

The rationale that justified asymmetrical defense technology relationships no longer applies. During the Cold War, the United States treated defense technology as a commodity in relations with Japan—one-way technology transfers encouraged Japan to increase its defense capabilities and helped achieve other U.S. foreign policy objectives.

The Defense Task Force concludes that the international security and economic environment that exists today and is likely to prevail in the foreseeable future no longer justifies this traditional trade off with Japan. The United States has a continuing interest in enhanced Japanese contributions to the security alliance through expanded participation in peacekeeping activities, pursuit of foreign policy initiatives that serve common interests, the acquisition of improved defense capabilities within the framework of the alliance, and increased host-nation support. The United States also continues to have an interest in allowing Japan to purchase major U.S. systems off-the-shelf. However, the time has passed when defense cooperation featuring primarily one-way transfers of technology from the United States to Japan could be justified by U.S. security interests. In order for U.S.-Japan cooperation to advance U.S. interests in the future, it must feature greatly expanded Japanese technological contributions to U.S. and common defense needs.

In order for the U.S.-Japan alliance to continue to mature and develop, it must increasingly be characterized by cooperation that involves comparable contributions and mutual opportunities for benefit. Even if U.S. military security interests alone no longer provide a rationale for collaboration involving one-way transfers of technology to Japan, some might argue that such collaboration is worthwhile for other reasons. For example, Japanese licensed production of U.S. systems provides income to U.S. companies and helps amortize U.S. government research and development (R&D) costs, contributing resources that can be reinvested

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