Japanese Defense Technology and the FS-X Controversy

Working Paper

Published By


July 1988

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It is the American view that Japan has been totally dependent on the United States for its national security, and that this favorable condition has enabled the Japanese to dedicate themselves fully to economic development with no significant military burden. The competitive edge of many U.S. industries, including those of steel, shipbuilding, electrical appliances, motorcycles, office equipment, automobiles, and computers, has eroded considerably since the 1960s, and Japan has taken all the blame for the downfall. The U.S. semiconductor industry is on the verge of falling behind because of aggressive Japanese sales policies.  Moreover, Japan has for years protected its domestic industries so the U.S. industries have struggled in vain to penetrate the Japanese market.  Some U.S. critics argue that the disputes over a huge trade imbalance between the two countries can best be explained by these unfair Japanese advantages. The invisibility of the role of Japanese contribution toward western security has also intensified irritation in the U.S. Congress. The recent controversy over the FS-X (fighter supporter) project of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) evolved out of these circumstances. The details of and epilogue to this controversy are discussed in this paper.

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