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Japan's Aerospace Industry

Part 6. Conclusions and Predictions

Several key conclusion can be reached from this essay's analysis of the Japanese aerospace industry:
  • Japan effectively competes today in the international aerospace industry in the manufacture of aircraft and engine components through its strategy of participating in international collaboration projects and focusing on strong niche technology areas.
  • Based on Japan's learning on the F-2 fighter program and their international collaborations, the country will soon possess the capability to develop and produce an indigenous aircraft, but it still lacks critical technologies to effectively produce a large aircraft engine without foreign assistance. Even though Japan may have the ability to produce an indigenous aircraft, it would be a strategic error to pursue this project alone due to its huge cost and commercial risk.
  • Japanese aerospace companies still have weaknesses in certain areas such as systems integration, assembly, design, and marketing, but they are actively seeking to gain experience and improve their skills in these areas by participating in key international collaboration projects.
Based on the worldwide and Japanese aerospace industry trends analyzed in this paper, I offer some predictions of the future:
  • Japanese companies will continue to join in international collaboration projects and will demand more significant participation in future projects—both larger percentage workshares and more critical and high technology sections of planes and engines. Japan will achieve this by exploiting the intense rivalry of the international prime contractors. Building on their Boeing collaboration projects, the Japanese will gradually increase their participation in Airbus projects.
  • Within twenty years, and maybe much sooner, the Japanese will join with a current prime aircraft or engine contractor in a 50/50 joint venture to develop and produce a new aircraft or engine. This joint venture might be similar to the successful CFM engine joint venture between General Electric and the French company Snecma.
  • Japan will never launch a totally indigenous commercial aircraft or engine program, but in the future Japanese aerospace companies will participate as equal rather than junior partners in international collaboration projects.

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Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 and Bibliography 
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