The emerging Japanese commercial aircraft industry has recently attracted considerable attention. This article assesses the development of the Japanese aircraft industry during the postwar era, comparing industrial development and government policy in the Japanese aircraft industry with that of the postwar U. S. commercial aircraft industry. The current reliance by the Japanese industry on collaboration with U. S. and European firms in the development and manufacture of aircraft and engines distinguishes this industry from previous Japanese export industries and raises some broader conceptual issues as well. While the Japanese commercial aircraft industry will continue to grow in the coming decades, it is unlikely to represent a major competitive threat to the supremacy of American and European prime subcontractors in airframes and engines. However, the position of subcontractors and producers of components for aircraft and engines in America and Europe is likely to be less secure.
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