Securing Technology: Aerospace Procurement and Japan's National Security Strategy   [open pdf - 4MB]

Japan's national security strategy is not engineered primarily to defend the country against military threats, but rather to protect Japan from what it fears most: technological inferiority and economic decline. As a result, military rationale plays a subordinate role to economic concerns in defense planning. In this research I analyzed Japan's national security strategy as it is manifested in three cases of aerospace procurement policy: licensed production of U.S. fighter aircraft, co-development with the U.S. of new fighter aircraft, and indigenous development of a constellation%of intelligence-gathering (spy) satellites. I showed how each of these policies demonstrates a conscious choice to sacrifice military utility for the sake of technological advancement in domestic industries. Cutting-edge technology gives Japanese industries their edge in world markets, and losing them represents the ultimate compromise of what Japan defines as national security. Security, from the perspective of Japanese security policy, is not about military strength. It is about the viability of the national economy, the competitiveness of domestic industries, and the strength of the country's technology base. Japan's strategy for preserving its national security is aimed at a threat, but it is not the kind that will likely come flying across the border dropping bombs. The threat is economic decline. Put another way, the threat is technological inferiority that leads to economic decline. The battlefields where Japan's security strategy is put to the test are the marketplaces of the world. If its strategy fails, technologically superior foreign industries will occupy the market both at home and abroad. If it succeeds, Japan will be able to fend off its technological foes in an effort to secure its future economic health.

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