Vol. 2, No. 2 (2006): 1–27.
This paper examines two reasons why the development of airframes as a national aircraft industry have been met with more success in Brazil than in Japan: First, Brazil’s aircraft industry was nurtured by a unified government administrative structure while in Japan the same industry instead became a victim of inter-ministerial battles. Second, the Brazilian government nurtured a single specialized national-champion firm, Embraer (Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica S.A.), while the Japanese government relied on the traditional consortium approach that epitomizes most Japanese postWorld War II industrial ventures. While usually successful, the consortium approach did not do as well to build a domestic aircraft industry in Japan. Making airplanes turned out to be an exception in Japanese business partly also because of the involvement of several government agencies at varying levels. In other Japanese industries, such as steel, semiconductors, and computers, a single ministry, the Ministry of International Trade and Industries (MITI) had managed these consortiums relatively successfully.
Takashi Kanatsu (Ph.D., Columbia University 2002) is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S. His specialization includes high technology industrial developments and the role of government in East Asia and Latin America, political economy of developing countries, inter-regional comparative study of East Asian and Latin American politics, and the relation between democratization and economic development. He is the author of articles including “The Political Economy of Development in East Asia and Latin America” (http://www.exeas.org/resources/political-economy-east-asia-latin-america.html) among others. His current research projects include “China’s High-Tech Industry Catch-up: Which Path to take?”, “Aircraft Industry Development: Implication of the Chinese Entry”, “Study of Japanese-Colombians: A Journey from Safety to Danger”, and “Collective Memory and its effects on the Process of Democracy: South Korea and Colombia.” He is also currently writing a book where he compares various high-tech industrial development experiences in East Asia and Latin America to elucidate the linkage between politics, industrial organizations, and high-tech industrial development.