The Keys to the Kingdom: The FS-X Deal and the Selling of America's Future to Japan

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The United States is in a war. This war is not fought with missiles and bullets, but with dollars, yen, and deutsche marks. This is a war for dominance in the global marketplace, a war for economic supremacy. The United States is losing this war. Year after year, tens of billions of dollars flow from American bank accounts to Japanese pockets - the stark meaning of the oft-cited "merchandise trade deficit" - half a trillion dollars worth in the last decade. The United States is not losing because the Japanese are...
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1994 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Square and tight-Pages bright without marks or plates-C1-Fast shipping Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 318 p. Audience: ... General/trade. Read more Show Less

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The Keys to the Kingdom

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Overview

The United States is in a war. This war is not fought with missiles and bullets, but with dollars, yen, and deutsche marks. This is a war for dominance in the global marketplace, a war for economic supremacy. The United States is losing this war. Year after year, tens of billions of dollars flow from American bank accounts to Japanese pockets - the stark meaning of the oft-cited "merchandise trade deficit" - half a trillion dollars worth in the last decade. The United States is not losing because the Japanese are devious, or mercenary, or "unfair traders." We are losing because of our own greed, myopia, and arrogance. The Keys to the Kingdom, a masterful account of bureaucratic ineptitude, political bloodshed, high-level intrigue, and sometimes breathtaking stupidity, chronicles the first major battle in this war. Aerospace and aviation products are America's most lucrative exports, bringing in billions of dollars and providing millions of high-wage jobs. The Japanese, having developed world-class auto, steel, and electronics industries (in the process devastating large segments of the American economy), make no secret of the fact that aviation and aerospace are their next targets. Despite these high stakes, the government of the United States, incredibly, agreed to give the Japanese some of the most sensitive, state-of-the-art aviation technology and design information America possesses - to build a plane called the FS-X. How this astonishing event transpired is the subject of The Keys to the Kingdom. Here is a tale of people at the front lines of the United States-Japan rivalry: the Japanese engineer who dreamed of re-creating the glory of the fabled Zero; the hard-nosed career bureaucrat whose fierce opposition to the FS-X deal set off internecine warfare in the American government; the mysterious Japanese lobbyist who seemed to have connections everywhere. Impeccably researched, brilliantly rendered, The Keys to the Kingdom boldly illuminates the themes tha
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The already rancorous U.S.-Japan trade relationship was exacerbated in the late '70s, when research entrepreneur Ryozo Tsutsui launched a campaign to revive his country's once-great aircraft industry through an experimental fighter called the FS-X. Shear's well-researched study reports on the advocacies of and oppositions to codevelopment of the plane both in Tokyo and Washington, punctuated by Tsutsui's blunt declaration that Japan could build a better fighter faster and more cheaply alone. American officials began to understand that the Japanese were threatening to surpass the U.S. in aircraft manufacture, one of the last areas of American high-tech dominance. Yet the U.S. handed over to Japan massive amounts of sophisticated aircraft technology. Freelance journalist Shear recounts in detail the complex, appalling story of why and how this was allowed to happen. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Shear, the author of articles on many of the thematic components of this book-technology, aerospace, and international affairs-relates the story of how Japan got hold of the biggest secrets of the U.S. aerospace industry, the only industry in which they have not yet beaten us soundly in world markets. Regardless of the risk to the U.S. economy, the Japanese were given the technology that would make their FS-X (Fighter Support Experimental) plane a reality. The book opens with a description of Hirohito's funeral, at which then-President Bush was in attendance. This period of transition, Shear asserts, heralded the end of an era of Japanese traditionalism, with a young "salaryman emperor" taking over. What ensues is a story about deals made in hot tubs, Japanese playboys, incredibly stupid politicians, and good old American greed. It makes for entertaining reading for those interested in scandal on the global scale. Recommended for business collections.-Lisa K. Miller, Paradise Valley Community Coll. Lib., Phoenix
Booknews
Shear (national affairs, The National Journal) chronicles how the US has aided Japan's ambitions to dominate the aerospace and aviations products industry, America's most lucrative exports, and has provided the infrastructure for Japan's production of the FS-X fighter plane. Shear, drawing on official documents and interviews with top government officials, reveals the arrogant self-interest that surrounded the FS-X project on both sides of the Pacific and pinpoints the continuing ramifications of this crisis. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Brian McCombie
FS-X stands for Fighter Support Experimental, Japan's answer to the fighter plane. Though it was thought that Japan would settle for an upgraded F-l6, the U.S. soon realized that Japan desired a more advanced piece of technology. Shear's thesis, in part, is that our government gave away much state-of-the-art aviation technology in trying to placate the Japanese and draw them closer to us. The Japanese threat was simple enough: if the U.S. provided no help, the Japanese would go ahead and build the plane on their own. Shear, though, argues that they did not have the capability to do so--until U.S. myopia, greed, and a whole lot of stupidity entered the picture. And he seems generally right. He provides some useful accounting of Japan's industrial history, too, though one wonders if he paints the Americans as a bit too stupid, and the Japanese as operating from motives far too honorable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385473538
  • Publisher: Doubleday Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/1/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 336

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