This report summarizes the status of electronic manufacturing and packaging technology in Japan in comparison to that in the United States, and its impact on competition in electronic manufacturing in general. In addition to electronic manufacturing technologies, the report covers technology and manufacturing infrastructure, electronics manufacturing and assembly, quality assurance and reliability in the Japanese electronics industry, and successful product realization strategies. The panel found that Japan leads the United States in almost every electronics packaging technology. Japan clearly has achieved a strategic advantage in electronics production and process technologies. Panel members believe that Japanese competitors could be leading U.S. firms by as much as a decade in some electronics process technologies. Japan has established this marked competitive advantage in electronics as a consequence of developing low-cost, high-volume consumer products. Japan's infrastructure, and the remarkable cohesiveness of vision and purpose in government and industry, are key factors in the success of Japan's electronics industry. Although Japan will continue to dominate consumer electronics in the foreseeable future, opportunities exist for the United States and other industrial countries to capture an increasingly large part of the market. The JTEC panel has identified no insurmountable barriers that would prevent the United States from regaining a significant share of the consumer electronics market; in fact, there is ample evidence that the United States needs to aggressively pursue high-volume, low-cost electronic assembly, because it is a critical path leading to high-performance electronic systems.

Published: February 1995; WTEC Hyper-Librarian