In 1991, a JTEC Panel on Advanced Composites surveyed the status and future directions of Japanese high-performance ceramic and carbon fibers and their composites in metallic, intermetallic, ceramic, and carbon materials (Diefendorf 1991). An earlier JTEC study in 1986 also assessed the advanced material technology in Japan (Economy 1986). The focus of this study is an assessment of Japan's structures manufacturing technology, so only a few material companies were visited; nevertheless, the panel made an adequate assessment of the status and future direction of Japan's advanced polymer matrix composites (PMC) materials technology.
As was pointed out in the 1991 JTEC report, Japan has an ambitious space program, which includes a space shuttle and participation in a supersonic civilian aircraft. This space program is still a major factor in their material development efforts.
The Japanese have seen little to no impact on their carbon fiber market volume due to the slowdown in the U.S. defense market. Although it does not appear that they have included any major penetration of the civil engineering market through 1995 in their carbon fiber market forecasts, they are clearly the world leader in pursuing these applications.