Here’s something interesting I came across while doing some research on North Korea:

A secret memorandum circulating among defense contractors in 1988 estimated that lifting the export ban (that existed by general interpretation of Article 9 of the constitution) would result in Japan’s capturing 45 percent of the world tank and self-propelled artillery market, 40 percent of military electronic sales, and 60 percent of naval ship construction. (Link)

That was a bit ambitious even for 1988. At the time, the United States and the Soviet Union dominated the global arms market, with France, China, and the U.K. following. How Japan would capture 45 person of the world tank and self-propelled artillery market is beyond me. Sixty percent of naval ship construction? It appears as though Japan extended their share of the the automative and civilian naval construction markets to the armored vehicle and military shipbuilding markets, assuming they would do just as well.

All of that having been said, market conditions have actually improved over the past twenty years. You could make a lot of generalizations here about the Americans, Russians and Europeans (and I started to), but the bottom line is that the defense industry is ripe for a Honda or Toyota that makes armored vehicles, fighters, and missiles.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 536 post(s) on Japan Security Watch