Japan’s Role in Making Batteries for Boeing
Ion battery on 787?
No one claimed that GS Yuasa was selected as 787 except for the merits.
But Boeing has long been plagued by doubts that, in return for its major contract to Japan, Japan\'s airlines are buying Boeing aircraft almost entirely.
This arrangement is prohibited by the World Trade Organization civil aircraft trade agreement signed by the United States and Japan, which requires aircraft procurement to be based only on \"commercial and technical\" factors, the purchase contract shall be based only on \"competitive prices, quality and delivery \".
According to the US trade representative, the agreement aims to ensure that the purchase decision is \"strictly based on technical and commercial factors \".
\"The world has made great progress in eliminating the political impact of the sale of aircraft and components,\" Richard L.
Aboulafia, aerospace and aviation analyst at Teal Group, a Washington consulting firm, told me this week.
\"Then there is Japan.
All the normal ways of doing things have been subverted.
\"Is there any exchange condition?
But no one will talk about it and no one can prove it, \"he said.
When we spoke this week, a former Boeing executive confirmed that.
After asking for anonymity because of the diplomatic fragility of the topic, he said: \"Let me say this: we know, in return for our choice of these Japanese partners, the Japanese market will be Boeing.
This is a silent understanding, and there is nothing in writing.
He added that Boeing\'s Japanese suppliers received low
Interest loans from the Japanese government can only be repaid from future profits.
Although Japanese airlines and suppliers are independent companies, the former Boeing official said, \"In Japan, there is a unique relationship between airlines, suppliers and the government . \". “It’s cultural.
These officials are attending the same school and have close personal relationships.
The government supports the development of airlines and industries.
The government has great influence.
They work together.
In 2008, as vice president of Boeing and former president of Boeing Japan, Nicole piasiki told the company magazine: \"These are not just relationships with business people.
The Japanese government is an important part of all economic activities and industrial development.
Therefore, part of the relationship is to negotiate these two important areas of influence in Japan and to understand that the two are linked. ”Mr.
Aboulafia believes Japan is unique.
\"This is before free trade,\" he said . \".
\"Japan is the last unreconstructed believer in industrial policy.
The Japan Foreign Trade organization raised a number of issues with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, which did not immediately comment.
In response to my question, Boeing refused to answer GS Yuasa\'s specific choice for the 787 battery, but said, \"Overall, the internal and external suppliers of the 787 program are chosen according to their ability to complete the work with high quality, customer expectations for Boeing and the affordability and reliability of Boeing\'s requirements for partners.
Boeing added, \"GS Yuasa provides batteries to the French company Thales, which is responsible for 78 7 electrical systems under the subcontract, but Boeing confirmed the option, all subcontractors must meet the quality standards of Boeing.
Nevertheless, there is indirect evidence that quality and price may not be the only factor affecting the choice of Boeing Japan partners.
Japan\'s commercial aircraft market is dominated by Boeing to a certain extent and is unmatched by any other country.
Over the past decade, Boeing has supplied more than 80% of aircraft ordered by Japanese customers.
Japan\'s flagship airline, Japan Airlines, has never ordered aircraft from Boeing\'s rival Airbus.
Japan Airways first flew 778 commercial flights and initially ordered 50 aircraft.
Boeing said that in the past 50 years, Japanese airlines have ordered 900 Boeing aircraft, making Japan one of the largest markets in dollar terms.
Airbus has struggled to gain traction in the Japanese market.
It apparently took a page from Boeing\'s script, saying it estimated to have invested $4.
6 billion and Japanese suppliers for its giant a380. But $4.
Compared with Boeing\'s decades of spending, 6 billion is a drop in the ocean.
Since then, Airbus has booked four orders for the A380
Skymark, a Japanese airline.
Airbus has long accused the Japanese government of improperly subsidizing Boeing;
An Airbus executive said the 787 was the most heavily subsidized civilian aircraft in history.
China has not yet signed a trade agreement on civilian aircraft, and aviation analysts have been watching closely to see if it will follow Japan\'s footsteps or accept the way it does free trade.
Airbus has invested more in China than Boeing. In China, Airbus built its first assembly line outside Europe.
But so far, it has roughly the same market share in the rapidly growing Chinese market as Boeing.
In order to compete with Boeing and Airbus, China is also trying to develop its own domestic aircraft industry.
Boeing\'s sponsorship is sure to benefit Japan.
Three major \"Heavy Industries\"
Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Fuji-
Since the development of the Boeing 767, it has been an important partner of Boeing.
Boeing said it provided the main components of the 767 and 777 aircraft and was closely involved in the design of the 777.
The company said its Japanese partners designed and developed 35% of the 787 fuselage structures, including the main wing box, the first time Boeing commissioned this key design component to another company.
According to their agreement with Boeing, they produce almost only parts for Boeing.
Mitsubishi is now building its own feeder jet, in part because of what it learned from its partnership with Boeing.
Boeing says more than 65 Japanese companies are suppliers of commercial and military products.
Boeing says it employs 22,000 people directly or indirectly in Japan, accounting for 42% of Japan\'s aerospace workforce.
Boeing, which also has close ties with Japan\'s Defense Ministry, said the two companies \"have a long history of cooperation in meeting Japan\'s defense needs.
In addition to pursuing aviation and aerospace, Japan announced on last July that battery technology will be one of the main areas of its development and investment as part of its \"Japanese revival\" strategy.
GS Yuasa made no secret of its money-losing lithium-
Ion battery operations received subsidies from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, and recently received a subsidy of 318.
7 billion yen (about $3 ).
5 billion) start mass production of lithium-
Ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles.
(Japan is not the only country that subsidizes the battery industry.
A123 Systems, lithium manufacturer-
The Massachusetts-based Ion battery company filed for bankruptcy last year, although the Department of Energy provided $0. 249 billion in funding.
) Signing the 787 contract is a huge boost for GS Yuasa and Japan\'s efforts in aviation technology.
Although not well known outside Japan, the company says it is Japan\'s leading battery maker and says it has offered lithium
Ion batteries from more than 50 satellites \"are not abnormal or faulty \".
That said, it was its first attempt in commercial aviation.
\"I have never heard of Yuasa in aviation,\" said Mr. Aboulafia said.
Since then, GS Yuasa has been selected as a supplier for the supply of lithium
Ion batteries from the International Space Station.
Although Pratt & Whitney chose the company nominally, Boeing is the main contractor for the space station.
Well-known and experienced supplier of lithium
Ion batteries for aviation when selecting GS Yuasa, including the French Saft GroupAboulafia said.
Saft describes itself as \"the leading battery supplier in the aviation industry,\" and Airbus is using Saft lithium-
Ion batteries for the new A350 aircraft.
GS Yuasa is probably the best option for 787.
Nevertheless, all of this raises the question of whether GS Yuasa designs and manufactures 787 batteries based solely on the \"price\" standard, the quality and delivery required by the WTO agreement \", or whether other political and commercial interests have played a role.
The latter \"sounds too believable to me \". Aboulafia said.
\"This does not mean they are incompetent.
The Japanese respect engineering technology.
You can\'t say that heavy industry in Japan should not play a role in the design and development of 787.
They have been working very well so far.
Any questions about GS Yuasa may be too early.
Although the battery was suspected to exist in the fire that caused the 787 fleet to stop flying, no one knows for sure yet.
Security aplane, a French company responsible for a wider range of electrical systems, and a US subsidiary of British engineering company Meggitt, is also under investigation.
However, regardless of the outcome, experts say that with so many life hazards, the design and manufacture of new aircraft should be based entirely on reasonable cost and quality issues, and the selection process of suppliers should be transparent, not affected by other business or political issues.
\"The biggest enemy of a good plane is those who interfere with the freedom to buy the highest quality products ,\"Aboulafia said.