Japan International Aerospace Exhibition

Japan International Aerospace Exhibition
October 12, 2016

Thank you and good afternoon. It is an honor to join you for the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition. And it is a pleasure to return to Tokyo and to see so many distinguished colleagues and friends.

This week, we will have attendees from more than 700 companies and organizations representing more than 35 countries. This exhibition is a remarkable opportunity to forge new ties of friendship and cooperation. And it underscores the central role Japan plays as a leader in the global aerospace industry.

That’s why I’m proud to stand here representing both Lockheed Martin – the world’s leading aerospace and defense company – as well as the Aerospace Industries Association – the AIA. The AIA represents more than 300 of America’s major aerospace and defense companies and their suppliers.

Above all, I stand here as an optimistic partner. A partner who is excited about our future. A future that will be positively-shaped by the deep and abiding friendship between the United States and Japan and our shared commitment to peace.

The special relationship between Japan and the United States goes back more than a half a century. As Prime Minister Abe said when he addressed a Joint Session of the United States Congress last year, “The partnership between the U.S. and Japan is an alliance that is sturdy, bound in trust and friendship, deep between us.”

Those are powerful words. They describe a powerful relationship and a powerful force for global good.

The strong partnership between our nations also extends to our aerospace industries. And that includes a rich, strong history that has shaped the relationships that we are working to further today. As far back as 1931, ambitious aviators worked to forge and expand links between our nations.

Charles and Anne Lindbergh captured the imagination of the world when they flew together over the Great Circle. They were seeking the fastest commercial aviation route from New York to Tokyo.

Safety as we define it today did not exist back then. The Lindberghs faced a flight pathway that was long, uncharted and spanned great amounts of ocean.

Fortunately, the Lindberghs had at their disposal some of the best aviation technology available at the time – which I’m proud to say was the Lockheed Sirius aircraft.

Of course, even the best technology had its limits. At one point, as they made their way to Japan, the fog became so dense that Charles had to make a blind descent. The landing worked, but the airplane’s spark plugs failed.

The aircraft began to drift dangerously close to rocks. Thanks to the brave, alert action by some Japanese mariners, the Lindberghs were towed to safety. They completed repairs and in the passage of a few more weeks, they made it to Tokyo.

This story – now legend – stands as a model of cooperation between Japan and the U.S. It’s a great study in fast thinking, careful coordination and strong friendship.

Today, fortunately, we continue this friendship – now with the benefit of more modern technology and even closer collaboration.

In fact, the Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies and the Aerospace Industries Association in the United States coordinate closely on many civil aviation matters. Through the International Coordinating Committee of Aerospace Industries Associations, SJAC and AIA have important shared roles. They inform and help shape the international standards and regulations around the safety and security of air transport.

Together, we also advocate for effective trade between our nations. Japan is one of the largest trading partners for America’s aerospace and defense industry. In 2015, the U.S. aerospace and defense industry’s exports to Japan totaled 7.8 billion dollars, or nearly 800 billion yen. Since the beginning of the decade, Japanese aerospace and defense industry exports to the U.S. have increased by 117 percent.

Clearly, the aerospace and defense industry is a major contributor to the economic success of both our countries. It is a critically-important sector that will also help shape the future of our special relationship.

In many ways, the goals and interests of our industries are aligned. There are abundant opportunities for us to work together in a manner that is mutually-beneficial to our nations.

The alliance between Japan and the United States is as strong as ever. And increasing the collaboration between our aerospace industries will allow us to take our alliance to the next level.

Today, I’d like to touch on some of those opportunities in the areas of commercial aircraft, defense technology and space exploration.

When it comes to commercial aircraft, the American aerospace industry has a deep appreciation for Japan’s proven capabilities and relies heavily upon Japan as a key supplier of complex systems and components for commercial aircraft.

Your nation also has a clear advantage in attracting investment from American aerospace firms that are seeking to expand their presence in rapidly-growing Asian markets.

This is a key opportunity for Japan’s aerospace industry as you develop the capacity to produce your own commercial jets like the Mitsubishi Regional Jet – the MRJ.

The MRJ is a tangible example of the power of Japanese industry. A collaboration between the best minds in the nation has produced an aircraft design that is gaining global attention.

The program brings together iconic leaders in Japanese engineering and manufacturing – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toyota Motor Corporation and Fuji Heavy Industries – to lead design, development and integration.

The MRJ leverages the latest technology from its American partners with key systems supplied by aerospace innovators like Pratt & Whitney, Rockwell Collins and Parker Aerospace.

Progress on the Mitsubishi Regional Jet has been encouraging – both in technical development and in commercial success. With two flight-test aircraft in the air today, the program is gaining traction. And we are excited for continued progress as Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation moves toward its first deliveries in 2018.

Japan brings a highly-skilled workforce with a tradition of technical expertise, exceptional quality and advanced manufacturing. By partnering with American aerospace companies that have experience with aircraft design and assembly, Japan will build on its expertise as a key aerospace supplier and move further up the value chain for commercial aircraft.

In defense, we know that we live in times of unprecedented threats. And the Asia-Pacific region is central to that challenge.

In fact, just last April, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter referred to the Asia-Pacific region as, “the single most consequential region for America’s future.”

Through the leadership of Prime Minister Abe, Japan has taken decisive action to re-align its defense and security policies. These actions have positioned your aerospace and defense industry to move into the global marketplace. And your American counterparts are eager to partner with you as you step onto the world stage.

Japanese manufacturing capability and talent – combined with American experience in defense acquisition processes and platform integration – would make for a highly-competitive partnership to meet the needs of customers across the region and around the globe.

And as Japan’s military begins to increase its military cooperation with the U.S. and its allies, its need for new capabilities and interoperable technologies will increase substantially.

America’s aerospace and defense industry stands ready to partner with Japan to help your nation meet its objectives.

A prime example of our collaboration on defense technology is the F-35 Lightning II – a fifth-generation fighter that combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully-fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.

Japan is one of nearly a dozen nations participating in the F-35 program. Because of this breadth of its use and success, it will allow for interoperability with the U.S. and allies around the world.

The F-35 program is also contributing to the growth of Japan’s aerospace industry. Just yesterday, I was in Nagoya to tour the Final Assembly and Check Out facility for the F-35 – one of only two such facilities outside the United States.

In this facility, Lockheed Martin has partnered with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to train Japanese workers who will assemble 38 F-35A fighter jets here in Japan.

In the future, the Nagoya facility will also serve as a regional hub for F-35 maintenance and sustainment. That means more jobs, more economic activity and more potential for innovation.

I was inspired by my visit. It was a pleasure to watch Japanese and American workers show such energy and commitment, working together in real-time, side-by-side toward a shared mission.

Which brings me to another incredible frontier for innovation – space. The aerospace industries of the U.S. and Japan are in a prime position to explore new opportunities in the solar system.

Japan’s advances in Space technology have shown the world that you already understand this quite well. You’ve been a key international partner on the International Space Station, providing the vital Kibo module.

And Japanese astronauts have conducted important research aboard the Space Station. As we speak, Takuya Onishi of the Japanese Space Agency is on-board doing vital work while serving as a flight engineer during this research-intensive mission. The crew will conduct various DNA sequencing experiments to better understand the behavior of cells in space.

Onishi is also fulfilling a life-long dream. Prior to becoming an astronaut, he flew as a pilot for ANA. Now, he will be one of the first to go straight from civilian aviation to outer space.

Like all dreamers, he started with the basics. First, at the check-in counter at ANA. Then training in the U.S. and Japan as a pilot. Finally, being selected from a pool of more than 1,000 candidates as a Japanese Space Agency astronaut in 2009.

I love that Onishi says he was inspired as an Aeronautics and Astronautics student at the University of Tokyo by watching the Hollywood drama, “Apollo 13.”

Let’s look at another strong catalyst for partnership – NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission.

In September, we celebrated the launch of the Lockheed Martin-built OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. It is now on a seven-year mission – a bold voyage of discovery – to retrieve a sample from the asteroid Bennu.

However, we’re not the first to embark on such a mission. The Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft successfully returned a sample of a similar asteroid to Earth in 2010.

The OSIRIS-Rex team learned a lot from their colleagues in Japan as they designed, built, tested and delivered the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to NASA.

Japan has benefited as well, gaining access to NASA’s Deep Space Network communications and navigation support for the ongoing Hayabusa2 mission.

Perhaps most significantly, our nations will be sharing asteroid samples with each other from both of these missions so we can work together to learn more about the origins of the solar system.

If our two nations can build upon these past successes in space, the opportunities to grow our aerospace industries will be immense.

Global demand for space technology is growing rapidly. In the past 15 years, the number of nations with space programs has doubled. In fact, more than 50 nations have current or planned space programs.

In an era of limited resources, space agencies in Japan, the U.S. and around the world are looking to the private sector to meet critical needs, like launching satellites into orbit or re-supplying the Space Station.

For commercial space to thrive – and for mankind to reach the surface of Mars and beyond – it will take international collaboration to manage costs, share in investments and pool needed resources.

Together, Japan and the United States have the breadth and depth of experience to lead the rest of the world into space.

Clearly, the global opportunities for the aerospace and defense industry are vast. And the United States and Japan are poised to seize them together.

The question is, what must Japan and the United States do together to realize this unlimited potential?

I see three immediate steps.

First, we must look to the future with optimism and champion international trade as a path toward economic prosperity for all.

We have got to make sure that our nations’ policymakers and citizens appreciate the importance of international trade.

Historically, nations have benefitted from trade and openness with each other. At every opportunity, we need to help stakeholders understand the significant growth potential we can tap by further expanding international trade.

We can benefit from advances in transparency and predictability here in Japan for aerospace companies seeking to invest. This will create more job opportunities in both our countries and encourage investment in the industrial base.

Expanding trade ties between the U.S. and Japan will not only benefit our nations economically. It will benefit our national security and that of our allies.

The regional security challenges I outlined earlier cannot be solved by either of us alone. That’s why our industry is so pleased to see ongoing dialogue and discussion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

TPP would remove barriers to collaboration and investment between our nations. And ensure that we both maintain robust aerospace and defense industries to meet our civil and security needs – and those of our allies around the world.

Stronger trade ties will also allow our nations to leverage our collective ingenuity.

Which brings me to the second step: we must seek opportunities to collaborate in ways that are mutually beneficial to our nations.

We’ve seen so many times how much further we can push the boundaries of innovation when we bring the capabilities of Japanese and U.S. industry together.

In the United States, for example, we’re deeply interested in technological advancements in autonomy, artificial intelligence, materials science and energy storage – areas in which Japanese industry is leading the world.

America’s expertise in aerospace and defense platform integration – combined with our deep relationships with customers in markets around the world – could perfectly complement your nation’s objectives and help Japanese companies bring technologies to the global marketplace.

Let’s work together at this conference to find ways to align our diverse portfolios with the evolving challenges faced by our customers – both military and civilian.

And of course none of our innovations will become reality without our industry’s most valuable resource – people.

Which brings me to our third action: we must invest in the workforce of the future.

I read a report the other day that defined the human-capital challenge we face. Hays – a global staffing firm – recently released the findings of its annual “Global Skills Index.” They rated the severity of the “skills gap” – the gap between the skills that businesses are looking for and the skills available in the labor market.

Both Japan and the United States rated a 10 out of 10 in the severity of that gap.

This is a critical issue that threatens the future of the aerospace and defense industry. Our ingenuity is derived from the highly-skilled workers we need to solve our customers' most complex challenges.

And it’s a threat to the economic growth of both our nations and their ability to compete in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st Century.

All of our member companies have a stake in bridging the skills gap. However, we cannot solve this problem alone.

We must forge partnerships with all stakeholders – businesses, governments and the philanthropic community – to ensure the pipeline of talent has enough people to meet our future needs. And that they’re equipped with the skills to succeed in the aerospace and defense industry.

At Lockheed Martin, we invest millions of dollars each year in non-profit organizations. Here in Japan, these investments can range from making communities stronger through fundraisers like our 25 years of charity walkathons in Nagoya, to more long-term strategic efforts like programs focused on inspiring young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

By putting our engineers in classrooms to talk directly to students, or by providing iPads and smart boards for teachers, our employees know that there are many ways to support STEM education in Japanese communities.

I know all of you in this room make considerable investments as well. I’m especially encouraged that the global aerospace industry is collaborating across borders to address the long-term innovation challenge in ways that change students’ lives.

This year, for the first time, a team of Japanese students competed in the International Rocketry Challenge.

The team had great support. They were sponsored by the Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies and the Japan Association of Rocketry.

At Lockheed Martin, we are proud to announce that we are launching a new program with the Japan Association of Rocketry, specifically designed to inspire girls to pursue science and engineering.

Our “Girls’ Rocketry Challenge” will encourage high school girls to learn the basics of math, physics and engineering through real-life rocket competitions. 

We believe this program will help meet Prime Minister Abe’s national goal to strengthen Japan’s workforce of tomorrow by inspiring more women to become scientists and engineers.

Such positive and cooperative steps are just the beginning, however. Government and industry must do more to meet the technological needs and challenges of the 21st Century.

It will take commitment from everyone in this room to ensure we are investing today to develop the innovators who will transform the world.

I know that my message today is broad and ambitious – enhancing international trade, unleashing the power of collaboration and building our STEM talent pipeline.

However, I’m confident that if we work together to focus on these areas of mutual importance, we will further strengthen the special relationship we’ve built and enjoyed for decades.

It will take vision and decisive action to realize the opportunities that are before us.

The history of our industry has shown – time and time again – that we can meet complex challenges to build a brighter future. In fact, such boldness and optimism in the face of challenge and adversity are what define the aerospace and defense industry.

This is truly an exciting time.

We are producing some of the most important technologies ever developed.

Our innovations help connect the world. They help protect our citizens and preserve our freedoms. They help expand our knowledge of the universe.

This historic moment is even more important because of the ties of friendship.

Japan and the United States are two nations on opposite sides of the globe – engaged in an alliance that is, “Sturdy, bound in trust and friendship, deep between us.”

Because of these strong ties, we are poised to lead together.

On behalf of America’s aerospace industry and the women and men of Lockheed Martin, thank you for your partnership, your cooperation and your friendship.We look forward to working with you for many decades to come.

# # #