The Japanese ocean-going shipbuilding industry has evolved into two distinct sectors and today's second tier or medium-sized firms build close to half the nation's output of large ocean-going vessels. Many vessels recently delivered by the major and the medium-sized shipbuilders are of similar size and complexity. However, the medium-sized shipbuilding companies of Japan differ considerably from the majors in business strategy and corporate structure. To date, studies published in English on the Japanese shipbuilding industry have focused mainly on the seven major firms. In this paper Japan's medium-sized shipbuilders are introduced. Their competitive environment, operations, and strategies are compared with those of the seven major firms. The relative strengths and weaknesses of the major and medium-sized shipbuilders are considered and the role of technological development in the long-term prospects of both is discussed.

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