WASHINGTON—It’s hard to escape the dominance of Japan in worldwide technology, even if the subject is France.

Gallic pride took a beating when its government asked American research administrators for their views on French technology. The U.S. executives said that France provides the United States with its stiffest competition in only two. categories—nuclear energy and aeronautics. The Japanese came out on top in a majority of the 11 categories, covering automobiles, computer hardware and software, robotics, telecommunications, materials and biotechnology.

“We wanted to find out where France’s position was strong,” explained French scientific attaché Laurance Ratier-Coutrot. “What we found was our image is not strong at all, and that the Japanese dominate most categories.”

The survey, carried out in September 1986 by Public Opinion Laboratory of Northern Illinois University, polled 791 U.S. executives from the public and private sector on the quality and merits of French technology.

“The idea for...

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