Bechtel Group Inc. said Wednesday that its Overseas Bechtel unit has signed a contract to manage construction and serve as general contractor for the $800-million terminal to be built at Tokyo's Haneda airport.
The contract marks the first time that an American firm has been granted a role as significant as general contractor in a large Japanese construction project, the giant San Francisco-based construction and engineering firm said.
Since the Japanese agreed in 1988--under pressure from the U.S. government--to open up its construction market, American firms have made some gains through joint ventures. But some complained that the pace was too slow and that they weren't getting significant roles.
"This is definitely a breakthrough," a Bechtel spokesman said.
The role of Overseas Bechtel is "definitely not window dressing," said John L. Moore Jr., a Bechtel Group director who is based in Tokyo as the company's senior regional executive in the Far East.