Tyneside engineering is famous around the world. Now the Japanese are about to snap up a piece of the region's industrial heritage.
Talks are under way to ship out a Parsons steam turbine, built in Newcastle more than 100 years ago, to a museum in Yokohama.
Similar Parsons turbines are already on display in several UK museums, including a much larger version at Newcastle's Discovery Museum and another at the Science Museum, in London.
The Japanese want the turbine for a new gallery at the Electric Power and Historical Museum, in Yokohama.
Tyne Wear Museums chiefs say they don't need the generator for their collection and are happy to oblige. Museums keeper of science and engineering John Clayson said: "It's a chance to fly the flag for Tyneside in the Far East."
The turbine was built at the CA Parsons factory, in Heaton, Newcastle, in 1900. Then it was making up to 50 such turbines a year.
The machine spent its working life in Newcastle's West End, first at the Spencer's steel works in Newburn, then Lemington Power Station.
"By the mid 1930s it was obsolete and came out of commission but the electricity companies realised how important these were," said Mr Clayson.
"They decided to preserve some and display them at power stations."
One ended up at Blyth and stayed there until the power station closed. It is now in the care of Tyne Wear Museums in the regional store at Beamish.
Coun Barney Rice, chairman of the Tyne Wear joint museums committee, said: "We took advice from our team which deemed that it was not required for the collections as it is similar to a machine already on display at the Discovery Museum.
"The turbine was taken into temporary care on the understanding that it would be transferred to another museum. It was offered to various museums however this offer was not taken up.
"In March last year Tyne Wear Museums was approached by the Electrical Power Historical Museum in Yokohama, which is seeking an example of Parsons turbine generating set for display in its permanent galleries."
The Electric Power Historical Museum, which is owned by the Tokyo Electric Power Company, opened in December 2001, in a new building with 4,000 sq metres of galleries.
The turbine, which weighs 12 tonnes and is nearly 20 feet long, will be shipped out at the expense of the Japanese.
In 1894, Sir Charles Parsons revolutionised marine engineering by creating the Turbinia - the world's first steam turbine-driven vessel and the fastest sea-going craft of her day.
His invention of the steam turbine engine led to him setting up the engineering plant in Heaton, which went from strength to strength to become one of the world's finest manufacturers of turbines for the generation of power.
In its 1960s heyday, the Parsons factory in Shields Road, Heaton, employed more than 7,000 at the 100-acre split site.
Davey Hall, regional secretary for workers' union Amicus, said: "Parsons is an historical landmark - an industry synonymous with the east side of Newcastle - and one that has provided jobs for hundreds of thousands of local people.
"In some cases, five generations of the same family have dedicated their working lives to the business, which has created some of the finest technicians and craftsmen in the world."
That's a far cry from today however. Before Christmas, parent company Siemens made the shock announcement that 400 of the 700 workers were to be axed by 2004.
After more than a century leading the field in the manufacture of steam turbines, production work was ceasing in order to concentrate on the servicing side of the business.
The firm blamed a downturn in world markets following the September 11 terror attacks and the Enron scandal in the USA, for a massive downturn in orders for 2003.
Despite calls for financial help, the Government said it was unable to step in.
New manufacturing will now be carried out at Siemens's Budapest factory, at a huge saving to the company. The average wage in Hungary is £200 a month.
Workers at the Siemens Parsons works in Newcastle are some of the most highly-skilled in the North East.
The plant has a worldwide reputation for excellence - but one area where it can't compete is against cheap labour costs abroad.
SPG took over Parsons five years ago. Unions described the job losses as catastrophic for the region.