Chow, Tommy WS, and John Sum. "Guest editorial: special issue on the emerging applications of neural networks." Neural Computing & Applications 20.7 (2011): 923-924. says:
The take off of neural computing research was probably due to the announcement that Japan had resumed the research of neural networks. The US feared that they would be overtaken by the Japanese. This resulted in Ira Skurnick, a program funding manager in the US defense Science Office, decided to fund neural computing research again.
How true is it that the take off of neural computing research in the 80's was due to Japan?