Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada has accused Japanese developers of being "very weak" in their gameplay choices since 2005.
That five-year period has seen the release of worldwide smashes such as Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, Wii Fit and Square's own Final Fantasy XIII.
However, Wada told Gamasutra that when it came to the "first axis" of game creation - the selection of genre and core gameplay - Western developers had become "much stronger" in the 21st Century.
Wada added that Japanese developers were striving to make better decisions and "try new ways" to approach the creation of a game.
"The second axis is the characteristics of the device it's for - 3DS, Kinect, Wii," he explained. "The third axis is the community aspect. Is it multiplayer, or so forth?
"And this [Wada indicates the first axis] is the axis that Japan has become very weak in for the past five years. And these [other] two levels haven't changed much.
"The Western developers have become much stronger, during the past five years, in this aspect - the game element. This is the area the Japanese creators are struggling with right now, trying to explore in new ways.
"So if you look at all these three factors and ask, "is Japan strong or weak today?" I don't think we can say Japan's strong."
One game we're betting Wada-san believes is very strong indeed is Square's new RPG Dragon Quest IX - which has won rave reviews from the likes of Edge.