, Volume 119, Issue 1, pp 325-348

Isometric factorization of weakly compact operators and the approximation property

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Using an isometric version of the Davis, Figiel, Johnson, and Peŀczyński factorization of weakly compact operators, we prove that a Banach spaceX has the approximation property if and only if, for every Banach spaceY, the finite rank operators of norm ≤1 are dense in the unit ball ofW(Y,X), the space of weakly compact operators fromY toX, in the strong operator topology. We also show that, for every finite dimensional subspaceF ofW(Y,X), there are a reflexive spaceZ, a norm one operatorJ:Y→Z, and an isometry Φ :FW(Y,X) which preserves finite rank and compact operators so thatT=Φ(T) oJ for allTF. This enables us to prove thatX has the approximation property if and only if the finite rank operators form an ideal inW(Y,X) for all Banach spacesY.