The big picture: Japan's share of global semiconductor sales has fallen from 50 percent in 1988 to less than 10 percent today. It has more chips than any other -- 84 to be exact -- but only a handful of them use advanced processing nodes under 10 nanometers. That's why the state is trying to revive the semiconductor industry, even if it costs a lot over the next decade.
A persistent shortage of chips has affected everything from LCD monitors to graphics cards, game consoles, televisions, and even car manufacturers. For consumers, this has created a hostile buying environment in some cases, while some governments are increasingly becoming aware of the fragility of the global technology supply chain.
In the United States, the Biden administration is trying to end the situation with a $52 billion commitment to boost the domestic semiconductor industry, at the request of the Silicon Industry Association, but at the same time $100 billion in subsidies from China, the government lacks Semiconductor companies.
The main problem with these factories is that most of them use old and outdated equipment, some of which were purchased earlier this year to Chinese companies who were very happy to buy the US curbs. The only notable exceptions are Sony and Kioxia, which are famous for their advanced camera sensors and flash memory, respectively.
Japanese manufacturer Renesas develops microcontrollers for automotive, medical, and other applications
Although I believe Japan aims to increase its semiconductor production at all costs, its program in the case is "national security". In particular, the company wants to create an attractive space for companies like TSMC to build local foundries and research and development centers, with the ultimate goal of creating an independent route to inject their infrastructure with future technologies.
This strategy undoubtedly derives from simple observations of how global tensions and competition for technological dominance have affected the global technology supply chain and also led to the de-globalization of the chip industry.
After Japan in 1988, it dominated global semiconductor sales by importing 64% of the chips needed by its domestic industry last year.
Japan also wants to exercise strict export control of chips as well as materials for manufacturing. It is, in particular, a delicate industry that allows the production of equipment for civilian and military uses. The big question is what does Japan need to achieve. That goal, according to Tetsuro Higashi, the former president of Tokyo Electronics, is an initial investment of at least 1 trillion yen ($9 billion) over ten years. The future is another trillion dollars. The 71-year-old silicon industry veteran says it will also include a mix of subsidies, tax breaks and a new framework to facilitate technology sharing. p>
Japan wants to revive the once-dominant silicon industry