Japan tries to seize the “last chance” as a leading global chipmaker

Japan tries to seize the “last chance” as a leading global chipmaker

Japan to invest 70 billion yen ($490 million) to boost semiconductor development and production.

Japan will invest nearly 500 million dollars to increase the development and production of semiconductors in an effort to seize the “last chance” to maintain its position as a major player on the global technology stage, reports Anadolu Agency (AA).

According to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the new company Rapidus, which means “fast” in Latin, will work on the development of next-generation or “post-5G” semiconductors.

These advanced chips will enable smart gadgets and smart cities with high-speed sensors and transmission. The components must be extremely thin – as thin as a hair.

The 70 billion yen ($490 million) effort will involve working closely with Japan’s main ally the US to bring together the “best and brightest” from both countries, the ministry said in a statement.

Japan has long prided itself as a technological powerhouse, including chipmaking, but the ministry admitted today that Japan had fallen 10 years behind global competition, including the US, South Korea, Taiwan and some European countries.

Now is Japan’s “last chance” to remain a player in this sector, it added.

Recent shutdowns in China related to the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted Japan’s dependence on other countries for computer chips and other critical components. Analysts say the uncertain future of US-China relations, which could put supplies from China at risk, adds to the worries.

The companies involved in Rapidus are automaker Toyota Motor Corp., electronics maker Sony Group Corp. and NEC Corp., along with SoftBank Corp., Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., Denso Corp. and Kioxia.

Next-generation chips are expected to be crucial for artificial intelligence and automated driving systems. Investments in this type of technology will lead to jobs and growth, according to the Japanese government.