Following a meeting of experts held today (November 15), Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has unveiled a policy package to strengthen the foundation of the country’s ailing chip industry: in 1988, Japanese semiconductor industry accounted for more than half of the global market share, but by 2019 it already took up less than 10% of the market. Overall, the “emergency strengthening plan”, as it is known, seeks to boost the revenues of Japanese semiconductor industry by threefold in 2030, reaching 13 trillion yen. On November 19, the plan will be officially included in a comprehensive stimulus package due to be announced by the Japanese Prime Minister.
The latest unveiled plan will unfold in three phases, divided into short-term, medium-term and long-term objectives. The first phase (lasting 20-25 years) aims to secure Japan’s advanced chip production capacity, mainly dependent on subsidies to attract foreign companies to establish manufacturing sites in Japan. Unsurprisingly, TSMC’s newly announced fab in Kumamoto will be one of the first beneficiaries of the first phase, receiving an estimated amount of 400 billion yen. The first phase of subsidies will also go to domestic semiconductor manufacturers who look to upgrade their facilities.
During the second phase and third phase (after 25 years), Japan will engage in R&D cooperations with the U.S. semiconductor industry, ultimately aiming to establish advanced chip production capability in Japan. It also signals a deepening alliance with the United States on a geopolitically denominated front.
In early November, TSMC confirmed that it would set up a joint venture with Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corp. The joint venture, Japan Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing (JASM), is expected to spend US$7 billion to build a new fab, focusing on 28nm and 22nm-based speciality technologies. Sony will take a maximum 20% stake in the joint venture, spending US$500 million. On November 16, TSMC denied that the Japanese government would take a direct stake in the joint venture, but confirmed that governmental subsidies would be obtained.
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