TOKYO (TN) – With a new law boosting US support for computer chip manufacturing, Vice President Kamala Harris said the administration was looking for new investments and partnerships as she sat down with Japanese technology executives on Wednesday.
Their final full-day morning meeting in Tokyo reflects the administration’s focus on promoting semiconductor manufacturing and expanding the supply chain for critical materials.
The economy’s vulnerability to disruption in the flow of computer chips was revealed during the pandemic, when a shortage helped drive up costs and prevent assembly of cars and other products.
“The citizens and people of our countries sometimes rely on products without even knowing how dependent those products are on semiconductor chips,” Harris said during a meeting at the US ambassador’s residence.
With China investing in its own computer chips, the US is trying to increase its domestic semiconductor manufacturing, while also working to strengthen its technology ties with South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
Harris said the US understands that “no country can meet the demands of the world” and that “it is important that we and our allies are partners and coordinate in a way that allows us to grow and thus allows us to function at a very practical level.”
Legislation Signed by President Joe Biden, known as the CHIPS and Science Act, it includes $52 billion in grants and incentives for semiconductor companies, as well as a 25% tax credit on investing in US facilities. There is also a provision of about $200 billion over the next decade to support research programs.
Harris described the legislation as “a down payment on future US leadership”, but stressed that “we see Japan playing a very important and important role.”
Including Jimmy Goodrich, vice president of global policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association, Japan, “is a huge opportunity and important place for future investment”.
Although Japan was once a world leader in computer chip manufacturing, its position has deteriorated over the past two decades, and the country is concerned about falling behind.
Like the United States, Japan has established its own fund to support semiconductor production. Of the $4.3 billion, $3.3 billion is being provided in subsidies for a new factory in Kumamoto, in the country’s southwest.
The facility is set to begin production by the end of 2024, and is a partnership between Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Sony Group, and Denso.
Companies that participated in the meeting with Harris include Tokyo Electron, Nikon, Hitachi High Tech Group, Fujitsu Limited, Micron and others.
When Biden was in Japan earlier this year, the two countries agreed to work together on computer chips, with a joint group focused on developing more powerful technologies.
There are concerns that if Japan is slow to act, perhaps the fruits of the Biden initiative could be snatched away by another, more prepared, Asian ally, South Korea.
Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura has repeatedly emphasized the US-Japan alliance on semiconductors as well as energy and other issues.
In recent meetings with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and US Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, Nishimura has promised to set up a facility for semiconductor chips research in Japan this year and expand partnerships on semiconductors with other partners, including Europe and Taiwan. .
Atsushi Tsunami, who teaches at The National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, or GRIPPS, in Tokyo, said Japan’s shortcomings in dealing with advanced semiconductor technology may lie in the idea that Japan should not engage in defense studies. .
This view stems from Japan’s role in World War II and the pacifist views prevalent in Japan and international circles after its defeat. But the tsunami insisted that a quick rethink was in order, and that the US move could be an opportunity for Japan given the US-Japan alliance.
“As the US-China hegemony competition increases, Japan hopes to establish itself in jockeying how to create international standards and rules, and the strategic formation of alliances between nations as well as companies will be seriously meaningful. ,” They said. In a report earlier this year.