China's Export Rules Leave Japan's Chip Makers in the Dark
China's Export Rules Leave Japan's Chip Makers in the Dark

China's Export Rules Leave Japan's Chip Makers in the Dark

  • 30-Jan-2023 3:56 PM
  • Journalist: Kim Chul Son

Japan: Japanese manufacturers of semiconductor production machinery and materials used in chip creation have not yet been contacted by the Japanese government regarding any possible export restrictions that could impact their work in China.

Ten chip-related companies recently reported that they had not been contacted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry regarding restrictions put in place by Japan, the United States, and the Netherlands to limit China's technological advancement. The five companies of which included Advantest Corp., Nikon Corp., Resonac Holdings Corp., Lasertec Corp. and Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Ltd. all conceded to this statement.

“As we do not know what the situation is, we cannot comment on what the impact is and what our response will be,” a spokesman for Advantest, a producer of chip-testing machines and other chip-related equipment, made the statement.

Japan once dominated the global chip-manufacturing market, but now only produces around one-tenth of the world’s semiconductors. Most of these chips are less advanced than those made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and Samsung Electronics, which explains why past restrictions on advanced semiconductor shipments to China have not affected Japan.

Japanese technology is often at the forefront of semiconductor manufacturing. Recently, reports have indicated that a deal has been reached between Washington and other governments to limit the export of these leading-edge semiconductors to China. As a result, machines from Japan used for producing complex and powerful chips could potentially be subject to these restrictions.

ASML Holding NV, a major supplier of chipmaking technology from the Netherlands, declared on Saturday that it “understood”, several governments have been making progress towards reaching an agreement.

The United States has secured an agreement with both the Netherlands and Japan. Companies from Japan were contacted to gain insight into the possible ramifications of tighter export rules, as well as worries of a potential Chinese retaliation. Tokyo Electron, being the largest semiconductor manufacturing machinery maker, was one five to be contacted - unfortunately, no response was received.

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