Japan restricts exports of microchip production equipment to China
Japan will restrict exports of 23 types of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China. This step is consistent with the restrictions previously imposed in the US
Reuters reported the information.
The outlet writes that Japan thus supports US measures to limit China's chip manufacturing capabilities. However, the country did not specify China as the target of such measures and said that manufacturers should be allowed to export these goods to all regions.
"We are fulfilling our responsibility as a technological nation to contribute to international peace and stability," said Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura.
He added that Japan wants to stop its advanced technologies being used for military purposes. He said he was not referring to any particular country.
The outlet writes that Japan's decision is seen as "a major win for the US." In October 2022, the US announced it would restrict China's access to American chip technology. This was necessary to slow down the country's technological and military progress.
However, these measures would not have been effective without cooperation with Japan and the Netherlands. In January 2023, they agreed to join the US sanctions against China, which concern the export of equipment for the production of chips smaller than 14 nanometers. However, they did not announce this agreement to provoke China. In addition, Japan has never publicly recognized any agreements.
Japan has announced the introduction of export controls on six categories of chip manufacturing equipment. These include equipment for cleaning, deposition, lithography, and etching.
These restrictions came into effect in July 2022. They are now likely to affect equipment manufactured by at least a dozen Japanese companies, including Nikon, Tokyo Electron, Screen Holdings, and Advantest.
Japan used to dominate chip manufacturing. Over time, its market share has declined by about 10%. However, the country is still a major supplier of chip manufacturing machines and semiconductor materials. Companies such as Tokyo Electron and Screen produce about a fifth of all chip manufacturing tools in the world. At the same time, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co Ltd and Sumco Corp produce the majority of silicone wafers.
On October 7, 2022, the Netherlands detained a suspect in the sale of microchips to Russia in violation of sanctions. The suspect's bank accounts, office equipment, and inventory were seized.
Later, on December 17, 2022, a 55-year-old Russian tried to smuggle EUR 2 million worth of microchips and drones to Russia using forged documents and a front company.
On January 28, it became known that microchips manufactured by Dutch companies were entering Russia through intermediaries despite the sanctions.
On March 11, it became known that the administration of US President Joe Biden intended to tighten restrictions on the export of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China to hinder the development of the country's advanced chip industry.