Japan plans to impose export restrictions on 23 types of equipment used in semiconductor manufacturing, a move designed to limit China’s access to cutting-edge chips as the battle over the technology heats up. following similar restrictions by the United States.
Japan’s move fulfills aspects of a trilateral pact with the United States and the Netherlands, greatly reducing China’s ability to import equipment used to produce cutting-edge types of semiconductors.
Japan is under pressure from geopolitical tensions and the decoupling of the United States and China to develop strategies that will allow Japanese companies to straddle both markets, so there is no formal public commitment to the deal. I have avoided mentioning it.
At a press conference on Friday morning, Japan’s Trade Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said the regulation would cover six categories of equipment used in chip manufacturing, including the most specialized areas of lithography and etching.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology did not explicitly mention China in its announcement, but Nishimura said the restrictions were part of Japan’s responsibility as a technological powerhouse that contributes to international peace and stability.
“We do not have any particular country in mind with these measures,” Nishimura said.
But Japanese officials said the scope of the restrictions goes further than those imposed by the United States last year. The ministry will oversee the sale of equipment to third countries capable of producing high-end chips for military use.
“We wanted to address a broader range of risks associated with advanced semiconductor technology by expanding our coverage area,” one of the people said. “China is not the only risk.”
US-based Applied Materials, Dutch group ASML, and Japan’s Tokyo Electron dominate the world with equipment for producing the finest chips used in supercomputers and artificial intelligence.
The restrictions, which take effect in July, will affect a wider range of businesses than previously expected. A person familiar with the negotiations previously said the regulation would primarily affect Tokyo Electron and Nikon, but a person familiar with the measures said the list of affected companies was about 10, with blue-chip technology group Advantest. said it may include
In January, the Netherlands and Japan reached an agreement with the United States aimed at cutting China off from cutting-edge chips that could be used in advanced weapons and machinery, but Japanese and Dutch officials have yet to provide details until this month. It was barely made clear.
Prior to the January deal, the U.S. had imposed a series of severe restrictions on exports of chip-making equipment to China, but officials said they would only do so if it coincided with similar moves from Japan and the Netherlands. He privately stated that the overall impact of the plan would hurt.
As U.S. export controls have tightened, Chinese chip companies have relied on equipment made by companies such as Tokyo Electron and Nikon. Industry experts say the equipment on Japan’s list is essential to the production of advanced chips, and the rules are in line with US regulations introduced last October.
“It will be difficult for SMIC and other Tier 2 fabs in China to move to advanced manufacturing processes in the near term,” said Lucy Cheng, vice president of Taipei-based Isiah Research.
Chinese semiconductor companies are stockpiling key materials in anticipation of Japan’s export restrictions. “The 23 devices were basically what we expected and we thought we would see more exports of the affected equipment,” said one Chinese fab manager.
A Japanese equipment vendor who wished to remain anonymous said it has rushed to ship orders to Chinese customers in anticipation of the ban taking effect in the second half of this year.
Additional reporting by Qianer Liu from Hong Kong