Japan’s industry minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, announced that Japan and the United States have decided to broaden their collaboration on crucial new technologies beyond semiconductors to include fields like biotechnology and artificial intelligence, following a meeting with his American counterpart,
According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Rapidus, a new Japanese government-backed firm, and American tech giant IBM, who have teamed up to build next-generation semiconductors, also intend to collaborate on marketing and encouraging the development of human resources.
The moves are the most recent attempts by the close allies to overcome potential economic weaknesses in the face of escalating competition between China and the United States over technology and other concerns.
Nishimura claims that throughout discussions with the U.S. The two countries decided to work together more closely on important future technologies “across the board,” including quantum computing, and to pursue the creation of next-generation semiconductors “at an early date,” according to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
“There was a time when Japan and the United States were locked in fierce trade disputes including over semiconductors … but that is a thing of the past. Japan and the United States are now partners cooperating on economic security,” said Nishimura.
According to a June 2021 report by the White House, East Asia has the majority of the world’s semiconductor production capacity, with Taiwan making up 20% of the total in 2019. Taiwan was then followed in importance by South Korea, Japan, China, and the United States.
In the late 1980s, Japanese chip manufacturers held half of the global market share, making them a dominant force. However, they came under pressure when trade disputes with the US resulted in export limitations, allowing South Korean and Taiwanese chipmakers to expand their market share.
The development of Rapidus by Toyota, Sony Group, and six other significant Japanese businesses is a part of the country’s efforts to revive its semiconductor industry.
In partnership with IBM, which debuted its ground-breaking 2-nanometer technology in 2021, Rapidus plans to begin domestic production of 2-nanometer chips in 2027. These cutting-edge processors can be utilized for digital smart cities, quantum computing, data centers, self-driving vehicles, and 5G communications.
Moreover, the two companies have decided to engage in “collaborative efforts” to develop a new market for the next-generation semiconductors that Rapidus will be producing, according to the industry ministry.
At the Albany Nanotech Complex in New York, one of the most cutting-edge semiconductor research sites in the world, Rapidus scientists and engineers will collaborate with IBM researchers to promote the development of human resources.
Nishimura acknowledged during a speech at a think tank that efforts by Japan and the U.S. to create resilient supply chains for semiconductors and other essential supplies would “take time to realize” and that efforts by some countries to use their economic leverage to secure concessions must be resisted.