Japan Takes Clear Stance Towards CCP by Curbing Chinese language Entry to Chipmaking Gear: Professional

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Japan’s newest export controls on chipmaking tools purpose to considerably curb China’s capability to make superior chips. One professional informed The Epoch Occasions that Japan’s transfer exhibits its clear stance in opposition to China’s communist regime and alignment with the USA.

The Japanese authorities introduced on March 31 export restrictions on 23 kinds of superior semiconductor manufacturing tools spanning six key classes, together with cleansing, deposition, lithography, and etching.

Tokyo stated 42 international locations, together with the USA and Taiwan, will proceed receiving the tools underneath a simplified export measure. However China was not amongst them and will probably be topic to stricter controls.

The export management measures will take impact in July, based on the Ministry of Financial system, Commerce and Business (METI).

Japan is China’s largest supply of semiconductor tools imports. In 2022, China imported $10.7 billion in chipmaking tools from Japan, accounting for 37.3 p.c of the whole, based on Chinese language customs knowledge. Subsequently, Japan’s export management is predicted to deal an enormous blow to China’s semiconductor business.

In response to a latest evaluation by Icsmart, a Chinese language tech publication, Japan has numerous producers protecting most kinds of chipmaking tools. And that the nation’s power in semiconductor tools is similar to that of the USA. Subsequently, Japan is probably the most accessible nation to construct a complicated semiconductor manufacturing line.

The report stated, nonetheless, Japan’s new restrictive coverage means giving up the chance to grab the Chinese language market at a time when Washington is actively curbing Chinese language entry to semiconductor-related applied sciences.

Fang Qi, a UK-based funding guide, informed The Epoch Occasions on April 10 that Japan’s determination to implement the broad export controls will not be sudden. For it to stay on the earth stage of expertise, that call is inevitable, particularly amid an ongoing spat between the USA and China over chip expertise.

Epoch Times Photo
Semiconductor chips on a printed circuit board on Feb. 17, 2023. (Florence Lo/Illustration/Reuters)

Japan: A Chipmaking Gear Powerhouse

Fang stated that Japan’s industrial expertise improve has largely been accomplished, and it is likely one of the world’s main suppliers of chipmaking tools.

In response to a report (pdf) launched in November 2022 by the Semiconductor Business Affiliation and Boston Consulting Group, Japan accounted for 27 p.c of the worldwide provide of semiconductor tools in 2021.

Particularly, Japanese firms maintain key applied sciences and vital market shares in a variety of semiconductor manufacturing segments.

Japan’s Nikon and Canon and the Neherlands’ ASML collectively monopolize the worldwide provide of lithography machines, a key system used to sample the best particulars on superior microchips.

Tokyo Electron is a serious provider of semiconductor etching tools and skinny movie deposition tools. It’s an business chief in photoresist coating and growing tools (used with lithography machines). The corporate’s coating tools has a worldwide market share of practically 90 p.c.

Japan’s Disco Company accounts for over 70 p.c of the worldwide semiconductor wafer-cutting tools market share.

Display screen Semiconductor Options Co. persistently holds the No. 1 place within the international marketplace for semiconductor cleansing tools, based on the corporate’s web site.

Tokyo-based Advantest owns greater than 50 p.c of the semiconductor testing tools market.

Recognizing the CCP Menace

Fang stated that Tokyo has lengthy seen the risk posed by the Chinese language Communist Occasion (CCP) to the Indo-Pacific area, particularly to Japan, and now it has begun to point out a stronger and extra express stance in opposition to it.

Japan and China have a protracted historical past of territorial disputes. In 2010, Beijing blocked all 17 uncommon earth product exports to Japan over a long-standing dispute about controlling unpopulated islands within the East China Sea after ships from Japan’s naval self-defense power and Chinese language fishing vessels clashed. On the time, Beijing additionally restricted some uncommon earth exports to different international locations, inflicting international uncommon earth costs to skyrocket.

In recent times, Japan has actively participated within the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific technique, enabling it to cooperate extra carefully with the USA and Taiwan.

The world’s largest and most superior chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Firm (TSMC), is constructing a brand new chip plant in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, and is contemplating persevering with to arrange a second manufacturing unit in Japan.

Final December, Japan unveiled its greatest navy buildup since World Battle II with a $320 billion plan to purchase missiles able to putting China and prepared it for sustained battle, as regional tensions and Russia’s Ukraine invasion stoke struggle fears. The sweeping five-year plan will make Japan the world’s third-biggest navy spender after the USA and China.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s authorities is anxious that Moscow has set a precedent to encourage Beijing to assault Taiwan, threatening close by Japanese islands, disrupting provides of superior semiconductors, and placing a possible stranglehold on sea lanes supplying Center East oil.

On Dec. 16, 2022, Kishida’s authorities authorized three nationwide safety plans—the Nationwide Safety Technique, the Nationwide Protection Technique, and the Protection Power Buildup Plan—to bolster Japan’s protection capabilities amid an more and more unstable safety atmosphere.

Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force's JS Mogami takes part in International Fleet Review at Sagami Bay
Japan’s Maritime Self-Protection Power’s (JMSDF) JS Mogami (FFM-1), a Japanese multi-mission stealth frigate, takes half within the Worldwide Fleet Assessment to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the inspiration of JMSDF, at Sagami Bay, off Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, on Nov. 6, 2022. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

Strategic Partnerships to Counter Chinese language Aggression

In March, the USA and Japan struck a commerce deal on electrical car (EV) battery minerals that’s key to strengthening their battery provide chains. The minerals embody lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese.

The swiftly negotiated settlement goals to cut back U.S.-Japanese dependence on China for such supplies by prohibiting the 2 international locations from enacting bilateral export restrictions on the minerals most important for EV batteries.

Fang believes Japan needs to broaden its international affect in additional methods than simply economics, significantly by strengthening its navy ties with the UK and South Korea.

In January, Kishida visited the UK. The 2 sides signed a reciprocal entry settlement that tremendously expanded protection cooperation between the 2 international locations, permitting each governments to deploy troops on one another’s territory.

Epoch Times Photo
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (R) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake palms after signing a protection settlement on the Tower of London, in London, England, on Jan. 11, 2023. (Carl Court docket/Getty Photographs)

Downing Avenue referred to as the pact—signed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Kishida in London on Jan. 11—an important protection treaty between London and Tokyo since 1902.

The pact is a part of the UK’s protection and international coverage “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific area, following an built-in evaluate in 2021 that acknowledged the rising affect of China within the space.

As well as, talks between Britain and Japan additionally contain commerce relations. The UK seeks to hitch the Asia-Pacific commerce bloc, the Complete and Progressive Settlement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Japan is a founding member. On the finish of March, the UK was authorized to hitch the CPTPP, changing into the primary European nation to hitch the settlement.

Epoch Times Photo
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake palms forward of a summit assembly on the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo on March 16, 2023. (Kiyoshi Ota/Pool/Getty Photographs)

On March 16, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol met with Kishida at a summit in Tokyo, the place each promised to show the web page on years of animosity over their international locations’ troublesome, shared historical past.

Yoon turned the primary South Korean president to go to Japan underneath bilateral preparations in 12 years. On the summit, the 2 leaders stated they might develop bilateral relations and pursue widespread pursuits in safety, economic system, and international agenda.

The dearth of cooperation between the 2 international locations has lengthy undercut U.S.-led efforts to current a united entrance in opposition to China and North Korea.

Aldgra Fredly and Reuters contributed to this report.