Japan's Leader Welcomes Investment, Exchanges to Strengthen Computer Chip Supply Chain

TOKYO, Japan (AP) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishhida said that he welcomed investment and exchanges with other countries to strengthen the supply chain of computer chips. He made this statement when he met Thursday with leaders from the top chip makers.

The recent shortage of chips in Japan was a major problem for the manufacturing giants, like Toyota Motor Corp. When social restrictions relating to the coronavirus epidemic crimped supply, it served as a reminder that a solid access to production is needed.

Next-generation computer chips will be critical for artificial intelligence, automated driver systems, and other advanced technologies.

Japan wants to remain technologically leading and increase its chip production at home. Analysts believe that the uncertain future of U.S. China relations could also put Chinese supplies at risk.

Intel's Pat Gelsinger and Mark Liu, the chair of TSMC, as well as Kye Hyun Kyung a senior executive from Samsung Electronics were all present at the meeting held at the official residence of the Japanese prime minister in Tokyo.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan's economy and trade minister who was present at the meeting said that many executives responded positively to Japan's request.

According to the Japanese government, the meeting was centered on exchanging views about the policies that are needed to bring more funding, personnel, and investment to Japan in order to strengthen the crucial chips sector.

Nishimura, a reporter at the end of the meeting, said that 'the government of Japan intends to seriously consider this and offer cooperation aid in order to fully address this issue'.

Sanjay Mehrotra, Chief Executive of Micron Technology and IBM Senior Vice-President Dario Gil were also present at the meeting.

The officials were on the way to Hiroshima, where the Group of Seven Nations was meeting.

At the summit, which will be attended by the President of the United States Joe Biden as well as the leaders of Germany and Italy, and other industrial nations.

Kishida said to reporters, before leaving for Hiroshima: 'I will lead the discussion aimed at stabilizing the supply network. I'll also stress the importance international cooperation.'

The Japanese government announced that it would fund TSMC and Micron's plants in Japan. The Japanese government is also funding a new company in Japan called Rapidus. Rapidus means "quick" in Latin and will be developing the next-generation or 'post-5G' semiconductors.

Rapidus is a collaboration between Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Group Corp. and NEC Corp. as well as SoftBank Corp. Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. Denso Corp. and Kioxia.