Japan restricts exports of high-quality chip technology

Photo: ANP

Japan imposes additional restrictions on the export of technology for the production of chips. About a dozen companies from the Asian country now need a license to export their most advanced products. The decision comes after pressure from the United States to stop selling the latest semiconductor technology to China, but Trade Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura denied that the decision was made in consultation with the Americans.

One company affected by the restrictions is Tokyo Electron. It is a major supplier of semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

Earlier this year, the Dutch government decided to extend the export restrictions of chip machine maker ASML. Veldhoven, the world’s most important manufacturer of chip production machinery, is no longer allowed to sell certain versions of the second-most recent generation of devices to China. ASML has not obtained permission to export to China the latest generation of machines for years.

Japan has stated that the new export restrictions apply to all markets, not just China. “We are investigating whether there is any danger from the military applications,” Nishimura told a news conference. However, there are exceptions. For example, Taiwan and Singapore have an advantageous trade position and can continue to import advanced chip technology from Japan without any barriers.

The United States, with the help of Japan and the Netherlands, is trying to cut off China’s supply of high-quality chip technology. Americans fear that the Asian superpower is making too much progress in developing quantum computers, artificial intelligence, or wireless networks. President Joe Biden’s government says it could also be used for military purposes.

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Beijing describes these concerns about national and international security as unfounded. Moreover, China has warned that export restrictions could disrupt global supply chains.

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