Japan’s Semiconductor Industry: Topical Trends and Strategic Importance

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Senior Researcher, Centre for Japanese studies
Affiliation: Institute of China and Contemporary Asia of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: 32, Nakhimovsky prospect, Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation
Journal nameProblemy Dalnego Vostoka
EditionIssue 6

The article is dedicated to studying both the long-term and current trends in Japan’s semiconductor industry. Semiconductor production is crucial for the present-day economy, and its importance is only increased by the ongoing process of digital transformation, by COVID-19 pandemic and the international political turbulence that puts strain on the existing global value chains. Moreover, semiconductors are urgently needed by electronics and car producers and by other industries that employ microchips, they could contribute to reducing Japan’s dependence on imported energy commodities. Developing the semiconductor industry is a task stated in official documents of the Japan’s government. However, Japanese semiconductor industry has been in relative decline since the late 1980-s, and the national producers now lag behind the global leaders in terms of technology. Various measures are being implemented to revitalize the industry and reverse the decline (that was partially caused by trade tensions with the US), including state subsidies and increased cooperation with foreign companies. If Japan manages to achieve its ambitious goals, such as doubling the size of the national semiconductor market by 2030 and launching the production of the new-generation microchips, it will lay the ground for other large-scale projects including the creation of ‘Society 5.0’ and the achievement of carbon neutrality. To proceed with the tasks, it is urgent that Japan’s semiconductor industry overcomes the current engineer shortage and employs the globally competitive technology. As the global demand for semiconductors expands, the semiconductor industry could become the engine of growth in other related sectors of Japan’s economy.

KeywordsJapan, semiconductors, digital economy, global value chains, high-tech industry, ‘Society 50’
Publication date20.12.2022
Number of characters30208
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