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Press Conference by Minister Nishimura (Excerpt)

*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.

10:16-10:25 a.m.
Friday, December 8, 2023
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building


Opening Remarks

Approval of a business plan based on the Economic Security Promotion Act

At the beginning, I would like to mention one point.
Today, based on the Economic Security Promotion Act, we approved a joint plan by four companies, including Rohm, Toshiba Electronic Devices and Storage, and their subsidiaries, to secure a supply of power semiconductors. We will provide up to 129.4 billion yen in a subsidy for the plan as the first case of support related to power semiconductors.
Based on the business plan approved at this time, the companies will strengthen their manufacturing bases in an efficient manner by taking advantage of their respective strengths—Rohm will manufacture silicon carbide power semiconductors while Toshiba Electronic Devices and Storage will concentrate on the production of silicon power semiconductors.
Moreover, regarding silicon carbide wafers as well, the establishment of domestic production bases will reduce dependency on imports from abroad. I strongly hope that this initiative will lead to the integration of the Japanese power semiconductor industry’s resources, including technology and manpower, and mark the first step toward creating a semiconductor manufacturer that leads the world in terms of both scale and technology.
Going forward, amid the robust growth of the power semiconductor market due to increasing requirements by electric vehicles and other products, we would like to promote this initiative to enable the Japanese industry to lead the world.
Later, the administrative staff will give you a briefing.

Question-and-Answer Session

End User List

Q: The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry revised the End User List and added Chinese nuclear weapons development institutions to it. On the other hand, some people say that the coverage of the list is still insufficient. Please tell me about how export controls should be in the future.

A: On December 6, in order to improve the effectiveness of the catch-all regulations, METI announced the revised End User List with respect to information concerning entities in foreign countries and regions over which concerns about possible involvement in the development of weapons of mass destruction could not be eliminated. 
On the other hand, the United States has prepared the Entity List, which includes a broad range of entities over which there are concerns about possible involvement in activities that go against the interests of its national security and foreign policy. The two countries have different listing approaches. Generally speaking, the United States lists a very broad range of entities, and I understand that simple comparison is difficult due to the difference in approaches.
We are maintaining communication with the United States through various means, so from the viewpoint of preventing the diversion of sensitive technologies to military uses, we will provide information in a timely manner and conduct constant reviews of the regulations to improve their effectiveness while carefully responding to requests from exporters for consultation.

Support for the power semiconductor industry

Q: In relation to the matter mentioned at the beginning, I understand that the power semiconductor industry abounds with competing companies. Please tell me about the need for or your expectations toward industry realignment and about the future direction of support.

A: In the future, power semiconductors will be used in a broad range of products, including electric vehicles and industrial equipment. In particular, the market will grow significantly with the progress of digitalization and greening initiatives, so I recognize that they are very important devices.
Japanese power semiconductor companies as a whole have a certain global share, but individually, they are inferior in competitiveness to companies with top global shares. In order to improve the international competitiveness of the Japanese power semiconductor industry as the industrial infrastructure that supports the future of Japan, it is essential for domestic power semiconductor makers to cooperate with each other.
Under these circumstances, we have so far been encouraging them to work together in various forms, and at this time, we welcome the development of the partnership between the Toshiba and Rohm groups as a significant boost to this trend.
Under the supplementary budget, additional funds of 254 billion yen have been allocated. We will continue to use budgetary funds to promote cooperative initiatives among power semiconductor companies and develop a manufacturing infrastructure that can lead the world.

Last updated:2023-12-08