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ECONOMY

CDPJ’s Tajima: Assess the circumstances of semiconductor industry decline

  • August 14, 2021
  • , Nikkei , p. 4
  • JMH Translation

Below are comments by Tajima Kaname, a House of Representatives member from the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ).

 

Semiconductor use has expanded, and the semiconductor’s contribution to industry has grown substantially. It is now impossible to formulate an industry policy in areas related to advanced technology, such as autonomous driving and communities on distributed energy resources, without a discussion of semiconductors. I agree that it is a good idea for the government to support the industry.

 

It is important to recognize that the Japanese semiconductor industry will not recover without an assessment of the current situation. Some experts warned in the early 1990s that the semiconductor industry would decline in the near future. Did top officials at relevant ministries and semiconductor manufacturers respond to the situation with a sense of crisis?                   

 

Is increasing the budget sufficient [for the industry’s recovery]? Inviting a foreign company to build a plant in Japan would not be sufficient. It is not enough to just treat the symptoms of the problem. The industry will continue to decline if we do not locate the root cause of past policy failures. As an opposition party, the CDPJ will promote the formulation of a broad semiconductor policy.

 

There are numerous data that point to a decline in basic research capacity. I am aware of the reasons for the decline of Japan’s manufacturing industry and pay particular attention to semiconductors as an emblematic case. If the industry does not change, its decline will adversely affect the automobile industry, a big provider of employment.

 

In the ordinary Diet session, which closed in June 2021, I led discussions on the semiconductor industry as the chairperson of the Lower House’s special committee. We launched a parliamentary league on industry policy in June 2021.

 

The league will discuss industry policy, especially with regard to semiconductors, as well as policies on education and employment. We will formulate a draft bill if we feel it to be necessary.

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