A spokesperson for Dutch chipmaker ASML has revealed to Nikkei that the company plans to open a new plant in Japanese island Hokkaido.
Without confirming staff numbers, the spokesperson stated that ASML would be opening its plant to provide support to Japanese chip maker Rapidus.
ASML said that extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography equipment will be installed within the plant’s production line. Currently, ASML is the only manufacturer that provides EUV equipment necessary for semiconductor production.
President of ASML Japan, Shojiro Fujiwara, stated that Japan’s semiconductor industry must continue to “grow” despite the current geopolitical environment.
ASML’s expansion was announced soon after reports that Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC was also pinning its future on Japan.
Research company GlobalData forecasts that the total AI market will be worth over $900bn by 2030. As the AI market expands and tech regulation becomes increasingly geopolitical, Japan could be the next manufacturing hub for semiconductors.
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The US has become increasingly strict in trade sanctions against Chinese tech, including a recent ban on all US investment towards Chinese technology.
Despite chipmaker optimism towards Japan as a neutral manufacturing location away from trade disputes, Japanese officials have voiced some discomfort towards the US stance against foreign made technology.
Speaking to Reuters in July, an anonymous Japanese industry minister allegedly stated that Japan was uncomfortable with the US singling out China for trade sanctions.
“There’s no need to identify the country,” the industry minister is quoted as saying, “all you need to do is control the item.”