Japan has become the latest nation to announce export restrictions on semiconductors, but unlike the US, has refrained from mentioning China as a main focus.

From July, 2023, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will place export restrictions on 23 technologies used in semiconductor production.

Japanese semiconductor equipment and material suppliers will need export permissions – making it harder for all countries to acquire semiconductors from the nation, not just China.

Although the restrictions are not obviously targeting China like the US, Japan does hold dominance in their respective areas due to specialised technology, which will be an inconvenience for China.

“We are fulfilling our responsibility as a technological nation to contribute to international peace and stability,” Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japanese Trade Minister said, according to a Reuters report.

Japan is a key supplier of valuable semiconductor tech, like deep ultraviolet lithography (DUV) machines, which are able to produce chips as small as 10mm.

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Japan’s restriction announcement mirrors a recent decision from the Netherlands.

Experts have predicted that China will lose its global leadership in artificial intelligence (AI) if restrictions continue.

The restrictions began last year when the US Commerce Department issued new rules which clamped down on the export of certain advanced chips to Chinese companies.

The Dutch and Japanese restrictions do not mean that China will be completely blocked from securing semiconductors, but it shows that the US has been successful in encouraging key semiconductor nations to enact stricter regulations.

“We anticipate that China will lose its current AI market leadership unless it can secure access to advanced manufacturing technology,” Josep Bori, GlobalData thematic research director has said in a podcast from the research firm.

GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publications.