According to the former economic minister, Japan is vulnerable to foreign activist investors buying sensitive technology companies such as Toshiba, as domestic shareholders will not be in jeopardy.
Akira Amari, a leading LDP leader in the semiconductor policy group, said Japan’s private sector “does not recognize” its importance to national security.
Japan considers tightening export restrictions, Rules for foreign investment Tensions between the United States and China over semiconductor technology are rising.
Last month, activists Chairman of Toshiba Board of DirectorsShows the ability to manage one of Japan’s most sensitive technology companies, with nuclear, military, quantum computing, and chip capabilities.The company continues to be under pressure Consider private equity bidding Following this year’s failed $ 20 billion acquisition attempt at CVC.
“Everyone in the business community said Toshiba was very important, but only activists made progress with money. That’s the heart of the matter,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times.
Amari’s comment is Controversial law The foreign investment that passed last year has not solved Japan’s problems with tech companies that are most often targeted by activists, struggling or in crisis.
In addition to Lack of domestic capitalAmari said Japan risks irreparably lagging behind semiconductor technology unless it works more closely with the United States to fend off threats from China.
In the late 1980s, Japan’s chip industry surpassed the United States to become the largest industry in the world. But it suffers from a relentless decline. With the exception of Kioxia and Sony, which boast a large market share in flash memory chips. dominate With image sensors, national chip makers cannot compete on the cutting edge.
However, the country still plays a vital role in semiconductor equipment and materials, and the United States wants to maintain Japanese technology. From the hands of China.. Meanwhile, Tokyo wants to maintain its sovereign capacity in chip manufacturing.
Part of japan New growth strategy Focusing on strengthening the semiconductor supply chain from an economic and national security perspective, Echo Initiative By the Biden administration. Japan has also agreed to fund the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest chip contractor. Set National research facility.
“We are moving from a society that uses chips to a society that depends entirely on chips,” says Amari. “If you miss this opportunity, [competitive] gap. “
He said it would be difficult for any country to build an autonomous chip industry. Therefore, it was important for liberal democracies to work together to keep the supply chain in amicable hands.
“We need to build [semiconductor] Supply chain with allies. ” “The United States is number one in economic power and Japan is number three. Therefore, the number one and number three must have strategic partnerships to compete with the number two countries.”
Mr Amari said the United States routinely blocks security-sensitive transactions through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, but Japan was unfairly criticized as a protection trader when it did.
Chinese investors have made several attempts to acquire Japanese chip technology, 2019 bid For Kokusai Electric, a manufacturer of semiconductor devices owned by KKR. Amari said some of the companies with the most important technologies are medium-sized and do not recognize them as particularly valuable.
“Sadly, Japanese companies are very unaware of national security. They care about how much money they can make,” he said. “Few business leaders have a strategic vision of how much they can get worse in five years.”
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