Japanese chip makers face new shortages

(ORDO NEWS) — Japan‘s largest semiconductor manufacturers, from Toshiba to Sony, warn that the government’s efforts to revive the domestic chip industry face a number of challenges. And the lack of materials is not the most serious of them.

In a letter to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry last month, a group of manufacturers in the electronics industry said that over the next few years, Japan has the best chance of regaining its position in the semiconductor market. However, a labor crisis stands in the way.

There is a vacancy

The Japan Electronics and Information Technology Manufacturers Association said the success of the sector depends on attracting enough people to innovate and manage chip factories.

It is estimated that the eight major manufacturers will need to hire about 35,000 engineers over the next 10 years to keep up with the pace of investment.

It is noted that the labor crisis came as a result of increased investment in the semiconductor sector as part of efforts to strengthen the country’s economic security amid a shortage of chips caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is often said that there is a lack of chips, but most of all, there is a shortage of engineers, says Hideki Wakabayashi, a professor at the University of Tokyo and head of the policy proposal task force at the JEITA Committee on Semiconductors.

To support innovation and search for potential employees, Toshiba, Sony and other companies are collaborating with the best scientific departments across the country and investing additional resources in chip research and recruitment.

Today, the leadership in the semiconductor industry is firmly held by Taiwan. Its production accounts for more than 50 percent of all world demand. China is trying to gain an advantage, including claiming Taiwanese territory and seizing TSMC factories.

The US is currently investing billions in the development of its production of processors, memory boards and other microcircuits, since in 2020 the country accounted for only 12 percent of all the capacities in the world.

In addition, significant market players are such companies as Samsung, GlobalFoundries, Micron, Nvidia and others. Japan, which at one time was one of those countries that pushed the technological boom forward, has every chance to win back market positions.

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