Japan provides Western Digital and Kioxia $680M to increase memory chip production

japan western digital and kioxia 680m

Japan’s government said it would provide nearly 92.9 billion yen ($680 million) to Kioxia Holdings and Western Digital Corp to help them boost production and ensure a stable supply of memory chips in Japan.

The government’s subsidy is part of a broader effort to revive chip production in Japan, as tensions between the USA and China and COVID-19 pandemic disruptions cause concerns that semiconductor shortages could hobble Japanese companies such as carmaker Toyota Motor Corp.

Koichi Haiguda, Japan’s Economy and Trade minister, said at a press briefing that they believe the investment would help stabilize advanced memory chip production in Japan. Moreover, they believed it would contribute to Japan-US cooperation in semiconductors.

The financial assistance comes ahead of a planned trip to the United States this week by the Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Minister Hagiuda for their first ever two-plus-two talks with US counterparts on broadening security cooperation to economic and industrial policy.

Kioxia, which was split from Toshiba Corp, and Western Digital operates a joint flash memory chip plant in Yokkaichi in central Japan.

The Japanese government is also investing in a semiconductor plant built by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing in Western Japan along with Sony Corp and auto-part maker Denso Corp.