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Japan facing chip industry problems following quake anniversary

Semiconductor companies in Japan have resisted from rebuilding or closing aging manufacturing plants, according to IHS analysts.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor on

While many industries based in Japan suffered extensively during the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami last March, the country's chip industry was already flailing, according to a new report from IHS iSuppli.

In fact, it was the earthquake that made this so apparently clear.

Len Jelinek, director and chief analyst for semiconductor manufacturing at IHS, explained in the report that "the limited impact of the quake on the global semiconductor industry dramatically illustrated Japan’s diminished status in the worldwide chip hierarchy and underscored the pressing need for the country to revitalize its business in this area.

One of the reasons behind this problem, according to IHS analysts, is that semiconductor companies in Japan have resisted from rebuilding or all out shuttering aging manufacturing plants to bring them up to par with state-of-the-art facilities in other countries.

Unfortunately, even though Japan's semiconductor industry has rebounded from the events that have taken place over the last year, researchers don't expect a revitalization in this sector anytime soon.

By comparison, just last week, IHS reported that Japan's NAND industry -- especially Toshiba -- is actually recovering very smoothly.

That's mainly because not only did both of Toshiba’s NAND chip fabrication facilities in Japan suffer little damage, but also wafer suppliers were able to both restore and increase production within a month at other sites to minimize any shortage issues to major customers.

Graph via IHS iSuppli


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