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Japan to restrict chipmaking equipment exports

Japan’s government on Friday said it plans to restrict exports of 23 types of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, aligning it with a U.S. push to curb China’s ability to make advanced chips.

The trade and industry minister in a press release said it will impose export controls on six categories of equipment used in chip manufacturing, including cleaning, deposition, lithography and etching. It did not specify China as the target of those measures, saying equipment makers will need to seek export permission for all regions.

“We are fulfilling our responsibility as a technological nation to contribute to international peace and stability,” the ministry said, adding that its goal was to stop advanced technology being used for military purposes.

The export restrictions, which will come into force in July, are likely to affect equipment manufactured by a dozen Japanese companies, such as Nikon Corp and Tokyo Electron Ltd.

Tokyo’s decision comes after the U.S. in October imposed sweeping restrictions on chipmaking tool exports to China citing concerns that Beijing planned to use advanced chips to enhance its military power. Washington, however, needs Japan and the Netherlands, the other key suppliers of such equipment, to join it to make those restrictions effective.

The Netherlands’ government in a letter to the country’s parliament this month also said it plans to restrict chipmaking equipment exports. Dutch company ASML Holding NV is a key supplier to advanced lithography machines.

Japan and the Netherlands in January agreed join the U.S. in restrict chipmaking equipment exports to China, sources earlier said, although Tokyo has never publicly acknowledged that there was an agreement.

China has accused the U.S. of being a “tech hegemony” because of its export restrictions. US News

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