Japan asks Taiwan manufacturers to cooperate in chip production

FILE PHOTO: Renesas Electronics Corp’s logo is seen at a company conference in Tokyo, Japan, April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan has asked some Taiwanese manufacturers to cooperate in alternative production of semiconductors, industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said on Tuesday, after a chip plant owned by Renesas Electronic Corp was hit by a fire this month.

“We are in communication with several manufacturing equipment makers (in Taiwan) to speed up procurement,” Kajiyama told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

“The ministry will also work together for a swift recovery by using all possible means,” he added.

A Renesas-owned Naka chip plant in northeast Japan was hit by fire earlier this month due to a power surge in one of the machines, putting more pressure on the broader chips industry amid a global shortage of semiconductors.

The company, which has about a 30% share of the global market for microcontroller unit chips used in cars, had initially said 11 machines were damaged in the fire. But it now believes the situation is more serious than first thought.

An extended outage could add to a global shortages of chips which is disrupting some production of cars and electronic devices.

The Japanese government has called on equipment makers to help Renesas restore its production, with bureaucrats contacting companies at home and overseas to request they provide parts and machinery to the fire-hit company, a trade ministry official told Reuters on Wednesday.

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