Japan - Country Commercial Guide
Semiconductors

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-01-08

Overview

Table: Semiconductors Market size (USD million)   

 

CY2019

CY2020

CY2021(estimated)

CY2022(estimated)

 Market Size (Japan)

35,993

36,471

43,581

47,621

Growth Rate

-9.9%

1.3%

19.5%

9.3%

Exchange Rates

108.4

106.8

105.9

110.0

Source: https://www.jeita.or.jp/japanese/stat/wsts/docs/20210608WSTS.pdf (only Japanese source available)

*The exchange rates are based on the WSTS statistics

The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) forecasted that growth in the semiconductor market would continue through 2022 due to high demand for semiconductor products. WSTS projects that the market size in Japan is expected to grow to approximately $47.62 billion. If this projection is correct, this will be first time since 2008 that the market size in Japan will surpass $45.4 billion (roughly 5 trillion yen).

Regarding semiconductor supply chain issues, it is unclear when supply chain problems will be resolved even though analysts at Gartner Japan presumed in May 2021 that semiconductor shortages would ease from the end of 2021. Some global semiconductor company executives, such as AMD CEO Lisa Su, predict that the global chip shortage will become less severe during the second half of 2022. However, at a financial briefing in October 2021, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger predicted the semiconductor shortage will continue to at least 2023.

In particular, the automobile industry is heavily affected by the semiconductor shortage. Japanese auto manufacturers have announced the intent to reduce the production of vehicles. According to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association, domestic new vehicle sales in October in 2021 declined 31.3% from the same month last year to 279,341 units, a record low for October since the statistics began in 1968.

As the shortage of chips and semiconductor supply chain issues continue, there are a limited number of countries that produce semiconductors, mainly countries in Asia. IC Insights’ Global Wafer Capacity 2021-2025 Report announced the world’s monthly wafer capacity by country.

1.       Taiwan: 21.4%

2.       South Korea: 20.4%

3.       Japan: 15.8%

4.       China: 15.3%

5.       North America: 12.6%

6.       Europe: 5.7%

7.       Others: 8.9%

 Asian countries dominate 72.9% of the market and Japan is ranked third behind Taiwan and South Korea. Regardless of this high ranking, Japan is far behind in the field of advanced semiconductors such as logic chips with the country’s strongest areas remaining in power semiconductors and NAND flash memory.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation (SSS) recently announced that TSMC would establish a subsidiary, Japan Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing. This subsidiary will build a new plant in the southern part of Japan in Kumamoto, and this project is scheduled to commence in 2022 with production targeted to begin by the end of 2024. The capital expenditure on this project is predicted at approximately $7 billion. It is reported that Sony will invest some $500 million in the plant while representing an equity stake of less than 20%.

This investment is in line with the Japanese government’s strategy of revitalizing Japan’s semiconductor industry, as it aims to enhance the nation’s economic security by promoting foreign semiconductor companies into developing production bases in the country. The Japanese government recently revealed a plan to establish a new fund of $5.5 billion to assist the building of new semiconductor fabrication plants in Japan.

In March 2021, the Japanese Government established the “Semiconductor and Digital Industrial Strategy Committee” to discuss ways to reinforce development capabilities of domestic semiconductors beyond 5G societies, All-Photonics Networks, and next-generation data centers. In addition, a policy of promoting investments to expand the domestic production of semiconductors and batteries is being considered. The global movement toward sustainable development goals and carbon neutrality will become universal with increased semiconductor-related technological innovation.

Sub-Sectors

Japan is ranked globally as the 4th largest market for semiconductor manufacturing equipment sales. The Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ), the global industry association for manufacturing supply chains of the electronics industry called SEMI, and SEMI Japan, announced that 2020 semiconductor manufacturing equipment sales in Japan reached $7.3 billion. This figure is expected to reach $7.9 billion in 2021 and $8.4 billion in 2022.

To find a resolution to the shortage of semiconductors, domestic semiconductor manufacturers and related equipment and materials manufacturers are rapidly increasing their capital investment. A May 2021 article by Japanese technology web media publisher PC Watch noted that this is also being driven by increased investments in the ICT area for digital transformation (DX).

Events

  • Semicon Japan – Hybrid
  • CEATEC 2022 (only Japanese available)
    October 2022, Makuhari Messe (TBD)

Resources

CS Japan contact

Ms. Atsuko Shimada, Commercial Assistant

Atsuko.Shimada@trade.gov