In a bid to curb China's ability to acquire semiconductor manufacturing equipment, Japan has included these products on its export control list, according to a report by Nikkei Asia. This move, however, may provoke a response from Beijing, which causes concerns in Tokyo.

By adding semiconductor manufacturing equipment to the export control list, Japan aims to limit China's access to these critical products. Industry analysts predict that this action will severely hinder China's ability to produce cutting-edge semiconductor devices in the short to medium term. Yoshiaki Takayama, a researcher at the Japan Institute of International Affairs, emphasizes that China's semiconductor development is likely to suffer due to this restriction.

The export control list comprises 23 different items, including equipment necessary for microcircuit formation and testing. Of particular significance is the technology related to extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, which enables the production of intricate circuits on the most advanced chips globally.

As a result of this measure, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will require suppliers to provide more detailed reports. A simplified application process, however, will be available for 42 countries and territories. Nonetheless, the restriction does not impede Japanese suppliers from expanding into the Chinese market; rather, it limits China's access to advanced areas of the semiconductor industry.

Japan's decision to limit access to chip-making tools aligns with the United States' tightening control on chip exports to China last October. The US has urged Japan and the Netherlands, the world's largest suppliers of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, to implement similar restrictions. The Netherlands will begin enforcing its new export controls in September.

Nikkei highlights that ASML, a Netherlands-based company, holds a significant market share in EUV lithographic machines, while Japan boasts leading chip suppliers such as Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings. This development further underscores the escalating tensions concerning semiconductor technology between global powers.