Harris calls for Japan chip firms' cooperation to boost supply chain

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday called for increased cooperation from Japanese semiconductor companies as chips become more important in ensuring economic growth and security.

"No one country can satisfy the globe's demand," Harris told Japanese corporate executives in a meeting held at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Tokyo. "Japan and the United States share a commitment to work on resilient supply chains and to invest in forward-looking innovation."

Harris explained the details of the CHIPS and Science Act that U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law in August, which is aimed at promoting investment in research and production of chips in the United States.

Top brass from about a dozen leading firms in Japan, including Tokyo Electron Ltd., Nikon Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd., attended the meeting, organized a day after Harris represented the United States at the state funeral for slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The United States and Japan are facing an urgent need to expand semiconductor production capacity amid recent shortages aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic, which have proved that an unstable supply of the components can have huge economic repercussions.

The two countries are also grappling with increasing economic security risks from countries such as China, which has heavily invested in technology and manufacturing related to semiconductors, used in everything from smartphones to cars.

"We have to diversify our reliance on essential supplies," Harris said, noting the pandemic has underscored the weakness of the country's supply chains.

© Kyodo News