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Dissecting Rapidus, Japan’s Shiny New Chip Project

Beyond advanced process technology, the goals of Japan's semiconductor initiative are vague. Could it be yet another Japan Inc. boondoggle?
IBM 2nm process
A rendering of the lowest layers of IBM's 2nm test chip, showing the rows of nanosheets. (Source: IBM)

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By Junko Yoshida

When Japan announced late last week a national project to launch a semiconductor company dubbed Rapidus, backed by the country’s biggest companies in partnership with IBM, I suspect I was not alone when I groaned, “Not again.”

Many understand that Japan loves ambitious long-term R&D projects. These national initiatives provide a pretext for ministry officials to goad Japanese corporations into pooling their resources to create new technologies. The point is to keep Japan competitive in advanced technologies.

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