Japan flag over circuit board

Japan to block technological exports to China and Russia

Image credit: Pixabay

Japan has tightened its sanctions against Russia and is expected to announce export controls on semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China.

Japan has tightened its sanctions against Russia following the latter's latest wave of missile attacks in Ukraine that killed at least 11 people.

The decision will include a ban on Russia-bound shipments of goods that can be used to enhance military capability, including semiconductor equipment and components, robots, power generators, explosives and vaccines, according to the trade ministry.

The decision will affect 36 individuals and 52 organisations.

The sanctions target exports by Japanese firms, target politicians, military officers, businesspeople and companies in Russia and regions in eastern and southern Ukraine. 

“In light of the situation surrounding Ukraine and to contribute to international efforts to secure peace, Japan will implement export bans in line with other major nations,” the trade ministry said in a press release. 

The news has been made public on the same day as reports that Japan and the Netherlands will join the United States in restricting exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China, as reported by Bloomberg News.

Deputy chief cabinet secretary Seiji Kihara said that Japan would take "appropriate steps" based on the regulatory moves of the US and other nations.

The trilateral talks are set to conclude as early as Friday, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

As part of the agreement, Japan is expected to expand restrictions on Nikon Corp, it said, although the move could also affect chip manufacturing machinery maker Tokyo Electron. 

"We have been in discussion with the United States and other countries regarding the export-control regime," Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan's minister of economy, trade and industry, told reporters on Friday.

"We will implement any measures in accordance with our Foreign Exchange Law and through international cooperation," he added, declining to provide further details.

Japan's reticence towards Chinese technology is framed within a long-running technological dispute between Washington and Beijing. 

The US has restricted China’s access to semiconductor technology since at least 2019 when the Trump administration banned Huawei from buying vital US technology.

In August 2022, the US further prohibited the export of four technologies tied to semiconductor manufacturing, citing how they were “vital to national security” and signed an “historic” bill aimed at boosting the domestic production of semiconductors.

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