The Nikkei has learned that three of Japan’s leading semiconductor equipment suppliers will join forces in a government-backed effort to develop advanced chip technology.

The initiative brings together photolithography equipment Canon, Tokyo Electron, Japan’s leading chipmaker, and Screen Semiconductor Solutions, which manufactures coating and wafer cleaning machines.

Canon and two other Japanese companies expect to return Japan to the forefront of semiconductor manufacturing

Trinity plans to partner with Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), which will provide approximately $ 386 million in funding.

Efforts in response to Japan’s efforts to regain lost ground in the global semiconductor race will also include partnerships with international players such as TSMC and Intel, sources familiar with the matter said.

The project aims to create by the middle of the decade next generation technology suitable for 2nm or less. The result of the work should be a prototype of a production line, including equipment for lithography, etching, cleaning and other operations.

Japanese companies such as NEC, Toshiba and Hitachi were leaders in semiconductor manufacturing in the 1980s, but eventually lost their advantage when the model of dividing manufacturers into factoryless designers and contract manufacturers came to the fore. At the same time, Japanese companies still hold high positions in the world market as suppliers of equipment and materials for the production of microcircuits.

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