Japan to work with private sector on 0.1-micron process

Japan's government and private sector will jointly research the standardization of a 0.1-micron (100-nanometer) process for chip production, an industry group announced Friday.

NEC Corp., Toshiba Corp. Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp., five of Japan's major chip makers based in Tokyo, will be involved in this project, according to Tamotsu Harada, a representative of the five companies, at Japan Electrics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA).

A government agency, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), based in Tsukuba, Japan, has a budget of ¥31.5 billion (US$239 million) to build a trial production line for research into the standardization of a 0.1-micron process, according to Toshinori Saeki, head of the special project promotion office at the AIST. In order to accelerate the project, the AIST will purchase an existing plant, he said.

The government agency will invite offers from chip manufacturers at the end of March, in order to decide which plant to buy, JEITA's Harada said. AIST and the five companies will jointly work on this project, he said.

Harada and Saeki denied a report in the Wednesday morning edition of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper that the five companies will form a joint venture in June to carry out the development work.

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Kuriko Miyake

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