In the 21st century, Japan possesses two digital reputations: it is known as both the innovator and the laggard.
Back in the 1980s, Japan was a world leader in memory chips, with a few companies dominating the market, before being overtaken by the US with the arrival of logic chips. Now, it aspires to get back in the race, despite having one of the least digitised government systems among developed economies.
In November, the government unveiled a new chip company called Rapidus. Backed by a consortium of eight major Japanese companies, it is slated to mass produce cutting-edge two nanometre logic chips over the latter half of the 2020s. These are semiconductors that process data and are vital in sectors such as 5G communications, artificial intelligence (AI), green energy and quantum computing.
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