U.S. President Joe Biden may visit a cutting-edge semiconductor factory operated by a U.S. chip giant in western Japan when he visits for the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima in May, according to diplomatic sources.
In a show of close bilateral cooperation in the semiconductor field, he will be accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to the plant run by Micron Technology Inc.'s Japanese unit, the sources said.
The U.S. administration is providing huge subsidies to expand its domestic chip industry, seeing it as important to national security and providing a competitive edge in the confrontation with China.
Washington, which unveiled in October sweeping export controls on certain advanced chips that could be used by Beijing to train artificial intelligence systems and power advanced military and surveillance applications, aims to build resilient semiconductor supply chains with Japan and its other allies.
The factory of Micron Memory Japan K.K. in Hiroshima Prefecture, which will receive subsidies from the Japanese government, began mass producing advanced memory chips last November. U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said it represents an important investment for the economic safety and security of both countries.
The Japanese government, which has decided to provide up to 46.4 billion yen ($349 million) to improve facilities at the factory, is also subsidizing capital spending for manufacturing in Japan by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Tokyo-based Kioxia Corp.
Washington and Tokyo have been gearing up to strengthen supply chains for state-of-the-art semiconductors, an important strategic resource in terms of national security, amid concerns over Beijing's growing military and economic clout.
Japan and the Netherlands, both home to leading chip-making equipment producers, are expected to limit exports of high-end semiconductor technology to China at the request of Washington.
Ensuring economic security is expected to be on the agenda at the three-day gathering of the G-7 leaders from May 19.
Arrangements are being made for Kishida, who will chair the summit, to meet bilaterally with Biden and other G-7 leaders on the fringes of the summit, according to the sources.
The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States as well as the European Union.
Japan planning visit by G-7 leaders to Hiroshima atomic bomb museum
Hiroshima group makes int'l "okonomiyaki" dishes to tempt G-7 leaders
Japan eyes leaders' visit to Hiroshima shrine during G-7 summit