Several global semiconductor companies on Thursday expressed their readiness to increase investment in Japan, as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged to expand support to secure a stable supply of the key components used in various products.

During a meeting at the prime minister's office attended by executives of major semiconductor companies, Kishida hailed their "aggressive policy" of investment in Japan and called for further investments.

Kishida, who will host the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima from Friday, expressed his readiness to take a leading role in discussions on the global challenge of securing stable supply chains.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (C) and executives of major semiconductor companies pose for photos at the premier's office in Tokyo on May 18, 2023. (Kyodo)

The companies represented at the meeting included U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology Inc., which said Thursday it will invest up to 500 billion yen ($3.6 billion) over the next few years to produce next-generation memory chips at its plant in Hiroshima Prefecture, western Japan.

Executives of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Intel Corp., Samsung Electronics Co., Applied Materials Inc., IBM Corp. and imec, a Belgian research and development institution, who are visiting Japan on the occasion of the G-7 summit, also attended the meeting.

During the gathering, TSMC Chairman Mark Liu said the world's largest contract chipmaker, which has received Japanese government support for the construction of a plant in Kumamoto Prefecture in southwestern Japan, is considering expanding its investment on the assumption of additional assistance, according to the industry ministry.

Max Mirgoli, executive vice president of imec, told reporters after the meeting that the organization plans to open a research and development center in Japan to collaborate with local companies and universities, including state-backed chipmaker Rapidus Corp.

The next-generation semiconductor venture was established last year by Toyota Motor Corp., Sony Group Corp. and six other companies.

Japanese chip manufacturers were dominant players in the industry in the 1980s but now lag behind leading companies from Taiwan and South Korea.

With a recent shortage of semiconductors affecting a number of essential industries including automobiles, Japan has been scrambling to beef up supply chains to procure chips even during contingencies.

As part of efforts to ensure stable production, Japan is seeking to rebuild a globally competitive chip-making industry by facilitating collaboration between domestic and overseas companies.

In April, the government set a goal of tripling sales at companies manufacturing semiconductors, parts and materials in Japan to 15 trillion yen in 2030 through increased investment.