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Business Spotlight

Japan's chip industry squeezed as foreign governments boost investment

After shrinking for three decades, industry approaches moment of truth

MITSURU OBE, Nikkei Asia chief business news correspondent | Japan

TOKYO -- Shozo Saito, a 71-year-old former CEO of Toshiba's electronic device group, has long been frustrated about the decline of Japan's semiconductor industry. "Japanese chipmakers are becoming less competitive," Saito laments.

When he was with Toshiba, Japan had a global share of more than 50% in the semiconductor market, thanks partly to memory chips that Saito's own group commercialized. Today, Japan's share has slid to 10%, data from the Semiconductor Industry Association show -- and the country suddenly finds itself at a crossroads.

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