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Japanese chip inspectors combat flood of fakes amid shortage

Semiconductor screening turned into new business line as counterfeits grow

A CoreStaff computer shows an enlarged image of a chip for inspectors to find defects. (Photo courtesy of CoreStaff)

TOKYO -- A surge in counterfeit semiconductors entering the tight Japanese market has spawned a cottage industry of chip detectives.

Inspectors from CoreStaff, a chip trader based in Tokyo, examine images in a room tucked inside a distribution center in Nagano Prefecture. They are surrounded by microscopes, X-ray equipment and other testing devices.

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