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Qatar dispute threatens Japan's helium supply

Iwatani may need more US imports; gas used in producing semiconductors

OSAKA -- Helium shipments from Qatar have stalled following the severing of diplomatic ties between the resource-rich emirate and several of its neighbors, raising concerns about the supply of the gas used in semiconductor production.

Qatar is the world's second-largest producer of helium after the U.S., supplying 20-30% of Japan's imports totaling 10 million cu. meters annually.

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