xi's moments
Home | Opinion Line

Dancing with the wolf is not going to help you, dear Japan

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-04 07:17


Japan is reportedly considering limiting exports of semiconductor technology to China, after receiving instructions from the United States.

How easy it is for some to forget history. In the 1970s, Japan's semiconductor industry flourished in a much bigger way than today; it was so popular for youngsters in the US and Europe to flaunt a Sony Walkman. The Made in Japan label became a sure shot for the success of semiconductor products.

Expectedly, the US was not too amused and soon took diplomatic, trade and other measures to arm-twist Japan into signing the US-Japan Semiconductor Agreement in 1986. Under the deal, Japan was forced to open its semiconductor market and ensure that foreign firms obtained 20 percent of the market share within five years.

Thanks to anti-dumping measures and high tariffs, the US was able to reduce Japan's share in the semiconductor market from 50.3 percent in 1988 to 10 percent in 2019. Even the number of Japanese companies among the world's top10 semiconductor companies dropped from five to one. Today it is hard to find a smartphone made in Japan.

Even today, one can read the fine print of the deal on the Japanese foreign ministry website. However, it seems that quite a few Japanese officials who might have a big say in their nation's foreign affairs have forgotten this history.

Japan needs to bear in mind that it is in the wolf's nature to attack humans and consume their flesh, and dancing with wolves is not going to change that. The US has always tried to uphold its hegemony in the technological sector, because of which Japan, France (Alston), Germany (Siemens) and China (Huawei) have had to pay a price. There is even a joke that the US is the champion that always tries to suppress the runner-up.

One option Japan has is to join hands with others who have been at the receiving end of US hegemony to make the semiconductor industry fairer, cleaner, and more transparent. However, it seems to have made up its mind to side with the bully and profit from other victims.

Becoming a flag-bearer of the US will only make Japan lose its own say, at least in the semiconductor industry, and its interests won't be well protected either. Japan should look at history for its own good and that of its neighbors.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349