Don't Start A Chip War In Japan When Everyone's Cooperating

Your commentary's claim of "unfulfilled promises" by Japan on semiconductors ("A chip war with Japan? No. But maybe a skirmish," Top of the News, June 22) misstates the promise made to U.S. chipmakers.

The 1991 semiconductor pact was a pledge of market access, not a guarantee of market share. Its target for foreign penetration of the Japanese market remains an achievable goal.

Since the initial chip agreement in 1986, the North American share of the Japanese market has doubled. Sales have more than tripled. Far from being closed, Japan has become a lucrative market for some leading U.S. chipmakers.

U.S. companies do not produce the chips used in a wide range of Japanese products and thus forgo a significant portion of the Japanese market. Economic hard times have also taken a toll. Recessionary pressures have stagnated Japanese demand and slowed American investment in Japan.

Sanctions have not made American business more competitive in the past. There is no reason to think they will do so in the future. Japan is the biggest semiconductor market in the world. With U.S.-Japanese cooperation at an all-time high, this is not the time for a trade war over chips.

Taro Okabe, Chairman

Electronic Devices Trade

Policy Committee

Electronic Industries

Association of Japan