Japan's `Open' Chip Market Still Looks Pretty Shut

The recent letter from Taro Okabe, of the Electronic Industries Association of Japan ("Don't start a chip war in Japan when everyone's cooperating," Readers Report, July 27), claims the Japanese semiconductor market is open to foreign competition. The facts indicate otherwise. For years, the Japanese government overtly maintained a closed chip market to protect its domestic industry. More recently, informal barriers and keiretsu relationships have served to block competition.

U.S. chipmakers outsell their Japanese competitors by more than 2 to 1 outside Japan. However, within Japan, the U.S. and all other foreign semiconductor companies have just a little more than 14% market share. This is an open market? We don't want a trade war. We only want Japan to honor the commitment it made in 1986, and again in 1991, to open its market.

A.A. Procassini


Semiconductor Industry Assn.

San Jose, Calif.

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