Japan must put at least a trillion yen (US$9 billion) toward chip development this fiscal year and trillions more after that, if it is to have any hope of reviving its national industry, according to the government’s lead adviser on its new semiconductor strategy.

Anything less won’t be enough, given the high cost of chip factories and how far Japan lags behind South Korea and Taiwan in advanced manufacturing, according to Tetsuro Higashi, chairman emeritus at gearmaker Tokyo Electron and head of an expert panel advising the government.

“It will not be at all easy to stage a comeback,” the 71-year-old industry veteran said in an interview this week. “If we miss this opportunity now, there may not be another one.”

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