Prime Minister Kishida woos US investors for Japan’s tech sector

The push for collaboration underscores Japan’s eagerness to bolster its economic ties with the US while fostering mutual growth opportunities.

Flag of Japan

Japan is positioning itself as a promising destination for American investment in emerging tech sectors, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida directly appealing to US executives during a lunch event in Washington. Kishida emphasised Japan’s openness to collaboration in critical areas like AI, semiconductors, and clean energy, highlighting the mutual benefits such investments would bring. His visit preceded a summit with President Joe Biden, which was focused on enhancing defence and economic ties between the two nations.

Japanese foreign direct investment in the US has exceeded $750 billion, making Japan the largest foreign investor in America and contributing to creating over 1 million jobs. Microsoft recently announced a substantial $2.9 billion investment to bolster its cloud computing and AI infrastructure in Japan, marking its largest-ever investment in Asia’s second-largest economy. This move underscores the increasing business ties between the US and Japan, coinciding with efforts to modernise their political and military alliance.

As the global geopolitical landscape undergoes significant shifts, Japan and the US are intensifying collaboration, particularly in areas like semiconductor technology. Rapidus, a Tokyo-backed chipmaker, is partnering with IBM to advance chip technology in Japan, aiming to regain ground in an industry once dominated by Japan but now led by competitors like TSMC, Intel, and Samsung. Japan’s efforts to revitalise its semiconductor sector align with Washington’s tightening restrictions on chip sales to China, reflecting broader tech rivalry between the two economic giants.

Prime Minister Kishida also addressed concerns about Japan’s economy, expressing optimism for a resurgence after years of deflationary pressures. With recent moves like ending negative interest rates and initiating the first rate hike in 17 years, Japan aims to break free from deflationary sentiments and foster growth in the coming years. These economic reforms signal Japan’s determination to regain its economic strength and reaffirm its position as a key player in the global market.