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Japan Earthquake Forces Emergency Shutdown of Semiconductor Factories


According to the latest investigation of the impact of the earthquake in Noto, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, the surrounding area includes MLCC factory TAIYO YUDEN, Raw Wafer factory Shin-Etsu, GlobalWafers, semiconductor factory Toshiba and Tower and Nuvoton jointly operated by TPSCo and other related factories are located in the earthquake area.

As semiconductors are still in a downward cycle, and the season has entered the off-season, some components are still in stock, and most of the factories are located in the seismicity level 4 to 5, which is within the seismic design range of the factories. Currently, TrendForce surveyed that most of the factories did not suffer serious damage during the initial inspection, and judged the impact to be controllable.

Raw wafer fabs, Shin-Etsu, and GlobalWafers in the Niigata plant are shut down in the inspection, Raw Wafer process to long crystal (Crystal Growth) is the most taboo earthquake shaking, but Shin-Etsu long crystal plant area is mostly to Fukushima area is mainly, the impact of the earthquake is limited, SUMCO is not affected.

Semiconductor plants, Toshiba Kaga plant is located in southwestern Ishikawa Prefecture, where there is a 6-inch, and 8-inch plant each, as well as a 12-inch plant is due to be completed in the first half of 2024; as well as the Tower and Nuvoton joint venture TPSCo three factories, respectively, are located in the Uozu, Tonami, and Arai, all shut down in the inspection. USJC was not affected.

For MLCC, TAIYO YUDEN’s Niigata plant is a brand new plant that can withstand seismic shocks of up to magnitude 7, and its equipment has not been affected, while Murata’s Murata which produces only MLCCs and TDK’s MLCC plants have seismic shocks of less than magnitude 4, and have not been significantly affected.

However, Murata is in a seismic intensity of 5 + area where Komatsu, Kanazawa, and Toyama are three factories (non-production of MLCC), due to the New Year’s holiday factories are closed, and the existing personnel are going to check the damage.

As can be seen from Japanese media reports, chip material maker International Electric said it plans to resume operations on 4 January, and some damage was found at the Toyama plant, which is currently under further investigation. Wafer fab Universal Crystal said, that Niigata factory buildings, plant facilities, and the vast majority of equipment are no problem, only a small part of the more sensitive to the earthquake equipment will have some damage, and the degree is limited.

The world’s number one MLCC Japanese business Murata Manufacturing said that there are several factories located in the earthquake area, respectively, Kanazawa Murata Manufacturing confirming the damage to the facilities. KOKUSAI ELECTRIC, a semiconductor equipment manufacturer, said it has not reported any damage to its base in Toyama Prefecture.

Japan earthquake

Nuvoton Technology said that the company’s production plants in Toyama Prefecture, Hokuriku, Japan, including the front-end wafer fab TPSCo, which is a joint venture with Tower, and Nuvoton’s back-end packaging and testing plant, have immediately initiated the emergency safety procedures following the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan at 4:10 p.m., local time, on 1 January 2024, at 4:10 p.m. Nuvoton pointed out that it has confirmed that all employees, offices and factory buildings are safe and secure; plant facilities and equipment are being fully inspected while evaluating the time for resumption of operation.

Nuvoton Japan subsidiary NTCJ under the joint venture with Israel Tower Partners Semiconductor ( TPSCo) subsidiary, by Hightower, Nuvoton each holds 51%, 49%, the operation is led by Hightower, which has two 8-inch factories, a 12-seat plant, located in Toyama Prefecture, Niigata Prefecture, near the epicenter of the earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture. Tesco in the past period continued to, TPSCo has continued to plan for the consolidation of production capacity in Japan, downsizing the equipment of the 8-inch plant without economic scale, expanding the plant to a 12-inch plant mainly for special processes and battery management IC capacity expansion, and supplying mainly to local customers in Japan.

As you can see, some chip companies have not yet fully grasped the situation themselves it is not the Japanese enterprise’s low efficiency, but the earthquake that occurred during the New Year holidays, many companies and factories are resting, the impact of the earthquake can not be the first time to follow up.

Overall, the 7.4 magnitude earthquake mainly affects the west coast of Japan-related cities, and the main focus of the Japanese semiconductor industry is located around the east coast of Japan, as well as the Kyushu region, the earthquake is expected to have a relatively small impact on the Japanese semiconductor industry.

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