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    ASML to set up base in Hokkaido, support Japan chip venture Rapidus

    File photo shows a rendered image of the completed site of a Rapidus Corp. factory being constructed in Chitose, Hokkaido. (Courtesy of Rapidus Corp., with cooperation of Kajima Corp.)(Kyodo)

    Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML Holding N.V. said Tuesday it is considering setting up a support center in Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido in 2024 to work with recently-established Japanese chip producer Rapidus Corp.

    An ASML official said the company plans to send some 40 to 50 engineers to work in the city of Chitose where they will be tasked with supporting Rapidus.

    ASML is one of the leading manufacturers of lithography machines which are essential to the chip-making process. It is also the only maker of extreme ultraviolet lithography tools used in the manufacturing of advanced chips and carries out maintenance work for customers who use its products, according to the company.

    Rapidus was set up last year by eight major Japanese companies, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Group Corp., to provide a domestic source of next-generation semiconductors.

    The venture is receiving the full support of the Japanese government, which sees it as crucial for the pursuit of supply chain and economic security.

    Rapidus, which aims to produce state-of-the-art 2-nanometer chips, held a groundbreaking ceremony for its factory in Chitose earlier this month. It plans to start test production in April 2025.