As part of the deal Sony could take a minority share in the company that will manage the fab, which would be located on land owned by Sony and adjacent to a Sony image sensor fab, Nikkei said referencing unnamed sources.
The possibility of TSMC, the world's largest contract IC manufacturer, setting up in Japan had been previously reported with TSMC confirming it was reviewing the option but that it would need a large support package to operate in Japan (see TSMC confirms German, Japanese fab plans ).
Meanwhile it was reported that Japan's government is considering providing hundreds of billions of yen (billions of US dollars) to support the construction of wafer fabs in the current fiscal year, which runs to the end of March 2022. The government could cover about half of the Kumamoto budget, according to a Kyodonews report.
If the support package is enough to persuade TSMC to go ahead, the factory is set to make image sensors and automotive chips and go into operation in 2023 or 2024.
Japan used to be a leading-edge manufacturer of semiconductors although predominantly in the standard product memory and microcontroller areas. Japanese companies have fallen behind South Korea and Taiwan and for logic chips increasingly use Taiwanese foundries.
However, the Japanese government is concerned about security of supply for its electronics equipment and automobile companies, particularly with heightened political tension around the Taiwan strait.
The US and Europe have also been working hard to attract inward investment for domestic chip manufacturing.
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