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Meloni and Kishida look to bolster tech, microchip cooperation

Meloni Kishida
The Italian PM arrived in Japan, where the G-7 summit happens Friday through Sunday, and immediately met with PM Kishida. The two agreed to further expand industrial ties – already boosted through the GCAP – in key areas such as semiconductors. Here’s how

Giorgia Meloni in Japan. The Italian PM landed in Hiroshima, where the G-7 summit kicks off on Friday, and held a bilateral meeting with her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida to discuss the summit’s key topics and bilateral relations.

  • In January, when PM Kishida visited Rome, the two had upgraded ties between Rome and Tokyo to “strategic.”
  • Their governments have been expanding ties across the board, as both look to bolster their geopolitical projection in each other’s backyards – Europe and the enlarged Mediterranean on one hand, and the Indo-Pacific on the other – honouring the concept of indivisible security.

Unity on G-7 topics. “Italy is due to hold the next G-7 presidency and it is therefore crucial that our cooperation is very close,” stressed PM Meloni, highlighting the Group’s global responsibilities and the need to “work together for security,” both in general terms and economy-wise.

  • On his part, the Japanese PM emphasised the relevance of the summit’s four driving themes according to Tokyo: maintaining cohesion vis a vis China, focussing on Global South countries, Ukraine – which is not just a European affair – and nuclear disarmament, symbolically highlighted by the summit’s location.

GCAP talks. The pair also touched upon the main dossier in the newly-bolstered bilateral relation, the joint Global Combat Air Programme – pursued along with the United Kingdom – to develop the sixth-generation fighter jet. Presented in December 2022, the project already spurred a wave of industrial cooperation and is expected to produce knock-on economic benefits for the wider economies, as remarked by Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto.

  • A “2+2” format meeting between senior officials from Italy and Japan’s Defence and Foreign Ministries will be held in Rome in October.

Tech cooperation… The two leaders highlighted other areas where to increase scientifical, technological and industrial cooperation, where the bilateral relationship is still lagging. That spurred another October appointment: a mission, to be held in Japan, to examine high-tech sectors such as space, green energy, hydrogen, pharmaceuticals, mechatronics and artificial intelligence and understand how to best strengthen the industrial partnership between Rome and Tokyo.

… with semiconductors front and centre. It was a microchip-heavy day in Tokyo, as PM Kishida welcomed representatives from seven of the world’s biggest chip-makers (with the US’ Micron announcing a 500 billion yen investment in the country) to deepen tech partnerships and reinforce Japan’s silicon industry.

  • This comes amid a concerted, US-led effort to reshape the semiconductor supply chain, geared at crippling China’s ability to reach a higher degree of advanced chipmaking capacity – a crucial objective for President Xi Jinping – and thus limit its technological and military prowess.
  • Over the past months, Japan and the Netherlands (two major chokepoints along the advanced chip-making supply chain) vowed to align themselves with US export control measures designed to further obstruct Beijing’s industry.

Italy wants in. Reportedly, PM Meloni assured her colleague that Italy is “ready to collaborate” with Japan on this front. An Italian government delegation will arrive in Tokyo on May 24 to meet with the representatives from Japan’s Ministry of Industry and trade associations, aiming to lay the foundations for cooperation between the Italian pole and Japanese companies.

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