TSMC's Japan fab progresses smoothly as employees move in

Chiang, Jen-Chieh, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0


TSMC is currently constructing a new factory in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. Some office spaces have already been completed, and TSMC employees from Taiwan are gradually moving in.

According to reports from Kumamoto Nichinichi Shimbun and the local news channel KKT, TSMC's subsidiary in Japan, Japan Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing (JASM), is building a new factory in Kikuyo-cho, Kumamoto Prefecture. It is expected to be completed around the end of 2023, with some office buildings already completed in August of the same year.

Employees dispatched from Taiwan are steadily arriving in Kumamoto. From August to the end of September 2023, around 600 TSMC employees and their family members are scheduled to move to Kumamoto. Most of the employees' children will attend Kumamoto International School (KIS), and on September 4th of the same year, ten TSMC employees' children have already enrolled. The total number of children is expected to reach 130. The total number of TSMC employees sent to the Kumamoto wafer factory is expected to be 400, with an additional 750 family members, which is a 20% increase from the originally planned numbers.

Furthermore, about 200 Japanese engineers from Sony, transferred to work at JASM, are returning to Japan after receiving training in Taiwan. There are also 125 new graduates who joined JASM in April 2023 and are currently undergoing training in Taiwan.

The final total number of JASM employees will be 1,700. TSMC indicated that in April 2024, new graduates and employees changing positions are expected to join JASM, and personnel recruitment is proceeding as planned.

The wafer fab is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, and after the introduction of equipment and installation of production lines, mass production is expected to begin before the end of 2024, according to the planned schedule.

The construction of TSMC's Kumamoto wafer fab, personnel recruitment, and the arrival of Taiwanese employees have been relatively smooth compared to TSMC's construction plan in Arizona, USA. The construction of the Arizona site began in April 2021, one year earlier than the factory in Kumamoto. Although the originally planned production date was also 2024, it has now been delayed to 2025, and personnel recruitment has encountered difficulties.

However, the shortage of semiconductor talent is a global issue. In the Japanese Kyushu region, where TSMC's Kumamoto fab is located, it is estimated that there may be a shortage of around 1,000 semiconductor industry professionals in the next 10 years. If TSMC plans to build a second fab in Kumamoto, the demand for local engineers will increase further in the future.