Nikon is one of several companies that could be affected by Japan and the Netherlands' decision to stop the export of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China.
These countries will join the US who, under President Biden's administration, announced it would be putting tight restrictions in place on China's access to US chipmaking technology, in the hope that it would slow down the advancement of technological and military devices.
Semiconductors are found in all digital cameras – from CCD sensors in crappy cameras from the past (opens in new tab) to modern CMOS sensors from in the best professional cameras (opens in new tab), mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab) and DSLRs (opens in new tab). Semiconductor shortages were a big part of the reason why so many new (and even existing) cameras have faced supply shortages over the past couple of years, so this could cause even more problems.
Talks between Japan, the Netherlands and China could start as early as 03 February, and according to Bloomberg (via Reuters (opens in new tab)) the Netherlands will restrict ASML Holdings NV from selling its machines to China, while Japan will impose the same restrictions on Nikon.
While Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, said that he expects to reach an agreement with the US, the Netherlands will not just copy the same restrictions.
For Japan's part, Yasutoshi Nishimura, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, told reporters, "We have been in discussion with the United States and other countries regarding the export-control regime. We will implement any measures in accordance with our Foreign Exchange Law and through international cooperation."
A Japanese trade and industry official involved in overseeing semiconductor firms told Reuters (opens in new tab) that he expects the sales at chip-related companies to get back on track quickly as the market for them is continually expanding, but chose to remain anonymous as he isn't allowed to speak to the media.
Whether it's a matter of national security or pandering to American chip makers, the semiconductor sector continues to be an international battlefield – and shortages of products that use them may continue to be the collateral damage.
If this article was of interest, you may also want to check out the best Nikon cameras (opens in new tab), the best Nikon lenses (opens in new tab) to go with them, and the best Nikon Z lenses (opens in new tab) for the company's mirrorless Z-mount system.