Photo/Illutration A semiconductor wafer (Provided by SEMI Japan)

Japan is responding to calls from the United States to restrict exports of semiconductor-manufacturing equipment to specified nations.

The measure is intended to limit exports to China, which is engaged in a semiconductor turf war with the United States.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, the economy minister, announced on March 31 that the tighter export controls on 23 items would go into effect from July.

The United States had asked Japan and the Netherlands to join it in restricting the exports of semiconductor-manufacturing equipment. In October, Washington strengthened export controls on such equipment to China on the grounds the technology could be converted for military use.

The Netherlands announced on March 8 that it would also strengthen such export controls.

The 23 products would be added to a list covering exports. Only certain nations would be able to receive such items under a simplified export control measure.

While 42 nations and regions such as the United States, South Korea and Taiwan are covered by such looser measures, China is not.

The economy ministry will check into the exports of items on the list to nations that are not covered by the simplified measures.

Ministry officials said the products from about 10 companies would fall under the stiffer export measures, including Tokyo Electron Ltd., Nikon Corp. and Screen Holdings Co.

The stricter measures will cover semiconductor-manufacturing equipment used to create advanced semiconductors with circuit widths of 14 nanometers or less.

A nanometer is one-millionth of a millimeter.