Japan will spend as much as ¥45 billion ($300 million) to back a research group developing advanced chip technology, part of a national push to catch up in semiconductor manufacturing.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said it approved outsourcing research on cutting-edge fabrication tech to Leading-edge Semiconductor Technology Center. The year-old organization was set up to assemble Japan’s researchers in areas such as nanotechnology, materials and artificial intelligence and support chip manufacturing at state-backed Rapidus.

"We outsource research and development that the government deems is necessary but is too risky for the private sector to carry out,” Hidemichi Shimizu, director of METI’s strategy office for the software and information services industry, said at a news briefing on Friday. The contract is for up to five years and would span chip technology for 2 nanometers and beyond, as well as AI-enabling chip design, he said.