Japan's industry minister, Ken Saito, on Sunday voiced the government's readiness to consider providing additional aid to Rapidus, which aims to mass-produce next-generation semiconductors.

On the day, Saito visited the construction site for the Japanese chipmaker's factory in the city of Chitose in Hokkaido Prefecture.

"I have confirmed that the construction work is progressing steadily," he told a news conference. "The government will consider extra aid (to Rapidus) depending on the situation."

Saito also said that the government plans to work with relevant local communities to carefully address issues related to the launch of the plant, such as developing infrastructure.

For the visit to the plant site, the minister was accompanied by Rapidus President Atsuyoshi Koike, Tsuyoshi Mitsuhashi, vice governor of Hokkaido, and Chitose Mayor Ryuichi Yokota.

Amid a lack of land for factories, it is important to establish a new industrial park to attract companies from related industries, Yokota said, asking Saito for cooperation from the state.

Rapidus aims to mass-produce semiconductor chips with a circuit line width of 2 nanometers. Such chips are used for artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

The Rapidus factory is now being constructed in the Chitose Bibi World industrial park.

The company plans to start operating a prototype production line at the plant in April 2025 and launch mass production in 2027.

The government has decided to provide the company with up to ¥920 billion of aid.

Rapidus was established in October 2022 by eight Japanese companies — Kioxia, Sony Group, SoftBank, Denso, Toyota Motor, NEC, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone and MUFG Bank — with a total investment of ¥7.3 billion.