Japan and Finland collaborate over 6G development


The collective 6G efforts of Finland and Japan have vowed to help each other out in a bid to move the nascent standard along.

You can tell they’re serious because they signed one of those memoranda of understanding, so there’s no turning back now. They published it at the Nikkei Global Digital Summit, which noted that Nokia is expected to get involved, what with it being Finnish. For now, however, the protagonists are the Finnish 6G Flagship research program, coordinated by the University of Oulu, and the Beyond 5G Promotion Consortium of the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

“Japan is a major global player in the development of wireless mobile technologies and it is in Finland’s interest to expand the cooperation to themes where mutual competitive advantage can be achieved for 6G development,” said Matti Latva-aho, Director of 6G Flagship. “The importance of the collaboration is underlined by Japan’s decision earlier this spring to invest $2 billion in the development of 6G technologies.”

He might be referring to the decision by Japan and the US to collaborate on 6G development. The US and its allies are being fairly proactive about getting off to a good start with 6G due to it being designated a matter of strategic importance. The broader context is the geopolitical tussle with China and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see a bunch more announcements like this in the near future.

Meanwhile the US itself is throwing money at weaning itself off Chinese resources and cheap labour. President Biden has unveiled a new Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force designed to address and, presumably, anticipate supply chain issues such as the global chip shortage. It might want to start by reviewing the unintended consequences of unilaterally manning Huawei from getting hold of any chips containing US intellectual property.

The lengthy announcement makes seven references to China, including the need to be less reliant on it for rare earth minerals. Reuters reports that the whole thing is quite China focused, looking to correct perceived imbalances in the global market cause by what is considered to be unfair trading practices on the part of China.

On top of that the US Senate has approved a bill that will allow the US government to chuck billions at the semiconductor sector, with the ultimate aim of onshoring all the chip-making capacity it needs. It seems clear the US is prepared to print as much money as required to compensate for decades of outsourcing to China. Donald Trump couldn’t have hoped for more.

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