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TOKYO – Operations at two Japanese factories producing flash memory chips have been disrupted by the contamination of industrial materials, chipmaker Kioxia said today.

It comes as the tech industry grapples with a global semiconductor shortage that has hampered the manufacturing of numerous products from cars to gaming consoles.

Kioxia said it suspects “contamination of materials used in the manufacturing processes” at its plants leading to operations being partially suspended, without giving further details.

The company, a spin-off of Japanese conglomerate Toshiba, said it was working to restore full output at the factories in central and northern Japan as soon as possible.

Kioxia’s United States-based partner Western Digital also confirmed the disruption and estimated it will cause “a reduction of flash availability of at least 6.5 exabytes” at the plants, which are run by the two companies as a joint venture.

A unit of digital data, there are one billion gigabytes in an exabyte.

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